The Wolfpack Files

My Life in My Words

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Ice Cream

Earlier tonight three good friends and I went to Cold Stone for some ice cream after some good Thai food (there was a 5th but he left before the actual ice cream eating began.) For those of you that have never heard of Cold Stone, it's an ice cream lovers paradise. You choose what ice cream you want and they take a big scoop of it and slam it down on to a cold stone slab (get it?). At that point they add in the toppings. Two of the girls got cake batter ice cream mixed with brownies, sprinkles and fudge. The other girl got cake batter ice cream mixed with I believe M&Ms, Snickers and Kit-Kats. They mash it all up together and you get a gooey treat. It really is pretty amazing stuff. Tonight I decided not to partake, but I have in the past and never had a bad time.

It reminded me of something that happened years ago which turned me off ice cream for a while, or at least turned me off Dairy Queen. My parents have a house on the Connecticut shore and each summer my college friends and I would head down there for a couple of weekends. There's not a ton to do there beyond sitting on the beach (or deck), watch TV, play mini-golf and go out to eat. It's rather relaxing. My college friends aren't really big party people, so we were never that interested in bar hopping or getting smashed (which is in huge contrast to my law school friends. I've never figured out how I ended up with two completely different types of friends. But I digress...) So we would go to the beach and just chill.

Well, one night we go to Dairy Queen after dinner. Everyone gets their ice cream and whatnot. We take it back to the beach house and one of my friends decides she's had enough. She had a simple vanilla cone, but she barely ate any of it. So she tosses it on the beach. Now remember, this is the middle of summer. The next morning we all wake up and make our way outside. And there, still sitting where she threw it, was the ice cream cone. With the ice cream! I realize she threw it out in the middle of the night, but it was still a good 60-70 degrees that night, and then with the sun the next morning? How in God's name was there still ice cream? The entire thing should have melted, but there it was in all its glory. And this story, unlike the one with the girls during spring break, can be verified by others.

I have no idea what goes into a Dairy Queen ice cream cone, but it ain't ice cream. It was seriously disturbing. To this day I have not eaten ice cream from Dairy Queen. Thankfully, there are other ice cream places at the beach (including one where Katharine Hepburn used to eat) so we were never at a loss, but to this day I can still see that 'ice cream' sitting on the beach after laying out all night.

Saturday, May 27, 2006


After we left the Yankees game tonight, we got hit with a massive rain storm. I have never gotten that wet in my life. As I was walking to the subway, and walking through rivers that soaked me to the bone, I was reminded of sitting through a monsoon while at my grandparents house in India. That lead me to think about my grandparents and my relationships with them. Recently on a repeat of the show 'Yes, Dear' one of the characters was talking about how everyone has one set of grandparents that they're closer to than the other, and that was certainly true in my life. But there were a lot of reasons for that.

The first, and probably biggest, reason I was closer to my maternal grandparents was simply that there were less of us. There are only four grandkids on my mother's side of the family. And out of the four of us, I'm the oldest and only boy, which makes me that much more special. And before you say I'm full of myself, ask the other three which is the favorite grandchild, and they will all point to me. On my father's side there are... well, I lose count after 15 grandkids. My sister and I are two of the youngest and we're also the only two that didn't live in India. I always felt like we were an afterthought. They had so many other kids and grandkids that they could see on a regular basis, we were lost in the shuffle.

The house my paternal grandparents had was also cold and never very welcoming. When we used to go to India, beyond the general dread of leaving my life behind and going to a place I didn't like and understand, I hated going to my father's family's side because it wasn't a warm place to be. Even though there were always people wandering around and the house was full of people, it never felt full of life. The main living room was lit by a single fluorescent light bulb that made everyone look sick. The house was also in a downtown, heavily trafficked area so it was always noisy and dusty. Then there was my mother's side. My grandparents lived in a house with a front and back lawn. There were guava trees in the backyard and even now all the memories I have are of a warm, welcoming place where the sun always seemed to be shining. My grandfather was a judge and I used to go to court with him and sit in the back and have all the attorneys act nice around me to butter him up. My grandmother used to peel oranges for me - not just the outer peel, but the inside, so all I ate was the actual orange.

They also spoke English, which helped since I spoke no Hindi. On my father's side, my grandfather spoke English, but my grandmother did not. And God help me for saying this, but she was a scary woman. She always looked so mean. She may have been the nicest person in the world, but all I could see was a little old woman who I couldn't communicate with. My grandfather and I got along well enough, but I don't remember talking to him too much. On my mother's side though, my grandparents and I talked all the time. And they used to come visit more often, which naturally made me feel closer to them, since they would come into my world. My grandmother was even here the day my sister was born. And the exact moment my sister was brought home from the hospital, she and I were sitting at the dining room table, and she was peeling me an orange. It was heartbreaking the day my grandmother died. I was working in the hospital at the time and I got an email from my cousins. It was the first time I ever thought about not ever being able to see someone again and I wasn't sure how I would deal with that. I'm still not really sure.

Both my grandparents on my father's side died years ago. The last time I ever cried out of sadness was the day my grandfather died. Not so much because he was gone, but because I knew my father had lost his last parent. He got a call from my uncle (his brother) and even from 10 feet away I could hear my uncle crying and screaming on the other end. He was completely hysterical and my father just stood there, silent. Even though my father is the youngest of his siblings, he's also the most successful, and the one everyone turns to for advice. He couldn't be emotional; he had to be the rock. And so I cried for him. I've shed tears since, but never out of pure sadness. My grandmother dying is a whole other story.

I don't remember how old I was exactly, but I must have been in my younger teens. As I said, she and I were never close, due to distance and the language barrier, among other reasons. So when she slipped into a coma, I, for better or worse, didn't feel much. There was some sadness, but I didn't know her well enough to be really broken up about it. I realize that may sound cold, but it's the truth. But she must have been a tough old lady, because she was in that coma for almost a year before my mother, sister and I had the chance to go see her. We used to go to India every two years, so it must have just been our time to visit. My father of course had gone on his own to see her, and everyone knew there was no way she was going to survive. But she hung on for a pretty long time in that coma. My mother, sister and I finally got to Delhi and were ushered into her room. She was being kept in the house instead of a hospital. It was so awkward. Here was this woman I barely knew, but who was my grandmother, lying motionless on a bed, oblivious to everything around her. And there I was, a young kid who always had a chip on his shoulder, being told my all my other relatives to go talk to her. To say something. What was I supposed to do? My mother sat next to her and said a few things in Hindi. My sister and I looked at each other, not sure what to say. We yelled a few things but nothing that meant anything. After a few minutes, we got up and left.

