Monday, October 31, 2005

Out To Lunch, Off By An Hour

It's only been a few days, but it feels like lots more, especially given the weird rise in temperature over the past few days, not to mention the extra hour Sunday morning. One way or the other, it doesn't matter whether you're falling down the steps five at a time or slowly walking down the staircase: you'll reach bottom sooner or later.

Other than the two aforementioned exciting environmental changes, I had an interesting weekend: fantasy football, catching up on work on as well as with the PC, and some cleaning. Nothing exciting, nothing worthwhile, nothing to report. I got out a little to enjoy the weather and to get some errands done, but otherwise, I pretty much laid low and celebrated Daylight Savings by watching it happen, one minute at a time :)

On top of that, Kaia had a friend in town over the weekend and wound up running into friends on Saturday night; so she and I were, for the most part, running on two completely different schedules, which left me a bit bewildered. A week prior we were spending all waking and non-waking hours, and only a week later she was out and about and I was chained to a PC. Eh, such is life. It was a little disjointed -- which is less-than-ideal -- but with a 3,000 mile gap, this is the way it is.

As I concluded the above paragraph, what comes across my speakers but Styx's "Too Much Time On My Hands."

Ah, the irony.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

A Discordant Chorus of Memories

This past weekend, Kaia and I were either coming home or leaving my building when my doorman, Gene, stopped us briefly to tell us about an experience he'd had the night prior. Apparently, he had been visiting a friend in the Bronx (where Gene also lives). Once he opted to go home, he walked down the stairs rather than taking an elevator and came across what he thought were a couple having sex on the stairway. He walked by, not wanting to disturb the couple, when the woman -- actually, a girl who had turned 13 a week prior -- shouted toward him for help. The couple, apparently, wasn't having sex -- the man was raping her.

Gene, who served in Vietnam as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, realized what was going on and, essentially, tore the guy apart. Without going into too much detail herein, he described what he did and it sounds to me like, by the time Gene was done with him, most of the guy's bones were either broken or bruised. Listening to him describe the entire incident and the fallout thereafter, including visiting the girl in the hospital the next day, he was obviously shaken -- not because he's emotional, but because -- as I said to him -- he's got a daughter as well. He was going through the events and actually said out loud that had he decided to take the elevator rather than the stairs he doesn't know what the guy would have done after he was finished. Apparently, he has two prior pedophile/rape-related convictions as well as a few other assorted items on his sheet, and he had just been released from prison less than 48 hours prior to that night. So who knows.

I wouldn't have mentioned it herein except that it reminded me, on some level, of a night about nine years ago when I was with a girlfriend and another couple -- friends of hers -- at the South Street Seaport. It was late -- about 11:00 or 11:30 -- when we were lazily strolling down by Fulton Street when we heard a woman shout. Before we knew what was happening, we saw a guy running towards us clutching a white leather purse. As he came nearer, I think on some level I heard the same woman scream something about her bag, and before I could even think, as the guy was coming upon us by the mall entrance, I moved to my left, dropped my shoulder and basically threw a body-check, driving him square into the brick wall by the entryway. He went down and, from the sound of him hitting the wall and the ground, I'd say he had a concussion. In the meantime, a woman ran up to us -- I'd say she was about 50-55 -- and thanked us in a sharp southern accent. I didn't ask where she was from, but I was at least glad to be able to give her back her purse. My then-girlfriend, in front of her friends, chastised me and told me that I shouldn't have gotten involved and that the guy with the purse might have had a gun or a knife. She told me that I was crazy for risking my life -- and hers, and her friends' -- for some stranger's purse. And she told me that what I did was stupid.

Needless to say, that night I dropped her off with her friends and wished her a pleasant life.

I think the combination of serendipity and responsibility is interesting. Obviously, I am not comparing a woman having her purse stolen with a young girl being attacked. But the notion of fate -- that things are predestined or predetermined -- isn't necessarily something I believe in anymore, just as I think that no matter how hard we pray and hope for things, we have to take action to achieve goals and results. I think fate is only halfway there: we're given opportunities to act. Whether we shine or shrink from those opportunities is on us alone. And inasmuch as it would have been much easier for Gene to keep walking and for me to pretend I didn't see that asshole running away with the purse, I know I personally would never have been able to forget how I could have done something and didn't. In Gene's case, he would not have been able to look at his daughter the same way again, let alone himself in the mirror.

It reminded me of a William James quote a teammate once had posted in his locker next to mine.
Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.
It does.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Change in Temperature

Today, she left.

Since October 13th, I've spent all my waking, non-office hours (for the most part) with my other half. She ostensibly came in for the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, but the truth is we've found a way to dot the calendar with time spent together, and it just worked out that she was here during the holiday.

For the most part, there's nothing better than seeing her for the first time after we've gone awhile without being together. And consequently, there's nothing more difficult than putting her in a cab and watching as the taillights vanish into the traffic as she makes her way back to JFK for a flight away from here.

Today was a strange day. We both had a load of stuff to do -- me in my office and at the NYC Department of Buildings, she on her laptop and around the City. For my part, I got a bunch of stuff done in the office before I headed downtown to get a couple of key matters resolved; I was successful in one but not in another. She got everything on her end done, including all her work and a picking up a couple of little things to bring back to her nephews from NYC. So once I wrapped my business up at the DoB around 5 -- I immediately grabbed a train and headed back uptown to spend an hour or so with her before she left.

