November 22nd,2013 |
Every December my sister Patricia sends out a fantastic brag letter. It’s funny, somewhat self deprecating, and informational. I’ve often thought of writing one, but I’m not so good with words. My long suffering wife has spent many years trying to refine the blunt nature of my diction. I remain a work in progress.
Little of my brag letter would make it past the censor, so what’s the point? Alas the censor does not read this blog, or any blog for that matter, so here is how my 2013 brag letter might read:
- In the spring, we spent four weeks in Buenos Aires. The ice cream was real good and the sidewalks were super jacked up.
- We bought two new used cars, so we won’t be going back to Buenos Aires or anywhere for that matter for a few years. Cars are so dumb.
- The basement project continued to go nowhere. But at least I got that giant Jacuzzi tub up and running. Who cares about anything else when you have a giant Jacuzzi tub, right?
- Asia quit soccer and took up softball. She’s looks smooth on the infield. She’s made the traveling basketball team, so now there’s a new set of aches and pains I gotta hear about. She also joined a Chinese dance troupe. I’m not sure what it’s all about but I did see her holding a red lantern or something like that.
- I forgot to sign Zach up for hockey, so he goofed around all fall. He’s joined a jazz group, playing electric violin. Over the summer he busked twice with his violin, netting just under $40. I guess he’ll have options if he’s ever homeless.
- We threw Katt a big 1st birthday party in June. My favorite rock star, Josh Verbantes played some tunes, and our favorite taco truck pumped out tacos for all.
- Zach started Jr. High. He says it’s “like so awesome, man”.
- Over the summer Asia spent three weeks away from home at overnight camps. Zach was away camping for one week. Aside from that crazy baby trashing the place, Elise and I had one very restful week.
- I got new glasses. Since then I’ve been told multiple times I look like a cross between Anthony Bourdain and Ira Glass. Who knew glasses can make you look 3/4 Jewish?
- Elise is back in her symphonic band playing oboe and English horn. She got a gorgeous new do last week. Aside from her hairstyle, she looks exactly the same as she did when I married her 16 years ago, a true timeless beauty.
October 25th,2013 |
There are at least two new Asian families in the neighborhood. It brings great cheer to my heart to see fellow Asians swimming in the local sea of whiteness. The one family is championship material. Their kindergarten son wears impossibly perfect layered clothing and appears to be loved and revered by his peers. Grandpa walks him home. Grandpa wears fine threads as well, and always wears a Pittsburgh Pirates hat. Nothing says local like a “P” hat.
It’s the other family I worry about. Every morning Mom and son wait for the school bus across the street from my house. Mom has sonny wearing a mask, as is the custom in smoggy Asian cities:
This may not be child abuse in the strictest sense, but it’s a heartbreaking sight nonetheless. Poor kid! It’s a magnitude of obliviousness that is difficult for the local observer to process. It reminds me of a time in high school when I was in much the same situation.
During homecoming spirit week, one particular day was college spirit day. Or something like that. Basically we were supposed to wear a University of Illinois, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Depaul, etc. shirt. Sure a few kids wore Northern Illinois, or God forbid an Iowa Hawkeyes shirt, but they probably had good reason for their actions. What did I wear? The one college t-shirt I owned: The University of Western Ontario. It was a shirt that did more than just confuse my friends. It was simply not possible for them to process such a shirt or the existence of such an institution, or why anyone would knowingly or unknowingly wear such a shirt.
So, my fellow Asian friend, I wish you the best of luck with that smog filter. May you find a place in this world. If you stick around the hood, may you learn the unwritten rules of American culture. I pray that one day you will heal, as I have, from the wounds caused by those unappreciative of your blissful ignorance.
So I’ve invented a new diet. I don’t know much about diets, having never before been on one. Actually, I didn’t even realize I was on a diet until I thought about it and decided to name my diet. With no further ado, I present the Special Diet™:
I eat/drink things that contain refined sugars only if they are special, and I only drink booze if it’s special.
It turns out that most sweet or boozy things just aren’t that special. Have you sampled the chocolate from Aldi? It’s a steal; 5½ oz of dark chocolate made in Austria for $1.50. It tastes fantastic too, nothing like that beeswaxy Hershey’s crap. In fact, it’s so fantastic that I was up to a bar and a half every day! But you know what? It’s from Aldi. So if you think about it, it’s just not that special. No more unspecial Aldi chocolate for me. If my daughter were to bake a cake from scratch, by all means I would load up, because that would be special. But alas she almost never does. Restaurants that have a particularly famous dessert? Special enough for me! Too bad I almost never eat out anymore. As far as beer goes, as long as I am in the company of good friends, it qualifies as special. Hmmm, I could see the Special Diet™ ending in disaster if you are an alkie.
But back to sugar. I’d wager that the average plus-sized American would drop 10% of their body weight just by not drinking pop. Mind you, I’m basing this on the anecdotal evidence of my sedentary nephew who slimmed way down from porky to husky just by swapping soft drinks for water.
If the only take away here is that Aldi sells good chocolate, then this is what you’re looking for:
Every day I walk the Katt. As long as I jam a constant supply of ice cubes in her mouth she is oblivious to the great mysteries of West View. So it is up to me to report what is happening on the streets of my beloved borough.
Two days ago a van carrying four tweekers, sporting an I heart SCRAP bumper sticker sped past the Katt and I. At each stop sign the driver slammed on his brakes, screeching to a halt. In response, the passengers shouted in unison “THIS WAY!”. The driver would then peel out, zooming toward the next stop sign. So there’s that.
Yesterday, down by Bronx field, I witnessed a lone octogenarian smoking a cigarette. In his possession were three plastic grocery bags filled with 12″ softballs. One by one, he pulled out each ball and threw it as far as he could (which was not far at all). Then he retrieved the balls and started over. So there’s that too.