Archive | August, 2012

I’m trying to find a new Hobby

23 Aug

I’ve decided to get a new hobby.  

I made this decision after I left my doctor’s office yesterday and realized I was happy my blood pressure was down to a healthy 150/110 (this is better than my last reading: 174/120…for those of you who missed 7th grade health class, this isn’t a good thing).  I have to also admit that it didn’t occur to me these were bad numbers until I called up Ankur, my Sophomore year roommate, to share the good news.
Me: “My bp is down to 150/110!”
Ankur: “Dude…that sucks.” [Ankur is an Indian; with a dot-not-a-feather.]
Me: “Health can be relative.”
Ankur: “Y’know Desi’s [slang for India Indians living in US] have a history of heart disease, so I know when a number is bad.”
Me: “You guys don’t eat meat, though.  How can you get heart disease without meat?”
Ankur: “We still do.  It’s a real problem.”
Me: “I thought heart disease was pretty much an American tradition, like baseball.”
Ankur: “Nope….I think you should find something relaxing, like a hobby, that’s what they told my Dad.”
Me: “You are right.  I’ll start doing more fun things.”  
After this conversation, I decided to go have some fun with some of my hobbies.  
This is when I realized most of my current hobbies are killing me.  
Cases in point: skiing has ruined my feet, destroyed my knees, and I pull my hamstrings just by getting out of a chair; it turns out two decades of martial arts and being kicked, punched, arm locked, taken down, pinned, and otherwise abused isn’t exactly healthy; I know I’m never going to be good at golf and I could have learned five languages in the amount of time I’ve spent on it (when you take a swing and the club flies out of your hands and lands in the middle of a lake, the golf G-ds are telling you it’s time to quit); the customary outfit you wear when you go road biking makes me look like I’m an out of work gay porn star; and looking at naked pics of ladies is warping my expectations of the sort of women I can land.  

