Monday, January 14, 2008

Stop the abuse!

If you've been reading my health-related posts, you can see that I'm not all that big on resolve. I tend to latch onto the first reason not to do something; I am the King of Excuses & Rationalization. With that in mind, I decided to make my resolution this year (besides the usual generic "be a better person" type of declarations I always roll out on the 1st and break by January 15th) a simple, highly attainable one:

I'm going to try to stop over-using (and misusing) semicolons, parenthesis, hyphens, quotation marks favorite...trailing off with "..." all the time.

Deep down I'm still carrying that wannabe writer torch; and while I feel my style is highly readable, it certainly could use some polishing. When I write I basically transcribe the voice inside my head, which leads to an informal, conversational tone that lends itself to run-ons and other similar grammatical transgressions. At times I struggle to sense when and where to pinch off the flow. The result can be really haphazard. While I have no intention of being too formal or stuffy or British, I do want what I write to feel less like jottings on a Post-It and more like a finished product. I believe the answer simply lies in more thorough and frequent editing on my part. I am going to make a conscious effort to comb back over the things I write so that I can filter some of the sloppiness out. Whenever they appear, the aforementioned crutches will be scrutinized for relevance with extreme prejudice, in the hope that they rear their ugly faces with far less frequency.

Okay, that last sentence is sounding really sanctimonious, which is not my intent...

...damn it!

Anyway, if you notice my older blogs changing slightly, chalk it up to editing practice. And as always, let me know what you think.



Sunday, January 13, 2008

To the victor go the spoils...

All is right with the world tonight, for the mighty Cowpies of Dallas have fallen to my Giants, who played their Davidian role beautifully.

Hold on folks, that's Davidian as in David & Goliath, not those wackos from Waco.

Even with the majority of their secondary hobbled or out entirely, their freak of nature wideout gimpy, and their humble superstar tight end done since the end of the regular season, my Giants managed to pull out the victory. Brandon Jacobs and "new lightning" Ahmad Bradshaw stepped up their game, as did old pro Amani Toomer, and the defense played magnificently, bending but refusing to break at the most crucial times. Eli once again didn't kill them, and punter Jeff Feagles was a field position maestro the entire night. It was awesome to watch.

Of course, the Cowboys more or less killed themselves with penalty after stupid penalty, and Tony Romo-Simpson couldn't be the hero this time, as his final desperate heave into the endzone was mercifully picked off by R.W. McQuarters with just a couple of ticks left on the clock. Riveting stuff. All this despite Coach Coughlin trying his best to let the Boys back in with his ultra-conservative playcalling once the Giants got the lead. Classic NFC East football.

The game ended just in time, for if I had to hear Joe Buck talking about Dallas center Andre Garoude's shotgun snapping deficiencies one more time, I'd be on my way to big D right now to cut his heart out with a spoon. Has he ever even touched a football? I mean, Aikman at least has the knowledge and experience to make up for his complete lack of personality; listening to Buck's rantings makes me wonder just how many wedgies he had to endure as a child (or a twentysomething) to make him such a whiny little bitch.

Speaking of that, Meg's brother Brandon, whom I adore tremendously, has one serious personality flaw: He is a Dallas fan. I tell Meg's dad all the time that I consider that to be a failure on his part as a father. But not only is he a Dallas fan, he is a bit of a sore loser. After the game he basically stormed out of the house without so much as a word. The kid eats, breathes and sleeps football. I wish I had time for that. He's a great guy otherwise; he's one of those people who actually care enough about the starving children in Africa to do something about it, but I'm disappointed that I didn't get a chance to watch him stew over the turkey tetrazzini @ dinner.

As if it matters anyway. This is New England's year, remember? The other winners this weekend are just postponing the inevitable. But it'll still be fun to watch.



Saturday, January 12, 2008

Ho Ho Holy Cow it's 2008!

I'm thinking of having my middle name legally changed to "inconsistency." I can't believe I went a whole month without taking the time to write about anything. A lot has happened:

First, the holidays were great, as usual. I blew the $100 limit Meg & I had set out of the water Michael Scott-style; it's obvious I still fail to grasp the perils of credit card debt, but the smile it puts on her face is worth a thousand times more than I could ever possibly spend. We agreed to get a Wii, as soon as we can find one. She got me a lot of cool little things I asked for. One question though: If your girlfriend gets you a footbath AND foot spray AND foot lotion for Christmas, is she trying to tell you something? In all seriousness, it was a wonderful holiday, and I was happy to spend as much time as I could with my family. Mom gave Megan & I a generous gift that we're using to purchase an entertainment center that matches Meg's bedroom furniture and holds up to a 42" flatscreen TV; apparently someday we're going to have a kickass master bedroom (there's no way in hell it'll fit in there now though, so it's being relegated to the living room).

