Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gobble the grenade.

A year ago I was in Jersey, spending the holiday with her family. I spent most of the day playing with Pete and Bridget. Dickens Days in Clinton.

It's not so much her I miss, because I don't. She isn't worth it.

It's her family I miss.

It's the memories I have of times I should be treasuring forever that will never shine as brightly as they once did.

They're in the pictures I look at when I'm reminiscing with a little bit of disgust that I never felt before.

It's the sour taste I get in my mouth when I have to answer the same goddamn question over and over in the most polite tone I can muster because I know it's being asked out of genuine concern, when I just want to scream "because she SUCKS" just the one time and have it over with but I can't. Even if it's completely true.

After all the analysis, soul-searching, and explanations I can come up with are exhausted it all boils down to the fact that she's a five year-old who would have rather wallowed in her drama and have taken me down with her than to have actually talked to me like a human being.

Seriously, fuck you. Choke on your goddamn turkey.

God bless us, everyone...but you.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Just Because.

I'm just writing in here because I want to get something down on here. I'm just not sure what. Ideas just come to me.

For instance, did you know that I used to volunteer at a battered womens' shelter back in college? I just took calls, talked to people, gave them lists of places to go/call...that sort of thing. I've seen the excuses women come up with to "justify" the fact that they are physically abused.

1) All he does is push me.
2) Don't worry about me; I fight back.
3) If I didn't do (insert benign action here), he wouldn't have had to hit me.
4) He does it to show me he cares about me.

I've heard a lot of excuses in my time. AND NOT ONE OF THEM MAKE IT OK. So when a woman says that she is strong enough to take it, that she fights back, I say to her "sure, you fight back...until the next time when he uses a fist, or a belt, or a bat." And if a woman says that her guy would never do that, tell her to look back to a time when she said they'd never let a man hurt her. It's the idea of diminishing returns, only what diminishes is sanity, control, and self-worth.

A woman who is truly strong either a) doesn't take that shit from anyone, regardless of relationship; or b) knows to ask for help if and when it happens, if and when they can't fix it on their own.

I guess that's all I have to say about that.

USE YOUR HEAD.

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I'm not really sure on the stages of grief/loss, but I'm pretty sure I'm at "anger" right now. I didn't really do "denial" because I'm the one who broke it off and really, how silly would denial be at this point? ("I did it! No I didn't!" See how stupid that sounds?) I'll probably get to the "depressed" part when it gets closer to Christmas, but for right now I'll take the anger. Feels pretty good, actually. It's what's getting my ass around the lake four times a week in this weather.

Which one is after anger? Sleepy? Dopey? Whatever; I'll enjoy "anger" for a while.

Funny enough, the one thing I could always count on to take me to a happy place was acting. I haven't done a show since Love of a Pig, and the last time with that show was at EMACT back in June 2007. I auditioned for a show a few months ago and didn't get in, which was a bummer. I'm going to jump back in for Acme's New Works Festival and their auditions for Picasso at the Lapin Agile. I just need to be able to get onstage. I need to be able to let go of everything else (control, the thoughts constantly in my head, work, stress) and just be told where to go and what to do. Say this line, move to this mark, project to the audience, don't fuck it up. I was actually asked to direct for the NWF but I just couldn't do it. I am too much in my own world to tell other people what to do with theirs. I need direction right now. Strong, confident, organized direction. That'll snap me out of this johnny-come-lately bullshit funk that has been festering in my brain the past week or so.

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Work is...what it is. No holiday party. Possibly no bonuses. You're a Mean One, Mr. Wall Street.

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Alright, I'm spent. Auditions tomorrow, trivia Wednesday, peace and quiet after that.

Sweet dreams, kids.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Words of advice.

For the life of me I couldn't tell you why, but I read this and cried. Maybe I'm just overtired; I don't know. It made me so happy and so sad at the same time. Where you go, I go. Anyway, here it is.


So there's this guy who's walking down the street when he falls into a hole. The walls are so steep he can't escape. A doctor walks by and the guy asks him for help. The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down the hole, and leaves. A priest passes by and the guy asks him for help. The priest scribbles out a prayer, tosses it down the hole, and walks away. Then one of the guy's friends walks by and the guy asks him for help. Without hesitation, the friend jumps down into the hole with the first guy. The first guy asks, "Are you stupid? Now we're both down here!" The friend says, "Yeah, but I've been down here before and I know the way out."

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A Moment of Morbidity

I've always been fascinated with death, mostly because it scares the shit out of me. I am so afraid of dying that I can barely step into a doctor's office or a hospital. Of course, that's also partly attributed to my fear of needles and being "under".

Still, even being as big a pussy as I seemingly am, I think about death. Not in the same way a goth kid does, or an elderly person, or a doctor. I think more about what really happens. Who knows if there really is a God? I don't really subscribe to religion as I genuinely feel that early religions were invented as a story - a story meant to explain "that which cannot be explained" - and which grew to be an escape for people from the harshness of real life. Religion used to be the panacea for anything and everything; diseases were punishments for sins and recoveries were miracles, seemingly the work of divine intervention. It has also evolved into a force of control over the masses, a way to keep the poor from killing the rich and to keep the outsiders just behind the borders of the norm.

Who is right? Who is wrong? And what right do people think they have to judge others based on their beliefs?

I guess I mull these ideas in my head because I don't know what's going to happen when I die. If I even get the chance to reflect on my life as it fades away, what will I see? Will "God" be revealed to me? Will I have flashes of my life, my accomplishments, my failures before I pass? Will I have time for my last words?

I think about my last words more than I probably should. I think about what I need to say if and when I realize that I'm going to die. I've always imagined that my last words will have to be something comforting to my family and friends. Maybe it will be profound, but I'm less worried about that. Will I be surrounded by people I love who will hear my words of comfort? What if I die at a diner or on the train to work? Who will care what I have to say? Who will tell my family I love them?

I just want to be able to tell the people I love that I love them, that they're going to be ok, that I'm going to be ok. And then I think about how many people don't get that chance. People who die in car accidents, or from heart attacks at restaurants, or in botched carjackings; these are people who have lived their lives and have loved and whose flames get snuffed out before they can tell people the people they love that it's all going to be ok, even if it's not.

And maybe I won't be able to say what I need to say. Maybe I'll be too busy crying like a little girl and begging for my fading life. Maybe I will be so preoccupied with fighting against the dying of the light that I won't be able to comfort those I love.

It's scary and it's stupid, I know. But it's what I think about.

So I try to tell the people I love that I love them. My family, my friends...the people who make me happy, who make me love life - even if it's only for a little while and only in small doses. If you really love someone, then go ahead and say it. Don't worry about hurt feelings or reactions; don't let other people pound self-doubt into your head. Love can be so many different things to so many different people, and the idea that love is somehow sacred and only available to certain people in certain situations is ridiculous.

I love my family, I love my friends (new and old), I love the people who make me feel like I matter. I do what I can, though sometimes it's by use of sarcasm and humor, to tell those people that I don't exist without them. I wish more people would get over themselves and just say it to someone - even if you're afraid, even if it's just the love of friendship, even if it complicates things. In the end, you're going to find out what you're made of and what the people around you are made of. Love really will do that for you. It will change you life and make you a better person. And who doesn't want that?

Don't wait to tell people you love them. Don't put it on hold; don't assume that you'll be able to say it tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day. You may never get the chance to change yourself for the better by just being honest and admitting that you're in love with your life and the people in it. And you'll be happier, I promise you.

Love never fails.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Love: An Obituary

It started at a party.

At first, I didn't want to go and Mike did. Then he didn't and I did. After all, it had only been four days since September 11th. No one wanted to move, breathe, leave their beds; why on Earth would anyone want to dance, drink, and yell at each other over loud music when there was so much sorrow in the world? What would be the point?

But as we got to the 12th, and the 13th, and so on the world took on a different feel. People were emerging from their flannel-sheet cocoons with a new mantra, "live now". The world could end at any time, we could be bombed into oblivion, our loved ones might be asked to fight and die abroad. "Live now"...go on and meet people, love life, let go of old fears and old grudges.

And so we decided to go.

And that's when I met you.

Later, we'd omit the part about the "party" being one of the frat variety, and how I met you and two of your friends by being flashed for beads. We spent the night on the dance floor, kissing and talking. Later, we lay in bed and whispered to each other, basking in the glow of the moment.

Alas, our first go-around was destined to fail. You were at school two hours away and I had enough on my plate with work, school, and a semblance of a social life. I only saw you twice in three months, communicating mostly through AIM and the phone. I broke off our then-short dalliance with a phone call right before winter break.

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We started talking again in March. You'd had a failed fling with a friend and I'd missed you. We talked about making an effort to see each other because there was a palpable attraction. I could feel it through the phone. We got back together at the end of that month.

