Friday, March 30, 2012

Relax. Smile.


One of my New Years resolutions was to try to be happier.

People always tell me that I am “so serious” or ask “what is wrong.”  Such speculations bug me, because most of the time nothing is wrong at all and I am actually quite happy.  I suppose that it is years of playing poker professionally that has forced my face into a constant serious expression, void of emotional indications of happiness.  So while I am not sad or angry, I understand that the general assumption from people who don’t know me is that I am.

In general, I would say that I am not sad, but also not overly happy.  Like everyone else, I am prone to bouts of melancholy.  But I am also just as disposed to attacks of pure happiness.  Most of the time, however, I am just leveled out.

In short, I am normal.

But if I am to be completely honest with myself, I suppose that this winter was a bit depressing.  Aside from the fact that I am essentially starting a new career and dealing (no pun intended*) with the drama that goes along with it, I also have been living by myself in a fairly desolate town, so my human interaction has been almost exclusively limited to the depressed degenerates who like to place the blame of their bad run of cards on me.

*Just kidding, it was intended**
**The pun is only funny if you are aware of the fact that I am now a poker dealer.

It certainly isn’t a terribly dreadful time, but I felt that a few touch-ups on happiness would do me some good.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cookie-Cutter Shows

I often make fun of my parents for watching shows such as Numbers and The Mentalist.

They are cookie-cutter shows that simply present a problem (Think: A murder) and a solution (Solve the case, bring a bad guy to justice).  Each week, this is done in a formulaic method that is dreadfully predictable and offers the viewer nothing more than a sixty-minute waste of time -- a gift-wrapped box-of-nothing, complete with a bow.  The thing that I hate the most about them is that almost no plot development occurs from one episode to another.

So yea.  I make fun of my parents and try to convince them to watch shows with depth and drama.  Shows that leave you hanging and wanting more.  Shows that don’t offer you a gift-wrapped package, but instead light it on fire.  Shows that leave you heartbroken for the next 6 days and 23 hours.  Anything on HBO or AMC would suffice.

But then I realized that I am a hypocrite.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Score One for the Strippers

At work, we are usually able to park in the customer parking garage, so long as we park on level 7 or above.  However, if it is deemed to be a “high volume” day, the employees have to park in a different parking lot, two blocks away.

Last weekend was one of those times.

I parked my car and began laboring towards my place of labor, when I noticed a car suspiciously inching around the parking lot.  The car idled past a few female employees as they hurried their pace.  Then it sped up and approached me.

I am always surprised to meet someone who isn’t aware that Atlantic City is not a safe city.  I suppose that someone who has never been there simply assumes that it is a bustling beach town, full of casinos and commerce.  But these people are only privy to the flashiness and charm of the high-rises, and not the dilapidation and despair of everything else.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

TheGr8stEver (WAM!)

What Angers Me! (Where I rant about annoying stuff)

He calls himself "The Greatest Ever."

He is anything but.

See if you can actually make it through the whole video.  And understand that you have my heartfelt apology for asking you to do so:

Where do I start?

First of all, the title of this kid's video is 6 Minute Dark Knight Rises Prologue Intro Attached to Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol in IMAX.


Just by reading the lengthy title, I have obtained the only useful information presented by the video.

After telling us how annoyed he is to be teased by such a concept, he then goes into a stream-of-consciousness-rant that brings us on a journey from Ashton Kutcher being depressed about social media to police brutality.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tickle My Brain

This One Has a Happy Ending

In 2008, my parents bought me a new car.

It was a college graduation present.  The deal was that if I got a good scholarship and kept good grades, they’d purchase me a new car by the time I graduated.

I kept my end of the bargain by choosing a school that offered me a full scholarship and then graduating Magna Cum Laude*.

*You will find this post to be laden with similar bragging from me.  You've been warned.

I was home for Spring Break, and after dinner my dad asked me to take a couple pizza boxes to the recycling bin in the garage.

I opened the door to see sparkling new Honda Civic with balloons sticking out of the trunk.

I quickly remembered our agreement from four years ago and swiftly deduced that this car was mine.  Even though I knew it was coming, it was still a shock, and I was gleeful… almost to tears.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Game (Or: Thinking About My Buddy While Showering)

When I was younger, I sported the “bowl cut.” 

It was massively popular back then, and every boy tried to pull off the look of Rider Strong from Boy Meets World.

I am told he is dreamy.
The only problem was that I have always had thick hair.  My bowl cut ended up being more of a massively wide popcorn-bowl-cut.  It appeared to be more of a helmet of hair than anything else.

Eventually, I cut it significantly, opting to go for the “front-wave” look, which every other boy had already moved on to.  Everything was cut short and brushed down, except for the bangs, which were gelled to stand upright, acting as a lip for my scalp.

Or, as I see it now, a giant frown atop my head.

After cutting my hair, I went over to my best friend’s house to watch a Flyers game.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Bachelor Post-Game Show

Tonight, many of my friends were tweeting about the big story in sports: Randy Moss becoming a San Francisco 49er.

Others tweeted details about their March Madness pools, as well as their predictions about the games.

