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Archive | 10:03 pm

My Review of My Summer, Part Two

19 Nov

from September 13, 2009

AUTHOR’S NOTE: If you didn’t like my last blog I don’t expect you’ll like this one. On the other hand, if you liked my last blog you’ll like this one because I’ll very probably use the same jokes, you know, the same jokes I’ve been using for the last three years. So perhaps you may not like this one after all, as it is likely not very different from what you’ve read before. On the other hand (and I think I’m up to my third hand at this point) I’ll be writing about stuff I haven’t written about before so maybe you’ll stick around.

I do, though, start off with something I have written about before, airplane travel. You may want to skip that section and jump ahead to where I talk about the phoniest Italian food in Providence.

But if you ask me, and well you should since after all I wrote this crap, maybe you should just log off altogether and go back to your farm game or your zombie fight. It is all kind of silly.

In fact, I do something in this blog I rarely do. (Fact check? Praise Obama?) At certain points I exercise discretion. This has the twofold effect of shortening my blog (“yay,” you are undoubtedly thinking) and perhaps leaving out promising avenues of sophomoric humor. Believe me, it is very hard for me to leave a fifth grade fart joke or crude sexual euphemism out of my blog but at certain points I did it. The upside is that I get to avoid some stuff I want to avoid and I get to lean back from my keyboard, thinking “ah, how adult of me.”

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I spent ten days in San Diego this summer.

To get to San Diego you’ve got some options. You can take a train across the country, but unless you are living in 1955 no one does that anymore. You can drive across the country, but I’ve seen The Twilight Zone and I know I’ll be seeing the same hitchhiker asking “going my way?” every time I stop and by the time I got to Missouri I’d drive into a lake. That left me with only one other option- hot air balloon. However, the FAA refused to give me the proper clearance to fly over Nevada and I said fuck it, I’ll take a plane.

I paid an extra $40 to get a seat in the extra legroom section. I got about two extra inches, but if you’ve ever flown in a full plane for longer than 15 minutes you’ll know how much I appreciated the extra two inches.

Know what else I got for the extra $40? I got to sit next to the emergency exit, a very responsible seat. The stewardess asked all of us next to the exits if we were willing to help other passengers out of the plan in the event of an emergency. If not we could switch seats. No way was I giving up the extra legroom so I lied and said sure I’d be willing to help. In fact I was already composing my speech for CNN explaining why no one but me got off the plane before it went down.

I took the door position very seriously. When the stewardess specifically asked me if I knew how and when to open the door, I told her “you’d better tell me when not to open this door, ‘cause I am ready!”

She then very slowly and patiently told me when not to open the door.

The flight itself was very uneventful, except for one time when we hit a spell of turbulence and I grabbed for the emergency handles. The stewardess kindly asked me to let go. I was ready, dammit!

About three hours into the flight, when it was nice and quiet, I looked out the window; turned to my brother (did I mention my brother came with me? Well I’m mentioning it now.) and said “there’s a man on the wing!” He was not at all amused, probably because I say that to him every single time we fly.

I went to San Diego for a week of training where I learned that I hate training, and especially hate it when I have training with other teachers. The highlight of the training came when my group had to turn an old poem into a sketch and I had to tie up a very attractive teacher from Seattle in a bondage position. This is true. I was not at all comfortable but she had clearly done it before. “Run this rope between my breasts” she said at one point and I really wished there were not thirty other people around. I have not found them yet but pictures of this do exist. I hope they stay lost.

Along with me from my school were some other teachers who kind of went off on their own and my AP. Every single day he told us how much he wanted to take us out to dinner and every single dinner time he was nowhere to be found.

While I was there I saw the zoo, where we watched an ape piss right in front of us.

I did a lot of touristy stuff and if you want to you can check my photos on Facebook. Be on the lookout for the one where I am wearing a stupid looking hat.

The less said about San Diego the better because it was, quite frankly, fun but not funny. Good for me to experience, bad for you to read about. (That sums up everything I have ever written in a blog, bad for you to read about. Why do you do it?)

San Diego was sandwiched, sort of, by two trips of urban exploration.

Here is how wikipedia defines Urban Exploration:

Urban exploration is the examination of the normally unseen or off-limits parts of urban areas or industrial facilities.  The nature of this activity presents various risks, including both physical danger and the possibility of arrest and punishment. Many, but not all, of the activities associated with urban exploration could be considered trespassing or other violations of local or regional laws.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This blog is a work of fiction. Any illegal trespassing or violation of local laws is intended as humor and is in no way an admission of guilt. And as for the photos I posted on my profile, I have no clue how they got there, who took them, or why I am even in some of them. And maybe that’s not even my profile. Wait, do you have a warrant? Get your hands off me, I know my rights!

I was caught in a rainstorm while Michelle and I explored an old abandoned mental asylum on Staten Island.

Read that back, there’s a lot to take in. I know it all sounds pretty Scooby Doo but that is what happened. (Maybe happened, wink wink.)