Later that night we boarded a train to Allahabad, where my mother's parents were. It was an overnight train ride, and when we got to the station the next morning, we were told that my grandmother had passed away during the night. Even at that age I knew what had happened was extraordinary. Whether you believe in God or not, it was amazing. She had been in a coma for almost a year, and everyone in the family had gotten a chance to say their goodbyes, except for myself, my mother and sister. She had held on to that last bit of life inside of her until we got to see her, one last time. And then, with her life finally complete, she passed on. I refuse to believe that was just a coincidence. To this day that is the single biggest thing that makes me think that there is some kind of higher power inside all of us. Something kept her alive and something told her when it was OK to go.

I can't say I regret not being closer to my father's parents, because it was what it was. I'm not sure, with all things considered, I could have been any closer to them than I was. But I'm very happy that I lost that chip on my shoulder and my opinion of India changed over the last few years, so that I was able to make a trip before my maternal grandmother died back in July of 2002. I only have one grandparent left. The last time I saw him was in August when my sister got married. Out of all the grandparents, he was the one I was closest to. And one of the fondest memories I have is a small one. I was in Allahabad and we got hit with a monsoon. I had never seen that much rain before in my life. Everyone else was used to it and didn't give it a second thought. But I was amazed. I sat outside on the veranda and just watched the rain come down. The driveway turned into a river and my grandfather and I made a paper boat that we could sail. It only lasted a few feet before it took in too much water and sank, but I'll never forget that moment - just me and my grandfather, sailing a paper boat down the driveway in a monsoon.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


I've always been an underachiever. If you look at my report cards for basically my entire schooling life, they all say pretty much the same thing... he's smart but doesn't work to his full ability. I guess you could say I'm the poster child for 'potential.' It's strange though because when I do put effort into something I usually do pretty well. My biggest achievement in college was when I studied for one Economics exam. I got 110% or something on it, beating all the 'smart' kids. I like to bring that up from time to time. It's either that or my massive winning percentage on NHL '93.

I usually get my work done, but not under the best of circumstances. Back in high school I wrote a paper on A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. My teacher liked it so much and said it was such a great paper, I should enter it into this yearly contest they had on that sort of thing. I didn't tell her I had written the entire five page paper on the bus on the way to school that morning. Luckily my handwriting is normally horrible, so writing on a moving bus didn't make it any worse. I think when I like something, I put a lot of effort into making it the best it can be, but for the most part, I don't like much. I also probably have some undiagnosed case of ADD but that never came up. I just talked too much and never paid attention.

My crowning achievement may have been in fifth grade. I know, it's sad I peaked when I was, what, 10? But what I did for one project is still talked about today. We were supposed to make a shoe box farm for class. Basically you take a shoe box, load it up with dirt, put a little farmhouse on there, 'plant' something (like cotton balls or carrots or something) and hand in. We must have had a week to complete it. Needless to say, I waited until, oh, the morning it was due to think about it. I literally had to be in my carpool in about 15 seconds when I realized I hadn't done the work. So I grabbed a huge shoe box, took some dirt from a potted plant in the living room, threw it in the box and ran out the door. I get to school and some time that morning we all have to show and hand in our work. I walk up, show my shoebox to Mrs. Stringberg, who takes one look at it and asks me what this was. I look at her and with a straight face say, 'this is a farm after a drought.'

Must have been the next day my parents got called in for a conference about my shoe box. Back then, for reasons I don't recall, I had two 5th grade teachers, and one student teacher (who I don't remember exactly, but I know she was hot and I probably would have pulled a Debra Lafave with her. Aw who am I kidding, I would have passed out if she had come on to me, much like I do now with women. Umm, back to my story). So Mrs. Stringberg was the one who called the conference. Mr. Carboneau was the 'main' teacher and he was the one holding the meeting while Mrs. Stringberg stood behind him. He pulled out the box, showed it to my parents, then repeated what I had said it was. And then, much to my delight, he started to laugh. He said it was arguably the most brilliant thing he had heard in his years of teaching. He said that I definitely had a quality about me that would come in handy in my later years.

Mrs. Stringberg didn't seem too happy with the turn of events, but Mr. Carboneau was the guy in charge so there was nothing she could do. I didn't get in trouble for the shoe box, all I had to do was actually make a real one. I went with the cotton. To this day my mother still brings up the story from time to time. Something about how my mind works in very strange ways. I'd like to think that day was less about underachieving, and more about coming up with a smart ass response to a legitimate question. Which is how I've lived my life since.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

March 29, 1999

Recently, over on MySpace, my sister sent out a bulletin asking people for good late-night places to get something to eat. I sent her a place I knew of back in Harrisburg, and in the message I said something along the lines of 'the night I got drunk we went there for hot dogs at 2am.' She wrote back saying, 'you may be the only person I know of that can actually say 'the night I got drunk.'' And she's probably right. I've only gotten drunk one night in my life, and it was March 29, 1999.

Life was simpler back in 1999. You could still party like it was 1999. Conan O'Brien's In The Year 2000 sketches still made sense. The upcoming Y2K bug allowed Chris Jericho to enter the ring and call himself Y2J. And I still had the chance to fulfill my childhood fantasy of being married, having 2 kids, and living in a house with a white picket fence by the year 2000. I would likely have to be married and get my wife pregnant by the end of March 1999 for that last one to happen, but it was at least possible.

I was in my final year of law school in March of that year... the final couple of months in fact. I had managed to build up a small group of really close friends, and a large group of regular friends, thanks to my Jesus hairstyle, and my ability to fly through law school doing as little work as possible and still passing. That year was even more special however, because my beloved UConn Huskies men's basketball team was in the Final 4 for the first time in history. On March 27th, 1999, they beat Ohio St. to advance to the finals against the much hated Duke Blue Devils. I wanted to have people over to watch the game because if UConn won, I wanted to celebrate with friends, rather than alone. My apartment could comfortably hold 4 or 5 people, so I figured get some friends over, watch the game, eat some pizza, have a good time. But how to get them over? Only one of my friends was a real basketball fan, but no one else really cared. So I floated the idea that if UConn won, I'd drink that night.

Now realize, I'm not a real big drinker. To this day I don't really drink all that often. I honestly had my first drink on my 21st birthday (a shot of Mad Dog 20/20 orange flavor - not a great way to start.) And I had never gotten drunk. Many, many people had been waiting for the day that I finally broke down and got wasted. My college friends had been waiting close to ten years for it to happen. Hell, even my mother was waiting for it to happen. I was told it should be turned into a pay-per-view event so people from far away could watch. So when I told my law school friends I would drink if UConn won, it was a big deal. And on March 29, 1999, I had close to 20 people in my apartment to watch the game.

