Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Blather and bother

The pantry/kitchen project has become quite real over the last couple of days. We have the cabinets, appliances, and countertops ordered and the contractor is on board as well. Watching TV doesn't do much to alleviate my stress over this situation. We've done all the stuff you're supposed to do when you do major work on your house. We got 4 different contractor guys to come to the house and give us quotes (although only 3 of them actually gave us quotes. The 4th guy was a total goober and I didn't want to work with him anyway). We hemmed and hawed over who we wanted to work with. We tried to remove ourselves emotionally from the project and make it all about business; who could we trust to do the work as planned, on budget and on time. But those goddamn shows like Holmes on Homes have me completely on edge. I just want everything to be done.

Ultimately I think we went with the right guy but if I'm honest, he's also the guy I personally liked the most so there goes that whole "keep yourself distant and keep emotion out of it" angle. Whatevs. I think it'll be fine. Honestly, I have no way of knowing do I? I mean, I've looked him up in the BBB and all that stuff but at some point it becomes a leap of faith. Fingers crossed he doesn't screw us! Nah, it'll be fine (that's me freaking myself out and then me again trying to reassure myself...I have a very complicated inner dialogue). Work starts in a couple weeks and I'm already pulling wallpaper down. It's gonna be messy for a bit.

The hockey play-offs are coming! Yes, I'm still watching hockey. I know, I've been able to keep to a plan for more than 2 weeks. Huzzah! I only wish that the Bruins didn't suck so bad so that when I watch them it doesn't make me yell at the TV. And you have to understand that if I know that you're not playing well, that means you must be playing really badly. Meh, they'll make it in and then get eliminated in the first round. I'm certainly not going to bore you with my analysis of the games or teams here because, well, I don't know what I'm talking about. Buy me a drink some night and I'll talk for hours about hockey and all other subjects I know little to nothing about. It will be my gift to you.

Meanwhile, I wasn't kidding when I asked for peeps to submit a song using the shitty, shitty lyrics I posted a little while back. These are honest-to-goodness crap lyrics written by a 16-year-old Mark sitting on his twin bed in his room in his parent's apartment circa 1986. You can't make this shit up. So have at it ok? Just contact me either via a comment below or ye olde email address and I'll post that shit right here so that all 8 of my readers can hear it. It'll be awesome on a whole new level. C'mon! Do it! You know you want to...or at least you now know I want you to. Pretty please?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Sorry About All of This

Sometimes I like to pretend that I'm really not just an big oaf so I will venture out of my house and try to get me some of that there culture stuff. I will on occasion make my way to a museum or I'll go to an opening at a gallery (especially when Sistah Soul-Jah is in the show). This story is about a time that I went to see a show my sister had some pieces in at Mass Art (where she did her undergrad work).

I forget what year it was but it must have been around 1994 or so because The Wiff (then The Chick Who Lives In Sin) and I were still living in Allston and neither of us could drive yet (did I mention I didn't get my license until I was 25? I had? ok. Did I mention that The Wiff didn't get hers until she was 28? Yea, we lived in the city...didn't need a car). Aaaaaanyway...We get to the show and it's not a formal gallery or anything but a big open room where all the students were showing their work from the semester. I think it was work they were going to be presenting for a grade or credit. Isn't this a great story so far? Do you want me to go into more detail about what I was wearing that day or which way I faced on the Green Line trolley? Why do you read this stuff anyway? Sorry, why am I abusing you for my lack of story telling abilities? Oh, right, cuz I'm a dick.

We got to the school and walked around the room checking out some of the pieces. There were these partitions set up around the room to create little spaces and nooks where they could display some of the artwork. These temporary walls were set up in big T, H, or L shapes around the room. The key word being "temporary" here. This will become clearer soon. I meandered around the place looking at the wicked good ahhhht and chatting with some of Mary's friends. There was this one really elaborate piece that was a big ol' 5–foot wooden cross (I'm trying to remember if it was a modified door maybe? I forget). The whole front was glass and it had this array of mixed media things inside. It was cool. I was enjoying being around creative people and seeing the stuff they were working on. I was standing next to one of the partition walls talking to someone when I decided to lean up against the wall. Yea...can you see it coming?

