Thursday, November 5, 2009

And with the final pitch...Winter is here

Last night The New York Yankees won their 27th World Series Championship against the defending World Champions Philadelphia Phillies. As a Yankees fan I am happy at their achievement. As a baseball fan, I am saddened by their victory. The sadness is due to the realization that with the end of baseball season, The Boys of Summer have departed and winter is upon us.

No longer shall we see the gleaming white bases offsetting the coarse brown of the dirt paths separating the green blades of infield and outfield grass. The familiar sounds of the cracks of the bats and the pop of the ball smacking the leather of the glove have been replaced by the howling of the lonely winter winds. The days will seem shorter, the sun will seem dimmer and the weather will feel colder.

I await with anticipation for the day that pitchers and catchers report to Spring training. Until they return in February. Until the day that the Boys of Summer return bringing the Spring and Summer with them. Until then...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Stories from the Bar on a Saturday Night

Story I
So during the Serena/Clisjters US Open semi-final, something happens that causes Serena to walk off the court. As the drama is unfolding on the screen, this dude takes a stool and stands on it to reach the TV over the vending machine. He proceeds to raise the volume. When I ask him what he's doing, he says "I'm raising the volume". I proceed to tell him that the least he could do is ask since its not his bar or TV's to touch. He says but its a bar (Like its ok to do so) and I retort that I would never touch a TV in a bar if I never worked there. The dude waves me off like its no big deal and half-assedly asks if I can raise the volume. Any guess on my answer? NO, in spite I wasn't going to raise the volume and HE says that I was rude because I wouldn't grant his request. The presumptiousness of some people. Maybe I was raised differently to respect other people's property. As they left, he says to me "Where did I learn my manners", to avoid any escalation I just told him to have a good night. What a turd.

Story 2
So we have a line for the men's room (as is prone to happen on busy Friday and Saturday nights) and I'm getting the dudes in and out as fast as I can. So as I'm almost done on the line, this dude tries to shoot past me into the ladies room. I tell him "Sorry bro, can't let you in there". The "Bro" had a short haircut, a plaid shirt and shorts. So "he" looks up at me and says in a woman's voice "Oh, I think I can prove that I can go in there". I take a double take and look at HER chest (there were breasts there, little ones mind you) and just laugh with her. As she goes in, I open the door and tell her that's a dirty trick which got her to laugh harder. As she comes out I ask her "How often do you do that" and she goes on to say "Every chance I get" as she squeezes my arm. Well, that made up for the turd in story 1..

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11, 2001-September 11, 2009

Once again the calendar has traveled a full year and landed on the somber day of September 11. Eight years have passed since that fateful day that changed the way we New Yorkers live. The sky is bare in that patch where the twins once stood. The hearts of those who lost loved one still ache from their untimely loss.We remember them fondly, prefering to celebrate their lives than to mourn their deaths. May they rest forever in peace.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

XBox360 Trials and Tribulations

So after 6 months of smooth gaming with the XBox 360, my voyage has hit a bump which feels more like a brick wall. I bought the XBox360 as a family present for this past Christmas. Now I've heard about all the problems the XBox360 had with the Red Rings of Death (RRoD) and other problems that plagued the console since its release. But compared to the Sony Playstation3, the XBox360 was much more economical and has a better game selection. Plus since I was able to get it 3 months before Christmas on my credit line with Dell, it was a fairly easy purchase.

So off we went for a smooth 6 month gaming tour, when the weather started getting rough (Boy that sounds familiar, LOL). My XBox360 stopped loading entirely. It generated an E73 error message which (from my research online) meant it was a hardware malfunction, probably from the ethernet connector. I figured that with 6 months of usage, 3 months of being put away after buying the console and who knows how long it stood in Dell's warehouse maybe the malfunction had more to do with time. So I send the console in for repairs on June 26th and to my pleasant surprise I got it back on July 9th, a little less than 2 weeks. And off we go on our gaming voyage...or so I thought.

My son was playing a game on July 10th (Mind you, the day after I receive the console from repairs), the pesky multilanguage error message which reads "To play this disc, put it in an Xbox 360 console" pops up. Once I got home from work, I checked the console out and saw that it would play no games whatsoever. It wouldn't play DVD's. CD's or even the disc drive cleaning disc. It would just read and say open disc. I go through all the online troubleshooting suggestions to no avail. I call customer support.