What I've discovered, aside from the obvious, is that long-distance relationships are obscenely unfair. Essentially, life is hard enough in general without having to say goodbye to the one you love after only a week or two or three together; and since both of our schedules are hectic and far from flexible -- deadlines (both statutory and suddenly-appearing), birthdays and events, family situations, etc. -- it's even more difficult to say goodbye to one another without having planned the next visit. We have a few ideas as to when we'll next see each other -- mid-November looks promising -- but it could also be as far away as December. We haven't made much in the way of New Year's plans, which is fine -- as long as we're together, we'll have fun -- but whereas most people are thinking about where they'll be on New Year's Eve, we're trying to figure out in which City we'll celebrate it. It's a little daunting in its scope, and if it wasn't worth it we'd have found that out by now.

So why do we? Well, we're trying to iron out the details of when she'll eventually move here, what that will mean vis-a-vis her company and her job with same, and whether we'll move in together right away, or whether she'll rent a place for herself before we finally pick a place and a time to make it all official.

But I think what we realized over the past ten days is all of those things are just items on a checklist. They'll all happen -- it's just a question of when and how soon. We work too well together and are too happy around and within each other's lives to even acknowledge any other solution to this geographic problem. It amazes me that we'll spend days together and yet neither of us wants to spend time away from the other. And what amazes me even more is that it's so comfortable, no matter what we're doing, where we're headed or where we're at. And whether or not it makes any sense, I'm not only not expecting the other shoe to drop, I don't even think there's another shoe in this mix.

Still doesn't change the fact that I am dreading sleeping in an empty, cold bed without her tonight. And it doesn't change the fact that it won't feel right until I see her again.

Today when we were walking, our hands instinctively found one another's on our way back from the store. Trying to avoid the topic of her imminent departure, we laughed about the fact that the weather was awful when she arrived and awful yet again as she was leaving.

I don't quite remember the day she arrived, but I remember how cold it felt watching her cab pull away.

I'm hoping for a warm winter.

Monday, October 24, 2005

The Hounds of Winter

It happened Friday.

That afternoon, the sun, though still shining, seemed to suddenly fall out of the sky. It wasn't so much an ethereal moment; it just snuck up on us and quickly reminded us that winter was happening: if not now, it would be soon.

Between the two of us, we've been getting only a modicum of sleep, in part because of work pressure, but mostly, I think, as a result of the weather. Kaia's been here since the 13th, and during that period of time, the average high/low temps dropped from the high 60's to the high 40's (as of this morning). So it's a given that less sleep and colder weather has affected both of us.

In either case, Friday night was our sushi night with friends; despite the coolness, we headed to Monster Sushi on 23rd. I've been to at least 20 or more sushi restaurants in the city, but none of them have the combination of price/quality as do the Monster restaurants (there's also one in midtown). The main problem, of course, is that neither is very close to my place, so I tend to only go if it's convenient to a group of people or if I'm near and on my way from or to somewhere else.

Essentially, we had a small but relaxed group, which was the whole idea. Ostensibly, we were going to get a bunch of people together before a friend of ours headed to a wedding out of town (to Pennsylvania) before flying back to California this morning. It turned out to be about eight or so people just kicking back and relaxing, and since the restaurant went from packed to relatively quiet about an hour after all of us arrived, it wasn't rushed and we could soak in the sake, the ichiban, the tuna tataki and platter after platter of sumo-sized rolls featuring an assortment of fish, avocado, vegetables and even soft-shelled crab (the spider-roll). If you're a sushi fan, don't even hesitate. It's not the high-brow, in-your-face experience of either Nobu, but it will also cost about a tenth thereof. In either case, we all had a nice, laid-back evening.

We woke up overtired and drained from a long, tiring week. I actually felt crappy, so I wound up falling back asleep while Kaia did some stuff around my apartment and checked on me every so often...we had wanted to head downtown, but since the weather was less-than-stellar, I decided to stay in and send her out for some shopping, but since she wanted to look after me and make sure I was okay (her way of saying she didn't want to go running in the rain :) she ended up staying with me and we just relaxed and talked. It's actually interesting; we spend at least an hour or two on the phone a day, but the majority of that time is spent on the miscellaneous bullshit we each encounter on a daily basis. In person, seeing each other's eyes, being there in bed or on the couch or in similarly close proximity, allows a directness and an honesty that cannot be achieved through any electronic or reproductive medium. It's one thing talking to one's parents or friends -- but being next to her is something that I have tried, unsuccessfully, to duplicate. The original can't be copied -- which is the way it should be.

The weekend wound down slowly, until Sunday. She headed to meet some friends while I got some work done at home, and soon thereafter I met her and her friends and we all went down for a little hang-time. I managed to stop into the Apple Store in Soho and got a glimpse (and some hands-on time) with the new Apple Video iPod. Two words: Holyfuckingshit. The first time you have one of these puppies in your hands, you'll know you're holding a piece of pop-culture royalty. The new iPod plays audio, video, slideshows of photographs and even can handle your schedule, your address book and portable radio broadcasts (called 'Podcasts'). And the fact that it's so damn cool doesn't hurt, either.

