Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Weekend rewind (buzz or howl under the influence of heat)

Several days since the last posting; nothing too dramatic. In a nutshell:

Work ended a little early on Friday for the long weekend; walked up to the Village (could the weather have been more perfect?) where I stopped at Astor Hair to have a #2 buzz done (ah, how refreshing); met Liz for dinner and drinks at Cafe Le Figaro (or in her case, Cafe Le Fig) and then took a nice, long, leisurely walk back to the ferry and a lovely ride home on the outdoors of the new boat. I'm still a bit surprised that it's been more than 7 years--before she and I got married--since we've had this kind of evening at the cafe.

Saturday was running early errands, a lite lunch and then off to Maxwell's to meet the Sexy Stud. Liz, Bob and myself basically got to "our table" at 5 (the opening hour) and stayed until 2:30 or so. Much Merlot consumed; a wonderful dinner (chick pea salad KICKS ASS); endless laughs and Bob is quite taken with the lovely hostess who always stops to chat with us--go, brother, go! Just never let me order appletinis again. A hard lesson to be learned on Sunday morning.

To which, in getting up on Sunday was a chore. I am not a drinker, so the hangover was quite a hammer in my head. Nonetheless, we were up and out early--stopped to recharge the fuel at this great new sandwich chain who has a fabulous "garden veggie" sandwich on ciabatta--damn, that's good eatin'. Hung out at home, feeling lazy and ill (truth be told) for the balance of the day. Just the time alone with Liz was nothing less than welcome, wanted and wonderful.

And then there was yesterday. A 13th-hour e-mail saying "yes, we're getting together today to start mixing" was not what I expected. I really was angered by the fact that this is how we seem to do business. Nonetheless, I got up to Chris' place and we wound up with two songs mixed. The fact that Liz and I had to cancel our plans because of this is what infuriated me--knowing that I had to go and get this underway as who knows when the next opportunity to mix will come around instead of saying to Chris "no, you didn't get back to me until this morning; too late, I have plans". My mistake. Obviously, I'm still bothered by it, but I'll get over it. It's par for the course. If he reads this and is offended, it isn't meant as offense--just simple common courtesy, not excuses. This was discourteous. I'm quite certain that if the roles were reversed, he wouldn't appreciate it--and he wouldn't change his/his family's plans. Friends don't do this to friends with such regularity.

Nevertheless, I am glad to be up and about in the world of the living/working. The lazier side of me eschewed going to the gym (I know, I know) and doing the laundry--I will take care of the latter tonight and hit the gym on Thursday--that's a promise. Indiscipline is something I can't and won't tolerate from myself, so back to focus and a bit of a taking a few steps back to where I was and regaining that mindset I had at the beginning of this quest for perfection (or at best, great improvement). With that said, I will finish my green tea and get back to my other duties. Time is money, you know...

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Party with me, punker

So Liz and I meet up last night at Lincoln Center to see "We Jam Econo: The Story Of The Minutemen". It was a bit surreal; all these faces, young and old dressed like they were going to a punk show. If anything, I found it strange, somewhat humorous and a little sad. It had that air to it of trying to recapture their youth and for the young 'uns, they were all posing for the elders. Believe me, I'm not above it, but it was a tad off-putting for me.

The cinema at Lincoln Center is nice; good snack bar--excellent coffee and a damn fine banana bread on offer. Comfortable seating and a civilized atmosphere. The movie was what I expected and brought me crashing through a sea of memories and emotions. Liz thought it was great and really, it was one of those nights to savor. The Q & A with the director and editor was interesting and didn't at all come off like those terribly pretentious theatre presentations. Very pleased and was terribly moved. Really looking forward to the DVD.

Really have to get my thing together and change the songs on the iPod Mini--summer's coming and the heavy grooves/dancefloor stuff HAS to stay (think Ibiza), but time to put The Minutemen, Huskers, etc. for the sake of keeping myself fresh and inspired, especially with our album now being done.