As you might have imagined (since I'm writing about this) UConn won in a thrilling game. My only reaction after the final buzzer was to stand up and yell 'Whoo hoo!' and quickly sit back down since I forgot to put on a belt and my pants were starting to fall. I sat back on the couch, and I'm not ashamed to say that tears were in my eyes. UConn had won a national championship. About 2.3 seconds after my yell, my friend Keith (his real name) said, 'OK, let's do this!' and ran off into my kitchen. Another friend of mine joined him and a few moments later they came back and handed me my drink. It was in one of those frozen plastic mugs (I believe with a Batman Forever logo on it) that was large enough to hold a can of soda. This was filled to the brim with a Screwdriver (orange juice and vodka.) If I'm not mistaken, there were 2 shots of vodka mixed in with the orange juice. It was nasty tasting (which is the reason I don't really like to drink) but I polished that sucker off in a few minutes. I should have sipped it because as soon as I was done, Keith took the mug and refilled it. I drank three of those concoctions in 30 minutes. At the time I didn't realize it, but now looking back, 6 shots of vodka in 30 minutes is a hell of a lot to drink, especially for someone who has no tolerance.

But it was a little strange. All those people came over to watch me get drunk, yet out of the 20 people, 17 left before I finished my drinks. I think they were all satisfied just watching me drink, and didn't care about the after effects. By the time I finished, only Keith, Wes and JD were still there. I hadn't moved from my place on the couch, but I could feel my head swimming. Wes asked what I was going to do now, and I wasn't sure. But good old Keith was there to say 'we are NOT wasting this opportunity... I don't care what we do, but we're doing something!' I agreed, and Wes and JD nodded, then said they had to go. So it was just going to be me and Keith. Keith suggested we go for a drive and I agreed, as soon as I went to the bathroom and put on a belt. I stood up, took two steps, and fell sideways onto my closet door. Wes and JD were already walking to the stairs so they didn't see, but Keith did and laughed. I slowly made my way to the bathroom and then to my bedroom and came out ready to go.

We hopped into Keith's Wrangler and took off. Neither of us had any idea where to go. So Keith suggested we go buzz by the house of this girl he was in love with. She lived about 20 minutes away so we had a nice drive there, found her house, drove around the block a few times, then took off. Keith still didn't want to take me home, so we went to downtown Harrisburg to a place called The Spot. It was a late-night restaurant, known for their hot dogs, among other things. We got there and went inside. Behind the counter was this large, hideous woman with the biggest moustache I've seen on a female before. Now, I do remember seeing her and thinking this, then quickly turning away. Keith however says that I stared at her for a solid 5 minutes with my mouth open as we waited in line. I suppose that's possible because I know it took a while before we got to the front of the line and ordered, and frankly, I don't remember much else about being there. We got our hot dogs, ate and took off. There was some talk about going to a strip club, but as it was around 2am and a Monday night, we did have class the next day.

Keith dropped me off at home, shook my hand, said congrats, and went back to his apartment. I stumbled up the stairs, still lightheaded, and got on the computer. At which point I sent out a mass email to about 30 people informing them that I had gotten drunk. In my stupor, I thought people might want to know. Of course, looking back on it, I probably should have waited till the morning because I'm not 100% sure what I wrote. I am 100% sure though that my mother and my sister were included in the email. I may be the only person in history to email his mother and tell her that her only son got drunk and ate hot dogs at 1am. She must have been proud. Afterwards, I crawled into bed and somehow made it up for class the next day. I had a small headache, but nothing I couldn't manage.

March 29, 1999 will go down in history as the day the UConn men won their first national championship and as the day I got drunk. Since then UConn has won a second title, but I'm still waiting for my second time. And if and when it happens, I'll be sure to email everyone... including my mother.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Is Jughead Gay?

Is Jughead gay? How is it that no one has ever talked about this? I came back to CT for Mother's Day, and as I have no magazines here, my bathroom reading is limited to Archie Comics. As I was reading some of the issues, it dawned on me that Jughead might very well be gay. How is it in all these years there's never been a gay character in Archie-land? Maybe it's much like how there were no black people in New York on Friends until the last couple of seasons... I think it's about time Jughead came out of the closet! Here's why I think he might be gay:

1 - No girlfriend. Never had one, never wanted one. Sure Big Ethel might not be any man's dream, but even when someone like Veronica offers to kiss Jughead for saving a kitten from a deserted island, he says no. Not only that, he gets disgusted at the idea and would prefer a 'big meal' instead. Why would anyone turn down a kiss from Veronica Lodge?

2 - He loves food. Yes, we all love food, but maybe Jughead is replacing his lust for men with food. He knows that he might not be accepted by his gang if he comes out, so he drowns his sorrow in food. Lots and lots of food. Look at how much he enjoys that hot dog... look at all the juice flying off of it. I mean, c'mon! To top it off, he's got his close friend Archie sitting, shirtless I might add, right next to him. He knows Archie is watching him eat... Archie always watches Jughead eat, and Jughead always has something in his mouth when Archie's around... which leads me to my next point.

3 - His 'close' relationship with Archie - Archie and Jughead are best friends. I think Jughead wants more, but he's subtle about it. Instead of trying to ruin Archie's relationships with Veronica and Betty, Jughead thinks he can curry favor by doing whatever he can for Archie. Let's say Archie is supposed to meet Veronica at 1pm at the north end of the park, but also supposed to meet Betty at the same time at the south end of the park? What's he to do? Jughead will run interference for him. What if Archie needs to do a 10 page paper but also has a date with Veronica that same night? Jughead secretly does Archie's homework and doesn't take any credit for it. I think that goes above and beyond the call of a 'friend' don't you?

4 - His dog's name is Hot Dog - I mean, c'mon... I realize Jughead likes food, but just think of the image of a hot dog and tell me that isn't the most phallic thing he could have named his dog.

If you have any reasons why you agree, or disagree, with me, feel free to leave me a comment and let me know. But in this man's opinion, it's only a matter of time before Jughead Jones comes out of the closet. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But he should feel free to be, well, free!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


I've always had a thing for street signs. Not sure why exactly, but I always thought there was something cool about them. Rather, something cool about having street signs I shouldn't have. I've always wanted that one with two people on a see-saw that you see near parks. And there's one in my parents neighborhood that says 'Deaf Child' that I thought would be cool to have. Lest anyone think I'm too mean, that sign has been there for over 20 years so I'm guessing the child it refers to is long gone. At the moment I have a large number of street signs sitting in my parents garage, mainly because what on Earth am I gonna do with them? Some day when I have my own house, along with a room that is nothing but mirrors, maybe I can have an all street sign room. I didn't steal all the signs I have; they were actually given to me when I worked at the hospital. I was friends with the guy who was in charge of signage. He brought me to his storeroom one day and said that they were replacing all the signs, so I could take my pick. I now have a couple of Do Not Park signs, a Handicapped Parking Only sign, a huge One Way sign and a regulation size Stop sign.

