Sunday, April 30, 2006

The 60 Day Rule

I usually wake up to z100 in the mornings. I like the chemistry of Elvis Duran, John Bell, Danielle Monero and everyone else from the "Morning Zoo." They all have such distinctive voices and really can offer some insightful observations and comments.

One morning, a few weeks ago, I tuned into a discussion that the Morning Zoo was having about "The 60 Day Rule." That is, sixty days of no contact after a break up. Everyone on the radio was advocating it so that you'll keep your sanity. All the DJs were telling their own stories. For example, Danielle Monero talked about how she would check her cell phone 10 times every minute and take her phone with her to the gym and prop it up on the treadmill. Another girl on the show talked about how she would run home to see if there were any messages on her answering machine from her ex.

Then the guys on z100 began to take calls. This one girl, Rebecca, really stood out to me. She had just broken up with her boyfriend and was distraught. She really was a mess, and I really felt for her. She had recently gone through a breakup and she missed her ex terribly. She told the z100 guys that she couldn't stop thinking about him. She would check her phone 100 times day just to see if he sent a text message or called. Her ex would never talk to her anymore except for a "booty" call or to tell her about the other girls he has been meeting. Rebecca kept making excuses to the guys on the radio for her ex and was still hoping he'd come back. You could hear the fear, dread and panic in her voice. The saddest part was that the "60 Day Rule" was a grey area for her. She asked the radio guys, "Well, after the 60 days, then what? Who calls who?" She didn't seem to be getting it. The point of the "60 Day Rule" is to give you the opportunity to take control of a situation that has you reeling out of control.

A couple months ago, I was Rebecca. Now it's kind of complicated, but I wasn't really dating my last guy. Nonetheless, we were pretty close and he ended up breaking my heart. For a while, after the "puppy love" was over, I was the guy who wouldn't go away and he could still push my buttons. Finally, one day I told myself that I was really tired of the way he was treating me. I went through a detox from a guy who was always making me feel bad about myself by not talking to him anymore.

I'm better now and less sad. But I feel more empty. It's still hard for me to not think of him and "romanticize" my ended friendship with him. I haven't seen him in about a couple of months. I can't seem to remember what my guy looked like the last time I saw him. I remember a lot of other details. I remember the dvd I brought to his apartment and the dinner that I had made for him. I remember the guy playing "Imagine" on his guitar at the subway station, while I was waiting for the 7 train to take me to Queens. I remember how relatively warm it was that day. I remember the new dimmer light switch that my guy had just installed in his apartment. I remember trying to find something to reheat the pasta that I had brought for him and ended up using a pie pan to reheat it because he didn't have a microwave yet in his new apartment. I also remember leaving his apartment the next day and trying so hard to be cool and smiling at him when he genuinely smiled at me and said "Have a nice day."

These days, I almost feel as if I am telling myself I *should* feel sad because it's the expected way to feel and because I'm so scared that if I let go of the connection, then he really will be out of my life. I'm still so afraid to say that I've lost him, even though I know I really have. The tears are gone now. But I don't really have any emotion right now. Hopefully, soon I'll accept the situation and really move on.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

America Gets It Right

This season on American Idol, America seems to actually be getting it right when voting off contestants. I still remember last season when that red-head Harry Connick Jr/Frank Sinatra wanna-be, John Stevens was on the show FOREVER. No amount of protests could get that guy off the stage.

This week, on "Love Song" week, Kellie Pickler gave the worst performance of the night, and America agreed. The judges called her a "robot" and they were right. That girl cannot crack a smile when she sings. She might as well have had botox injected all over her facial muscles since her face looked paralyzed while she sang "Unchained Melody." And I was getting really tired of her innocent, country-bumpkin act. While I don't doubt that she really is that dumb and naive, I do think she was shamelessly using it to stay on the show, making her not so innocent anymore.

So I was pretty happy she got voted off. None of the performances that night really wowed me. I thought Katherine was better than the judges thought. Chris gave a dependable and pretty good, rockish performance like he always does. Taylor should have sung "Up Where We Belong" because he's been imitating Joe Cocker all this time, and so he might as will sing something that shows his strengths. Paris really needs to pick better songs. She's got a great voice, but only once in a while has she picked a song that shows off her voice and her energy. Elliot, who my friend says looks like he has Down's Syndrome, which I think is hilarious, sang pretty well. But I just have not been that enamored with his voice in any of his performances. I think he sounds weird and almost tone-deaf sometimes. Paula, on the other hand, I swear was high or something. She kept blubbering on and on and gave this "stop the world," mascara-dripping "You move me" speech after Elliot sang. The look that Simon gave Paula after that bawling outburst was priceless.

Sometimes, American Idol can really stress you out.. But I've been pretty happy with this season. I think if Kevin Covais had become America's next idol, I would never speak to America again.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Another Holiday Post

I'm in San Francisco again this week working out of my company's SF office. I thought NY had been cold and rainy. It's like freaking Siberia here. Well, not that cold, but I clearly did not pack warmly enough. It was so cold, even away from the Bay, down in Silicon Valley where I was over the weekend. I was with a friend from college and I wanted to buy a thermal or a fleece or something since I didn't pack anything remotely long sleeve except for my dress shirts for work.

