Sunday, August 30, 2009

the dog says good night: the hall of fame, part 1...

i work with a woman who is very smart. and, if she wasn't very smart, none of this would be funny. it's like, if a blind man walks into a wall. not funny. pretty sad, actually. but if a man with 20/20 vision walks into a wall? very funny.

and this woman is hysterical. sometimes intentionally so. but, more times than not... bless her heart, it's like she's walking into a wall. and then she'll get up, and brush herself off, and laugh about walking into a wall. and then... she'll walk into another wall.

figuratively, of course.


anyway, sometimes smart people say stupid things. and so, to celebrate this fact, we created the hall of fame. a list of things this woman has said that will make the rest of us tilt our heads and say, "......WHAT???"

now, i need to point out that, while she does tend to dominate the hall of fame, there are others on this list. myself included. once-- and i don't remember saying this, but it's right there on the hall of fame so there's no point in trying to deny it-- i said to my coworkers, "my shower water's too wet."

lol, genius.

here are a few more moments to savor. again, not all of these quotes belong to the smart lady. but if it makes you laugh a lot...? yeah, it's probably hers.


"he's going to visit the pyramids in philadelphia that they're shipping in from egypt."

"these apples smell like apples."

"and, yes, i know i'm excuse-ing myself..."

"look at my finger! i papercutted it yesterday."

me: "so i went 8 - 3 in my football picks."
smart lady: "wow! you got 8 out of ten?!"

"okay, kids, now we need to get the cinnamon and the nutmug."

"ryan, could you reach that for me with your incredible length? uh... i mean, uhm... height?"

"504 minus 20 is... 481. no... wait......... 486?"

"we're getting a lot of butternut squash out of this butternut squash."

smart lady: "what's it called? the place they pitch? the pitching dome? the pitching... heap?"
me: "the pitching mound?"
smart: "YES! thank you!"

"is 'good luck' one word or two?"

"ryan, you really need a pedicure, because the fingernails on your feet are gross."

me: "today i am a happy man!"
smart lady: "so am i!"

"so far so not so good."

"wait, didn't albert einstein invent electricity in the 1900's?"

"that's what they do in irishland."

actual song lyric: "the bright blessed day, the dark sacred night."
smart lady's version: "the bright blessed day, the dog says 'good night.' "

"that's the name it?"

"wow! you're a great job that you did!"

"that was a hilarious."

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) the fact that, when she reads this blog, i know that the smart lady is going to laugh even harder than i just did!
2) the edge, jimmy page and jack white-- all featured in a great film i saw yesterday called 'it might get loud'.
3) i don't have to set my alarm!!!
4) tomorrow's a complete mystery. i have absolutely no idea what i'm going to do, and i love days like that. so wide open...
5) not necessarily deeply in love with this, but, to be fair, she was right. the fingernails on my feet are pretty gross.

song of the day...
"what a wonderful world" by louis armstrong

movie of the day...
"dumb and dumber"

the city that never sleeps. or disappoints me.

so i was visiting some friends in the city this weekend...

now, of course, i grew up in south jersey, and when i used to say, "the city" i was referring to philadelphia. and as much as i still love it there-- rich history, best cheesesteaks in the world, and passionate sports fans who will live and die with their teams no matter how often they cheat-- i'm sure that, for the rest of my life, whenever i use that phrase, i will only think of one city. new york.

i first saw a glimpse of its skyline when i was in college. while i was on the toilet. at the time i thought it was something of an appropriate first impression. "wow! new york city!!! ...(flush)" but it didn't take long for me to fall in love.

it's about 18 years later, but i still feel like a tourist whenever i walk down a new york city street. pretty much any new york city street. most of my friends who live there tell me how much they hate tourists. they always complain about how they clog the sidewalks, and get in their way. but i love 'em. i guess i'd probably feel differently, too, if i lived there, but, i dunno... it's like, i've seen the empire state building a thousand times, but i still get a kick out of it. and i think maybe a reason behind that is how frequently i see the wonder and joy in the face of some geeky middle-aged dude in dark socks and sandals who's seeing it for the first time. makes me feel lucky to live so close by.

when i stepped off the train saturday morning at grand central station, the first thing i saw was a guy in a t-shirt that said, "people = shit". but i've always found the people in ny to be really great. i get lost all the time when i'm there, but i've learned not to worry about it. there's always somebody around to give you directions, and very, very few of these folks will take your wallet in the process of doing so.

anyway, i had a great time. saw a six dollar matinee on 42nd street. found a cool little cafe in hell's kitchen, and spent a lot of time just wandering around in what is probably the best idea in the history of any city-- central park. it's so beautiful, everywhere you look. you'll be walking and you'll think to yourself, "wow, that's gotta be the best view in new york." and then four minutes later, you'll turn around and think, "wait... nope. THAT'S gotta be the best view in new york."

we took our time on our way to the train this morning. passed the museum of natural history and back to central park. through strawberry fields, with the dakota to our right. winding down green little meandering paths, and passed the plaza and fao schwartz. when we stumbled upon a movie shoot just outside of tiffany's, you could tell straight away who the local was and who wasn't. my friend just walked on by. and i gawked at the actress who looked exactly like holly golightly.

then, back at grand central, i walked passed a tour guide who was eagerly taking questions from a big and enthusiastic crowd. that brought such a huge smile to my face-- the thought that people are paying money to tour a building that's 25 minutes away from me. i couldn't even tell you how often i've been inside grand central station.

but i get a kick out of it every time.

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) how close i am to the big apple.
2) the free stuff they were giving away in the park yesterday-- a bunch of food, mostly. and we were about fifteen seconds away from a free bike helmet. alas.
3) the thought that the crazy dude we saw on fifth avenue, who was talking to himself and scratching his chest repeatedly, might have been a misunderstood genius.
4) the thought that the loin-clothed feller we saw saturday afternoon-- with his native american head dress, and operatic soprano, and cds for sale, and barely dressed assistant, and greco-roman boots with the jingly bells on them-- might also be a wall street broker, monday through friday. which may explain the economy.
5) audrey hepburn.

song of the day...
"new york, new york" by ryan adams

movie of the day...
"breakfast at tiffany's"

Friday, August 28, 2009

blog. ryan's blog.

and so... i missed last night's blog. hope you did, too.

i was a bit overwhelmed by a recent lack of sleep, and went to bed around 8:30. probably before your grandfather. the night before, i swore i heard my alarm clock go off. i have this great little cd player/alarm clock. when i bought it about six years ago, i thought it was the greatest thing ever. and i still love it.

for the past few months i've been waking up to the cole porter songbook. "i've got you under my skin" by dinah washington. as it's a live recording, i wake up to applause every morning. as if somewhere there's a crowd cheering me on-- "ryan! w'hooooo! it's thursday! isn't that great???"

actually, it really gets on my nerves. i need to switch songs. but yesterday morning i got up and said (out loud), "man... that's weird, i can barely hear it..." and i opened my eyes... squinted... tilted my head, and listened closer, and after more moments than you'd think it would take, i realized i didn't hear it at all. because it wasn't on. because it was 2:56 a.m.


i couldn't get back to sleep after that.

this morning, though, i had the rare privilege of being able to turn off my alarm... for ten days! A TEN DAY WEEKEND!!! the day care is closed and i have no more work for the next ten days!!! and i got big plans!!! ho-lee-cow, do i have big plans! plans so big that i don't even know if i want to share them. or maybe i can't share them! maybe they're secret plans. maybe they're secret plans from the government. maybe i'm a spy. maybe i'm a british spy. maybe i'm a british spy with a scottish accent. maybe i'm a british spy with a scottish accent and an astin martin. maybe i'm a british spy with a scottish accent and an astin martin and i like my martinis shaken, not stirred, or maybe i don't have anything to do for the next ten days, but watch movies all day.

hmmm, it is a mystery, alright. but i'll keep you posted.

if and when i can.

the five things i fell in love with yesterday...

