I Love the 80s, Fenway and Ashlee

Any week filled with dressing up like Magnum P.I. and taking a tour of Fenway Park must be a good one, so let’s begin the love train….now!

I was back at it again with two weekend work days – normally known as A Big F**kin’ Drag. But Friday night was 1980s Night for the team and a chance for me to do what I’ve always wanted: to play 80s tunes all night long. What goes into making a successful 80s Night promotion for a hockey team? Well, music and outfits. For nights like this (we did a big 1970s Night last year, complete with post-party with Motor Booty Affair), we require the whole staff to get decked out and we definitely got into it. For us, these nights always seem to fall at the mid-point of the season which is about the same time when we think about pushing each other down elevator shafts. Seriously, working in a small office and seeing each other more than family and friends does that to sane people. So to be told that you need to be decked out in 80s gear for an evening and get bling blinged for it is a good thing.

After downloading, editing and compiling from 6-8 hours this week (all post-work hours, mind you), I was ready to rock. Blondie, Tommy Tutone, The Pretenders, G’n’R, Toni Basil, Bon Jovi, Mr. Mister, you name it: I had it. It’s amazing to search sites and listen to playlists and just fall back in awe of how musically simple, yet amazing, the 80s was. People remember it for different reasons like the one-hit wonders like Mickey and 867-5309 or the hair metal gods that came to fruition or the now-classic rock acts that emerged like U2. If you wanted it, you got it. People talk about the 70s being the best-ever decade to be a music fan. Maybe, but I can come up with arguments that say the 80s might top it. Perhaps it’s because I am a child of the decade but if you’re a follower of pop culture at all, there’s no doubt that 1980-1989 was THE decade. Period.

Back to Friday: I originally was going as Slash from G’n’R but realized that spending some $$$ on a leather jacket to completely finish off the look was not happening. But after some discussions and intense ‘research,’ I landed on one of the biggest stars of the 80s: my fraternity brother and middle-aged god Tom Selleck, aka Magnum P.I. It took about two nights to compile all the goods: curly wig, fake mustache, Hawaiian shirt and the symbolic Detroit Tigers baseball cap, but it fell short of other great outfits like Dee Snider (my friend, the loud and outlandishly-fabulous Greg), Darth Vader, complete with authentic mask (another friend, Ben) and Boy George (my buddy Chris) who all made it up on our videoboard in funny moments.

In discussing outfits, most of us thought about characters first and style of dress second. Think about it. While the 80s were known as me-first and capitalistic, that seemed to transcend into pop culture creating singular-type icons rather than a wide-sweeping trend like the 60s/70s. Think I’m crazy? Here’s a quick 10:Alf, Magnum P.I., Mr. T., Airwolf, Knight Rider, Smurfs, Transformers, GI Joe, Michael Jackson, E.T. That took me about a minute. Now, try thinking of a quick 10 that are similarly recognizable from the 1970s that aren’t named ‘Led’ or ‘Zeppelin.’

Keep going. I’m waiting…

Not many, eh? The 80s were just fun. People wearing outlandish outfits and being widely-accepted for them. I mean, torn sweatshirts showing off one shoulder? Pegged jeans? Shaved lines in your hair? Leg warmers? If there was one decade in American history that screamed party, it is the 1980s. While pundits critizicize our current culture for pushing the envelope in good taste, everything was good to go in the 80s. We watched a show with a small furry alien on a major network…FOR FIVE YEARS. There’s no one that looks back on these years and can’t crack a smile – it’s damn near impossible

But I digress. The party after the game was even better as Boston-based Fast Times (www.fasttimes.biz) took the stage and rocked an after-game party we sponsored. About 500 people attended, most of which were decked out in classic gear. If there was a heaven, Friday night was it.

That feeling extended into Saturday where I headed down to Boston for an impromptu visit to the mecca of all sports: Fenway Park. A few of us had planned a trip to down to the Fens in order to properly honor and enjoy what happened last October. While still winter, one of our group happened to be in the area and the first of what will be many trips is on. After a somewhat-confusing T ride (where I shared an area with former Saturday Night Live alum Kevin Nealon), myself and two other friends went on an almost 90-minute tour of the park, hitting almost every single part except for the field (which is done in the spring/summer trips). After this experience, we finished the experience with some purchases at the Souvenir Store (where I dreamed about living as a young dude) and food/beers at the Boston Beer Works and Cask n’Flagon. It would hard to write a better span of hours than Friday-Saturday, unless a trip to the Bunny Ranch was involved.

Did I mention I was spitting distance from Hilary Duff on Thursday?

Nason Notes:

-On the way down to Boston, I picked up a girl friend who wasn’t originally supposed to go. She then invited another friend who was staying with her, not a big deal by any means. However, she did say, “You don’t mind us coming along, do you?” Now what am I supposed to say to that? I didn’t mind, but even if I did, would I say, “Yes. I wish you and your friend would have not come along. I expect today to be terrible as a result.” It’s like when people say, “Can I ask you a question?” and just go ahead anyway. There are certain times when people should think about what they’re actually saying. Has anyone ever given honest answers to questions like this? I might start this week.

