Saturday, December 31, 2005

A Bernstein-esque Tribute To My New Love... Herr Bose.

I have a love, and it's all that I have.
Right or wrong, what else can I do?
I love it; I'm its,
And everything it is
I am, too.
I have a love, and it's all that I need,
Right or wrong, and it needs me, too.
I love it, we're one;
There's nothing to be done,
Not a thing I can do
But hold it, hold it forever,
Be with it now, tomorrow
And all of my life!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Uuuugggghhhh... so.. very.. fat.

I ate way too damn much tonight. Aside from that, it was a pretty good day. Bummed around this morning, took a 5-mile run around noon. Relatives came over around 2 and we did presents. My brothers & I went over to the hospital to see my aunt. She went in yesterday and it turns out she has pneumonia in both lungs. A sad place to be on Christmas, but definitely glad we got to see her.

Had some of my favorite Yellow Tail Shiraz-Grenache, lots of Mom's ziti (etc., etc.) and then an assload of cookies. Mmm -- so many cookies. Must resolve to be less of a fat-ass in 2006. Living back in the grotto is not conducive to good eating. Well, maybe the eating is a little TOO good - and that's the problem.

Anyhow, tomorrow I leave for a ski trip with S&W Jason. We're going up to the White Mountains of New Hampshire for 3 days, 3 nights. A little nervous, as I am really not wanting any intimacy to occur. He's nice, but I don't like him enough to deal with a physical relationship. I'm hoping he doesn't have the nerve to initiate anything. I'll be sure to give a detailed recap upon my return.

'Til then, friends - Ciao.
"Where Are You, Christmas?"

I think getting older sucks. I mean, there are obvious benefits -- like being able to eat at restaurants whenever you feel like it - or have ice cream in the middle of the day (and probably loads of other non-food-related perks I'm missing) but for other reasons - like Christmas, for instance - being older sucks.

I am the youngest of three, having two older brothers. When we were little, I remember the weeks leading up to Christmas. My brother J & I would make secret missions to my Mom's closet or to the attic to see where she was hiding the loot. I remember as clearly as could be, the day in December, 1982 - when J spied my Mom lugging in the E.T. doll I had been begging for.

I remember when I was little, Christmas Eve was the most exciting day of the year. At night, we'd all get dressed up to go to the Candlelight Service at the Methodist church (my Mom is Methodist, and we three were baptised - although I was the only one who followed through on Sunday School and was confirmed. My Dad was a non-practising Jew. He used this fact when it was convenient for him -- like if he didn't like what was for dinner, he all of a sudden became kosher -- but some years, he'd come to church with us on Christmas Eve). I remember the church was always packed to the seams - SRO - and it always looked so magical with the glowing candles everywhere and the pointsettias strewn around.

We'd get home and head off to bed. My bedroom was upstairs across the hall from my parents. I remember creeping to the foot of my bed, struggling to hear them lug the bounty of presents out of the attic and down to the living room. I half-believed in Santa at this point -- even though I knew what they were up to. That was the beauty of being a little kid -- things didn't have to make complete sense all the time.

And every year, J would be the one to come bounding up the stairs before 6 AM to wake me up (so that I, in turn, could wake up my parents). We'd gather in the living room and tear into shit -- just like all kids probably do. We'd have Pillsbury cinnamon rolls and Swift Premium Brown & Serve sausages for breakfast. Then we'd spend the day playing with our toys, watching TV, trading naps. In the evening, my cousins and aunt would come over for dinner - sometimes more relatives - sometimes fewer. It didn't matter -- it was just this feeling of warmth, safety and magic that kind of hung in the air.

I truly miss what Christmas used to be. Last night, I did get to the Candlelight Service - even played trumpet in a last-minute brass quartet. Sadly, the church was more than half-empty. My oldest brother B came with his 'lady friend', and my Mom sang with the choir. But something was missing -- where did the magic go? I sat and listened to the sermon but felt nothing. We got home and went to sleep. This morning, I woke up on my own around 8:00 and the house is quiet. B is at his lady's house, Mom still asleep.

