Monday, March 31, 2008

The Zen of Cubdom

As I write this, Opening Day at Wrigley Field is being delayed by rain. I have waited five months for this moment, and now I must wait even longer. Yes, I’m a masochist. Other things I look forward to every five months include dentist appointments and negotiating with Jiffy Lube employees about what “other services” I need done to my car.

When I was a kid my mom presented to me a brochure advertising a shuttle bus that took people to Chicago for various sporting events.

“We’re going to the Cubs game!” she told me pointing to a listing for a Cubs game versus the Reds. But it was the White Socks listing that caught my eye.

“Why can’t we go to the White Socks game?” I asked.

“Because,” she told me, “they play at night. It’s past your bedtime.” That’s how the Cubs sucker all these kids. They play afternoon games. Alas, I am a die-hard Cubs fan, and there is no use thinking about what might have been.

It amazes me that people say that Cubs fans aren’t real fans because they back the team no matter how bad the Cubs are. “They should stop showing up for games until the Cubs put a good team on the field,” they say. These folks are the reason there are “warning: hot!” labels on coffee cups.

I am a die-hard fan because of my blind loyalty.

See, to me, complaining about management defeats the purpose of enjoying a sport. I identify with and root for the guys on the field, not the suits. Let management do their job. (And they are better at their job then any fan will ever be, no matter how many seasons of fantasy baseball said fan has won.) Being a fan is not about worrying about budgets or advertising, it’s about enjoying the game. There is no use agonizing over something you can never control. It’s like worrying about rain. If you’re that type, then become a Yankees fan because, as we all know, the Cubs don’t do so well in the luck department.

A Cubs fan needs to be an optimist at heart, yet a master of employing pessimism as a defense mechanism. A sense of humor doesn’t hurt either. A Cubs fan finds a positive spin to put on all the losing. See, when the Cubs finally do win the Series, it will be one of the greatest moments in the history of sports. (Assuming that it’s in my lifetime.) If the Yankees win this year, no one will care except for Yankees fans.

A quick glance at the sports writers’ picks this year reveals an overwhelming majority picking the Cubs to win their division. Last time this happened was 2005.... and the Cubs failed to make the playoffs. So, yeah, this year should be pretty painful, but I’ll enjoy every minute of it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

White Socks, Black Shoes Goes to Jamaica

Hello, everyone! Just got back from an amazing trip to Jamaica for my sister's wedding. I took some incredible pictures of the vacation, so I thought this week I'd do a little something different and share pics of my trip. Enjoy!

The Room!

A fully stocked fridge!

Coffee anyone?

It's true. They do have air conditioning in Jamaica!

All-inclusive means lots of lotions!

That's right. 12:08. AM.

Talk about luxury. Customized covers for the glasses!

Rumors of a toilet paper shortage in Jamaica have been greatly exaggerated.

The lush Jamaican foliage is everywhere!

Let's do some Coke!

Holy smokes.....

...... it's my favorite TV show!

Pretending to snorkel.

Getting crazy!

Singin' in the rain.....

Harry Potter is just so deep.

An artist's rendering of the beautiful Jamaican countryside.

A surreal moment.

Camille loves Jamaica!

No more pictures, please.

Chillin', Mon.

Hour 13 of the Dirty Jobs marathon.

Having a great time!

No more Peeps!

Okay, maybe a few more Peeps.

The spectacular view from the balcony.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Gilbert's Syndrome: A Survivor's Tale

Last week I was diagnosed with a disease called Gilbert’s Syndrome. Okay, it’s not a disease, really. It’s a syndrome. Or a condition. Maybe. No one seems to be quite sure.

You see, in one’s blood there is a natural pigment with a sandwich-like name, bilirubin. Bilirubin is removed by the liver, and someone with Gilbert’s Syndrome doesn’t process their bilirubin at the proper rate. The only side effect is possible jaundice and all that extra bilirubin floating around in my blood like my circulatory system is some kind of water park and my veins are the lazy river raft ride.

This prognosis came after weeks of blood tests. I hate giving blood, probably because I have an HMO so my doctor still uses leeches. I also got a liver test where a technician covered me in jelly and jammed what looked like a cash register scanner in my guts. So it was a relief when the diagnosis wasn’t anything serious. (Although, they did find two quarts of Iron City Beer in my liver left over from my Pittsburgh days.)

