Monday, May 30, 2011

A Somewhat Memorable Memorial Day: S'mores!

Chef's hat + cook's utility belt =
I need to do more sit-ups.
Today began with rain, which I kind of welcomed because we had planned to go to the beach along with, I assume, the rest of Long Island. Sometimes I dread the whole lotion-up-the-kids ordeal, but now they're older and can at least help us lug some crap to and from our little patch of sand. Still, the beach is never all that relaxing when you've got two kids in tow.

We planned to host a barbecue at around 3, so the morning was supposed to be spent at the beach with Mrs. The Anthony Show's .

The skies cleared up by late morning, and Mrs. The Anthony Show convinced me that we should take a shot at the beach. Here's how the convincing went:

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Time I Was Forcibly Removed From a Strip Club

It's never like this.
Sometimes my blog-post titles oversell the posts themselves. I did get forcibly removed from a strip club, but I was part of an entire group that was forcibly removed from a strip club, and I was guilty only by association. But it's not easy to explain those distinctions to the kinds of people who bounce at strip clubs.

I'm eventually going to run a post on my overall thoughts on strip clubs, but I'll put that on hold for now and instead discuss the evening I was forcibly removed from a strip club.

This episode was part of a larger undertaking, a bachelor party that began at Yankee Stadium on a perfect day for baseball, especially when it ends with a walk-off homer by Scott Brosius. After the game we hopped in a limo — riding in a limo is cool, but leaving a Yankee game in a limo is even cooler — that took us to dinner at El Cantinero in the NYU part of town.

Dinner was some buffet-style Mexican that was very good. Better than dessert was learning that the open bar wasn't just for beer, but for everything at the bar. It was the first and only time that I ever said to a bartender, "Twenty-five lemon-drop shots, please!" without fleeing the bar before I got the bill.

Things seemed to be moving smoothly until...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Gadget Alert, "Money Melons," and Other Musings

The real money melon.
Krusty the Clown once said that honeydew is the "money melon." Herschel Shmoikel Pinchas Yerucham Krustofski and I might have a few things in common, but our views on sweet round fleshy fruit cannot be more different.

For me, cantaloupe is where it's at; "it" meaning "melony goodness" and "at" meaning "juices running down my chin."

The problem with cantaloupe — or any melon, for that matter — is getting through its protective shell, eliminating the pits that trip you up and spoil things, and reaching the good part. I could use that last sentence as a profound way of explaining how that also applies to the mystery of interaction and what makes human relationships truly human, but quite frankly whenever someone says "melons" I can only think of boobs.

I found a gadget that helps tackle the melon-carving problem. If you're looking for a gadget to help you get more boobs, you'll have to seek advice elsewhere.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Something I Cooked: Bacon-Dog Armageddon

The eggs being hard-boiled were not part of this project.
Have you ever made yourself a dish that was like really really good, but then after you ate it you were like, Yeah, I won't be making and/or eating that for a long long time?

Welcome to my Monday night!

I hit the treadmill for the first time in a while. I have been getting exercise and also risking heart failure mowing the lawn with my manual push mower, but I need to keep exercising in order to fight the age and fat and random health problems that are clawing me into the grave.

So what better way to commemorate my return to traditional exercise than with a bacon hot dog?

Monday, May 23, 2011

This Dream Will Give You a Nightmare

I was going to put up a pic of
teeth falling out, but I decided
to reverse course. You're welcome.
You have been warned.

I'm not someone who believes in all that dream-interpretation stuff. Several times a year I have one of those dreams where I either lose my teeth or forget my locker combination or my class schedule, which I'm told means I've got some kind of worry or insecurity.

This makes me wonder why I don't have these kinds of dreams every day, or why I'm not losing my teeth in real life, but that's for another post.

We all have weird dreams. Some of them are just so bizarre that you can barely describe them to someone else, or you're just afraid to. With that in mind, I'm going to share with you a crazy dream I had over the weekend. It's could be one of the worst things you'll ever read.

Again, you've been warned. So, hey, read on!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Something I Wrote, Part 3: "The Rehearsal" Comedy Sketch

In sort-of-honor of the passing of Randy Savage, I've decided to post my only wrestling-based comedy sketch.

