Sunday, October 28, 2007

And they kept on dancing... 

That's kind of how I feel about our wedding party and the get-togethers we've been having. Every few weeks we've been able to come together for a great weekend of some sort just to prolong the energy of this circle of friends that has been created around us. First it was the bridal shower / bachelorette party; then two weeks later we had the Lew Beach weekend. Two weeks after that us boys had our paint ball / AC weekend. Two weeks after that, the wedding weekend itself. Just this weekend I finally sent out all the pictures from the wedding weekend (in lieu of an actual get-together).

Next stop: Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve Parties!

The Saturday after Thanksgiving we're hosting the first holiday as a married couple in Brooklyn! It won't be another turkey dinner, we can promise you that, and this party is invite only.

As for New Year's, we're going along with our past policy of second-degree friends.

We're hoping for as many of the bridal party peops as possible for both parties, but that can't happen. If you're reading this, you are almost certainly invited to both, so start imagining really cool side dishes for thanksgiving, and new year's party themes.


Monday, September 24, 2007

Dream-Maker Succeeding!...(for now) 

It looks like the One Laptop Per Child initiative led by Nicholas Negroponte, which I first wrote about back in January '07, is underway.

If I had a job, who knows? Maybe I'd buy one of those cute, little green-and-white machines and hand-crank my laptop to a start in Prospect Park. I wouldn't have to worry about the glare because of the sunlight readable display. For that matter, I could throw the damn thing in the lake because of its water-proof chassis.

And somewhere in the world, in some participating, UN-registered Least-Developed (LD) nation, a child would receive a little green-and-white machine, or more likely, a school or town would receive it for the use of many children.

Is access to a laptop the most important factor in a child's education-- more than his/her teacher, school-infrastructure, curriculum? No. Is it going to thrust LD Nations into globally-competitive, high-tech economies? Highly friggin unlikely. But will it bring a smile of joy to a child's face who does not have a computer to sit in front of all day the way we do? Mioght the child be fascinated and curious about how the machine works and what its capabilities are? Methinks so.

For that, I still assert Nicholas Negroponte as an inspirational example of turning a dream, a dream that many said was impossible, into reality.


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Far too long! 

Hello all, and sorry for the super-long hiatus that Optimism has taken over the summer. So much work and all...

Props to all you for a most magnificent weekend up in the Catskills. Caitie and I were talking about making it a yearly gathering; that is, if the Stovers would be willing. Wasn't having Renee around the whole weekend awesome?

The brainstorming session around tent city gave has got me thinking about Renee's idea for a large central tent in the back. What do you guys think? Something large enough to fit 30 or 40 people under comfortably, a place to go in case it rains, with tables for eating and playing games...

Ideas, ideas!!

This size tent will cost about $450 - transportation and set up included...


Thursday, May 31, 2007


Meme--according to 1oth Ed. Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary-- n. an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture

Tag n. 1 : a game in which the player who is it chases others and tries to touch one of them who then becomes it

In no particular order...

6. It's a tough call to say which is worse, my short- or long-term memory. I leak data like a sieve. I was electrocuted once: 110 volts to the top of head, bolt of steel from the sky to earth threaded through my bones and boots, black out, wordlessness, wake up, whoa. Any relation to my poor memory? Can't remember if my memory was any better previous to this incident. See what I mean?!

2. I get really tense chanting Om on the yoga mat in a yoga class. Why??? Maybe it's because I've always been told I'm a horrible singer and am loathe to loft my voice in front of such placid strangers. In sixth grade, I was asked by the director to lyp-sycnh during a full-ensemble chorus number because I was standing relatively near the front of the stage. To boot: he [the director] was good friends with my mom and probably was gentler with me than he would've been otherwise. Ow!

3. I often forget to brush my teeth at night. Which means, many days I only get one brush in. I don't floss. Last time I was at a dentist: approximately 2002. Dr. Carnevale told me to come back in six months and that I would probably need a couple of cavities filled: my first. When I eat something dry and crunchy (pretzels, crackers, cookies, etc.), my molars fill up with crumbs like a squirrel's cheeks with nuts. I use my tongue to scrape the teeth-caves clean. It's a serious pain-in-the-ass. And entirely my fault.

7. I'm an unrepentant people-watcher. On the train, on the street, in a restaurant...I pretend to read a book, to be listening to the person I'm talking to, to be staring just to the left of you...but really, I'm looking striaght AT you, studying you, imagining you, scanning your face for a window to your thoughts. Mom and I used to sit on a bench in the middle of Paramus Park Mall, quietly munching on funnel cake, and never saying a word, just staring into the human throng. (BTW-when reading number 7, kindly pronounce it Paramus Park Mawl to feel the full-flavor of this memory, all confectionary sugar and deep-fry, in your mouth...)

1. I almost never use sun-block.

5. I am in the bad habit of eating latelatelate at night to ward off sleep. Long after Carson Daly is in bed and the infomerical reigns supreme. Sometimes, I fall asleep before finishing what I'm eating. One time, I fell asleep in bed with a bowl of rammen and woke up on a soupy pillow. I am, on occassion, completely ferral, undomesticated, and disgusting.