Things were great for a while. The summer was tough, with you living down the Cape with your Nana and me living in Wakefield and working two jobs, but we made it work. Once school started, we were seeing each other all the time until winter finals. After that, I was doing my show and you were living your life. We barely saw each other; add to that the fact that we were still young and I was still stupid, and it equaled a break in April of 2003.

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I was shocked when you decided to come to my college graduation party. We couldn't keep our eyes off each other all night. Once everyone left the party and you stayed behind, I knew that this might be my chance to make things right. We talked, we kissed, we made up and made love, and all was right with the world. We could make this work.

The next year was incredible. I was home, finally close enough to see you on a regular basis. You were finishing up your senior year. That time was bliss; I'm not sure I was ever happier for a longer continuous stretch of time than I was for that year. We laughed, and played, and loved, and dreamed about the future. We even moved in together once your original plan fell through, assured by each other that it was you and me for the rest of our lives.

That would turn out to be a colossal mistake due to the fact that we had no money and you had no friends left up here. Salem was a nightmare. We were broke and we had no social lives to speak of. We fought constantly. We patched up the relationship over and over again. I think we were more scared of leaving each other because of the lease than of the relationship itself. I moved back home but we were too damaged by then; we kept it together until that July and then called it quits. We fooled around for a few months more, unable to let go, and then stopped talking in October.

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I can remember calling you in February of 2007. I was distraught; I'd had a little bit of a medical scare and I needed someone to talk to. You were the most comfortable person I could think of. At the time, I thought that was a compliment.

We started with talking. We moved on to dating. And then we slipped back into love as we had so many times before. And it was wonderful. I was convinced that this was it; you were The One. We had jobs, our own friends, shared confidence; it seemed like everything was falling into place.

March 23rd, 2008 is still the happiest night of my life, even if there has been a little bitterness injected into my memories since then. I asked you to marry me, and you said yes. You looked so beautiful that night. The stars were aligned, the night went as smoothly as I could have ever hoped, and by the time we fell asleep that night the world was ours for the taking, together at last.

Life was great after that. We were ecstatic, telling people left and right that were were engaged. We began making plans for a wedding date, for our children's names, for invitees to the reception.

Finally, my dream of becoming a family man with you was being realized.

And then you began pulling away.

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It started with your workload and school load during the summer. You were taking three classes, working two jobs, and suddenly the time spent together began to dwindle. We went from seeing each other four nights a week to three, to the weekends, to one day a weekend. You were stressed out, but you chose to spend your time off with your new friends. I understood why you thought the way you did: I'd always been and would be around; you wanted to make your own friends and keep them.

So we spent less time with each other. That was frustrating, but I dealt with it. Then you started pulling away further, making plans with your friends and family on the few days we both had free to see each other. You became emotionally distant. Our phone conversations became shorter and less lively. It seemed that you had time to talk and text to everyone except me.

You were attached at the ear and fingers to that goddamn phone. No matter where we were, it was a guarantee that there'd be no meaningful conversation as long as one of your friends was texting you. My family and friends noticed, too; every time you were out with us or over at the house they'd make comments to you about your obsession with your phone. People began pulling me aside and asking me if we were having problems.

I brushed off the criticism, even when the truth was staring me in the face. You were detached, distracted, uninterested. What I took for your desire to be more independent blinded me to what was really happening: you were giving up on our relationship because you stopped feeling the same way about me that I felt about you.

I struggled to keep us together and to understand you. You told me I was suffocating you. You lied to me about why you were feeling the way you were. I believed it because I had no choice. If someone can just fall out of love with someone else without provocation, what does that say about the other person? Can love ever be "forever" if it can be so quickly tossed away?

I had the creeping suspicion that there was someone else. Eventually that was confirmed by an outside source, someone to whom I will be forever indebted. Confronting you about it, I couldn't help but notice the total lack of emotion when you admitted to the elephant in the room. I don't know why I expected more crying or begging or explanation; I hadn't gotten anything real out of you in months.

This time, it was easier. I'd been dealing with a shell of my fiancee for the past few months; the woman I was dealing with now, I didn't even know. Breaking up with someone you don't know is easier than the alternative.

I don't know if you ever would have told me about the other person, but I wasn't willing to wait for you to figure it out.

So here I am now, trying to live my life without your helping hand; unable to converse with your family, to share in the joy of your new cousin, to be included in the love that you so willingly give to others.

I'm doing alright; I have the best family, friends, and co-workers a guy could ask for. I'm going to get back on my feet and try to remember how to start living as a single man again. My stomachaches have disappeared for the most part. I'm probably drinking a little more than I have in recent times, but that's because my amazing support system has sounded the alarm and tried their hardest to help me move on, and that means taking me out. Things will settle soon, and I'll be a better person for it.

And so we've come full circle - from a national tragedy to an emotional one; a story about a man and a woman who were so deeply in love that they couldn't see inevitability when it was staring them in the face.

I don't bear ill will towards you. I'm sad about what has happened but I know you had your reasons. I'm sure that someday you'll figure yourself out, meet someone, and be happy. Maybe you're already on your way there.

Maybe you'll realize in six months that you've made a huge mistake. I won't be there for you if that happens. I can't afford to be.

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So now I lay this story to rest. A story that spanned seven years of our lives, full of passion, tears, laughter, family, broken promises, and love. A story whose time has come and gone.

We'll learn from this experience and become stronger people. We just have to make sure we don't gloss over the time we spent together. Thank you for the wildest, most passionate, most emotionally-immersing seven years I've ever lived. Here's hoping the next seven have a better ending...for you and for me.

Cheers.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Are you FUCKING kidding me?

Let me set the scene for you:

People can't afford to pay their mortgages. Or their oil bills.

A financial institution that's been around for 158 FUCKING YEARS suddenly goes bankrupt. Another one went the way of the dinosaur last month. Yet a third is bought by Bank of America to keep it from following suit.

Inflation has gone way up while the relative growth of salaries has gone way down in the past eight years.

Everyone who doesn't make six figures is feeling the pinch, no matter who they are or what they do.

The former Federal Reserve chair, a man revered by economists and financial minds, stated this week that the current economy is "the worst [he's] ever seen".

And one candidate is so FUCKING OUT-OF-TOUCH WITH REALITY that he said today (the same day that Lehman goes belly-up, Merrill Lynch gets bought out to keep it afloat, and the market drops 500 points - the most since 9/11) that our economy is "fundamentally strong."

You want my reason why this delusional, quasi-senile, double-talking, soul-selling, vile shell of a man shouldn't be our president?

That video says it all. THAT'S my fucking reason.

If you want to sum up a man who gave up his integrity nearly a decade ago in order to get to where he is today, that video is all you need.

Here; I'll post it again in case you missed it.

This man should not be our president. This man keeps lying and distorting the truth to pander to the dumbest among us. The man knows that there are enough moonshine-swilling hillbillies, enough close-minded bigots, enough brainwashed tripe-swallowing cretins to get him into office as long as he keeps throwing 9/11 in our faces.

It makes me fucking SICK.

Those who tout his tax breaks won't see the vast majority of them. They won't. The average American WON'T SEE THEM. Period. Voodoo economics, the "trickle-down effect"...it's all bullshit that the GOP spoon-feeds the mouth-breathers among us and they gobble it up like candy.

Listen, you decrepit, senile old man: I get it. You want to calm peoples' fears so that they'll vote for you. You don't want to throw Dubya under the bus because it will make you look bad. But let's face the goddamn facts: PEOPLE ARE SCARED.

People don't need smoke blown up their asses; they need solutions. They need to know that you understand their plight and that you're here to help. What they DON'T need is for you to look like fucking IGNORANT in front of millions of people. Admit that the economy sucks; admit that it needs to be fixed; admit that you're going to do your best to do the job right. DON'T patronize people.

Seriously, I hope you lose in a landslide.

Fuck you, John McCain.

I'm Andy Boncoddo and I approve this message. Asshats.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Palin don't preach; you're in trouble deep.

I was planning on going to bed tonight. I wanted to write about McCain's surprising (and incredibly cynical) pick of Sarah Palin to be his VP choice tomorrow, or perhaps Friday. Hell, it's 12:30am and I should be in bed.

But fuck that; I'm pissed and disgusted and I'm going to do this now.

McCain's pick of Palin, a first term governor from that hotly-contested and vitally important swing state of Alaska (with it's whopping 3 electoral votes having gone to the Republican party for years), is a pick that should be insulting to members of the GOP and women everywhere. Here is a woman who was picked because she's a frisky outsider, a down-to-her-bones conservative who is anti-abortion, anti-gun control, and pro-Big Oil. Oh, she'll tell you how she's stood up to special interest groups, oil companies, and terrorists as the governor of Alaska over the past 22 months, but really, who the fuck is she kidding?

How did you stand up to terror when neither you nor the leader of the Alaskan National Guard have any say whatsoever as to when or where Alaskan troops are deployed? How did you stand up to Congress with the "Bridge to Nowhere" after your state had already pocketed the money budgeted for the project? If it stopped going to the bridge then where did it go? She's so eager to drill for oil in Alaska, but who the fuck do you think is going to be doing the actual drilling? Or the building of the pipelines? Or the refining of the oil? OIL COMPANIES, YOU DUMB FUCK.

