Thursday, April 30, 2009


One thing I’ve been doing for a while now is steady-state cardiovascular exercise, or “cardiac work.” I started really hitting this hard last fall, when I realized that although I’d lost a lot of weight – and a lot of body fat – the changes I was trying to make pertained, almost exclusively, to my strength levels and how I looked. I was doing next to nothing to improve my biological power.

So, on the advice of some world class people, I started really blasting away on cardio in the gym. I’ve always been a strong runner, relatively speaking – at least for a guy my size with a background in interval-based sports – but I didn’t want to go out and start running right away with all the excess weight I was carrying.

I started out with this formula:

220 – age = max heart rate

This is very simple, doesn’t require you to go to an exercise lab to find your anaerobic threshold, and is easily applicable to any piece of cardio equipment in the gym. Once I had this number, I used a variety of cardio machines to keep my heart rate within 60-70% of this number. For most of these workouts, I was simply walking uphill on a treadmill and grabbing the electrodes with my hands every few minutes or so to test my heart rate.

I would do this 4-5 times a week, and I eventually threw in some High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) sessions to compliment this work. These HIIT workouts consist of 10-15 minutes of all-out sprint intervals, either on a machine, or running (sprints), or through the use of barbell circuits.

I was still eating like shit and lifting heavy, so these workouts didn’t start manifesting themselves in aesthetic results right away. What they did do, however, was make me feel a hell of a lot better. After a few weeks, I was sprinting up sets of subway steps – and doing other things of this nature that used to make me breathe a little heavy at the top – and not feeling a thing.

Two months ago, a guy I train – I have a handful of clients I train on the side – gave me a $300 Polar heart rate monitor. You strap an electrode around your chest and wear a watch on your wrist, and it tells you your heart rate at any given moment. This was great, because it enabled me to both take my resting heart rate in the morning and know what my heart rate was when doing something other than tediously walking on a treadmill for 45 minutes in an irritating gym.

Long story short, I’ve started running. “Distance” running. I strapped on my heart rate monitor last week, determined to keep the number at a certain range, and ready to simply start walking if it exceeded that range. The idea was to just go for a set period of time, then stop, then see how far I went.

This morning I ran 3.5 miles at about an eight minute per mile pace. My heart rate never exceeded 155. I weigh 240 pounds right now.

Now, I know these numbers aren’t exactly Olympian, but for a guy who’s been doing nothing but lifting and sprinting for several years – I can still bench press over 400 pounds, etc, etc – I don’t think this is too fucking shabby, especially when you consider the fact that I haven’t been killing myself, effort-wise, in any way, shape or form. I’ve just been monitoring my heart rate religiously and keeping a steady pace with whatever I’ve been doing. I wasn’t breathing heavily at all when I crossed the line this morning, and I probably could have done another couple of miles with ease.

The entire goal of the operation here is to cut down to about 215 by the middle or end of summer, with around 8% body fat.

The windup here? If you’re looking to do something like this, get yourself a heart rate monitor and use it. It’ll cut your get-in-shape time in half, if not by more.


I have nothing I need to say at the moment, but I wanted to keep my streak alive and post something. Yesterday was a very transitional day for me -- a Tony Robbins-esque passing from one state to another -- and I'm still trying to process a lot of the information I've been given.

Don't worry, though. It's all good shit. Captain Morbidity has fled the scene. Now it's time to get to work and build this shit back up again.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I’ve been making lots of proclamations lately. For the past three weeks, virtually every sentence I’ve said, written or thought has begun with the words, “From now on...”

“From now on,” I’ll say, “I’m going to do this, this and this, and that’s how it’s going to be.” Then, two days later, I’m doing the exact opposite.

I’ve also prematurely declared my head to have been extracted from my ass on several occasions now. For me to have thought my head was out of my ass at the time – and even now – proves how far it really was jammed up my rectal cavity. This is what’s known as being delusional.

Not every story has a happy ending. Now it’s time to sort some things out and fix them and shut the fuck up about it.

So, in a last, sweeping proclamation, I declare that there will be no more proclamations coming from me, no more bemoaning of my head’s anal-bound state, and no more “whining like a bitch.” If you want to know how I feel, I’m referring you to music. Listen to Mogwai’s Mr. Beast album, especially the song “Emergency Trap,” and that’ll about sum it up.

I’ll leave this chapter of shitty blogging with something a friend of mine sent in an email today:

Keep your chin up.

Actually, don't. I don't know why people fucking say that. Keeping your chin up is a fucking great way to get knocked the fuck out. Keep your chin down and your fucking hands up.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Initial Disclaimer: I made a decision about something today that could potentially make me look and feel really, really stupid for a variety of reasons. Given my current situation, this is also probably a very stereotypical and predictable decision – a fact of which I’m well aware. In the interest of doing something, however, I’m doing something.