1) the dude i saw in barnes & noble's this week (speaking of your grandfather) with the striped polo shirt, checkered shorts and argyle socks. man, he was rockin' that outfit! i got this really cool, blurry picture of him, too, but i'm still not sure how to take pics from my phone and put them into... or onto my computer. so you'll have to take my word for it.
2) seeing my big toddlers graduate to preschool and not look back.
3) seeing my big toddlers graduate to preschool and look back more than twice.
4) remembering at the last minute as you're running out the door that you forgot to put on deodorant. whew! close call!
5) being able to go to bed early.

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) i'm going to the movies tomorrow on the first of my many days off! ...did i mention that i have a ten day weekend?
2) a big honking truck sideswiped a sizable tree branch, knocking it to the ground about a foot in front of my coconut this afternoon, as i was walking to the train! crazy!
3) daily bread.
4) that no matter how foul my mouth can sometimes be, i know it's nothing compared to that woodchuck i've told you about before. i saw him earlier in the week and-- i was shocked-- he stopped me and said, "yo. martin. i read yer blog. what are you, an effin moron?! 'swamp rat'??? 'SWAMP rat'?!?!?! go buy yerself an encyclopedia, you effin' dumbass! i'm a mother-effin' woodchuck!!!" ...except he didn't say "effin.'"
5) sean connery.

song of the day...
"another way to die" by alicia keys and jack white

movie of the day...
"dr. no"

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

the exact opposite of a super sized blog.

freakin' mcdonalds.

in addition to being so delicious and tempting, why do you have to be so damn close to my apartment???

....................sorry, that's all i got tonite, folks. way too full.

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) sweet golden-brown french fries from heaven.
2) i'm getting pretty good at the subtle art of picking my boxer short wedge in public. even when i'm walking, no one around me has any idea what it is i'm really doing. or, at least i think they don't know. or, y'know, i don't really care, whichever.
3) i didn't win the lottery AGAIN! but, the jackpot is now at a ridiculous $325 million!
4) i found a dollar on the sidewalk on my way to the train station this afternoon! w'hooooooooooo!!!
5) morgan spurlock.

song of the day...
"came down" by al fatz

movie of the day...
"super size me"

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

a really nice shirt. a really, really nice shirt. and a visit from the fork lady...

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) that i am no longer 15-years-old.

i went to target today and saw a teenager roll his eyes at his parents, as his dad was taking out of his hands-- & putting back on the shelves-- something like a $17 striped shirt. i didn't think much of it, until i heard this kid a few minutes later throwing his shopping cart all over the aisle, and screaming like a six year old, "YOU GUYS ARE UNBELIEVABLE!!! THAT WAS A REALLY NICE SHIRT!!! I WANTED IT!!!"

2) that i know the difference between a really nice shirt... and a shirt from target.

don't get me wrong, i still love target. but, dude... i don't know if i've ever owned an article of clothing i've had a temper tantrum over. but if i did... i wouldn't have bought it at target. i dunno, maybe the winning lottery ticket was tucked away inside one of its pockets? that would explain things, i guess...?

3) that i know the value of free stuff.

i once had a great shirt that was given to me by a coworker by the name of patti visconti (her real name). over the years, she gave me a ton of stuff that she originally bought for her son joe, which he refused to wear (he was a teenager). this one shirt was... actually i don't remember much about it at all, except that it was so nice that i got about a dozen compliments on it at a new year's eve party. i kept telling people, "well, y'know... it IS a joseph visconti." and i swear this is true-- every single time i said that, someone would caress the fabric and say, "oooooooh!"

good times.

4) that i know one shouldn't throw a hissy fit over a fork.

there's a woman who works in the kitchen... and God bless her, i know she has a tough job; i wouldn't want to do it. and Lord knows everyone has a bad day every now and again... but you could just tell that she had been sitting on this moment for awhile...

basically, it's like this... there are forks that need to be returned to the kitchen and there are forks that need to stay in the staff lounge. and even though the staff lounge forks are easily identifiable (they're red), dammital if yesterday this one little bugger didn't manage to find its blankity-blankin' way from the staff lounge, into our classroom, and finally into the kitchen.

oops. our bad.

but, no big deal...? right...?


except, of course, this woman in the kitchen-- i'll call her the fork lady (not her real name)-- was just about ready to pounce. and, honestly, to an extent, i can understand this. i'm sure that when she bought a bunch of these shiny happy red utencils, she was thinking, "oh holyfreak, just WAIT until one of these flippin' things winds up in my kitchen, then i am going to tear that little (beeeeeeeeeep) and then i'll (beeeeeeeeeeeeeeep)..."'s actually kind of embarrassing how much i can understand and relate to that, now that i re-read that last paragraph, but... yeah...

5) that i know that having empathy for someone's frustrations doesn't necessarily mean i have to excuse their irrational and rude behavior.

the fork lady pounced, alright. to be truthful, it did sound like she had most of her speech planned out for a few days. including the classic line, "well, the fork didn't just walk into the room by itself."

it was right around that point when i put a halt to it. y'know, forgetting for a moment that at 36 years old i don't appreciate being talked to like a spoiled teenager-- all this happened at our busiest time of the day, in the middle of our classroom, with 9 kids running around like the crazy people that they are. so, i'm sorry, but i don't have the time to sit and listen to a twelve minute lecture about a magical fork.

so, i cut her off. i didn't want to be rude myself, but, hey, i told her the truth-- "look, you made your point. i got it. but right now, i have other priorities." and to me, that was the end of it.

but, she was pissed. and, by the look she gave me this morning, i can imagine that she's still pissed. and, y'know, as a Christian, there's a part of me that wants to be able to tell you that, well-- that i give a rat's ass. but i don't. i really, truly don't.

see, there's a sign on the front door of the kitchen that reads, "treat this space as if it were an office." and i'm glad it's there-- i think too many people got into the habit of marching into that room with their demands and complaints. so, again, i get it. day after day of that sort of thankless job? i can see how it could esily lead someone to become, and remain, focused on the negative. even anticipating, on a daily basis, how they're going to react to the next nagative thing that is certainly lurking around the corner.

but, in my classroom? oh, hells no. that's MY office, fork lady. and those are MY kids. and there's not enough bullshit in the world that's going to distract me from keeping my kids safe.

song of the day...
"round the bend" by the beta band

movie of the day...
"high fidelity"

Monday, August 24, 2009

pete rose...

i've been blessed to have seen some pretty amazing things on the baseball field. my dad and i saw juan samuel hit a game winning grand slam. i went with a group from my church to a game and saw a triple play. and-- only because we had nothing else to do on a random summer night-- my friends wendy, jeremy and i got to see terry mulholland's no hitter. i'm not sure anything can beat that.

but, coming somewhere close is seeing pete rose stretch a lazy double into a triple with his trademark head first dive. the crowd went ballistic. i couldn't have been more than ten years old, but i remember specifically thinking, "i am never going to forget this." of course i don't know, but i'm pretty sure that's a bit of an odd thing for a ten year old to have thought, but... i was a pretty odd ten year old. more than that, though, pete rose was an exceptional baseball player.

i absolutely loved him. my sister and i were such huge fans. we flipped out when he caught a pop up in foul territory-- with his bare hand-- that bob boone let jump out of his glove in the ninth inning of the final world series game in 1980.

we always wanted to eat at a restaurant back in south jersey called the ponderosa, because in it there was a plaque on one of the booths that read, "pete rose sat here." and, believe me, we were pissed whenever we walked in and saw some other family sitting there! honestly, we would wait them out, and move our seats to that booth whenever they left!

pete rose ran to first base every time he got a walk-- and that meant something to my sister and i. "charlie hustle" wasn't just his nickname to us, it was an extraordinary example of how to live life: do better than what's expected of you. anybody can do their best. go beyond that. exceed even your own expectations. and live every moment-- even the most routine of moments-- with passion.

today marks the 20th anniversary of the day pete rose was banned for life from baseball for betting on the game. he denied it so frequently that i believed him for years and years.