Here's what we know about Palin: she's preached abstinence-only education for Alaskan public schools for the past two years. She's rejected sex-ed and handing out condoms in schools. She and her husband were active in the Alaskan Independence Party which, among other ideals, believed that Alaska should secede from the Union. That's right, the Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States of America once belonged to a political party whose main objective was to have Alaska BREAK OFF FROM THE UNITED STATES and become its own country.

But the best part about Palin? The fact that while she's out and about in East Buttfuck, Alaska warning parents and their children about the evils of sex without actually teaching those people how to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies and STDs, her daughter is actively getting knocked up by some redneck high school hockey player in the back of his pickup truck. I couldn't make this shit up if I tried. And now the Republicans and evangelicals are actually spinning this garbage to make it look like a GOOD thing, going so far as to APPLAUD this 17 year-old for keeping the baby and marrying the father. Are you fucking kidding me? The Republican party is trying to tell people that they only want to teach teenagers that it is not ok to have sex before marriage under any circumstances, but in case they get knocked up at the young age of NOT ABLE TO CONSENT that their best bet (and the only morally right option) is to keep the baby and marry the father? As if a 17 year-old is mature enough to decide that the person they're sleeping with and getting knocked up by is the right person for them with whom to spend the rest of their lives. Does that sound reasonable? You're fucking right it doesn't.

So Palin was really picked because McCain needed someone youthful behind him. He needed someone to take away Obama's votes from disenchanted Hillary supporters. He needed someone who would call forth the extreme right, a group that has wavered on McCain over the last eight years no matter how hard he has tried to reinvent himself to please them. But Hillary supporters aren't going to vote for her; just because she has a vagina doesn't make her the "woman's choice". Her views differ fundamentally from Clinton's; they are from different backgrounds; Clinton has experience on a national and international level.

Palin is a gimmicky pick that negates any possible ground McCain had to stand on when it came to Obama's inexperience. The amount of spinning the GOP has done to make Palin look like a legit choice for the 2nd highest office in the country is making the lamp post outside my window dizzy. I can't imagine that any sane person would actually trust the country to a person with no real experience if something were to happen to McCain, a man who has had melanoma four times and who would be 73 years old at the time of his theoretical inauguration. It's crazy, but then again so are Southerners. And residents of the Midwest. Fuck.

Now I know what you may be saying: Biden is from Delaware and they only have 3 electoral votes. Why are you being such a prick just because Palin is from a who-gives-a-flying-fuck state? Two reasons: first, fuck you; don't interrupt me again. Second, because Biden carries a reputation with him; a reputation of foreign policy experience, of fighting for women who are victims of violence, of leading the way in his home state for fostering new energies to be produced and researched. People know who Joe Biden is; they know what they're getting when they vote for him.

What are you getting with Palin? A woman who was mayor of a town with less people than I lived with in the Central section of UMass, and still managed to leave it with a $27,000,000 deficit when she became governor. A woman who became governor of a state whose entire population is a mere 70,000 people less than the number living in the CITY OF BOSTON. A woman who demands that only abstinence be taught in classrooms but can't even teach that same lesson to her own daughter. A woman who fired Alaska's public safety commissioner because he wouldn't fire her sister's ex-husband after a bitter divorce and custody battle, which the ex won. A woman who still believes that God told Bush to wage the War on Terror.

Hypocrisy, crony-ism, mismanagement of funds, religious zeal...wow, she IS the ideal GOP candidate. But she was also a terrible choice for McCain to make, especially when his first priority should have been to pick someone with economic, environmental, and civil rights experience...all are areas in which John McCain is severely lacking in the experience department. Those hoping that Palin will "learn on the job" are deluding themselves. America isn't Burger King; you can't do fries before you've mopped floors. You can't learn on the fly because no one will take you seriously. Even Palin says that whoever takes office needs to be prepared for anything:

"My fellow citizens, the American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of 'personal discovery.' This world of threats and dangers is not just a community, and it doesn't just need an organizer." - Sarah Palin, September 3, 2008

Well said, Governor Palin. Those without experience in the areas of national and international affairs, as well as the workings of Washington politics, should not be running for a job that entails that exact experience.

"The American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of 'personal discovery'."

Those are her words; will she heed them?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Waiting on a bitch with change...

I make decisions quickly. I like to think that my brain quickly processes the information given to it and can rationalize the move I should make before it's too late. For instance, I study patterns of driving when I'm on the road so that I can effectively switch lanes in order to get somewhere faster and not be stuck behind some slow asshole who has deluded himself/herself into thinking that no one will notice a change in their driving if they text their best friend, change the radio station, and apply makeup at the same time.

I also hate when what I end up deciding ends up being wrong based on variables I did not foresee. First, variables are unfair and are generally douchebags. Secondly, I hate being wrong as a general rule.

So you can imagine my absolute frustration while shopping for vinegar, Gatorade, and distilled water (you know, for my sixth-grade science fair entry) at my friendly neighborhood Shaw's the other night (which, by the way, is the smaller, trailer park bastard-child of the two legitimate Shaw's supermarkets in Saugus and Stoneham) when I decided to forgo the line with 3 people in it and opt instead for the line with one lady buying only two greeting cards and a pack of gum...and it ended up being the craziest five minutes of my life.

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The Shaw's in Wakefield (artist's rendering).

Why, you ask? Andy, how could it have taken you five minutes to buy four items behind a lady only buying three items? Were you inadvertently rendered blind and stupefied by the image of Oprah on the tabloid rag your eyes grazed? Did you attempt to converse with the cashier in Arabic, only to have her douse you with a fire extinguisher before shoving a stake through your heart? Maybe the medication Robin Williams gave you finally wore off?

No, easily-amused readership; I was fooled by a simple bag. A plain old knit bag which I mistook for a run-of-the-mill "old lady" purse which I presumed to be filled to the brim with pictures of grandchildren, Werther's Originals, and holy water for shooing those damn devil-teens off her lawn. A bag that was in reality filled with a shoebox-sized Tupperware container overflowing with every coin-like currency denomination known to man...except for a single goddamn quarter. Not one.

So now I'm sitting behind a lady who is counting out $5.04 in nickels, dimes, and *shudder* pennies. At about the $2.55 mark she decides that instead of counting the coins herself, she would just toss handfuls of change onto the still-moving conveyor belt (which only kept moving because this goddamn Social Security sinkhole continued to move her change-box down the belt until the sensor was unblocked, starting the motor again) and have the cashier count it.

So why didn't I just move into another line, you ask? First of all, shut the fuck up; don't interrupt my story again or I swear to CHRIST I will cut you. Second, in the time it took for me to truly grasp the situation I was watching unfold (my brain was threatening to fold in on itself like a collapsing star) two of the remaining cashiers on registers had left to go on break and the lone free cashier had come over to fish change out of the conveyor belt, which was eating the loose coins every time the belt moved.

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Andy's head exploded, waiting in the Shaw's liiiiiiiine, in a shopping supernova...

So, to recap the scene in front of me:
1) lady paying for cards and gum completely with non-quarter change
2) two cashiers frantically digging said change out of the hold at the end of the conveyor belt
3) unassuming, mid-twenties male hanging from the ceiling of Shaw's by a noose fashioned by every remaining National Inquirer in the checkout area

Finally (finally!), once the change had been collected, my Gatorade had evaporated while still in the bottle, and the Snickers bars had become sentient I was able to pay for my items. With cash. Treasury-approved, mint-printed, can-get-ruined-in-the-wash-if-not-careful, honest-to-In-God-We-Trust paper money. Hallelujah! Holy shit!

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Where's the Tylenol?

So that was it; my harrowing escape through a river of Shaw's-filled shit. It's my firm belief that the end of the world is coming, for the stupids are breeding and I fear their multiplication may never slow. Just do me a favor: buy your canned goods and batteries at Stop & Shop.

Good night, everyone.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I can't relate and that's a problem that I'm feeling...

My mind is all over the place so bear with me. Or bare yourself...with me. Or something.

I didn't expect the Olympics to be this entertaining. That's probably the sixth or seventh time I've ever said that. Every time the Olympics come around I assume I won't care about how some burly woman from Uruguay won the gold medal in some sport that I didn't even know was a sport. I usually end up being wrong.

I watch obsessively; not only do I root for the Americans but I watch contests between countries that I either a) didn't know existed; or b) didn't care existed, with such fervor that you'd think I was competing. I want Michael Phelps to win eight golds, the Redeem Team to dunk over Pau Gasol over and over again, and use the wonderful magic of DVR to watch and re-watch the womens' gymnastics events without violating my parole. Do I feel bad that the Games are being played in a cesspool of a country known for its cheap labor, pollution woes, and atrocities against humanity? Absolutely. Will I watch all sixteen glorious days and then go back to pretending China doesn't exist? You betcha.