This one was actually performed a few times, and it usually went well, mainly because it's short. It began as a much longer version, but my writing teacher suggested I go in a slightly different (and shorter and better) direction.

In many ways I prefer the long version, but it's an example of a sketch that looks really great as I'm writing it (and perhaps as you're reading it), but when you rehearse it, it just doesn't work. The timing doesn't come through, and it drags in spots you weren't expecting.

But that's the difference between writing that's meant to be read and writing that's meant to be performed. Not every piece of writing works in both formats. I always wonder whether my novels, if I were ever to finish any of them, would be entertaining to read aloud if I were fortunate to hold a book reading/signing.

But before I'll ever know that, I'd have to actually complete a novel first. I know I just wrote that; I'm just emphasizing the fact that I have a number of unfinished novels.

So enjoy the finished version, and snap into a Slim Jim for our deceased ring hero. May you finally enjoy the company of Elizabeth, Macho Man.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Not-So-Triumphant Sort-of-Return to New York City

I had an appointment in the city today. During the two-plus years since I left my most recent city job for the employer for whom I currently slave, I’ve been back to the Big Apple only a few times, and all those times I’d driven in.

Today I experienced my first train ride since very early 2009, after 14 years as a Long Island Railroad commuter. I was surprised that the experience didn’t seem as strange as I thought it would be. It was as if I'd been on a two-year vacation. The main differences between my last train ride and today’s is that I now have a phone that allows me to surf the Internet, and I have a netbook small enough to fit in my bag and which can be used without taking up too much train-seat real estate.

I took some pictures to document this somewhat boring trip!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Silly Gagdet Alert: Fiskars Momentum Reel Mower

I'm not sure why I'm calling this series of posts "Silly Gadget Alert." The gadgets I buy are certainly not silly. Some of them are definitely impractical and eventually unused, even if I acquired them with good intentions, like the FoodSaver that lingers as a dust collector in my basement.

Considering my love/hate relationship with lawn maintenance, I became very frustrated when my attempt at do-it-yourself mower maintenance techniques — changing the spark plug and air filter for the first time in my John Deere's nine-year history — did nothing to improve its performance.

When my gas can went empty and I computed how much it would cost to fill, I finally decided to take a plunge I'd wanted to take for years: buying a reel mower.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Something I Cooked: Custard French Toast

"You don't need a license to drive a sandwich."
As I write this post, I'm home with my sort-of-sick daughter, watching The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie for the second (of I'm not sure how many) consecutive times.

Having a sick 4-year-old is usually better than having, say, a sick 2-year-old, because I can stick her in front of the TV for most of the day and call it compassionate parenting rather than lazy neglect.

One drawback with a sick 4-year-old, particularly my 4-year-old, is that she's wants me to play with her dolls in her bedroom. The dolls part isn't the problem, but rather the fact that there's nowhere for me to sit in her tiny room, and I haven't had the muscular flexibility to sit comfortably on a floor (especially in a position we used to call "Indian style," but which my kids called "crisscross applesauce) since I was 6.

I convinced her to bring her various dolls and dollhouses into the living room, so I can play with her while sitting on the couch and, if I'm lucky, watching paternity-test results on Maury.

While Mrs. The Anthony Show was getting ready to venture out into an angry rain to drop off her last final paper of the semester, I took the opportunity to make use some French toast.

I'm rather a fan of Alton Brown's recipe. It's not very difficult (meaning there's no reason why you shouldn't try it out sometime), and it takes to a new level the soggy old French toast your used to. Let's see how it worked out this morning...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Don't Ask Me About My Weekend

Not my weekend.
How was your weekend?

Does that innocent question cause you to clench your fists and/or sigh pathetically?

Everyone knows how the question How are you?, particularly around the workplace, can be an open-ended query with the potential to open a Pandora's box of misery.

What I realized recently is that there's an even worse question you can ask a person in my state of life:

"How was your weekend?"

For starters, Saturday and Sunday haven't comprised "my" weekend since 2003 or so, perhaps earlier. I know I'm preaching to the choir to many of you, but when I'm asked about my weekend I'm forced to remember how much of my weekend has been chewed away like the income of a rich person without a smart accountant.