i wanted to believe him.

the evidence against him eventually became public, though, and was so overwhelming that it instantly became impossible to believe anything but this: pete rose lied. to his friends, his family, to his teammates, his detractors. to me. he finally came clean a few years ago. in an exclusive interview, and on a book tour. signing autographs to help pay the bills.

for twenty years, i've heard every possible argument about pete rose and his lifetime ban. i've heard every possible angle to the question, "does pete rose belong in the hall of fame?" and, y'know... i still don't know what to think.

how many memories does anyone have from their childhood that were at once so crystal clear, and undeniably pure and beautiful? and how often are those same things tainted years later with a harsh and bitter truth that was lying underneath the surface the entire time?

i know it's only baseball, but to me, it's very much like the few and faint memories i have of the happier times between my parents before they split up. singing in the car, laughing at a joke... i don't have that many of those memories-- not just because there weren't enough of them, but because, while they were there, i didn't think enough of them. i didn't think to capture them in my mind. these were just routine things, and nothing at all as dramatic as pete rose diving into third.

is pete rose a hall of famer? i don't know. my opinion on this changes all the time. but, really, he's just a man, as flawed as the rest of us. he's as perfect as anyone could ever hope to be. and he's just as tragic as anyone could fear. pete rose was my hero. and pete rose broke my heart.

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) bringing your glove to the ballpark.
2) the 1986 new york mets.
3) the camden riversharks.
4) the crack of a wooden bat belting out a line drive.
5) playing catch with my dad.

song of the day...
"centerfield" by john fogerty

movie of the day...
"field of dreams"

Sunday, August 23, 2009

ryan?! could you please stop your (f-word) swearing?!

seeing as i walked in the door this afternoon JUST in time to see my beloved mets of new york go down to the wretched phillies of philadelphia-- and this in the bottom of the ninth, on one of only 14 unassisted triple plays in the history of major league baseball-- i thought it would be a good time to tackle a subject i've been meaning to discuss for a week or two... swearing.

it's a bit of a contradiction, i s'pose. i mean... i'm a Christian. and i take that very seriously. but occasionally i'll say and write some words that i didn't exactly learn in sunday school. you may have noticed. i'm not proud of that, really-- but that has less to do with my faith than it does with the thought that, more than likely, swearing makes me sound stupid.


when i was a lot younger, i was hanging out with some homies of mine and i matter of factly told them about something that had "pissed me off." when a friend stopped me mid-story and asked if i could rephrase what i had just said, i really didn't know what he was talking about. "that phrase," he said, "it's offensive." what phrase? "you know what phrase." i... dont know what phrase. "yes you do." no. i really have no idea what phrase.

really. i had no idea what phrase. i'd been saying that for years. in front of everybody. teachers, my mom, my pastor, nuns who happened to be within earshot. i never thought twice about it until it was called offensive, and i was really upset. it made me worry about all the people i may have offended over the years without even realizing it.

so i called a missionary friend of mine to talk it over. told her the whole story, and i asked her what she thought i should do about it. and was she ever offended by anything i said? and/or did she know who i may have offended along the way, and could she possibly give me their phone numbers so i could apologize or, y'know, treat them to a cherry flavored water ice at rita's? honestly, i was devastated with the possibility that i may have insulted the hearts of so many people i loved, and i was close to tears when i asked my dear friend, "what do you think?"

i'll never forget it. she sighed and said, "oh, shit, ryan, i dunno."

lol, huge weight off my conscious! after that conversation i pretty much realized about swearing that it all depends on where your ears have been. what's offensive to some means nothing to others. and, while i don't go out of my way to drop 15 ton f-bombs all over white plains... it's safe to say that i don't offend easy.

still, in order to not step on too many toes, i developed a theory years ago that i'm going to try to come back to from time to time in this-here blog. swearing: it doesn't count if you do it in a foreign accent. let's test it out, shall we? please feel free to let me know if you're more or less offended...

"can ewe believe this shite?"
"aye! ehts a pain in the arse!"
"ets a moother fooker!"
"aye! sun of a bee-yoch."

oh, i forgot to mention that i usually go with either an irish accent or some sort of late 1990s ghetto rap theme, and that sometimes i mix it up between the two.

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) rita's italian water ice!!! it's been way too long since i've been!
2) rachel mcadams. i saw 'the time travelers wife' today. not a bad flick. not a fantastic flick, but no matter what i've ever seen her in, i think rachel mcadams has always been amazing. can't take your eyes off her.
3) we are no longer in single digits, my friends!!! today 'the 5 things' blog has welcomed its tenth follower!!! w'hooooooooo!
4) lexulous, on facebook.
5) four-letter word-spoutin' missionaries! God bless 'em!

song of the day...
"potty mouth" by danielson

movie of the day...
"wedding crashers"

Saturday, August 22, 2009

moose's, moolah and crushes on lesbians...

just an update or three for those of you who've been paying attention...

the other day, i found out what "mooseknuckles" meant. unfortunately.

like i said a few days ago, i had no clue about mooseknuckles; i just thought it was something that sounded kind of goofy. in the back of my head, i thought, "is this slang for something gross...? .....nah." so! there i was, using my time on this earth wisely, playing fantasy football online with strangers, and i asked the rest of the guys in the chat room, "hey, who named this league, anyway? and what's a mooseknuckle?"

a few picks later somebody wrote, "i'll tell you about mooseknuckles, but, hold on. are there any kids in here? heh, heh, heh."

i was like, "wait, wha-WHAT???" but then he never said another word!!! he just completely left me hanging!!! (what the stink, man?!) so, the next day, i was telling a coworker about it, and she asked, "is it anything like camel toe?" to which, of course, i responded, "ewwwwwwwwww! i hope not!"

after googling it, she discovered that-- according to quite a few websites out there, actually-- a mooseknuckle is the male equivalent of camel toe. they even had celebrity mooseknuckle photos. "ooh, look, ryan!" said my coworker, "zac ephron!" i declined. "i'll take your word for it, thank you."

now, if you're still in the dark about all this moose and camel stuff... consider yourself fortunate. i think this is a no-google situation. that's my advice: do. not! google. and keep your pants loose.

update number two...

bad news/good news. the bad news is, i did not win the lottery this week. the good news is, neither did anyone else! w'hoooooooooo!!! can you believe the mega million jackpot is now up to $225 million?!?!?! that's neverland ranch money. i found myself daydreaming about that today. i don't think i'd put a zoo or a theme park on my ranch, but... for that kind of money, i'd have a hard time NOT adding in a full basketball court, a movie theater (with balcony), a movie editing room, a music studio, a squash court, a guest house, a miniature golf course, a concert stage, a nasa lift-off station...

alright, maybe i've been thinking about this too much today.

update number three...

yes, i am still on eharmony, but... i'm starting to think i may have already found my dream woman. ellen degeneres. yes, i know she's a little bit older than i am, and i hear that she's currently married, but i'm still holding on to hope.


the five things i fell in love with today...

1) daydreaming.
2) the chef boyardee can that's been sitting on my shelf for years.
3) that chances are probably pretty good that i'll never be beaten up by a ufc fighter. have you seen these guys??? yikes! crazy!
4) that i had my umbrella with me when i was out for a walk this afternoon. holy cow, did it pour!
5) ellen. honestly, i think she's the coolest thing. i got the chance to watch her show yesterday for the first time in awhile-- really, is there a funnier woman on television right now??? or a funnier person??? she's just great.

song of the day...
"davon geht die welt nicht unter" by zarah leander

movie of the day...
"inglourious basterds" saw it yesterday. i thought it was really, really good! not the best thing i've seen all year, but i did very much dig it. i've heard mixed reviews, but i don't think tarantino's ever made a bad film.

but, then again, neither have i.

