Archive for August, 2009

Pot committed

Monday, August 31st, 2009

There is a point in poker where you have played so far into a hand that the percentages are high enough based on what you have bet and what you can win, that it starts to get close to even odds when you have a good hand. So you just keep playing into the hand because you are “pot committed.”

That’s my house.

Even with all the crap in the housing market, it’s probably worth more than what I owe by a longshot due to overpaying the mortgage for almost 10 years.

But my roof is the next time I have to call the housing god’s bluff. I need a new one. My head spins with numbers over it trying to figure out whether I want to call the bet.

Here’s the bet…if I do it, I own this house forever. If I don’t do it, I need an exit strategy. But if I own this house forever, I am still willing to not live here and exit into something else.

So after weeks of figuring it all out…I am pot committed to this house.

The upside…it will be paid for before Big A goes to college. Plus, it’s got all my stuff in it. I really don’t ever feel like moving again. I mean, there is a weird part of me that looks at my couches and thinks, “To hell if I’m ever figuring out how to get THAT back out of here.” I’m not kidding. I moved so much between high school graduation and when I moved here, I swear, I’m done. I’d just assume seal it all up and visit my stuff as though it were a clubhouse or something. Plus, after 10 years, it feels like we’re so moved in that if we have another kid, this at least can absorb it.

And, here’s the selfish part, we’ve worked too freaking hard to get the “rythme” of this place. All three of us have it. We have all the TVs in the right places, we have all our nooks and crannies, we have the gardens, etc. The garage may be a mess, but it’s our garage and we know where everything is, thank you very much.

Now, I’m going to make this call based on the fact it may not be the last place we live. But I don’t think we’ll ever sell it. Ever. In fact, what finally tipped it for me that P commented how it would make a good home in “retirement.” And she’s right. ADA accessible, big yard, nice veggie garden, and an airport taxiway to the front door. Plus, and she pointed this out, it’s big enough to have A LOT of people here.

So new roof it is. Nothing like a nice back-to-school project.

I call you house, and raise you a new roof.

Art process…

Saturday, August 29th, 2009

So how does art happen for me? Glad you asked because sometimes it just never works and you see someone who did it exactly the way you were thinking and I just couldn’t connect the dots. My street scene I played with a couple of years ago is a typical example…


I started with a simple line drawing on the computer. This is just start to imagine purpose and perspective. Sometimes I do it with a pen on a 4×6 card, sometimes, like here, I just do it as a doodle in MS Paint. I think I did this one sitting in a bar in Waikiki to begin with on my mini or the phone.  The idea was to have an urban jungle with a park and a lone tree. I was thinking of this drinking a beer outside of a giant shopping mall on the beach and there was all of this stuff in a narrow street and one really old palm tree.

Now, remember, I do this next step a hundred plus times with the basic sketch. The idea isn’t to create art, but to get this whole picture.

Now, I finish all my stuff free-hand on canvess, so this was just thinking about it in a super sketchy way.


 This is the color and balance stage. This is using the computer and carrying it around with me and finding balance and colors. Like I said. I might do this 200 times with MS Paint. In this version I was playing with the tree concept. I think I did this on an airplane. Kind of not bad drawing of a tree for not having a real mouse. But the point here is to figure out colors…in this particular case, I pretty much cribbed it into something that I no longer have a record of because I gave it to someone.


But this Richard Morhous print called “Commute” is damn close to what I was thinking, just much edgier and darker. His is a New York scene, mine was more Mayberry R.F.D. But I include it because P was even struck by house close it was to the final version of what I did from the above sketches. It’s a great piece of art.


And then there are some of my computer sketches that just never work. Quick doodles waiting for an airplane or something, when I did this. It started out with a combination of being in an airport and reading a Peanuts cartoon about the Red Baron in the newspaper. The idea was to make the world going left and him trying to go right. Those are suppose to be crosshairs.The idea was to eventually put a second plane coming at it, which was obviously shooting down from much higher, to break up the blue. Lots of fiddling and nothing to show for it. But I might revisit this one because I have always liked the fact the perspective makes me want to turn my head; it might be interesting freehand; it might not even need the other plane.

The point being that all my big canvesses start out as microdoodles and playing with color. The big problem this summer has been following through on them. But that time is almost up. There is some stored up energy and pieces I need to commit to soon. It’s back to real work time. I figure I have about two weeks before art vacation is over.