I'm counting the days they get more of 'em in stock; in the meantime, I'm trying to convince Kaia to get one (actually, for her to allow me to buy her one) and she keeps resisting. But as soon as Louis Vuitton releases a case for the new iPod, she'll be all over it, so I'm just biding my time ;)

In the meantime, she's leaving tomorrow evening; I'm sure we'll spend as much time together as possible between now and then, and I'm actually scanning my schedule in my head to figure out when our next visit might be. And each time I settle on a 10- or 14-day period, I keep thinking that it's too far away and too short a visit.

One of these days I'll need to do something about that.

Friday, October 21, 2005

A Boatload of Fun...or Two

So as the week wound down, we found ourselves each getting a tad run down due to a combination of less-than-necessary sleep, a change in the weather, lots of work, and the notion that Tuesday, the day Kaia is scheduled to leave, is rapidly approaching. So last night, instead of us doing what made sense -- home, a quiet dinner in and then early to bed -- we decided instead, of course, to go out.

The good news it was worth it. We'd been talking about visiting Les Halles for at least three months; the back story is, if I haven't already covered it, a chef who happens to host a show called "A Cook's Tour" on the Food Network by the name of Anthony Bourdain impressed the hell out of me. He's sort of a Lou Reed/Mark Knopfler meets Emeril Lagasse type, without all the loudness. Picture wit, New York-centric sarcasm, and the pretzel logic of Steely Dan, and voila -- there's Mr. Bourdain. The aforementioned "A Cook's Tour" is both a show, in which Mr. Bourdain visits a variety of places all over the world in search of the "ideal" meal, and a book which I enjoyed immensely. Bourdain is incredibly laid back, but intensely competent and passionate about what he does, and what he does, incidentally, is cook incredible, classic French food. Les Halles is a bistro-type restaurant, which means it's relaxed, casual and noisy, but the food -- which is prepared and/or overseen by Executive Chef Anthony Bourdain -- is incredible.

We decided to finally stop by after not making it during Kaia's last three visits. It's not that we were hesitant; it's just that we consistently visited Balthazar, another incredible bistro restaurant further downtown, and by the time we'd ingested escargot, duck confit, turbot and the ubiquituous french onion soup there, it seemed redundant to do the same at Les Halles within a week's time. So last night was a long time coming; while it wasn't incredible, it was pretty damn close.

The restaurant is known, apparently, for its beef -- those are two cows noisily kissing in the homepage graphic -- so while we started with onion soup for Kaia and escargot for me, she chose perfectly-prepared roast chicken, replete with frites and salad, and I opted for a rib-eye with frites salad as well. Nothing fancy, nothing tricky -- just a great dinner, albeit a bit too much thereof. The ribeye was awesome, but that chicken dish -- suffice to say I don't think I've ever had better chicken -- ever.

I apologize if it seems like I'm extolling the virtues of our food last night. The truth is the restaurant could stand a bit of polish -- it was loud, even though we had a window table which was noticeably quieter than those in the middle of the restaurant -- and it took about 40 minutes for us to be seated. But on the other hand, dinner was really wonderful. The only thing missing was Mr. Bourdain, who had flown out of New York that morning, presumably for a new Food Network assignment. Had he been in residence, I would have asked him to sign a copy of one of his books. But it's not about signatures, meeting a celebrity chef, being among the pretty people, or being in the "right" place, that made it worth a visit. It was just incredibly tasty eats.

Our plans for tonight, he wrote with an anticlimactic flourish, are going out with a small group of friends for sushi. A friend of ours, like Kaia, is visiting from Cali until Sunday or Monday and we wanted to get everyone together for a small, relaxed, laid-back sushi-fest. And after last night's calorie-heavy fare -- even omitting dessert -- it will be nice to have some sensible food and some low-key fun with good people. That's really what these weekends are all about where we get a bunch of friends together for food, drinks and laughs. Eventually, she and I will have a large kitchen and enough room to host a dozen people without thinking twice, and we'll wind up having people come by (or us to them). But in the meantime, knocking back some sushi and a few rounds of warm sake isn't a bad way to wind down a week, a night, or an out-of-town stay.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Brief Announcement

Pardon the interruption: this goes out to our anonymous friend JennyCraig, who so graciously visits us anonymously from her one-plus-one in the middle of nowhere. This is for her.
Dear Jenny M:

Get a life. Unwed, medicated, pathetic mothers, especially in the inane, mastubatory futility that is Rochester, should find hobbies that don't involve sharp objects, bottles of pills, alcohol or fawning over a child in lieu of a real life.

Move on, JennyCraig.

-The Management -
To the regular (and non-irregular) readers of the HoB, thank you for your patience.

Dell To The Rescue

So it's taken me another three days to recover from the weekend. I'm facing major computer issues, work deadlines (that aren't directly mine but neither here nor there) and the fall-out from an exhausting (but exhilerating) weekend. So cut me some fargin' slack.

The past three days, work-wise, have been all about running around to each of the five boroughs -- Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island -- to file papers with each borough's respective division of the County Clerk. What that means, in plain english, is that we have to file papers on behalf of each property our clients own in the actual boroughs where each property is located. So let's say Client X has a building in the Bronx, another in Queens and two in Manhattan, that means we need to file the respective sets thereof in the Bronx, Queens and in Manhattan. And once everything is filed, served and stamped, copies need to go to the County Clerk in the Supreme Court at 60 Centre.