–I read a chain email (ugh) about Jeff Foxworthy’s jokes about You Know You’re From New England…which I assume is some a**hole typing up some one-liners, saying it’s from Foxworthy and forwarding it so the rest of us can delete it a week after getting it. One of them said something along the lines of, “You know you’re from New England if 20 degrees is ‘chilly.'” Seriously, it felt like a damn heatwave today when it hit 35. Has there been a more miserable stretch of cold weather ever? Can I ask you a question?

–I’m attempting to work my HTML magic and add some new subjects on the blog like what I’m listening to, a few links, etc. If you’re not seeing it while reading this, I probably haven’t figured it out yet.

–With seven days to go, the Super Bowl is looming near. I hate the two week delay as there’s only so many times I can hear about Terrell Owens, the Patriots winning two of the last three titles, Tom Brady, Donovan McNabb, Freddie Mitchell’s comments about Rodney Harrison and blah blah, yadda, yadda and more. Two weeks to talk about a 60-minute game that more times than not disappoints sports fans seems a bit much for a game that will end in a 24-17 Pats win (my official prediction). However, the money generated in ads alone makes this more than a game but rather a pop-culture mega-event. Throw in the fact that mainstream America can’t get into the Patriots and you have a recipe for low ratings outside the New England and Philly regions.

Let’s just hope that Ashlee Simpson doesn’t do the halftime show.

Thanks for reading,

nason

Walking Down College Ave. Lane…

So I’m sure you notice a new look to the ol’ blog. I figured I’d switch it up a bit and give y’all a different look. Hope you like it! I’m still working on that whole ‘nason.com’ site, but nothing’s finalized yet.

–Is it just me or can anyone get a reality show? I just saw an ad for the Gastineau Girls. Seriously, a show on the ex-wife and daughter of Jets All-Pro linebacker Mark Gastineau? Someone’s going to watch this? I’m sure it’s the same qualifications as being one of the witty social commentators on any VH1 show.

–It’s still amazing, yet not surprising, how much I miss having weekends off. The past two days were my first completely work-free weekend since mid-December and having zero commitments to anyone or anything is great, to say the least. Of course, the cold snap and snowstorm did pigeonhole my plans a bit but also simplified them. The goal: to stay warm and have a good couple days. It’s Sunday night, I got lots of sleep, the Patriots are onto the Super Bowl and mission accomplished: a good weekend.

I did get a bit nostalgic the other night though. I got an email from the Maine Campus, the college paper for the University of Maine where I used to write. The email was the usual: the online newsletter version of their printed paper. As I read through a few of the articles, a few things came to mind. One: there really isn’t much difference between the current writing style or when I was there, two: the subject matter is relatively the same. I guess college kids bitching about what’s wrong with the world and chiming in on political issues will always have its place. I did get a sobering smack though when I searched for my own name on the archive and it came up with nothing. Getting the second-largest amount of letters/e-mails in campus history for the memorable ‘Not so golden oldies’ column doesn’t get you into too many VIP rooms anymore.

I then reflected on some of the people I worked with and what a fun time that was; just a bunch of kids trying to run a financially-troubled newspaper three times a week while dealing with those classes they make you go to. So I wondered if I could find some of those old friends and see what they were up to. Unfortunately, either they’ve all disppeared off the face of the earth in a mass Maine Campus reunion abduction or they just aren’t in the public eye anymore. I found one person…that’s it. (However, it was interesting to find out that this person had finished second in a copy-editing competition and had an article written up about her. Hilarious!) Maybe some stones are better left unturned, I guess.

Interestingly enough, it raises the debates heard at parties and bars everywhere: if given the choice, would you go back to those college days and live it all again? Honestly, I don’t know. Just think: getting up for 9 am classes were considered stressful. Having funds run out on your MaineCard was considered stressful. Not getting sh*tfaced for the third night in a row was considered stressful. But is that worth trading for financial security, a career and whatever life brings after graduation? I think the answer is different for everyone depending on your college and post-college situations. For me, I’m not married (not even close), have launched a pretty successful career and have expanded my group of friends. Overall, things are pretty good. But would I go back? Honestly, I’m not sure but it would be damn tempting if I could get my other friends to go with me. Imagine a one-year ‘Back To School’ reunion with six or seven of your closest friends? Man, was that Rodney Dangerfield was a prophet back in the 80s or what?

–The Surreal Life is starting to climb the list of ‘must-see’ shows on my list. Real World/Road Rules Challenge, Real World and Arrested Development (brilliant) are right up there, but Chyna and Verne Troyer on the same show? Fantastico! I think last season with Dave Coulier (Full House), Flavor Flav and Brigette Neilsen was possibly one of the best comedy combos of all time, but I digress. By the way, I think all of us should yell our first and last names like Flav did at all times. How popular would I be if I yelled “Josh Naaaaa-son!” at random times when I had something to say. Finally, a reason to look forward to work!

–Speaking of work, with the impending Super Bowl in two weeks (ugh…two weeks of hype) between the Patriots and Eagles, our office is about to erupt. See, despite living in New Hampshire, our office has no less than four Philadelphia-area natives who are very vocal about their Eagles. Another five of us are diehard Pats fans with the rest a mix of Rams, Bills and Monopoly rooters whom we both shun and throw empty water jugs at. There will a lot of dirty tricks pulled in the next 14 days…I guarantee it. And of course, they’ll be all recounted here. It’s about to get Bubba Sparxxxx in here…ugly.