Let me go back to the beginning. In fact, let me go back before the beginning. I’m going all the way back to when I was a kid in grade school. Trust me, this will make sense. At least as much sense as my blogs usually make. (Be glad I have not come crazy with the punctuation. I haven’t done that in ages and I’m itching to go nuts with semi-colons. But I digress. You may remember I was using some discretion in this blog.)

Ten-year old me had a ten-year old friend named Michael. For some reason we would go to school and tell each other the most ridiculous lies about what we did the night before. I’d tell him I saw a UFO. He’d tell me he went into a haunted house. I’d tell him I saw a ghost on my fire escape. He’d tell me fought a werewolf. I once showed him some white paint splotches around my block and told him they were skeleton tracks and I followed them all the way to the cemetery. What does this show? It shows that ten-year old me was as big a jerk as 2009 me.

Zip ahead to July, 2009. Remember the rainiest day of the summer? The one where Staten Island was hit with a tornado? Streets were flooded, trees were down, some areas were blacked out? That was the day I could be found driving around the backwoods. Or as close as S.I. has to backwoods.

Michelle has done a lot of urban exploration and I always wanted to do some so this was the day we picked to go. Would I have done this with David Din? No. Would I have done this with Bonnie? No, she’s snubbing me. But I’d do it with Michelle. (Poor choice of phrase? Yes, but if you take your mind out of the gutter it is perfectly innocent.) If you are reading this and you know Michelle, no explanation is necessary. If you are reading this and you don’t know, that’s your loss. She’s great. Absolutely great.

First we went to the boat graveyard. No, let me start over.

First we went to the spooky, abandoned, Old Boat Graveyard, where rusty hulks decompose and die!

Isn’t that better? Sound spooky enough? It really wasn’t spooky, despite the gray skies and rain. The best place to see it was on the property of a construction company. Normally I avoid places where construction workers could beat me up and throw me into a river, but I had to man up and we took some pics until a guy yelled at us and we had to stop.

We drove around in the rain, guided by Michelle’s iPhone, and made a large number of wrong turns in the pouring rain until we got to the site of the abandoned mental asylum. At least Michelle said it was the site. All I saw was a fence surrounding a lot of trees. Michelle knows her stuff though, and after a quick duck through a hole in the fence we were in.

TO BE CONTINUED

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My Review of My Summer, Part One

19 Nov

from September 11, 2009

Summer never did arrive, at least not in terms of temperature, and that was good enough for me. Who wants 90 degree weather? We had about three days of really hot and humid weather but I was in California for two of them so they don’t count. (More on California later.) Were you here for those days? Go write your own blog. If I want 90 degrees and humid I’ll stick my head in Michael Moore’s armpit.

Temperature aside, not-so-summer was a pretty unusual one. Like, just for one example, I did stuff. Oh sure, I had plenty of days where I slept until noon, but I also had plenty of nights where I didn’t get to sleep until 4 am. Partying? No, you obviously don’t know me. Insomnia, which even the magic of Ambien was unable to conquer. What did I do on those nights? IM Liz on Facebook. (More on Facebook later.)

I traveled to San Diego for ten days, Massachusetts for a few hours, Rhode Island for a dinner, and broke into an abandoned asylum on Staten Island during a tornado. (More on all that later.)

I went to a dinner where I learned far, far too much about how Maria lost her virginity. (Perhaps no more on that later or at any time at all.)

I was snubbed by Bonnie, who did not invite me to a wedding I did not want to go to. Sounds like a favor, but I wanted to be invited before I didn’t go. (More on- oh you get the idea.) I’ll start here.

Can’t say why I was snubbed. Bonnie seems to be under the opinion that I stopped talking to her. This despite my sending her (with Michelle, more on her later- sick of that yet?) a condolence card and planting a tree in Israel after a death in her family weeks before the wedding. Do you have any idea how hard that was? Michelle and I flew 18 hours across the Atlantic to Tel Aviv and trekked across the Gaza strip, dodging PLO missiles, avoiding car bombs, and getting sand in places people should not get sand just to plant that tree. And the worst part?  Once we got to the memorial park I realized we had left the tree in the airport back in New York. Michelle was not happy when she had to fly back for the tree.

I also sent Bonnie a couple of messages to her email address that, unbeknownst to the entire world, she had changed six months previously. Bonnie, in her zeal to get married (she was engaged for about a millennium) updated her email to include her married name, as well as copywriting it on her official letterhead and tattooing it on her uterus. Here’s the fun part- she didn’t tell anyone. So while I sent my condolences to her old address, she thought I was snubbing her by sending nothing to her new address, despite no one knowing her new address. I’m sure, somewhere in her old mailbox, is my email, along with Nigerian money come-ons and plenty of unwanted spam for Viagra. (I assume it is unwanted, I know nothing about her sex life.)