After going through the lengthy automated B.S., I get a live person on the line who walks me through the same steps as I had done earlier. As we proceeded through the steps, I could feel my blood pressure rising since I knew what was coming next: I would have to send the console in for repair...AGAIN!!!! To make matters worse, as I rant about how unacceptable and irresponsible that my having to return a repaired item 2 days after it was received the call was disconnected. If I was using my Blackberry, the phone would have gone through the wall.

So I call again getting a live person in a faster amount of time and I guess the prior customer agent updated the computer information as to my call. The agent walked on eggshells as he spoke to me but told me as the last agent that I would have to send it. That the last repair may not have been done completely due to a "Misunderstanding" whatever that means. LOL. By sending it in, it would have a Primary status for a full and complete inspection...Umm, shouldn't they do that anyway? So I resigned myself to the fact that I had two choices: Send it back or throw it out the window. I was seriously tempted to let the XBox360 fly but the kids would have been upset. So here I am riding my favorite Filly: Iron Horse#6 trying to get to the UPS Store on 91st Street and 3rd Avenue by 3:30pm to catch the last pickup for the weekend. What a charmed life I lead!!!

BTW, they don't pick up UPS Ground shipping packages on Saturday so the box will sit at the store until Monday. There goes the rest of my Saturday. LOL. All I can do is laugh, right?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Stroll Down the Memory Tunnel or 14th and 6th

Sometimes my travels on the NYC subway system leads to memorable and forgettable experiences. But this particular trip brought back memories of my youth in riding the subways during the dog days of the 80's.

As usual my trip was side swiped by bus delays and construction issues. I end up taking the Bx5 bus (since the Bx36 and Bx39) were nowhere to be seen in the increasingly harder rainfall. I take the Bx5 to the last stop which is Hunts Point and Westchester Avenues where I can take either the 2 or 5 trains at the Simpson Street station. As my luck would have it, there is no 5 train service due to construction so I had to get to work in a twisted manner.

I took the 2 train to 14th Street (and 7th Avenue). Luckily for me the train ran express. Then I walked upstairs to transfer to the 6 train. Now I had forgotten how long the walk is through the tunnels to get from the 2 to the F. I remember riding the trains and walking through the stations as a young kid during the 80's. Hopping on the trains during half days from school just exploring the big bad city. I guess the tunnels didn't seem so long to me as a child or I am just getting older.

So for those of you who have never transferred between said trains, you walk the entire city block underground at an incline until you reach the L train 14th Street Station at which point you walk upstairs to the F train. Now aside from the walk, here is where the memorable moment came. As I walk up the stairs to the downtown F train station, I was hit with a smell that I haven't had hit my nose in a long time. The station had an "aroma" of stagnant water, urine and feces all rolled into one. It was a smell that I hadn't experienced since before the Guiliani administration in the 1990's.

I truly believe that most people who have emigrated to NYC in the last 15 years are spoiled when it comes to riding the subway. Most train cars today are relatively new and have functioning air-conditioning units. This was not true back in the 70's and 80's. An air-conditioned car was a treasure rather than the norm. I remember sweltering cars whose windows and emergency car doors had to he propped open to let air circulate since the overhead fans could only do so much with the hot air (Watch old NYC movies like the original Taking of the Pelham 1-2-3 for a visual). The stations were also a mess: dirty and in disrepair. Today, at most times you can see the employees of the MTA maintaining and cleaning the stations. And the smell that came out of these trains and stations...That's what my excursion today reminded me off.

Wow, talk about taking a stroll down memory lane. It made me realize that no matter how many fancy buildings go up, how many of the old bad hoods get gentrified and how many outsiders come to live here, the NYC that I grew up in still exists and rears its ugly head every now and again. And it brought a smile to my face through the holding of my breath.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Flushing Effect

Something unique happened to me today. Now, allow me to clarify what I mean by the title of the post "The Flushing Effect". No, it has nothing to do with being in Flushing Queens for an extended period of time. It also has nothing to do with bathroom activities and/or equiptment. What it has to so is with the side effects of a prescribed medicine I was taking.

A little over a week ago, my doctor prescribed Simcor for my elevated cholesterol levels. He explained to me the possible side effects with Flushing being one of them. He gives 6 days worth of samples to try and a script and sent me my merry way.

I take the 6 days worth of samples and notice no ill effects of any kind so I fill the script. 25 bucks later and I have my supply for the month. It wasn't after my 2nd dose from my script that I felt something different.

