Posts Tagged ‘karaoke’

Orange pants

January 11, 2011

My sister is getting married in a few weeks. She is a huge Mets fan. Every year, that the Mets play at home on her birthday, she gets her name on the scoreboard. Her wedding colors are, obviously, blue and orange.
My siblings are dressing appropriately.
I toyed with getting a blue suit and an orange shirt, but I don’t think I’d wear a blue suit ordinarily. Therefore, it seems like a waste. The alternative is to get orange pants. I already have a blue shirt.

What do orange pants “say” about their wearer? Could I wear orange pants day-to-day or at bars?

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Vacation: Cancelled

December 13, 2010

I spoke to my engaged sister over the weekend. She explained her reasons for setting the wedding for so soon after her engagement. The reasons I speculated about at the end of my last post were incorrect.
She made it clear that she would really like me to attend her wedding.
Today I canceled my ticket.

I don’t know when I’ll reschedule the trip. I don’t know dates I’ll be able to take off from work in order to book a flight.

It’s been a rough day. Bring on karaoke.

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April 8, 2010

April 9, 2010

It’s been a while, so here’s a quick rundown.

I stopped wearing my yarmulke at work. Only one person noticed and said something to me about it. (I simply informed her that I’m no longer religious.)
I don’t feel strange going without my yarmulke on the street, but I still feel weird without it at work. I also feel more honest. It’s strange to simultaneously feel both.

Last week I came home to a bill from my cable and internet provider. They demanded that I return an old cable modem or pay $100. I don’t have the modem they seek nor do I feel I should be responsible for its return. After discussing it many times, they made it clear that they weren’t going to do anything to resolve the issue. I told them since that is true I can no longer work with them either and I am terminating my service with them. They “shut down” my service 2 days ago. However, my internet still seems to work. (I’m confused.)

Last week I was in a neighborhood bar. The very nice bartenders were speaking with me. The woman bartender told me she thinks I’m ready to start dating. She wants to meet women, go out, keep it light, have a good time.
I asked her to explain how she knows that I’m ready. She gave good reasons. Maybe she’s right.

Last week I got a text from my ex. She said our son has high levels of lead and needs to take a supplement.
I called her up and asked how she arrived at that diagnosis. She told me that a chiropractor had a guy read his palm and feel his fingers and that allowed him to reach the conclusion that the child has high lead levels. However, he assured her that his supplements can reduce the lead levels.
Of course these supplements are very expensive.
I told her to get a simple blood test done. That would prove conclusively whether lead is an issue.
She responded that if I wanted to do so, I could, but she wasn’t going to.
Sunday, Chol HaMoed (Minor Holidays), I took him to a real doctor. The results came back Wednesday. His lead levels are normal/undetectable.
I informed my ex of the results. I hope she saves her money and doesn’t buy the supplements. Aside from the money, I have no idea what’s in the supplements. The supplements might be dangerous.

I had the children (at my parents) Friday Chol HaMoed until the end of Pesach (Passover). I was nervous to have the children for so long. (Sometimes over a short weekend by Saturday night they are anxious to see their mother. I did not want to deal with “homesickness” for a period of double that time. As it turned out the children had a great time.
We celebrated mine and my youngest’s lunar birthdays. (Not the same day.) My siblings bought Passover cakes (dreadful) and the children loved them.

Tonight I went to karaoke. As I’ve been doing recently, when songs came on with a steady beat, I danced (not well, mind you). Dancing in public is resolution for 2010. Whenever I successfully dance in public, I feel a sense of accomplishment. Tonight, I asked a woman to dance with me. It didn’t really matter to me what she looked like or what her interests in me (zero, probably), the experience of asking a stranger to dance was positive. (By the way, she accepted in general, but declined for that particular song.)