The question now becomes what sort of hobby should adopt?  I have several criteria for my new hobby and a few constraints:
My constraints are that I’m un-atheletic, accident prone, a miser, I have a bad attitude (I’m suffering from an incurable case of weltermensch), and I have enough health problems to make a hospice nurse’s eyes dilate.  I also have ADD, so I can’t spend a lot of time doing mind-numbing activities (don’t make fun of people with ADD: when the alien invasion occurs and the normal people who are paying attention are getting brain washed–because they are paying attention–the ADDers will be distracted, not end up brain washed, and we are the ones who are going to lead the resistance…viva la resistance!).  
So, I came up with some criteria.
A) I want to be able to dress goofy
The best part about golf is it socially acceptable to be able to dress like a pimp: plaid pants, tacky shirt, all I need is a cane to complete the look.  The game isn’t really that fun, so we might as well enjoy how we dress.  But, this could just be me (you are looking at the same guy who owns a smoking jacket [I don’t smoke] and has a leisure suit).  Any good hobby involves a person, particularly men, to dress like a jackass.  This is very important to me for some reason   
B) I can do it by myself 
This is important because I’m not only a loner (I’m a highly social loner; but, I enjoy being able to do things by myself) but also because the amount of time, planning, and effort it takes for me to get together with anyone causes more stress than work.  Hobbies you can do by yourself include such things as pool, stamina sports, music, and pornography.  But, I don’t want to always do it by myself, so this brings me to my next point
C) I can do it with other people
Like I said, I’m a highly social loner…emphasis on social.  It’s fun to get-together with peps and share an activity  This can be planned with old friends or something you just show up at with at and make new friends (think of something like laser tag; strangers work together and have fun within two minutes after meeting).  Another example is when I was a member of the ski club in college: it’s fun to ski with people and share experiences!  
D) It’s inexpensive 
I don’t want to have to drop a hundred dollars to potentially have fun.  Skiing and golf are the worst at this.  Both sports cost about half a kidney just to do them and you may not even have a good time.  Think of everybody who has permanent injuries from going skiing or the number of people who have had miserable times on the golf course.  Whoever came up with the idea a golf ball should cost $5 and managed a marketing campaign where people think they need to spend this on something that costs maybe, maybe, $0.25 to make, is a genius.  This person is one of my heros
E) I can potentially be good at it 
I’m not one of those guys who wants to have a hobby so stressful it makes work a dream.  My Dad and golf are the worst at this: good ol’Paul spends more time complaining about his golf buddies cheating, his game, and coming up with new and interesting ways to prevent two of his sand-bagging buddies (read: cheaters) from manipulating the game it makes his career as a high-stress corporate attorney look like a cake-walk.  You’d be surprised at how many people have hobbies which abuse them so their horrible jobs and lives don’t seem so awful.  This struck me as strange a decade ago, now it kinda makes sense….almost
F)  It can’t be creepy
Nobody likes someone with the strange hobby and the guy with a weird activity doesn’t get promoted.  Everybody has met someone who has a peculiar hobby.  Taxadermy comes to mind on this one.  Every time I met someone who does this, I view them as a potential serial killer.  I mean, who takes the dead corpses of animals and stuffs them to keep them as trophies?  This sounds like something Hannibal Lector would do.  It’s just strange
G)  It has to be chick approved 
I need to have a hobby a future wife or girlfriend will understand.  Every girl I’ve ever known has always dated a guy with a hobby they don’t get.  I’ve had about ten conversations that can be summarized around the phrase, “Really?  He’s into that.”  A good example is the very successful surgeon I know who collects action figures.  He goes into his basement to play with them while his wife sits upstairs wondering why he doesn’t just play with her, do the dishes, or act like a man
H) I can bring a dog with me 
I’m a dog lover.  I enjoy canine company and it would be a lot of fun in order to bring my pet (I’ve loved all my pets and I still miss them years after they are gone; and, I don’t refer to them as my pets: my childhood dog, the legendary Waggs, I referred to as my fur-child).  This is important because, a lot of times in life, the pet is the only thing happy to see you and appreciates you.  Plus, it is something to love
and, finally, 
I) I can drink while I do it – this is self-explanatory
Let’s examine several of the hobbies I’m considering.  
The first one is fishing.  Now, I’ve been finishing once in my life and I have a good record.  Since I’m a brat, my family and I took a vacation up to Alaska when I was 13.  We hired a fishing guide and a boat to try and catch some King Salmon.  Within thirty seconds, I ended up catching a 38 to 41 pound salmon.  How does fishing met my criteria?  It’s chick-approved, I can come back with something useful, it’s relaxing, after an initial investment, it’s not expensive, I can bring a dog, I can do it alone or with a group of people, it’s not creepy, and I can dress like a loon.  How is it not?  It is boring and doesn’t play well with my ADD.  Plus, I’m not a big fan of hurting and killing things so I’m not sure this would work with me.  
The next hobby I considered is sports cards.  I’m a sports fan (my favorite is football) and I used to collect trading cards as a child.  The advantages are that I’d reconnect with my childhood, Waggs used to hang out with me while I would pour over them, and the ladies, while not understanding it completely, would dismiss it as a “stupid guy thing” and I could hide in my testestarone den looking over them to relax.  The problem?  This is really expensive and goes against my miser mind-set
I then thought about comic books.  I used to collect comics and, for years, the best part of my month was when I got Thor, X-men, Spiderman, and any other title in the mail.  I stopped collecting them when I realized, if they were great literature, why can’t I check them out at the library?  Also, it’s important to remember I recently had my comic book collection appraised and it turns out to be the best investment I ever made.  I was once in charge of billions of dollars and I think this wouldn’t relax me.  Why?  Because all I could think about is how I made the best investment decision of my life between 8 and 13; then, I would think about how I’ve learned nothing about business since.  This wouldn’t reduce my BP and isn’t what I’m looking for.
The one I’m considering right now is to purchase a motorcycle.  This has the appeal in that its dangerous (ADD wouldn’t be a factor because I pay really good attention when the thought of my face ending up on a block of the road is a concern), it’s not only chick approved but I could have my future (still un-determined) wife hold onto me while I drive it, my fellow bikers and I could dress goofy, and, after the initial investment, its cheap.  The problem?  I’m not a cool guy, badass, or stud muffin.  This seems to be one of the pre-reqs for riding; plus, I’m not entirely sure if I could actually balance a motorcycle.  I thought about this and decided, okay, let’s be resourceful.  I then thought about getting a bike with a side-car (the dog could ride there and, yes, the puppy will have goggles on) or purchasing a Spider (three-wheeled motorcycle; in my parent’s Mc-Mansion neighborhood there is a group of trophy wives who go out and ride these things together…and, yes, their leather outfits match the color of their vehicles…I’m in love).  
Does anybody have any good thoughts on a new hobby for me?  If you need me, I’m suffering the web for motorcycles (please talk me out of this).
Further Bulletins as Events Warrant

Hospice Care and Hookers

21 Aug

It is 5:30 am MTS and I’m already feeling bitter.

This a story that will be funny for my friends and, for me, in about 2 weeks.  Here’s what happened.    
One of my friends, Tony, is currently dying of lung cancer.  Before selling his soul to I-banking, he spent years in Seminary before he got kicked out because he had sex with too many nuns.  
Please pay attention to the adverb “too.”  
A tall, thin, and wild Southern kid, every month he set aside 3k for “fun.”  He was the best person to serve in an office with and, if you loved your liver, kidneys, and self-respect, the worst person to go out with after work.  I have tons of stories about this guy, most of which I will only tell under the influence of truth serum and water-boarding, but that’s beside the point.   
Undeniable brilliant, he has the emotional maturity of a horny 12 year old with maturity problems.  Despite being a workaholic with an addictive personality, women were unable to resist him.  This brings me to the conversation which woke me up at 3 am this morning.  
Tony: “You up?”
Me: “I better not be.”
Tony: “Remember how we were discussing if I lived a good life or not?” 
[Tony’s Seminary education gave him a background in Greek philosophy.  Other than me, he’s the only other person I know who has the read all of Aristotle, Plato, and all the classic Greek plays…we always started on Philosophy at lunch, but he steered our discussions toward sex.]
Me: “No, but I remember you talking to me about how many women you had sex with…”
Tony: “Same thing!”
For the past month or so, Tony has been trying to figure how women he made love to.  The number has slowly escalated from impressive to disgusting to disturbing.  
Me: “What’s the count?”  [Me still trying to wake up.]
Tony: “I think I finally got the final number.  It’s 274.”
Me: “You’re sick.  How many fatherless children do you have?”
Tony: “I’m counting threesomes as just one girl, though.”
Me: “…how is lung cancer killing you and not an STD?”
Tony: “I don’t have time for this.  You are going to love this story.”
It turns out Tony decided he wanted to have sex with 275.  Recently having been moved into his own home to die, he has full-time hospice nurses caring for him and, when he arrived at the 274 lady number, he wanted to reach for 275.  
Tony: “I’ve always liked numbers that could be divided by 5.”  
Now, Tony would lose a handsome man contest to the Phantom of the Opera: he has no hair, no eyebrows, has lost all color from his cheeks, and is down to 123 pounds.  He’s 6’3″.  Bedridden, the only way to reach his goal is to get a “lady of the night.”  Naturally, he asked one of his hospice nurses to go score him a hooker.  
It gets worse.
The very nice and charming hospice nurse–who is a grandmother (she showed me pictures of the grandchildren when I came to visit him)–decided to go out and get him one.   
It was either through Craiglist or on Colfax, but the result ended up with her being “pinched” by the Denver police for solicitation. 
It gets worse.
This isn’t her first solicitation arrest.  This has happened to her…twice before.  I have a new respect for hospice nurses: that’s dedication to the job; I’m impressed.  
Me: “I think you need to find…someone…just a little bit better at this…”
Tony: “Yeah….Well…I’m paying for her legal defense…” [Tony is a very nice man; a Southern gentleman in every sense of the word.]
Me: “We can only hope the judge has a sense of humor…this doesn’t sound like a winning legal argument to me.”
Tony [ignoring me]: “And, I’m flying in that gal when we worked together…” [I first met her on my third day, I thought she was his daughter; I introduced myself by saying, “Oh, it’s so great your are coming to see your Dad!” Tony took me out to lunch and explained my fax pas…this is how we became friends.]
Me: “I thought she was retired…” [Tony got depressed when she left the profession.]
Tony: “Yes…but, I put her through Swathmore and, well, she owes me…”
Me: “Tony…I get you got the dead-thing going for you, but it’s 4:30 in the morning, and despair will be my mistress for today.”
Tony: “If my hospice nurse can’t pick her up at the airport, can you?”
Right now, I’m wondering, why don’t I have any other friends?
Further Bulletins as Events Warrant

