21 October 2008

Random Quizzilla

1. If you could see into the future but could not change it, would you still want to do so?
No. If the future is horrible, you'd be miserable every day waiting for it to happen.  If the future is good, you'd dilute, if not completely wipe out, the joy of unexpected surprise. 

2. You have $100 to spend today but it can't go to bills, food or clothing.  What do you buy?
This thing.  Working in a basement all day with no natural light, I am slowly devolving into a pointy troll who shrieks when touched by the sun.

3. Would you rather have no arms or pineapples for hands?
First, there is some kind of pineapple theme stalking my existence. Yesterday at the Good Health store, a woman was serving up some souped up pineapple juice and discussing the health benefits of bromelain (which I am now well-versed in.)  Last week, I changed my ringtone to "Pineapple Head" by Crowded House.  Now this.  That said, I am a fan of the pineapple but wouldn't want one as a major appendage. 

4. Is it rude to photograph strangers without their permission? (Not talking about upskirting or anything of that genre, just snapping a regular picture)
I definitely think it's rude to snap photos of people without their permission but that hasn't stopped me from doing so on several recent occassions. (I won't post the pics here as that would be even ruder).  Last month, I snapped a candid of "James XL" at Lucky's, a man who was a dead ringer for James -- if James was 300lbs.  It was uncanny (and I will say the man was quite handsome despite his crushing girth)   Also, I was having brunch at dbar a few weeks ago and had to take a picture of a neighboring bruncher who kept interrupting our conversations with her painful voice.   I can only describe her voice as someone firing up a vacuum cleaner right next to your head while you're deep in REM sleep.  

5. What is your favorite fall recipe? 
I love all the seasonal stews and soups and such but have a new favorite side dish.  I made this Roasted Kabocha Squash with Cumin Salt a few weeks ago and it was crazy delicious. Worth every gram of the carb overload. 

17 October 2008

A Moment of Self Preservation

Oct 16, 2008: Deja vu all over again (and again)

Oct 16 2004: The burds boarded a party bus (in wigs) for Auntie’s bachelorette party. It was a traveling circus of sorts where we visited many of the haunts from our roaring 20s. It was also the night of Game 3 of the ALCS vs. The Yankees. With the Sox down 2-0 in the series, everyone was pumped up for the game which played on every screen at every jam-packed bar we visited from the Last Drop in Brighton to The Harp at North Station. Unfortunately, with every stop, spirits plummeted a bit more. When the Sox were down 19-8 in the ninth inning, the wigs came off. The sportscasters admonished that no team in history had ever (EVER) come back trailing 3-0 in a seven game series. It was over. We decided the only course of action was to increase booze consumption, dance our faces off at some club in the Financial District that no longer exists, and then stumble back to the Marriott Longwharf for the night.

A week later, I was lifting Vito in the air and marching in a victory circle, celebrating a historical comeback that made the Sox's first World Series win in 86 years pale in comparison.

Then it happened all over again last season.

Last night, they upped the ante again with "the greatest rally in Red Sox history."

It's impossible not to address the deja vu. It's impossible not to acknowledge those come-from-behind wins that were as euphoric as they were improbable. Still, I refuse to give up my negative attitude. It's all about self preservation. I don't want to stir the gods and re-curse ourselves. For me, "cautiously optimistic" is too arrogant. I'm adopting the mantra of a doomy, whiny Scooby Doo character: "They'll neverrr make it."

16 October 2008

Paulie on the MBTA

I Googled "train enthusiast" to see if there was an official word for Paulie's profound train worship. Turns out, there are several: Railfan, Zed, Trainspotter, Metrophile, FRN (Fucking Rail Nut), Gunzel, Grizzer, Gricer, and my favorite -- Transit Foamer. Definition: Railfans who work themselves into such a lather over the Choo-Choo that they literally foam at the mouth. This isn't a stretch. Paul becomes transfixed, possibly transported to another dimension at the mere sight or sound of a train. And trains -- specifically MBTA trains -- occupy his thoughts at all times. We'll call Paulie a T-Foamer. 

For instance, at any given moment he will randomly blurt out "Next stop, South Station" in a baritone voice. Or "Doors will open on the left. Thank you for not smoking."

To random strangers at the grocery store:
PAULIE: "You know what?"
PAULIE: "Wonderland is the last stop on the Blue Line."

To his teacher at school:
PAULIE: "You know what?"
TEACHER: "What?"
PAULIE: "The Red Line AND the Orange Line stop at Downtown Frosting (Downtown Crossing)"

Like Paul Simon, he knows everyone loves the sound of a train in the distance. And he is no exception. Every now and then, Paulie will hear the distant whistle of a Commuter Rail train rolling through the woods a few towns over. He'll pause, turn, and smile into the wind. Then say, "Hey Mom, you know what?"

If he could choose between a week in Disney World and day of riding the rails, he'd choose the rails.

When he gets tired, his favorite thing to do is zone out in front of the computer watching YouTube videos of the different T lines: Orange-Red-Blue-Green-Purple. When he clicks upon a video of the Acela, he almosts falls off his chair.

Who knew there were so many fanatical T- Foamer vids up on YouTube? Some of them make hobbyists like ham radio operators and the bus spotters of Glasgow appear casual in comparison. For instance, in one video, a man named "Jug" unpacks his video camera and a red thermos of instant coffee and proceeds to tape hours upon hours of footage from a single train crossing. In another video, some T-Foamer from JP tapes his entire Orange Line commute from Forest Hills to State Street.

So we decided to make our own fanatical YouTube video. We pulled the T map offline and mapped our course last weekend. Then we taped our little public transit party, leaping from line to line, inbound and outbound.