No biggie -- it's doable. It's crazy, hectic, pressure-packed and tense, but it's doable. So we work extra hours, work harder than normal, and expect to focus on few things other than the deadline -- but we get it done. No different from years past, except now we're streamlined and only making two or three trips to each borough. Last year at this time, my father was in the hospital and we had to do this on our own, so the notion that I'd complain about this or anything else is sort of absurd. It's amazing what almost losing someone I care about so much can do for my outlook, not only the future but vis-a-vis the past as well.

On top of that, I've been dealing with the fallout from the party -- most of it good. There were, all told, about 60 people there from our group, and everyone seemed to have a good time -- although the truth is, if I hit a party and it was god-awful, I'd omit that part of my review from my report back to the host. "Yeah, thanks for inviting me to your shitty party, Boogie, it really sucked and I'll have nightmares for a week." There's only one person that spent more than ten seconds telling me why it wasn't good, and to be honest, I didn't know he was invited, wouldn't have minded if he wasn't invited, and don't plan on seeing him until he approaches me during the next party we throw to complain more about that future party, whenever it is. He's actually not a bad guy, and that's his personality -- and frankly, if people complaining was going to affect me in any way, I would have stopped doing these kinds o' shindigs a long time ago.

So as they in the vernacular: Joke 'em if they can't take a fuck.

I alluded to my PC shitting the bed a week ago; so if you missed it -- my PC shit the bed a week ago. I replaced it with a brand-spanking-new Dell Dimension. I'd give out the specs, but I've not yet crossed over to the land of the Complete Geek. Suffice to say that it's got a 19" flat panel and it's quick. I actually investigated repairing the Dell that went south, but it would have cost me about $700 to do everything I would have had to do to make sure it was truly back in working order. The motherboard (or the power supply) was bad, so it kept eating hard drives like Mama Cass ate ham sammiches. And we all know she died choking on a ham sammich; well, my PC died choking on a Western Digital hard drive. Pooooop.

Anyway, the new machine arrived and it's in good working order. I also considered buying a refurb from Dell. I'm not exactly sure of the link, but if you jet on over to and look for their outlet, you'll find inventory that is not quite "new." It's not as chintzy as it sounds; most of their "refurb" machines result when a company orders 200 desktops and finds out (after opening all the boxes) that they actually only needed 175. So 25 go back. Most of their refurbs are never even powered on by the customer, and there's nothing necessarily wrong with them. So I wanted to consider getting one.

Except once I did some pricing, I would have saved about $300 by buying an older model with the same basic configuration, and for $300, it just didn't make much sense. Plus I would have had to go and buy Office, a new monitor (or keep the 10-year-old 19" monstrosity I had been using) and a bunch of other stuff. So I finally took the plunge and got the thing ordered.

The boxes are at my place, waiting for my inspection and enjoyment, so I am pleased. Except that knowledge is tempered with the knowledge that now, too, my iPod shit the bed as well. So I've got a fully-functioning PC in boxes and a dead iPod in my hand. The iPod is a leftover of my relationship with my ex, so I am looking forward to tossing it, but the problem is that the new iPod -- the Video iPod -- is not in stores until next week. That means I somehow have to handle taking subways, excavating and exploring the city and going to the gym sans tunes. I've got a small mp3 player that works, so I'll probably use it in the meantime, but not having the iPod handy is a real pain in the ass. The nice thing is that once they arrive in stores, a friend of mine is going to hook me up and give me some sort of discount thereon. But like Tom Petty says, the waiting is the hardest part.

Oh, and last, but certainly not least, I am loving having my other half in NYC. We're both working very hard, but every time I walk through the door and see her for the first time, the smile returns to my face. She's been here a week and it feels like she got in last night...and each morning we wake up together is a good morning. I didn't doubt it, but I still get jazzed thinking about how much I enjoy spending time with her, or even just having her there around me. It's really something, finding someone you want in your life forever. And when it's the right person, and there are no little voices telling you to rethink your decision, and there are no friends or family members tapping you on the shoulder questioning your choice, it's nice. But most importantly, it's nice when the two of us have time together without phones, tv, music, or anything else but eachother.

More news on all fronts...soon.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Knock 'Em Back and Keep 'Em Coming

Sometimes I wonder how many times I can do this before I really screw up.

This past Saturday night, a good friend and I hosted a party of a bunch of our friends we'd mutually found through an Internet chat room. And as I alluded in my last mention of the proposed party, it didn't shock me that there was opposition to how we did it, who we invited, who we didn't invite, and what we were doing.

And I'm glad.

I've found that if you please everyone -- not merely aim to please everyone, but actually make everyone happy -- then you're doing something wrong. If someone complains, then it means that you're doing something that is your own.

And it also reminds me why some of the whiners are in a chatroom in the first place.

In the meantime, we took a shitload of pictures and a good chunk of them can be found at the HoB Photosite (see the link at the top left); we held the soiree at a bar on the Upper East Side of Manhattan called The Saloon. The party was called for 9, but most people started walking through the door after 9:30. By 10:30, the room was jumping and loud, and by 11, the owners of the bar opened the doors to the public so by midnight, the place was full -- think fraternity party full -- and everyone had a blast. Sunday we had brunch with a couple of friends (an NYC resident and a non-NYC resident) and had a kick-back kinda day. I still feel hung over, but it was worth it. The best part is that all the whiners, complainers, finger-pointers and nay-sayers will move onto something else to whine about, complain about, point a finger at, and nay-say. Until our next one...

Take a peek if you are so inclined...if you're too lazy to actually mouse up to the top of the list of links, the pics are at The HoB Photosite...enjoy!