The directions for the meds call for you to take the dosage once a night at bedtime with a low-fat snack. I'm not sure why a low-fat snack but its not a hard thing to do. It also calls for the avoidance of any hot liquids and /or alcoholic beverages to be taken with the dose and very explcitly it says to never drink with grapefruit juice. Ok, so I heed these advisories and move forward.

So this morning I wake up at 6:53am with the strangest sensation. First I felt a tinging sensation while I lay in bed. Second I feel certain parts of my body swollen (Don't be nasty, this is a non-sexual story) such as my nose and a few fingers. Third, my skin feels as if I sat out in the sun all day and burned to a crisp. Four, a rash was starting to break out at random intervals on my arms, legs and back. I get out of bed to look for the information sheet that my pharmacist includes with the script that I didn't throw out. Being a pack-rat has its usefulness no matter what my wife says, but I digress.

I read the description and see that I have the symptoms of the side effect known as "Flushing". It says take an aspirin if needed with Dr. Permission. Not sure of what to do, I take a drink of some cold water and decide to wash my face with cold water as well. As I finished in the bathroom, I felt the worst (non-hangover related) dizzy spell that I've had and luckily was able to stumble into my bedrooom and fell to the bed. Once I laid back down, the dizziness subsided and I felt the tingling sensation in a milder form than when I was upright. I call my doctor to let him know what happened (As per his instruction).

He calls me back in about an hour and by my description of how I felt deduced that it was indeed Flushing and told me to no longer take the meds. Now this is what I find weird: why did I get the side effect 8 days into taking the meds. Or since I was to take them before bedtime, could I have possibly slept through any prior episodes of Flushing that I may have had. Who knows. What I do know is that I'm not taking those pills again.


Friday, March 6, 2009

The Loss of Manners

A lady was getting off the bus with a shopping cart and her back wheels got stuck between the curb and the bus steps. A young guy was waiting for her to get off so he could get on. Seeing that she needed help he did nothing of the sort. I helped her and he got on the bus first in front of the other ladies. People wonder why this country is in decline. Its the youth that has it all offered to them who doesn't feel the need to work to improve themselves. The easy way out is what they look for and they have no time for simple courtesies like Please, Thank You and Excuse Me. Forget about chivalry, the use of manners are for a bygone era. God help this country.

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Guy and The Bulldog on the Subway

Here's an oldie but goodie that I found in my archives:

This guy gets on the downtown 4 train with a medium sized bulldog. As he stands against train doors, he turns on a portable DVD player and connects portable speakers to go along with it. Now the whole train has to hear his movie which is full of profanity. Here's where the Bizarro moment lies: he's also wearing headphones listening to music.

Someone taps him to get his attention. The man asks him to lower the volume since no one else really wants to hear his movie and movie guy has the nerve to get upset. As if. As with the lack of phone etiquette that some people are missing, there is no consideration for people who insist on playing either their music, or in this case their movie, at a loud volume. Put headphones on your DVD player. Oh right, you already had them on your music player. My bad.

Movie man acts in a way that the man who tapped him on the shoulder had invaded his personal space instead of the other way around. Union Square approached and I got off the train to make a connection to the downtown 6 train local. As I looked back, movie man was ranting and raving about God knows what as his dog just yawned and put his head down to take a nap. At least we see which of the two has the most common sense...Poor dog.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Plight of an Immigrant in NYC

While riding on the slow downtown 6 train (What else is new, eh?) A gentlemen tries to get my attention. He starts to tell me a story about a woman who he saw on Brook Avenue that looked like Michelle Obama flanked by police. The police told him that he could look at her but not take any photos. Not that it could happen since his phone didn't have a camera on it.

He shifts subjects on how happy he is that Barack Obama was elected President. His hopes are that President Obama can help his cause by changing the immigration and immigrant laws that are keeping him from seeing his son. Now I'm no sure what law in specific he's referring to but it seems to be a sore topic for him as his eyes well up as he speaks to me about how his son is 10 years old and resents him for not being there. The boy doesn't understand the reasons why they are separated.

The conversation shifts to how he works "like a mule" six and often seven days a week to do all he can to provide for his son and nothing else. He doesn't do it for fancy clothes and accessories: the man is simply dressed in green and black gear and no name brand work boots.

I really wish that these people who are vehemently anti-immigrant could hear this man's words and see the emotion on his face and the tears in his eyes. I guess all anybody needs is someone to talk to, even on the 6 train. I'm glad I could give him the outlet that he needed to express his thoughts in a dignified manner. It was the least that I could do as the son of immigrants.