...but I was D. Boon, Paul Weller, Julian Cope and Pete Shelley... me and Bob Strete, playing guitars...

(with a nod, a smile, a wink and a tear to D. Boon)

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Train of thought

Picking up from where I left off (in a manner of speaking)...

The album sounds (just from sitting and listening to it quietly in the studio) amazing. Really proud; beyond pleased. A rich, full pop-powerhouse that makes you step back and say "this was done by a 3-piece?". There are a lot of subtleties and nuances--all credit and another shout out to Chris--that enrich the sound to make it even more lush than had we done it in a more meat-and-potatoes fashion. I'm a big fan of density as to the way a rhythm section sounds and I'm a huge proponent of the "big, stupid American drums" sound, as defined by Don Gehman years ago, so when I hear the playbacks of "Wild Skies" and "Beauty Lies", I can't help but get a tingle from the bottom end. The acoustic guitars are crisp and warm; the vocals have that great big-room feel and the songs have gone from flubbed ideas on my demo tapes to these pop classics ready for public consumption and performance. Yes, I know I'm editorializing, but allow me to be proud of what I and my friends/bandmates/brothers-in-arms have done. To this point, I always loathed everything I ever played on/released. Now I'm not. At 40, I certainly appreciate what we've done.

An interesting about-face as to the fact that I would get tensed up when it was time to record; this time, I'm actually looking forward to the mixing sessions (which I usually detest)--I think it gives us a chance to really add/enhance the raw recordings, as they sound ready as it stands now. The ability to look at these songs and shine them up (think rough diamonds) gives me a rush of excitement, which I've never had for mixing. Like I've said so many times before, "The Wild Flowers" is a great song; a great pop record and a great production, but I never want to hear the motherfucker again, as I had to endure 96 playbacks of the fucking thing and have hated it ever since. You get my meaning.

I've checked in with the guys this morning to see if this coming Sunday is feasible for the first mix session; strike while the iron is hot and we're on a unified, creative tear.

Going tonight with Liz to see "We Jam Econo". Can't wait.

Time to e-mail Chris again, this time with ideas for website updates.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Weekend rewind (still life #2)

Apart from the minor rains that fell yesterday, the weekend started and ended in a better fashion than I could have expected. The happy recap goes as follows:

Friday night, met Bob for drinks and dinner at Maxwell's--had a fab time, as usual--was in the door by 4 a.m., due to missing the last direct train into WTC. Woke up Saturday feeling sluggish and not looking forward to decaf--told Liz I cannot stand being on South Beach--neither could she, so to celebrate, we had coffee, which set the tone for a buoyant return to form. Ran errands, Starbucks (yes!), groceries, obligatory trip to Jersey (Target, burgers) and home in the late afternoon with a nice bottle of Merlot.

Yesterday's recording session was off and running with Chris' surprise of the (albeit temporary) resurrection of Synchronic West; got to work and apart from my seemingly endless bungling of the keyboard and the counterpoint guitar part on "Bitter Sweet", the (re-take) vocals and keyboards on "Inside" were one go and suddenly, get to the other side is now completed. Sat together and listened to some of the tracks; BIG shout out to Chris for an amazing job on mixing roughs--if this is how good the album sounds unmixed (as I told the guys), I'm almost afraid at how good it actually will be when we've finished mixing it formally. A lot of time, effort, energy, some tears and a lot of laughs went into doing this record and for all the tensions or emotional rollercoaster rides we've had over the year as The Punch Line can't diminish the beauty of this album. It is a true group effort and I'm genuinely proud of this work. As we'd established, this is the one record we've done that we all can go back and listen to and still love. Didn't take any rough mixes, as Chris rightly pointed out "we should come back to this next week with fresh ears and some distance from the songs"--amen to that, brother. Once Bob and I split, a traffic-free drive home, a quick stop at McDonald's and in for the evening with Liz and unwinding.