Saturday, October 15, 2005

A Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

For those of you expecting some latter-day ode to Jerry Lee Lewis in these pages, forget it...this isn't an indictment of inter-family under-age love, nor is it a dismissal of Mr. Lewis's rollicking, vivacious mastery of the piano; it's just that in these pages, right this minute, he's not quite very relevant. So if that's what you came here hoping to find, go back to Google or whence yez came.

In the meantime, in this thing I call my life, there's always lots to discuss and not very much time in which to do so. Not only did the Yankees flame out -- more or less as expected -- this past week, my PC also pretty much crapped out as well, so I've been relegated to prepping blog-stuff on my LifeDrive and a wireless keyboard. It works better than one might think, but it similarly is even more complicated to formulate an idea (let alone witty, memorable prose) with a keyboard that is designed to be folded up and pocketed for easy portability. So the ideas have been coming fast and furious, but the output has not. So if you, along with the aforementioned Jerry Lee Lewis fans, are here seeking something Pulitzer-worthy, click again.

Actually, the title of this post has more to do with the fact that Kaia got into town earrrrrly Thursday morning...originally she had planned on being here in the afternoon on Wednesday, but deadlines and incredibly awful weather across the country (but mostly located in the Northeast) pushed her flight back about twelve hours, leaving her with a red-eye, and me with an early-morning visitor. Even if it was only 6:30AM when we first saw one another, it was -- as per usual -- great. So neither rain nor sleepiness nor time zone could impede the fact that we are never happier than we are when we're with one another. And by the time she and I made it to my family's house in New Jersey, we were both experiencing that "this is right" sensation that dominates our time together. Soon we'll make arrangements to make it full-time; but in the meantime, it's where we're at.

Otherwise, the main topics du jour are our upcoming office deadline, which always seem to blot out everything else we're doing therein, the conclusion to the Jewish New Year and the requisite holidays, and the upcoming SinFest a friend and I are throwing on Manhattan's East Side tonight. First, once this weekend is in the books, I'll be back to getting our deadline handled ASAP, so this is a sort-of last rites. As for the holidays, Kaia came in and she and I napped away the early part of Thursday and then spent the late morning getting ready and hit a synagogue on the Upper West Side until about 3:30PM; by then, we came back to my place, got some stuff together, then got her checked into her hotel and unpacked and then, as the rain continued to pour down, we headed on out to Jersey. We got there a bit late -- I think it was after 8 by the time we finally rolled into my family's driveway -- but better late than never. So we enjoyed a variety of goodies for the breaking of the fast -- egg, tuna, chicken and whitefish salad, bagels and lox, veggies, marinated garlic mushrooms, a blintz kugel (take all of the good things life has to offer and cook it up in a casserole dish and -- voila), et al. So as much as we didn't eat the 24 hours prior, we made up for in the 90 minutes at break-fast. We got back into the rain-soaked City after 11, then made our way from my apartment back to the hotel, and by the time we finally landed in bed, we were ready to sleep for a month. However, since Friday's a work day, it didn't quite work out that way.

I got up early with my cellphone's blaringly annoying rendition of the Mission Impossible theme echoing across the living room into our bedroom, and she continued to catch up on sleep. So by the time I got cleaned up and out the door, she was still recovering the lost (red-eye) sleep. By noon EST, she woke up and got her work done from the room while I addressed a variety of work-related stuff. I took some of it with me (a spreadsheet I'd been working on, conveniently in the Excel folder on my LifeDrive) and did some other review and workstuff while in the office. Around three-thirty, I headed over to the bar where the party is being held and got them our not-quite-final guest list; there's always add-ons, and this party's certainly no different, so we're assuming we'll wind up with about 75 or so people. Considering the weather, which has soaked the City to its core since Monday, finally let up this morning, I'm expecting a fun bunch of people. And since we opted to keep the guest list limited, there won't be any bullshit or aggravation once the doors open and the alcohol begins to pour. A friend of mine, when I was advising her of the particulars of tonight's soiree, asked me if my co-host and I had gotten a lot of shit as a result of our keeping the guest list limited and private. I advised her we had. She laughed knowingly and told us that it was hard to put together a party of people and not invite everyone. And I told her that we had a theory in handling the people that were unhappy we'd chosen to employ a guest-list instead of just an open-door policy to the party. "Fuck 'em."

It worked for Joe Pesci in "Goodfellas," until, of course, he got shot in the back of his head so his mother couldn't have an open casket at the funeral. It's a Sicilian thing...

Anyway, so the hours are melting away and we've got a full day ahead -- as per usual, we'll likely hit Soho, do a wee bit o' shopping, mebbe get lunch at Bar 89 or another of our usual haunts, and then we'll go back to the hotel, get cleaned up, get dressed and hit the Casa De Boogie and then the bar. One way or the other it ought to be a lot of fun.

I'll try checking in later, or at least take some pretty good notes and photos. In either case, if I'm not back in 72 hours, call Missing Persons and see if I've turned up anywhere.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Pinstripes: There Is A Difference

Less than 12 hours after a Yankees loss in Game 5 to the Anaheim/Los Angeles/Disney Angels, I can positively, unequivocally and without hesitation say one thing:


The 2005 baseball season, at least for me, has been a long road. I love the game of baseball and I'm a die-hard Yankee fan. If there isn't anything more watchable on TV on a weekend I will watch a game not involving the Yankees, but I watch with a detached, peripheral-vision viewing. When people ask me who I'll root for to win the World Series this year, I'll tell them "the Yankees." Period. So the fact the Yankees were eliminated last night by the Angels (or, rather, by themselves) pretty much lets you in on how much baseball I'll be watching from today until Spring Training.