America, Fuck Yeah!

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Sometimes I think I know too much.

Not that I honestly believe that I have vast, nearly unquantifiable amounts of information in my head; I think it's more along the lines of having an almost superhuman sense of context. I find myself tuning people out halfway through their stories/sentences, already knowing how they're going to end. There's just something about context, cause-and-effect, and body language that I just "get". I should preface that it's not that I consciously do this most of the time.

This has been both bad and good for me. It's good in the fact that I can dive into my own mind and play around while someone is talking and I'll still know what they've said afterwards; not because I was listening but because I've gathered from the way they're standing, talking, sighing, etc what the gist of the story is and what my reaction should be. It's good because I can listen to someone talk and know what to say to them in order to solve their problem, or at least cheer them up a bit.

The bad thing about all this is that I'm pretty sure that this ability had led to the near-complete draining of my empathy. I wouldn't call the feeling "depression" per se, nor would I say that the feeling is extreme enough for people to consider me a sociopath; for the most part, unless I really am invested in the outcome or if you're a very important part of my life, I just don't care. I'm not trying to be mean about it; in fact, sometimes it's a sad feeling. Someone could be pouring their hearts out or telling me the funniest story they've ever heard and I could really not care less.

I'm not sure what the reasoning behind it is, or why I have such a heightened sense of what people are feeling and thinking. What I do know is that I have a hard time relating to most people. To me, their problems aren't hard to fix or deal with because I've already decided what I would do in their situation to cope or fix it by the time they've finished talking. How am I supposed to be sympathetic when I've already figured out how I would deal with it?

Does it sound as crazy while you read it as it does to me while I'm typing it? It sounds crazy but it makes perfect sense to me. It explains why I tend to become everyone's therapist; by the end of the tale(s) I've become so removed emotionally from the outcome that my advice tends to be blunt and incontrovertible.

I don't want you to get the impression that I don't care about anything or anyone; of course I do. I have loved ones just like everyone else. I have passions that make me feel such great joy that I want to cry sometimes. I can feel for family and friends. I'll donate time and money to causes I care deeply about. I could just care less about most things.

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What brought this on tonight were the actions of an asshole on my morning train. I was sitting in a seat with my iPod on; I was doing the crossword at the time. When the album playing finally ended (Matchbox Twenty's Mad Season...from a time when they didn't suck) my ears picked up the words of the man sitting next to me. He was a black man, about 30 years old, and he was talking softly enough for the closest of us to hear. He was talking about how all of us around him sit on the train and read their papers, listen to their iPods, talk to each other about work while we "tune out the sorrow of the people who don't look like you; who suffer while you drink your coffee and live your lives." He mock-yawned in our directions to imitate out uncaring natures for those less-fortunate than the people he knows.

I was honestly too pissed to answer him. That, and I didn't want to get stabbed (and I'm not saying that because he was black; he was muttering to himself on a train full of people and being hostile). The nerve of this guy to babble on and on like an asshole about how uncaring I am because I'm minding my own business on the way to work while he lectures us "uneducated folk" on the train is hysterical. I just wanted to knock him the fuck out and start screaming at him. What the fuck is he doing to help? Is he doing non-profit scolding on the train for Amnesty International? Who the fuck is he to tell me what I care about? He doesn't even know me! he's doing the same thing I'm doing: sitting on a train, heading somewhere. He wasn't serving soup to homeless people on the train. He wasn't volunteering at the Special Olympics. He wasn't tutoring at-risk youth. I've done all that stuff with no regard for how it looks to other people; who is this asshole to judge me?

Obviously, I feel very strongly that people who have no idea what they're talking about should just shut the fuck up.

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I'm talking to you two fuckfaces in particular.

Unfortunately, we're all headed for a real-life Idiocracy where the dumbest and most ignorant among us will soon have the largest voice, volume-wise. I hope to blow my brains out before that day comes.

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...well, someone ready my pistol because we're heading towards the End of Days at warp speed.

I know this may seem like a backpedal from a previous post, but there is something that's been bothering the FUCK out of me for a week now: Veggie Monster.

What's Veggie Monster? Good question. If you've ever watched Sesame Street then you probably already know who he is. You may know him by his slave name, Cookie Monster.

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Also the 2nd gunman on the grassy knoll.

Apparently, the idea of a lovable puppet that couldn't get enough cookies was a diabolical plot solely responsible for the rise in childhood obesity (see: mini-marshmallows) and just had to be stopped. I mean, it would just be too hard to regulate a child's weight using conventional methods such as exercise, eating right, proper education, and appropriate television and video game restriction. Instead, let's neuter a beloved and iconic children's television character and make him a shell of himself.

What's next? Does he sing "V is for Veggie"? Is Oscar just "misunderstood"? Does Telly go to AA?

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How is this "thing" NOT a drunk?

I know I've said before that there's only so much parents can do, that there are just too many voices reaching kids' ears these days, yada yada yada. However, a child's weight and level of activity is something of which a parent or guardian has direct control. A guardian feeds their child in most cases; a guardian monitors their level of exercise. In other words, the only reason to blame for a child's utter fatassery is the adult who takes care of him or her. Success in bludgeoning PBS long enough to begin the pussification of the last bastion of educational television does not make you a good parent; it makes you a complete asshat.

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Instrumental in making Cookie Monster suck.

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Sorry for going all Andy Rooney on you tonight. I really did have a great weekend but I'm just tired from 300 miles of driving and continued feats of stupidity from my underlings at work. I love life and I love the people in it; it's the rest of you fuckers I can't stand.

Good night!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I'm no fucking Elvis.

So I've been in a little bit of a funk the last two days or so. I'm not really sure why. If I had to manage a guess, I'd have to say:

1) I haven't seen Kristen in a while because she's been so busy.
2) I realized after having dinner with Lisa on Tuesday that I really miss the "Wakefield crowd" that, for the most part, I haven't seen in years.
3) The weather has sucked big floppy donkey dick.

Don't get me wrong; I love my life. I really do. While I wouldn't change anything, I would have liked to have added to it. Change, no; additions, yes.

So yeah, that's about it. I'm not very motivated to be funny today.

Oh, and one last thing: I'm pretty sure that being a music star (no matter what the genre) is a pretty sweet fucking gig. I know you don't believe me, but it's true. Having said that, I feel like most musicians have the obligation when showered with money by concert-goers and royalties from music-and-merchandise buyers to actually play their shows SOBER. You know, so that people can actually enjoy the music they listen to on a regular basis?

I'm all about experimentation through music and whatnot. I understand that playing the same songs over and over again when the only variable is which town to thank at the end of the night can get pretty monotonous. But c'mon, rockers...don't be dicks. I didn't pay good money (for overpriced tickets and Ticketmaster "convenience fees"...don't get me started on that) to watch you stumble around on stage, mumble the lyrics to your songs, nearly puke on your mic/instruments, and generally look like you're about to die onstage.

I'm talking to you, Adam-ay Uritz-Day. Spraining your ankle while drunkenly and awkwardly jumping around on stage wasn't very smart. Mumbling the words to a couple of my favorite songs before you went backstage, presumably puked, and then came back out and rocked my cock off for the last few numbers might make for a good story on the bus trip to New York that night but it makes me hate you a little. I mean, fuck, MAROON5 outshone you. The band had pink lights in the background and their fanbase is nearly completely comprised of desperate female and gay 'tweeners who want nothing more than to lose their parents in the crowd and give Adam Levine a blowjob after the show. Maroon5's music isn't bad, but you guys have been together since the early 90's and have put out some of the best music I've ever heard; have a little fucking PRIDE! Just a little.

Wow, even when I don't feel like typing I can pull off a rant. Awesome.

Alright, I'm going to go sit on the back porch with a glass of scotch and try to enjoy the little bit of today that hasn't been rained on. Be good.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A boat? A boat! Just keep swimming...

Sometimes (most times) I can't control my brain. On an average evening you're likely to find me after work sitting in a room by myself, staring at an object (tv, computer monitor, Real Doll) without paying attention to it, and there is no way in the world you're snapping me out of it. If you see the Boncoddus Distractus in its natural habitat, DO NOT try and snap him out of it; most likely the result will be a blank stare, mumbling, and a slightly perturbed Andy wondering why you derailed his completely insane train of thought.

Some say it's ADD; others like to think it's a fear of dealing with reality. I like to think that my mind is so advanced that it plays games with itself to stay sharp. Yeah, that's it.

I don't really know why I do it, but my mind is always working, finding connections between two or more seemingly unrelated ideas and making them fit as though they were peanut butter and jelly, or Elvis and Costello (what?). This usually leads to me making comments or jokes in which one equally-crazy person with borderline personality disorder laughs hysterically while five others reach for the nearest emergency button on their touch tone phones. Or slowly spin the numbers on a rotary phone while loudly fake-laughing so that I don't hear the clicking.