Biggest complaint? The Mets blew two very obvious games, especially yesterday. Just sloppy. Wow, that's pretty good for what's irking me now.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Step aside from the fray

A quieter day than usual around the office, which is nice, as it gives me the opportunity to jot down a few thoughts that are sweeping around my mind. Nothing terrible; just random things that need to be captured for the duration...

Day one proper, with no ceremony, on South Beach. Started today, rather than Saturday. Still having minor headaches due to no caffeine, no sugar, etc. The body is in a state of detox. Had a filling breakfast (again, all to the letter of the diet plan) and a delicious lunch and will NOT be having any late afternoon snacks or dinner. For these first few days, a lot of water will have to suffice. Back to the gym on Saturday--doctor's orders forbade me from any strenuous exercises, etc. since my back was not healthy on Monday. Fine. While I haven't had pain to justify popping a Naproxen, I'll still be smart and not do any strenuous exercises, lifting, etc. Must call the doctor early next week to cancel my follow-up visit since the sciatica flare-up has diminshed.

Had to switch my (actually mine and Liz') weekend schedule; a last-minute (grrr) change of plans for recording on Saturday was moved to Sunday; have to scramble on Saturday to hit the gym, grocery shop for ourselves and my dad and take care of all the necessities before packing my bag for the studio. Must make sure I don't forget anything as this is the last session and the keyboard needs quite a few little items that are crucial. If I forget, we're fucked.

A bit tense from the last few days; elements of work have me irritated and the whole Punch Line situation is unresolved. Meeting Bob tomorrow night for dinner and drinks at Maxwell's--talk about being regulars! This will make 3 (if not 4) consecutive weeks of a Friday night in Hoboken. NO complaint, mind you. He needs tomorrow night as much as I do--and he's going to need it even more, I suspect... My mind has been all over the place since Sunday--I suspect this is all due to the chemical changes going on in my body and brain. To a minor degree, I feel like I'm being run over by a Mack truck--I'm sure after a few more days of adjustment, I'll be alright. I'm also starting to think that I'm now developing allergies. Fantastic.

The weather is magnificent--pure May beauty; will put the sun and air to good use tomorrow when I walk the distance of Washington Street from the PATH. Until then, time to re-right the internal compass and do some Sahaja Yoga tonight. It's a total sense of discipline, right?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

I used to be him

I was talking with a friend of mine earlier about how we are diametrically opposed to who we were when we were younger and if we stop and look/think about it, we really wouldn't like our former selves; in this context, I have to say "why should we?". I wouldn't like the Rob of the age of 20 or 22. The arrogance of a (more likely than not) mis-spent or squandered youth leads me to think the most obvious thing in the world--if you're the same person at 40 as you were at 18, you're a fucking loser. And it's a well-known fact that I do not relate to, nor do I tolerate the rudeness of today's youth; thus, I try to avoid teenagers like the plague. Yet somehow, more than before, I find myself being confronted (at moments, unwillingly) by people who want to continually rehash and re-visit the past, including my own. I find it uncomfortable, not because of anything I have to hide or be ashamed of--on the contrary, I have no secrets nor have I any skeletons. I just think it's foolish and boring to keep going over the same ground. You know, I was there; I lived it and it was great or was a drag at the time--whatever the situation may have been--but that was then. Why is there such a fixation by so many people I know to keep themselves firmly mired in the past? Are you that unhappy with your life? Do you now realize that you pissed your youth away and are only just regretting it and trying to recapture it? It's really sad and at times equally disturbing. If you're still thinking (well, for me) it's 1981 or whenever, you are sadly mistaken.

Living in the past is the most unhealthy thing I know of. Most people I've known through the years--family especially--have this habit. It's a fairly well-known trait of mine that I don't hold water with false sentimentality and I don't yearn for yesterday. It makes me a hypocrite, by virtue of the fact that I'm once again playing in a band and once again playing in The Punch Line. And be it family or friends, I have the same conversations over and over again--and it always starts with "do you remember when...?". How often do you have to smile benignly and nod and repeat the same anecdotes? The only two people I know who use the past as a point of reference and not of reverence are my cousins Valerie and Marc. Like yours truly, they don't romanticize the past; they use it to draw upon past mistakes, current concerns (both of them are parents) and perspective, which appears to be the most forgotten point of referencing days gone by.