My need for street signs started back in college. I think some other (older) kids had some up in their room and I thought they looked cool so I thought I should get some of my own. One night a friend of mine and I went behind one of the dorms (the Suites) to their private parking area. I used my screwdriver to take down two parking signs. I think they said 'Parking by Permit Only' and 'No Parking'. So anyway, I took them and snuck them back to my room where I hung them in front of my window. I was so cool. I was a rebel! They hung there for a few months before I had a small issue.

One fine spring morning my girlfriend showed up at my door asking if I could give a visiting friend of hers a ride to the train station. Being the man that I was, I did was I was told, um, asked. So I took her and her friend to the train station and got back to my room about 30 minutes later. Back then I lived in a quad, which was four single rooms with a common bathroom. The bathroom actually split the quad into two halves
, so really it was myself and my friend Chris on one side. He had the room immediately to the right as you walked in through the outer door, and I had the one straight ahead. I walk back into the quad and into my room and the first thing I notice is that my garbage can had moved. I thought that was a little weird. At that point Chris wanders in and says 'Public Safety was here, I think they left you a voicemail.' So I of course say, 'Public Safety? Why?' And he says, 'You set off the fire alarm.'

At this point I need to inform you of one other thing. Earlier that year my friend Pete had gone to Israel and brought me back some incense. This wasn't the normal stick kind I'm used to, nor was it that small cone stuff that people sometimes use. This was a large pyramid, probably a little bigger than a fist, that felt like styrofoam. Maybe it was just styrofoam, but all I know is, it smelled good when I burned it. Being Indian, I was used to using incense and letting it burn whether or not I was in the room. Never really had any issues. But apparently leaving the big pyramid of styrofoam burning wasn't the smartest move in the world, because the smoke it generated set off the fire alarm. Public Safety had broken into my room to douse it.

So I check my voicemail and I hear a woman on the other end say something like, "This is Public Safety. We had to come into your room earlier because the fire alarm went off. We confiscated your street signs and Chief Evans would like to see you in his office." To that point I hadn't even noticed the signs were gone, but as I looked up, yup, they were gone. I went into a small panic, since this wasn't the first time I had done something the school didn't like. The other incident involved the school's voicemail system locking up because of me and my voicemail account being cancelled. But that's another story. So I call the Public Safety department to set up a meeting with Chief Evans. I walk into his office and we have the following conversation:

CE: Why'd you take the signs?
Me: Umm, I didn't, they were sitting in the hallway of the Suites. Someone else took them down, I just took them from the guys who stole them originally. (Yes, a small and subtle changing of the truth.)
CE: Well don't do it again.
Me: OK.

And that was pretty much it. A five second conversation about the signs (and surprisingly nothing about the incense) and I was out the door. The following year Pete and another friend became President and Vice-President of our Student Government. I thought it would be cool to be part of the SGA so I asked what cabinet positions they had open. Pete said, we have the co-chair of the Public Safety and Health Services Committee (why they were combined into one position I'm not sure) and I said, I'll take it! During the confirmation hearing, one Senator asked, "Do you have a working relationship with Chief Evans or the head of Health Services?" I thought for a second, recalled my 'meeting' with Chief Evans the year before and said 'Chief Evans and I have had meetings before." I was a unanimous confirmation.

The moral of the story is as always, steal a couple of parking lot signs, get a Student Government cabinet position.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Sarah Jessica Parker

I've been lucky enough in my lifetime to meet a number of celebrities. Usually I meet them in some kind of work capacity, either on a movie set or doing interviews during a press junket. It's rare that I have a personal conversation with them since on set it's all about business, and during a press junket, as soon as they're done, they leave. But many years ago I was fortunate enough to have a personal conversation with one Sarah Jessica Parker. A little later I'll relate that conversation, word for word, since it's burned into my memory. But first, some background.

The first movie I ever worked on was Tromeo and Juliet. No, that is not a misprint. It was a Troma version of Romeo and Juliet. Troma is the company behind the classic Toxic Avenger series. I was hired as an office PA and because the production was so small, I got to get my hands dirty in a lot of different areas. I quit before they started shooting because the office manager was, for lack of a better word, a raging bitch who no one could stand. Less than a week later however, I got a job as an office PA on The Substance of Fire. The film, based on a Broadway play, centered around... well who cares, the cast included Timothy Hutton, Tony Goldwyn, Ron Rifkin and Sarah Jessica Parker. At the time, even though she had yet to do Sex and the City, Parker was by far the most recognizable name in the cast. Hutton was an Academy Award winner, and people recognized the name, but couldn't remember what movies he'd been in. With Goldwyn, no one knew the name, but as soon as I said, oh, he's the bad guy from Ghost, everyone went, ohh yeah! And no one knew who Ron Rifkin was, although now I guess people might know him from Alias. But as soon as I said Sarah Jessica Parker, everyone knew exactly who I was talking about and they were all impressed.

As an office PA, my job was fairly boring. I sat in the office all day making copies or delivering paperwork, nothing very exciting. But there was a shakeup one day, and the Production Manager left. The Locations Manager was bumped up to PM, and his assistant was bumped up to the Locations Manager position. That left a hole in the locations department, and I was asked if I would be willing to switch over. I immediately jumped on it because that meant a) during pre-production I'd be out of the office and b) during production, I'd get to be on set, which is where I really wanted to be. So I became a Locations PA (and if you ever watch the movie, you'll see my name in the credits as such.)

My first job in Locations was to be the liaison between the office and the art department who were renovating a brownstone in Grammercy Park. Basically, I got to go to Grammercy Park every day, and sit outside on the stoop. I wasn't technically allowed to help the art department (although I did what I could) but someone needed to be there in case the neighbors had a complaint. I spent almost 4 weeks sitting there in the early part of the summer. It was great! Being Grammercy Park, a lot of random people would wander by. Rebecca Gayheart (better known as the Noxema girl) walked by once. Christina Ricci showed up one day. Julia Roberts had an apartment across the street so she'd show up every so often. At the time she was dating Daniel Day Lewis, so we saw him a couple of times. The best however, was probably during the shoot when the kid who played Corky on Life Goes On walked by the set, saw our craft service table, came over, took a handful of Oreos, and walked away. All of us stood there, not knowing what to do. I mean, he's Corky, but he stole our cookies! It was odd. Actually, the best part of sitting there for a month was that literally a hundred feet away was a girls only hostel. There was this one brunette who used to rollerblade by us all the time... Man, I miss her.