So, yeah. There’s that. I’m nervous but hopeful, but I’m also cognizant of the risks involved and the volume of work I need to do to extract myself from this mess I’ve created. I don’t like looking and feeling like an asshole, but I probably should have thought about that before I adopted it as my permanent persona. That’s all I have to say about that.

I did some bouncing this past weekend, as you can see from yesterday’s post, but I haven’t really been able to conjure up anything good out of it because my sense of humor switch has been duct taped in the off position for a few weeks now. Ordinarily, I could probably come up with something pretty good about a skinny fat guy screaming in the middle of a bar, know how it is.

What’s good and bad about this is that I wasn’t paying attention to a lot of the stupid shit that went on. The habit’s become so ingrained that I always stand around looking for – and mentally filing away – material when I bounce. This weekend? Didn’t happen. I just bounced, without giving a flying fuck what I was looking at.

When I was involved in a fight, I didn’t give a shit about the guy’s clothes, or about what he was saying, or about what he’d done to the other guy. He was leaving, I was ready, and my mind was just blank. I suppose that’s how it feels to do this job without having a blog in mind every time something happens. It actually felt pretty good.

This isn’t some kind of cockeyed goodbye to job-blogging, mind you. I’ll probably always do that in some way, shape or form. Things happened the way they did this weekend because I was in a bad mood, preoccupied with something, and wanted to “lose myself” in my job for a few hours. That’s all it was. I paid attention to what I was doing, did a good job, got paid and went home.

Of course, that didn’t bode well for Sunday, when I went back to being preoccupied, but at least I know why I’m having a hard time writing about bouncing in any way other than matter-of-factly.

Two guys squared off. I ran over, yoked one up, dragged him out the back door, yelled at him a little, didn’t listen to a word he said, then stood there until he walked off. The end.

That’s some exciting shit, right? You see how I can make a narrative sing when I’m in the mood? I did tell another bouncer who was bemoaning the fact that he was turning 28 to “Fuck off,” which elicited laughs from the other guys, but there weren’t many highlights this weekend. Just a lot of dead space, dead air, and a great big dead zone that I created with my own shit shovel.

Monday, April 27, 2009


Saturday night was a long one. Bouncing again. I need the money. Sue me.

I’m standing in a spot just inside the front door, being what you might call the secondary ID guy. I’m there because they like having me inside to keep an eye on things and direct the guys in my section during situations – as opposed to standing outside and spending all my time checking licenses. That’s what you get when you’re “senior man.” You take the lead. I hate that shit.

So I’m there, and a guy about five feet from me keeps screaming. He’s screaming all kind of shit.


He would scream this every time a group of girls walked past.


He kept yelling this at a TV for no apparent reason. There was no game playing.

This went on for at least fifteen minutes before I finally told him to shut the fuck up. I didn’t ask him to move, and I didn’t ask him to tone it down. I told him, in no uncertain terms, to “shut the fuck up.”

He was a skinny fat guy with thin forearms who smoked a cigarette every ten minutes. He was wearing an Affliction shirt. When people like this irritate me at work, it’s easy to tell them to “shut the fuck up” because they’re not doing anything back to me unless they have a gun, which they don’t because we check.

What I need to know, though, is why. Why do they do this? Why do people insist upon screaming like that? Why are there loud-laughers in the world? Why does everything even remotely funny in a bar, lounge or club require some guy who’s borderline emphysemic to guffaw at just the right pitch to elicit a palpable aura of irritation from everyone within a twenty foot radius?

This is what I have for you today. I have this because I thought about it for a while at work. That wasn’t the only time I said “fuck” to someone, either.

A fat guy in a black polo shirt two sizes too small came to the door with four other people. When I asked them for ID, he said, “Oh, dere wit’ me.”

I said, “I need their ID.”

He said, “I said dere wit’ me.”

I said, “And who the fuck are you?”

Then Ray – yes, Ray from the book – told the guy to “get the fuck outta here.”

Since I only just started paying attention to this shit again this weekend – and by “this shit,” I’m referring to bouncing – I’ll tell you this much: patience and tolerance levels are at an all-time low. I could see it up front – you had one chance to be nice to the door guys, otherwise they (we) treated you the way Ray treated the fat guy in the shirt that made him look like a sausage. It happened all night, and I don’t blame the guys for losing it on some people.

Everyone I know has shit going on. Serious shit. So, bar/club problems? No fucking way. Not about to put up with it.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about the fight, and the debate over whether Affliction and Ed Hardy shirts are a "weakness" or a "sickness."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Shining the Flashlight of Hypocrisy

So I’m driving about two hours ago, and I get a call from a number I don’t recognize. It’s a local one, though, so I pick up.