Shutter Island

March 17, 2010

I was not planning on seeing “Shutter Island” because the previews made it look like a horror film. I am not a big fan of horror films. However, when I was at the bar Monday night to see a free film, a nice couple mentioned that they saw it and enjoyed it. When I expressed my concerns with it, they said it wasn’t a horror film. They said it was thought provoking, like “Revolutionary Road”.
(When I first separated I felt like I should not be around people. I felt toxic and harmful. I planned on becoming reclusive. I figured my family would not want to deal with me because they loved my wife and because I was openly not religious. I was surprised when most, though not all, of my immediate family reached out to me during the process. They helped me in many ways. It was a very difficult process and I don’t know how it would happened without them.
I still had no plans on meeting new people. I didn’t really have friends, so it wasn’t an issue.
One night, I was speaking with an internet acquaintance on the phone. I expressed my view that I should stay away from people. Including phone conversations with her. She suggested I meet people. She gave me reasons, which I will guard.
As a result of that one conversation:
a. I learned how to bowl
b. I started going to movies
c. I started going to karaoke
d. I posted a platonic craigslist ad for a movie buddy
all in the grand experiment to see if I should be around people.
The ad that I posted got one response. A young lapsed Catholic woman from New Jersey. Our emails prior to meeting for a movie were very brief. We met at Penn Station and we got a quick snack at a nearby tavern. I found her very interesting and attractive. I knew I was just there to meet her and I had no plans on ever getting physical or romantic with her, but I began to worry, since we had not disclosed personal information prior to meeting. I wasn’t sure if I should tell her that I was recently separated.
We went to see “Revolutionary Road”. It was amazing. The plot was engaging. I saw so much in what was said. Without giving away the plot of that film, I saw that my marital status played a major role in how I viewed the film. So, as we were leaving the theater, I told her. I was surprised when she said she was also separated.
There wasn’t time for us to discuss the film that night. (Work in the morning.) So, instead we exchanged about a hundred emails devoted to analyzing it.)
You can, therefore, see why I was quite eager to see “Shutter Island”.

“Shutter Island” begins the way you expect it would. Leonardo DiCaprio speaks in a heavy Boston accent as he investigates the disappearance of criminally insane woman from a locked jail cell. I expected the film not to have an ending… meaning, I expected it to have an open ending where the people get to debate what happens next and motivations. I was pleasantly surprised with how it concluded.
I can’t say more about the plot without ruining it for you.

A couple of warnings:
a. There are a few intense scenes, but it’s not prolonged or extremely anxious.
b. There are some Holocaust scenes. If anything Holocaust related, even brief scenes, bothers you, you might want to avoid this film.

This was the best movie I’ve seen since December 31, 2009. It is extremely thought provoking and it raises questions of our memories and of reality.

I feel like this film deserves a 9 out of 10, but, I’m giving myself permission to amend it down to an 8 within the next thirty days.

Tuesday Feb 16, 2010

February 18, 2010

Tuesday was a full and interesting day for me.

1. I had to write my 2 initials on 45 pages on 5 copies. (45*5=2=450 letters.)
2. I had to find a find a notary public and sign the document in front of him.
3. I had to travel to my wife’s lawyer and drop off my final divorce agreement. (The final agreement lays out the terms for the divorce so that when both parties sign it and a judge agrees to it, our divorce settlement will follow those terms. In our case, we will have the religious divorce as soon as we have both signed the agreement. We will remain married civilly until after a NYS judge can review it and agree that it’s fair to all parties involved.)
4. I went to see From Paris With Love
5. For dinner I stopped at the “2 Bros Pizza” on St Marks Place.
6. I went to see “The Tug of War Tour” that @ffidler produces. For information go here.
7. On the way home I passed “Second on Second”, a karaoke bar I’ve heard so much about, but, I’ve never seen. Last night Veni, vidi, vici. The bar is pretty empty on Tuesday nights apparently. And, while I only went in to see the place, and, later, just to sing one song, and, yet later, only to sing two songs, I found myself two hours later telling the karaoke jockey, yet again, that I need to go, because I have work the next morning.

Uninvited Guests and Fish

February 7, 2010

Friday afternoon, I was in middle of dealing with two projects when my cousin-in-law calls me up. He tells me that a friend of his is visiting NY and needs a place to stay for the weekend.

I understood his question, so I told him no problem. (I have an extra bedroom, so it’s not a big deal. I just lose a bit of my freedom and I have to wear pajamas to bed.) He said they’d meet me outside of my office building in thirty minutes. When I meet them, I see she’s a young woman with about 5 pieces of luggage. (As my CIN describes it, “She brought her house!”)

“How long were you planning on being in New York?”, I ask.

“The weekend”, she answers.

I immediately sense that there’s something “off” about her. I don’t know if it’s her hooded eyes or her slow delivery of words, her lack of intelligence, her slow ambulatory gait, or something else, but I’m on guard and I stay that way the whole time she’s at my place.
I end schlepping her giant suitcase and 2 handbags perched precariously atop it a few blocks, down the subway stairs, onto the train, up the subway stairs, down another block, and up three flights to my humble abode.

After the grand tour of my McMansion, we settle down for day old pasta and “Star Dust”. The whole movie she’s texting and answering phone calls! (We even had to pause the movie a couple of times so she could move to another room and talk “privately”.)