J is married now, and they have an amazing son, my awesome nephew "Bean" -- kids make Christmas fun. Last year I was living with The Brit and we had his 11-year old son with us on Christmas. It was kind of neat to have my own little family. Maybe that's the idea - and what I am missing. I guess now it's up to me to make my own kind of Christmas. Maybe I'm trying too hard to hold onto what my parents' version of Christmas -- as awesome as it was.

In any case, I'm where I am [Limbo] but I will not be here forever. So make the most of what I DO have: enjoy the family that is still with us, and make Christmas great for Bean so that one day when he's a bitter, blogging 30-year old, he can recall some great memories too.

Merry Christmas - I hope this day can be special for you.

Saturday, December 24, 2005


Spent the past 7 hours on my feet, having volunteered to work at the ECE on Christmas Eve. The longer the hours, the more it loses its appeal. Though I must say I am becoming quite handy with the lattes, I couldn't help but be a somewhat snarky barista tonight.

Got a ridiculous amount of booty from my kids yesterday. One awesome thing about being the 'hep-kat' music teacher in a money town - lots and LOTS of Christmas goodies! An enormous amount of baked goods (of which I feel compelled to try 'at least' one of everything).

Laying here cookie-bloated, with a partial buzz from the 1/2 glass of wine I just had, I want nothing more than to put on sweatpants and watch "A Christmas Story" for the next 24 hours on channel TBS. Unfortunately, I have to get my self up, showered, and to the church down the road to grace the world with my bad trumpet playing.

I hope wherever you are, you're warm, happy, and surrounded by loving folks. Peace.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Ever just feel like everything's going really REALLY fucking well? Like you're in the flow - surrendering - and exactly on the right path, at exactly the right time?

The best way I can describe it is that I feel like I'm in love. You know that feeling of elation? Feet not quite touching the earth? That heightened sensitivity to everything: music, smells, sights... feeling like your heart is singing?

The strangest part of it all is that there is no ONE person for whom I am feeling it. It's an overall feeling of being in love with life. Riding the flow - trusting in it all. Allowing the energy to pass through me, to make me stronger, and wanting to pass it along. In doing so, my own energy is not depleted, but expanded - enhanced.

I'm not going all religious on your asses, fear not. I just feel FUCKING good! And it's worth blogging about. So from me to you - a little love your way.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Tonight I danced around the living room with my 2 & 1/2 year-old nephew, both of us wearing funny hats, spinning around until we both collapsed - dizzy - on the floor, laughing our asses off.

Thank you, Bean.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Last night's holiday concert was a success.

It's always worse in my head than it actually turns out. The hellish part is assembling 100+ pre-pubescent middle-schoolers - armed with musical instruments - in the school cafeteria for warm-ups & tuning. Inevitably (and despite numerous warnings and death threats on my part), they use that time to do everything that they should NEVER do -- especially before a performance. Like swapping instruments with their friends: the tuba player's playing a flute, the saxophonist - a trumpet. A trombone slide goes missing, a bassoon bocal narrowly misses a 12-year old's retina. And what better time - than in an overheated, overcrowded cafeteria - to yell, scream and play as LOUDLY as you possibly can?

But once they get set up, lined up and ushered out onto the stage, the transformation occurs. I stand backstage, awaiting the principal's intro, and gaze out across my fleet of mini-musicians. Sitting there, instruments in their laps, fidgeting with excitement -- tugging at neckties, waving at parents. I walk out, stand before them, they sit up straight - instruments at the ready, their eyes meet mine. I smile -- they relax, and AWAY WE GO!

Months of preparation - frustrating rehearsals, intense break-throughs and bad jokes - pay off in one glorious evening. They come through - they always come through in a clutch. And after the last cutoff, they sit tall, proud. My heart swells and I realize I am one of the luckiest people in the world to do what I do each day.