Friday, August 21, 2009

holy virtual cow!

about a month ago, a couple of good friends of mine insisted that i become their farmville neighbor. i responded in much the same way pheobe did when ross asked her if she could help him move-- "oh, i would, but i just don't want to."

farmville is one of many facebook applications that takes place in a virtual community. you start off with your own plot of land and you acquire livestock, and grow stuff. wheat. strawberries. pumpkins and so on. you can build barns and fences. you can plow your own land and plant all sorts of seeds. and you can become virtual neighbors with those of your friends who are also... y'know, bored enough to have joined farmville.

i was hesitant to do it, at first, but they are my good amigos, and they kept going on about how much fun it is. so, i thought, "okay, why not? i don't get it, but, why not? maybe i'll see what all the fuss is about."

and, y'know, i have to say-- now that i think of it-- i've been a farmvillian for well OVER a month, and, really, they were so very wrong. i still don't know what all the fuss is about.

now, you have to understand, i've actually had to expand my farm. my virtual farm. it's getting pretty big. i have a good chunk of land, 3 cows, 4 horses, 6 pigs, 5 ducks, 3 chickens, 4 bunnies, 8 white sheep, 5 black sheep and a whole forest of trees! i don't even know how many different kinds of vegetables i've planted. i'm spending a lot of time on this farm, and yet... i. still. don't. get it.

y'know what it is? did you ever read a book and you're about halfway through it and, even though you hate it, you want to keep on reading because 1) you're thinking, "well, maybe-- just maybe-- it'll get good towards the end" or 2) you know it wont be any good towards the end, you're losing brain cells with every turn of the page, in fact, and 267 of your closest friends have already told you it was the worst thing they had ever read in their entire lives, but, doggone it, you still keep reading because you feel like you've invested twenty-eight-too-many-gosh-damn-hours to freaking turn back now, that's what farmville feels like to me.

well, a little. i mean, i don't hate tending to my virtual farm. i just don't know why i'm doing it. it's like, "oh, my apple tree is ready to be harvested. (walk, walk, walk... harvest, harvest, harvest.... collect a virtual coin) ............ okay..."

and i'm a horrible neighbor. people are always sending me their precious livestock out of the kindness of their virtual hearts and i do absolutely nothing for them. "ryan! sally has given you this chicken! would you like to return the favor???" uhm... no. but, hey, thanks for the chicken. mmmmm! chicken!

and then it hit me this morning: maybe i'm just not a farmer. so i decided to head on over to another virtual facebook community called yoville. same type of thing, except, instead of picking wool off sheep, you can decorate your own virtual apartment. cool! i love hgtv!

except, as it turns out, your apartment is pretty bare. and you have to earn coins to get furniture and rugs and paint and stuff. and, to earn such things you have to go out into the virtual community and virtually chat with the avatars of your friends. and, y'know, i don't want to call someone up some day and hear them say to me, "ooh! you know what? let's talk in yoville instead, because i could really use another floor lamp." "but... my sister just called, and she told me our pet dog just died and we had him since he was a puppy, and i could really use someone to talk to right now.... hello? ...hello...???"

you can also earn these coins by working at the "factory" down the road. making... breadcrumbs or something, i don't remember what it was, really, i was losing interest at that point. what really sent me over the edge was when the factory manager (...?) told me, "the factory isn't open yet. please come back in five hours." i was like-- dude, i'll be at the movies in five hours. the real movies. because i have a real day off. from my real job. and... you want me to come rushing back in the middle of 'inglorious basterds' so my avatar can make a bunch of virtual breadcrumbs for you and your virtual minimum-freaking-wage salary? no thanks.

i was looking for the button to push which would have made me virtually moon him, but i couldn't find it. which is good, i guess, because i would have probably been virtually fired before i even virtually clocked in.

one last thing. my avatar is much better looking than i am. he's all skinny and his eyes are bluer and he's got cooler clothes, and there's no grey in his stubble. and, crap as it is, his apartment still seems roomier than mine. i think that would just depress me after awhile. y'know? i want to come home to a virtual living area that will make me feel much better about my real life. when i have a bad day, i want to flip on the computer and say, "urgh, this day was SHIT! ...but at least i dont look like that fat bastard."

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) 'friends' y'know what? i don't care who knows it-- i love that show!
2) the thought that my reporting skills may be even better than the guy on nbc this morning, who stumbled through this little gem, "it's amazing that anyone made it out of this plane crash alive, because it just erupted into a fiery... fiery fireball, and, uh, uhm, the uhh..."
3) hgtv
5) not to brag or anything, but i also have a virtual butter churn. (actually, i kind of wish i was kidding about that).

song of the day...
"chick habit" by april march

movie of the day...
"death proof" ...oh my word, rosario dawson... yowza.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

why john mcclane could probably kick my ass...

i came to the sad conclusion this morning that i will never become an action movie hero.

after another in a series of restless nights, i was running very late for work today. i got out of the shower and realized that i needed to be dressed and out the door in only four minutes. and as soon as i said those words outloud-- "crap!!! i only have four minutes!!!" (...yes, i talk to myself)-- immediately after that information hit my brain, a song came into my head to join it.

as if my subconscious knew that i needed a little something extra to get my butt in gear, it decided to provide a soundtrack to get me going. my very own locker room pep talk. a musical interlude encouraging me through my frantic struggle to find a pair of clean socks. "c'mon, man! you can DO this!!!"

now... it has to be said that i have GREAT taste in music. i know everyone thinks that about themselves, but i'm the real deal. music has been a huge part of my life for as long as i can remember, and i have the obscene amount of cds to prove it. i know good music, is what i'm telling you.

but, out of the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of songs i've heard in my lifetime, which one did my subconscious choose for me? which one did it deem worthy enough for such a tense, early morning situation? which one did it think would provide me with the necessary inspiration to get out the door and catch my train?

"the final countdown" by europe.

"...wait... 'the final countdown'??? europe???"
yes. "the final countdown" by europe.

i know. i was as shocked as anyone. i said (outloud), "whoah, what?! where in the-- dude! subconscious! this is NOT at ALL helpful!" but i couldn't get it out of my head. i was putting on my shirt, tying my shoes, and all i kept hearing was that ridiculous, high pitched keyboard-- "doodoodoodoo, doodoodoodoodoo... doodoodoodoo, doodoodoodoodoodoodoo..."

if you haven't heard the song before, i imagine you could find it on itunes. but i wouldn't recommend it. all you really need to know about europe is that they got their name because their collective overusage of hairspray from the mid to late 1980's was found to be directly responsible for taking out 78% of the ozone layer across france, germany and segregated patches of spain and england.

that... actually, that might not be true, but it should be! and so i ask you, does this sound like the type of band bruce willis would have had stuck inside his cranium when he was trying to chuck alan rickman off the nokatomi plaza??? i should think not, my friends. i should think not.


looks like i'm going to need to find another plan b. just in case this day care thing doesn't work out.