There was -- as there always seems to be -- many sub-plots and backstories in the 2005 Yankee season. First of all, while the Yankees have made it to the playoffs each year since Joe Torre's debut as Yankee manager in 1996, they haven't won a World Series since 2000. While reaching the playoffs is an achievement for most teams, it is taken for granted in the Bronx; for the Yankees, anything short of a World Series victory is a failure. Some people reading that last statement might infer the Yankees exude a measure of arrogance; what it is, in actuality, is confidence.

Secondly, the impending changes coming this off-season are going to be painted with large brush-strokes. The club's long-time center fielder, Bernie Williams, is at the end of a long free-agent contract and it is clear he is finished with the Yankees. He's not yet 40, but he's slowed down considerably as a result of injuries and mental exhaustion; he's won 4 World Series with the Yankees and has accomplished a lot on the field, so while he might be able to sign a small, incentive-laden contract with a young team looking for some cheap veteran leadership, Bernie is a gentleman and will likely end his career rather than hang onto fading hopes and a dwindling payday. He's just that kind of guy.

Another story is Randy Johnson. During the off-season, the Yankees gave up some prospects for a 42-year-old Randy Johnson, who has, for more than a decade, been one of the most dominating pitchers in baseball. Johnson, a lefty, has a sweeping slider that histocially has been near-impossible to hit. However, while there are occasions when history repeats itself, history did not repeat itself this year, and Johnson, the once-feared power-pitcher of the 90's, is not only not feared, but now hitters look forward to facing him.

Last night, the Angels scored two runs on a triple into right field by Adam Kennedy which, in the ordinary course, should have been caught. The reason why it was not and wound up a triple was because the Yankee right fielder -- Gary Sheffield -- and last night's Yankee center fielder, Bubba Crosby -- collided going for the ball. It was a fluke situation, but between the crowd noise (the game was played in California) and the exact landing spot of Kennedy's fly ball, the two outfielders collided and the ball dropped, allowing two runs to score. The final deficit after the last pitch was -- similarly -- two runs.

The game was not decided on one deep drive to right field. The game was decided by the Yankees by-the-numbers. Here are some staggering numbers to consider:

$203 Million: The amount of money paid to Yankee players this season;

$46.5 million: The amount paid to pitchers who weren't even on the postseason roster (Kevin Brown, Carl Pavano, Jaret Wright, Steve Karsay, Mike Stanton, Paul Quantrill, Felix Rodriguez);

$8 million: The amount paid to Hideki Matsui this season;

8: The number of runners Matsui left on base during the five-game series against Anaheim.

And finally:

$25 Million: Amount of money paid to Alex "MVP" Rodriguez.

0: The number of runs he knocked in during the five-game series against Anaheim.

0: The number of votes I would cast for Alex Rodriguez being the American League MVP.


The truth is the Yankees are lucky they made it as far as they did, and despite the fact they lost I think they played an impressive second half and I am disappointed they didn't go farther into the postseason. But I also understand that this team needs a lot of work, and I am hoping that King George fires Brian Cashman, the GM who, clearly, knows nothing about baseball; some new scouts to reinvigorate (more accurately, resurrect) the Yankee's minor-league system; some decent, non-accomplished, young, talented players; and some players who are hungry and not multi-millionaires.

Aside from A-Rod, most of these Yankees -- at least offensively -- didn't let me down. The aforementioned Hideki Matsui -- aka Godzilla -- has been a reliable, clutch hitter throughout his tenure in the Bronx, not just this season. Derek Jeter, whose name has notably been absent herein thus far, has always been and will always be a clutch, reliable, respected, beloved Yankee. Jeter, incidentally, is the epitome of class, performance, humility, ability and all that is right in the game of baseball.

Finally, at this point last year, my family and I were watching the Yankees' playoff hopes disappear against the Red Sox with the decidedly painful distraction of my father being in Lenox Hill's ICU. This year, I had no such distraction: perhaps the only glimmer of light at the end of this sad, prematurely-shortened tunnel, is that my other half is coming to NYC in 24 hours, so I know that, very soon, she'll be taking my mind off baseball -- and I mean that in a very, very good way :)

They say "Better luck next year" when a team is bounced from the playoffs. But as a rabid Yankee fan, I'm starting to get tired of that expression. I think I'll start using a new one: "We'd better be better next year, or else."

Or else what? We'll sic King George on you.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Elements of Style (Acronyms Aplenty)

With the torrential rain in the Northeast last night -- and the subsequent postponement of Game 4 of the American League Division Series between the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (hereafter referred to as the "Disneys") -- there were other equally unfortunate happenings occurring elsewhere.

First and foremost, I experienced yet another hard drive crash. Considering I've got three separate drives attached to my home PC -- the main one at 80GB, the second internal of 120GB, and the third -- an external Maxtor of about 250GB -- one crash shouldn't be that big a deal. However, this is the fifth crash I've experienced inside a three-year window. The machine is a Dell Dimension 8200, and I've done just about everything except replace the entire motherboard. I finally opined that that's going to be the next step -- especially after discussing the situation for a half-hour with a Dell tech with a decidedly Texas-based accent.