So the shooting starts and I'm on set. I'm the go-to guy since I know the neighborhood inside and out. If someone needs a dry cleaner, I know the closest one... that was also part of my job. Get to know everything in a 10 block radius. Now, for the most part, the actors in the movie were pretty nice and in one way or another, I spoke to all of them. Stars, extras, stand-ins. I'm a personable person and I wanted to get to know as many people as possible. Ron Rifkin one day needed to go to his apartment on the upper East side, so I drove him there in a 15 passenger van. He had a bad back, so I had to actually help him in and out of the car. That right there is a bonding experience. Timothy Hutton I met during rehearsals because he couldn't find the location and I had to go grab him. We actually talked a few times and when I had to leave the shoot to go to another location for 2 weeks, when he got to the next location, he remembered me and asked me where I'd been. That felt nice. Tony Goldwyn and I bonded over salsa. They had chips and salsa on the craft service table one day and all the white people were saying how hot it was, Tony among them. I on the other hand have dealt with spicy food all my life, so I wandered up and took a huge chunk of salsa on a chip and wolfed it down. Tony was impressed with my abilities and told me so. So in small ways, I talked to all three main male stars, but I had yet to talk to Sarah.

Sarah was, as I said, the biggest name in the cast, and she knew it. She pretty much only talked to her co-stars and the director. The rest of us had to go through her assistant. So while I got to see her on a daily basis, even stood close to her once or twice, but never got to talk to her. Until one fateful day. Usually lunch was served a few doors down at this historical society building. It was a few seconds away and everyone knew where it was. But they had an event one afternoon so we had to have lunch a block away. I was one of the people that got to point everyone in the right direction. I was the last person actually... I stood inside the building, right before the room where lunch was served, and just had to point people to the left. One of the last people to arrive was Sarah Jessica. She was by herself and she saw me pointing. She smiled at me, I smiled back. And then we had our conversation, which I will now repeat for you:

SJP: "What's for lunch?"
Me: "Shark!"

She immediately got a sour look on her face and turned around and walked away. Yes, we were having shark for lunch that day. I'd never had it before, and I haven't had it since, but that one day, we had shark. And apparently Sarah Jessica Parker does not like shark. Ten minutes later I was asked to go to a local pizza place and get her a small pizza. I didn't get to deliver it to her; I had to give it to her assistant. And although later in the shoot I had to go every morning for two weeks to a Greek diner in Harlem to get her 2 hard boiled eggs for breakfast, I never spoke to her again.

But that conversation we had... that moment in time where it was just me and her and the shark... that will be something I'll never forget. And I'm sure she'll never forget it either.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Time Machine

Recently I came across one of those 'morality' questions I've seen a hundred times before. This one was the old Hitler one... if you could go back in time and meet Hitler before he became bad Hitler, would you kill him? I always say no, because you can't kill someone for what he might become, even if, as a time traveler, you know what he will become. I wouldn't kill him, but I'd try to talk to him. And considering I'm Indian, I figure if he even lets me talk to him, that's a good sign. But the question got me to thinking... not about killing Hitler, but about time machines. If I had a time machine, where would I go? A lot of people might want to go visit a relative they miss, or visit a famous person/time/place. Some people might just want to go back 30 minutes and choose something different for lunch. I on the other hand, want to go back to Spring Break of my senior year in college. Why? I'm glad you asked...

Spring Break, senior year of college. I had never gone anywhere during a spring break. This was my last chance to do something, so myself and three of my closest friends, decided to go to... Disney World. I know what you're thinking... what could be more manly than four heterosexual men spending a week in Disney World. At the time, it all made sense, although right now I can't for the life of me remember why we all agreed to that. Make no mistake, I love Disney World, and have gone many times, but with three other guys? Anyway, that's where we decided to go.

We stayed in Kissimmee, which is right next to Orlando, at a motel. We were college students, and cheap ones at that, so staying at a Disney resort was out of the question. Renting a car and staying at a motel nearby was much more reasonable. The motel was kind of old, but decent. It was four or five stories, and one of those where you part outside your room and walk (or take the elevator) up. No central lobby to go through or anything. And once you step out of your room, you're on a walkway that overlooks the parking lot. Again, not fancy, but not bad. We had two rooms next to each other and we had a good time going to Disney and Pleasure Island and all the rest. We even ran into a group of girls that went to our college. They were staying at a nicer place and we didn't like them too much, but it was nice to see a familiar place.

One early evening as we're getting ready to go out, I'm standing on the walkway waiting for the others to finish. As I'm looking on to the parking lot, a car pulls up. Blue, some kind of Honda Accord or Toyota Camry, with a college sticker on the back windshield. The car pulls into a spot right in front of me (we were on the fourth floor, so I was looking down) and out of the car steps four girls. All looked to be around our age and all looking as attractive as a girl can from four stories up. I immediately run back into my room and tell my roommate what I had seen. The other two come in a few minutes later and I tell them the same thing. We then devise a plan. Let's invite them up to our room for a party sometime. So my roommate sits down and starts to write what will become an infamous letter in our circle of friends. It begins, "Dear fellow spring breakers..." and after that I don't really remember what it says, but something to do with, we're also on spring break, we're having a party in our room in a couple of nights, why don't you stop by. So as we leave, we put the note under their windshield and head off.

We get back that night, the car is gone. The next morning, the car is there, with no note. That's a positive sign we think. We go out that day, come back in the evening, the car is gone. As we're getting ready to go out that night, once again I'm dressed first and standing out on the walkway, and I see the exact same car pulling into the parking lot. I call all of the guys out to watch and we're all standing there, looking down as the car pulls into the space. Same blue car, same blue sticker on the back. The car pulls in, stops, and the doors open. And out of the car comes a man, his wife, and his two kids, one who appears to be a boy around 8 and a girl who looks to be about 13.

I think I may have been the one that cried 'Oh shit!' as we all ducked then crawled back into our room. The other three guys are just looking at me, and I have no idea what's going on. Look, I said, yesterday four girls got out of that car, and they were all our age! My friends look at me like I'm nuts. Are you sure it was the same car, they ask. Yes! It was the same car! It has the same college sticker on the back! At that point, for some reason, we decide to leave. Thinking it would be wiser to take the stairs, so as not to run into the family while they take the elevator, we run down four flights of stairs... right into the family of four. The son is playing some kind of game, the mother ignores us, the girl looks at us, and the father looks like he's going to kill us. We sprint to our car and take off.

This happened a long, long time ago. To this day if you say the words 'Dear fellow spring breakers' to any of my college friends, they all laugh, while I get a little hysterical. Not one of them believes that I saw what I KNOW I saw. But I know what I saw. And there's no way for me to mess that up. What are the chances there were two similar cars, with the exact same college sticker on the back? I can't remember what the school was, but at the time I knew they were the same. From then on, up to and including today, any time I make some sort of recognition mistake around my college friends, the whole episode is brought back up.