"HAHAHAHA, that's so funny Andy! HAHAHAHA!"
::click click click::
"Uh, what's that sound?"
"HAHAHA, I'm just laughing so hard at your joke, I have no idea what that clicking sound you're hearing is over at 100 WEST WYOMING STREET IN MELROSE, MASSACHUSETTS! HAHAHA!"

I think I like the fact that not everyone gets my humor. I'm pretty sure that a good amount of what makes me funny is cultivated in my coma-like state; trying to explain that to someone would be like trying to explain what that noise is coming from my trunk. (Really, it's nothing. Move along.) I'm also pretty sure that if I only associated myself with people like me that our day (not days, DAY) together would go something like this:

1) Stare off into space for hours
2) Make each other laugh uncontrollably
3) Die of said laughter
4) Be the focus of a funeral no one attends, since everyone I hang out with would also be dead from said laughter

That being said, the one day of uncontrollable laughter might be worth it.

Or not.

So, the ADD/coma/connect-the-dots-in-my-head playtime is why I rarely nap; why I seem to zone out at times; why I'm convinced that I'm the smartest mofo you know, whether you get the joke or not. My mind is just always at work. In the end, I guess I could care less if you get the joke; it's less about you getting it and more about cracking myself up/seeing if the connections I've made make any sense to me.

Also, in addition to explaining one of my many dysfunctions, I'm trying to break the record for most semi-colons used in a single blog post. Someday I will have the largest quantity of semi-colons per capita in Blogfrica! Kneel before Zod!

I'm cutting this short here because, ironically, I'm beginning to zone out a bit. Prepare yourselves for a joke in three hours' time concerning 3-ring notebooks, cell phone bills, Chapstick, air quality, and the Foo Fighters. It'll be killer, I promise.

Good night, folks.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Media Blame Game, or: How I Learned to Start Worrying and Pray for the Bomb

Remember when kids in their late teens and early-to-mid twenties had real problems? They had to be careful who they slept with and always had to use contraception. Waiting for someone you loved for your first time was actually encouraged. They had to figure out how to get decent jobs and afford to survive. The reason they avoided doing really stupid and embarrassing things was because they'd be ridiculed and ostracized for it, possibly screwing up their lives forever.

Man, those times sucked.

I'm so glad that we live in a brave new world where it's ok to sleep with anyone you want after a few drinks! In fact, you'll be cooler than ever! You don't need to work hard and get a real job nowadays; all you need is a total void where your dignity should be and a predisposition for acting like a drunk/slut/bigot/toddler/abuser to become famous and make money! People will recognize you from your reprehensible acts and, to add even more joy to your life, companies will pay you to endorse their products simply because other people know you from the time you beat your girlfriend and admitted it on the show! What a wonderful age this is!

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I hate putting the blame on the media for the ills of society. I thought it was sickening how Marilyn Manson and gory movies were singled out as the "causes" of Columbine as opposed to the severe emotional disturbances of two lunatics who stockpiled weapons and systematically and methodically killed their classmates. But as long as Walmart agrees to stop selling "Mechanical Animals" and A Clockwork Orange then we should all agree to ignore the fact that these kids got illegal access to guns from scumbags and that their parents were too oblivious to see that those kids were obviously damaged, right?

Parents are supposed to be the barrier of logic against all of the bullshit choices in society. Kids aren't supposed to want to become sluts, child molesters, gangsters, or racists; it's up to parents to be an example for their children and show them that those kind of people end up on the losing end of life. I know most parents work hard to fulfill that duty. I also know that most parents are failing. I'm here to tell you that, against all of the preconceived notions out there, I don't believe parents are entirely at fault. I think there's more blame to put on the media today than there has ever been before.

Think about what life must be like for a parent in this technology-immersed, fame-obsessed, trend whore society. They try to raise their kids right. They try to lead by example. But their kids are being bombarded on all sides by stories about glamorous celebs and their sex lives. They see people who get picked by MTV to live rent-free, rule-free, and consequence-free in some palatial bachelor(ette) pad in a downtown "hot spot" simply because they're ok with sleeping around, drinking, and getting into fistfights on national television. The words of encouragement coming from parents and loved ones stressing hard work and diligent focus in order to make their kids' lives better are falling on deaf ears because the world teens see around them today doesn't run on the same principles it did ten years ago. We live in a Youtube world where the highest honor that one can be bestowed is a mention on Perez Hilton's blog.

Let's face facts: when someone is asked who their heroes are, the second most popular answer (besides the obligatory answer of "my parents") is going to be someone famous. Whether or not celebrities want to admit to themselves or others that they are influential, they are just that. We as a society look to the highly-visible among us for guidance and to lead by example; it's only natural that we learn the most from what we see the most in our lives. This in and of itself is not a bad thing. Sometimes the greatest source of inspiration is a Martin Luther King, Jr.; a Gandhi; a Sally Ride; a single Chinese man willing to step in front of a tank and risk death in the hope of non-violent, peaceful resolution. These are people and images that are delivered to the masses via the media and make lasting impressions on us all; good, solid, decent impressions that show us that the world can be an inspirational place and a place worth working hard to keep alive and robust.

Who fits that mold in today's "media-savvy" age? When someone is in the news these days, is it usually because of something good they've done or is it because they've done something worth ridiculing? The only celebs you ever see in the news anymore are there because they've either been arrested, embarrassed by stupid behavior, or knocked up. Instead of drawing purpose from sources of inspiration we're subjected to sixteen year-old Jamie Lynn Spears' pregnancy, Naomi Campbell's one millionth meltdown, Hulk Hogan's family in general, Charlie Sheen's divorce snafu's, and yet another Amy Winehouse overdose.

(As an aside, I can't figure out for the life of me why anyone on Earth would give a flying fuck about Amy Winehouse. Sure, the one album she has out isn't bad, but do people really feel the need to keep up on the whereabouts and actions of a crack addict flash-in-the-pan who obviously doesn't want help? Who gives a fuck? Fuck her and Pete Doherty; just die already so we don't have to keep putting up with watching you on our news broadcasts.)

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So whose fault is it that the only famous people that teens and twenty-somethings have to look up to these days are troublemakers and people of ill repute? Do you think it could be related to the fact that this fame-whore loving lifestyle has brainwashed us into needing to care about the lives of D-List celebrities, and shockingly we've learned that they're just like you and me only less aware of real-world consequences? And what does that say about us, society itself, that the news can focus on the exploits of narcissistic assholes and keep a captive, ample audience clamoring for more?

A perfect example of a situation where the media is largely at fault is the recent piece by Time magazine detailing a "pact" between seventeen Gloucester teens, all under the age of sixteen, to become pregnant at the same time and raise their children together. At least one of the girls went so far as to allegedly have sex with a twenty-four year old homeless man in order to get pregnant. These girls believed that if they became pregnant and had children that their lives would be better and everything would "work itself out".

Where do these girls get such a stupid idea, you may ask yourself. The answer is easier to find than you think. Go buy a paper or a magazine and read the first few pages and all will be revealed. I couldn't walk up to a newspaper stand and start spinning in a circle with my arms out without knocking over ten magazines with either pregnant celebs or "new mommy" celebs on the covers boasting about how they lost all their baby weight in four weeks. We live in an age where Angelina Jolie is either preggers or adopting a third-world baby at all times. Famous teens are having babies and making it look easy because they can afford top-notch prenatal care, nannies, and personal trainers. The two breakout movies of last year were about: a witty teen who gets knocked up and spews pithy one-liners while making pregnant life look easy; and a movie literally named "Knocked Up", about a well-to-do woman with an ideal support system who has a one night stand with a loser who then wins her over while dealing with the impending birth of their baby. This is what teens are seeing these days and this is what they want to emulate.

Do the parents have a responsibility to teach their children the skills necessary to differentiate the real world from "The Real World"? Absolutely; anyone who tells you different is a moron. But there is simply too much outside input and too many outside distractions these days to have a dominant voice in the societal conversation of responsible living. Parents can't be there all the time monitoring their kids anymore, especially in this age of two-income households and shitty economic times.

How do we fix it? I wish I knew the answer. I'm not even sure there is one; it seems that the people stupid enough to look to today's celeb-retards for guidance are the ones breeding the fastest, which begets more people watching the fake news, which begets more stupid people breeding, and so on and so forth. The only thing I can hope for it that someday society's bullshit meter maxes out and people simply stop caring about the personal lives of the rich and famously stupid, though between you and me I see the world reaching critical mass and imploding before people stop needing their fix of Anna Nicole Smith's baby.

Fuck.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

I just want to preface this by saying that if you're not a fan of lengthy stories then this isn't the one for you. This is a long one (that's what she said).

My mind was wandering tonight (as it is prone to do) and I started thinking back to my college days. I thought back to those carefree times when all I had to worry about was finishing a paper before the deadline, picking a bar to drink at for the night, and choosing which cool post-ironic tee I was going to wear to class that day.

But you know what? I don't miss it.