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) yes, i did make the train. with clean socks on.
2) i love that i grew up in south jersey. nj gets a really bad rap, but i loved it.
3) i should be getting the new madden football game in the mail any day now!
4) i have the day off tomorrow!!!!! w'hoooooooooooooooooo!!!
5) bruce willis? also from south jersey.

song of the day...
"malaguena salerosa" by chingon

movie of the day...
"kill bill, volume two" amazing.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

ah, to be merry, no matter who is shitting in your toilet...

so, i got a little pissed off today. but then i got home, and read this on a friend's facebook page: "The tendency to whine and complain may be taken as the surest sign of a little soul and an inferior intellect. ~Lord Jeffrey"

and, after careful contemplation, and deep, deep meditation on these profound words of wisdom, i've come to the conclusion that this is what i would say if i were ever face to face with the good lord jeffrey... "lord jeffrey? you could kiss my big, fat ass."

because, look, the purpose of this blog isn't to find five things to fall in love with and wash out all the unhappiness in the world. i think it's okay to complain every now and again. it's alright to be annoyed, it's okay to be pissed off. just, y'know, don't make a habit of it. (and, really, i think that's what jeff was talking about-- he did say the "tendency" to whine and complain, right? ...but, he can still kiss my ass, the self-righteous snob.)

a coworker of mine is leaving the center. and i'm very sad to see her go. she's absolutely fantastic, and loves the kids with all of her sizable heart. she's a riot, too-- we laugh all the time in our classroom. it's not going to be the same without her, and i'm not just saying this because i know she's probably reading it! (blog stalker!)

she's great and will be missed a bunch, but we're also very happy for her. no one gets rich working at a day care center, and she was offered a job that will easily double her current salary. and-- especially in this economy-- who can say no to that???

here comes the annoying part...

she was really nervous about giving our boss her two weeks notice, so we were all ears when she came back in the room after doing so. "it went well," she said. "in fact, she was really nice about it. she said the sweetest thing-- when i told her how much i loved working with you guys, she said, 'oh, well, let me tell you, you really brought out the best in ryan.' "

and, y'know, on one hand-- and, it's a very big hand-- it's absolutely true. she did bring out the best in me. she brings out the best in a lot of people. and we had a train wreck of a coworker before she came along, so it only amplified the happiness we felt in working along side her.

but... my boss didn't say "we". she didn't say, "you bring out the best in the homies you work with." she mentioned me. just me.

and i know i have a bit of a reputation around there for being a touch cranky every so often. but that's only because... every so often i'm a touch cranky. and i speak my mind. for instance, there's no men's room in the building. there are two one-toilet unisex bathrooms for the world to share, and a big, honkin' luxurious women's room with seats as far as the eye can see. but, i found that time and time again i had to wait in a line for the unisex bathroom because several women "wanted to poo someplace more private."

and i think that's really rude. i mean, i don't want to leave my coworkers short handed, but that's what i'm doing everytime i go to the bathroom. and now, i have to wait even longer because... the lady wants as few people as possible to know that her poo does not smell of royal pine? c'mon. it's not right. so i wrote a letter about it. to everyone. and... i don't regret writing it, but i do regret when i sent it out.

never send out a letter written in anger, my friends.

if i would have waited a day or two, i would have realized that what i thought was a letter written with humorous sarcasm reeeeeeeeeeally came across as stupid and bitter. i made myself sound like a dumbass.

and there are a few more scattered incidents along the way that lead me to the sad but inevitable conclusion that i have very much earned this reputation for being
a schmoe. but i also know this: for every time i've been in a bad mood and have overreacted to something minor, for every time i've made a clown out of myself or have rubbed someone the wrong way... i know i've made a it a better day for at least ten more people. i know i do more good than harm.

now, i'm not bragging. in fact, i am the by far the most selfish person i know-- i really am. and if i've accomplished anything good in my life, i realize beyond a shadow of a doubt that it has nothing at all to do with me, and everything to do with my favorite verse in the Bible-- phillipians 4:13.

but, i know how hard i'm trying. i know how often i go out of my way to be nice to people-- even when i'm tired, even when i'm not in the mood to do so, even when the only thing i want to do is go back to bed. and, sheesh, it's so annoying to not be recognized for that! i feel like whenever my boss sees me, she still sees that stupid letter i wrote about the bathroom. and that makes me want to barge into her office sometimes and scream, "HEY! I BRING OUT THE BEST IN PEOPLE, TOO, Y'KNOW?! YOU BIG JERK!!! I'M A MOTHERFUCKING RAY OF SUNSHINE!!!"

but... yeah, i somehow don't think that would do too much to prove my point! and, for the record, she's not a jerk.

truthbetold, i don't know what i'm annoyed at. my boss for not seeing me as i am? or me, for not being where i probably should be? i mean, is she right? nothing wrong about being happier because things are going my way, of course, but... what i'm striving for is to be content despite my circumstances. to be content even when my day sucks. and maybe i have a longer way to go to reach that goal than i thought i did when i woke up this morning...

eh, bare with me, people, i'm a work in progress.

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) people who bring the best out in you.
2) this conversation between another coworker of mine and three-year-old "ralph"... cw: "ralph, you can sit on my lap, but please don't fart on me anymore... i'm allergic." ralph: "oh. okay."
3) the thought that i'm probably smarter than the chucklehead who i saw get arrested at white plains yesterday morning, after trying to get by with a fake train ticket.
4) radiohead.
5) that no matter where i am, no matter how close i am to holiness or how far i've fallen from it, i know that God still loves me.

song of the day...
"twisted nerve" by rza

movie of the day...
"kill bill, volume 1" holycrow, i LOVE this movie!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

fantasy football (for grown ups)...

quick and early blog today, as i'm working the late shift. and i'm playing fantasy football tonite.

"but, ryan... aren't you a grown man? isn't fantasy football something that's embarrassing for a 36 year old to be a part of?"

well, yeah. but it's fun! and there are all sorts of leagues out there-- just for fun leagues, and leagues for guys who take this type of thing way too seriously. i kind of fall in the middle of those, but i know i definitely lean more towards the fun. (i also saw a league that described itself as-- and this is a direct quote-- "men with hot wives who use pic of wife for their team's logo." ewwwwwwwww!!!)

my league's name is mooseknuckles. i have no idea what that means. and... now that i think of it... i'm really hoping "mooseknuckles" isn't some sort of sick euphemism for something gross and/or illegal, and if it is, i apologize. but the description of the league said, "just for fun" so i jumped on board.

i also signed up for a league this weekend called "THA BOOM BOOM ROOM 2" because, honestly, it made me laugh. if, for no other reason, it's just nice to know that there's at least one other boom boom room league somewhere in america. makes me happy.

anyway, wish me luck!

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) that i got to sleep in a little bit this morning!
2) my friend's facebook status the other day, which immediately became one of my favorite typos ever: "going out to grab a big bowel of clam chowder."
3) camp haluwasa in hammonton, new jersey!
4) eating ice cream from little baseball helmets at the game.
5) the hope that i could still grab larry fitzgerald in the second round.

song of the day...
"la la la means i love you" by the delfonics

movie of the day...
"jackie brown" terribly underrated film.

Monday, August 17, 2009

so, this hippopotamus, a dinosaur and a security guard walk into a mall...

just came back from the westchester mall... i kind of have a love/hate relationship with that place. or loathe/hate. it's a very uppity mall, very chic. and i am not very chic. i know this because whenever i go into half of those stores, i have at least three security guards following me around at all times. and they're not even subtle about it, always looking directly at me, while speaking in code into their walkie talkies, "firefox, this is grumpy bear, over." this is firefox, come in grumpy bear. "be advised, firefox, we have a possible 3-14 in sector 7-H. repeat: we have a possible 3-14 in sector 7-H."

i can only assume a "3-14" means something like, "a poor, overweight man in ripped jeans and bad haircut lurking around next to items he could never even hope to pay for without giving up one or both of his kidneys."

very snooty mall. everything is carpeted, and there's a louis vitton and a gucci's and a tiffany's, and you're surrounded by women with dogs in purses, and 66-year-old men who waited to get married and have children until they accumulated enough wealth to be able to afford the trophy mistresses on their arms... and you could also find me there more often if i win the lottery tomorrow night!

lol, no, i don't know. but i've been thinking about that today... i bought three tickets-- the jackpot is up to $170 million. (yikes!) and, i was wondering if i'd spend less time in target if i won all that money. and, who knows, really, but... i'd like to think not.

if i did have a ton of dough, and wanted to get something expensive, i think the plan would be this: don't shave for two months. don't bathe for one month. wear some vintage salvation army gear, and walk into about a dozen stores. and whoever treated me with the most humanity gets my business. good times! i would definitly do that.

but, there is one store i know i wouldn't shop in again no matter what, and it has nothing to do with finances or status. i went in there a year ago and saw a pair of khakis i wanted to buy, when a little 120-pound kid with enough gel in his hair to accomodate six varsity slip and slides leans into me and asks, "hello, sir, can i help you?"

i chose to ignore the fact that he called me sir, and said to him, "yes, i was wondering if you had these in a size 38?" and he just looked at me as if i was the first person to have ever said that in the world. "a thirty... EIGHT???" he said. just like that. as if i had just randomly recited to him some dr. seussian rhyme-- "i like these pants, but they just won't do. say! could i have them in a box with a frumpa-trumpa-loo???"