A worse question is What did you do this weekend?, but there's yet a still more horrible question...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Video Podcast #4: Losing Money While Enraged

Blogger had some problems and apparently ate my previous post, about losing my wallet yesterday. In today's video podcast (I didn't write this one because Blogger was down), I talk about losing something else the following day...and without as happy an ending as the wallet episode.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How I Lost My Wallet...And My MIND (Dun Dun DUN!)

THERE it is! On my blog!
(Spoiler alert: I did find my wallet.)

Yesterday morning I was going through my usual routine of having to perform a half-hour's worth of tasks in 10 minutes, and at the last minute I couldn't find my wallet.

I'd been running myself particularly ragged the past couple of weeks, what with Mrs. The Anthony Show finishing school and taking Father Of The Anthony Show to and from Mount Sinai and cranking through my rare but coveted freelance editing assignment, so the morning was particularly blurry.

I was groggier than usual because in the middle of the night, my daughter wandered into my bed (Mrs. The Anthony Show had fallen asleep on the couch while researching one of her final papers) because she'd had a bad dream. In the morning I asked her what the dream was about, and she replied, "The Leapster."

Lest you think she was talking about some kind of hipster ogre with thick calf muscles, this is a Leapster:

I Have Neither the Attention Nor the Patience for a Russian Bride

I am mistaken for him quite often.
I was going to mention the following e-mail in yesterday's post about crazy spam e-mails I've received, but it wasn't job-related.

Not all of my spam is worthy of a blog post, but every now and then I receive something that neither bores nor enrages me.

The following e-mail was found in my spam folder, and the "sender" was my own e-mail address, more evidence that spam would be more successful if the spammers did a little homework and assume that I wouldn't send myself an e-mail to buy erection pills or Russian brides, because why would I buy something from myself, other than to boost my eBay transaction score?

But anyway, on to the e-mail:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

In Soviet Russia, Jobs Apply for YOU!

This is your soul on job.
I want a job.

True, I already have a job, and bitching about your job in this economy is like complaining about the side effects of Viagra to a guy without any genitals, but my current state of employment pinches off morsels of my soul like a guy pulling pieces of monkey bread.

I had about 10 jobs since I graduated from college, and wherever I've been I always had this nagging feeling that somewhere, somehow, there's a better position out there for me.

(This professional-life attitude does not apply to my personal life. Mrs. The Anthony Show and I have been together [counting marriage and pre-marriage] for 20 years now — half my life — and if the cards I was dealt don't always turn up blackjack, I know when to hold on a pair of kings.)

(And if you can understand one of the worst metaphors ever, congratulations.)

So anyway. I've got my resume circulating on a number of job sites, so whenever I receive an e-mail whose subject line seems to be related to a job opening, I get excited, then enraged when I discover that the "job" is some kind of spam.

"What do you mean, The Anthony Show?" Well, I'll show you...

Monday, May 9, 2011

I Hope This Father/Son Activity Will CATCH ON

When he turns 7, I'll show him
how to hook up with cougars.
This weekend I experienced a father/son milestone: having a catch for the first time.

That's not to say Son and I haven't thrown things at each other in the past, but Saturday was the first time we had an official grab-the-glove, go-to-the-park, toss-the-ball-around event.

I wasn't the kind of dad-to-be who already picked out a glove and bat even before the kid was born, though watching some of Son's fellow 6-year-olds throw and hit like they're already ready to be scouted, I wonder whether I should have been reading up on how to adjust the kid's in utero pitching mechanics.

We went to this cozy, newly renovated park that contained a small playground area and a full-size little league field, with fresh grass and lines and everything. Son, who is on a little league team, wanted to take some practice swings, but
  • We had only one ball
  • He doesn't hit pitched balls very well yet
These two factors would create a situation with this formula...

Friday, May 6, 2011

Something I Wrote, Part 2: "Bread Crumbs" Comedy Sketch

Don't ask.
Last week I showed you a comedy sketch that I'd written. This week I'll show you another comedy sketch I've written.