In my head this wall was a real wall and not a "temporary" wall so I REEEAAALLLY leaned into it. Did you know that the partitions that Mass Art uses in these situations are not only not designed to have some dude lean up against them but also have fucking wheels? I didn't. But I do now. I leaned on the wall and it immediately scooted backwards a good foot. I did a "Whooooop!!" and almost went over backwards. Then there was this sickening CRRRRRAAAAAAASSHH! and the sound of shattering glass. Everyone in the room did a collective GASP! and looked over to see what had happened. By this time I had recovered from almost landing on my ass and had moved over to the other side of the wall. There, on the ground, surrounded by a halo of broken glass and bits of wood was the 5–foot cross piece. "Oh holy fuck no," I thought to myself. "No, no, no, no." Oh yes, fatty. Yes indeed.

I went over to it and tried to lift it up to put it back. As I lifted it, everything inside of it (including some fragile glass pieces) came tumbling out, smashing onto the floor. It sounded like someone in a restaurant dropping every dish in the place. The instinct to "run, run away, quick! before someone sees you" was so overpowering that I probably looked like I was going to bolt at any second for awhile there. I was devastated but I was in much better shape than this poor piece of art. People came rushing over to help but there was little if anything that they could do. I kept asking who the artist was and if they were in the room. I just wanted so desperately to evaporate into the the air and not been seen anymore. Apparently the artist was not there yet but was going to come later. Oh boy. This is gonna suck.

I literally had no idea what I should do. Here I had just annihilated this person's submission to this show and they weren't even there to yell at me (it was back up against the wall but all of the contents were still spewed out on the floor in vague shape of a cross. People were kicking pieces of glass over into a pile so that they would be easier to clean up). Everyone in the place was being soooo nice to me actually. "Oh, they should have secured that better," they said. "Don't worry about it." WHAT? Were you not here when that fucking thing hit the floor? My ears are still ringing for shit's sake. I knew one thing for sure was that I couldn't hang around and wait for this person to make an entrance. I felt like I was going to throw up or cry or both (shut up Lisi). There was a guest-book at the show so I went over and I took up a whole page with my rambling apology. I left all my contact information and said that I'd pay for the damage or do a trade or something for fucking up so royally. I don't know how I thought I'd be paying for anything thinking back on it. I was making probably $10 an hour or so back then.

I went back over to the friends of the artist and apologized again for the hundredth time and they said "Don't worry about it" for the hundredth time and then I slinked out of there with The Wiff in tow. I remember walking over to the train station and sitting there waiting in silence. She didn't say a word but she put her hand on my knee as if to say "There, there my big clumsy dope of a boyfriend. It'll be all right." And it was eventually. But at that moment I thought I had become the most hated person in the world. The person never contacted me about the smashed cross so I guess I'm off the hook. Lesson learned: Determine the structural rigidity of a wall before attempting to lean against said wall, especially if there is a super-fragile glass-front cross propped up against it on the other side.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why Did the Man Do That With the Puck Thing?

As I have mentioned before, I'm not a sports fan. But during the winter olympics I watched a bunch of hockey games and I have to say that I was enjoying myself. So I've decided to give watching NHL hockey a try. Why not right? I mean, it's a fast-paced game with some amazing feats of athleticism and the occasional fight. As it turns out I have Versus and NESN on my cable system so I can watch hockey games during the season. Nice. A couple nights ago I switched over to the channel to watch the game that was on (a real yawner unfortunately between the Dallas Stars and the Washington Capitals) and it became clear very early on that I have no idea what's going on. It just looked like organized chaos and dudes crashing into each other.

The next night I watched part of the game between the Flyers and ... I forget who the other team was. Ok, clearly I have not been hooked yet but I'm working on it. This game was a lot more interesting though and I was fortunate in that during the 2nd period The Wiff came home and sat down to watch with me. I say I was fortunate because The Wiff actually used to play hockey and likes to ice skate (whereas the last time I tried to skate I stepped out on the ice and fell immediately backwards, slamming my head on the ice hard enough to see stars. I spent the rest of the afternoon sitting in the stands staring at my shoes and trying not to throw up). She's more of a man than I am basically. I proceeded to ask her question after question regarding the plays. "What's 'icing' mean?" "Why can't that guy come over that line thing?" "What does it mean when the ref guy holds his arms out like that?" Et Cetera. By using the pause and rewind feature on our DVR thing she was able to show me some of what the hell all that skating around and hitting each other was all about (or "aboot" Hey-OHHH, Canada! In your face!). By the way, how the hell did we ever watch TV before the invention of Tivo and the DVR? I get annoyed at my car radio now because I can't just rewind it when I've missed the traffic update for the third time.