–As part of my weekend, I saw the famous documentary, “Super Size Me,” based on the filmmaker’s diet of strictly McDonald’s for three meals a day for 30 days. It’s shocking to say the least, but what’s also shocking is how bad our nation’s schools are turning their heads to this unhealty way of eating. I won’t get into too many details, but it’s quite the eye-opening experience and will make you look at all fast food a bit differently. And that, as I found out, is a very good thing.

So I’m sure you notice a new look to the ol’ blog. I figured I’d switch it up a bit and give y’all a different look. Hope you like it! I’m still working on that whole ‘nason.com’ site, but nothing’s finalized yet.

–Is it just me or can anyone get a reality show? I just saw an ad for the Gastineau Girls. Seriously, a show on the ex-wife and daughter of Jets All-Pro linebacker Mark Gastineau? Someone’s going to watch this? I’m sure it’s the same qualifications as being one of the witty social commentators on any VH1 show.

–It’s still amazing, yet not surprising, how much I miss having weekends off. The past two days were my first completely work-free weekend since mid-December and having zero commitments to anyone or anything is great, to say the least. Of course, the cold snap and snowstorm did pigeonhole my plans a bit but also simplified them. The goal: to stay warm and have a good couple days. It’s Sunday night, I got lots of sleep, the Patriots are onto the Super Bowl and mission accomplished: a good weekend.

I did get a bit nostalgic the other night though. I got an email from the Maine Campus, the college paper for the University of Maine where I used to write. The email was the usual: the online newsletter version of their printed paper. As I read through a few of the articles, a few things came to mind. One: there really isn’t much difference between the current writing style or when I was there, two: the subject matter is relatively the same. I guess college kids bitching about what’s wrong with the world and chiming in on political issues will always have its place. I did get a sobering smack though when I searched for my own name on the archive and it came up with nothing. Getting the second-largest amount of letters/e-mails in campus history for the memorable ‘Not so golden oldies’ column doesn’t get you into too many VIP rooms anymore.

I then reflected on some of the people I worked with and what a fun time that was; just a bunch of kids trying to run a financially-troubled newspaper three times a week while dealing with those classes they make you go to. So I wondered if I could find some of those old friends and see what they were up to. Unfortunately, either they’ve all disppeared off the face of the earth in a mass Maine Campus reunion abduction or they just aren’t in the public eye anymore. I found one person…that’s it. (However, it was interesting to find out that this person had finished second in a copy-editing competition and had an article written up about her. Hilarious!) Maybe some stones are better left unturned, I guess.

Interestingly enough, it raises the debates heard at parties and bars everywhere: if given the choice, would you go back to those college days and live it all again? Honestly, I don’t know. Just think: getting up for 9 am classes were considered stressful. Having funds run out on your MaineCard was considered stressful. Not getting sh*tfaced for the third night in a row was considered stressful. But is that worth trading for financial security, a career and whatever life brings after graduation? I think the answer is different for everyone depending on your college and post-college situations. For me, I’m not married (not even close), have launched a pretty successful career and have expanded my group of friends. Overall, things are pretty good. But would I go back? Honestly, I’m not sure but it would be damn tempting if I could get my other friends to go with me. Imagine a one-year ‘Back To School’ reunion with six or seven of your closest friends? Man, was that Rodney Dangerfield was a prophet back in the 80s or what?

–The Surreal Life is starting to climb the list of ‘must-see’ shows on my list. Real World/Road Rules Challenge, Real World and Arrested Development (brilliant) are right up there, but Chyna and Verne Troyer on the same show? Fantastico! I think last season with Dave Coulier (Full House), Flavor Flav and Brigette Neilsen was possibly one of the best comedy combos of all time, but I digress. By the way, I think all of us should yell our first and last names like Flav did at all times. How popular would I be if I yelled “Josh Naaaaa-son!” at random times when I had something to say. Finally, a reason to look forward to work!

–Speaking of work, with the impending Super Bowl in two weeks (ugh…two weeks of hype) between the Patriots and Eagles, our office is about to erupt. See, despite living in New Hampshire, our office has no less than four Philadelphia-area natives who are very vocal about their Eagles. Another five of us are diehard Pats fans with the rest a mix of Rams, Bills and Monopoly rooters whom we both shun and throw empty water jugs at. There will a lot of dirty tricks pulled in the next 14 days…I guarantee it. And of course, they’ll be all recounted here. It’s about to get Bubba Sparxxxx in here…ugly.

–As part of my weekend, I saw the famous documentary, “Super Size Me,” based on the filmmaker’s diet of strictly McDonald’s for three meals a day for 30 days. It’s shocking to say the least, but what’s also shocking is how bad our nation’s schools are turning their heads to this unhealty way of eating. I won’t get into too many details, but it’s quite the eye-opening experience and will make you look at all fast food a bit differently. And that, as I found out, is a very good thing.

My computer’s acting up a bit, so I guess we’ll call it good there.

excelsior!