Still others tweeted about their excitement regarding Baseball Spring Training, and the news, rumors, and politics that stemmed from it.

I, however, was tweeting about the season finale of The Bachelor, and doing so at an alarmingly rapid pace:

As some of you might know, The Bachelor is one of my greatest guilty pleasures.

The season finale is a night-long affair.  Down to two women, the bachelor must decide who he is going to choose.  For two hours, we witness him seeing the girls, the girls meeting his family, him seeing the girls again, him staring off into the ocean or mountains, him meeting a jeweler, the girls staring off into the ocean or mountains, him talking to the host (Chris Harrison), him rejecting one of the girls, and then him proposing to the other.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Youngman Brown Vs. The Vending Machine

I had a pretty bad headache at work the other day.

Being the tough man that I am, I resolved to get through my day without dealing with it.

It was the weekend, however, and the poker room was busy.  I was going into overtime.  And the headache got worse, as headaches do.

I needed Tylenol in a bad way.

I asked around, and none of the ladies I worked with happened to have any in their purses.

Pondering other solutions, I vaguely recalled the existence of a vending machine outside the wardrobe rooms that offered necessities to employees such as energy drinks, toothburhses, and vitamins.

When I finally got a break, I made my way to the vending machine and scanned the items: Pantyhose, trouser socks, 5-hour energy, shaving cream, razors, lip balm, and …

Bingo!  My beloved Tylenol:  A4.  $1.25.

I pulled out my wallet to find a few twenties, two tens, a five, and a one dollar bill.  The machine only accepted ones and fives. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Daylight Savings: An Ode to Laziness (A "Poem")

Sure, I may have lost
An hour to snore,
But after four long months
My clocks are right once more.

 -Youngman Brown

Friday, March 9, 2012

Driving: Part III (The Car as a Sword and Shield)


The car itself is a powerful tool.  It is this tiny capsule that takes me places.  Moreover, it is a bubble that allows me to be more significant and my actions to be more substantial.

For example, giving people the finger in the car is the only time I feel as if it is really actually giving them the finger.  It is saying “Hey man, fuck you,” as opposed to just giving it as a joke to one of my friends.  Additionally, giving the finger is such a rare occurrence for me that if I give it to you, you can be damn sure that you are very low on the Good Driver Hierarchy.

The best thing about my car is that while within the safe confines of it, the recipient of my middle finger can’t punch me right in the face, or at least it will take them a great number more steps to do so.

On the flip side, driving in my car grants me escapism as well as literal escape from my favorite form of escapism.  Let me explain.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Driving: Part II (The “Good Driver” Hierarchy)

Read Part I here

Here’s the thing about “Good Drivers”: There are none.

Or at least there are none that I know or could describe.

Well, maybe one.

Let me explain.

The only descriptors one can give another driver are those that have negative connotations.

For example, I know “Fast Drivers,” who don’t hold my safety in high regard. 

I know “Slow Drivers,” who don’t think that my time is of paramount importance.

I know “Jerky Drivers,” who don’t want me to be able to sleep during the drive. 

Then of course there are “Aggressive Drivers,” who tail people dangerously close, and occasionally honk, all in the name of keeping things moving.

I know plenty of these subcategories of drivers, who probably encompass one-quarter to half of all the people I have ever driven with.  Everyone else is simply thrown into the other category of “Drivers.” 

Not “Good Drivers. 

Just “Drivers.”

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Driving: Part I (The Driver-Passenger Conflict)

The other day, while merging onto the Garden State Parkway, and at the same time pulling pieces of lint off of my shirt, I realized that I am not always a safe driver.

I have never been in an accident.  I have never been close.  I consider myself a very safe driver, and would be offended if accused otherwise.

But yikes.

Of all the things to be doing while merging...

*   *   *

I have driven with some pretty unsafe drivers in the past.  Everyone has.  You know, the kind of driver that makes your hamstrings hurt from pressing down on the imaginary brake on the passenger’s side.  The kind of driver that you only ride with when it is absolutely necessary. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Parenting Advice for My Sisters

Both of my sisters are pregnant.

It is very exciting.

What is even more exciting is the fact that I am going to be the godfather of both of the little cherubs.

I am already an uncle to perhaps the coolest little three-year-old boy in the world, and I can't wait to meet two more awesome babies in the next two months.

My older sister, already a mother, should probably be the one giving my other sister and brother-in-law parenting advice.  But I will do my part by referring them to this helpful chart of Baby Do's and Don'ts:

Friday, March 2, 2012

In Defense of My Eyebrows

I have bushy eyebrows.

There.  I said it.

They have been bushy my entire life.  And while other people might criticize them, I kinda like em.  While dirt sometimes gets into my eyes, it is a very rare occurrence.

Plus, they allow me to really accentuate myself: I furrow them when I am angry or raise them when I am cynical.  And let’s be honest, cynicism and anger are the only two ways that I really express myself anyway.

The only slight problem that I run into with them is that with such long eyebrow hairs, oftentimes they run amuck on their own little paths, sticking out this way or that.

Growing up, this was actually one of my sister’s biggest pet peeves.

“Please fix your eyebrows,” she would say, not so lovingly.  “They are driving me crazy.”