A lot of people wish they were back in college. They talk about the past as if it is some mystical treasure that they had in their hands but let slip out of their grasp. Perhaps it's a desire to go back to a time when they could shirk real responsibility and the real world in general. Actually, strike that; there's no "perhaps" about it; when your only true goal for 4 years is to get laid as often as possible, life is admittedly pretty sweet.

I'm wondering what makes some people turn the corner and be ok with their post-college lives while others can't let go. Or better yet, even if a person's post-college life sucks, at what point did they simply outgrow that part of their life? Is it a gradual fading for some people or does it hit everyone all at once? Personally, I can actually pinpoint the exact night I graduated from missing college.

It was a couple of years after I graduated from UMass. I'd been living with Kristen in Salem and that clearly wasn't going well, so I moved back home in October of 2005. A couple of weeks after that I was invited out by a couple of college friends who were still living in Amherst. I made plans to stay with a friend for the evening as she had an extra futon.

Anyway, so I go out there for the evening and meet up with these people at a downtown bar. We have a great time, we're drinking and laughing, and as the night goes on I start to feel really old. I was only 24 at the time but there was something about seeing freshmen and sophomores with fake IDs drinking at the stools next to us that really unnerved me. It was as if I was some creepy old man who'd wandered into Super Happy Fun Toddler Story Land and all that was missing was some terrifying representation of the sun with a baby's face protruding out of it.

Eventually my friends and I wandered Main Street, sampling the many different bars that Amherst has to offer. The group of us got split up and went separate ways. Once we'd had our fill of booze I called my friend with the futon to make sure she was back at her place. No answer on her cell.

I called her apartment. Still nothing. I called the cell of a mutual guy friend who had also been out with us and was with her group at the time. Nothing.

Ok then, I thought to myself, I guess I'll just drive over to her place and wait for her there. So I drove.

I reached her place at around 2:30 in the morning. I knocked on her door, but got nothing. The lights were out and it didn't look like anyone was home.

Fair enough, I thought; she might be dropping people off and then coming home. I walked back to my car since it was a bit chilly outside. And I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

(Sorry for the shitty, predictable, Plaschke-like narrative; it'll be over soon, I promise.)

I fell asleep in my cold car waiting for her to get back to her apartment. At 4am I was awaken by the sound of a door slamming. I looked out my window to see her kitchen light go on. I made a break for her place and knocked frantically. After some hushed whispers and about 30 seconds of waiting, the door opened.

She looked surprised to see me. So did my mutual guy friend, who at this point had removed his shirt and was sitting on the futon. The same futon I was supposed to have been uncomfortably lying on hours before while I'd be trying in vain to sleep.

Awareness of the situation eventually dawned on her when I asked where she'd been. Of course I didn't need to ask that question; my intuition told me there was a back seat involved at some point. She took me out into the hall and explained to me that I wouldn't be able to stay at her place that night because she had "company". I lost my shit at that point and not-so-calmly explained to her that I was supposed to be her company this evening. (Although not in the same sense, of course - I just wanted to lay on that filthy futon for a while.)

She shrugged, apologized, and let me in to get my stuff from the living room. On the way out, I stared daggers at our "mutual friend" who had dicked me over in order to dick her over. I walked out into the nippy air, put my stuff in my car, and thought things through.

It was 4:30 am at this point; what were my options? I could call someone else who most likely wouldn't be awake and might be pissed I called them at such a late hour. I could try sleeping in my car for a couple of hours and then head home. I could kill my friend and her fuck-buddy and make it look like a lovers' quarrel followed by a murder-suicide.

None of those really appealed to me. Well, one of them did but I dislike the idea of 40 years of forced buttsex behind bars. So I started my car and headed back east. I spent the next 2 hours on the road trying to stay awake. I cranked Pantera's Far Beyond Driven followed by System of a Down's Toxicity. I rolled the windows down and sang along to every song, straining to keep my eyes open.

I made it home at about 6:30am. I pulled into the driveway, stumbled out of my car, and willed my body inside. My dad was about to leave for work as I was walking in the door.

"Rough night?"
"Don't want to talk about it. Going to bed. Hold my calls. Good night."

Except it came out as "Donwannatalkboutitgoinbedholdcallnight".

I woke up that afternoon with the realization that I'd simply outgrown college. It was a sad feeling, but in a way it was completely liberating. I didn't have to worry anymore that I'd let something good slip away. I'd lived that life and now I was ready to live the next part of it. Out of despair, hope.

The great memories of college will always be in my heart and mind. Those were some of the happiest days of my life. I refuse to live the rest of my days with the mindset that it's all downhill after graduation day. There are always new milestones and new memories and new people. There is always an adventure to take part in, one whose lasting impression will not rub out the experiences I had at UMass but will enhance and expand upon them.

Growing up doesn't kill the old you; it just makes the old you better.

So, that's it. Just had to get that written down somewhere.

Now comes the question and answer portion: when did you outgrow college? Have you outgrown college? If so, was it a slow fade or an epiphany? If not, why not? I'm interested to know, I really am.

Good night, everyone.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Our issues this sad Sunday morning...

I am a man who loves to think, to read, to understand the minds of people.

I love politics and literature.

I value common sense, integrity, logic, and compassion above all else.

On Friday, one of my heroes passed away.

For me, Tim Russert was a god. He was smart, informative, and he just looked like he was having fun every Sunday at that table. He would ask all these brilliant questions, every one of them fair yet exact. Each week he led the interviewee through a straight path to the heart of each matter. If you didn't bring it, you'd end up crawling out the door. The man thrived on the logic and common sense behind the decisions and words of others. He held people accountable while at the same time managing to keep his child-like sense of awe and wonder about the whole process.

You've probably already read or seen (or will read or see at some point) statements from the people who knew him best: politicians, political strategists, journalists, authors, etc. You'll get the sense that the man was and continues to be bigger than life.

It's easy enough to hear that from people who knew him personally and think to yourself, "I assume that the people who know me would say the same things about me when I die". It strikes home when the passing of a man I'd never met can hit me like it does right now.

Tim Russert is the kind of man I want to be. He's a family man, a brilliant man, a no-nonsense man. He was guided by his mind and his heart; it was as plain as day just watching him once a week on television. There's almost a sense that something is amiss with the world; we need more people like Tim Russert and instead he was taken away from us.

In a small way, I almost feel as if politics will never be accountable in the same way it's been for the 17 years Tim sat in that chair. Who else uses common sense so brilliantly in his or her queries to keep politicians honest? In a world where political journalism and discourse have become shouting and pissing matches between the loudest and most extreme political parrots among us, who will take the torch and ask the questions that the average American needs to have answered but doesn't have the means to do so? Who will take these people to task and force them to answer the tough questions with straightforward, thoughtful, and character-defining answers that shape the weekly news cycle and the political landscape as a whole?

It's painful to think about it now. I'm not sure I'll be able to fill the little piece of me that Tim Russert and Meet the Press occupied. It feels like the fire that had always been fueled by my intellectual curiosity and for the world of politics has been dimmed just a little by his passing.

Tim Russert was a giant among men. I will miss him very much.

"To whom much is given, much is expected." - Luke 12:48

RIP Mr. Russert

Monday, June 2, 2008

Rockwell

Sometimes I think about what kind of father I'll be.

What kind of family man I'll be.

I want my kids to look up to me.

I want my kids to know that they can come to me with anything.

I want my kids to want to come to me with everything.

I want my kids to know that life is a beautiful thing.

I want my wife and children to know I love them more than anything.

I want to be able to grow old, surrounded by the people I love. In a big old house in a quiet town. We'll raise them to be good and honest people, and we'll share cherished memories when they're older.

Thoughts like these put my mind at ease and my heart at peace.

Sweet dreams.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Something to think about...

12 Reasons why gays should not be allowed to marry:

1. Homosexuality is not natural, much like eyeglasses, polyester, and birth control.

2. Heterosexual marriages are valid because they produce children. Infertile couples and old people can't legally get married because the world needs more children.

3. Obviously, gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

4. Straight marriage will be less meaningful if Gay marriage is allowed, since Britney Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage was meaningful.

5. Heterosexual marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are property, blacks can't marry whites, and divorce is illegal.

6. Gay marriage should be decided by people, not the courts, because the majority-elected legislatures, not courts, have historically protected the rights of the minorities.

7. Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.

8. Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

9. Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

10. Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why single parents are forbidden to raise children.

11. Gay marriage will change the foundation of society. Heterosexual marriage has been around for a long time, and we could never adapt to new social norms because we haven't adapted to things like cars or longer life spans.

12. Civil unions, providing most of the same benefits as marriage with a different name are better, because a "separate but equal" institution is always constitutional. Separate schools for African-Americans worked just as well as separate marriages for gays and lesbians will.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Stolen from the old LiveJournal

I found some stuff from my old Livejournal that I wanted to update/re-post because they were awesome at the time. Oldies but goodies.


If my life had a soundtrack...