-nason

Emotional investments…

Amid the winter weather, the grind of January and the release of Catwoman on DVD, I welcome you once again to our weekly virtual cup o’ coffee. Goulet indeed! (a little too inside, I know…)

In two separate conversations this week, I was mentally confronted with evaluating emotional investments in two separate entertainment options: movies and sports. Emotional investments, you say? Read on…

In our office, there is a large segment of New England sports fans and also, surprisingly enough, Philadelphia fans. It’s bizarre because with a home base of New Hampshire and with 20-something employees, you wouldn’t think that four people would love Philly sports. Well, welcome to my day. With football now deep into the playoffs, a giant chasm has erupted with Pats fans on one side and Eagles fans on the other. While the only time they could play is the Super Bowl, there is still plenty of talk back and forth about what would happen if they met. Everything is pretty friendly (even though some Red Sox comments still get my blood at white hot levels), but one individual likes to lob grenades into the mix, get everything riled up and then leave. This past week though, this guy said something that I couldn’t fathom – my brain actually imploded for a minute.

While trying to debate his rants about how Boston fans are always going crazy for their teams and referring to them like they actually play (a common phrase and idealogy..c’mon, when the Sox won, we all said “We won!” It’s part of sports.), I told him that part of rooting for a team is becoming emotionally invested in a team. That’s part of what makes sports fun. Will I ever meet Curt Schilling? A 50/50 chance. But I’ll be damned if I wasn’t on pins and needles during his playoff run. Hell, the whole 2004 postseason mentally wiped out 96% of New England. But after spending almost $500 on Sox tickets, merch, etc. last season and watching a majority of the games, to not feel emotionally invested would be a crime. And if I refer to the Sox winning as my team, that’s my right. Every great team needs people to cheer for them; why do you think teams want homefield advantage? Oh that’s right…teams hate when their fans go crazy for them. Duh!

So his response was, “I just don’t see the point in getting emotionally invested in something you have no control over and can’t directly effect. That’s stupid.” And with that, I literally sat in my chair in awe. But I ask you: is it a bad thing to love a sports team? Should it be looked down upon if you walk away from watching a team lose and become upset? In short, is it foolish to emotionally invest in something you can’t directly effect?

I remember when a little over one year ago, Aaron Boone ended one of the wildest rides in Red Sox history with a home run in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS. I remember the terrible feeling the next day, until the epic that was September and October of 2004. The feelings and emotions that ran through all Red Sox fans as David Ortiz hit the homer that got us past the Angels, the story that will never die that was the Red Sox/Yanks ALCS Pt. II and the feeling when Foulke flipped a little white ball to a guy who wasn’t even in the red and white three months earlier, ending decades of bad emotions and feelings for a nation of fans. I will never forget where I was, the group of friends I was with and who I talked to. That’s emotional investment and that’s the payoff that counteracts the toll the previous year had on us.

So, I know my answer…what about you?

The other entertainment option that called emotions into question was the movies. I was at a party Sunday night and while everyone bantered on about trendy topics and the movies, I mentioned I had seen the movie “21 Grams” recently, a film that deals with three diverse personalities and their amazing and sad interaction with each other. Well-scripted and amazingly told through superb storyweaving, I would highly recommend it. Having said that, the reaction was, “Man, that was a depressing movie.” I asked, “It was? I thought it was great.” “Yeah, but…you weren’t depressed at the end? I mean, nothing turned out good for anyone.”

So I began to think if maybe I was emotionally devoid or something. Following the whole ‘Requiem For a Dream’ ride and now this, I honestly was trying to figure out if something might be wrong with me and then I might not be emotionally investing myself and missing a meaningful message. But then I thought to how I felt at the end of “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” and “Punch Drunk Love” and “28 Days Later.” I realized that it wasn’t me that had the issue, but rather my normal reaction was just that – a normal reaction. I also realized that my friends get abnormally sad when watching certain movies. I knew that buying that Ace Ventura deluxe edition DVD would have been a good purchase…

–Speaking of DVDs, I HATE when you buy a new movie then the movie company releases a new version with more new bonus, unedited, unearthed, revealed, extended, circumsized footage a couple years later. I first got burned by this when buying the first Lord of the Rings movie and being flabbergasted (yes, someone still uses that word) when a new version was released with even more bonus footage. Why not just put all of it out to begin with!!?! There should be a trade-in/upgrade option when this happens. You know, pay $5 and get the new version with a trade-in of your old one. To quote Bill Simmons, would anyone be against this?

And don’t even get me started on why they can’t just make both the widescreen and normal format available on one disc…

Speaking of movies, Eternal Sunshine (great movie), Garden State (so-so), Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle (funny in spots, but tried too hard to be that movie) and 21 Grams (another thumbs-up).

–If you’re a big fan of MTV reality shows, you’re with me when you ask why they can’t extend them to one hour. They tape so much footage that you know this wouldn’t be an issue. By the way, at what age should you stop watching these shows? I say 82. I also think Tina from the Real World/Road Rules Battle of the Sexes might be the most self-overrated person ever.

–Work has begun on my first novella, an untitled work based loosely on a real-life story that happened to a large family in Houlton a few years ago. They were travelling in a van that crashed, killing everyone but one person who then had to go on with life knowing everyone that meant anything to him was dead. Fun stuff, eh? Again, it’s a loose interpretation but I think I might have something here. I first told someone about this last week and their first response was that it’s a grim story. Yes, but I promise, it will turn out good for the lead character in the end. Alright, I’ve said too much. Between this and a few other projects I’d like to do, I hope to have a lot of words on paper by the time 2005 closes.