My doctor told me that Gilbert’s Syndrome is just something that needs to be monitored over time and that it was nothing to worry about. But what do doctors know? After all, the best way to get good, sound medical advice is to consult the internet.

After minutes of painstaking research, most of the summaries under the Google links I found revealed that the majority of medical websites also claim that Gilbert’s is not exactly detrimental to one’s health. For example, says, “Gilbert’s Syndrome is a harmless condition and can be ignored.” All of this talk about Gilbert’s Syndrome being such a half-assed disease made me feel sorry for this Gilbert person. I can just picture Gilbert as a young go-getter in Medical school, turning in his findings, only to have his colleagues say to him, “Whatever, Gilbert. Go discover us a real disease, and then we can talk.”

The only people who don’t agree that Gilbert’s Syndrome is the daddy-long-legs of diseases are the people who have actually have it. The websites written by and for these people claim that Gilbert’s causes fatigue, tiredness, irritability, insomnia, etc.

I was very confused. It was almost as though the internet didn’t have complete or accurate information. I was left with a choice, and after much consideration, I decided to be a Gilbert’s Syndrome victim. It is just easier that way. After all, I only got a few hours of sleep last night, and for some reason today I am tired and irritable. My bilirubins must be acting up.

Of course, I don’t feel sorry for myself. I’m a survivor. If you see me on the street, and I’m yellow, just treat me like a normal yellow person. Perhaps buy me dinner, and we can talk about my condition. I’m very open about my syndrome, or disease, or whatever it is. The best thing to do is to give me $20. People with Gilbert’s Syndrome react well to free money. It puts our bilirubins at ease.

Monday, March 3, 2008

An Open Letter to My Neighbors

Dear West Hollywood Neighbors,

How are you? It’s Nathan from Apt 102 on Havenhurst. It has been almost a year since my girlfriend and I have moved into our home, and I thought I would do the neighborly thing and reach out to you to discuss and share some issues and concerns. I have got some great ideas for “the hood,” and maybe together we can work to improve our little corner of the world and make it a better place for all!

Before I start, I’d like to explain that bruise you may have seen around my left eye. It’s funny really. I’m such a klutz. I tripped and fell the other day right when my girlfriend opened the bathroom door. Wouldn’t you know it? My eye hit the doorknob. It was that same day we were watching that movie about that couple arguing and had the volume turned up really loud. What do you guys think of my new surround sound system? Sounds almost real, doesn’t it?

Also, before I begin, I’d like to apologize to my neighbor the building over. I was cleaning my blinds. I swear. And perhaps you should close your curtains all the way the next time you decide to take a shower with all of your clothes off.

And why we’re on the subject, I’d like to extend my sincerest apology to the residents of my building regarding the flaming Christmas tree incident. Who knew that candles in lieu of Christmas-tree lights was a bad idea? Thank goodness we were only put out for a few days. I don’t know about you, but spending Christmas at the YMCA really made me appreciate everything I have. I think we all learned a big Christmas lesson about forgiveness this year.

I’d also like to extend a request for forgiveness to the mailman. (He’s a neighbor too!) I was completely out of line that afternoon when I opened the door, and I acknowledge that a hotdog bun should not be used in that fashion or for that purpose. Perhaps overestimating my limit when it comes to tequila consumption is something I need to work on. I hope you got the McDonald’s gift certificate I left you in my mailbox.

And yes, I now realize that a Wolverine is not an acceptable pet.

One more apologize to my downstairs neighbors. You know why, and I assure you that the liquid in your light fixtures was %75 water and sorry about the electrocution. (And don't worry, urine is sterile.)

Also, just a heads up: my bed bug colony seems to have escaped. Please help me collect the little guys and let me know if you find small bites on your arms after sleeping or see tiny orange spots under your mattress. (Don’t worry, that’s just bed bug poop.)

Well, it seems that there’s a police detective ringing my doorbell. My fantabulous ideas for improving the neighborhood will have to wait until next week. Until then I’ll see you around the block, neighbor!



P.S. If you have any problems you’d like to discus, feel free to drop on by instead of calling the police directly.

P.S.S. If you hear any type of braying sound coming from our apartment please return at another time.