Part of the discomfort of the whole "repetition of yesterday" is that it's a blind alley. The conversation doesn't go anywhere and it certainly doesn't tell me anything about who a person is in the here and now. Nostalgia for an age yet to come is one thing, but would someone tell my friends and family that it's time to enter 2005 and whether or not you like it, it's now. If I tell someone "respect me--I'm older than you and you owe me that much", then dammit, don't stand on ceremony--just say you fucked up and we go on from there. If I tell someone "this is how it is, not how it was", then dammit, do what I tell you. I know what's best for me. And so on. All this while I continue to work on The Punch Line's album.

I feel a little nostalgic of certain moments, usually triggered by various pieces of music or perhaps a work of literature or a film. The point is, that's what remembering is for. Moments of time that still mean something of hope or joy or sadness, but it's only a moment and it's over. It isn't meant to be re-lived. At least, not for me. I'd really rather not be equated with the guy in the parka and the Fred Perry's. I was someone else then. Just like I was someone else before I met and married Liz. To me it's always about growth and change.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Breathe out

Okay, I'm happy to report that I saw my doctor yesterday for the follow-up and results of my blood tests--no abnormalities and my cholesterol is only 5 points over what should be considered the average. Not bad. He gave me prescriptions for the sciatica--an anti-inflammatory and a muscle relaxant and that's all folks. A sigh of relief and a long walk down 10th Avenue (am I nuts?) to unwind. Got home, took care of chores and enjoyed a good evening's conversation with Liz. A better ending to a tense day.

This leads me back to re-focus on the gym, my dietary habits and succeeding with South Beach. Liz, bless her, is already in it/on it and she's great--completely focused and disciplined. While I'm currently under doctor's orders to not go to the gym until (at least) the end of the week, I intend to re-commit myself the way I had, pre-March. And don't ask me what made me come off the rails--I haven't got a clue. All I know is, it's time to refresh the body and mind, the way I did at the outset of the year. Of course, a lot of it has to do with one's surroundings (home, work, people, etc.) and it's time, with the beginnings of summer, to clear the clutter from my life. Breathe in... feels good.

Was supposed to have the last recording session on Saturday--that's now been pushed to Sunday. I'd love to see this happen. Time to turn the page on recording and get to mixing. Just one more hurdle to leap.

Got our tickets (reservations?) set for next Tuesday night--an early showing of "We Jam Econo: The Story Of The Minutemen" and maybe a nice light dinner and drinks afterwards. Liz and I have re-awakened our love of fine wines, so that may be the perfect capper for what looks like a great evening--how could it not be, when you've been listening to the boys from Pedro?

Speaking of which, it's time to re-visit the iPod Mini and put the aforementioned works on, plus my other recent acquisitions. I'll keep the hi-energy dance stuff, etc. for the gym, but time to rock harder in a different direction. Keeps me young, you know.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Weekend rewind (a slight return)

While I had a great weekend with Liz, celebrating her birthday and forgetting the world around us, the pain of sciatica and some minor irritations at work have already marred this Monday. Add to the not-as-upbeat-as-usual feeling due to the 2nd day of caffeine/sugar withdrawal and you have a sluggish vibe to this posting.

About the no-caffeine--while I'm not starting on South Beach formally, until this coming Saturday, I wanted to get a head start on making the necessary physical adjustment of stopping the intake of caffeine and (white/processed) sugar. I do not have as much energy as I'm sure I usually do; I have a slight headache (not as bad as late yesterday afternoon) and really, that's about the worst of it. I have my follow-up doctor's appointment this afternoon; I'm apprehensive about the results of my blood test but I'm also going to ask the doctor for a light prescription (if there is such a thing) for the sciatica.