"a thirty... EIGHT???" he asked me again! to which i said, "YES! a thirty eight." and he just stood there, saying, "uhhh... uhmmm...... uhhh..." for about a minute. like he wanted to say, "sir? is that an actual SIZE?! i mean... can a human being actually BE that fat??? or, oh, i'm sorry, are you purchasing a gift for a hippopotamus?"

skinny little shit.

...(sigh). i'm gonna go do some sit ups.

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) how silly i can be-- yes, i did spend a good four minutes wondering if "trumpa" sounded funnier than "brumpa"! LOL!
2) being three-years-old and knowing just what you like. as "michael" said to me this morning, out of nowhere: "ryan, i like train tracks. and i like pizza. and i like dinosaurs. but sometimes my dinosaurs are stinky." (he actually meant to say "extinct" but... i haven't had the heart to talk to him about that yet).
3) coming to the stunning realization today that "carpet diem" is not, in fact, latin for "seize the carpet."
4) the kid on sportscenter this morning who caught two foul balls in the same game! he got a well-deserved standing ovation-- so cool. seriously, he is never going to forget that as long as he lives.
5) people who treat people with humanity, no matter how often they bathe.

song of the day...
"misirlou" by dick dale & his del-tones.

movie of the day...
"pulp fiction" --this is without a doubt, a masterpiece. it's in my alltime top ten. i could watch this film over and over.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

or-reg-a-yes? or-reg-a-no, thank you.

short blog tonite, as i'm not feeling 100% and need to get to sleep soon. i'd thought i may have picked up a bit of the flu, but the more i think about it, it might have been something i ate.

like i said before, i can't cook.

not sure what it was exctly, but ...i'm fairly certain it was the oregeno. does oregeno go bad??? we were cooking with it awhile back at the day care, and they handed out a few samples for us to take home in little ziploc bags. which was kind of funny, actually, as it looked suspiciously like another green substance that some people tend to put in little ziploc bags. i didn't quite make the connection, but a coworker did, and wrote in large letters "OREGENO" before she put it in everyone's cubby.

good move.

i had an idea that we could make it a bit more obvious and write, "THIS IS NOT DOOBIE!!!" on the bags, but quickly thought better of it.


the five things i fell in love with today...

1) the three hundred and forty something days in the year when i feel perfectly healthy.
2) my "the office" page-a-day calender. makes me smile.
3) progresso soup! mmmmmmmm... chicken noodle!
4) the mets won today!!!!!!! y'gotta believe!!!
5) the butter-like voice of michael mcdonald.

song of the day...
"little green bag" by the george baker selection

movie of the day...
"reservoir dogs" in celebration of the new film "inglourious basterds" i have declared this to be quentin tarantino week!!! w'hooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

pool sharks and bad marketing...

my dad and i were walking down the street in camden, new jersey a few years ago, on our way to try the new restaurant a block or two away from his office. we were about ten steps outside of this place when a woman ran out the door in something of a panic and proceeded to lose her brunch all over the sidewalk. deftly maneuvering our feet from the splatter, my dad and i kept on walking. as we did, he turned to me and said, calmly, "well... there's a ringing endorsement, enit?"

i was thinking about that phrase this morning as i saw a VERY hefty man... in a huge t-shirt for the local gym down the road. it's kind of like... if you saw nick nolte climb into a car after he got that mugshot awhile back? and he had a sticker on his bumper that said, "pete's hair salon"? wouldn't you be really pissed off if you were pete???

i dunno, i'm just glad i don't have that disease where you inadvertently say the first thing that pops into your mind to random passersby every other weekend. because, if i did, i would have said, "now, why would a gym even make an XXXL t-shirt? that's just bad marketing." and then i would have been pummeled. justifiably pummeled...

or, no, actually, i think i could have outrun him, he was REALLY large.

ANYway, all this to say that i'm in a weight loss contest at work. i'm happy to tell you that out of the four of us brave souls who are in it... i am in the lead!!! i lost 13 and a half pounds in one month!!! ...and then i celebrated this fact by eating most of lower westchester county, and gained three and a half pounds back. three and a half pounds in only one week.


what can i say? it's a struggle. but, i am determined to fight the good fight. my goal is to be slim enough by december of this year to be able to regain the nickname i had, back when i was a pool shark in south jersey: williamstown skinny. i'll keep you updated.

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) the quick observational wit of my father.
2) that i finally got my hdtv hooked up today!!! lol, i'd forgotten that i needed to order a new cable box, so i had to wait until today for it. but it looks GREAT! w'hooooooooooooo!!!
3) that i can do a mean morrissey impersonation. or, i think i can. i can't comfirm this, really, because i seem to always be surrounded by the sort of people who would ask, "who's morrissey?" and "the smiths? ...what?" and "why are you making your voice sound like that? are you okay?"
4) this facebook status update i stumbled onto... "save the planet. it's the only one with chocolate."
5) that we live in a country where you can give yourself a pool shark nickname, even though you truly, truly suck at pool.

song of the day...
"you're the one for me, fatty" by morrissey

movie of the day...
"district 9" i just saw it today-- absolutely brilliant!!!!!!! i loved every minute of it!

Friday, August 14, 2009

unfinished song lyric blog, number one...

now... i'm not saying i'm a good songwriter. and the following is not what many would consider a good song. it's not even what i would consider a good song, but i like it. besides, as bob dylan once said, "don't worry if it's not good enough for anyone else to hear. just sing. sing a song. lalalalala. lalalalalala. lalalalalalala..."

okay, well, no, bob dylan never said that. but he should have. point being this, i love writing songs. and this one makes me smile. dammit.

i was thinking about a conversation i had with a friend this week in which she encountered one too many men on the streets and subways of new york city who were... not exactly behaving like gentlemen. this led me to recall an unfortunate incident another friend of mine had several years back. while jogging, and simultaneously minding her own business, she was approached by a group of men in a car who rolled down their window and asked, "hey, baby... wanna hump?"

as if she would stop right there in her tracks, and say, "YES!!! how did you KNOW?!?!?! urgh, i have been DYING to hump ALL DAY!!! come on over here, you big, romantic stud!!!"

so, those guys are the extreme. and this song isn't about them. instead, i wanted to write about those guys who are kind of like that on the surface, because, maybe, that's all they know. but, deep down, there's a sincerity and a sweetness to them that they just have no idea how to get out. if they would just be themselves, of course, they'd be much better off, but instead, their words come out a bit jumbled and... well, they don't rhyme.

this is about the guy who can't seem to find the right words to say, even when they're right in front of him, because he's too worried about the image of the guy he thinks he's supposed to be.

anyway, this is what i have so far. and be gentle with your criticism. it's not poetry, it's a rock song...

"hey everybody, it's friday night
everything is so great, everything is all kosher.

gone out to party with all my friends
good times are gonna last, they'll never, ever be over

hey, mamasita, you're looking real good
you're the finest thing in my neighbor's front yard.

i love you, baby, so much i wanna cry
you're the hottest thing since the 4th of september."

okay, well... yeah. maybe it is poetry.


the five things i fell in love with today...

1) being yourself.
2) the restaurant "thai angel's" on lexington avenue in mt. kisco, new york.
3) the cute little baby girl in our infant program who was decked out in a run dmc shirt yesterday. sweeeeeeet! "she told me to crawl this wayyyy! babble this wayyyy..."
4) the curious certainty that the same guy who asked me where the dmv was in white plains was the same exact guy who asked me for the time in mt. kisco last week. small world! ...or maybe hes stalking me.
5) the thought that it doesn't really matter if i don't know how to spell "mamasita" because... again, it's a rock song.

song of the day...
"peter piper" by run dmc

movie of the day...
the best one so far in 2009, "up". if it's still playing somewhere near you, go out and see it! it's so great!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

the sound of silence...

like i said, i love working with women. i just don't always understand them.

a coworker of mine, who, for good reason, will remain nameless, ducked into my classroom this afternoon at naptime and immediately began digging into the back of her pants. i looked around to see if all the kids were sleeping (they were), and shot her a glance as if to imply the only two words one could say on such an occasion: "what the?"

