Monthly Archives: May 2008

Chasing the Wild Goose

Before the brash act (S-T-A-U-N-C-H):

About to hand my phone number to a stranger who touched my arm

After spending an entire day by myself, with myself, did I mention myself? in the basement, I went to Target. A young man helped me locate which aisle the toothpicks were in, but it wasn’t easy. He had to read the beeps coming from his “Ghostbusters” targeting device. It took about five minutes. I ended up giving him my phone number.

Ok what really happened, short version but less short. After five minutes of fruitless toothpick searching, we finally arrived in the correct aisle. The young man reached out and touched my arm, and said while looking me in the eye, “Sorry about the wild goose chase.” Then I said, no, it was fun, and stumbled out into the hot Somerville streets.

Actually I went to the electronics aisle but they didn’t have the videogame I wanted, “Wii Fit,” so then I left and went to Marshall’s. And called my friend Megan, to talk about the young man touching me and his message. It meant something to me, it felt right. Serendipity was in the air (or had I just marinated too long in the basement?) Megan talked me into talking myself into going back to Target and giving the young man my phone number.

I wrote my phone number on the back of my Target receipt. Toothpicks, $1.99 was on that receipt just in case he forgot who I was. By the way, the young man looked like Jude Law to me. I get back to Target and feel surprisingly good, not nervous; I know I am doing the right thing by not bringing home and tinge of regret. Inside the store, however, I cannot find him. Spacing out, disappointed, in the coffee machine aisle, he walked up to me! I thrust the note with my phone number on it into his hand (of course I wrote something about “wild goose chases”), stammered something about it feeling right, and left.

Last night he texted me, and while I am not sure, to say the LEAST, about where any of this will go, that alone leads me to believe that there might have been more to him touching me on the arm than the paranoid effect of simple basement solitude. Perhaps I’m not so off-Target after all.

Monkeys Gain Control of Third Arm

Hiding from the monkeys who control third arms with thought

I knew something was amiss when I slept through the beginning of an afternoon shift at work. The culprit seemed at first to be the torrential rainfall thundering through my window screen, blocking the noise of the streets, of alarms, of frantic phone calls from coworkers. Now I know it was and is in fact something else: monkeys have been controlling the third arm with their minds. AGAIN!

From New Scientist: “Monkeys can control a robot arm as naturally as their own limbs using only brain signals, a pioneering experiment has shown. The macaque monkeys could reach and grasp with the same precision as their own hand.

“It’s just as if they have a representation of a third arm,” says project leader Miguel Nicolelis, at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Experts believe the experiment’s success bodes well for future devices for humans that are controlled solely by thought.”

Chilling quotation from the NYTIMES: “In the real world things don’t work as expected, the marshmallow sticks to your hand or the food slips, and you can’t program a computer to anticipate all of that,” said the paper’s senior author, Dr. Andrew Schwartz, a professor of neurobiology at the University of Pittsburgh. “But the monkeys’ brains adjusted; they were licking the marshmallow off the prosthetic gripper, pushing food into their mouth, as if it were their own hand.”

One For the Road

Celtics forward 3rdarm Biz with a no look pass

Excerpt from the letter I sent to my sister upon her return to ‘Yorp:

The Celtics won in Detroit tonight, which makes it even worse that I controlled the television and then psychotically defended it the other night when they lost at home. I just realized that your flight is longer than the entire time I have been hosting. A lot of coworkers complimented me on my outfit, and their general comments added weight to your thesis that I am wearing the wrong size clothes for the weight I’ve lost. That may or may not be true, but I do know now that I can be a smaller lure skimming the surface of reality… Everything on my Life List that had been overwhelming me for the last month only took fifteen minutes to do but I had to do it to it. In the grand scheme of things, fifteen minutes is not that long. Go Celtics!