Came on out of nowhere and naturally hindered me throughout Saturday. Could barely move; Liz (bless her heart) did the carrying and lifting of the groceries. Made a very light and fun weekend terribly uncomfortable. Nonetheless, we did have a great three days to ourselves to laugh and unwind. Thursday night was an impromptu trip to Hoboken--dinner and drinks at Maxwell's with Liz; her call and a fantastic night to do so. Watched a great movie on Friday, "Sideways", which did live up to its' hype and acclaim; did a lot of driving (including taking Liz through the Jersey City area where many of my friends live) and spent a lot of time just talking and being together. Daily life gets annoying when you have these sporadic conversations that are interrupted as quickly as they begin and you're really into the topic. It always seems to happen to Liz and myself; subsequently, this was a weekend to catch up on communication.

Even though the sun is shining, I hear the call of 2 Advil and will heed it. More later--when this fog has lifted.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Happy birthday

I'm thinking of the Altered Images' classic. That shout out goes to my wife (Liz, as if you didn't know) who is celebrating her birthday today, albeit with a little help from myself and our cats tonight when she gets home from work. A beautiful day paints the picture just so.

Just got an e-mail from Chris--looks like the wheels are in motion for next Saturday to hopefully, finally cap off the recording. I say that with tongue firmly in cheek, as I now have to get my ass in gear and really focus on getting the keyboards right on "Bitter Sweet" and "Inside". I also (in hindsight) need to re-do the vocals for "Inside"--they were good on the first take, but not great, which they should have been. If my diligence and patience is where I think it will be, with the time available this weekend, I can set about getting the parts down. I want next Saturday's session to be completely fruitful (yet economic) to the point of saying at the end "we have an album ready to mix" and then set the dates of mixdown--NOT my favorite part of post-production (or have I already mentioned that?). Good to know that we're ready to finish this album and move on to becoming an even better live unit. Performance isn't my favorite thing in the world, but I'm prepared/preparing to do whatever is needed to help move units and I do know that The Punch Line are a great band. Like I said not too long ago, when we were last in Stage Left (after we began to hit stride), I felt like it was an almost out-of-body experience as we just sounded so good and hard and tight; I was (to an extent) just listening and watching with amazement and able to see it from a music fan's perspective. File that under "pride".

Of course, in a life built around strange occurances, the day of the next recording session is the start of South Beach. But hey--I'm not going to let the caffeine-withdrawal thing get in my way. I'll have plenty of Advil in my bag and I'll keep myself primed with iced decaf from Dunkin' Donuts and a lot of bottled water. Day one is always a bitch, so I'd rather be recording than sitting around feeling the effects.

Naturally, in talking about food, I feel the pangs as it's getting near lunch. I'll keep this one light and brief, with my closing thoughts on Liz.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Indifference, inertia, insignificance

Thanks to the rest I've been getting over the last few nights and the absolute stress reduction in my daily existence, I found myself scribbling lyrics for the first time in ages. I don't mean the jotting down of a random idea here or a few verses there--I'm talking about writing on a jag, the way I used to. It's a case of the "storing up enough lyrical roughage in my diet so I can take a damned good artistic crap" when the time came. And sure enough, here 'tis. Not exactly a surprise, as I've been egged on by many good people who've asked "so why aren't you writing?" or "why don't you write anymore" and so on. Not meant in an obnoxious or sarcastic manner, mind you, just surprised at my lack of necessity (or urgency) in writing, when I used to be able to write reams of stuff--good or bad. It's like I'd explained to some that I have such a great back catalog of material that I was able to rest on my laurels and use those songs, as I feel (still) they deserved an airing. It was (at one time) almost a compulsion to write and write and write; now, it's become again a matter of pleasure. Like this blog. It's been an aid; a blueprint and a valuable tool in my desire to refine my lyrical skills, which definitely haven't eroded. So while I have the stockpile of yet-to-be-recorded/released material, I can also press on with the new songs.