To expound on this, hard drives are like tires -- unless something is wrong, most drives have a 20,000 hour MTBF rating ("Mean Time Between Failure"). Essentially, this means that -- unless something weird is happening -- you should figure on having a hard drive crash once in, at most, twelve months. The norm, however, is about four years between crashes. I've had five such episodes in 36 months. In layman terms, that fargin' sucks. The thing is that when you open up a PC and install a third-party drive -- whether it's manufactured by Seagate, Maxtor, or any other hard drive vendor -- the warranty (and the PC manufacturer) doesn't usually apply if said third-party drive fails. In other words, it's sort of like buying a Blaupunkt car stereo, having same installed in your BMW 330i, and then, when the Blaupunkt breaks, going to BMW for service on the radio. BMW will tell you you're SOL ("shit outta luck").

So when the first incident occurred -- with a third-party drive -- I didn't complain to Dell. It wasn't their drive and I assumed -- naturally -- since it's a Dell, I probably did something to screw it up. So I replaced it and went about my business. Problem was, six months later, the next incident -- this time involving the main (boot) drive Dell supplied with the system was bad. So I called tech support, spoke to Rahid (aka Rusty) and Dell sent Pete (aka Punjab) to my office to swap in a new drive. Six months later, another bump in an otherwise less-than-smooth road.

Fast-forward to today: the tech guy I talked to suggested the motherboard and power supply be swapped out. "And while you're at it," he drawled, "you might as well swap out that Pentium and get more RAM." So Monday I need to call a specific branch of high-end tech people (that only show up during the week) and arrange for a quasi-warranty repair. Problem is the machine is about 368 days out of warranty. But since I've had all these issues, and we've been buying Dells since 1995, I'm hoping they'll work with me and at least hook me up with the necessary parts to get the machine to where it should have been when it landed on my doorstep from the orphanage in the first place. Aside from the bullshit and the hassles, consider the loss of data I've endured -- it's hard to back up a drive properly when it's not working properly, natch -- and the nagging suspicion that I can't really and truly rely on the machine. It's sort of like trying to drive a car on a daily basis -- highways, rain, traffic, etc. -- when you suspect, deep in the recesses of your mind -- that something will go wrong and that likelihood is not only inevitable but approaching quickly.

Aside from that, I've had another mystery with which to contend -- the owners of my building decided to do work on the facade of the building (pointing, waterproofing, etc.) and, as a result, we've had to keep our windows closed so all the schmutz coming off the building doesn't come into our apartments. Since I've been running my A/C as a result, the air isn't circulating -- and since someone forgot to put a cover on the A/C unit outside my window, the crap falling off the building has, apparently, found its way into the unit itself and my apartment has been inundated with some sort of allergen(s) that have messed me up big-time. I've had welt-like hives on my hands and wrists now for about three weeks, and while it's less than pleasant to discuss it herein, it certainly a) explains my lack of entries here (how to type when your hands feel like they're on fire); b) my less-than-Boogie-esque mood, for the most part; c) clarifies the symbiotic relationship of staying alert and being able to sleep comfortably. It hasn't been debilitating, but after the physical manifestation of it -- the aforementioned hives -- which I thought were the result of drinking Vitamin Water -- it turns out it's probably the facade-work they're doing. And if my body's reacting physically, that means I've been ingesting the crap as well, which explains why it feels, on occasion, like my throat is closing up a bit. Not fun.

So, in response, after seeing my GP ("General Practitioner," aka my doctor) and he sending me to Lenox Hill Hospital for a nebulizer treatment (to assist breathing) and an x-ray of my lungs, I was advised to pick up one o' them thar Ionic Breeze devices from The Sharper Image. So right now, atop my scanner, the tower of healthy air silently chugs away all the crap in the air in my apartment. It seems to be doing a decent job; my throat feels better and I have obsessively checked the grid-thing (where all the crap collects) and it has had stuff on it. But the bitch is that each device is $450 -- kinda pricey for something that doesn't let you watch two football games side-by-side and that doesn't feature six distinct channels of digital audio. The nice thing is they offer the second one -- when you purchase two at the same time -- at half-price. But I figured that one would be we shall see.

Meanwhile, the other item on my personal agenda is the coming party a friend and I are throwing. We have assembled a guest list of about 150 people, but since a bulk of the people we are inviting we know mutually from an Internet chat room, and some of those people are people with whom we don't want to associate, we decided to do a private party rather than an "anyone can come" shindig. Problem is, while many of the people we invited are fine with our privacy policy, there are a small number -- five or so -- of people who have been complaining both privately and publicly (ie in the chat-room itself) about our decision to omit two or three people, one of whom is the freak to whom I was once engaged. We explained -- briefly -- that we are throwing a party to hang out with our friends, not to entertain anyone who feels like showing up. More and more, I am reminded why these people are in an Internet chatroom -- and why they behave so poorly therein, as well as beyond those four virtual walls. A lack of maturity, style, class and intelligence have been the norm for the half-dozen or so complainers, so it shouldn't shock me that they're behaving, if one can call it that, in this particular manner.