Monday, December 19, 2005

"Abhor Me" - A Haiku

Snot runs out my nose -
Slimy, oozing, drippy mess.
A sight to behold.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Today was a fine Sunday. I woke up feeling slightly more under the weather than yesterday - a barking-type cough in the wee hours of the morning and a pretty stuffy head. But I had plans to go into the city with a former colleague to hear the complete Brandenburg Concertos (Concerti..sorry) at Lincoln Center. So I got my ass outside for a run, figuring the fresh air and exercise would clear my head, and perhaps the endorphins would have a sort of antihistamine affect. Yes, I frequently make up ridiculous medical hypotheses that sound like they might be legit, and then fool myself into believing that they're real.

I actually DID feel better after the run, although my stuffy head + the cold weather = excessive amounts of snot. But what better way to expunge snot while on the move than snot-rockets? If you've never tried one, I highly recommend it -- very empowering. Nothing quite like blowing your nose into... nothing. I do need to wash my jacket, however. Damn wind.

We left for the city around 2, even though the concert wasn't until 5. If you've ever tried to go into New York on the Sunday before Christmas, you're obviously just as stupid as I am and therefore deserve whatever traffic you hit. And especially if there is a pending transit strike. But we made it in okay.

The concert was fantastic. What added to the experience was that I actually read the program notes and was fascinated to learn the origin of the pieces. Here is it is layman's terms: In his early 30's, Bach was a cocky young bastard working for a rich prince. He popped over to Brandenburg one day to pick up a new harpsicord and ended up playing for this guy who liked him so much, he asked Bach to write some music for him. This was around 1719. But Bach was too busy and was kind of like, "screw him."

A couple years later, the prince was due to get married and the future princess apparently thought her fiance spent too much money on frivoulus things - like music (Bach). Bach knew he'd be out of work soon and - remembering his Brandenburg connection - quickly pulled some musical works out of his [ass] collection, renamed them "The Brandenburg Concerti", and sent them off to the guy, 2 years too late.

Suffice to say, the guy didn't respond. Bach was stuck taking a gig at St. Thomas church in Leipzig where he stayed til he died, 30 years later. And no one's even sure if the guy in Brandenburg ever even heard the music because his musicians were hacks and probably couldn't perform it (remember, there were no iPods or even 8 tracks back then -- if your musicians sucked, you were screwed). They recovered the music later on -- lucky for us!

So I thought it was cool to learn all that. Added a bit of a human element to it all. Thought I'd share it with you lucky bastards. You're welcome.

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Downward Spiral of the Cosmo.

First cosmo imbibed by the drinker at 4:30 PM on an empty stomach, having had only a cup of Lipton soup & half a banana about 5 hours prior. It seeps into the brain - flooding the lower extremeties with a warm, numb sensation. A lovely prelude.

After the second cosmo, the drinker tends to get chatty and amorous. Starts to wander around the bar, small-talking the cute men who stand with their bottles of Bud and Corona. Suddenly intellect is no longer a requirement, as long as they're mildly attractive and willing to flirt back. Hormones are in full-swing, pheromones oozing from every pore.

The third cosmo generally leads to a melancholy state, wherein the drinker starts to pine for the Old Flame. Luckily, this drinker happens to be surrounded by good friends who will not allow her to wallow in above-mentioned state very long. Instead, they swiftly lead her to a completely new level induced by a shot of lucious Cuervo tequila.

Post-tequila, all one wants is food, and lots of it. The greasier the better. So the drinker is whisked off to Chili Willie's - a top-notch purveyor of Mexican food - where she consumes mass quantites of proteins and fats. Once the drinker finds herself back at home, nothing is more inviting than 2 Advils, a giant tumbler of water, and the beckoning of her soft floor.

A fine evening, for which she will pay handsomely tomorrow morning.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Okay Storm... you win.
THIS time.
I will remain in my warm bed with my hot tea and my bad television.
But just this once.
Dear Approaching Storm,

You have a lot of nerve. You think that just because you're a massive front of high pressure clouds you're allowed to come and go as you please - uninvited? You throw your weight around, rile us up, and typically are never what you claim to be. Sure, last week you went out of your way to live up to your reputation. But on a night like tonight, when everyone else fears your potential, I know that you are half of what they predict. Flurries - droplets - at best. The higher-ups will cancel my concert because of your threats - which we both know are idle - thereby forcing us to reschedule for Monday. Forcing me to miss one of the few opportunites I have to venture to the city to hear some music

You are nothing but an inconsistent, inconsiderate bastard. May you rot in hell.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Another fine piece ~ written by a fine Italian piece.

