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Chasing The American Dream

October 31, 2006


I didn't plan it. I just happened to look in the mirror this morning and decided, what the hell, I'm going into work just like this. So I did and here are the results. Now you know what I look like first thing in the morning. I made a lot of people at work smile and laugh so it was well worth the embarrassment.

October 30, 2006


"If you can’t tell the difference between a spoon and a ladle, then you’re probably fat.”

“Job requirements for being a bouncer, 1) be an asshole, 2) stand by the door.”

“People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. I don’t understand this cliché. Nobody should throw stones. In fact, if the glass house was on fire, then people in glass houses SHOULD throw stones.”

Demetri Martin’s humor is different. I like different. For those of you who have been around awhile, I liken his mundane dry approach to Steven Wright. It’s an intelligent humor which makes you think a bit before your brain kicks in triggers the laugh. And that makes sense because Demetri is a former Yale college student who opted for humor over graduation.

At first glance, you’d think Demetri was in his 20s, but he’s in his early 30s now. Maybe it’s his Beatlesque hairdo combined with his jeans and t-shirt that makes him appear so young. Whatever the case may be, he definitely has a young following. I was lucky to catch him on Conan O’Brien a couple of times and really liked his humor. He used to write for Conan amongst other comedians and has now taken his act on the road.

He played in a small venue with no more than 1,000 people in Ft. Lauderdale’s Parker Playhouse. The mood and the feel were good. I sat there people watching and listening to early Beatles songs playing over the speakers. The crowd was mixed; 8 to 80 dressed in everything from t-shirts and sneakers to dinner jackets and flowing gowns. The small stage was simple and had a chair, a guitar, a keyboard, Demetri’s trademark “foot bells,” and a large pad on an easel which had “large pad” written on it.

During Demetri’s 90-minute act, he gave us a “lecture” on his observations and life’s “findings.” He told us jokes and observations while playing a non-descript chord with his guitar and harmonica and his keyboard. He kept the crowd entertained and laughing throughout the show. And what I liked about it was the fact that the act was relatively clean. Demetri didn’t illicit cheap laughs from saying the F-Bomb over and over again. He’s got a CD out now. It’s called, ”These are Jokes.” I’d recommend it. Take a listen to a snippet of his act and see what you think. I have a feeling this guy is going to become a household name in comedy very soon, if not already.

October 24, 2006


Today's weather was a perfect 10. One year ago today, not so much. Has it really been one year since Hurricane Wilma?

October 22, 2006


I've been told if I didn't have any bad luck, I'd have no luck at all. I was reminded of that statement tonight while driving back from comedy show (review forthcoming). On my way to the show, I was running a bit late but was making good time during my 45-minute drive. I was about five minutes from the venue when I saw the flashing red lights and downed gates. Frickin' train. While waiting for the seemingly endless train, I sat and wondered how many other routes I could have taken to avoid this damn train. Tick, tick, tick; time was a wasting. Ten minutes doesn't seem so long when you view it in words, but when you're waiting for a train and you're about to miss your comedy show, it may as well been a year. Thankfully, the train ended, the gates went up, and I made it to the show on time.

I had completely forgot about the train incident. That is, until I approached the very same intersection some three hours later. Would you believe??? I mean what are the odds???

October 18, 2006


Mind you, I write these little stories for humor not for pity. Let's try to remember that, shall we?

Last night, I was looking at online dating profiles and came across an interesting one. She lives in California and indicated she did not want to relocate. I decided I'd say hi and pay her a compliment. Here's how that went...

Plantation: Wow, incredible profile. Too bad you don't want to relo. New to JDate? You're in for a real treat. Be careful and be choosy. Best of luck....Todd.

Blondii: You are TOO OLD LOOKING are u really 39 u LOOK LIKE ATEAST 50,,, Contact me after YOUR KID GROWS UP,,,i DONT DATE MEN with CHIDREN,,, DROP him off at THE POUND

I guess she was being careful and choosy.

October 13, 2006


I'm not sure if you can read what it says under Satuday but it indeed says "Cold Front." Aaah, so that means a drastic change in weather and much cooler temperatures, right? Not so much.

October 12, 2006


I haven’t written about my new job since I was hired over a year ago. I guess that’s a good thing. It means things have gone relatively well; and they have. There have been many plusses. I don’t work an exorbitant number of hours anymore, the pay is good, the stress level is fairly calm, I have the freedom to do pretty much what I want, I can walk to work, I have a nice view from my office, and I have a good boss for a change. Pretty good, huh?

But there’s a problem. I was hired to be an independent reviewer of the company’s financial control environment to ensure we would not become another Enron. The problem is that word ‘independent.’ There are times where I feel I’m not as independent as I need to be or should be. Decisions are sometimes being made without my input which, I feel, is a necessary part of my review. Certain management feels differently, and there have been a few disagreements and/or arguments lately. Thus, I question whether I’m truly independent and I’m beginning to ask myself more and more, “why am I even here?”