Opening credits: American Pearl - Automatic

Waking-up scene: Codebreaker - Capsule

Average-day scene: Modest Mouse - Float On

Best-friend scene: Paul Simon - Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard

First-date scene: Van Morrison - Moondance

Falling-in-love scene: Etta James - Sunday Kind of Love

Love scene: Eric Clapton - Wonderful Tonight

Fight-with-friend scene: Hoobastank - Running Away

Break-up scene: Counting Crows - Raining in Baltimore

Get-back-together scene: Bob Seger - We've Got Tonight

"Life's okay" scene: Dave Matthews Band - Jimi Thing

Heartbreak scene: David Gray - Say Hello, Wave Goodbye

Mental-breakdown scene: John Mayer - Comfortable

Driving scene: Nina Simone - Feeling Good

Lesson-learning scene: Eminem - If I Had

Deep-thought scene: Fiona Apple - Across the Universe

Flashback scene: Green Day - Time of Your Life (Good Riddance)

Party scene: Elvis Presley - A Little Less Conversation (JXL Remix)

Happy dance scene: Paul oakenfold - Starry Eyed Surprise

Regret scene: Colin Hay - Waiting for My Real Life to Begin

Long-night-alone scene: Coldplay - Amsterdam

Death scene: Peter Gabriel - I Grieve

Closing credits: Bruce Springsteen - The Rising

The Good, The Bad, and Me

Good things that happened recently:
- I had today off from work.
- My fiancee's uncle and aunt just had a baby girl on Sunday. She's freaking beautiful.
- My work group is moving to the Hancock Tower on June 13th. Goodbye Downtown Crossing, hello Newbury Street and the Cottonwood. The homeless people were starting to get to me, although I will miss the food variety. Andy + Lambert's BFF!
- Took part in a rockin' good Memorial Day BBQ on Sunday.
- Won a Beirut tournament with Soulios at said BBQ.

Bad things that happened recently:
- As I was typing the previous sentence, I found a caterpillar crawling up my shirt. I hate bugs.
- Since I've lost 15 pounds in the past 3 months, I am less motivated to exercise now. This directly conflicts with my love of the outdoors. So does the rain that keeps coming and keeps ruining my plans to walk the lake.
- Hillary is now telling people in Florida and Michigan that it's Obama's fault that there votes don't count, which is not only untrue but just plain irresponsible. How do people who voted for her sleep peacefully at night after they watch her on tv, lying and posturing to crowds she helped fuck over?

I'm distracted by Judge Judy and the sun's back out. Be good, and comment if you read this. I don't write it for the readers, but it's nice to pretend I'm not talking to myself.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ten-Year Reunion Next Year? You Don't Say...

Jon Lester is 24 years old. He's beat cancer, clinched a World Series, and threw a no-hitter last night.

Andy Boncoddo is 27 years old. He's managed to stay on solid foods his whole life and, up until this point, has never been hit by a bus while crossing the street.

Awesome.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Recognition, the economy, and everything.

My company added a new feature to its Recognition and Reward program in the form of "points" that you can accumulate throughout the year with the purpose of saving them up and "cashing them in" for prizes and gifts. The points never expire and people earn them at their managers' discretion. For instance, if I think John Q. Mangosalsa is doing a great job in my group, I can "reward him" with points in lieu of money. He could then theoretically spend those points on an iPod, a flat screen TV, a Weber grill, or one of hundreds of other trinkets in the online catalog.

Here are the problems I have with this new system:

1) According to my company's legal department, the only way to cash in these points and not be on the hook for shipping and handling charges or other fees is to tax the points themselves on a quarterly basis. Each point is valued at about $2.80 USD.

So let's say that I accrue fifteen points in the span of a quarter (since I'm ridiculously good at my job). I am going to be taxed on those fifteen points when the quarter is up whether I've used those points or not. I have a problem being taxed for something I may not use for years.

2) If there are ever budget cuts within the company you can bet on this being one of the first programs cut. That means that I could be left with a slew of meaningless points and nowhere to use them...after I've already been taxed on them and after I've been given these points in lieu of monetary bonuses or raises over the year(s). And if you think my company is going to let us cash those points in for money then I've got a hell of a deal for you on a bridge for sale.

3) Let's say that by some miraculous leap of logic and faith that the point program manages to survive, people accrue points for good work, and they have a chance to cash them in for stuff. How many points do you need to accumulate for anything decent? Let's take a look, shall we?

The average number of points alloted to each manager per person on their staff is fifty. Some will earn more, some will earn less, but let's use fifty as the average. The flat screen Samsung HD TV is 550 points; the iPod is forty points, and the Weber grill is 150. Do I really want to wait for eleven years so that I can buy a TV? Or three years for a freaking grill?

If someone is really interested in buying a grill or an iPod or a TV there are a hundred quicker ways to go about it. They could save fifty bucks a week and buy the same TV in two years, or the grill in 3 months, or the iPod in a month and change. Or they could put it on the old standby, the credit card. Hell, even putting it on layaway would take less time.

Is the point system a good idea in theory? If it were the 1970's then the answer is yes. But in today's "consumer whore"-filled world where nearly everything is available for the taking with a swipe of some plastic and more disposable income than ever before, who needs points?

I like the fact that if I wanted to I could take a 5-minute drive to Best Buy, pick out the TV I want, drive it home that day, and have it up and running by that night. I know that not everyone has that luxury but for someone like me who has a job that pays well, minimal bills, and a penchant for impulse shopping (especially when it comes to electronics, craft beers, and sushi), this is a no-brainer: count me out when it comes to points; I just want the cash.

But is it becoming too easy to get everything you want? And is that a good thing?

I'd like to say yes, I really would, but I don't think I can. In a society where many people have more financial flexibility than ever before, what's stopping people from going overboard and spending themselves into the poorhouse? Does anyone really think it's coincidental that after a decade in which more people had an abundance of money to spend, thanks to a booming economy and the marketing power of the internet, we've managed to fall so far? Everyone thought the good times would never end, even after 9/11. We were told as much by our leaders; "go on about your lives because we're America...fuck yeah!" Now the economy sucks, houses are being foreclosed left and right, and gas is going to hit four bucks a gallon by Memorial Day.

You think that someone in their right mind, someone who understands that the good economic times aren't going to last forever, someone who isn't so obsessed with consumerism, would really go out and buy a house with with a 5-year ARM and no backup plan? Really? More people must think that they and the American economy are invincible. Maybe they actually do. I mean, all I'm seeing on TV is how America is so much better than any other country on Earth and how we're going to be a shining light for the rest of the world to follow. We're constantly told not to question anything that's being done by our government or its officials lest we be labeled unpatriotic.

We're being led by two parties that wouldn't know their ass from their hands with a flashlight and a map. One party voted someone into office (twice!) who I believe may have an extra chromosome. Their current nominee for president is a shell of his former self who has completely turned 180 degrees on most of the issues he used to stand for and may also indeed be 180 years old. Is McCain really that old? Put it this way: the man is older than chocolate chip cookies, Bugs Bunny, penicillin, and Scrabble. That's fucking OLD.

The other party also knows who their nominee for president is...as long as his opponent doesn't sue to have Florida and Michigan's delegates counted, convince superdelegates to ignore the outcome of the popular election and vote for her, or continue to give the GOP plenty of mudslinging goodness to throw at her party's nominee once the convention is over in July. The party is being ruined singlehandedly and no one even remotely involved in the process is smart enough to put a stop to it.

But I guess that's neither here nor there. The point I was trying to make before I got sidetracked was that America used to be the free-wheeling, free-spending country that had the world's panties in a knot tied by jealousy and now we're the laughingstock of the world. The euro and yen have never been higher and most Europeans could wipe their asses with dollar bills. Is it the work of unchecked consumerism? Shitty fiscal policy? The ease of credit companies and banks to forgo all common sense and hand out fake money left and right? All of the above? Does anyone really feel like the U.S. will get those good economic times back anytime soon, cyclical economic theory aside?

Maybe not; maybe that's why people are spending all this money. Maybe they all see the writing on the wall and are deciding to numb themselves by purchasing luxury items they can't afford just so they can enjoy the last few moments before the economy completely collapses and we're all eating turnip broth and rhubarb stew for dinner every night. Maybe people think it's too late to turn things around. Maybe it is.

In that case, I'll be over near my TV playing the Wii if you need me. Let me know when dinner's been boiled.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

On Not Being a Hot Female

Every time I watch Kathryn Tappen on NESN I die a little inside. She beat me out for the NESN job a couple of years ago. We interviewed on the same day. I had the resume (so I was told by the producer) but I wasn't "what [they] were looking for". Apparently they were looking for a massive set of tits stuffed into a blouse to distract us from the verbal diarrhea coming out an airhead's mouth.

Now I have to listen to this bumbling idiot say things like "is the Patriots' titles tarnished?" and "there were no new relevations in the Matt Walsh tapes" (she meant revelations). Ugh. As an avid "grammar Nazi" it makes me ill.