"i'm sorry," she whispered, "it feels like there's something in my butt. oh-- okay, got it. it was just my g-string. it felt like a lump of shit." to this, i naturally replied, "you... you thought you had a lump of shit in your pants, so you went digging in there... with your bare hands???"

the women i work with tell me everything. to them, i'm just one of the girls. i just have more facial hair than, well, most of them. i always have to remind them, "hey! hey, hey, hey! man in the room!" because, apparently, i blush easily.

but with all this sharing, they still can't fart in front of me. what's THAT about?! c'mon, ladies, it's 2009, for pete's sake! but, no. not a whimper. even when they announce it to me-- which, by the way, happens at least once a week. "urgh," they'll say, "i really have to fart." cool, go fot it. "no way!!!" no, seriously, it's alright, let 'er rip! "ewwwwwwwww!!!"

i don't get it.

i've only known one woman in my life who would pass the wind with no shame, and i really admired her for it. she was tall, and gorgeous. beautiful green eyes. had a zest for life and loved to laugh. i'll call her tootie.

tootie was from california. we went to college together. i can still see her sitting on our dorm room floor, listening to simon and garfunkel, legs crossed, a sneaky smile crawling over her face... frrrrrrrrrrrnt. "heh, heh, heh, heh." tootie laughed like elmer fudd.

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) bold women.
2) the way regina spektor says the word "mEEEtings"
3) some chucklehead (me) at work broke the refrigerator, and, even though we're a non-profit organization in an unstable economy, and even though-- much to the dismay of al gore-- said chucklehead (still me) released toxic freon into the atmosphere... no one was fired.
4) that big, honkin' leashless dog who decided not to bite me on my walk home.
5) the theme song to 'the facts of life'.

song of the day...
"hero" by regina spektor

movie of the day...
"baby mama" dude, i love tina fey!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

what's better than hoops, ice cream and pizza???

we took the kids to a pizza place today. three classrooms, nine teachers, and about 25 toddlers. yeah, it was a bit crazy, but more fun than anything else. everybody should take a two-year-old to a place like that-- great pizza and a coupla' big game rooms.

there's a kid i'll call doc who was by my side most of the day. i'm calling him doc because we spent a lot of time at the basketball game. and he's got skillz. oh yeah, with a z.

his basketball chops are almost as good as mine are right now, which is... which is actually not saying a whole lot. i'm awful. i do absolutely nothing to dispel the notion that white men suck at basketball. i'm terrible. really, they should go back in time and rename that woody harrelson/wesley snipes movie, "white men can't jump: the ryan martin story."

this is true, i type-cast myself in a short skit for my church a year or two ago as a guy who couldn't play basketball. a role i was born to play. except, when the film was rolling-- and i have three witnesses to back this up-- just about everything i was putting up was going in. nothin' but net. it was so embarrassing-- i was TRYING to miss, and all of the sudden i was michael jordan. that's how bad i am at basketball.

but doc was making his shots on purpose. and he made a lot of them. if we were betting against each other, i would have had to pay for his college education. but as much as he was enjoying this, and as much fun as he was having with the other games in the room, and as much pizza and ice cream as he devoured, y'know what made him bellylaugh the hardest??? the hand dryer in the kid's bathroom!

and i can't blame 'em, honestly. it was an xlerator! i love those things. i've always hated the automatic hand dryers in public bathrooms, because they never get my hands all the way dry. but xlerators go the distance. and they sound like a jet engine taking off. which scared doc at first, until i jumped in with a timely, "no, no, check it out man! w'hooooooooooo!!!" and then it was, "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! DO IT AGAIN, RYAN, DO IT AGAIN!!!"

lol, hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of games and toys and pizza and ice cream, and my man and i are hogging up the bathroom, playing with the hand dryer! i love my job!

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) xlerator hand dryers. seriously, even if you're a strict paper towel guy/lady, y'gotta check these babies out! you'll thank me later.
2) mike & mike in the morning. these guys are great! mike greenburg this morning: "y'know, when football players fight, you get nervous. but when baseball players fight... even i think it's funny!"
3) this afternoon, while listening on the ipod to jay-z's "dirt off your shoulder," i saw a woman across the street actually brushing the dirt off her shoulder. good times.
4) wintergreen altoids.
5)i saw it again today, and i am now very much, absolutely 99.9% convinced that it was indeed a true-blue, all-american, i-know-it-deep-within-my-heart-of-hearts woodchuck.


song of the day...
"diamond heart" by marissa nadler

movie of the day...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

high def, and orange children.

am buying myself an hdtv tonite!!!!!!! w'hooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

as my apartment is roughly the size of the keyboard i'm typing on, i decided not to go with the 70 inch screen i saw at the sony store in the westchester mall a few months ago. that, and it cost $20,000.

no, no, literally. $20,000.

begs the question... even if you won $100,000,000 dollars in the lottery, would you ever spend $20,000 on a tv?

in a heartbeat, yes. yes, i would.

call me shallow, but you didn't see this screen! the images were so clear it hurt my eyes. it was like 3D, but... really, it's hard to describe it without saying that it was like i was IN the movie. i flinched-- in the store, i actually flinched-- because i thought i was about to get the beat down from the kung fu panda.


but, don't get me wrong, i'm more than happy with my 26 inch screen from target! in fact, i don't know if i'm going to do anything else but watch a buncha movies for the next few weekends! "ryan, would you like to get out of the house and lift this feather? i'll pay you a thousand bucks?" nah. hdtv. "ryan, could you come out of the house to help me put sun tan lotion all over? i'm an australian swimsuit model." nope. hdtv. "ryan, could you come out of the house? it's on fire." no, thank you. hdtv.

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) target.
2) the 3-year-old kid who told me this afternoon that she didn't like carrots, "because sometimes they make me orange."
3) the 17-year-old volunteer who drew a big clown for our classroom today. my coworker said to him, "wow! that's great! it looks like bozo! do you know who bozo is?" to which he replied... "is he a clown?"
4) that episode of gilligan's island where the castaways put on a musical version of hamlet-- i love that! "i ask to be or not to be. that is the question that i ask of thee." "neither a borrower nor a lender be. do not forget. stay out of debt..."
5) high definition

song of the day...
"pirates" by mr. gnome

movie of the day...

Monday, August 10, 2009

how much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if he stuck his foot in his mouth?

i love working with women.

if, for no other reason, i get the inside scoop on what not to do, and what not to say to them. i hear their stories about horrible dates, and of strange, greasy men who whistle at them, and i take mental notes ("hold door open for the lady... no burping directly into the telephone..."). i stand on the shoulders of gigantic mistakes. and i try my best not to repeat them. and sometimes i'm actually successful at it.

honestly, though, i don't think even i would've needed much help in avoiding the latest dilemma. i mean, everyone puts their foot in their mouth at some time or another, but, wow. c'mon, i mean, if you really need someone to tell you not to say this... yikes.

but, just in case you're out there... here's the thing, guys...

no matter how much she talks about wanting to lose weight. no matter how many hours she's at the gym. no matter how many conversations you've had with her about how hard of a struggle it truly is to lose those last five pounds. no matter how many times you catch her screaming out loud at her scale, with absolutely nobody else in the room, "YOU'RE A FILTHY LIAR!!!" no matter how often she tells you that she needs you to be supportive in her battle against cellulite, and no matter how much of an encouragement you THINK you're being... do NOT-- i say again-- do NOT point to the "small portion, low fat" part of the menu and say to her... "you might be interested in ordering from this page."

oh, no he didn't.

oh, yes he did.