When we began our journey on the Commuter Rail, a mother was on the platform with her twin boys, also 4 (also mad T-Foamers). She said she was just riding into South Station and then turning around and riding back because it's the only way the boys wanted to spend the afternoon. I told her of my plan and about the YouTube videos already out there. She then confessed that she and her boys have spent hours behind the Home Depot in Quincy watching the trains roll by. She's certain the local police have tagged them as "suspicious." I was glad to hear we're not alone on this crazy train.

So here's the result, aptly named "Paulie on the MBTA." (Featuring fellow passenger Caroline, of course, who helped make the video!)

15 October 2008

Vito the Pug turns 6

("That's 42 for the dogs.")

Today, six candles will glow atop a birthday turkey or a cake made of meat.

10 October 2008

Party Like It's 1929

The financial statements have been rolling in, along with a surprising dearth of credit card offers: The mutual funds, the IRAs, and any day now, the 401(k) statement will arrive to drive the point home that we'll be working well into our geriatric wonder years.  I've decided I'm not going to open any of them. What's the point?  My satisfying but unlucrative career already has me living with a Great Depression, one-foot-in-the-gutter mentality.  For many years now, I've not only lived within my means but slightly (very slightly) beneath them.  I'll just carry on.  I just recycled my first green tea bag this morning.  I still haven't purchased a fall handbag.  My hair has offensive dark roots.  I've been clearing out the closet to sell off anything of even modest value.  Gently-used Uggs are fetching upwards of $200 on eBay!  My Betsey Johnson party dress with no place to go is now on consignment for $150.  So tonight, in a long gray party sweater (from Target), I'll wrap my arms around my 30-year fixed mortgage, order a boatload of thai from Wild Ginger and drink vino, vino, vino in the kitchen with some burds. 

07 October 2008

Presidential Debate Drinking Game

For many, it's been physically impossible to get through these debates without wine and Prilosec, so why not make it interesting. From the sophomoric, stress relievers of yore like Thumper to last week's fantastic game of distraction -- Palin Bingo, I bring to you, via the Washington Post, the Presidential Debate Drinking Game for tonight.

Anytime you hear any of the following words--it's bottoms up!

- Maverick

- Experience

- Change

- My friends

- Hold on there/wait a minute

- Great Depression

- Wall Street/Main Street

- Subprime

- Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae

- Celebrity

- Ahmadinejad

- Lipstick

- Darn right

- Bill Ayers

- Jeremiah Wright

- Keating Five

- Erratic

- Lies

- Middle class

- Ohio

- Will all due respect

- Failed Bush policies

- Affordable health care

- Osama bin Laden

- You know

- Exit strategy

06 October 2008

Thank God

(Manny who? LOVE this guy)

My anxiety level over the Sox has plummeted in recent years for obvious reasons. The passion remains but the stakes have changed.  Not so tonight--a massive toenail biter.  James jumping around, wildly gesticulating and yelling, spooking Vito and waking the children.  Worth it! Woo hoo!

03 October 2008

More Vito Video: Chicken

Vito is haunted by the aromatic ghost of some Bell & Evans' chicken nugs. Paulie had polished them off hours earlier but the lingering scent continued to plague Vito's psyche like a phantom limb.  He's totally convinced the nuggets are still on the table and he believes he has the rights to them if they were indeed left behind. He really got himself worked into a frenzy and my efforts to talk him down proved futile. However once I lit a sandalwood-scented candle, his anxiety level plummeted. You'll see it all on the video, along with a cameo of Caroline dressed in an Elvis jumpsuit. (which I let her wear on an errand to Trader Joe's this afternoon. I keep my promises

I Was Told I Need to Lighten Up

Maybe just for one day. We'll see.

02 October 2008

He's Come a Long Way Since We Used to Smother Him with Beanbags

My cousin Mike made this comment about his younger brother Marc who got married last weekend in a beautiful seaside ceremony that made all in attendance completely oblivious to the Nor'Easter raging outside the bay windows. During his toast, Mike, the best man, brought back some long-forgotten memories of what a pain in the ass Marc was as a child. Long forgotten because they strike such a sharp contrast to the man Marc is today. Growing up, the Moschella family tagline regarding my three cousins was: "Dawn sucked her thumb, Mike sucked his pacifier, and Marc just sucked." Mike recalled that whenever the family went to a restaurant, a park, other people's homes or even the mall, the outing would inevitably come to an abrupt, frustrating end, with my Aunt J yelling at Marc: "Walk out of this place backwards because you're never going to see it again!" One Christmas, my other cousins and I -- after Marc had ruined our Star Wars parade one too many times -- finally rose up to do battle with our instigator. It was at my house during the family Christmas party. My cousin Kaera lay down on my bed in a corpse position with a black lace veil over her face. This freaked out the six-year-old Marc in a large way, but the rest of us pretended we couldn't see Kaera and acted like he was crazy. Then of course there was the beanbag smothering which almost always (inexplicably) involved an 8-track of Barry Manilow's song "Jump Shout Boogie." Even so, Marc never told on us.

Last year when Marc & Eileen hosted the family Christmas party at their house, we shared a lot of these stories with Eileen and her family and they agreed that childhood Marc -- the one altering the brakes on others' Big Wheels -- and adult Marc -- the kindest, gentlest and coolest of the lot of us -- are two completely different people. That said, their wedding was both emotional and wild: a beautiful night that reflected on their marriage as well as inspired everyone to dance their faces off. Caroline was a rock star as a flower girl, which made it that much more special for us. It was touch and go for awhile there, however, as evidenced by her 'tude at the hair salon. (More pictorial evidence that we're screwed when she turns 12.)   So, here's the crappy low-res slidehsow of my pictures. There are about 900+ more pictures floating around out there that are likely crashing the servers of Facebook, Shutterfly, Ritz and others as we speak. Congratulations, Marc & Eilleen. We love you.