Eight o’clock rolls around. We get back on the subway (sans luggage). I make my way to 2 Bros Pizza on St Mark Place followed by a comedy show, while she goes to the Bronx to sight-see. ?!?
After the show, I go home and I’m ready for bed by midnight. She doesn’t call until about 1 AM. She says she’s leaving for the train now and she’ll be back soon. I am forced to stay up until 3 AM, when she finally gets back to my place. (I couldn’t go to sleep because I knew she might call to say she was lost and because she didn’t have keys to my building or apartment. I didn’t want to risk sleeping through a call and having her stuck out in the cold all night.)
We didn’t wake up (different rooms) until Saturday afternoon. We went to KFC for a quick breakfast. She took off to explore the Big Apple while I went back to my place to meditate. Despite my suggestion that she send a text every couple of hours, I would not hear from her for another six (6) hours.
We met in the subway and made our way to karaoke where my CIL and her “boyfriend” joined us. (I put boyfriend in quotes because she’s apparently married to a Minister and has two (2) children.)
Partway through the evening, she and her “boyfriend” slip out of the karaoke bar.
When karaoke is done, at close to 3 AM, my cousin tries calling her. No response. He comes back to my place, because he wants to pack her up and onto a Greyhound immediately. Eventually, she returns as well, but she doesn’t want to leave. In fact, she wants to stay until Monday.
I tell her no, she must be out by Sunday afternoon and she reluctantly accepts it. (But not before laying a massive guilt trip on me. Fortunately(?), I have a Jewish mother and seven (7) Jewish sisters. Her simple gentile mind games are no match for my Jedi-like anti-guilt trip skills! 😉 )
I finally get to bed by 6 AM. However, by 9 AM I’m awake and anxious to have my own place again.
At 10:30 she comes into the kitchen and informs me that due to the Winter storm, Greyhound canceled her bus. She asked if she could leave her luggage at my place.
After calling Greyhound and confirming that she wasn’t lying, I told her she could pack her stuff into the guest closet, but I cannot be responsible for anything in there.
Finally, at 11:45, she left. But, without her luggage. The story is sure to have a sequel. Joy.

She somehow traveled to New York without money, so she borrowed some from me. I know I will never see that money again. I hope I never see her either.

One uninvited guest for two nights – $40 and a guilt trip.
Gifts or other non-cash payments for my troubles – None.

Work Feb 3, 2010

February 4, 2010

Here’s what my day was like today.

Every month I run a long process that results in about 1.5 to 2 million dollars worth of checks being cut.

I wrote a new program that removes all unnecessary manual labor from the process, but it’s still being tested. (It went through one series of Quality Assurance and now it’s going through another.) So for now I’m running the process under an older application that I wrote, but it has a lot more manual steps in it and it’s slower.

Unfortunately, the unit that sends the raw data has started in recent months to use the delimiter field within the data field. This caused a problem last month, when it blew up another developer’s program. They asked me for assistance in tracking down the culprit and we solved it together. This month, they must have noticed the issue and dealt with it quietly, but I forgot about it. My program didn’t raise a stink about the bad data, it just pretended that it ran successfully. Meanwhile, I didn’t notice that more than half the data weren’t loaded into the database!
Today, I came in and prepared to do the final step in the process that would result in certifying the files were correct when i noticed that the amount of money we were sending was more than a million dollars less than usual! I had to rollback all the changes that the manual/automatic processes have done since Monday and then re-ran it with the debugger set to “STUN”. That’s when I saw that the old nemesis is back in business!
I hate when programmers don’t send urgent enough messages that something major has gone wrong in the program that needs immediate attention. But what can I do when the programmer is my younger self?
At least it uncovered a major bug that I need to make sure my newer program can either handle or trap. I will mention this to the Quality Assurance people so they can test this scenario.

Meanwhile, I’m working on a project that we are presenting to lower-upper management tomorrow. There’s a tremendous amount of pressure on it because a lot of people’s reputations are riding on its success or failure. This presentation has caused us to have at least 3 internal presentations and 3 other meetings.

And, since concurrent processes aren’t enough, I’m also responsible for a third project. This project has a bit more breathing room, since it’s not officially due until June, but my managers really want me to finish it by April. What I’ve done so far is define the data elements for a couple of the forms and created the tables and very basic Stored Procedures. Then I’ve asked a couple of interns to replicate the tables on a web page without worrying about look and feel. (I will ask my manager to do that, since he loves re-branding web pages.)
I’m hoping that we can move quickly even though they have almost no experience with ASP.NET and I’m only devoting about sixty to ninety minutes per day for this project. (To combat the experience issue, I’ve given them a lot of my previous web pages for them to copy and paste as needed to this site.)

Wednesday is going to be a crazy day! Preparing for the presentation. The presentation itself!
In the evening one of my sister’s is coming over to watch 500 Days of Summer. (She’s normally in school, but she’s in New York for this “weekend”.) After she leaves, I’ve got karaoke in Park Slope.

You might know me from such places as…

February 1, 2010

I’m Alar Bean.

You might know me as DrumIntellect from such sites as:

You might know me as Opinionated from a podcast I used to produce:

You might know me as Alar Bean from:

For all my links, go here: