Tuesday, January 29, 2008

jocking brady, again

i think my criticism of tom brady came off as too bitter yesterday so i figured i'd waste more virtual space with some sort of follow-up piece. i caught an article by jemele hill that brought me back to this topic. it was an interesting take on what i broached yesterday and intriguing to hear a woman's perspective. the fact that she's a sports journalist in a field dominated by men with yellow armpits, beef jerky breath, and fantasies of channeling hunter s. thompson is not lost on me.

so, brady...clearly i don't know the cat, so i can't give any real account as to the kind of guy he is. for all i know, he could be a contagious person who you can't get enough of. as a sports fan, i am tired of him for the same reason people tired of aikman and the dallas cowboys in the 90s -- they win so much that it becomes a bore to watch, but i know that's sort of shallow. as a father, i'm just not so impressed by him due to the fact that he gets a pass for having no relationship with his kid just because he can read a defense or loft air balls to randy moss. sure, on some levels i envy the level of success and accomplishment the guy has attained. who wouldn't? but when i soak up my kids and drizzle occasional tears of joy over the fact that they are in my life, i feel like maybe the guy is short-changing himself.

my father evaporated from my life when i was around 10 years old. he hasn't a clue as to where i am or what's happening with me. it's part of my fabric, and at this stage i would not alter that back story even slightly. to do so would be to redefine who i am, to alter the hue and fit of my own skin. no thanks...the skin fits just fine and i can't afford an exorbitant shrink bill now that i have college funds to build up. still, now that i have kids, i can't even begin to fathom some point in my life where i would not know a single thing about either of my kids. it's incomprehensible, yet it happens.

the good thing is that we're all humans and with that comes hope. sometimes we get the chance to alter the course of time and space to make things right. i suspect tom brady will do that somewhere down the line.

in the meantime, let's gooooooooooo giaaaaants!!!!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

confessions of a convalescent mind

greetings from mount percocet. that's where i've spent the last 4 days, shirking responsibility for my words and actions. hernia surgery turned out to be a bigger bitch than i expected, but i think i'm almost out of the woods in terms of recovery. in terms of fogged mind, however, one foot remains in the woods, which is not so bad.

compared to how i usually spend this very same weekend, or for at least the past five years, the situation could not have been more different. usually this weekend i'm up to my waist in fresh utah powder, an ear-to-ear grin on my wind-burned face, as i bomb snowbird's mineral basin. the closest i've gotten to that passion is watching the winter x games on espn. i'm hitting mount snow in vermont with some friends in 6 weeks just to get some turns in and to validate my toleration of yet another winter. it should be a good test for my bionic groin.

in the meantime, here are a few blurred snippets of what i can remember from the experience...

violation - i woke up from surgery to discover that my pubes had been shaved. i guess i should have figured this would happen since i knew they'd be operating in my downtown area, but it still threw me off when i first noticed it. then i got to thinking - that has to fall on the list of world's worst jobs, right? think about if you punched a clock each day (maybe you even got great 401k benefits for it) and spent your day shaving pubes. someone's gotta do it...

threat of violation (unrealized, thank god) - my mother-in-law came to town this weekend to see the baby and to assist with managing the house while was out of commission. potential gross-out alert...the nurses told me that percocet and other pain killing narcotics can cause constipation. as someone who carries around a gigantic bag of bathroom issues on his back, this is the last thing i needed to hear. that first night, high as hell, i remember sharing this with wifey and her mom. it was probably at some inappropriate time. in fact, i am sure it was during dinner. well, my mother-in-law is a nurse, so she already knew this and suggested to my wife, right in front of me, that we might want to give him an enema tomorrow. this did not happen in the end...whew!

life imitating what? - wifey equipped me with a couple of trashy magazines, people and us, which i eventually consumed in small doses. what deep words of wisdom did a glean? let's see. oh, trista lost 30 pounds in 5 months after giving birth and feels sexy again. thank jesus because i was losing so much fucking sleep over this. i guess the mags are running out of new ways to rephrase the same concept of brittney being fucked up, so now they're enticing us with exclusives on irrelevant reality television stars losing pregnancy weight. could there be any more delicious news than this?

bunch of brady - i totally bought into the superbowl hype machine. i'm embarrassed to admit how much of this recycled and sensationalized content i have absorbed via the internet and several sports channels the past few days. the following is going to sound self-righteous, but i don't care. this hit me when i was putting the jackal to bed...brushing errant strands of hair from his forehead, planting kisses on him, and telling him i love him so much. i am sick of tom brady and how the media jocks him and the patriots. aside from the fact that they have won enough and that their bit is tired, i suppose i have a bit of an issue with that guy and perhaps an even deeper issue with the machine that promotes him as this golden boy. for me it boils down to his relationship, or lack thereof, with his son. (in case you live under a rock, brady left bridget moynihan to be with gisele bundchen. moynihan had a baby boy, brady's, not too long after, and she's raising the kid on her own...) at the end of the day, no matter how many super bowl rings he rocks, no matter how many quarterback records he holds, and no matter how often he makes sweet country love to gisele, he still has nada with his estranged baby boy. for someone with what would seem like an overflowing cup, it looks kind of empty to me. but don't expect that side of his story to get much ink. the other day, watching a press conference with him, i wondered if any reporter in the room would get the balls to broach the topic. i think i dozed off at some point, but i doubt anyone did.

house call - i think it was sometime saturday morning that my cell phone rang, and the number did not register in my phone book. since i felt like a feather, i rolled the dice and answered. surprisingly i heard my psychologist on the other end of the line. (back story: he and i had played some phone tag over the previous few weeks of the new year in an attempt to arrange a sit-down. basically i want a mental/emotional check-up before committing to certain paths this year and had yet to nail down a date.) here's how it went:


RG, it's doctor lincoln.

hey there.

how are you?

i'm high on percocet. you?

oh, why is that? (voice smacks of real concern)

i had surgery the other day. nothing to worry about.

good, because i've heard some stories.

i bet. (giggle...almost lose control)

yeah, so be careful with that.

no problem. i don't really like it. (lying...almost giggle again)

that's good. (seeing through the lie) so when can we get together?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

hernia of the brain

tomorrow i have hernia repair surgery. today i am being administered a medical exam by whatever lab company the life insurance company uses. whenever this lady shows up (the window of time leads me to believe she was a cable guy in her former life), i will dispense urine and blood and answer lots of questions related to my health. all of this adds up to a couple of things:

1 - due to drinking water like it's my job, i have pissed 12 times today and wonder if my urine, completely transparent, will register anything when it reaches the lab.

2 - an enormous hunger headache. two 12 hour periods of fasting within the span of two consecutive days has me listless, moody, and with throbbing head.

i think i'm also edging into delirium, if my noon meeting today is any indication. we were retained by a education noprofit to fill an executive director position. they signed the contract last week, and we planned the launch meeting for today. based on shreds of our conversation and the sound of her voice, i completely assumed the current executive director to be unattractive and decrepit. well when my colleague and i rolled into her office, she instantly became the object of another fleeting crush. she was a cougar, to be sure, but not hard on the eyes for a second. in any case, i had a hard time comprehending the first 5-10 minutes of our conversation and was almost tempted to say, "time out...can we just pause for a few minutes so i can get over the fact that you're hot?"

so basically dinner tonight will be the only meal i consume in a span of 36 hours. i hope i can get through the mealtime conversation without losing my mind.

Monday, January 21, 2008

blue duck tavern

It's probably fair to preface my first crack at a restaurant review by admitting that I went into the experience completely biased and giddy. As I have mentioned, the night in question, Saturday, was the first non-pregnant date night for me and my wife, so I don't believe anything could have spoiled it. We could have been gang fucked by flyblown wildebeests and still called the date a success. That said, I will try my best to be objective on the topic of Blue Duck Tavern.

My wife, whose blog will surely surpass mine in terms of substance and matter into which one might sink teeth, suggested that we do "he said, she said" reviews on the restaurant. Since I'm grazing these days for new material to compliment the banal diatribes on my so called life, I snapped up her proposal.

The usual suspects -- atmosphere, bar, food, service, and bathrooms -- will stand trial in this case.


Sexy and rustic. Hard to imagine those two words used together to describe a venue, yes? Well somehow Blue Duck pulls it off, and nicely. The bar is sexy and modern while the dining room is warm and cozy. I know it sounds like opposite ends of the spectrum, but when you stroll from the bar to the dining room, the transition is seamless.

The only aesthetic that's sort of hard on the eyes is the uniform worn by servers and bartenders: over sized black suit with a dark t-shirt underneath. The Miami Vice vibe didn't fit, but I won't hold it against them.


I really dig hideout bars and lounges in hotels around town, and this is definitely one I plan to hit again and again. As the hostess led us the bar, I kicked myself for taking this long to try the place out, and this was before I even sipped a drink or tasted a bite. The bartender greeted us with a warm smile and made one of the most balanced martinis I've had in a long time. She also recommended some great cheeses, the names of which completely escape me, and paired a nice Steele Chardonnay Cuvee to compliment them.

Typically my wife and I like to have dinner at the bar of a great restaurant. Wonderful service is a fleeting glance away since the bartender is right there, and you never have the feeling that you're being hurried. You also can order food at random and not in the standard starter, entree, dessert format. Not to mention, if you go enough times or make good conversation with a bartender, you're more than likely to catch a free drink. It never hurts to know a handful of bartenders around town. In this case, however, we decided to try the dining room so we could get the full experience. But make no mistake, we'll be back at that bar sooner than later.


By the time we were seated at a table, I was buzzed and hungry. In my experience, too much sauce before dinner can spoil the whole affair and leave you stuffing your face without even tasting the $30 entree you ordered. I was not that guy that evening. A quick perusal of the menu stirred butterflies in my stomach and sort of sobered me up anyway. It didn't take us too long to order:

Wifey order the New York Strip, which you could probably cut with a plastic spoon. Everything about it had me dancing in my chair. Still, I think I ordered better by going with the braised barbecue beef "long rib." Honestly, I find myself thinking about it a few days later. The tender meat fell off the bone, and the barbecue sauce marinade found me chewing each bit slowly and deliberately. My wife tells me to slow down all the time, but it took the "long rib" to get me on board with that concept. So damn good.

We ordered finger sized steak fries and creamed spinach as well, but they were completely overshadowed by the red meat gems. Don't get me wrong -- the sides work and I recommend giving them their day in the sun. I will say that I could not suppress my immature perspective of the sexual nuances in the menu: beef "long rib" and finger sized fries? I know, grow up, right?

I can't address the dessert menu since we had no room for it. Maybe next time...


Blue Duck also does breakfast. I learned this when the manager told me I was a no-show at 7:45 that morning. Apparently I didn't pay enough attention when dialing us in on Opentable. She told me not to worry and scored us a table at 8pm and was very graceful about everything.

As I mentioned, the bartender was friendly and owns her domain at the bar.

Our server was just okay. When my wife was kicking around a bottle in the $50 range, he made some comment, which was clearly audible to the other tables in our row, to the effect of "if you're thinking of a cheap bottle, I suggest..." On top of it, he looked to be in his mid-20s and swimming in his dad's cheap black suit. In other words, he was hard to take seriously, so we pretty much blew him off most of the night. Like I said, wildebeests...

Over all, the service didn't blow me away, but it won't keep me away either.


Some people, myself included, look at bathrooms as multi-dimensional. In other words, they can be so much more than a place to relieve yourself and wash your hands. The graffiti on the wall in this bathroom reads: illicit activity encouraged. Enough said.

On our way home we decided to stop at Buck's Fishing & Camping, a few blocks from our house, for a Macallan 12 year. I so missed drinking Scotch with my wife. As we sipped our drinks and basked in the glow of a truly amazing food and wine buzz, we decided that Blue Duck has entered our top 10 and absolutely falls onto our short list of places to visit again.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

good job

as of today i'm worth $1 million, sort of. that is to say, i upgraded my life insurance policy to that amount, so my wife gets $1 million when i vacate this world. that's assuming i die before her, which is bound to happen since women tend to outlive men when it boils down to natural causes. the one thing us men have going is that we age more gracefully than women, so at least when we reach the point where one foot is in the grave, we can still look good.

my sense of humor is often pitch black. i laugh at scenes in horror films that are meant to terrify and induce nightmares. when people die in action films, i laugh my ass off as i rewind the scene to watch it again. not lost on me is the fact that this is rather fucked up. at the same time, it is what it is and does not tend to manifest itself in macabre ways, so whatever.

today as we finalized the terms on our new life insurance policies with our financial planner in my conference room, i tried out a concept i recently developed about how to cash in. the essence of it, as i described, is if times get really tough and the family needs a windfall, my wife and i flip a coin or play rock/paper/scissors (2 out of 3, of course) to decide who goes out to run errands, loses control of the vehicle, and plunges off a bridge into the potomac river. needless to say, the scenario didn't elicit a chuckle or a smile. tough audience today.

in other news, i did a good job of drinking my coffee this morning. i also did a good job of taking a shower. oh, and let's not forget the good job i did at feeding the dog, putting on shoes, and retrieving the paper from the front yard. the jackal has developed a tendency of endorsing and encouraging the very basic things i do lately, parroting the words of encouragement i dispense for him on a daily basis in reaction to his following directions. essentially, no one can do wrong in the house these days, which feels kind of good. i could probably throw a brick through the neighbor's window then tell him to fuck his mother, and the jackal would say, "good job, dad!"