–So about this tsunami…for something that killed well over 100,000 people, doesn’t it seem like it’s not a huge deal in the news here? A friend and I were discussing the difference between that and the 9/11 attacks where 2500-3000 people died. He thought that because the attack was on American soil and a terrorist act, it was a bigger deal than something like a tsunami that’s a natural disaster and cannot be prevented. Interesting thought, but natural disaster or not, over 100,000 people died. Just a thought…

And with that, I bid you adieu..

Excelsior,

nason

A little of this…

Contrary to the rumours, I didn’t cause the Jennifer Aniston/Brad Pitt breakup. Just wanted to get that out of the way…

Man, I have been in a creative slump lately. That’s why our weekly session was put off by a few days – I just couldn’t seem to get started. So instead of trying too hard this week, here’s some random hits and bits:

–Every now and again, I peruse the comments section at the end of each weekly essay, noticing the same two people commenting on how much they don’t like what they read. My question…why are you still reading? Wait – don’t answer that.

–We’re almost two weeks in 2005 and the New Year’s Resolutions are popping up all over the place, especially at the gym I go to. Cheap monthly rates and the desire to ‘finally do it’ have taken over the space I go to release the day’s frustrations. The business of gyms is a funny one, as the owners are basically hoping people don’t go so they can sign up even more people to take their place at the machines. It’s a brilliant plan – exactly how many members can a gym even have? By the looks of it, the Bridge Street Planet Fitness has 28,348 members all coming at once. I wish there was a monthly contest for exactly how many new people will disappear within the month.

–I really hate snowfall, especially when I have to drive somewhere. I freely admit it: I’m the guy who drives foolishly slow and is very cautious when the white stuff flies. I’m not sure why, but I think it traces back to when I first got my license and almost drove off a hillside in a freezing rainstorm. Had it not been for the the large snowbanks, I was most likely done for. Since then, I’ve been a bit more careful but hey, someone’s got to be That Guy. Being careful in bad driving weather hit home last week when two friends at work knew people that died due to car accidents that day. Not scraped up, people – actual death. It got me to thinking about how you never know how the day’s going to end when you wake up in the morning. I’m not going to preach, but it was just something I was thinking about. (But if you’re the person driving around in the huge truck with no regard for others…well, just stop.)

–Was there anything less shocking than Brad Pitt and Jenn Aniston’s marriage breakup? Seriously, is there anything even remotely surprising in Hollyweird anymore? I had a good conversation the other day about the subject of celebrity and at what point, notoreity changes someone. I imagine that everyone that becomes famous says they aren’t going to lose their friends and they aren’t going to change. Somehow, though, everything changes doesn’t it? Celebrity is of varying degrees though, especially with athletes at high school and minor league levels, but the results end up being the same: adopting a class system-type attitude and enjoying the fruits while barely enduring the labor. With entertainers, I believe the attitude changes with time and success.

With athletes, life changes while they are quite young and coddled for what they can do on the playing fields. The mindset is instilled at such a young age that they have no choice but to take advantage of all that is given to them. They don’t know any better, but is that an excuse? Celebrities, though, are just normal people – just highly-paid for their profession and kept at arm’s length by those who want to create the illusion of importance. Should we even care that Brad and Jenn are separated or is it more important to worry about your own family issues? Will their lack of love directly affect our lives? Of course not, but we certainly seem to treat it like it does.

That reminds me…did you hear about Jude Law and Angeline Jolie? They were….oh, forget it.

–Finally, two readers sent in submissions for the Readers Response column. Since that never happened, here are their unedited pieces…enjoy:

-If you live or work in a city (like Portland, Maine or Manchester, NH, or any other medium to large city), there’s a good chance you feel the way I do about this. I absolutely hate pedestrians. Hate em. All of them. A pedestrian cost me my first driver’s exam by stepping near a crosswalk as I drove by (the inspector believed I should have slammed on the brakes and come to a screeching halt just in case this person chose to cross). I hate the attitude pedestrians have. They’ll step off the curb and into the street and just expect traffic to stop for them because the law says so, no matter what the consequences. These people will willingly put themselves in front of moving vehicles that greatly outweigh them, often without even looking to see if there is traffic, and they do it because they feel they have the right to. I think they shouldn’t have that right. I think that giving pedestrians the right of way was an awful idea. How many times have you been sitting at a red light and you see someone looking to cross the road, and they begin walking across, right in front of you, right as your light turns green (and they always take their sweet ass time). Or how about when they cross when they have the “don’t walk” sign flashing and you have a green light, and the person in front of you has to stop to let them go, and you wind up missing the light because of it. May not seem like that big a deal, but when you are in a rush (like going from one job right to another) it becomes a big deal. The streets were made for cars, not people, therefore cars should have the right of way. If there is someone in a crosswalk and it won’t cause problems to let them cross, of course I do it. But then there are cases where I’m being tailgated (assholes) and if I stop, I might get rear-ended, all so some pedestrian can get across the street 10 seconds quicker than if they just waited for traffic to clear. This problem is greatest in cities because they have the most pedestrians, so this happens all the time (every try to drive in the Old Port in Portland during a weekend?). I think pedestrians should have to wait for traffic to clear to cross a road, or wait at a crosswalk and go when the signal says to go. If I offended any of you pedestrians who are reading this, tough. Cross when and where you’re supposed to cross, and leave us drivers alone. Man, that was theraputic….



