Happy Halloween!

I am not doing anything special for Halloween this year, although I did just get to hit the matinee of Broadway’s Young Frankenstein which was pretty good but not really worth what some folks are shelling out for a seat (upwards of $400 for seats that are Just OK… lucky for me I got to go for free…it’s a work thing).
I am feeling nostalgic for the Halloweens of my youth. I grew up in a little pocket of Stepfordesque tranquility outside Washington DC called Hillandale. Lawns were huge and well tended with large oaks, pines, maples and birch trees… perfect for hiding Halloween goodies and pranks. The neighborhood was flooded with kids, and since it was a pretty small area, you knew everyone and who lived in each and every house and they would greet you by name when you rang their door, “Ohh Terra, you look like a pretty princess this year!” The only thing we had to worry about was avoiding the neighborhood terrors, the Solomon brothers. Man, they were mean.
Halloween was a big event for adults and kids alike. The adults went to parties; I remember a photo of my Mom and Dad, still married at the time, dressed up and playing some game where they had to eat marshmallows or doughnuts off a line of string while their hands were tied around their backs. I think my Mom was dressed like a brick wall and my dad was a carpenter.
Speaking of my mom, she made us elaborate costumes on her sewing machine. The most memorable for me was this awesome clown outfit she made for us.

I remember vividly that last Halloween I went trick-or-treating. I was in the 7th grade. I dressed up as a mime in a store-bought costume. I knew at the time this was it, I already felt too old to be participating, it was the last time to run around a neighborhood and score free candy. By then we had moved and running up to houses of strangers wasn’t nearly as fun as it was in Hillandale.

I used to hoard my candy. Paranoid that my sister or brother would come into my room and steal my stash, I hid it all over the place like a squirrel preparing for winter. Behind books, in pockets, under pillows, inside the stuffing of a teddy bear, in a crevice of a floor board, anyplace that would fit those tiny Hershey squares. Then, after a few days, I wouldn’t remember where I put the little pieces of chocolates and colorful rolls of smarties and come June I would find a piece of stale, old candy, long forgotten. Sure, I still ate it.

Lucky for me, as an adult, I made friends with (mostly) ladies who also have a good time throwing a festive costume party now and then, and not always waiting around for Halloween to do it. The downside is that none of these lovely women live close by anymore. Hey, anyone know any normal, fun, nice, exuberant and bright women who live in Long Island who want to throw a party? Tell them to call me.

Happy Halloween, friends.

So Good! So Good!

The Boston Globe said it right (to the tune of one of the Sox’s theme songs Sweet Caroline):

I didn’t let myself believe it was actually a possibility to take it all the way until the last pitch was thrown last night. Sure, I hoped. Sure, I had faith. But I didn’t let my mind conceive of the eventual winning moment. I thought it would jinx us by doing so.

I know some people think it’s all a stupid joke, this baseball madness. But I, for one, dig watching a group of people (in this case, men) pull together and perform amazing feats of athleticism, endurance, and skill. I love baseball and think I always did, although I admit during the times when I lived abroad I didn’t give it much thought. Baseball is the best Reality Show happening on TV. Drugs, injuries, fights, breakups and reconcilliations, winners and losers… baseball is so much more than a bunch of guys standing around a grassy field waiting for an occasional burst of action. Plus, we must consider the baseball food of choice: hotdogs. Who can deny the pleasure of a loaded Fenway Frank? No other hotdog tastes as yummy.

Who do you love more? The self-proclaimed Idiots of the 2004 championship or this, as described by Jason Veritek last night, Band of Brothers? There are shining moments of each, for certain. This team does seem more polished, more skillful, and certainly wears more expectation on their shoulders. I adore Mike “Mr. Double” Lowell and hope that Theo and the management keep him on the team and, for the love of all that is good in this world, DO NOT take the ripe apple recently fallen from the Yankee Tree, Alex Rodriquez. A-Rod would mess up a very well developed chemical balance that this team has achieved. I am so pleased they named Lowell the series MVP. Unexpected, for sure, but well deserved and timely, as mid-game A-Rod’s defection from the Empire was announced on National TV in the middle of the freaking World Series. Coincidence? I think A-ROD wanted all in Red Sox Nation to know he is “available”.

I also loved that late last night, after the closing credits and the parting shots of champagne drenched Sox players, the first commercial of the break featured Derek Jeter hawking his perfume called “Driven”. It just struck me as funny.