all of the above is true, but this post is really just an excuse to mention that my wife has finally crossed the threshold and launched a blog.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

blogger ID

it's really nice having my wife back. i bitched and vented probably way too much about not having my partner in crime during her pregnancy, as if i was the one dealing with real physical, emotional and mental hardship along the way. (sorry about that, r) and while there is certainly a transition period to deal with, what with the new baby routine and all, it's just a pleasure to be able to catch a wine buzz and chill with her.

the potential issue with that -- the novelty of getting wine drunk seems to be taking the shape a bottle-or-more-per-night habit, which finds me feeling like a beef jerky lizard most mornings. "dry" hardly begins to convey how these red wine hangovers feel. (the fact that radiators rock the heat in out house certainly lends to that.) for example, at the risk of disclosing too much information, today i pounded water and green tea all morning at the office and did not hit the men's room for business of the #1 variety until 1pm. dehydrated much?

so, tonight and the rest of this week i am taking a break and saving myself for our first dat
e night this saturday. my parents are coming in, the first wave of new baby visits, and we are taking advantage of the built-in baby sitting feature by hitting blue duck tavern for drinks and dinner.

i'm thinking of putting on a food critic hat and trying my hand at a review. i've been getting into local food blogs lately. i am half tempted to stalk, not really, and semi-crush on metrocurean these days. but seriously, i feel i'm at a crossroads about this blog and where i want to take it. so far it's been a nice outlet for recording odd slices of my life, but i feel the need to lend some new ingredients to the pot.

shit, the lump of cole is waling upstairs so i guess i better peel off. story of my life lately -- i can hardly carve out time for an identity crisis. definitely more on this soon...

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

fear and loathing at the playground

i am half ashamed to admit that just a few years ago i was that guy on the airplane casting dirty looks in the direction of the guy trying to sooth a screaming baby. now, it's kind of funny that i cast dirty looks at cats who seem uncomfortable or annoyed at the scene my own kid tends to make in a public setting. i can't say that i abhor those without kids because everyone has their own path in this world, but i can say that i have crossed over and i relate less to what i used to be.

the other day i dabbled in the usual gray period that comes with every saturday morning. the question is always this: do i run errands all day or do i enjoy the day off and have a life? for the jackal, who has become my primary assignment while mommy tends to the newborn, the answer to this question comes easy. whichever entails adventure for him, so it matters not. still, when i spend a saturday carting him around to the dry cleaner, grocery store, hardware store, and liquor store then tell him it's nap time, i feel like i am ripping him off. and truthfully i feel like maybe i am also ripping myself off.

on this particular saturday morning, i decided lafayette park would be our destination. since it was unseasonably warm, mommy and cole came with, making it a family affair. there are three playground areas at the park, two for older kids (5ish and up) and one for younger kids or toddlers. i warmly reference the latter as the "graveyard" because it seems to be a dumping ground for dilapidated and forgotten toys. it's amazing, really. i counted 5 busted and useless toy kitchen sets, 3 broken down tool benches, 2 cars missing wheels, and a doll house that literally looked like the end result of a doll smoking in bed. it's a pretty ghastly site.

okay, off my high horse. the truth is that, as i took inventory of this scene, the thought of ditching a few of the jackal's waste-of-space toys under the cover of darkness crossed my mind, but that's neither here nor there.

the jackal opted for the "graveyard" first, which suited me fine since it's fenced in. plus, it happened to be empty of kids and parents, which appealed tremendously to my social anxiety disorder. of course that did not last, as a couple of kids and parents eventually shuffled or rolled in high end strollers to join in. the root of my aforementioned anxiety is the unpredictability of the jackal around other kids and vice versa. without fail, some kid is going to approach another and yank a toy from his/her hand, which will induce screaming and rioting and the eventual involvement of the parents, which can be completely uncomfortable, especially when i'm trying to decide if i had enough coffee to launch my day. besides, the concept of sharing twists my mind really. i mean, we tell these kids to share, yet if a stranger walked up and took my phone from me, i'd certainly not be down with it. in the end, it turned out that the kids were perfectly chill. it was a parent barking into her cell phone that rubbed me like raw denim. i couldn't quite get the gist of her conversation, but the tone and increasing volume made me so anxious that, after 5 minutes of it, i decided we had to roll. "this lady makes me want to slit my wrists, let's move on," i announced to my wife at a decibel other parents, including her, could make out clearly. one guy looked my way and nodded in agreement. my wife, she turned a shade of pink.