Baby Tiger

3rdarm meditation with a tiger

My sister is coming to visit today. We are going to spend the week in Connecticut and Cambridge. I want my new apartment to really shine for her, and so I took care of some slight blemishes. Nothing too horrible, like right out of a nightmare, as if the kitchen sink hadn’t worked in over a month…

To prepare for her eminent arrival, I emptied two bottles of Drano down the drain, on a timetable with intermittent blasts of hot scalding hot water. This approach successfully cleared the blockage, which I suspect was probably fecal in nature. The drain gargled and burped, more like I had cleared its breathing tube than its anus.

I felt like Archibald “Harry” Tuttle, the anarchist mechanic played by Robert De Niro in Brazil. Harry Tuttle: Listen, this old system of yours could be on fire and I couldn’t even turn on the kitchen tap without filling out a 27b/6… Bloody paperwork.

Sunday at the East Coast Grill

This was not your typical Sunday. Absent were both the Lord and the white pigeon we adoringly nicknamed, “Dirty Dove.” Here I am, the Floor Captain, standing outside Continental Gardens (my nemesis, neighboring building), pre-brunch, pre-bagel:

Floor Captain outside Continental Gardens nemesis

The view from the street at 9am:

cambridge street 9am on sunday morning

Garbage men who come by to empty the trash bins every Sunday. With their arrival is a whiff of danger; Chef’s Jeep is vulnerable to the poopy elements these men handle. One Sunday they got the city’s filth all over my white whip.

These men handle cambridges filth

Alexa and Chad sitting outside before work:

Outside the East Coast Grill before work

More garbage men (note the irony in the time/money meter’s separation of man and garbage):

Man and garbage and meter

All the gals that worked Sunday dinner. Hey, where could that wily lady C be at? As a side note, these are the same women who worked with me on Monday. They helped me close my three day work week in which I hit the trifecta. Three days that resembled the Celtics in the Texas Triangle, or Indiana Jones in the Temple of Doom. On Saturday I was top dawg in the tips pool, for brunch I sold all apps to all tables, and Monday these gals and I corralled a herd of fat cats into the Lava Lounge for a real suckfest. It was fabulous and they know it:

The corralling cowgirls of the fat cats

Tom! (With Brisket humping Juan in the background.)


Brisket humping Juan! The next day I saw Juan corner Brisket between the table and sinks in the kitchen, and then Juan mounted Brisket! So it looks like they have a little give and take in their relationship, which is always nice:

Juan mounting Brisket and vice versa

Andy and Fidel, happy together just like the song:

Andy and Fidel happy together just like the song

He who shall remain nameless and faceless, minus his Satanic army of darkness:

Nameless faceless and minus the army of darkness honey thats rough

Brian and Izzy, you make up the captionInsert caption here

Rock and Roll Bob:

Rock and Roll Bob

The real captain of the ship on that Sunday, Doctor Gburski. Aye aye, on the double captain!

Aye aye on the double

The Future and I, in Cambodia. Its that trippy green foliage that alters the mind so that one cannot perceive that a steel waitstation teeming with waitstaff and spareribs, eating spareribs, always eating spareribs, even exists at all. When I don my cammo sometimes I go Predator in the shit.

the Future and I in cambodia

Kiki, sexy in blue with blue background (a handsomoe shot to counterbalance the upcoming next two):

Kiki in blue with blue background

This is what happens to everybody on Sunday. Just try to relax, man…

Try to relax

Bears wild on a brown couch:

Salmon sated for the moment

Delicious Chilaquiles!

Downtown Doctor John Brown and I recently took a couple of our friends, Wally and Frank, to dinner at the recently expanded Taqueria La Mexicana in Union Square. Everything there is different than it was just a month ago. The interior of Irish Eyes has been annexed and redecorated so that, once inside, I could have been in a nice restaurant in Mexico with HDTVs. The drinks were mixed expertly with an eagle eye for detail by “Kee Kay” our barkeep. Not only did he make the perfect mango margarita but also wisely chose to display the Bosox on one TV and the NBA Playoffs on the other.