“Hi Rob, it’s (Mutant’s Girlfriend). The Mutant’s girlfriend?”

“Oh, hey. How are you?”

“I’m good,” she says. “Listen, are you gonna be in (town in Suffolk County) today?”

“Actually, yeah. I’m on my way there right now.”

“Do you mind helping me pick up a piece of furniture today? The Mutant is a lazy piece of shit, and I need to get this for my mother today, otherwise we’ll lose it.”

“Yeah, sure.”

She gave me directions to the place, I loaded the piece into her SUV, and that was the end of it. I didn’t want to feel like a hypocrite (inside joke/reference), so we agreed to tell him she found someone across the street who came over and helped.

Now, ordinarily, I’d be, like, “Fuck, man. Are you serious right now?” But today? No dice on the laziness today. I’m just thankful for human contact. You need your fucking oil changed today, just give me a call and I’ll be right over.

Beats sitting here, that’s for damned sure.

Anyway, I’m on my way home and my phone rings again. It’s The Mutant:

“Hey, did my girlfriend ask you to move a piece of furniture for her?

“Yeah,” I replied. “We just got done.” I couldn’t bring myself to lie to the guy.

“You’re fucking kidding me.”

“Dude, don’t blame her. Seriously. Ordinarily, I’d have given her a hard time about this, and I’d have given you a hard time about it, but you know my situation right now. She did me a favor getting me out of the fucking house.”

“It’s cool,” he said. “I just didn’t want you to feel uncomfortable saying no.”

“Listen, I don’t give a fuck right now. I don’t want to get in the middle of a fight with you guys, and I don’t care. I really don’t.”


“To be honest with you right now? If she called and told me you were hanging off a cliff by one finger, and I was the only one who could save you, I’d say, ‘That’s great, but gimme a second while I tell you about my problem.’”

So, yeah. Pretty fucking ironic. Not too sure about my relationship with God right now, but he’s got some sense of humor.


I received this email this morning from a guy I’ve been corresponding with regularly for a few years now:

“You are being unnecessarily rough on yourself. I suggest that people read blogs BECAUSE the blogs offer an individual viewpoint. No one person can ever have an omniscient completely neutral overview of anything. Any human observation is by necessity one-sided. Blogs share sides other than our own.

Some observations may have a higher bullshit factors than others if they come from individuals who choose to limit how well they function as a thinking being. Others, including yours even at your most cranky, can offer an interesting alternative world view. Your attitude may not be mine. I may or may not agree with your opinions about what you observe. But the one-sided view through your windows is certainly different from what I see out of mine, and might be just as rich in detail.”

I agree with much of this, but it really doesn’t apply here. The point I was trying to make is that I don’t want to be the one who’s trying to make the world see through the lens of a bullshitter. I’m not just talking about the written word here, either. What I’m saying is that even though there are aspects of my current situation with which I disagree in principle, the big picture puts the blame squarely on me.

As for the aspects “with which I disagree,” even these are kind of my doing because I’m the one who brought things to a point where anything turned into an actual “issue.” If I had behaved differently under the same circumstances, said aspects wouldn’t be issues at all. Trouble is, I differ with people in my life with regard to why this (the whole situation, from start to finish) has happened the way it has, and that’s what frustrates me.

The result, however, remains the same. Whether you got to Point Z by plane, train or automobile, you’re still at Point Z and your ride back just left town.

What I was getting at with that post was that it’s entirely self-serving – gratuitous, even – for someone to come out, after the fact, and offer some wacked-out version of events in order to either elicit sympathy or make themselves look better. I was going down that road in order to make myself feel better, was called on it – in the “real world” – and now it’s time to just back off and live my life.

Honestly? I wish somebody had wronged me, because then I’d have someone other than myself to focus this shit on.

I’ll be fine.


Had a bit of a rough night, to say the least. I’ll post that book review – or something, at least – later on today.

I’ve been writing a blog for a long time, and I’ve read lots of blogs for a long time, and if there’s one thing I hate about them, it’s that they offer a completely one-sided version of whatever events are being described.

In fact, when I became “famous,” or at least blog-famous, a few years back, I can rattle off a few incidents where I had adverse dealings with some of the other flaming blogger-nutbags who’d become “famous” around the same time. If you’ve been reading this site long enough, you’ll know what I’m referring to.

And when you have a blog like this one, that (still) has a fairly sizable audience, you have a platform. And when people have platforms, they do something I can’t stand: they pontificate from the depths of their ignorance.