8. I once wrote a poem-series that started off with the lines: Heineken deuce-deuce and five-dollar sashimi at the laundromat / I am so ghetto. It was around the time that 8-Mile came out and I was disproportionately passionate about the working-class experience. I made friends with the local ilegales while washing our clothes and we would buy lots of cheap beer at the deli next door, get drunk, arm wrestle, and attempt to explain the world in slurry spanglish hybridizations of truths. Armando, if you are out there reading this somewhere, I'm sorry. I was telling you the truth when I said the only reason you couldn't move in with me and work-for-rent was because my mom never would've allowed it. Had I been living on my own, I would've gladly given you a bedroll in the basement. But mom didn't like 8-Mile road an no matter how many bills I paid or mortgage payments I made, it was still her casa. Lo siento, pobrecito amigo mio.

4. I have hairy feet and toes. They are my pride and joy. And Jesse can tell you what punishment awaits if you attempt to pluck, pull, shave or otherwise shear the source of Samson's strength.

Okay, so I am tagging Fred and Jackie, as they are the only other bloggers that I know. Hear that kiddos? As if we didn't know enough stupid facts about each other, now I want 8 more. 8...as in 8 Mile road, 8 O'Clock coffee,8 maids a-milking, 8-ball corner pocket and 8 players on a baseball team if you don't count the catcher cuz' what does he do besides sit there?

1. Each player starts with 8 random facts about themselves.
2. People who are tagged write a blog post about their 8 random things and post the rules.
3. At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and post their names.
4. Don’t forget to leave them a comment and tell them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.


Monday, May 28, 2007

You Are Tagged!!! 

Jesse and John, you are each tagged! Check out Soggy Peanut Shells to see what I mean - and then check out Faithy's blog post entitled "They Like Me, They Really Like Me!" because she's got a better handle on it than I do! Maybe you'll know more peops to send it along to . . . .


Monday, May 14, 2007

Mexican Mother's Day 

As everyone knows, Mother's Day is the most popular day to dine out in America. At least, according to the National Restaurant Association (according to Wikipedia.) This being the case, I wasn't able to spend Sunday with the Momster as I deemed it more important to make lots of money by getting other people's mothers drunk. (One mom looked like she was going to pass out on the bench outside after she left! An ex- bartender herself, she tipped rather generously, so naturally, I poured the same.)

However, good fortune always being around the corner wearing a sombrero, Friday was the officially recognized Mother's Day of Mexico. So, I took Friday night off from work to take my mother out with my sister and brother-n-law (the renowned jimmymaker.) We went to Banana's Comedy Club on Rt. 17 in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ. Situated in a lovely Holiday Inn, fumigated by the lovely Turnpike corridor breeze, Banana's is a fantastic place to spend Mexican Mother's Day, or any other day really, with the ones you love. Ticket prices are $12 for the show alone, and $31.50 for the show plus three-course (one-star) meal at the restaurant beforehand. Dirt cheap! And the talent is good. In the past, before they were quite so well-known, Banana's has hosted the likes of Seinfeld, Chris Rock and many others.

The club is located off the main lobby, next to the hotel restaurant, in an unadorned banquet hall with a futon-sized stage where the comedians perform, literally, with their backs against the wall. Patrons are sat communally at long, narrow tables-- if you are unlucky enough to be seated facing away from center, you have to crane your neck awkwardly to see the action. Neck-aches withstanding, we had a wonderful evening full of belly-deep laughter, mediocre food and so-so drinks (coffee for the madre.)

The headliner, Greg Vacarolle, had great observational humor but really shined in his ability to work the crowd. A tall man, the very first line of his set as he walked to the front of the tiny stage and looked down at a heavy-set woman in full Jersey regalia (hairspray, makeup, diamonds), was: Wow, you're at ball-level... that's kind of awkward. He picked on her for being ball-level periodically throughout the night, at one point referring to her as 'ball-lady'-- right before introducing himself to her son beside her! He made fun of another table as being slow by explaining his jokes to them after the punch-lines. He referred all of his Italian jokes to Steve, a Sopranos-looking fellow seated at the table next to us, and whenever he needed a friend during an awkward silence, again Steve was his go-to.

The opening comedian's name was Chips Something-or-Other. (Not really Something-or-Other, I just can't remember. Is this a dense crowd or what, Steve?) Wearing a black cape and top-hat, he began his act with a mock magician's routine. To the tune of cheesy elevator music, never speaking a single abra or cadabra, he took a series of objects out of a trunk and created amazing illusions with them. For instance, two plastic cups inserted one inside the other go under his handkerchief. He waves his hand over the hanky, wisps away the hanky revealing the two-cups-in-one, and then, for all to see, magically removes one cup from the other, making two! Que increible! He also made a cow-bell disappear from underneath his hanky by slapping it with his other hand, sending it crashing and clanking to the back of the stage. Voila! After the mock magic and idiotic illusions, Chips did a quick set of observations mostly centered on the aging body and its infirmities.

I definitely recommend the Banana's Comedy Club. All of us had our share of disappointment at UCB, but in my two visits to BCC there's been nothing but knee-slapping and tears shooting from eyeballs. Also, I tip my sombrero to Mothers everywhere. Keep on doing that strange drive-me-crazy/love-me-like-a-rock thing that noone can accomplish quite like yous.

Mom, Heather and I (goofy, but not drunk.)


Friday, May 11, 2007

Overheard in Brooklyn 

A couple is on the train, filling out some kind of application.

Dude: Okay, what's it say here? Race? Why the fuck I gotta put down that I have a race? I'm not black.

Chick: That's just stupid. Why would they want you to put that?

Dude: Yeah! This is some stupid shit. They want me to put down that I'm black, and I'm not. What the fuck?

Chick: You know what? Leave it blank. And if they ask you, tell them that you don't have any race in you. They can't ask about that kind of shit anyway.

from unfurnished brooklyn

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