So back to my time machine. I have no desire to go visit dead relatives. I don't need to meet Albert Einstein. And while it might be interesting to listen for the gunshots from the grassy knoll, I don't want to visit Dallas during the Kennedy assassination. If I had a time machine, I would go back to that motel during my Spring Break week, my senior year of college, bring a camera and prove, once and for all, that four girls got out of that god damned car.

Why I Love Television

Tonight is one of those nights where I love television. In general I watch a lot of TV, although far less than in past years. A couple of TV seasons ago I gave up watching all those dramatic shows like Law & Order and CSI. It was all getting too depressing. These days I have a set of shows I like to watch and I'm pretty happy with all of them. Monday might be the best of them all with the double shot of Prison Break and 24. 24 I didn't watch the first couple of seasons because I knew I'd get addicted and at the time, I didn't want to watch more television. But a couple of years ago a friend who watched the show in season three, wanted to go back and watch the first two seasons on DVD, so I joined her. We would have marathon sessions that could go from 2 to 8 episodes in a day. Those were good times. So when season 4 started, I watched from the beginning. And now Monday's are must-see TV because on 24, you really have no idea where it's all going. Any character at any time could become a bad guy or die. It really is edge-of-your-seat viewing.

With Prison Break, I skipped the first episode, but watched from episode 2 on and while it's not as addicting as 24, it is pretty good. I like these shows where one major plot line is done per season. Back a few years ago there was a show called Murder One where they followed a single court case an entire season. The first season of that show was amazing. And if you go back even further in time, there was a show called Wiseguy, where there were 'arcs' that lasted 11 episodes. The first two arcs were terrific television, before the show fell apart. The show was about an undercover cop who inflitrated the mob. He got very deep undercover and almost got lost in the world. The second arc featured none other than Kevin Spacey as the bad guy who liked to have his drugs injected in between his toes, but his sister. When you take a show like CSI for instance, they focus on one thing per episode, and there is very little that ties the episodes together. It makes it better for syndication, but I never feel any connection to the characters or the story. Then there's a show like ER where there are multiple story lines per episode and some smaller story lines that'll carry out the entire season, but it's never a major focus. I prefer shows where you focus on one major story the entire season and get real in depth with it. Each episode will have their own specific focus, but it's all within a larger scope. If you don't watch either show, I highly suggest renting them this summer.

And of course what made tonight's television viewing even better was that it was the first Red Sox-Yankees game of the season. So every commercial break I would flip to the game to see what was going on, and the Sox ended up winning 7-3. Now that's good television.


After an afternoon of seeing United 93 and buying sneakers, I, along with three other friends, went to my first Yankees game of the season. Now, I am by no means a Yankees fan, but I don't hate them as many Red Sox fans do. I do however hate Alex Rodriguez, who I still think it a pansy for slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's glove and then crying about it. Jackass. Anyway, seeing as how I live in New York, I tend to go a couple of Yankees games every year. Generally I'll root for the other team just because it'll annoy the people I'm with (who are usually Yankees fans) and because it gives me something to do. While I don't hate the Yankees, you'll never catch me cheering for them. Except maybe if they're losing by 10 and I happen to have a Yankee on my fantasy team. Then I'll want a HR or something just to give me some stats. Today was no different. They played the Blue Jays today, so I went in rooting for Toronto, and to a lesser extent, Jorge Posada, since he's my catcher on two fantasy teams.

There's something about going to Yankee Stadium. The evening was a little chilly, but still, it's late April, it's Yankee Stadium, it's all about history. When you think about the greatest players in of all time, how many of them are Yankees? Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle, DiMaggio, Berra, Munson, Maris, Jackson... the list goes on and on... It's one of the oldest stadiums still standing in baseball. And although I hate to admit it, they're the greatest team in the history of sports (with the Montreal Canadiens a close second.) If you're a fan of baseball, you can't not enjoy sitting in Yankee Stadium. The crowd knows baseball so they're always into the game. The overpriced hot dogs, sodas and beer. And it's always fun to sit in the upper deck where there are a couple of 'dry' sections, and watching as people don't realize it until they get shooed to another section and are forced to sit much farther away, just so they can drink an $8 beer.

Thankfully, things went according to plan. I predicted a 7-0 Toronto win, and they won 7-2. Posada didn't start, but went 1 for 2 with a single, so that helps. And I won $1 from a friend. All in all, a pretty good time at the Stadium. At least for me. Maybe I can catch them against the Sox and not be afraid to wear my 2004 Championship hat. You Yankees fans remember what it's like to win a championship right? Right?

Christmas - The Early Years

Today I thought I'd write another musical gift story to finish my trilogy (see Birthday Present/Anniversary below.) This one goes back a few years. A lot of years to be exact. We're talking about a time when albums were still handed out, and 8-tracks were still available. In fact my best friend who lived across the street from me had an 8-track player in his mom's station wagon. My first album was Hot Tracks, one of those compilation albums that featured songs like 'Mr. Roboto' and 'Don't Pay the Ferryman' among others. I actually can't remember what the others were, but there is a chance I still have the album lying at home. I just don't have anything to play it on. But back to the gift. and

Even though we're Indian, and not Christian, we celebrated Christmas. Still do today in fact. Not for the religious aspects obviously, but more for the chance to have a tree in the house and to give each other gifts. Now of course, I have to actually pay for gifts, so it's not nearly as much fun as when I was a kid and just got a lot of stuff. One tradition that hasn't made it through the years was having Christmas stockings. I never understood that tradition, but it was nice to get a couple of extra small presents in the stocking, even if every year my mother felt the need to give my sister and I popcorn balls every year. Man those were nasty. I don't even know what held the popcorn together, but it was one large sticky mess.

So earlier that year for my birthday (I say earlier that year, but my birthday is actually only 12 days before Christmas, which is the perfect amount of time to use, and get tired of, my birthday gifts before getting more stuff) my parents had stepped up into the electronics age and bought me a boombox, complete with radio and cassette deck. The only problem is, I didn't have any cassettes. I had albums and my sister's Holly Hobbie record player, but no cassettes for my cool new boombox. I was sure that for Christmas I was gonna get a cassette. I will now completely date myself by saying that at the time, the big movies at the box office that year were E.T. and Rocky III. I never really cared for E.T. but I loved Rocky III. And to this day my favorite song of all time is 'Eye of the Tiger' so I was pumped, sure that I was going to get the Rocky III Soundtrack as my first cassette. So we opened up all the gifts that were under the tree and I don't remember what I got, but there were no cassettes. I was bummed.