Simple hypochondria…I hope

Friday, August 28th, 2009

I have a very simple theory to avoid swine flu or H1N1 or whatever you want to call it…DON’T TOUCH ANYONE AND WASH YOUR HANDS LIKE A MANIAC!

Theory two, reading what I’ve read, I think part of the immunity to it is immunity to other strains through immunization shots over years. I know, those shots weren’t for H1N1, but I think there is something to just being exposed to any flu strain for so many years, that’s why younger people are so prone.

Final theory…I think it affects women more than men. Can’t prove it. I have no imperical evidence, but I just think it’s true.

Mostly, I just hope I’m a worry wart this flu season.

The pot calls the kettle black and a ramble

Friday, August 28th, 2009


So I was really ready to bitch at the kids over this mess in the living room. But not only did they clean up very nicely, other than taking over my favorite chair, but I went back to work and realized I am not one in a position to complain about the leftovers of serious work like playing house.


There’s not much I can say. That’s my work room and it is just as much of a mess, and I’m trying to be serious. I had a serious crises of conscious.

I realized, I can’t say a thing because I do no better in my own “office” and the places the girls all play for this week is their “office.”

I’m just getting use to having three pre-teen girls in the house for 10 days.


I peeked at new golf clubs again today. And I’m not really happy with the service I got. I mean, it was fine, but this is, like, a 10-year investment for me, and I want to get it all fitted and stuff. I saved BD and Christmas money for three years, damnit. But my clubs are 13 years old, maybe a little older, and they need to be replaced…not just to look cool, but because they have some cracks and nudges in them. They are well worn down.

I’m a cheapskate, though. I want last year’s prices for this year’s clubs.

Weird thing about me and golf. I know if I took it seriously, as trophies will attest, I’d be very good at it. I just don’t take it that seriously. And that’s an odd duck. I love the game. I just don’t take it very seriously.

Minutiae you won’t care about…but to keep a handicap you have to post every round you play by the rules of golf. I take this very seriously. My problem? I CAN’T PLAY A WHOLE ROUND BY THE RULES OF GOLF! Hence, I think I have four scores posted in four years. I’m like the bastard child at the club, because at least I admit I usually cheat and I don’t care and I don’t post the score. If I lose a ball, I throw one out “around” where it should have been, for instance.

Which brings me…warned you of the ramble…my 20th high school reunion. Buzz buzz and chirp chirp from every corner on that. They are using some commercial firm to organize it, and it’s like playing poker to see who is going to actually go to what, etc. It is dramatic in a weird way.

But there is a very small group of us getting together to play the Greater Graham Open. We’re off the radar. The GGO was held for about five years, with a trophy and everything. But we all agreed that it was an invitational and that we were all exempt into it. None of the original eight ever had to qualify for it. We even said we could be 70 and suck and you get to play.

Cracks me up.

But we’re already trying to put a field together.

Which has to be the funny thing about reumions and old memories, I suppose. And art and sleepover messes.

Sooner or later it just seems to clean itself up. It just kind of looks right in your memory the way you wanted it. It self corrects.

I can watch him on late night TV all day…

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

One last Kennedy post

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

I knew I had mentioned my boat encounter and I did.

But I don’t think I described enough how cool it was riding into a harbor with just me and him and his girlfriend and how much he basked in the glory of seeing Boston from that “angle.”

Next time you fly to Logan, take the water taxi into Long’s Wharf.

The other weird thing was that P woke me up first thing yesterday to tell me of the news I already stayed up almost all night thinking about. Well, I guess that’s not weird, it’s just that the one time on the boat with him was enough that my wife knew that she had better make sure I knew. That’s kind of the crazy odd thing. And it’s what I can’t write well about.

He really did get mushy to me and his girlfriend on that ferry. And it was such a big deal, I couldn’t stop telling the story for about 24 hours. But I had forgotten that he delivered a speech at that same time at Harvard which I can’t find a link to online. It’s the “I let everyone down at times” speech, but I can’t find it.

So that’s kind of a weird part of the story. I think I caught him in a completely wistful mood.

To this day, there are a small handful of people P would wake me up for at 6:30 in the morning that weren’t family and just “make sure I know.” A testament to her, and to how much I always appreciated those 20-or-so minutes.


Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

The fact Ted Kennedy is dead is just kind of strange to me. He was my Senator for five years and I voted for him once.

But I think the oddest thing is that he died in the middle of the debate for the most important cause I’ve ever known him to have and that was healthcare reform. And so quickly after his sister died.

But my other lingering thought is that he was a powerful Senator on his own over nearly five decades. That just doesn’t happen out of sheer luck or birthrigh, especially in the United States Senate. He might have been born into the Kennedy family, but he proved just as important in the history of America’s political landscape on his own work as anyone else in his family. I suppose, when you are super rich and talented, there is some ultimate compliment there that no one can deny.

What were they thinking?

Monday, August 24th, 2009

– At about 1:30 a.m. Dr. Murray gave Michael Jackson 10 mg of Valium.

– At about 2 a.m., he injected Jackson with 2 mg of the anti-anxiety drug Ativan.

– At about 3 a.m., Murray then administered 2 mg of the sedative Versed.

– At about 5 a.m., he administered another 2 mg of Ativan.

– At about 7:30 a.m., Murray gave Jackson yet another 2 mg of Versed while monitoring him with a device that measured the oxygen saturation of his blood.

– At about 10:40 a.m., “after repeated demands/requests from Jackson,” Murray administered 25 mg of propofol, the document said.

Ativan is also known as Lorezapram. Even though I have a script for it, and I have rarely used it, it scares the shit out of me. I never drink alcohol or take anything, ANYTHING, else for 24 hours if I need to use one for general anxiety; and my pills are only 0.5 mg! So he took eight times that dose in three hours??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? WTF!! Just that would probably kill me, too. P and I both saw that on the news and our jaws dropped. I mean, i only get five of them at a time and never more than that for a whole month. Just in that one drug, MJ took nearly my entire script in three hours with an IV.

I guess my point is that somebody should have, as a doctor, said “WHOOOOOOAH.” For real. Just stop him. That’s the super bad thing here. He couldn’t stop himself. He was not capable of it. But this is some serious drugs they were adminstering in some ridiculous amounts.



I’m a dog

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Somebody sent me this from this website…and at first I kind of blew it off, and then even P pointed out that it’s kind of spooky how well the astrology sign of the dog describes me. That just begin to creep me out.

In the West, the Dog is man’s best friend, but in Chinese Astrology this Sign is a little more unpredictable than that. Dogs are loyal, faithful and honest and always stick to their firm codes of ethics. However, this Sign has trouble trusting others. It’s generally quite trustworthy itself — except for the occasional little white lies the Dog tells in order to make things go more smoothly. The Dog makes a wonderful, discreet and loyal friend (despite any white lies) and is an excellent listener. This Sign tends to root for the underdog and its keen sense of right and wrong makes it duty-bound to the core. The Dog’s mantra seems to be, Live right, look out for the little people and fight injustice whenever possible.

Dogs can also be rather dogmatic, too. They don’t go in for light social banter; instead, they go straight for home, expostulating on the topics that are most important to them. At these times the Dog’s narrow-minded or stubborn side can become apparent; this Sign has trouble staying light and calm when an important issue is at stake. This Sign can also be very temperamental; mood swings characterize its emotional life and often the Dog needs to run off to be alone in order to recuperate. Part of the problem is the result of this Sign’s load of irrational fears that turn into niggling anxieties that turn into hurt feelings and occasional grouchiness. This sensitive Sign needs to warm up to others over time and gradually learn to trust them. Without that trust as a foundation, Dogs can be judgmental and coarse.

The Dog’s discerning nature does make it an excellent business person, one who can turn that picky, guarded nature into a keen sense of the truth of another’s motives. Where love is concerned, Dogs often have a tough time finding the right match. They can be so anxious and overwrought in the romance dance that they’ll stress their partner to the max! In any forum, this Sign is happiest when able to be quite physically active; at home or at work, the Dog will always be constructing something new or cleaning something up in order to make things better. Dogs need to work on controlling their irrational worries and would also be well-served to relax their mile-high standards, which can sometimes wind up alienating the ones they love.

Huh. All that from the year I was born?

Ruff. That’s good.


Monday, August 24th, 2009

Ryan won a PGA event.

I’ve knew him in newborn diapers. In fact, his dad is one of my big reasons for my love of the game. And his home course was developed by my grandfather.

Congratualtions to him.