and

so for one reason or another i just looked up the imdb listing for high fidelity, you know, that movie with john cusack – easily my favorite guy to carry out of the 80s – andrew mccarthy was my favorite guy in the 80s -mostly because of less than zero but a little because of pretty in pink- and jack black and whole bunch of other people whose names i’d go “oh,that guy” to and you’d go “who?” to, including that chick that looks startling like robin wright (penn) – it always pains me so much to associate anything with that pompous ass – i mean what kind of a genius can he be, he married madonna – although, i woulda married madonna back then too so what can i say? – so much so that i always think it’s still her until i read her name in print – it’s Iben Hjejle (you just try to tell me how to pronounce that one) in case you’re wondering – it’s almost disconcerting and i used toreally like tim robbins in that movie but now that is my least favorite part – anyway, i digress…



the movie is based on a book by a guy named nick hornby too – i’ve lost my train of thought because i was just interrupted by a phone call from a friend – i went looking at this description and stumbled upon that lovely woman’s name because i had read a blog entry last week that made me laugh ( http://queserasera.org/archives/000867.html ) and then it occurred to me that john cusack’s name in the movie was rob and that there was a liz but then i remembered that liz in the movie was in fact rob and laura’s (that’s the iben hjejle girl) friend played by joan cusack who has certainly been in enough movies with and probably not always like that but also because of her brother not that there’s anything wrong with that -the other part about the blog entry is that as big a fan of missy as i am (and i am, make no mistake) i love the original version of that song just as much and now i can’t remember who sings it so i’ll have to look it up – Ann Peebles – you think she’s any relation to melvin and mario van peebles? or maybe to pebbles? anyway, i think my train of thought has run off the tracks and i am going to go now…



On that strange note,

thanks for reading,

nason

A Merry Little Ex-Mas

For those of you checking this out, consider this a ‘special feature’ like on a DVD. I’m not advertising this one, but tagging it onto the end of my usual happy mess. Since it happened, I always wanted to put this story down in written format and here seemed to be an ideal place to do it. This isn’t a happy story, but one that was a major turning and learning point in my life. If you like it, fantastic. If you don’t, I hate to say it but I could really give two sh*ts. Seriously.

This situation happened over the week leading up to Christmas and because that little Santa-infested holiday comes once a year, it always springs into my mind around the same time. Our story begins in Portland, ME, in December of the year 2000…

I was working for a hockey team, my first year out of college and had met a girl, a co-worker that was the office assistant. Her name was Anne and she was from Michigan, always describing where by holding up her hand. See, the state of Michigan kind of looks like a mitten and apparently people from that state describe their location by showing people their hand. While odd to most, that’s what gave Anne her charm – little things like that. She was 5’3″, blonde/blue-eyed and just a sparkplug (sorry..cliche alert). While not a drop-dead hottie, there was an attractiveness to her that was increased by her charm. We became instant friends.

The only issue was that while Anne and I were getting to know each other at an accelerated rate, talking almost two hours a night every night, she was resisting some of my overtures to become more. Of course, it could have been caused by the fact I wasn’t really pushing the issue that hard, but I couldn’t help but feel something was there. We could just talk for hours about the stupidest stuff, but when it came time to say goodnight, we both wondered where the time went. I wanted to move things forward but was afraid at what the consequences of a ‘no’ might be. In any case, after having another great girl slip through my fingers in my waning weeks of college, Anne was the prescription I needed to get over my post-college blues. I stopped driving back 90 minutes north to hang with the guys and stopped missing school so much. She was instrumental in helping me make that transition, something everyone has to make at one point in their life.

So there were a couple slips along the way: a random kiss here or the sleepover after our X-Mas party there, but nothing really happened. One night, a group of co-workers and college friends went out after a game and got destroyed at the bars. We ended up back at my apartment and while my friends proceeded to decimate my cupboard, Anne and I ended up in my room where we had the talk where I basically professed my love for her. She at first refused, at which point I turned on emotions that I’ve never thought I’d had. She cried, I talked and she left soon after. I was devastated. Later that night, I would wake up to my friends brawling in my room after watching Fight Club, but that’s a story for another blog.

After the awkward weeks that followed, we started talking again and things were back to normal. (Well, as normal as it can be after you tell a girl you’ll love her for the rest of her life.) X-Mas time was near and Anne was flying home to Michigan for the holidays. I told her I needed to give her a present and after grabbing some dinner, we went back to her place and we just talked for hours. I gave her two wrapped gifts: two CDs I made for her and a Calvin and Hobbs book I wrote something in, telling her to open them on the plane as they’d give here something to do. Secretly, I didn’t want her to open them up in front of me as it was my secret last chance to see if something could happen between us. I figured that if she was alone, the reaction would be genuine and not one of those, “I’m in front of you, so I’ll be polite” deals.

She asked me to hang around while she packed and around 3 am, she asked me to stay over since I was going to bring her to the airport the next day. I tried not to read too much into the offer as going all-in emotionally was probably not a good thing to do, but having a sober girl ask you to stay over is a great feeling to have. It was even better when Anne grabbed my arm, slung it over and nestled up close to me. Instantly, the past had been forgotten and all I saw was a future. And it looked fantastic.