I'm sure if I had a killer body, a massive rack, and pouting lips then I'd be up there right now reporting on the Sox, Bruins, Pats, etc. I enjoy what I do now and I am paid well but it's freaking NESN. That would have been awesome.

The ability of looks to outweigh higher qualifications will be something that I'll never understand, probably because I don't have those looks. I just hope that someday the people who have gotten by on their looks alone for their entire lives will have to find a way to survive on just their talent and abilities alone just so that they can see what it's like to be someone like me for a year.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Politics of Bullshit

When, exactly, did politics become so goddamn ridiculous?

Yes, I understand that the Democratic race is at its boiling point. Hillary SHOULD concede as she has no chance of winning, but she won't. Not because she really feels that she can win but because her ego won't let her quit. The woman is down by 200 delegates, she pretty much has to win every state left out right and by decent margins (hooray for convoluted delegate-splitting, Democrats!), and she cannot seem to capitalize on Obama's mistakes because she's too busy putting her foot way past her mouth and down her goddamn throat.

Obama's nowhere near perfect; he's got no experience, he's more talk than substance, and he has a penchant for phrasing his words in a way that makes him out to be an arrogant prick. But Hillary, you can't pounce on his imperfection if you're lying about Bosnia, apologizing for lying without actually saying "I lied", and then saying that fatigue caused the "misspeak". You can't say you lied and then say it was a mistake in the same breath.

An aside: when 2008 is all said and done, it will be known for the worst butchering of the English language by public figures, EVER. Between Clemens' use of "misremembered" to Hillary's constant use of "misspeak", we're headed for a world where anyone can make up any word they want by adding enough prefixes and suffixes to suit their needs. Hillary, just suck it up and admit that you anti-truth-itioned; maybe then you'll get back the respect you've been hemorrhaging over the past two weeks.

And enough about the goddamn Flag lapel pin that Obama won't wear. Would it make the jingoistic fuckheads in rural West Virginia happy if he wore it? Of course it would. Should he wear it if he doesn't want to? Fuck no! He makes a great point when he says that he doesn't need a lapel pin to show that he loves his country. There are so many assholes out there with fifty American flags strewn about their house. People have hundreds of those retarded magnetic ribbons on their cars. Those people are being spoon-fed patriotism by the government and getting Star-Spangled enemas by every moronic talking head on Fox News. Wake the fuck up, people!

If you focus on a two-dollar piece of metal on someone's jacket you are missing the real issues. The economy, health care, education, military morale, our standing in global politics...it's all in the shitter and we're focusing on a goddamn PIN and how terrible it is that Obama rhymes with Osama! Those backwoods fuckfaces who can't see the forest from the trees make me ache with anger.

And in the other corner, John McCain is laughing his face off. Literally. I mean, have you seen the guy lately? He looks like someone just opened the Lost Ark in front of him. The man will be 73 years old in January 2009. This man has a temper that rivals Yosemite Sam's and he wants to keep our troops in Iraq for at least the next four years. He doesn't know the economy from his ass and he about-faced so quickly from what he stood for in 2000 that he looks like Mel Brooks after his first teleporting experience in Spaceballs.

Is McCain ready to run the county? Possibly, but if I were to place a bet on it, I'd say he dies within the first two years. Do you really want the most powerful politician in the world to be a man who was alive during FDR's first term? You may not have a choice. He's been preparing to face the Democrats as the presumptive nominee for over a month now. The Democrats have been pulling out all the stop to discredit one another, unwittingly giving him all the ammo he needs to blow away whomever is chosen as the Democratic nominee. No matter how the Democratic convention goes this summer in Colorado the winner is going to have to deal with a two-fold problem: putting together a fractured party and facing a nominee who has had the time to both convince the doubters in his party to stand behind him and to build a strategy for whomever comes his way.

I'm afraid we're in for Bush Light if McCain wins the election. While he is much smarter than Dubya he has adopted the same mentality as Bush on a lot of key issues since he had his ass kicked in 2000. Is he a strong man? no doubt. Can he lead people? Sure. Can he steer us away from the idiocy of the last eight years and stay healthy enough in mind and body to do the job to the best of his abilities? I have a hard time believing he can.

Then again, I have a hard time believing that either one of the Democratic nominees could tie their own shoes if elected President. The bottom line: we're fucked. All of us. Royally. Sleep tight.

License and registration, Chickenfucker!

I'm not sure I have anything interesting to write, but sometimes the best stuff comes from pure crap. Like Good Will Hunting. Or Back That Azz Up.

My birthday came and went. I'm now 27 years old which feels, not surprisingly, just like 26. Only I've lost a little more hair, a little more weight, and I'm engaged. And speaking of engaged, am I supposed to feel different now that I've popped the question? Because I don't; I feel the exact same way as I did before I asked her. Maybe I feel a little more relieved that I don't have to listen to any more "ring talk", but that's about it.

Maybe that's a good thing, the fact that I don't feel differently. If I did, would it mean the way I felt before wasn't as strong, or maybe even phony? Why should I feel different? I don't love her more or less than I did pre-ring. Isn't that a good thing? Doesn't it validate the fact that I didn't need to do it to feel "more in love", but that I did it because I actually wanted to? It's not like she said anything to the contrary, but I tend to make up conversations in my head and for some reason I think she might have a problem with me telling her that I don't feel different. Oh well.

Today was my first day back at work since last Thursday. I didn't have a good reason to take the week off; I just felt like it. Well, that's not entirely true. I took last Friday off for Opening Day/my birthday, and Tuesday I had to fight a speeding ticket, which I won.

And that reminds me of something I was thinking about Tuesday: what percentage of police officers are complete douchenozzles? 85%? 90% What is it about the profession that attracts such dickweeds? I know the power over other people and the ability to make someone's life miserable is enticing to say the least, but why does this power have to attract the biggest dillholes among us in society?

I used to work with cops back when I was a Head Supervisor of Security at UMass, so I know not all cops suck fat ones. However, it seems like a vast majority are either hung like fruit flies (men), are bitter because they're not hung at all (women), or just give off that vibe because they were beat up a lot growing up. Officer Retardo, I get that playing D&D growing up didn't make you any friends or get you laid in high school. I know that getting cut from varsity football didn't exactly boost your self-esteem or make you a better person. But really, I'm just trying to get home from work and I wasn't even speeding; could you pull the plunger handle out of your ass for five seconds and listen to reason?

In my case, I was pulled over for speeding in Waltham. The cop had no way to "catch me" going 50+ when he was parked on a side street and I was taking a left less than 500 feet down the road. i didn't skid, smoke my tires, or swerve. He later tells the magistrate at my first appeal that he'd been following me for a quarter-mile before he pulled me over. BIG FAT LIE. So I appealed the appeal and won my second time around, thankfully; he told the second judge that he HADN'T been following me. Yeah, thanks for telling the truth the second time around, guy.

Maybe the cop really did think I was doing 50+, even if I don't see how. He didn't seem to want to listen to reason at the time he pulled me over. Maybe as he walked into his house later (presumably to heat up a Hungry Man dinner, pop in a schoolgirl/alien anime porn DVD, and beat it until he fell asleep in his La-Z-Boy) he figured out that I was right. He couldn't have estimated me at 50+ MPH. There goes his ticket. But wait! He could lie! He'll be under oath in the courtroom too, but he has a badge! Of course the judge will believe him! Cops never lie! I'm using too many exclamation points!!!

Anywho, I won, he lost, and then he stormed out of the courtroom and slammed the door. Oh, and as an interesting tidbit, out of the seven different cases on second appeal to be heard that day, he's the only cop who showed up. The other six couldn't be bothered to waste another minute on an appeal for a lousy ticket. I guess this particular officer had solved all the crimes in Waltham and therefore decided to come to court to pat himself on the back.

Hey, maybe he's not a bad guy. Maybe he was doing his job and became confused. All I know is that if I'd lied in court and had been caught, I'd have been found in contempt and would be seen in court for perjury. But he's got a badge, so all it took was a "my bad!" and he gets to pull over some other poor bastard who won't know what the hell is happening.

Alright, I've been halfway paying attention to the Sox game so I'm going to get back to it. Just me, some music on shuffle from my new iPod Classic (black of course...a gift from the future Mrs. Boncoddo to replace my beat-to-shit blue Mini), and a bottle of Wachusett Blueberry. It a phenomenal beer and I highly recommend it if you like beer and you're one of the five people in Massachusetts who have never tasted it. I was going to get the Sam Adams Cherry Wheat (always a good decision) but with the bottle recall in effect I'm going to hold off on Sam bottles for a while (ok, maybe not always).

And if you don't know what I'm talking about, Sam Adams had to recall a bunch of bottles because tiny pieces of glass were breaking off and floating around in the beer. It's probably not enough to hurt you; then again, I've never shit out a chandelier before and I don't plan on finding out how that feels.

Good night, everybody.