This year’s celebration for me is much different than 2004’s, that’s for sure. In ’04 I lived in the heart of the action, Boston’s Back Bay. After the final out, I ran outside, camera in hand, and was immediately sucked into the lifeforce of Victory. Sure, most the revelers were BC and BU students who probably never watched a Sox game before their freshman year, but who cares? The energy in the streets was exciting.

This year, now living in New York, in my Long Island outpost, my sleeping sweetheart (who calls himself a Yankees fan) snored quietly as we clinched the title. I sat in my PJs and sent and received excited text messages from friends and family who also count themselves as members of Red Sox Nation. For the first time since moving to NY, I really really wished I was there, back in my Boston neighborhood. Even just for that moment, to experience the win with other fans, as excited as I was.

How many days until Spring Training?

Moj Dragi

Srecan Rodjendan!

It’s my sweetheart’s birthday today. I thought long and hard about the perfect birthday gift for him. First I started planning a weekend away…Montauk, Newport, and a new mountain resort a few hours away were all on the list. But then I realized… Silly! That’s what I want for MY birthday.

So I went back to the drawing board and found something that we both can enjoy, and also will hopefully be fun for the whole cross-language family:

I am not really one for videogames, but this is indeed pretty cool. Instead of sitting stationary in front of the TV, Wii forces you to get up and move. The handheld remotes act as your racket, club, bat, or whatever other instrument you are playing in the game. Not only is this pretty fun, it’s apparently kind of healthy too. I just saw this article:

 

A study by Liverpool John Moores University finds normal Wii use could burn 27lbs (12.25kg) worth of calories a year. They studied gamers in the United Kingdom and found that they spend an average of 12.2 hours weekly playing video games. They also found that kids playing a Nintendo Wii more than doubled their energy expenditure when compared with playing other video games. Wii energy levels rose to 156% above resting level, as opposed to 60% above resting level for normal gaming. That doesn’t mean a whole lot to me, but translated into calories it does. The Wii players would burn 1,830 calories per week playing for 12.2 hours at that energy level.

 

Since I have class tonight, I gave Damir his present last night. We set it right up in the living room so everyone could play. We had a lot of laughs watching Damir and his dad play each other in baseball… especially since I don’t think either has ever picked up a bat in real life before. There they were in the middle of the living room, one pitching and one batting. Good stuff.

The graphics leave a little to be desired on the games that come with the set, but my guess is that other games purchased separately probably are a little more sophisticated. There are some other fun functions of the system, like a digital photo program that lets you edit and play slideshows. I dig that.

So even though we don’t get a romantic weekend away, this, I hope, is something that will bring a lot of fun to our odd family for a long time to come. There is very little common ground I can share with the parents given the language barrier, so this is really a birthday present for all of us.

The In-Ter-Net

I am normally a loyal NPR listener in the mornings. I get all the news I need to start the day, and usually hear a story that is unexpectedly riveting. However, since my usual station is in the middle of their Fall Fundraiser Campaign and I already made an annual contribution to my local NPR station, WNYC, I thought I would try something else this morning and spare myself the guilt trip which would surely convince me to contribute again (not that they aren’t worthy, my wallet can’t take it). So I spun the dial and arrived at WOR, Talk Radio.

The subject of this morning was this mystical force of technology, I am not sure if you’ve heard of it yet, its called The IN-TER-NET. Yes, this crazy place where, get this, “You just enter a topic to search and you get all this data! It’s amazing”.

I checked my calendar to see if overnight some strange phenomenon pulled me back into 1990. Nope, still 2007. I was compelled to keep on listening.

The perky WOR hosts, Joe and Donna, invited listeners to call in to the show and tell the other listeners, how do YOU use the In-ter-net every day?

Priceless snippets:

Well, Donna, I like to use Google Earth to see what’s going on in my neighbor’s backyard. (ok…scary!)

I am a freelance writer and like to read through Wikipedia
– (Host) You have to be careful, that’s not always a credible source of information.
What? Oh, well, uh, I always use a fact checker before I publish anything.

I was afraid of the In-ter-net at first; it took me to bad places [sadly she didn’t mention where these bad places were] but I’ve gotten over my fear and like to look up recipes to cook!

I look up menus at restaurants so I know what to order before I get there!

This was by far my favorite:

You know Donna, people even DATE through the In-ter-net nowadays. Mrs. So and So found her husband online.

GASP! DATE? On the scary In-Ter-Net?

I took my first internet date, well it was a precursor to the internet, back in 1992. His name was Skippy. We had dinner at Schmick and McCormicks in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. He had terrible table manners, but was otherwise a nice guy. 1992 folks, that was 15 years ago!