But then I remembered the stockings. They were big enough to hold a cassette! So ran over and grabbed them off the wall and brought them back to everyone. I eagerly reached into my stocking and immediately pulled out the first thing I could get my hand on, which turned out to be a popcorn ball. I threw it across the room and reached in and pulled out a gift wrapped small box. I shook it and I could hear the tape rattling inside. This was it! My first cassette! I ripped open the paper, ready to open the cassette and blast 'Eye of the Tiger' for the entire house. As the paper flew off, I was looking at the back of the cassette. It was red. For some reason I remember thinking, oh, that's the color of a boxing glove! I turned the cassette over and looked at what was a defining moment in my life. Everyone remembers their first piece of music, right? My first album was Hot Tracks. My first CD was the Say Anything soundtrack. My first concert was Barry Manilow. I remember all of that. And what was my first cassette? Air Supply's Greatest Hits.

I remember looking at it, completely dumbfounded. I mean, I admit that I like cheesy music, my first concert was Barry Manilow for God's sake. But even though I was a loser when it came to music, never in my life would I ever want Air Supply's Greatest Hits. I didn't even know who they were at the time! I looked at my mother who had a big smile on her face. I must have had a look on my face that said 'are you kidding me?' because her smile dimmed a little when she said 'Oh, I bought that more for me.' My first cassette and it wasn't even for me?! I was so disappointed I just handed it to her. She couldn't have put it in her own stocking? I sat there, dejected, until she said, 'wait, there's more.' I reached into the stocking and there was indeed more. Another small package, gift wrapped and sounding like a cassette. At this point I was a little gun shy, but I unwrapped it anyway. And there, staring up at me, was none other than Rocky Balboa. I got my Rocky III Soundtrack! Sadly in my memory it will always go down in history as the second cassette I ever got, but I still got it. And it's still sitting at home in my old cassette collection. Amazingly enough, so is Air Supply's Greatest Hits. Go figure.

Not in the Cards

The rules of No Limit Texas Hold 'Em are fairly simple. You get two cards face down, you bet, then three cards are turned face up on the table, you bet again, then a fourth card, another round of betting, and finally a final card with a last round of betting.. Then you, and everyone you're playing against, get to use the two down cards, and the five on the table, to make the best five card poker hand possible. The reason it's called gambling is because you don't know what cards the other people are holding, so for the most part, you play the odds. You look at the cards on the table and the cards in your hand, and you take a chance that what you have will win. Rarely is winning a hand a sure thing.

Life is a lot like that. Everything in life you do is a gamble. What should I have for dinner? What car should I get? What job should I try for? Who should I date? You may have a good idea of where things are going to go, but in reality, you just don't know. Nothing is ever one hundred percent guaranteed. You may go to your favorite restaurant and order your favorite dish, but today, they have a new chef and it's not nearly as good as you hoped. You can do all the research you want, but that car you buy might have a stiff steering wheel or slow braking. You can go to school and plan on becoming a lawyer, but soon realize that the law isn't what you thought it was going to be. And you may think you've found the perfect person for you, but their cards turn out to be better than yours and there's nothing you can do but tip your hat to them and say, good hand.

You can go through life folding every hand and you'll stay in the game a while, but you won't have a lot of fun and eventually your money will run out. You can play conservatively and you'll win some and you'll lose some, but you'll never get too high or too low. Or, you can take a chance and go all in. Sometimes it'll pay off and you'll reap the rewards and get everything you've ever dreamt of. But sometimes you'll lose everything and end up writing about it in an online blog while comparing your life to a card game.

However, the nice thing about life is that although it might take a while, there's another game waiting for you to buy in. And maybe, just maybe, this time when you go all in, you'll win.

The Park

So this evening I take my usual trip to Union Square Park, just to clear
my head and sit down and watch people walk by. A few minutes after
I take a seat on a bench next to the Gandhi statue (seems more peaceful)
a Middle Eastern man sits down next to me. Nothing wrong with that, but
it comes up later in the story. He pulls out a cigarette, which annoys me
to no end, because somehow no matter where I sit, someone is smoking
next to me and I happen to be downwind. Anyway, shortly after that a
older white male with very, very blonde hair walks by, slowly. And he's
staring at both of us, very intently as he walks by. I glance at him, look
down, glance back up and he's definitely looking from me to the guy next
to me. He moves on and I forget about him.

About 15 minutes later he walks back again, this time smoking, and of course
walking in the other direction. Again he's looking at me and the guy next
to me. This time, he walks over and stands, right next to me, but slightly
behind me so I can't really see what he's doing, but I know he's there. Now
I'm slightly unnerved. I can tell that his head is at least pointed in our
direction, but I don't know if he's looking at us or looking elsewhere. My
only instinct is, this guy thinks we must be terrorists. Maybe that's not
a normal thought, but when you have me, sitting in a hooded sweatshirt
with headphones on and an annoyed look on my face, sitting next to an
obviously Middle Eastern man...

Anyway, as this guy is smoking, he slowly steps forward a little, and now he's
slightly ahead of me and now he's nodding at the guy next to me. He does
this a couple of times, and there are some words exchanged, only I can't
hear what is said because I've got the headphones on. But then the white
guy goes and sits down next to the Middle Eastern guy and they start talking.
So I immediately reach in and turn off my mp3 player to listen in. The first
thing the white guy asks is, "Where are you from?" to which the Middle
Eastern guy responds, "Syria." Oh great, the white guy is some kind of
wanna-be detective and now he knows the guy is from Syria. His next
question is, 'What are you doing in New York?' The Middle Eastern
guy is facing away from me so I can't really pick up what he answers. Then
they introduce each other. Frank and Hassan. I'll let you guess which
name belongs to which person. Then Frank asks, "Where are you staying?"
and Hassan gives some answer I don't understand. Apparently Frank
didn't understand it either because he asked Hassan three times, before
getting that Hassan was staying at the W Hotel at the north end of the
park. But apparently, Hassan wasn't staying there tonight for whatever reason.

And this is where I think my life really is a movie, because the next part
of the conversation is something you'd hear right out of a drifter, or
gay, screenplay. Frank asks 'So, where are you staying tonight?' and Hassan
says 'I don't know. Do you have a place for me?' and Frank says, "Well,
yes, but I have roommates," and Hassan laughs and says 'Ha ha, that's OK
with me!'

At that point I got up and left because wherever the conversation was
going, I didn't want to be a part of it.

40 Hours

At 9pm Monday I started fasting. My plan was to try and go 36 hours
without solid food. For those of you that know me, me going without
food for 36 is hours is like President Bush going 36 hours without
saying something stupid. It never happens (and thus ends my political
commentary for the day.) And yet, here I sit, 37 hours in. I managed
to last a day-and-a-half without food or soda. Just juice and water.
Granted, I'm starving right now, but I'm gonna try and hit the 40 hour
mark before I go get something to eat. It's not like marching across
a desert for 40 days and 40 nights, but it's something. I feel like
my soul has been cleansed somewhat. There are two major things
wrong with my life, but yesterday I realized that neither of them can
be fixed in a day, so I took a mental day off. Although now that I
think about it, both problems could be fixed with two phone calls
that both end with the person on the other end of the line saying
'Yes.' But I digress...