I miss being addicted to caffeine

15 Aug

I miss being addicted to caffeine.  

I quite drinking anything that has caffeine in it several months ago.  I didn’t do this for any health reasons.  I just got sick of buying Diet Coke, Red Bull, or coffee one day and decided I could save a lot of money if I no longer made these purchases.  After going through withdrawal and feeling proud of myself, at first my life got better: I was sleeping more than five hours a night, I felt better, and I was no longer a twitchy-paranoid strolling around making everyone nervous.  
The first two weeks of having this monkey off my back were great.  Since then, it has absolutely sucked.  I have been a caffeine-fiend since I was ten years old and it turns out two decades of sleep deprivation are catching up to me.  I sleep all the time now.  Here’s a list of the following places I have dozed off at: a doctor’s office, a restaurant, during phone conversations, sitting on my porch, in front of the computer, and, every night, I fall asleep in front of the TV.  I love sleeping in front of the TV–it’s one of my little pleasures of life–but having it happen between 7 and 8 every night is impacting my social life.  
To make matters worse, I’m a notorious sleep-walker.  In college, my roommates and hall-mates would have to go fetch me and put me back to bed about once a semester.  The other times I was actually useful.  I would clean the kitchen, the bathroom, fold clothes, or, even once, I worked out.  I would not remember any of this and wake-up well-rested the next morning in my bed only to find out what exactly I had done and spend the next week being made fun of.  I kinda got a kick out of this because it didn’t happen that much and, to tell you the truth, I enjoy being made fun of (I can’t resist a women who teases me).  
Since I gave up stimulants, though, I’m missing a key ingredient to why I didn’t mind being a night stroller: I no longer wake in my bed.  Here are the following places I’ve woken up in the past two weeks: my kitchen, my home gym bench, on top of my giant stuffed animal Stanley the bear, my porch, the back of my SUV, and, this morning, the Highline Canal trail near my home. 
The Highline Canal trail is the one that ruined my sense of humor about this and, basically, turned this from an eccentric funny quirk to, frankly speaking, something obnoxious.  At first, it was a little bit exciting to fall asleep wondering where I’m going to wake up; now, when I go to bed, I’m terrified of what might happen.  Today, I spent the entire day wondering how to prevent this.  
I don’t have a good solution other than, literally, installing an electric fence and wear a collar or bracelet that shocks me to consciousness anytime I leave my bedroom.  (I have a couple exs who would love the idea of me being shocked; this also reminds me to change my emergency contact from an ex-gf who would have no problem pulling the plug on me and would probably try even if I just have a head cold [I’ve been meaning to do this for seven years].)
What does this have to do with missing being addicted to caffeine?  The only corrallation I can find is that sleep walking started to get bad right after I quit my liquid energy habit.  Other than sleeping more than I thought possible, I’m ending up in weird and unusual places.  So, the next best solution is get re-addicted to Diet Coke.  
This is proving harder than you’d think: it turns out A) I don’t like its taste and B) when you haven’t had any caffeine for months, this shit is like jet fuel.  I mean, I had a half a one today, and I was shaking so badly I couldn’t work on my computer for over an hour.  If my heart would ever fail, I wouldn’t need to be zapped with electric paddles, just give me a shot of java and I’m pretty sure that would restart the old-ticker.  
I’m opening up the floor to any suggestions.  I can’t not be the only person with these two problems and I’m convinced somebody has solved this before.  
Any ideas?
Further Bulletins as Events Warrant
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Of everything I’ve lost, I miss my butt the most

9 Aug

I miss my butt.