A good portion of the gratitude is due in part from encouragement by a few of the inner sanctum. You guys know who you are, but thank you (outright) for saying to me "get to work and write like you used to". The hue-and-cry over not hearing new demos for some 7-plus years now is pretty surprising in a really great and very kind way. I didn't think anyone cared enough, but hey--that's brother (and sister) hood. One shout out goes to The Man With The Thud Staff for his never-ending patience and practicality; the other goes to The Boys--big up respect in the green and pleasant lands. Three new pieces complete--I'm looking at sitting down and finishing off one set that's been sitting in my portfolio since October '03 (my only attempt at truly writing, but not completing) and now I think I can do it with no more funny business. The mantra--get it done and done right. To bullshit and pretend that writing lyrics is a great art is just that. It's bullshit. I don't need to nurse my fucking lyrics--I've just been lazy. No more; makes me a hypocrite. Put the Fostex to work. I have a job to do and once again, taking the reins of control and doing it. I'm not under any pressure to do it--Liz pointed out "it's what you do. It's what you were meant to do". I'll defer to her on this one, as this isn't the first time I've heard that, not just from her. So I don't argue. I get to work instead. Some people have a God-given gift or talent or whatever you want to call it; I look at my ability with words to be a gift and I have no right to squander it. That I can put strong melodies, etc. to those words is the bonus, but at the end of the day, it's not a matter of anyone's opinion as to whether or not the "song" is good; it's down to my own satisfaction of being pleased with the final result. You know, everyone's a fucking critic and 99 times out of 100, as we all know, it's the ones who don't know a thing who love to chime in. Once upon a time I cared--now I don't. Pleasing me first, not you. Otherwise, what's the point?

Being that it's May, I shouldn't be all too surprised in this turn of good fortunes. The month has always signified to me the best things, be it when I found my first long-term relationship or finding a great job (has happened more than once) or most significantly now, Liz' birthday--it's always been a month filled with positive vibes. I couldn't give a shit whether or not it sounds trite; it just means something to me and as always, that's all that matters.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Weekend rewind (still life #1)

It's nice to be feeling my usual self again; that constant "run down"-ness was becoming too much to contend with day after day, especially since I'm not ill. Managed to muddle through Friday at work (somewhat worn down from lack of solid sleep on Thursday) enough to wake up and remember I was meeting Bob at Maxwell's for dinner and drinks. The walk to the PATH got my blood flowing, as did the walk across town. The dear lad was there not two minutes after I sat down and by the time the laughing and conversation had to be stopped (otherwise, it's a safe bet we would have wound up being there until closing), it was 1:30 when we left--I managed to walk in my door at 3. Ugh.

It wouldn't have been too bad had I not had to get up to grocery shop with Liz; I always like to get out as early as possible on a Saturday since the supermarket is usually overrun by the usual idiot suspects by 10:30. Survived it enough to head out to J.W.'s (Bayonne, here I come) at 11:30, as the good man was kind enough to spend his time giving our car a diagnostic--happy to report that apart from the obvious tailpipe issue we've been hearing as of late, this '92 Nissan should last us another 5-to-10 years, thus giving us pause to stop and reconsider the Mini purchase. We'll see... After the inspection, took a drive out to B.'s in Jersey City where the three of us headed back to (naturally) Hoboken. Found a neat bar called Stinky Sullivan's that had good music, an adorable waitress and some decent bar food (how can anyone find fault with fish & chips or hummus?). Have to say that in the area we were in (Paulus Hook/Hamilton Park), Jersey City seems so Liz-and-myself. The brownstones are magnificent and the conveniences are more than adequate. Dropped the guys off and headed home, feeling the effects of sheer exhaustion--most of the balance of Saturday night is a blur as I kept fading in and out on the couch.