In other words, they give you one version of the story. Theirs. And if they have a bone to pick – or, as in most cases, they’re mentally unstable – that version is going to be a crock of shit and massively unfair to the person being skewered.

I’m not going to do that. I turned on some loud-ass music and wrote a little “grandstand” post yesterday about how great I was doing and how I was progressing from one step to another, and although that part’s sort of true, I want to make sure I point out that there are two sides to this story – as I was painfully reminded last night.

Don’t send me sympathetic emails. I don’t deserve them. I’m in a shit situation of my own making – a situation that never had to happen, and a situation out of which I’m honestly seeing no way out right now.

Things have changed for me. What effect this will have in the long run, I have no idea. But I surely don’t deserve for anyone to take my side, because I don’t have one.

I can slather catsup and mustard all over it, but it’s still a shit sandwich, it’s the only thing I have to eat, and I’m the one who made it.

Oh's Day One again.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


I don’t like people with thick New York accents anymore. My aversion to this is the definition of irony, since I have one myself. I’m self-loathing.

It makes me uncomfortable to hear it. I’m embarrassed for the person. When I hear my own voice on tape, I cringe, because I’ve actually done some work to get rid of the damned thing. It’s not nearly as bad as it once was, but it’s a hell of a lot more noticeable than I think it is while I’m speaking. I’ve learned it’s one of those things you have to exaggerate. If I want my speech to be Queens-free, I essentially have to fake a British accent. It’s that ingrained.

I’m not ashamed, mind you. It’s a matter of personal preference. I’d just rather not sound like I sound. I’d rather not have “youse” and “alls” and “he ain’t doin’ nothin’” sneak into my everyday speech. Get me a little excited, however – or pissed off – and you’ll get shit straight out of Goodfellas. It’s fucking painful sometimes.

I was in the gym last night walking on the treadmill. I always walk on the treadmill for a while after I lift, because my heart rate is already elevated and because it’s good for recovery. I set the speed and the incline so my heart rate stays between 130 and 140 beats per minute (220 – age x 60-70% is the theoretical “fat burning zone,” and I’ve found this works for me). By the time I’ve lifted heavy weights for 45 minutes or so, it doesn’t take much to maintain this, and my joints feel a hell of a lot better afterward. I’m also burning fat like crazy.

Anyway, I was on the treadmill last night watching a tool with an accent hit on a girl. He wasn’t a club Guido type, per se, but this was still uncomfortable to watch. He was wearing jeans and work boots, and he had bolts tattooed on his neck. Typical New York 10 PM gym look.

“Hey, uh...howsabout you gimme yuh numbuh...and...uh...mebbe me an’ you could, ya know, go out or somethin’.”

This isn’t too bad, and I give the guy credit for trying, but then he ruined it:

“ got a boyfriend? You seein’ somebody?”

Now, I know this girl. She’s cute, and since I’ve been going to the same gym for a while now, we always say hello. I think you get to that point with pretty girls in gyms when they realize you’re not one of the pricks who’ll be in there hitting on them every five minutes. It’s safe to say hello.

The guy had his back to me, and the girl was sitting on a machine, facing me. I could hear everything they were saying. Every time she looked over, I gave her the thumbs-up and mouthed, “Awesome” at her.

Eventually, she lost it and started cracking up, right in the guy’s face. He wheeled around and looked at me, and he knew. “Okay, well,” he said to her. “You lemme know.” And then he walked away.

I feel like I violated the code. This really bothers me.


This is going to sound completely obnoxious, but since it’s another self-help week around here, I’m going to come out and write this anyway. Just bear with me. I know people have “real” problems. I’ve had real problems. I have perspective, don’t worry. Just humor me for another day or two.

There’s a progression that always happens the same way whenever I run into a problem. Sometimes this takes weeks. Other times, it happens in a single day. There’s no set time period for this thing, but I always know exactly what level I’m on because it’s blatantly obvious when I’ve gone from one to the next. The steps look something like this:

At first, I don’t really understand the problem, and I’m often the last one to notice that anything’s amiss. The window of opportunity for solving the problem typically closes while I’m skating along, oblivious to what’s actually going on, and I’m not paying enough attention to see it.

Panic: Oh shit, there’s a problem! What the fuck do I do?!? This has to stop right now! By this time, everything’s snowballed, and I’m way too late. I throw everything but the fucking sink at the problem, but it’s over with, and there’s nothing I can do but regroup and wait it out.

Resignation/Depression: Woe is me. This sucks. Why did this happen to me? Why am I such a slapdick? This is probably the worst one, because I relive the whole damned thing all day long, and it keeps getting worse and worse. At this point, I’ll come as close as I’m likely to come to compromising my principles in order to make the situation go away.