The Wiff's hockey knowledge has waned over the years (probably been replaced by knitting and crafty-craft-craft-craft stuff) and there were gaps in her teachings. It was obvious that I'm going to have to look elsewhere if I am to completely man-up and become a hockey fan. Last night I went out with some peeps from work and I mentioned my new sports initiative. One of them mentioned that I should wait until the playoffs to start watching as the games are more exciting. That may be true but I'd like to at least have watched a few regular season games so that I might understand some of what the hell those guys on my TV are trying to do. I'll do an update on this in a few months to see if in fact I have bailed or if I'm on my way to becoming a true hockey guy. I'm just not going to try to skate anytime soon.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Do I Really Look Like That?

Back in January I posted this story about a particularly embarrassing episode from my yooth. The overall gist of the story was how I became a giant baby when I got lost at age 15 in one of the safest neighborhoods in the Boston area. Long story short, after I posted the story I asked some friends to submit their interpretation of my breakdown on that faithful afternoon. I got these entries and I think they're all hilarious. Please to be enjoying:


 by Dave Blanchette (sorry about the watermark thing)

 by Dave Lisi

I frickin' love these! Thanks to Linda Bean P., Dave B., Crispin, and Dave L. for doing this for me. Who knows? Maybe this can become a feature here at Flunky Boy? Seriously, I'm thrilled that they all sent me these.

I used to write song lyrics back in high school and I had a little notebook with pages of them (along with all kinds of doodles and sketches). I don't remember what happened to them but I think I threw them all out one day out of embarrassment. I sooooooo wish I hadn't because I'm sure they were all unintentionally hilarious; all full of teen angst and posturing. But during the Great Purge of 2009 I found a sheet of paper with a song written on it. It didn't have a date on it but I think it must have been right around 1985/1986-ish. When I wrote it I probably thought it was the balls but hoo-boy it totally isn't. I'm posting it here in public in the hopes that maybe, just maybe someone will take it and make a recording of the song.

Calm Before the Storming

You will get out of my face now
You will leave, I don't care how
This has been a bad day
Leave, you know the way

You will close the door behind you
You will allow me the peace I'm due
This is not open for debate
Leave now before it's too late

Get out
Get out while I'm calm enough
Leave while you are able
This is not a bluff

You will be the focus of my violence
You'll agree that retreat makes sense
This is your final warning
This is the calm before the storming
This is the calm before the storming

Wow...Yea, I was serious about that. I meant every line. Holy hell. "Leave while you are able, this is not a bluff". Um, yea it is. You hadn't been in a fight since the 3rd grade and you LOST that one, chubby. Anyway, if you want to record a version of this and send it to me, I'll gladly post it up here. Again, thanks to all my peeps who sent in the entries for this post. You all rock!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pahlay Vooo Frenchy?

I'm a pretty lazy guy generally and I think it's only now that I'm officially an old fuck it's starting to dawn on me how many things I've just let go (and I don't just mean my fat ass either. HEY-OHHH!). One of the things that I've always wanted was to be fluent in another language. I know a bunch of people who not only know more than one language (sometimes several languages) but can switch between them so effortlessly that it blows my tiny mind. I guess cuz I don't have that skill set that I had assumed that it would be more of a huge gear shift to go from say Spanish to English or Hindi or whatever than it seems to be for them.

Back in high school I took 4 years of French. Why French? I don't know. I guess I'll just point out that most of what I do is not really very well thought out at all. My older sisters had taken French so I went with that. I think my younger sister also took French but I can't remember. And so, after 4 years of high school French, did I walk away wowing the babes with my frenchy-french-french talk? Nope. I can kinda understand someone speaking French as long as they speak slowly and with a Malden accent. Otherwise, I'm pretty much lost. Why didn't I take Spanish for jeebus' sake? I don't blame anyone for this other than myself by the way. I'm not here to slag off on the wonderful free-ish public education that I received. They tried their best but I'm a giant dope and the information just couldn't find a hold in my noggin. My brain was too occupied with girls and why they wouldn't talk to me (hint: I was terrified of them and high school girls can smell fear).