Eventually, when she got married, she announced to the world that she had changed her address. Thanks.

It was tit for tat (so to speak, I have never seen Bonnie’s breasts) when I got a thank you card for the tree that was non-personalized (ex- no “Dear Barry,” or even a “BEN! THANKS FOR THE FLOWERS! I THOUGHT YOU HATED ME! LOL!- I have been waiting for weeks to work that into something). Could have been worse- Michelle didn’t even get that.

So I was not invited to the big Price-Altman soiree. This despite hearing for months and months “you better go to my wedding” and me lying “of course I’ll be there!” For those of you who don’t know me, I tend to be anti-social to the point that I won’t go anywhere unless I can drive across four states and trespass on government property. Then its party time! (HONEST DISCLAIMER- Had Michelle been invited I would have gone. But she was snubbed for reasons that probably make even less sense than my snubbing. Bonnie, if you are reading all this, I still don’t know why you snubbed me before, but I guess this blog gives you a good reason to now.

I burned one bridge, let’s continue the fun.

Just a day or two into the summer I was parking my car around midnight when I heard someone yelling at me. I did what I usually do when people yell at me, flipped the bird. Turned out it was Liz, in her car across the street. (BTW: Liz was also snubbed by Bonnie. Liz thinks it was because Bonnie’s new hubby doesn’t like her. Doesn’t like Liz, I mean, I assume he likes Bonnie. If Bonnie’s husband kept her from inviting a friend to the wedding, I’d like to think he was taking Snoop Dogg lessons and keeping his pimp hand strong. But on the other hand, the non-pimp hand, he allowed her to invite Alex to the wedding, and that’s the guy Bonnie really wanted to marry. I knew them for years and they were really the perfect married couple. Alex dumped on her; Bonnie hated Alex but came back for more. But I digress. A lot.)

Anyway, Liz was double parked across the street and I went across to talk to her. She was coming home from a family dinner, I was just getting home, and I hung in her car window and we talked for a few minutes before Liz got right to the point- “want to go to a motel?”

I’m a gentleman so I let her down easy.

This, however, was just the first of our late night summertime chats. Typically, I’d be on Facebook (Their Motto: Too Many Farm Games) and I’d see she was online, or she’d see I was online, and we’d IM each other. I know that sounds dirty but it isn’t. (At least it wasn’t on my part. I have no idea what Liz was doing when she wasn’t typing. This was late at night.) What did we chat about? I don’t remember. Something about high scores on games, her daughter sleeping on the couch, fluff mostly. Same as our emails. I’m not sure Liz and I are capable of exchanging more than two serious emails in a month. I ask her how she’s doing, she says fine, asks how I’m doing, I say fine, make some joke or witty (sure, right) line, Liz emails back and tops me, etc etc etc. It is a little disheartening, honestly. If I want to send goofy emails I have all of the internet and eighteen false names and phony email addresses to do it from. I used to think Liz and I were a little closer than that. Oh well, I can always poke Bonnie on Facebook. But I won’t because I’m snubbing her. Liz, BTW, has changed her settings so I can’t see when she’s on Facebook anymore. Hmmm.

And speaking of Facebook, what a waste of time. A waste of time I am totally addicted to. I have a farm on Facebook. I grow crops. I harvest the crops and sell them to buy buildings or animals. Then I buy seeds and grow more crops so I can harvest and sell them and maybe buy a banana tree or a windmill. Then I plow the fields, sow more seeds, harvest more crops. Yay! I’m on level 27! WHY HAVE NONE OF YOU STOPPED ME YET? I have been invited to join three other farm games, and guess what? They are all the same, except that on one I can buy a pig that sniffs out truffles. I am NOT making that up.

I also play a zombie game on Facebook. I am a zombie. I bite other people and turn them into zombies. I fight other people. I go on quests. All this takes about three minutes. Typical quest: CLICK! You’ve done a quest and earned ten points. Typical fight: CLICK! You’ve beaten XYZ Zombie and gotten ten points. That’s it. Really. No animations, no clever sounds, not a single graphic. Just a message. (If I get bored I can fight a vampire.) This is all of Facebook in a microcosm. I’m up to level 13. Watch out 14, I’m on my way!

What I really want is to get my zombie to run my farm and harvest brains. That would be cool.

Facebook has quizzes. Ever wonder which serial killer you are? You can find out. Want to know which part of Minnesota you should move to? There’s a quiz for that. Facebook has a quiz for everything, from what your name would be if you were a puppy to which color boot you should wear to hunt rattlesnakes. (For the record, my puppy name would be Snuggles and I should wear brown boots when hunting rattlers.) I’ve taken them all. The funny ones I post on my page, the unfunny ones I skip.

And who looks at my page anyway? Facebook has an app to tell you that too. The number one person who looks at my page is my old pal Marc. The number two is a former student, Yafo. How odd. I bet Yafo won’t snub me for her wedding.

TO BE CONTINUED

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