Shortly after Christmas I found myself investing another $1500 at Lens Crafters so that I wouldn't lose my flexible spending healthcare account. I am now the proud owner of six pairs of designer frames of varying styles, colors, and levels of usage, as well as enough contacts to last me into the year 2010. I never learn. I sign myself up for the FSA in order to force myself to go to the doctor (the money is deducted weekly, pre-tax, but if you don't use it, it becomes property of Uncle Sam), but I spent yet another year stalling and once again had to use the money somewhere that I didn't need to at the last minute. I have $3000 worth of really nice glasses (we're talking Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, and Ray Ban folks; whereas I'm more of a "gimme whatever is cheap and strong enough so that it won't break when I fall asleep with them on my face" kinda guy) yet my truck is falling apart. Priorities! The good news is that I am bound to have more than my share of qualifying medical expenses in '08, because I will have a sleep study and nutritionist appointments coming up in January from my Dr's visit in December (they couldn't squeeze them in before the 31st, unfortunately). Plus, now the company issues us a "Benny Card," which is a MasterCard linked to your FSA so that you can use it more readily at drugstores and the like. Wonder if it covers bathroom reading material?

Speaking of reading, I bit the bullet and purchased War & Peace with a giftcard that my boss gave me. I'll get back to you in August when I finish it. I am pretty much over my Cormac McCarthy kick; I highly recommend No Country for Old Men and All the Pretty Horses, but I'd only attempt the rest of the border trilogy (The Crossing and Cities of the Plain) if you really enjoy modern westerns, they were a struggle for me. I'm saving Blood Meridian for later. I also still haven't finished The Grapes of Wrath; I'm trying to read it at work, but I've been really busy and it seems like whenever I pull it out of my backpack, someone feels the need to pester me.

New Year's eve was an absolutely amazing time for us. Megan & I got tickets to a celebration at the Olive Garden (classy!) in Times Square through Mike, my best friend who works in and lives in and personifies Manhattan (the cool part, not the yuppie douchebag financial district part). This was one of those oh-so-rare nights where everything magically seemed to fall into place for us. We arrived the day before, two hours door-to-door and found a parking space on Mike & Danielle's block (they live on the upper west side), which was amazingly lucky. Then, after a hearty evening of Wii and vintage board games (Mike discovered Hotels, a kinder, gentler, quicker 3D Monopoly spinoff, back in the early 90's, and somehow still has a pristine version of it with all the pieces intact), we rested up for the big day. We left about an hour or so early so that we could get down to our designated entry point to Times Square, and even after mistakenly taking the wrong subway line because we didn't realize that they would close the Times Square stations, we arrived at the police gate at about 7:30. The police escorted us through Times Square to the door of the Olive Garden (the music of Lenny Kravitz echoing live in the background), and we were lucky enough to get a great booth near the buffet (the line was literally a quarter mile long at points, we didn't have to wait at all) and commenced to enjoy a lovely evening. I tried my best to get my money's worth out of the open bar, but wasn't able to come close, though I did have seven or eight drinks of various size, color and potency (and finished half of Meg's too).

At around eleven, Mike had the idea to start moving toward the door to go outside, which paid off brilliantly, as we were among the first wave of people to be let outside for the ball drop. We had a great view and really got caught up in all the excitement. I can't say I'd ever recommend Times Square on New Year's Eve to anyone, especially if you are uncomfortable in crowds like I am, but it was definitely worth it to have such a great memory just this once. It was actually the 100th anniversary, which makes us kind of a cool footnote, I guess. I have to hand it to Danielle, who was actually quite ill the whole time, she really stuck it out and I'm pretty sure we all had a great time. The pictures are on my Myspace if anyone wants to take a look.

By the way, Mike & Danielle got engaged later that week out in Disneyland. I couldn't be happier for them. Mike is the greatest friend I've ever had, and they fit together perfectly, like wings & beer, or a fluffernutter sandwich. Danielle is also really gorgeous, which is something nobody who ever knew Mike growing up could have ever expected would happen for him. I am ecstatic for them and have always been proud to call Mike my very best friend (outside of Meg, of course).

MMM...wings & beer. I'm doing well with the diet thing so far in '08, very little eating out, Meg & I actually laid out a menu for the first two weeks and I bought a truckload of groceries so that we would have no excuse not to follow it. I realize that it took me 30 years to accumulate these lbs, so it's going to take a while to shed them. I am giving it a shot though, in a much more attainable and realistic way than I ever have before. Hopefully I'll find some success in '08.

Anyway, now that we're caught up know that I am definitely resolved to try to write more often, and I'd also like to branch out a little more away from the deeply personal and life milestone kind of topics, so stay tuned to see what I come up with.

Thanks for reading!