The difference between the two is that last week's sketch, "The Eye Has It," has been performed — more than once, with different players — and has gotten laughs in both rehearsal and performance. It's usually my go-to piece when someone wants to review a sample of my comedic work.

The sketch I'm about to present has resulted in odd looks and nervous laughter during the couple of rehearsals and classes in which I've unleashed it. It has never been performed live.

I once took a sketch-writing class with Ian Roberts, who was in the core Upright Citizens Brigade quartet when Amy Poehler was just another underground improv comedienne. (When I took the class, I believe she was just a "featured player" on SNL.)

I considered it an honor to be in a class taught by Roberts, but he seemed rather depressed most of the time when he taught our class. He did give great criticism of our work, but the sketch I'm presenting today completely stumped him. He said that he honestly didn't know what to say about it.

I also brought it out for a comedy-writing class I took with D.B. Gilles, a great writing teacher from NYU and author of books including The Screenwriter Within. His criticism of the sketch, as far as I remember, resulted in a very heated argument between us. I can't remember why, nor do I blame him.

Anyway, I bet you can't wait to read it, right? Here goes! (I should also mention that Mrs. The Anthony Show hates it more than anything I've ever written, and that includes letters to all my ex-girlfriends she discovered the night before we married.)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Silly Gadget Alert: Zoku Ice Pop Maker

Hell yes.
This will be the first of a series of posts where I discuss gadgets and gizmos that I have bought and (I hope) do not regret buying.

I was in a Williams Sonoma, the kind of place I can get lost in the way a automobile fanatic can lose himself in a Maserati showroom, and I spotted a curious device that stirred in me a need I didn't realize I had.

Namely: I need a machine that makes ice pops in under 10 minutes!

I enjoy ice pops. They're not my favorite frozen treat, but they're very handy (and cheap) in a pinch. Just toss into the freezer a handful of Fla-Vor-Ice pops from the large box of ten thousand you can get at Costco and within a few hours, you're good to go. They don't have many calories (if you refrain from eating them by the dozen, as I've sometimes done), and they can be more refreshing than a glass of water.

But I realized that I wanted something more from my ice pops...

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

An Unexpected Manhattan Walkabout, Part 2

I couldn't even finish all the bacon.
It was that kind of breakfast.
I'm writing this post late tonight. I tried writing it in advance last night, but I was too zombiefied after being up since 3:20am or so.

Yet, as awful as it is to rise a couple of hours before sunrise (and less than five hours after going to bed), it was still a breeze compared to when I was dealing with my kids when they were infants.

It was a plus that when I returned home at around 3pm, I also didn't have to deal with infants.

So, I'll continue my tales of walking around the city while Dad was having his routine and successful mitral-valve surgery.

By the time I returned to Mount Sinai from my initial walk, my legs were burning from the approximately 1.5 miles (thank you, MapMyRun) and the fact that I was wearing a very loaded backpack (probably about 15 pounds based on my crude measuring methods).

So I sat in the family waiting room wondering whether I would go back to Barking Dog once it opened at 8am, and I realized that I would have to eventually eat something. Plus, it would be my last chance to enjoy this kind of meal until I don't know when.

(And yes, this is where my life is, where the highlight of my year is having the best breakfast I can find.)

Monday, May 2, 2011

An Unexpected Manhattan Walkabout, Part 1

So much for unbiased reporting!
It's not every day that I have to wake up at 3 in the morning, but today was one of those days. Dad's having mitral-valve surgery at Mount Sinai, and he had to be at the Upper East Side hospital at 5:30. I picked him up a little after 3:30 and we made it to the hospital parking garage in less than 90 minutes. The roads were so empty that if I were trying to set a speed record, I might have clocked in at about 45 minutes.

It's around 9:30 as I'm typing this. I'm starting to feel the exhaustion. I went to bed sometime before 10:30 and was briefly woken up by Mrs. The Anthony Show with the news that Osama Bin Laden was dead. This news probably would make my father happy, that even if something went horribly wrong in the operating room, at least he outlived the most notorious terrorist of all time.

By the time Dad was being wheeled into the OR and I wandering around the waiting area, it was 6:45, and I decided to skip the Mount Sinai "café" and wander around the area while seeking a decent breakfast. What follows are photos from my little journey.