When all is said and done, we expect 100 or so people to be there, and it will be fun -- but why I find it all so intruiging is that I am a proponent of the "quality, not quantity" theory, and am disappointed in myself that I even bothered arranging this instead of just privately inviting a bunch of friends to get together. The party is next weekend, so I'll be sure and post a link to pics once they are up, but as of this writing, I don't expect much beyond briefly seeing some friends, exchanging some handshakes and hugs, and soon thereafter leaving with Kaia to spend some quality time. But it once again confirms and explains the reason why the people complaining and providing their opinions without being asked spend so much time in a chatroom.

I guess it all comes down to a combination of intelligence, common sense, respect and class, and if these pages haven't clarified same for the reader yet, I tend to not have patience for people who are devoid of the aforementioned qualities. I guess it all comes down to style, and until the actual party happens, the people without any have been and will continue to dominate the issue.

And then the party will arrive, everything will be cool, and I'll have some good stories (and pictures) to share.

Unless my hard drive crashes again...

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Top Ten Signs You're A Hockey Fan

In honor of the commencement (finally) of a new hockey season and a new era for the NHL, I decided to put together (with help from my other half) a small checklist to help the reader determine whether he/she is indeed a true hockey fan.
You know, as an American citizen, all the words to Oh, Canada, but don't know all the words to the Star Spangled Banner.

You suffered withdrawal symptoms the day they announced the NHL Lockout.

You regularly watch recordings of games -- regular-season games -- that were played over a year ago.

You know Theoren Fleury is not an infectious disease and Jaromir Jagr is not a beverage.

Every time you see rolls of aluminum foil in the market, you silently recall the Hanson Brothers telling Paul Newman "We're puttin' on the foil, coach!"

Every time you watch SportsCenter and hear some mention of the Texas Rangers, you silently think to yourself that the Texas Rangers could probably play better hockey than the New York Rangers.

You know that a Zamboni isn't an Italian delicacy.

You know a hip check is not some kind of medical insurance reimbursement plan.

You plan your vacation around the NHL Playoffs.

You know Valeri Bure could kick your ass.

"Miracle!" is your favorite movie. "Slap Shot" is your runner-up. And you've seen "Youngblood" -- even if you aren't willing to admit it -- more than once.

The last time your significant other was in a bad mood and picked a fight with you, you raised your hand, pointed at him/her, and yelled "Instigating!"

You have -- at one time or another -- advised your significant other that "Hockey players do it on ice." And then you prove it.
Enjoy the season, no matter where or how you do it.

Man Cannot Live By Hard News Alone

Despite the bombings in Bali this past Saturday, I must admit that I've been keeping a relatively blind eye to the fallout unfolding in Indonesia in favor of a few fluff items over the past few days; in addition to the Yankees making the playoffs -- an occurrence I doubted throughout much of this season -- I also discovered that the much-heralded Cream reunion held in May at the Royal Albert Hall in London was released today both as a concert DVD and a CD.

Normally, most HoB regulars would be ripping me a new one, suggesting my interest in passing fancies like the Yankees and Eric Clapton should be shelved in favor of more significant fare, such as but not only the Bali attacks, which were relatively significant, and the recently-announced nomination of Harriet Miers to succeed Sandra Day O'Connor as a Justice to the Supreme Court. However, while I have been researching and reviewing the events leading up to and surrounding the Bali attacks, and have already (like many) come to a distinct conclusion vis-a-vis Ms. Miers' nomination, I've also similarly realized that man -- and Boogie -- cannot live by hard news alone.

Certainly, the attacks in Bali are troubling: occurring almost a year after similar attacks took place, the most notable thing about the attacks -- aside from the fact that three separate but nearly simultaneous bombs were detonated, in organized, premeditated fashion -- was that they each targeted heavily-trafficked tourist areas. The goal, then, is not only to kill or injure or intimidate as many as possible -- despite the large majority of fatalities/injuries being Balinese -- but to isolate and to repel as many foreigners as possible. I'm not sure if this action was brought as a political or financial statement -- or both -- but it certainly speaks volumes about the people that are happily perpetrating these types of attacks that, for the most part, hurt Muslims. What it suggests, in either case, is that the world is becoming a larger battlefield, in the eyes of extremists, which must be divided between Islam and the rest of the Judeo-Christian world.

As for the aforementioned nomination of Harriet Miers, there are some troubling, if familiar, factors to consider. The first, and certainly most notable, is the issue of Cronyism, which seems to be George W. Bush's response to appointments and nominations. Ms. Miers is a talented, ambitious attorney -- she's known as a conciliator and an even-handed mediator -- but since she's never been a judge (and is most well-known, these days, for performing as White House Counsel, prior to being Mr. Bush's personal counsel when he was Governor of Texas) the nomination reeks of favoritism. There is no doubt she is legally and intellectually qualified -- but since she has rarely, if ever, taken a stand on any "hot-button" issues (abortion, gay rights, civil rights, etc.) her nomination must be taken at face value. That means that the majority of conservative Republicans will rubber-stamp her confirmation and that many Democrats will attempt to discern 30+ years of legal and intellectual capability in a three-day panel.

Between the devastation in New Orleans, the ongoing war in Iraq and the nomination of Ms. Miers, one doesn't have to consider long and hard the eventual legacy of George W. Bush.

Hence, confronted with Bali and Ms. Miers, I have focused on the Yankees and Cream. Tomorrow I plan on picking up a copy of each of the DVD and the CD of the Cream set, and I'm looking forward to the Yankees (hopefully) going 2-0 against the Angels.

Or as someone once wrote: man -- and Boogie -- cannot live by hard news alone.