At La Mexicana Taqueria with our expert bartender whose name was Kee Kay

Bonzai! Onto the food… I didn’t order anything, but one of the best general managers in all of East Somerville, maybe even the hemisphere, brought me out several free plates of food to sample. Folks, sometimes the best disguise just doesn’t work, and the bosses recognize a food critic in their midst and this happens. Also, I forgot to bring my wallet. Anyway, with a Stefan’s Ginger Beer clutched in my left hand I began shoveling warm pork tamales into my pooch. Delicious! Brian, the GM, then brought out a salad with chopped rainbow chiles and fantastic, did I say fantastic? grilled shrimp! So delicious my gullet belched the tiny phrase “…thank you!”

Whilst I was sucking down cold ginger beer and yelling at the TV screen that the Magic needed to go home to Orlando, so that they could ride on Space Mountain, and Thunder Mountain, and Splash Mountain, instead of pretending to contend in the Playoffs Mountain… (I think Dwight Howard is tall enough to ride on Epcot, run along now! Shaq-wanna-be.) What am I talking about? My good friend John ordered the grilled steak entree and it was delicious. Soooo delicious. MMMMmmmm delicious. The perfect grilled steak came with sour cream, a half grilled avocado filled with salsa, and a large square of delicious chilaquile (aka tortilla lasagna.)

The amazing steak with chilaquiles at la mexicana taqueria

“Hey that’s delicious Frank!” We got Wally to try a bite. Frank too.

The finishing touch, the coup de grace, came when the Roberto, the owner, sent his wife out to our VIP barstools with her special soup of the day. It was a pork/bacon stock, with chicken breast, avocado, hearts of palm, and plenty of love. It was so fucking delicious I nearly crapped my pants. Series over, Pistons and La Mexicana wins. No way, Ole. Better luck next year. La Mexicana Taqueria is the best Mexican food East of the Mississippi River, and thats the truth Ruth!

Dreams of My Mother

Lilacs finally bloomed for my auntyThis morning I woke up one minute before my alarm was set to go off, from a dream about my mother and dog. It took place in the house I grew up in. In the dream, I had been on the way out the door to drive down to my aunt’s. My mother stopped me, however, and asked me to pull the couch out for her in the basement. I did so, and she layed down, and the dog (looking young and groomed) snuggled her.

We watched a program kind of like NOVA, in that it was about science. Specifically, the topic of the show was a giant helix that had been found in space by the government. They were studying various parts of the helix, and understood like 8/9 of it but still couldn’t put together why it was there. My mom was like, just that we are studying it, that tells you all you need to know. I went to the bathroom.

Looking in the mirror, I couldn’t see my reflection. Then I remembered that Hannah had passed away. When I realized that the dog was dead I was presented with a choice; either wake up, or continue the dream. I decided to ignore the fact, and the dream continued. I went back out and watched TV with my mom and petted the dog. Finally I was ready to start driving, but I wanted to smoke up first.

Suddenly I realized that my marijuana had been left out where my mom could have seen it. I worried that she would freak out, but when I looked for it, it was there and ready to go. As if she had seen it but had just left it. Maybe its a sign from my dreaming brain that my mom should have smoked weed instead of drinking booze. Or maybe its really the part of my brain inherited from my mom saying its ok?

Who knows. I got into my car and started driving away, and woke up in real life. One minute before my alarm, and the lucky rubberband I wear around my wrist had broken off in my sleep. I was not freaked out at all, but instead felt at peace. Not “at peace” like let me go back to sleep, but very awake and conscious of what had happened. After all, how do you top a dream like that?

It makes me think that my mom and dog are doing fine. At the very least, its nice to know that my subconscious brain is making peace with their deaths in this life. Speaking of such things, my aunts lilac bush blossomed for the first time in five years, a week or so ago. She was ready to yank it from the ground, but this was the year. Those lilacs are fantastic.

