Friday, June 12, 2009

Mopping Up

Cleaning up the carnage from this week. I feel like Arnold emerging from the woods after the Predator nuked half the forest. Dirty, bloody, exhausted, but still alive. Too bad I don’t have a cigar to chomp on.

I survived round three of layoffs, but many of my colleagues did not. A whopping nine team mates took the fall on Wednesday with another to go at some point. Apparently there was one person they couldn’t get in touch with to let him know (smart move). I know that’s not me since I’ve been at my desk (or scurrying around the office) all week.

Most of the people let go were based out of our HQ in New York, but there were people I dealt with on a weekly – often daily – basis. By the time our department’s impromptu conference call was over on Wednesday afternoon, I felt like I had been to a funeral.

Don’t mistake my employment for being indispensable. I honestly think they haven’t laid me off because they forget I work here. Let’s just keep it that way. Quiet and under the radar is how I like to operate.

In order to purge my darkness, here are some random rants and thoughts to carry you through the weekend.

- One of the most difficult parts of being a parent is watching your child learn the harsh lessons of life. Last weekend eldest went through a soul crushing loss with his baseball team. They haven’t been great this year and are clinging to any victory they can get. Think they’ve only won three games all year.

So Saturday, as they entered the final inning with a three run lead, my son was all excited to get another win. ‘I’m so nervous,’ he called to wifey and I from his position. I don’t need to tell you they lost the game after various pitchers kept walking batters and finally gave up a bloop hit that just got past the third baseman’s glove.

It was such a tough loss that even the parents of the kids were quietly crushed. I talked to the coach the next day and he told me that several kids were crying in the dugout immediately following the walk off hit.

Compounding the loss was that it was to a team that was in first place, is obnoxious on many levels, and every other team in the league hates with a passion. That coach was gracious enough to drop an F-bomb during a game a few week’s back and has raised a son that is destined to be the biggest prick on the planet by the time he hits high school if someone doesn’t knock him on his ass very soon.

- The only saving grace to the night was knowing he had a birthday party the next day. This party happened to be taking place at a Laser Tag arena. When I went into his room to say goodnight, I asked if he was doing ok. He said ‘Yeah, but I thought we were going to be 3-18!’ (Note: they don’t even play 18 games, so no idea where this number came from). As I was leaving he says ‘Dad?’


‘You ready to kick some laser butt tomorrow?’

He bounces back quicker than I do, apparently.

- Laser tag is a blast if you haven’t tried it. Perfect for kids of any age, but more designed for the 7-13 ages. Although, a bunch of fathers certainly got heavily into the fake warfare.

- Remember my telling you about my crazy sister in law who was on the raw diet? Well, wifey got a call that she fell and broke her shoulder. Not her arm, her actual shoulder bone, where the upper arm connects to the shoulder socket. I didn’t even know that was possible. My first thought when I heard the news ‘Gee, wonder if her bone density has been eroded from her horrendous diet?’

Sympathy? Not here. Look, you don’t eat properly and it will take a toll on how your body operates. She hasn’t been eating proper quantities of protein or calcium for months. Now she trips getting out of a pool and breaks a bone that isn’t easily broken? You want to tell me those two things aren’t related? I understand it could simply be a freak accident, but if her body were properly fed and cared for there may just be some ligament damage or simply a sore shoulder.

Instead they’re considering putting screws into the shoulder in order to line things up properly again. On the bright side she's so skeletel there's no need for x-rays.

- Red Sox 8 – Yankees 0. I know this can’t possibly keep up, but I’m certainly going to enjoy it while it lasts.

- Big news around here is the possible demise of The Boston Globe. They’ve agreed with unions on some concessions and things are looking better, but why don’t they get rid of the main cause of expense: actually printing the paper? Why not make it an all digital paper with access to all of their columnists and writers and news via If they want to keep most of the revenue from advertisements continue printing a Sunday edition. Wouldn’t that save a ton of money currently spent on paper, ink, and transportation? If they wanted, charge a yearly fee of $20 to have access to the site. I would pay $20 a year for I’m sure others would, too.