Anger: Fuck these motherfuckers for backing me into a corner like this. Motherfuckers. I’m out for blood here, looking for someone to blame. This is particularly unpleasant when it’s my own fault, because I’ll beat the piss out of myself more than I’ll ever fuck with anyone else. That’s kind of my thing.

Perspective/Relief/Laughter: What the fuck was that all about? This one is pretty self-explanatory. This is a good day. I’m still sort of in and out of being pissed off and upset, but the surges of “good” feel like hits off a crack pipe.

Scar Tissue/Renewed Confidence:
Damn, it’s fucking great to be me. This is where you want to be, because you’re better than you were before. You’ve learned something. You’ve taken something back that you’d lost for a while. You’re ready to get moving again.

I’m transitioning between the penultimate and ultimate steps in this progression right now, so you can take solace in the notion that these wack job posts won’t go on for much longer. The best part of the final step is finally getting a handle on the situation. Getting control back. For most of this deal, it’s been out of my control, which has obviously sucked, but that part’s coming to an end.

Now comes the reckoning: the part where I realistically, rationally, and reasonably – armed with control and perspective – figure out what actually happened and take the appropriate action or set of actions.

In other words, the fun part.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Taxpayer Field Review

I made my first trip to Citi Field – otherwise known as “The New Shea Stadium,” or, better yet, TARP Field – last week. On my way home, I thought about all the things I’d write about in my review of the place, but since I’ve had my head up my ass for two weeks, I never wrote it. Now that my head is out of my ass, here are my impressions of the place.

First, the positives:

Accessibility to public transportation:
This is the highlight of Citi Field for me, because I like taking the train – either the Long Island Railroad or the 7 train – to games. I know this is simply a function of having the stadium in the only spot and in the only orientation where it possibly could have been built, but I like how the rotunda – the main entrance, which brings you into the stadium behind home plate – is right there when you get off the platform. At Shea, getting off the subway or the LIRR dropped you directly in middle of a massive clusterfuck, and unless you knew your way around, it was tough to get your bearings. Citi Field, if nothing else, is orderly.

It looks better, at least when you first arrive:
Citi Field is attractive. It’s clean, organized and looks exactly like what the architects were going for – Ebbets Field on the outside, and a Polo Grounds interior. It looks stunning on the walk-up.

This stadium has the best sports arena/stadium urinal configuration I’ve ever seen. There are more bathrooms-per-capita then there were at Shea – or anywhere else I’ve ever been, for that matter – and urinals are spaced nearly three feet apart. Since I often suffer from stage fright – and a major aversion to “pecker checkers,” – this is crucial. I love when architects and engineers draft plans with me in mind.

Walkways: They’re nice and wide, and the main concourse – we sat field level – runs all the way around the stadium, allowing you to see the game, for the most part, from wherever you are. If you have to get up to take a leak in the middle of an inning – this is just a hypothetical, since I don’t advocate this – you’ll be able to get back to your seat within a batter or two, and since they’re piping the broadcast into the bathrooms, you won’t miss any game action.

Food choices:
I’m not planning on taking advantage of everything in this regard, but the variety here is pretty f-ing amazing, and the prices aren’t that bad. When games are sold out, however, getting around the outfield food court is going to be a bitch because all the novelty concessions – Shake Shack, et al – are clustered in one place. This was a particular pain in the ass in the half hour before the game started.

Bullpens: The bullpens at Shea run parallel to each other, with nothing in between but a chain link fence – and they’re both wide open for people to look in from an area that’s open to the public. Right now, this is simply a curiosity, but when things get hostile – games against the Yankees or Phillies, for example, or in the playoffs – I can see opposing teams complaining about this configuration. You go down a flight of stairs, turn left, and you’re twenty feet away from the opposing pitchers as they warm up. When New York fans get over the initial novelty of this arrangement, it’s going to be a problem.

The negatives:

Who’s the home team?: The entire place is green and black. If I blindfolded you, brought you to Citi Field, and dropped you in the concourse, I’d defy you to tell me who plays there. Nothing about the place tells you it’s the Mets’ home field. Say what you will about Shea, but there was no mistaking who played there. It’s like Citi Field is embarrassed to be the home of the Mets, which, while understandable, isn’t exactly the way to rebuild pride in the organization – pride we haven’t felt since the late 80’s.

Too many seats in a row:
At least in the outfield field level seats, there are 20-30 seats in a row, which means if you’re sitting in the middle, and you have to take a leak or want to get something to eat, you’re kind of fucked. At Shea, you didn’t have to walk over everyone when you needed to go somewhere.