So I was on a mission on Sunday to find a clothing store like J. Crew or American Apparel. My friend and I were also looking for a brunch place. We drove from his apartment to Nini's Coffee Shop in San Mateo, but the place was closed for Easter. Then we went over to Burlingame, and we found a place open for brunch (but only till 4PM) where I had really good pancakes made with "Swedish Oatmeal." Swedish Oatmeal? I had never heard of that, but they made the texture of the pancakes really good, kind of a "rustic" quality.

After brunch, I went searching for my long-sleeve top. My friend and I walked down the main street of Burlingame. Burlingame has a Polo store, but that was closed. J. Crew was also closed. I walked into Banana Republic, but they just had sweaters and button down shirts, and no long-sleeve tshirts or fleeces. The Gap was open too, but I haven't walked into a Gap in over 5 years and I don't have any plans to change that. We also stopped by the Apple store in Burlingame because I wanted to buy an iPod USB cable, and that was closed too! After that, we had pretty much exhausted the open shopping in Burlingame. I was actually hoping to find an American Apparel because I really like their thermals and they're only $20.00 a piece and I buy them even though the CEO of that company is a total perv. My friend and I thought maybe there would be one at Stanford Mall. We drive over to the mall and the entire mall, except for maybe the restaurants, was closed. What is going on here? Things don't close in NY for Easter! If anything, we have sales, which is the most important feature of any holiday.

This is kind of funny to say, but it wasn't until this year that I realized that Easter is a big deal.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

My "Career"

My friend in SF who I always visit when I'm out here has an xBox. Being the tennis player that I am, I'm obsessed with Topspin. This is the best tennis video game ever, and I keep telling my friend to get the xBox 360 so he can get Topspin 2.

Anyway, I was playing Topspin earlier today, and my friend was surfing the Net on his laptop. He came across some trivia website and started reading out loud to me the trivia questions. In the meantime, I was focusing on my match at the "American Open" (Topspin's version of the US Open). Topspin allows you to either play a player already created, like Lleyton Hewitt, Martina Hingis or Pete Sampras or create your own player in the "Career" mode. It's pretty sophisticated. You can choose the height, weight, hair style, and even facial features down to the lips and eyebrows. That day, I was playing a player I had made in "Career" mode. And I had gotten to the final of a GRAND SLAM and in a tiebreaker in the third set. This was going to be my breakthrough.

Then in the middle of answering the little quizzes that my friend was looking at on the website, Anna Kournikova (you can play against real players in this game) hit a passing shot by me and that was it. I had lost. 9-7 in a third-set tiebreaker. What a heartbreak. I chastized my friend for going on and on about this website he found. I was TRYING to focus on my career!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Thank You For Smoking

I saw Thank You For Smoking tonight. It was really entertaining. My favorite scenes were the scenes with the "MOD" Squad (Merchants of Death) and the scenes in LA. But the most priceless scene had to have been when Nick Naylor cross-examined on Career Day at his son's school a little girl who says her Mommy says that cigarettes can kill you. "Is your Mommy a doctor?", he asks. "Well that doesn't make your Mommy a very credible expert, does it?"

But I left the movie not really able to decide (and still haven't) whether Nick Naylor was a hero or a villain. On the one hand, he's the master of B.S. and seems amoral while advocating a hated cause. On the other hand, he does have his principles, is a loving father and is very self-aware of a lot of the bullshit that goes on in the world and the bullshit that he spews, particularly our government and is just trying to play the game.

I guess Mr. Naylor is somewhere in between.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Herbal Pressure

When it comes to my taste in food, I can be very ordinary. I mean, I can be a pretty adventurous eater. About the only thing I can think of on my "Foods That I Hate" list is Fennel or anything licorice-flavored. But I'm willing to give anything a try, even my hated Fennel. My favorite foods, though, are strong simple flavors without a lot of embellishment. My favorite meal to have any night of the week is a NY Strip steak with a good Bearnaise sauce on the side, a small green salad, and some slice of whole wheat baguette (I like whole grain breads). I like my steaks very underdone and I like to mix the red juices from the steak with the salad and sauce (I'm sure the vegetarians are turning sick to their stomachs reading this.)

For herbs, I'm actually not a huge fan of herbs. I tend to like the flavor of ground spices instead. If I had to name a favorite herb, I really just like flat leaf Italian parsley in just about any dish, which isn't the most exciting herb around. But some herbs are just essential. For example, basil and tomatoes are an obvious combination.

I'm actually not that big a fan of basil. I think it's a little too strong and I'm not sure I like the flavor all that much. But my main issue with basil, and a lot of other herbs for that matter, is how rapidly the stuff goes bad. I'll buy a huge bunch of Basil and then poof, two days later, it's black and slimy. I've tried everything--wrapping the leaves in wet paper towels and throwing them in the fridge; keeping a bunch in a vase full of water; putting it in airtight containers, etc. No matter what, the leaves go bad and unusable in about a couple of days. Everytime I buy basil, I feel this intense pressure. Am I going to use it in time??? Will it turn black??? How many things can I make with basil??? I know I could always make pesto, but I'm not a huge lover of pesto.

It's too bad I don't have a four season jungle in my backyard like the Barefoot Contessa or Michael Chiarello, or a backyard for that matter. I suppose I could try buying basil at Fairway and sticking it in a pot and growing it in my apartment since they sell it with the roots. But I don't want to stink up my apartment.

Such pressure.