Spent yesterday with Liz having coffee, light shopping, a really nice and meaty-conversational lunch and enjoying our one day together where there were no pressing issues, tasks or necessities. Decided to blow off the laundry (which I'll do tonight) and the gym (no tears to be shed this time) and just had fun, which is the key as of late. Being busy is great but there are moments when we both need to just wind out and shirk some of our weekend "duties". Plus, this past weekend and the one coming up are our only two "downtime" weekends available; coming up is the first phases of South Beach; sooner than later, I have to get back to work with The Punch Line to finish the overdubs/tweakings and begin the mixing; she has projects coming up--our time together will be limited, so we're taking advantage of it now.

Did pick up the guitar for the first time in about two weeks yesterday afternoon, albeit for five minutes. Keeping the fingers nimble is always worth my time. Picked up some long-neglected CD's and am now in that musical flow of loud guitar, thundering bass and powerhouse drums = songs to be played live and raw once they're recorded. Back to the fundamentals. As it should be.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Cobwebs and stranger

Again feeling off. Not exactly sure why or how, but it's beginning to grate on my nerves. I know this dietary change must be playing a small part, but it's not as if I've started the caffeine-detox process yet. All I know is that on a delicious May morning like today, I should be feeling a bit more vibrant and in better spirits. Confessedly, it's another one of those mornings in which, as much as I love my job, I'd like to be out and about walking, taking in fresh air and feeling. File this one under "I wish I could spend the afternoon in Hoboken"-kind of day. Emotional clouding? I'm not certain.

Add to this lack of feeling, I haven't had any drive or desire to work on music; I haven't used any free time in the studio, either working on what needs to be worked out or even trying to sculpt ideas/fragments that have been lying dormant. I can't say that I'm spent or burned out already, but I definitely feel nonchalant at the moment. And I can't conceive of even picking up/looking at any of my guitars or keyboards.

A few of my more-trusted friends/colleagues think it's a pre-occupation (albeit minor) with my blood test results and my upcoming diet prep. I can't argue with that. I've been in a null state since Monday--not bad, not angered, etc. Just not anything. Been working; busy at home with friends and family more than I have in God only knows how long, so I haven't any inertia that would make me think too much about what puts me off... I know better than to fret over what I can't control, but I've also felt non-committal to so much that it's almost another non-point to throw onto the pyre. Ah, burn it down and have done with it.


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Not a quite a vacation in Florida

South Beach. No, not the area of Staten Island nor the mental institution located there. Florida--the Sunshine State. I'm not physically headed there, but I'm heading toward...

The diet; I'm gearing up for the South Beach Diet. Went for my annual physical yesterday. While I'm happy to report that so far, everything is fine and I'm healthy, I have to return for a follow-up in two weeks to get the results of my blood, etc. tests. I have concerns about cholesterol, blood sugars, etc., but the key thing is to have the "prep" conversation with my doctor (who I have no end of respect for--small wonder he's been my physician for 22 years) before I actually start the diet's 1st phase. I asked Dr. S to help me get on a good, sound plan and without missing a beat, he said "South Beach will be perfect for you. It's nothing you can't do and it isn't drastic. You aren't in need of anything more serious". He also gave me a daily calorie counter, which I have with me as an aid. Good enough for me. As good luck and happenstance would have it, I stopped for a moment in a Duane Reade for vitamins and spotted the book, so I was immediately off and running. This is no joke, either. You have to buy the necessary foods--and I don't mean expensive specialty items like Weight Watchers or one of those other fad diet plans. I mean, I need to buy things like vegetable juice and decaf (including green tea) and keep a close eye on certain meat products when I shop. I'm more determined now than ever (in a non-overboard way) to get this right. It's been 20 years since I went on my first "diet" (cigarettes, Dexatrim, don't eat for a few days, etc.) and now that I'm in a better frame of mind and discipline, I want this to be the one that gets me to the promised land--to get down to and maintain 150, which I know I can do.