the next stop was the big kid playground and, as it would happen, more angst. mommy and cole chilled on a park bench while the jackal and i made like monkeys on the jungle gym. once i went down the tunnel slide backwards and on my back, the jackal treated me like a doll with a pull-string on my spine and commanded that i do it again and again and again. of course i obliged, mostly because his giggle is something i wish so badly that i could bottle and would do anything to hear again and again and again. we did this song and dance for a good 20 minutes, until i climbed the ladder and noticed a familiar face coming toward the playground with his two kids in tow. it was a former client, the creative director of an interactive agency in town. long story short -- my firm placed an art director on his team, and the guy quit a few months later, which meant we owed them a replacement, which didn't happen quickly enough for them, which led to awkward blood and a disintegration of the relationship. there's more to the story, but the gist is that there was never real closure. i should mention that i have seen this cat a few other times in the neighborhood -- at the toy store, pizza place, and liquor store -- and have successfully avoided him. while he was very cool most of the time when we worked together, he also had some hot headed moments. that said, i was not about to interface with him on a saturday morning and get that closure on the playground, so i threw a couple of armed forces style signals to my wife telling her to saddle up and we made our exit without incident.

mental note for my next playground visit: always keep the head on a swivel and come armed with a coffee traveler. morning dose of xanax probably wouldn't hurt either.

Friday, January 4, 2008

what the chuck?

Chuck E. Cheese scared the shit out of me when I was a kid. His partner in crime -- Showbiz Pizza's redneck bear, Billy Bob -- didn't really phase me. Same went for birthday party clowns. Sure, those cats were sad and depressing, but I think they made me feel better about myself. Not Chuck E. Cheese. He was a rodent, and rodents make my skin crawl. The affiliation of a rat with food and children just never registered as cute and fun to me.

Today I still think little of Chuck E. Cheese, but that probably has more to do with me being a cynic and a germ freak. (That reminds me -- where's my Purell?) I mean, how infested must that place be, especially during cold and flu season? Just seeing footage on PBS commercials of kids writhing in those ball pits or freaking out over a round of Whack-a-mole makes me want to take a shower.

Well, I'm afraid that rat has returned to my life. This morning as I pulled my various props together for work, the Jackal approached. He was so visibly charged up that I thought he might jump out of his skin.

What's up, man?

I'm going to Chuck E. Cheese today!

Okay, I can't deny that seeing the Jackal so excited completely thrilled me, even if the source of that gives me a shiver. So what did I do? I handed him a twenty and kissed his cheeks.

On the way to work, it occurred to me that times have certainly changed when you are giving your two year old twenty bones for an outing. Remember when we were kids and a dollar did the trick?

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

finding cholo

i know that i have not posted since nam, or at least it feels that way. for that matter, many aspects of "life and how to live it" (one of the best rem songs in their catalog) have fallen by the wayside the past couple of months. i probably should not even touch on this topic because chances are i won't find myself pecking at the keyboard on this blogger interface for another few months, but what the hell...

happy 2008 to one and all. it may be a new year, but i have no plans to cram anything new whatsoever into this one. we did enough of that last year -- new job for wifey, new home, and new baby. that's right -- cole william was born 5 days ago, which makes the sum of our parts 4. so far, so good, other than the fact that i double-take every time i lay eyes on this little guy. i mean, how the hell did i suddenly become the father of two boys? it's simultaneously electrifying and terrifying. so, as i mentioned, enough new shit. this year, it's out with the new, in with the old, or something like that.

it's safe to say that i rang in the new year in the most tepid manner possible. we went to a kid friendly party and ended up home around 10:30ish. after putting the jackal to bed with his truck, helicopter, and fire engine -- xmas gifts that have taken the place of teddy bears and puppy dogs -- i planted myself on the couch while my wife tended to the rituals of settling a newborn down for the count. after some channel surfing i zoned out to an old episode of entourage. when it ended, i dialed up the directv menu screen and noticed that it was 11:58pm, at which point i flipped to dick clark -- a decrepit mannequin of his former self -- and watched the count down. when the clock struck 12, i gulped down my bottle of water and shuffled up to the nursery where my wife breast fed cole. "happy new year," i whispered and kissed her, hoping the stale scotch taste in my mouth did not convey. after that i went to kiss the jackal on the forehead while he slept and woke up in his bed two hours later. like i said, it was rather boring and dry, but at the same time it was completely heart-warming and real, so maybe the best ever.

i am sad to report that we had a death in the family today. a few hours ago i went kevorkian on the jackal's beta fish, cholo. i like to think that he is making his way through the WASA sewer system right now to the potomac river, maybe making some new friends en route. at least that's what i told myself as i fought back tears before flushing his catatonic ass down the toilet. he lasted a year, which shocked and often frustrated me, before he stopped eating and resorted to making like pathetic chunk of concrete at the bottom of the bowl.

so long, cholo. it's been real. try to keep it that way.