Better yet, have a subscription for the Sunday paper include access to the web site. Wouldn’t this drastically reduce costs? Or am I missing something? (I’m probably missing something)

- Watched some of the Lakers – Magic game last night and was struck by two things:

1: There was absolutely no flow to the game at all. Fouls are called nearly every time down the floor and it turns into a hail of free throws.

2: The refs absolutely suck. I know Simmons did an entire article about this, but last night was just ridiculous. It’s bad enough that Turkolu seems to be getting mugged every time he touches the ball (on multiple plays I could see his jersey being pulled as he simply tried to move around a pick) or that Kobe is fouled whenever someone breaths on him. The clincher was a loose ball foul called on Gasol when replays showed it was Howard that not only pushed off, but shoved Gasol to the floor in one of the most obvious fouls ever put on film. Just a disgrace.

- Hey, digital television officially kicked off today. Anyone but me not give two shits about that?

- Finally two music recommendations:

Green Day’s new one, 21st Century Breakdown, is every bit as good as you’ve been hearing. I thought ‘American Idiot’ was over rated. It wasn’t horrible and I liked it, but I certainly didn’t consider it a ground breaking Green Day album. If anything it was more of the same with a political slant.

Not so, this one. This is Green Day branching out in both sound and scope while still retaining it’s unique…uh…Green Dayishness. Just take a listen to ‘Peacemaker’ which sounds like a Russian march put to an espresso punk beat. Or ‘See The Light’ which sounds like a lost Who song. Or ‘Viva la Gloria’ which tricks us into thinking we have another ballad on our hands before ripping it up about a minute in. Or Armstrong’s surprising vocal range on ’21 Guns’.

Fear not, though, as there are still plenty of rockers like ‘Murder City’, ‘Horseshoes and Hand Grenades’, ‘Static City’ and ‘Christian’s Inferno’ which could be the most straight ahead punk song they’ve ever recorded.

I could go on, but you get the point. After more than a few listens I’m comfortable declaring this Green Day’s best work. So far. Who would have thought that the teens who first burst onto the scene with songs about smoking weed and masturbation would become the most relevant American band around.

My second is a merely a band recommendation. I stumbled across Oceansize a few years back and have been hooked ever since. A release of theirs just became available in the states (‘Frames’) and it’s just as creative, challenging and addictive as all their other stuff. While I wholeheartedly recommend ‘Frames’ you may want to start with ‘Efflorescence’ which is more accessible and still one of my favorite albums ever.

I can only describe them as an experimental, heavy metal band with jazz influences but even that doesn’t do them justice. If anything their band name is the most appropriate description I could give. Their songs tend to ebb and flow, trickle in before blasting you away. They can start with a simple repeating chord only to add layers upon layers. Before you realize it they’ve created a totally different song from where they began. Their songs seem to be shaped after the ocean. Constantly changing, raging and quieting. Go here to listen to a few of their songs.

Start with ‘WomenWhoLoveMenWhoLoveDrugs’ which will give you a idea of what they’re like. ‘Savant’ is off the new release. Some of these songs you have to stick with before you get the full idea. At over 8 minutes it can be a challenge, but it’s well rewarded.

Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

That’s it, folks. Enjoy the weekend. Hopefully it will get above 60 in New England.

Today’s distraction: Believe it or not, one of my all time favorite games turns 25. Fuck, I’m old. Go find an online version and waste the afternoon away.


thepowerof10 said...

The only good thing about TV going all digital is I can finally watch a program without seeing 54 commercials about buying a converter box. Other than that, it doesn't affect me at all.

Hammen said...

I was getting nervous...we all start cracking jokes about what you are gonna do if you're laid off, and then you don't post for a couple days after the infamous conference call....good to see you're still employed.

BeachBum said...

I would have posted yesterday, but it was a fucking zoo here. Not doing any work the day before just in case I was let go catches up to you. Who knew?

A Tribute: deer a train and basketball said...

Never heard of oceansize before but your description makes me believe I'm going to love them.