(oil is pleasure)

My name is Valentina, and I am 599 cubic centimeters.
I own four pistons and sixteen valves. A tank above my
head pushes energy through my blood stream, and
I run run run run run....
I transform energy. I create entropy.
I make things fast. I make lines fade away.
I trasform sleeping beauties into moving daemons.

My owner, my lover, he respects me.
We give life to each other.
He rides me, making me scream, letting me reach my summit.
At 13,000 rpm, higher than the Everest mountain,
oxygen is never enough, but I keep screaming,
accelerating, scrambling, devouring asphalt...
eating dust, smashing wind, cutting breeze,
penetrating clouds, lights, fog and amber.

I fear speed. I like to sleep in my garage.
My owner, my lover, he kisses me every morning.
His hands are so strong. He guides me through the
labyrinth of shadows and flashes, signals and spaces.

I push us to speed, and we become a single body.
We make love thorough speed.
He lubricates my heart and keeps my fire on.
Beyond the sides, shapes deform; on the center,
hypnosis of lines.

I`m a pleasurable partner.
I own my driver and he owns me.
Like gods, we owe each other life.
Like daemons, we gift each other death.

But my owner, my dominator, he knows, because I know.
He wants to reach speed of light,
where time becomes slow and immensity fades away.
I will follow him, because my destiny and his destiny,
are to be a single destiny: until the end of the asphalt.

Holiday Musical Revues From The Shell, Vol. II

"Christmas Shoes" -- A heinously cheesy ballad performed by some gravelly-voiced, country-esque dude who sounds like a mix between James Ingram and Michael Bolton. This is quite possibly the worst song ever written (non-holiday songs included - although "Butterfly Kisses" is a close second. Come to think of it, that one sounds remarkably similar -- could it be they are by the same pathetic man? I must research...)

While only milliseconds occur between the time I hear the first chord and the time I lunge to slam the radio off, it's still enough time for me to cringe with embarrassment - even if I am completely alone in my car. It's just plain BAD.

Why can't all holiday songs be as cool as "Sleigh Ride?"

*Sorry for the brief postings -- holiday concert tomorrow night. Getting the kiddies ready for the really big sheeow. Pray the snow holds out 'til Friday.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Watched the movie "Amelie" tonight. Movies like that make my heart hopeful - make me sappy - make me wonder what I am missing. Make me wonder if there is really all this beauty and passion and adventure in the simplicity of life. They make me want to chuck it all and move to Paris. Or to Italy, or somewhere beautiful and old. Where the people live and love with reckless abandon. Perhaps in a place like that - where everyone is like that - I could be less closed-off.. less emotionally constipated.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Holiday Musical Revues from the Shell, Vol. I

While driving home from a fine evening (spent drinking Shiraz, eating moo shu and watching "Bridget Jones's Diary"), I tuned into 106.7 Lite FM. They've been playing Christmas carols 24/7 since before Thanksgiving. Admittedly, I haven't quite been feelin' the Christmas. But after today's big snow - and probably after a little too much Shiraz - the spirit was moving inside me (or it may have been the moo shu). A few observations...

** I heard a cover of John Lennon's "Happy Christmas" done by Celine Dion. I don't think she should be allowed to cover that song. Or any other song. In fact, Celine Dion should not be allowed to sing. Ever.

** Apparently this formula works: 1 run-of-the-mill singer (Bryan McKnight, etc) + crappy karaoke-type back-up recorded beat + way too much vibrato = SUCCESSFUL R&B BALLAD. And the formula also applies to HOLIDAY ballads.