A couple of years ago after getting tired of listening to me lament not learning a language, the Wiff bought me that Rosetta Stone software for my birthday. She got me the Spanish version and I was totally psyched as I had completely bought into their ads on TV. "Used by blah-dee-blah to do yadda yadda." It sounded good enough for me. But have I used it? Um, no. Not really. I started to for about two weeks (even going to the extent of scheduling time at night for my "classes") but I soon got distracted by the interwebs or whatever and I started skipping classes. It was like college all over again. I'm the worst fucking student ever. Now whenever I go into my little computer room upstairs at home the box sits there on the shelf and silently judges me. I can hear you Rosetta Stone (but I can't understand what it's saying cuz it's in Spanish. Zing!). I know I'm a slacker. I get it.

This is not the only example either. There's the time that I thought I'd really like to learn Flash so I went and bought the suite (this when Macromedia still owned it and the motherfucker was NOT cheap). Again, I set up times to teach myself since at the time I had been laid off from ZDNet (this was what? 2002 maybe). This was really the most opportune time to teach myself this software but again I just stopped pursuing it. I dunno why exactly. It's not like I got super busy or anything. I just lost interest. Now I have this expensive software package calling me out as a punk-ass every time I open the top drawer to my desk.

Did I mention the bass guitar? Of course I have. My friend Gary gave me his old bass late last year in the hopes that he'd help re-kindle my interest in learning how to play (and then perhaps we'd get together in his living room with some other guys and play songs while pretending that we're not a bunch of ridiculous middle-aged dorks). It worked for about a month or so. I went out and picked up a strap, a cord and some picks and set out to teach myself how to play. I had an old bass amp that I dragged out and plugged in with "learn bass guitar" video on YouTube playing in the background. I don't know why but I didn't even get through the first hour of practice. Pathetic. Why can't I commit to a hobby? What is that all about? Quite frankly I'm surprised I've kept this blog thing going for as long as I have.

So this is me saying that I'm going to pick up where I left off on these activities and start over. I don't have kids or even a dog that needs walking so in theory I have plenty of time to learn. I think I need to get out of the "this is school" mindset and just do it cuz it's fun to learn new shit. Let's see how long I can keep this up (insert hacky Viagra joke here...HEY-OHH!).

Monday, March 1, 2010

All the Thiiiiings Come Back to Yooooooooou

I was listening to ye olde iPod just now and a song came on that elicited a very strong "Oh god, I don't ever want to hear that song again" reaction. The song in question? "Dream On" by Aerosmith. Yea, I know. Shutup, I'm an old person. I think Aerosmith is one of those bands that should have broken up in 1977; maybe with the untimely death of Steven Tyler so that we would not have to see pictures of his old lady-lookin' ass anymore. Dude looks like an octogenarian.

So what songs do you NEVER have to hear again? I'm gonna list out a bunch that are currently stinking up my iPod that I have to purge. I'm sure I'm omitting quite a few that I would skip but these ones came up recently and my short term memory isn't what it used to be. Here they are in no particular order:
  1. Mr. Cab Driver - Lenny Kravitz (y'know, I pretty much never need to hear another song from this guy again. Consider yourself deleted Lenny).
  2. Smashing Pumpkins - I Am One (God, I think I'm going to blow them out of the 'pod as well. If I feel like listening to them I'll just tune in The Silversun Pickups and avoid Billy Corgan all together).
  3. Jesus Christ Pose - Soundgarden (yes, I know I said that I was done with them before...but I'm like that friend you have that always forgives the abusive spouse. "Aw, she said she's sorry. I'm sure it'll be different now." It never is though is it? Fuck you Cornell, you sexy cunt).
  4.  Paper Airplanes - M.I.A. (ok, it's catchy. Move along)
  5. Crazy - Gnarls Barkley (I love Cee-lo and Danger Mouse but this damn song finds the base of my spine and nests there, eating away at my brain. Out, damn spot!)
Looks like I have some work to do...leave examples of the songs that you would like to avoid in the comments area.