Monday, January 28, 2008

The Page 123 Book Meme

I've been tagged by amba for this meme:

1. Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages)
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

I was at work when I "got" the tag, and the nearest book was the "Visual Quickstart Guide to Photoshop CS." There's a message in this, I decided. The message is, "I should actually pick this up more often, so that I will Suck Less at Photoshop."

But it didn't really fit the meme, so I waited until I got home. I picked up the book nearest to the living room. It was Better Homes and Gardens "Carb Counter's Diabetic Cookbook." Page 123 is a recipe for Grilled Salmon with Herb Crust.  The three sentences, out of context, read like a cooking haiku:

"Transfer to a shallow dish.
Or use a sharp knife to finely chop oregano, cilantro, green onions, and garlic. 
Transfer to a shallow dish."

I don't know if that fits the meme either, but it's tastier than Photoshop.

As far as tagging somebody, if you're reading this and are near books and feel like taking a shot, consider yourself tagged.

Saturday, January 26, 2008


When my department moved to a new floor with the other "creative" departments, the dress code seemed to unofficially segue into "business casual." This week, I would have worn my pajamas if I could have.

I'm at the tail end of my third cold in a month. I have never in my life had three colds in one month. 

I took Nyquil on Thursday night to quell a hacking cough that had kept me awake on Wednesday. Nyquil has a faux narcotic that suppresses your cough, and when it wears off, you get the shakes, just like with a real narcotic. A workout with Dynabands after breakfast and I was able to keep from jittering like a junkie, but inside I was still out of phase. I made a bunch of stupid mistakes on the job which I fixed with a cheerful, "No problem!" But inside I thought, "Oh geez, I'm gonna lose my job and we're going into a recession and I'm too old for anyone to ever hire me again. Forget about staying home sick, because I'm gonna be homeless."

I've been hibernating, shrugging off get-together suggestions like a pill. A movie? A play? Sure, if the other patrons want to be driven crazy by my incessant coughing and sneezing. Dinner? Why bother, I can't taste anything. A long, gossipy phone conversation? Okay, but don't take it personally if I fall asleep in the middle.

I'm going to end up like Burgess Meredith at the end of that Twilight Zone episode. . . You know the one that I mean. God's going to say, "Okay, Miss Grouchy, no more friends for you!"

The people with degrees in social work who have been counseling me tell me I'm doing very well. "You're only six months out! You're still grieving! Take it easy on yourself."

"I bet you say that to all the neurotics," I reply. 

But then I think back to a year ago at this time, when the latest and greatest miracle drugs had failed to work and the doctors said, "Six months," and they were right almost to the day. And I was awake night after night wondering how the hell I would survive Jim's not surviving, and afraid to tell anybody how afraid I was. But I must have survived, because here I am a million jokes and a million heartaches later, the same joker and worrier.

So tonight I'm in comfy old clothes with bowls of comfort food watching Godfather and Godfather II. Hopefully, I have enough of a track record in both work and friendship so that I can be less than spectacular once in a while and still be forgiven. And maybe when the Ice Age thaws out around here, I won't be as extinct as the dinosaurs. Maybe I'll go from being a crawling, fuzzy thing to being a social butterfly.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I'm on Ur Pillow

Leaving My Hair in Ur Face

I almost never can get Ashley to look into the camera, and then she's got that crossed eye so sometimes it's hard to tell where she's looking.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Frigid, But Beautiful

Not me. . . the weather.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Fixin' A Hole

(Note: I've been in agony from sciatica for the past 24 hours and am blogging standing up, hunched over my keyboard like Jerry Lee Lewis.)

The tile guys were here in Friday morning to fix my bathroom floor, where I had discovered a hole on New Year's. I'd thought they were going to pull up the floor and put down a new one. Instead, they used these tiles the size of paving stones and just laid them over the old floor. 

It looks good, but because the building is 150 years old and there are no level floors or right angles anywhere, the unevenness of the floor is already causing cracks in the grout.

As my Bulgarian neighbor says, "Every time you fix something, is broken by building."