For the springtime, you can’t beat flowers. I think I am going to get some nice flowers for my apartment when my sister visits. Last night at 2am, I went out and bought deep dish pizza from Pinocchio’s. Harvard Square was misty and sparsely populated. It makes me happy to have so many twenty four hour establishments. The deep dish sure was greasy. I brought it home and ate it while watching Sideways.

Maybe the deep dish grease crept up my intestines into my brain while I was sleeping, triggering my feelings to come out sideways, in a dream?

Away at a Home Game

at the Celtics home game 2 versus the Cleveland Cavaliers

My family had to put our dog to sleep. I found out about it the other night, and when I woke up the next morning my coffee machine wasn’t working. The combination of grief and frustration made me manic. I spent an hour testing different solutions, trying to fix the machine. The more time I spent plugging it in and unplugging it, checking for articles online, tinkering with a screwdriver, the more I wanted coffee. The mania built up my want until it was a teetering, towering tidal wave of need.

That was when I decided I should re-arrange my bedroom. I moved the dressers out so that I could rotate the bed. But the bedroom is just only big enough for the bed to begin with, and it got ugly fast. There is no box spring for my bed; it sits on a wooden frame. Connected, interlocking slats are laid over that bare frame (like a fish skeleton.) To move rotate its position I had to move the frame itself, and then disentangle the slat-skeleton and relay it onto the frame, all while grappling with the heavy mattress.

For forty five minutes I was stuck in my hotbox bedroom. Sweating profusely, muscles straining, under the weight of a hundred pound (or more?) queen-size mattress, trying to correctly lay the fish bones onto the frame. No coffee. Then, when I had finished that, I suddenly realized there was no way to fit the dressers back into the bedroom. No coffee, no coffee. I took about a million deep breaths, and began to undo everything I had done. All-in-all I failed at my objective. On the positive side, I did fix my broken dressers, and get a real feel for how things fit into that bedroom.

Plus I probably lost about five pounds. I think that was my way of handling the grief over the death of Hannah, the dog. She really was like a family member. We all loved her very much. Even though I don’t believe in heaven or hell, I know she is one with my mother now, and I can find comfort in that. Hannah lived a long, pampered life and must have known how truly loved she was. She died of old age; no coyote ever got her… My inability to deal with all these feelings in the moment is what propelled me into the quagmire that was yesterday morning.

I distracted myself later in the day, as well. My friend John and I went to the Celtics playoff game. I got a free towel to wave around my head like a helicopter. It was very exciting; the first Celtics game I’ve ever been to that actually mattered. The luck of the Irish (aka the best defense in the league) carried the day, and we won over King James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Last night, after the game, I found myself walking around downtown Boston, which was devoid of human beings. It was just me and all the colossal buildings, lit up yet empty, like dinosaur bones suspended from the ceiling of a museum.

To me heaven is an idea that we have conceived to ease the grief of deaths transition, the overwhelming feeling of loss. I don’t think the afterlife is like that, but the transition itself is very real. Science is now demonstrating that even light and matter sucked into a black hole comes back in a different form (radiation.) Everything becomes something else. With death we all come back together. These are the kind of thoughts, now surfaced, that ran through the back channels of my mind yesterday while I craved coffee, re-arranged my room and back, did laundry, maniacally motored around Cambridge, and finally sat still in the Garden to watch the game.

Right now I just feel sad, and I miss my little dog.

Haggard the Horrible and Amilcar the Terrible!

These two are like eighteen wheel trucks that run on black diesel. They start kicking ass first thing in the morning, before the first chirp of the birds. Eric the Viking is friends with the Lord, doing him a favor by helping out in the kitchen during the Lord’s Ascension to chef. Amilcar is one of the kitchen’s anchors, and is a mentor to the Eggman. Not only does Acar make the best eggs I’ve ever had, the omelet at the Lord’s brunch is named after him.

Eric the Viking is really a viking and Amilcar once beat up a bunch of cops