Part of success with a formal diet plan is to not fight the elimination of certain items--for me, I'm willing to give up the caffeine and sugar; for the first two weeks, no fruit, etc. I'm not someone who has a "sweet tooth" as my norm--just my morning coffee requires 2 tsps. of sugar. Okay, no more of that. I've been on decaf diets before, like when I was sick 3 years ago, but this is voluntary, so it stands to reason that it will be easier for me. My gym habits will also be far more disciplined--NO MORE of these blowoffs; get my ass to the gym and get the workout done. Just like when I began the gym trek. I think I said in my first-ever posting, I intended to maintain a steady workout regimen, and while I admittedly fucked up a bit in April by not going as often as I had, I'm holding true to my statements again. Or more a promise I made to myself.

Of course, I know I'm unnecessarily worried about my blood tests, but the waiting two weeks is a tense period. I'd rather know in a few days' time. Until then, I'll keep doing what I've been doing as of late--a watchful eye on fatty foods; smaller portions and so on. At least, if I can start to naturally knock my cholesterol level down, I'll feel a whole lot better. At the same time, I may be worried about nothing at all. I hope.

Monday, May 02, 2005

The past will bite you on the ass

I had to do a quick post as I saw this.

Am I worried? I'll let you know later. Holy shit, they couldn't even do anything for their former employees correctly.

Paranoid much? Beginning to think I should be.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

May Day/Weekend rewind

My favorite month. Did I mention that before?

Considering it's Sunday night, I thought I might not have the time tomorrow. Work, doctor's appointment, etc. You know the drill. So here's a posting with some thoughts, etc.

Friday night was calm and quiet enough--a quick coffee out before going home (beautiful night, no drama)--Liz was busy but when I got home, we made time to relax and talk. Saturday's chores in the driving rain (or is it driving in the rain?) were not too painful; rather, we had a lot to laugh about and the time together was long overdue. The predictable/obligatory Starbucks and Target stops en route and after our groceries before noon set a great tone for the day. A leisurely lunch and home for the balance of the day, where Liz was back to the design studio while I began the newest project I've immersed myself in; I won't say just what I've been working on, but it has to do with a great leap forward into my (our) future. It's cool; trust me--I just want to make sure everything is functioning before I say anything firm.

This morning, up early and at the gym (hurrah!) by 9; like I'd never missed a beat at all. Set new highs on the treadmill and elliptical; worked out with the weights and felt terrific afterwards. Sidebar note: there are televisions at the gym (because you know you just can't live without it); George Stephanopoulos had that fuckwit Pat Robertson on his show this morning. As I was reading the closed-caption text, Robertson actually intimated that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a Communist by virtue of her association with the A.C.L.U. What?! And this guy calls himself a "man of the cloth"? What cloth? Brownshirts? Strait jacket? Sheesh... Okay--just had to mention that. Took Liz to Bagel Bistro, where we had one of my favorite post-workout meals--6 egg whites, peppers, tomatoes, onions, roast beef (no gravy, thank you ) and wheat toast. Load me up on the decaf! A real protein powerhouse. Made a run to Tastebuds (our fave local organic/health food store), then a long drive past the beach and a moment of Punch Line art and history.

Drove down to St. Mary's Avenue, in an area called Rosebank, to see if the abandoned train station which inspired "Train Of Thought" was still there--as I feared, it was gone. The lines about "broken station, split in two"--the station was split in two by the street when I first came upon it, back in '87. One side was fenced in, yet in tact although overgrown with weeds; the other was broken and rusted and covered in trash. When I saw the area where it had been located, one side was shitty tract-housing; the other side was a fenced-in parking lot. The idea was to photograph the station and use it as the actual cover for get to the other side, but it's now over to Plan B. I have to admit, while I despise people who immerse themselves in false nostalgia and romanticise the proverbial "yesterday", I did feel a little lachrymose at seeing the street. It had brought back a wave of memories and I was catapulted to a period I hadn't thought of in years.

Back home in time to slay the beast known as the laundry room and am now ready to settle in for the Sunday night powerblock of dumb entertainment. Well, not dumb, per se, since Family Guy is back, but something to lessen the blow of the Monday world. Thus, I'll speak now, while the words are available and my mind hasn't been novacained by the gogglebox.