Poor sight lines: They weren’t kidding about this. Virtually every seat in the outfield is obstructed view. We sat in the 8th row, on the field, in left, and you couldn’t see the leftfielder catch balls on the warning track. Additionally, because they tried to be so cutesy with the contour of the outfield wall, you can’t see major chunks of the outfield and fly balls get lost. If they’re caught, it’s only a rumor from this vantage point. You also can’t see the main scoreboard out there because of the overhang. You know you have too many contrived quirks when it detracts from fans’ enjoyment of the game. Predictably, they’ve outsmarted themselves here.

Strange attire: This is kind of a random one, but why are the ushers and ticket takers at Citi Field wearing jackets in the Philadelphia Phillies’ colors? This is a rather curious touch, especially when the Mets are currently engaged in a hostile rivalry with the Phillies. I hope they rethink this.

The verdict:
All things considered, I don’t really like it. It’s here, and it’s a done deal, so I’m going to have to live with it, but they could have done a lot better. The shitty sight lines are the dealbreaker for me. Since I actually follow the team, and follow the game when I’m in the stadium, it’s a royal pain in the ass to not be able to see 100% of the action. That never happened at Shea, because the place was virtually symmetrical and everything was wide open.

I’m looking forward to my first fight in the stands, though. Have to christen the place somehow.


It's a nice feeling when you officially pull your head out of your ass. I experienced this last night around 11:00. It made kind of a popping sound because it was wedged up there pretty far, but it's out now.

There will be some changes made to the landscape. Significant ones.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Zero, Redux

Overheard at the wake:

Son of The Deceased: “Thanks so much for coming.”

Me: “Thanks for having me.”

What, exactly, was I trying to accomplish here? I’d like a do-over on that one – a mulligan, if you will – just like I’d really love to do yesterday over, as well. I made an ass of myself yesterday. We won’t get into that right now, though. Just suffice it to say I needed a holding call, or maybe a false start, and I needed for the defense to accept the penalty so I could play the damned down over. I have no problem with first-and-fifteen. It’s still a fresh set of downs.

In fact, I am doing yesterday over. It’s called today. I know I said yesterday was Day One of this little program of mine, but I kind of lied. Or maybe I didn’t. I don’t know. What I do know is that I ran into that little snag again yesterday, and it distracted me enough to not want to call yesterday Day One.

So today is Day One.

This will get better, I promise. I’ll have my head out of my ass by the end of the week.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Sorry for the false start. I ran into something of a snag the week before last that kept me from putting my money where my mouth was with all that “I’ll post here every day” bullshit I was spouting off.

I’m sorry to be cryptic, but I’ve been preoccupied with something for the past two weeks that’s kept me from getting anything substantial done. The (also) cryptic post under this one should offer a few clues as to what this something was that had me so preoccupied.

I’m necessarily no longer preoccupied with this something. This is because one must, after all, live one’s life to the best of one’s ability without being preoccupied with things that aren’t constructive. Mind you, the thing with which I’m preoccupied is, in fact, constructive. It’s simply not constructive to be as preoccupied as I’ve been of late with things that are, at least for now, out of my control.

That said, I’m embarking on a self-imposed 60-day “boot camp” intended to free myself of the bullshit that’s been preoccupying me for the better part of, oh, we’ll call it eight years now.

I’ll be keeping you updated on this as I go along.

This “boot camp” applies to everything. I’m going to square away my financial situation – or at least firm it up a bit. I’ve been dieting and training hard, still, but I’m going to get myself in ridiculous shape for the summer. I’m going to read 20 books and review them here. This, obviously, is one book every three days. Over a period of 8.5 weeks, I will review two books per week. Maybe I’ll do this on Fridays. Maybe I won’t. We’ll see how it goes. Right now, I’m reading High Exposure, by David Brashears. I’m reading this because the Divorced Guy’s father gave it to me as a reward for moving furniture out of their house.

I was moving furniture out of their house because it’s a summer house at Breezy Point – the Irish Riviera – that they don’t want to pay for anymore because nobody’s used it since the Divorced Guy’s ex-wife went batshit crazy and strange numbers started showing up on phone bills.

That, however, is a story for a different post. I’d rather not think about that sort of thing at the moment.

So, that’s where we’re at right now – floundering and foundering, but with a plan. I’ll keep you posted, no pun intended.

Friday, April 10, 2009

No Mas

You never find out how far it really is from the driver’s side to the passenger’s side until you switch seats. This is something I’ve learned over the past week or two – the very, very hard way.

The lesson here is to tread lightly before giving people advice.

I have three friends in various stages of the divorce process. One is already done, one is in mediation, and the other one’s wife just recently filed. All three guys came to me for advice. I don’t know why they did this, considering I’ve never been married, but they did anyway. For some people, I’m a rational voice. This strikes me as odd, but, as they say, it is what it is.