** I am such a sucker for "O Holy Night". That bad-ass punk, Josh Groban totally kicked Michael Crawford's - and a bunch of other guy's - asses by making the high note at the end seem completely effortless, while they all seem to pop hernias trying to reach it. Then he proceeds to REPEAT it, and holds it out for like 15 minutes!! You go with your bad young self.

** Did Trans-Siberian Orchestra write anything else except that crappy metal version of 'Carol of the Bells'??

** Finally, tell me that Frank Sinatra carol "The Merry Bells" (or maybe it's "Happy Holidays" -- whatever) isn't one big sexual innuendo. For instance...

- "Santa's got a great big pack"
- "Leave a peppermint stick for Old Saint Nick"
- "Loop-de-doop, and dickery-dock, don't forget--"
(why do I always compelled to finish this rhyme with the word COCK?)

You ain't foolin' this savvy perv, Ol' Blue Eyes. I know what you're up to, and FRANKly, I'm disgusted.

They called us last night to let us know that we'd have one today. There is no sweeter a sound than that phone call. And no sweeter voice than the twangy, southern drawl of our secretary, uttering those 3 sweet little words: NO SCHOOL TOMORROW.

So my lazy ass remained in bed until 10:00. And it felt GOOOOD.

Paid a visit to The Brit the other night to collect my Christmas decorations. I'd left them in the attic while moving out last spring. Who the hell wanted to think about Christmas then? But while fixin' to decorate this year's tree, I noticed some of my best crap was missing -- hence the visit. When I got there, he answered the door wearing a fleece coat, gloves and a hat. Because it was 42 degrees. INSIDE the house.

MORAL: When you don't have a job, you don't get paid money. And then you can't pay bills. Like the oil bill. And then you can't get oil for heat. So your house gets really cold. And you have to wear gloves and a hat inside. For four days.

The above concept is logical - even to a 6-year old. But apparently not to 40-year old Brits.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Bonus post: A story written by my friend, S, the "Eminent Professor of Physics, and the Art of Life".

(the man who could not escape evil)

Raleigh, NC, 373 years before I will be born again.

After the Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease epidemic of 2177, most of herbivores disappeared. It was the decision of EU and NAF (North-American-Federation) to eliminate all herbivores to contain the disease. It was a complete disaster.

At that time, planet Earth contained roughly 15 billion people. They were just starting sending explorers to Titan, a superficially known outer moon with huge hydrocarbon resources. By burning herbivore carcasses, most of the world’s population developed cancers caused by the dioxin produced by organic combustions. Humans were dying in billions. The United Federation decided to send some sort of Noah arks spread on the solar system. My ancestors were in one of them. The Earth’s life was rapidly disappearing.

The probes sent to the inner moons did not last long. The small moons, like the Earth one, were too small to capture a thick atmosphere. The amount of free water vapor was not enough to sustain more than few thousand colonies, so they had to move to bigger systems.

The colonies on Mars had better luck. They were producing electricity with the solar wind, and underground light with second order harmonic generation of cosmic rays. Big caves were carved under the carbon ice pack of the surface. New religions became popular.

After a couple hundred years, the Titan colonies became wealthy and a war started for the domination of the big methane seas. There was no reason. There was methane for all of us. The Mars colonies were in desperate need of methane. Such gas was necessary for feeding the bacteria on the surface. They were producing oxygen by terraforming the silicates present on the surface. The dream of Martian colons was to have an oxygen rich atmosphere with at least 10-20% carbon dioxide so the greenhouse effect would have kept the atmosphere with a decent temperature range, necessary for the colonies to live in the surfaces. They were dreaming to create an Earth-like planet, the planet they killed with total negligence, just three hundred years before.

Unfortunately the Titans did not want to share the methane because they were using it for trading at the border of their outermost cities located in the Pluto moons. They were exchanging it for Helium3, the most rare and precious element in the universe. Helium3 was necessary for the neutron-free nuclear reaction which was the key component of the Queller drive, the only engine capable of pushing a ship to near light speed, and, therefore, allowing interstellar travels with the big sleep of astronauts.