Sadly, I had to go to work, so I couldn’t learn of any more revelations taking place on this in-ter-net thingymajig, but I may have to tune back in tomorrow morning to see how people are using FIRE or THE WHEEL in their daily lives.

Posted in WTF

How Sweet it Is!

It has been a long season for this Red Sox fan living in the middle of the EVIL EMPIRE. I have been teased, taunted and ribbed all season long by the Yankees fans that surround me at home and in the office.
Where is the broom? Said my boss after the Yankees swept us last month.
It’s getting chilly in Boston, just 1 1/2 degrees said another co-worker when the Sox lead was perilously slim.
I bet you don’t even know the Sox lineup said a co-worker at that other job I had earlier this year (to which I responded with grace and aplomb the entire batting order).
Damir has been quiet in his taunts (and occasionally even applauds the Sox), however he insists on displaying the Yankee Logo magnet on the back of my truck. This is my fault, naturally, as I was trying to be diplomatic when I bought a Boston magnet for myself and got him the Yankees magnet as a gesture of good will. DAMN MY GOOD WILL, I say. The unspoken rule we have worked out is that whomever is driving gets to display their team, though when I ride shotgun, I display the Boston magnet under my window so everyone knows, I AM NOT A YANKEES FAN.
And now, the Yankees have been knocked out of the post-season by the surprisingly strong Cleveland Indians. The Yanks played like a marginal minor-league team unable to swing the bat or make necessary defensive plays. So timing seems right for me to respond to all the taunting I endured for the last 5 or so months. But no. I will not. Sure, there are many things I could say such as:
NANANANANANAAAAA! You looooossst!
or
What’s the temperature now, huh? Huh? Huh?
or
Who needs a broom when I have a shovel??
or
See ya next season, SUCKERS!
But no, I will not say any of those things. Nope, I will not utter a single word in retort. I am a citizen of the Red Sox Nation and I will not demean myself to such lowly tactics.

Strange Things About

Today will be a muggy 84 Degrees F in New York City. Yes, the calendar does indeed say October 4th. I am desperate for the fall chill to arrive; I have no idea how to dress for work in this warm-fall season. Summer skirts seem out but I am roasting in a suit. The forecast indicates that there will be no reprieve.Also today, I passed an unchaperoned chicken hanging out in Times Sqauare. Not a guy in a chicken suit, but an actual live chicken. White feathers and all. Curious tourists flocked (pun intended) to get photos of the odd bird. To quote a fellow pedestrian, “Funny. But I guess that’s not the strangest thing I’ve seen walking around these parts.”

Posted in WTF

Under (Insu)red

Today is October 1st, which thankfully means that I once again walk amongst the insured people of America. It has been a scary thing to be without health insurance these last three months. Even this weekend I had terrible dreams where in the last moments of my un-insured state of being something terrible happened to me and I kept screaming No No No! I get insurance TOMORROW! Thankfully, however, it was just a dream.

Although, I won’t be getting dental insurance which is a bit of a concern, especially given all the dental trauma I had last year with one stupid tooth. That tooth is still a little wonky and I think any day will erupt again like a sleeping volcano.

Along the same subject, I was entertained recently by this article in New York Magazine:

Censo(red) by Tim Murphy

Wendy Dembo was annoyed with the (Product) RED campaign, the Bono-backed effort to fight AIDS in Africa by selling RED-logoed products, from Gap T-shirts to Pods. “I’m glad the Gap is helping Africa, but I want to help people in the U.S., too,” says Dembo, 40. So the West Village marketing consultant made her own T-shirt: UNINSU(RED). The shirt went on sale two weeks ago at Reed Space, a trendy Orchard Street shop. “I thought this was a way to get the hipster kids to think about the importance of health insurance,” she says. Fourteen $28 shirts were sold before the RED people sent a cease-and-desist letter, according to shop staffers. (A RED spokesperson declined to comment.) The proceeds aren’t going to health-care advocacy, but Dembo, who pays a $960 monthly premium for her own insurance,says she’s giving away one in three shirts to uninsured friends. Tarra Cunningham, 40, recently wore one while running errands downtown. “I thought it would protect me from crazy cabdrivers,” she says. A tomato-seller at the Union Square Greenmarket gave her a discount, and medical workers at Beth Israel averted their eyes. When she approached her own East Village block, she recalls, “I met with knowing glances and people going ‘Yeah!’ It was fantastic—the most eventful walk home
I’ve ever had.”

 

Where can I get one of those T-shirts?