I was very generous with my advice for these people. As always, I had a lot to say. I would go on and on, loving the sound of my own voice, until I was sure I had them on the road to 1) Forgetting their ex-wives, 2) Getting laid a half dozen times daily with six different women, and 3) “Working on themselves” and finding their fortune.

I had it all figured out. If these guys went ahead and took my advice, they’d be fine. They’d rule the world and get their poles polished and their wicks dipped more than they ever did when they were married.

Of course, I had nothing to lose, and that’s the magic of giving advice to people on subjects you know jack shit about, because when you’re in the same situation – with a lot less to lose, in my case – you’re completely lost. When you’re not the one with the problem, it’s the easiest thing in the world to call the shots for someone else and call them a slapdick when they’re not abiding by your rules.

Then you get kicked in the face and you realize the position they were in. It’s not as easy, nor as cut and dried, as you thought it was.

That’s kind of where I’m at right now. I’ll be less morbid next week, I promise.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Hot Dog

Nick Markakis of the Baltimore Orioles is my favorite baseball player.

Three years ago, I went to see the Mets play the Orioles at Shea Stadium with Fat Ed, his girlfriend and the girl I was dating at the time. I went to Shea a lot that year. This was a monumental waste of money. I didn’t think so at the time, but now I think all sports are a monumental waste of money.

Spending money on sports is like fighting over sports. This, too, is a monumental waste of time. I said something bad about Derek Jeter once at a Yankee game, and a guy wearing a Derek Jeter jersey wanted to fight me. I asked him if he expected Derek Jeter to run into the stands and defend him if I started winning the fight. He told me I wouldn’t win the fight. I told him I would. And so on.

Anyway, I was really drunk that night – the Markakis one. We’d been drinking in the parking lot, and back then, when I had money to burn (through), I didn’t mind buying 12-15 aluminum Bud bottles at a baseball game. I used to need a barback at baseball games. That’s how bad it was.

This was Greek-American night at Shea. I remember back in the 80’s when Mayor Koch used to go to ethnic celebrations in New York and proclaim, “I’m Italian!” or “I’m Puerto Rican!” or “I’m Haitian!” and the crowd would go nuts even though New York stunk of urine everywhere you went and girls from Kansas couldn’t ride the subway at three in the morning like they do now. Mayor Koch went on the radio for a while and called himself “The Voice of Reason.” This is what you call irony.

At the St. Patrick’s Day parade one year when I was a kid, he was wearing an Aran sweater and Scally cap, and he was carrying a shillelagh. He grabbed a microphone and yelled, “I’m Irish!” This was strange to me because I thought he was Jewish. I knew he was Jewish for a fact because my family wouldn’t let us forget it.

I took the train that night because I knew I’d be drinking. The entrance to the Long Island Railroad platform was across Roosevelt Avenue from the old Shea. This was very much a ghetto operation. You’d dodge cars to get across Roosevelt, then cut through – it only seemed like this, but if you’ve been there, you’ll know what I mean – a hole in a chain link fence to get to the bottom of the steps. There was usually a giant hot dog truck on your right. We’ll get to that momentarily.

That night, I was halfway up the stairs to the LIRR gangplank when I dropped my phone. It clankity-clanked all the way to the bottom, opened up, and launched the battery somewhere into the dark. I staggered around collecting parts, and then decided I needed a hot dog.

“Where do I know you from?” asked the hot dog guy. “You look really familiar.”

“I don’t know,” I slurred. “Do you go to (club I used to work at)?”

“Yeah! Fuck! You’re the guy at the door!”


“You want a beer?” he asked.

“Nah, man. I’m good. I don’t wanna spend any more money tonight.”

“No, I got a cooler back here. These are mine. Take one.”

“Okay,” I said.

So, I’m standing there talking to this guy about God-knows-what when three guys walk up to the hot dog truck. Two of them were wearing Orioles jerseys. There was an elderly guy, a middle aged guy and a young guy wearing a dress shirt and slacks. The two older guys’ jerseys said Markakis on the back.

I knew Nick Markakis existed for two reasons. First, it was Greek-American night, so the whole Astoria contingent had given him a big hand every time he came to the plate. He’d also made a really nice diving catch late in the game.

“Hey,” I said, “lemme ask you guys a question.” I’m a talkative drunk. “Why are you wearing Markakis jerseys?”

“Because,” replied the middle aged guy, “I’m his father, and this is his grandfather, and this is Nick.”

Markakis was a nice guy. I talked to him for a while. I told him he’d made a nice catch. He told me he was from Long Island and that most of his family still lived there. That much, I remember.

Who knows what the fuck else I said?