Oh sure, I can just let bygones be bygones and just cruise along here and enjoy the aforementioned perks. But you see, what sticks in my craw is that I’m not liking the viewpoint of others. It’s the viewpoint, in my opinion, that transcends the company. Yeah, this job is ‘pretty’ and ‘sexy’ and has all these perks, but I need more than that. I have to believe in the heart and soul of the company. And if I can’t believe in the core values of the company, then perhaps it’s time to look elsewhere. It’s somewhat eerie that I came across this very same argument with myself not over a job but over a woman. I decided sex and money were nice but not as important to me as character. Now I'm faced with a similar decision at work. I guess for me, it all rides on character. Ironic, huh?

October 03, 2006


I’ve heard many people say how snooty the French are to us Americans. Why this is, I don’t really know. Is it only because some of us don’t speak their language? On my previous visit, I definitely felt the chill. Upon my return this past weekend, I didn’t feel any more welcome than last time. Whether it was dining in a restaurant or asking for directions or trying to tell the hotel that my shower was broken, I always felt they looked at me and were thinking, silly American tourist. Very frustrating.

I don’t know why, but my travels are always filled with misadventures. Belgium was no exception and neither was France. On this particular Saturday night, I was out having a late dinner near the Notre Dame. I kept my eye on my watch because I knew that I had to take the train and be back to De Gaulle by 11:30 in order to catch the last shuttle back to the hotel. I wanted to leave the restaurant by 11, but let’s just say, due to circumstances beyond my control, I got overruled. “Party on,” my date said. Yep, I actually had a date. But “party on” meant big trouble. I had this bad feeling about the train situation. I wasn’t entirely sure how late they ran. I decided departure time had to be midnight because I didn’t want to get stuck looking for a cab for an hour like I had the previous night.

I was really getting confident with Paris Metro. Getting on the appropriate train, switching stations, finding the right platform in the maze of a station, all this was old hat now. We got on the B train at the Notre Dame station and appeared headed for another easy trip. The sign on the board had De Gaulle as the last stop. So the train was correctly heading toward De Gaulle. Only one thing could go wrong. There was a fork in the track route; the lower track headed to De Gaulle and the upper fork headed who-knows-where. I listened intently as we approached the fork and the next station. Sevran-Beaudottes was what I wanted to hear. Please don’t let me hear Sevran-Livry. But Sevran-Livry is what I heard. This train was not going to De Gaulle. I didn’t notice the guy sitting across from me, but he must have been an expert in American expletives. I guess he heard me muttering because he came over and said that the trains don’t go to the airport after midnight. Swell.

He was French but knew a bit of English. I asked him if I could get a cab. He didn’t have good news for us. Apparently, we were not in the best of neighborhoods and getting a cab was darned near impossible for any of the remaining stops. He had an idea; he suggested we get off at Livry with him where he’d ask the awaiting bus driver. Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. I could be ambushed here, but what choice did I have? I looked around and the neighborhood didn’t look much above a ghetto. He talked it over with the bus driver. They agreed that the best course of action was for us to get on the bus for an hour until it stopped in somewhere called Bobigny or something. That was pretty much our best bet for a cab. We thanked the bus driver and our new French amie profusely. Our friend got off at the next stop and we were truly on our own.

Strange feeling being on your own in a strange country on a slow bus to nowheresville. I felt like I was in a Rutger Hauer movie headed for imminent disaster. After a couple of stops, I heard the driver yelling de Gaulle, de Gaulle over and over again. I couldn’t imagine what that was all about. I walked up to the driver and he was yelling out of his window. I looked over and he was yelling at a taxi. A taxi whose light was on which meant he had no fare in there. I couldn’t believe it. Once I realized what this driver was doing for me, I patted him on the back and repeated, Merci beaucoup. Both the taxi and the bus driver pulled over to the curb. The bus driver told me in broken English that the cabbie agreed to take us to De Gaulle. Unbelievable. I tipped the bus driver and thanked him again. It was on to the next adventure.

I figured since I was on a roll, I might as well go all the way. I asked the cabbie if he knew where the Radisson Hotel was near the airport. Not oui, oui, but yes yes, he said. Luck was with me. He spoke a bit of English. But I knew from previous experience that finding the hotel wasn’t going to be easy. It was really not near the airport at all and quite tucked way out of the way in an industrial area. I kinda sensed the cabbie was lost so I again, lucky me, I had the hotel phone number programmed into my Blackberry so I called the hotel and gave him the phone. I don’t know what was said, but he appeared as though he had gotten the correct directions. Well, we repeated this hand over the phone routine until we finally made it. It was 1:30 in the morning, but we couldn’t have been happier to see that hotel. We could literally have been left for dead and never heard from again. But lo and behold, three fine Frenchmen came through. Who’d have thunk it? My faith in French humanity has been restored.

"A votre sante," la France.