I’m thinking about that today because I pulled my groin muscle trying to pull a weed out.  As someone who sucks at physical labor, is accident prone, and is scared of gardener snakes, why was I out working in the yard?  This is because I haven’t had a normal conversation with anyone in several days and I thought some physical labor would do me some good.  
The problem with this idea is that it never does me any good.  
I’m one of the few people who is healthier when I don’t work out, spend time outdoors, or engage in any activity other than watching TV.  How did I end up in the yard then?  To answer that, let’s examine some of the stressful no-fun conversations I’ve had lately and why I decided it would be a good idea to work in the yard to help me relax.
1.  I talked to the worse half of lesbian couple number 3 (Alexis) who is in a fight with her girlfriend because Alexis, who works in theater, got laid off and, in order to make ends meet, has gone back to working as a dominatrix.  She did this job to put herself through college.  (People ask me how she and I became friends and the answer is basically we sat next to each other in an 8 am Philosophy of Language course.)
2.  I spent two hours on the phone with the city of Denver trying to find out why I was mailed a parking ticket for a car, while in my name, I don’t own (the creep who stole my identity strikes again; and, I can already tell, this going to get ugly)
3.  Speaking to the IRS on how they lost the first page of my tax returns when I file electronically
4.  Finding out that the only character in my book who is based on a real person died under circumstances that may have been a “suicide” in Europe.  Please pay attention to the fact I put “suicide” in parenthesis 
5.  Having a detailed conversation with a friend, who is in stage four lung cancer, about whether they actually “pull the plug” on you–like, physically unplug a cord–or if its something else
And, finally, what did me in
6.  My mother complementing on how nice my ass looked 
Which brings me back to my butt.  I decided pulling out some weeds would relieve some stress.  So, on a whim, I strolled out to my yard and approached the first thing I could identify as a weed.  While it looked small, it turned out to have a root that reaches to China.  The last thing I remember is reaching down and trying the pull the thing out by twisting my body. Then, I ended up on the ground writhing in pain grabbing my crotch.  I can safely say the weed kicked my ass.  
Once again, back to my butt.  
As anybody who has had a groin pull can tell you, you can’t walk or do much with this sort of delicate injury around the favorite part of your body. So, I’m spending a lot of time sitting.  Normally, I work standing up and I pace a lot, so I’m not used to sitting most of the day.  It turns out there is a reason for this: it hurts my tail bone because I have no butt.  I always used to wonder why old guys would bring seat pads when I was at football and baseball games and now I know the answer: it hurts to sit.  This wasn’t always true for me.  I remember a day when I could sit on rocks, classroom chairs, tables, counters, and faces for hours on end and it wouldn’t bother me.  Hell, I could sit at the library for twelve hours straight without even noticing I’d only gotten up twice.  
Now, I’m on the floor on my stomach trying to work, but thinking about not only A) when did I lose my ass B) where did I lose it so I can get it back and C) what I’m going to do that plant once I can walk without screaming like a hyena.  
Part C is a problem  Simple killing it wouldn’t satisfy me.  I want to make it suffer first.  Slowly poising it over a few weeks would be fun.  Or, perhaps torching it with small matches until it dies would be entertaining.  Maybe I could discover a way to water-board it, almost kill it, then revive it with Miracle Grow, then almost kill it again, and do this repeatedly until my grown heals when I’ll finish it off for good.  HAAHAHAA.  
On a more healthy note, I’ve emailed Kim Kardashian asking for advice on how she gets her ass so big and cushy.  I think this is her sole area of expertise and I want to learn from her so I can one day sit on a chair without having to borrow my Dad’s hemorrhoid pillow.
Further Bulletins as Events Warrant
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