I root for the guy now.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


When I go out to bars with people, I take cigarette breaks. I don’t smoke, but I like to go outside with my friends when they do. I don’t know why I’m like this, but I’ve been taking smoke breaks ever since the smoking bans went into effect all over the country. I’ve taken smokeless cigarette breaks in multiple states.

I enjoy doing this. A cigarette break is where my friend Brendan asked me to be in his wedding party. This was a surprise. It was also a very good wedding because I danced. I didn’t know I could dance, but I went out on the dance floor with Clint’s then-girlfriend and imitated everything I saw the Guidos doing at the club. I have this on video. I did some kind of walking catcher’s-crouch thing with the Divorced Guy’s then-wife. This may be why they’re divorced. Probably, to him, she’s permanently fouled.

Last week, I was taking one of my non-smoking cigarette breaks when three guys walked out of the bar screaming at a girl. We were off to the left of the door, which is where cigarette breaks should take place. If you smoke directly in front of the door, you’re an asshole and you need to be punched in the throat. All the action was on the opposite side.

“Shut the fuck up, you fucking c—-t!” one guy shouted. “You’re a fucking c—-t!”

A guy who was smoking near us ran over and punched the guy in the face. Hard. I mean, he knocked him out. The poor bastard was stiff before he hit the sidewalk. Turns out the girl was with him.

The other two guys jumped on him. There was a girl with these guys, and she jumped in, too. The boyfriend had one guy in a solid chokehold, and he was elbowing the other guy in the face. The girlfriend threw the attacking girl face-first into a brick wall. It was intense. They’d yelled at the wrong girl, for sure. This guy knew what he was doing.

We all ran over to even things out a little and break it up. When everyone was separated and standing, the boyfriend – the puncher – held up his arm and said, rather bemusedly, “He bit me! The fucker bit me!”

He had a giant bite mark on his forearm. It was all shiny and disgusting, like freshly tattooed skin. I hope the biter wasn’t rabid, but you can never tell these days.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Day One

I was sitting in a bar with my friend “Clint” last Thursday night, and I had an idea. I get lots of good ideas sitting in bars with Clint, but I forget most of them. This time I remembered.

This idea involves writing on this site every day, making it good again, and building it back up to where it was before everything got all stupid.

How did things get stupid?

I’ll get to that somewhere along the line. For now, however, I’m just going to write and see what happens.

So, let’s start again. Here’s a brief history.

I needed some extra cash in 2003, so I made some calls and got a job as a bouncer at a way-past-its-prime nightclub in Manhattan. I'd bounced for a while before that, but I'd been out of the "game" for a while -- long enough for much of what went on to be new to me again. When clubs are on the right side of the popularity curve in New York, they tend to attract the locals. The locals dress funny, they speak poorly, and they’re prone to violence. That’s why clubs like these need “guys like me” inside.

I’m a local, so I knew this already. These people are my neighbors. Still, I saw some incredible things, and I shared these things with my friends via these weekly group emails I’d send out on Sunday nights. When I saw the guy jerking off in front of the box dancers, for example, I emailed.

When we threw out a group of Indian guys, and their leader yelled, “Yo, let’s go to 7-11,” I saw the irony and I emailed.

When a girl pulled her skirt and panties down in front of me, displaying a smiling Elmer Fudd following a set of rabbit tracks into her butthole, I emailed.

Someone eventually told me to start a blog, so I figured out how to do it and wrote here almost every day. I’d go to work looking for material. I’d remember two or three stories by keywords I’d type into my phone, then go home and write out my posts.

I was doing this for nearly two years – with an audience of maybe twenty of my friends – when I was “discovered” by a couple of major websites. By this time, I was working at a few different clubs, with new material in my face just about every night. Within a month, I had a big time literary agent, a book deal with HarperCollins, and a head the size of New Jersey.

Two years later, I’ve lost a couple of family members, I’ve written a book I don’t particularly like, I’ve met tons of people who didn’t particularly like me, and I’m back where I started, albeit a shit-ton wiser for the experience.

Thank you, Clint, for an interesting week.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


This is a nice idea, but it makes me wonder how many “douchebags with Hummers” Maureen Dowd actually knows in real life.

I know plenty, and they’re not giving up their Hummers, WaveRunners, speedboats and home theaters without a fight, and they’re certainly not about to be nursed through their “affluenza” by President Obama – a guy they wouldn’t have voted for in a million years.

I remember working for my uncle’s company, delivering high-end (read: monumentally wasteful) furniture to these people and saying to the guys I driving with, “You know, someday this kind of spending is going to bite these people in the ass when the rest of the world gets sick of looking at it.”

For the rest of us, it’s really funny – I mean f-ing hysterical – to hear these slapdicks in a state of panic over their expenses.