Getting just a couple hours of sleep, we awoke on a cold morning and headed in the ol’ Grand Prix to Portland International Airport. As we stopped at a red light, Anne leaned over and said, “kiss me.” I was in heaven. It happened again as she departed for her gate and it seemed, like for a few moments, that I had a girlfriend. I drove to work, dead tired but re-energized like never before. She ran through my head like the proverbial hamster on the wheel and that night, we resumed our two-hour long talks like before, joking that I would make some sort of appearance on Christmas Day resulting in her dad greeting me with a shotgun. She even admitted that she opened up my presents on the plane and started immediately crying. I felt like I was Larry Bird back in his heyday – hitting 3-point shots from all over the court and just overall being unstoppable.

Then one day, the calls stopped. I didn’t think much of it as I assumed she was just busy with family and friends. Still, I got a unexplicably strange feeling that something was up. We finally connected two days later and Anne’s tone was completely different. The caring voice I heard on the other end had become distant and just absorbed with something else. Again, I didn’t think too much into it but just looked forward to her coming back to Portland where we could resume whatever had started as she left. Oh, how I would be wrong. Anne returned and I met her in the airport, excited to see this girl that had brought such hope and fun to my life. Except this time, there was no kiss. No love. No feeling. Anne was acting strange like I had just met her. I dropped her off, told her I would talk to her later and that’s when I knew something was up. Know that feeling when you can tell that someone’s not telling the truth? Yep yep.

Over the ensuing weeks, we became distant. The phone conversations became less and less and the ones we had weren’t even that good. She was let go from the team months earlier, so I didn’t even see her at work. I heard about her from time-to-time from some mutual friends, but was just so confused as to what happened. Did I do something wrong? Was it something I said? I racked my brain for what I did instead of what Anne did. I finally gave up hope, fell into my usual week o’sadness and began to move on. Then, a friend of ours said that Anne and another one of our friends were heading out to dinner and we should join them. I was intriguing and took the bait. I was looking for some clue as to the whereabouts of pre-Michigan Anne and was coming up emptier than Lt. Frank Drebbin or Nordberg. What followed was a strange meal shared with someone I had told everything to, yet barely knew anymore. I wanted to reach across the table, grab Anne and just scream, “What happened? Tell me, please! Just tell me a lie…just say something!”

Side note: Years later, I’ve still never been this perplexed when dealing with any friend, girl or guy. I think most relationships, budding or not, get messed up because people are just not honest with each other and get caught in lies and stories they can’t get out of. If Anne had just told me what you’re about to read, I would have been upset but understanding. But so we don’t put the cart before the horse…

But I didn’t say anything to her that night and got no answers to my questions. We hugged good-bye and that was that. I moved past the situation and just chalked it up to another bad set of circumstances. A few weeks later, our gang was roaming the Old Port and ended up in a random martini bar that we never had gone to and never went again. Nights like this, though, are reasons I believe in fate and that everything’s meant for a reason. Another mutual friend, Erin, was in the house and after the usual tavern blah-blah and chit chit, I randomly asked if she had talked or even seen Anne recently. She said, “Yeah, she’s pretty busy with her boyfriend flying in this weekend from home.”

Wait a second…what?

I was like a KGB agent, working Erin for information that I pretended I already knew. I wasn’t proud of it, but I had been looking for an answer for months and it was sitting right in front of me. Erin told me that Anne had flown home to Michigan for Christmas (remember that?) and had met up with a old friend of her ex-boyfriend’s at a party. This guy reportedly admitted he had always liked her during her time with the ex and she, in turn, said the same. At that moment, I became a memory and was shoved aside by someone that I never met and had never even heard of. While I was hurt, I was relieved – I finally knew the truth. I then proceeded to drink heavily and on the way home, made the drunk dial that would change everything again.

Anne answered and I said, “I finally know! You have a boyfriend! Great for you!” The phone broke up (gotta love the analog technology) and I let it lie, convinced I would never see or talk to Anne again. I honestly can’t remember if she called back, but I wasn’t finished. I sat down the next day and wrote a scathing yet compassionate email explaining everything I was thinking. The words flowed like boxed wine and I cleaned out the entire closet, kitchen and the basement. Honestly, I was happy for Anne. Hell, I’d be happy for anyone that found their true love, but the way it went down just didn’t sit well in my gut. It wasn’t right and I wanted to let her know. Days later, I got a nasty email back saying that I had no right to be involved in her life and that she never wanted anything romantic to do with me, among other things. It hurt but was the last salvo in what had been an interesting winter. I never spoke with Anne again and deleted her record out of my cell phone six months later.

Side note 2: The phenomenon of cell phones has been supported by the phenomenon of collecting and deleting mass amounts of numbers that you’ll never ever call or even remember. Deleting a number, especially from an ex or previously important female, is one of those moments you can’t take back once you hit ‘delete.’ The thoughts go through your head of whether you might need that number somewhere in the future and exactly how much space those digits take up. Of course, leaving a ‘bad number’ can also lead to the afore-mentioned ‘drunk dial’ and the ensuing shenangigans. Actually, I don’t know where I was going with that, but getting rid of that number can be a cathartic experience. There. Done.

Two years ago, I started having thoughts of Anne again. Plenty of time had passed, but I wanted to know how she was doing. After weeks of thought and nights where I would lie awake thinking of the perfect words, I decided to pen her a letter and basically wipe the slate clean. I invited her to call or write me back, even inviting her and her boyfriend (if she still had one) to visit if they happened to be in the area. I just wanted my friend back, the same girl I talked with for hours on end, and told her just that. I have never heard back and this point, I don’t think I ever will.