...oh no... he didn't...?

oh. yes. he. did.

this tale comes from my coworker victoria (names have been, and will almost always be changed to protect the innocent. and because of potential lawsuits), and we had a lot of fun in thinking about what the best comeback might have been-- instead of, and/or in addition to glaring at him, and ordering the most fattening thing from the menu. here are my favorite three...

"you might be interested in the position of my middle finger."

"you might be interested in blocking your face before i punch you in your tiny, little pin head."

"you might be interested in all those penis enlargement articles i've been clipping out for you."

five stars and a standing ovation for victoria's feller-- for making the rest of us chuckleheads look so much better in comparison. if only for one weekend.

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) stupid men.
2) the knowledge that my walk to the train station is four minutes faster if i've got rage against the machine on my ipod.
3) that i survived the big, honkin' crack o'lighting right outside my window a few seconds ago. jeepers!
4) the hope that those are indeed woodchucks i've been seeing at the stream towards the end of my street, and not, as some have said... "swamp rats."
5) pseudonyms.

song of the day...
"guerrilla radio" by rage against the machine

movie of the day...
"close encounters of the third kind."

Sunday, August 9, 2009

exaggerations and overweight women...

it's so good to know who you are.

someone asked me today if this blog was a bit of a way of finding myself. and my immediate reaction was, hey, i'm 36. if i haven't found myself by now, something's wrong! so i wrote back to her and said, "not sure if it's about finding myself, but... more about being completely honest about where i'm at right now, and where and who i want to be."

then i thought for a moment and wrote, "so, yeah, maybe this... is about finding myself! LOL!"

(i overuse "lol" by the way. very rarely when i write it am i actually laughing out loud. maybe, at best, i'm chuckling out loud, but i feel like if i wrote "col" people wouldn't know what i was talking about. they'd think, maybe, i wanted to say something about coal, but suffered a typo mishap and suddenly lost my train of thought. "that's hysterical!!! COAL!!! hey, i've been meaning to ask you, what do you think about pandas?")

anyway... i think i'm like a lot of people who could get up one morning, look in the mirror and ask, "wow! why is everyone in the world NOT in love with me??? what don't they get?!" and then, the very next morning, same mirror, could ask, "am i the most horrible person who has ever lived???" i'm exaggerating, of course-- on both sides of that coin-- but the point, and my hope, is to find that happy medium more consistently.

key word being, "happy."

like this woman i saw yesterday. walking down the street near my apartment in white plains, ny, i caught this woman checking herself out in the reflection of a building we were both passing. she must have been a good 150 pounds overweight, and had this huge smile on her face. what made her so happy, i have no idea. could have been the person she was on her way to see. could have been the joke someone told her an hour before, that she just got. could have been gas. but i like to think she was looking at herself and thinking, "kiss my ass, vogue. i'm gorgeous."

the five things i fell in love with today...

1) a huge smile on the face of a stranger.
2) the smell of rain.
3) mcdonald's hashbrowns. good gravy, it's like they put heroin inside them. what the freak?!
4) the thought that i might just be smarter than the cnn reporter who asked this question to a man who had airplane debris fall into his lawn after a tragic crash over the hudson river: "is this the first time something like this has happened to you?" and this was moments after reporting the fact that "tires are made out of rubber." he actually said that.
5) laughing out loud.

song of the day...
"tennessee stud" by johnny cash

movie of the day...
"milk" --great cast!

'nite folks!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

the first five things...

i had a really tough week.

and, now that it's just about in the books, i think it's fair to look back and say... i did not handle it well. i was cynical and angry and bitter and pessimistic to the point of almost looking forward to whatever the next thing was that was going to make me roll my eyes.

it wasn't all bad. i wasn't all bad. i mean, i had my good moments sprinkled in there, too, but it was just one of those weeks where you know you could have done things differently. y'know what i mean?

i work at a day care center in westchester county, n.y. it's a great place to be-- i've been there for about fourteen years now, on and off. i'm an assistant teacher in a toddler room. when i tell people i work with a classroom of 11 eighteen-month to three-year-olds, they often ask me how i do it. and i think they're usually surprised when i tell them that it's easier to deal with the kids than some of the adults i come in contact with.

some days are better than others. and most days are great, but some days... y'scratch your head.

i'm on eharmony and am frequently asked one of these pre-packaged questions: what would you rather have more of-- respect, or money? i never hesitate to answer. and my paycheck reflects that.

but that was the main thing that was wrong with last week, the lack of respect. it doesn't happen all the time at work, but it's happened enough that i'm thinking about it a lot this weekend. and Lord knows i hate to do any thinking on a weekend, so... anyway, i think i finally have it narrowed down to three "why am i not getting the respect i deserve?" possibilities...

1) i'm a guy.

and this is true. i am a guy. been one my whole life. and, no, you don't see many men in this field, so... am i not being taken seriously, because i'm a man? maybe. honestly, i think most of the people i work with know me, and know the job i do with the kids, but, every now and then-- like when a volunteer hovered over my shoulder a few weeks ago, asking if they let me change diapers-- y'can't help but wonder a little bit.

2) i'm goofy.

also true. and i love being goofy. i love to make people laugh. so much so that i may try to do it too often, and am therefore not taken seriously. and, really, if that's the case, so be it. i've been down this road before: made a joke. stepped on a toe. felt terrible about it, and told myself, in something of a ten commandments/charlton heston-y kinda voice, "i shall never be funny again!!!"

and, while some of my friends would tell you that it seems, for years now, i've taken that declaration to heart... the truth is, i am who i am. life is short. let's be goofy. not everything's a joke, obviously, but, c'mon... have a little fun on a tuesday, right?

3) i'm an asshole.

yeah... this one might not be true. i hope it's not. and i don't think it is, really, but, hey, if you are how you act and react to things, then, sheesh... i hate to admit it, but there were times this week when i was a real asshole.

and it's clearly not the guy i want to be. y'know? i mean, no one wakes up in the morning and says, "sweet! i get to be an asshole today!!!" well... yeah, yankee fans do that, but, no, i mean normal people don't. i think you become an asshole little by little, y'know? it just kind of creeps up on you when you're not paying attention.

"life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans," sang john lennon. it starts with one complaint-- and, justified or not-- it can lead to another and another until, finally, you wake up old and wrinkly, hunched over and alone.

and i'm a complainer. or i can be. and i'm reeeeally good at it, so i can't say, truthfully, that i'll give it up entirely, but... i just don't want to do it as often as i have lately.

and so... the blog.

i just saw a great movie-- 'julie & julia'. can't imagine that i'm the only person to be inspired to start a blog after seeing it this weekend, because... it was so simple, so perfect: "i'm down right now, but i'm setting a goal, and i'm going to stick with it. it's not going to be easy, but i know i'm going to be a much better person for it!"

but, i can't cook. holy cow, can i not cook! spaghetti, poptarts, toast, and microwaveable dinners, that's about it. so, here's what i want to do instead...

i want to take some time to really reflect on the good things around me. to not focus so much on the negative. to find five things a day that i love about life. could be something great, something small, something ridiculous or a combination, somehow, of all three. could be something i've loved my entire life, could be a new discovery... you see where i'm going...

some days are going to be better than others, but... there it is. that's my goal. could be fun, eh? anyhow, here goes list number one...

the 5 things i fell in love with today...

1) a great movie.
2) football. i can not wait for the new season to start!!! especially because my mets are a mess right now.
3) people who do NOT pee on public toilet seats.
4) the kid in the bathroom who was bragging to his dad about the time, "at grandma's? when i held it in for, like, FIVE HOURS!!!"
5) pop tarts. mmmmmmm, pop tarts!

and, as an added bonus for those of you who have read this far...

the song of the day...
"me n u" by ortolan

movie of the day...
it's a stanlet tucci double feature! for those of you who can cook, and the rest of us who love to eat... "julie & julia" and "big night".