So yesterday I was looking at the kitchen wall, where I had hung a cheap print of the Brooklyn Bridge a couple of years ago to cover a hole that has since been fixed:

I decided that the poster was sucking the life out of the room and if I had to look at it one more day I would lose my will to live. I caught the last free shuttle bus to IKEA, where I braved heavy crowds and people banging into each other like pinballs, and picked up a poster and a frame:
The next thing I have to fix is me. Work's been a knock-down drag-out lately, we're having record cold weather today, and I'm at home resting with painkillers and a heating pad and clicking back and forth between the Giants-Packers playoff game and a "What Not To Wear" marathon, thus satisfying my male and female sides at once. Although I keep putting Eli Manning in kitten heels.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Stuff I Can Do

I went bowling today for the first time in years. (It's my contention that unless you're The Dude from "The Big Lebowski," you will invariably follow the words "I went bowling today" with "for the first time in years.") 

There was a fun mix of people there: Kids' birthday parties, couples on dates, a bunch of young hipsters taking on post-ironic nicknames. I could see the nicknames because one of the biggest innovations since the last time I was there is that there are giant flat-screened monitors all over the place, showing videos and keeping your score electronically. 

My favorite thing was after every frame, an animation would come on the screen with pins and balls chasing each other, morphing into various objects and scampering around. We'd bowl our frame and then rush over to the screen to see the funny animation.

And it occurred to me: These things were created by somebody with a sense of humor and some animation software. I can do stuff like this. Not so much should, but can.

And that annoyed me the rest of the day along with the t-shirt I was wearing whose length shrank in the wash so the bottom kept popping out of the waistband of my pants. There's a whole bunch of stuff I can do, know how to do, would like to do, and I get bogged down so much in the stuff I have to do.

I've been getting this nagging sensation at this time of the year every year for as long as I can remember. One good way to handle it has been to write a big list; not a New Year's Resolution list because that implies that you've seen The Error of Your Ways and you're going to turn over a New Leaf, and that's going to last about a week before you resent it like hell. I'm talking more about one of those David Allen Getting Things Done Dump List, where you get it all out of your head and down on paper, no matter how silly it seems.

That's what I'll be doing the rest of the weekend. And the first thing I'm going to put on the list will be "Get a Sharpie and mark the inside collars of all of the t-shirts that shrank in the wash" so I can wear them with things where you don't have to tuck.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

If I Owe You...

...a phone call, an e-mail, a letter, a dinner, a diatribe or anything else, don't take it personally.

Not only am I in the middle of one of the busiest weeks ever at the job, but I've contracted my second cold in a week and a half. Okay, the first one wasn't technically a cold, since I wasn't sneezing, but I had a sore throat for three days and slept through half the Twilight Zone marathon on New Year's Eve. Either way, I feel like pure hell right now.

I'm afraid to take my temperature since I know it'll be high and I have to go to work tomorrow. My money's on 100.6. I'll get the thermometer right now. Be right back. 

Okay, it's 100.3. But I still feel as if I have hornets in my sinus cavities.

My immune system needs to be recharged. A good night's sleep would be a good place to begin.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

This Guy is Living in an IKEA Store

Comedian/Filmmaker Mark Malkoff is living in the Paramus, NJ IKEA while his apartment is being fumigated.

He's set up residence for a week in the "Living in 700 sq ft." space, the closest most Manhattanites will get to living in 700 square feet.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

This Was Going To Be A Post About That New Make-Over Show

This was going to be a post about that new make-over show that's hosted by one of the guys from "Queer Eye" and the make-over, a cute Latina woman around 30 who'd been dieting her curves into submission for 20 years. 

Then I said to myself, "Bruno, this is Make-Overs 101! You know all this stuff, why are you watching this?" So then it was going to turn into a post about how I keep going back to basics: When I was doing stand-up I kept reading books on "So You Want To Be A Comic?" even after I'd been doing it for years. I keep reading stuff on "How to Blog" even though I've been reading blogs for five years and blogging for nearly three. I've been reading books on how to de-clutter your living space when there is now practically nothing visible in my house except a bed and two cats.

Basically, it was going to turn into this insightful post about how I like to keep going back to see if I missed anything before I make the next leap forward. Except this afternoon I was going to blog about buying a Bali bra and trying to remember if Bali was the brand that made my back suddenly break out into raised capital letters.

But then I saw Chico sleeping like this and nothing else mattered.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

What I'm Listening to Right Now


"This is not your father's Klezmer band...Unless, of course, your father was Sid Vicious."

Note: "Romanesh" is not work-safe. And definitely not parent-safe.

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