So during my day of mental relaxation, I watched Zathura. Zathura
is a sequel of sorts to Jumanji. Both were books written by the same
author, and both involve board games going horribly wrong. Zathura
takes place in outer space and for the most part, was pretty entertaining.
I think I might have liked it more than Jumanji, since it wasn't as manic
and didn't have Robin Williams. I like Williams, but when he's in a movie
he eats up the screen and the rest of the cast kind of stands in his wake.
Zathura had a cast of relative unknowns (save for a small part by Tim
Robbins) so everyone was on equal footing. It had a lot of action, some
really good special effects, and other than a single 'huh?' moment towards
the end, a decent story. Definitely worth a rental.

And now, as I'm feeling somewhat lightheaded, I'm going to go sit on my
couch till lunch.

Birthday Present

April 18th marks yet another anniversary of a gift that stands the test
of time and friendship. This time however, I was the giver, not the
receiver. Following 18 months after the seminal gift that was Vanilla
Ice's To The Extreme (see below) which was given to me by a white male
with no musical talent (yes, I know, ironic), I knew I had to do something
that maybe could not top that gift I received, but would at least make the
birthday boy jump up and down in excitement, much as I had. But what?
What could I give to the person who, at that time, was my only Indian
friend? Ladoos? A rakhi? We weren't gay, so neither of those two would
work. I had to give him something that would show him that I thought
we were like brothers. Maybe not in blood, but in spirit.

A little bit about my friend. Not only was he the only Indian friend I had
at the time (and to this day is still my brother in arms), he was also the
only 'black' friend I had. Yes, he was the inspiration for the Ajay character
in American Desi. He had the gold chain with the Mercedes logo around
his neck at all times. He wore tinted prescription glasses. And he had
a large collection of rap tapes that he recorded off the radio. I knew
the direction I had to go in for the gift, but I needed something historic.
As I wandered through the aisles of Scotty's in Madison, NJ, I saw it.
And I instantly knew, this was the gift to end all gifts. As an aside, I
am well known for two things: giving fantastic speeches at weddings/
birthdays/anniversarys and giving great gifts. I dare say, the great gift
giving started on April 18th, 1992.

I had found a cassette that was recorded by two brothers. On the tape
was a song that was a monster hit and to this day gets people jumping.
It is a song that was so huge and popular, immediately after I gave him
the tape, we ran to my room, put my boombox on my window sill, and
blasted the song over and over for the entire campus to hear. And as
they did, they danced. Danced, my friends, danced. Some of you may
have already figured out what the song is. For those of you that haven't
here are some lyrics to help you out:

Jump! Jump!
The Mac Dad will make you
Jump! Jump!
The Daddy Mac will make you
Jump! Jump!
Kris Kross will make you Jump Jump
uh huh, uh huh
Believe dat

That's right. I got him, Kriss Kross's Totally Krossed Out. The megahit
'Jump' crossed (no pun intended) boundaries. White, Black, Indian or
Canadian, everyone enjoyed the song. You couldn't help but smile and,
in fact, jump jump when the song came on the radio. And who didn't
want to wear their pants backwards like the two boys on the record?
Kriss Kross became an institution. Their ability to put the pop in rap
at such a young age was unparalled. And since the cassette was released
a mere 3 weeks prior to his birthday, he was one of the first people
to own this tremendously popular and artistic album.

And the smile on my friend's face was priceless. In the words of Kriss Kross...
Believe dat.

Download Kriss Kross's Jump


An anniversary of mine passed back in December and I neglected to
even think about it. But today, being the (almost) birthday of an old
friend of mine, reminded me of what happened back then. December
13th, 2005 was not only my birthday, but it was the 15th anniversary
of the day I received the gift that will go down in history as one of
the greatest gifts I have ever gotten. It is a gift that many people
that day were envious of, a gift I used over and over again for many
days, nay, weeks. A gift that has, sadly, been all but forgotten. But
it is a gift that deserves respect and one that I need to speak about
since I missed the anniversary 4 months ago.

What is this gift I speak of? What is this single item, given to me by
the first friend I ever made in college? What is so important I'm writing
about it here today for the world (or one or two of you) to see? At the
time back in 1990, it was something that everyone wanted, and
seemingly everyone had, or knew someone who had it. It was, at the
time, the biggest selling album on the planet.

Yes, that's right, on December 13th, 1990 for my birthday
I received... To The Extreme, by Vanilla Ice. On cassette even.

Who among us today, when hearing the bass line from Queen/David
Bowie's Under Pressure don't wish, just for a moment, that the song
about to be played on the radio was instead, Ice Ice Baby (too cold,
too cold)? I know I do. No other song has captivated a nation quite
like it since, and no other song every will. Ice (as I like to call him)
singlehandedly allowed white men to rap. For all you Eminem fans
out there, do you really think he would exist today were it not for
the Ice Man (as I like to call him)? Vanilla (as I like to call him) broke
down barriers of race and talent. He spoke to a generation in ways
that only groups like Nirvana and Sonny and Cher had in the past.
He ushered in a new decade with dope rhymes and a stolen melody.
He made us want to learn, to be a better people.

He made us want to live.

Granted, I don't remember any other songs from the album, and
there is a slight chance I burned my cassette many years ago, but
I could not let another day go by without honoring the man who made
us all what we are today. Too cold, too cold. Here's to you, Vanilla
Ice. Here's to you.

Download Vanilla Ice's Ice Ice Baby

Lawyer Ads

If I don't have a book to read, before I go to bed I generally listen to the
radio. 1010 WINS (you give us 22 minutes, we'll give you the world.) The
other night I heard a lawyer commercial that made no sense. The lawyers
were the kind that want you to get as much money as you can from a
lawsuit. That's all fine and good, I mean, that's what lawyers do, they
get money for you. However this commercial was a little off. In the
commercial they mention a woman, I can't remember her name, but
we'll call her Amy. So in the commercial they say that Amy was offered
a settlement for $2 million. The lawyers then say they told her she turn
it down because she deserves more. Then they say that she was then
offered $4M but that they told her to turn it down because she deserved
more. But that's it! The commercial never goes on to say what they
got her! All they said is she turned down $4M. How does that make me
want to hire these people? From the commercial it seems like all they
can do it make you turn down money, not actually get any. Maybe
I'm reading too much into this, but someone there didn't pay attention
when they were making the commercial because it made no sense.
I mean, in theory, the reason they never ended the commercial was
because they didn't actually get her a penny! They can't lie about it
in the commercial so they just say they made her turn down these huge
amounts to make themselves look good, when in reality they made her
turn down all that money and got her NOTHING!

Lawyers... I'd make more jokes about them had I not gone to law school.