The war lasted many decades and I ended up being a soldier, unfortunately.
We were all soldiers.
We were young.
We did not understand the reason of the war.
We believed in the good and bad distinction that our politicians told us.
Our gods, Theos and Pyros, were silent.

Titan forces were hitting us by exterminating our people. We were doing the same to them. There was no purpose of these continuous retaliations. Who started became a no-problem anymore.

I saw friends dying in burning ships for no reason.
I fought in cities falling in flames.
I saw enemies similar to me: young, terrified, covered of fear, with poisoned souls.
Were they my real enemies?
Were they? How was it possible? War has never ennobled men.
War, where did it come from?
Where was the source of all this evil?
Where were our gods?

Then, I stole a small ship and escaped. I was followed and I pointed to the heart of the sun. I did not care anymore about myself. I was escaping war. A space-time-field distortion, just below the Einstein-Schwarzschild radius, brought me here.
Was I lucky?
Did I go to the past, so that I would have to live twice?

And I saw the same evil... the same wars.
And I felt alone.
More alone than up in the sky, between my stars and my empty spaces, where evil turns silence –
And my eyes become blind of infinite light.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

It's been way too long. Apologies all around.

I spent the morning in court -- albeit merely municipal court. My first (and hopefully last) time in front of a judge. Last month, whilst down in Bumblefuck, NJ meeting a stupid computer date guy, I got lost on the way home. I drove around aimlessly for 45 minutes, following bad directions from evil gas station attendents, and pulling illegal U-turns at just about every intersection. Finally, on my ninth (and final) U-turn, lights and sirens went off and the jig was up (who hasn't always wanted to say that?) Long story short, the cop - a stocky little fellow who obviously suffered from SGS ("Short Guy Syndrome") -- advised me to go to court to amend the 3-point ticket he was writing me - "Wouldn't it just be easier for us both if you didn't write me a ticket? Seriously, though?" And so I went.

Court was very educational. And it beat being at work. Mostly there were just a bunch of other [stupid] people, like me, who were there for doing [stupid] things while driving. And most of us spoke to the prosecuter to get our sentence reduced before going in front of the judge and claiming GUILT. But there was a lot of waiting around inside the courtroom, and a couple of entertaining cases.

There was the guy who looked like Fred Sanford, that came dressed in Native American garb (complete with headdress and carved walking stick). On the back of his big shawl was a picture of an Indian -- kind of like an iron-on -- with the words "Black Angel" embroidered around it. When the judge asked his name, he replied: "Black Angel Jones" - which explained the embroidery. He blessed us all on his way out.

There was another case which was disturbing on an entirely different level. Richie was called to court facing several assault charges against his girlfriend, Marisa. She stood up there with him. Through an interpreter, we all learned that Richie had grabbed Marisa around the neck, scratched her face and slammed her head into a wall. Then we learned from Marisa that this was the fourth time Richie had assaulted her since April. And that she decided to move back in with him anyway, despite the restraining order, because he had convinced her he would REALLY change this time. Oh, and that they have a baby together.

It was so infuriating. And sad. And so TV-like. And so real. The judge was great - you could tell he just wanted to climb over the bench and throttle Richie - we all did. The judge told Marisa that no one had the right to touch her EVER. That all she needed to do was make one phonecall to the cops if he ever touched her again and he would be in jail. She nodded - thanked him in her broken English. But come on -- people like Marisa are drawn to assholes like Richie - for whatever reason - and she won't be calling the cops.

I had my turn with the prosecutor (who was textbook- Jerry Orbach) and played the "Gee, I'm just a stupid teacher who was out way too late in a far-away town and I got all scared" card and he dropped my points. When I went to the window to pay my handsome fine, I found myself standing right next to Richie and Marisa. I stood up straight, and my 5'8"+heels self towered over that little creep. I thought of how good it would feel to grab that little bastard by his neck and slam his head into the wall. I looked at Marisa - even smaller. I tried to catch her eye - to give her some form of... I dunno... something, but she would not look up. She kept her eyes glued to the floor.

So many people in the world. So many stories going on all around us, all the time. We need only open our eyes.