Months and even years later, I would hear unflattering stories of Anne from other people. One was a co-worker/friend that she had dated before, who told me a similar story of what had happened to him. Another was a story of her night with a player following our going out to a local club and his attempting to give me money for a cab ride to get me out of there. I still am not sure who I got to know and care so much for, but for that short time, it was a good person.

I hope that somewhere, Anne feels the same way.

thanks for reading,

nason

Surviving Holidays Nason-style, Luda, Pizza and More

So after almost two weeks, three holidays and surviving an office plague, to quote George Costanza, I’m back baby…I’m back!

Much like y’all, I managed to get through the holidays or as I like to refer to it, the fun days that get in the way of work. Seriously, in five years of working a tight winter schedule, this year has been miserable for holiday work hours. But as much as I think my schedule is tough, I think about the police, fire, hospital workers, midgets dressed as elves, etc. and I guess I have it a’ight.

But needless to say, I’m happy that the holiday season is over. Here’s a wrapup: my mom cried twice on X-Mas partly due to a mixup over when my brother and I were supposed to show up which wouldn’t have been a problem if I hadn’t had a game to work on Sunday, I had to work on New Year’s Eve, barely making it to a party 10 minutes before midnight and having to work a full-day on New Year’s Day with a huge hangover. So to say that I was happy to let this time of year pass is an understatement. (Seriously…crying!)

I think it might be impossible to truly enjoy the holidays unless you’re a kid or an old person, arguably the two most enjoyable and stress-free ages in life (if you play your cards right). I mean, kids get school off, eat a sh*tload of cookies, and look forward to an equally-big sh*tload of presents, most of which. Old people have no real daily schedule, enjoy watching their grandkids eat their cookies and enjoy their presents they barely need. How are they similiar? They both generally enjoy living life and the effort others put into making their lives as meaningful as possible. The rest of us? We’re the middle-men responsible for making both those ends possible. It’s a sometimes-thankless job, but we manage to make it through. Don’t we?

Another monumentous occasion this week? My 27th birthday, which I celebrated (if that’s the word) on Tuesday. While these days are a big deal to some, those people usually have their birthdate on a cool date. Mine is less than two weeks removed from Christmas and a scant four days after New Year’s. Everyone’s spent out and drank out by the time January 4th comes around. I need to be like a president or Martin Luther King and have my birthday recognized on a different day than it actually took place. Now that’s celebrity. Seriously, I’m making a mental list of “Reasons To Throw A F**kin’ Huge Party” and working the past five New Year’s Eves and having a huge birthday bash are right up there.

Enough about me though…here’s some random thoughts:

–I hope to unveil some new things here in the next few weeks, including a new website, potentially. More to come…

–You make pizza at home? Yeah, I barely do too. But you notice how it’s impossible to find anything other than an overpriced Boboli crust at the grocery store? Seriously, in this era of cracking down on corporate monopolies, why doesn’t anyone take down the Boboli pizza empire? (In case you can’t tell, winter makes me a bit loopy.)

–As I mentioned above, old people have a great life. However, hearing them ramble on about old stories when you know the unwilling listeners couldn’t care less is a bit awkward. I know you’re like, “Wow, that’s mean.” But seriously, we all know the feeling; it’s bad on both ends. Case in point: I was at the doctor’s office the other day when I overheard the person next to me replying to a run-of-the-mill doctor question that ended up with some story about he used to own a mum company, put flowers in people’s mailboxes to spread his business name around and randomly cancelled an order of 1500 mums last spring. Yeah, it was that random. Seriously, it went from “How are you?” to a story about flowers in five minutes. Getting to 30? Doesn’t scare me. Getting to 50 or 60? Goosebumps and chills.

–On the other end of that spectrum, I was at Best Buy the other night and was privvy to a loud conversation from some white trash who were SWEARING up a storm, talking on a cell to someone that had earlier claimed the group stole a check from him. From my own reaction to those around me, I just felt the uneasiness in listening to this guttertrash talk about this situation and how all of us were collectively thinking the same thing, while at the same time doing nothing. In America, we often talk about the price for freedom and how morals have laxed in recent decades. Most of our generation rolls our eyes at that notion (partially over not really understanding the formative years of our parents), because the thought of being restricting in what we can hear, say or do is almost criminal.

Daytime talk shows and soap operas barely warrant leaving the cable box on, basic cable has truly become the real network tv landscape and therefore shedding the tagline of ‘We can do anything because we’re not on network tv’ and the internet alone have completely desensitized us to almost everything. But there is a price to be paid for that, which is outbursts like I heard at Best Buy. Whose responsibility is it to take care of issues like this? Store management? People in line? Or is it even an offense to be taken care of? Is it ok to swear in places that only adults will be in (the bar, fancy restaurants, the adult section at the movie store) or because of our society’s bar-lowering of what is decent, is anywhere fair game? See, these are things I think about while shopping. How about you?

-And finally, your weekly version of a semi-regular new feature, “Yep, I Actually Heard This.”

At Best Buy…

Salesperson: “Can I help you?”

Random white wannabe hip-hopper with anorexic white fly girl: “Yo, do you have the new Ludacris album?”

Salesperson: “No. We’re all sold out.”

Until next week…thanks for readin’,

-nason