Friday, September 16, 2011

A Proper Introduction

I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.

I may not know you, even though it says I've indicated you as a "Friend." And I cant be bothered to tell you how I found your name, or why I'd like to be connected to you. But hey, why can't you just give me access to all your professional information and contacts. I've indicated you as a Friend. Remember.

How the fuck is this professionally acceptable?

I am not your friend. I'm a crusty old bastard, who uses the social networks like everyone else, but expects a little social etiquette in return. A networking rub, if you will.

So this blog goes out to the Sxxxx Serlings, Jxxxxx Collinses, Nxxxxxx Nelsons and Cxxxxx Mendezes of the world. You seem like nice people and all. You work in fields
related to mine. And it might even be mutually beneficial for us to be connected.

Just tell me why.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Not-So Happy Meal

It's been said that Larry David is an exaggerated caricature of his true personality - his on-screen persona says all the things he wishes he could say in real life. And yet, with very little effort, I'm often accused of behaving just like him, and not by people who know what he's like in real life.

I get multiple emails a week to the tune of, "I just watched Curb and totally thought of you." But what they they're really saying is, "you're an abrasive asshole who's behavior is socially unacceptable. Hah!"

I'm bald, Jewish and perturbed. And I don't live in New York, where this type of description is not only acceptable, it's the master race.

Now for those who know the wife, they just feel sorry for her. Poor girl, as charming and lovely as she is, having to live with a social pariah like myself. But what most people don't realize, is that the wife is a closeted Larry David hereself, as evidenced by two recent visits to Laughing Planet Burritos.

As frequent customers, we are very familiar with their menu and typically order our five-year-old the "kid's bean and cheese burrito." It's a lot smaller and a little cheaper than their standard fare.

But on a recent solo visit, the wife was feeling only moderately hungry and decided to order the kid's burrito for herself. As she sat in the restaurant enjoying the diminutive wrap, the cashier publicly humiliated my dear, sweet wife, letting her know that in the future, kids burritos could only be ordered for kids.

Well, the future came yesterday. The wife went back to the same Laughing Planet and ordered a kid's burrito from the same cashier, who responded with a dubious look. The wife, always quick on her feet said, "It's for my kid. I going to pick her up now from camp and she'll need something to eat. So I'll just take it to go."

Left with no option, the cashier sold my wife the burrito. But she did it with hate.

It probably comes as no surprise, but I whole-heartedly side with the wife on this one. The burrito joint wins by charging only marginally less money for significantly less food and they should support the notion that uneaten beans and cheese won't be thrown away. They should be ashamed of themselves for even instituting such a policy.

Perhaps one day, we can all channel our inner-LD, without shame or indignation. And we'll all be kept a little more honest for it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Nothing to Complain About

Do you know what the title of this blog post means to a guy like me?

It means, I've got nothing.

Complaining is my life blood. It's what gets me out of the bed in the morning. It's what fills my awkward moments around the water cooler. It's fueled the majority of these less and less frequent blog posts.

That's because these days, I really have nothing to complain about.

I've started a new job that I actually like (and involuntarily lost 10 lbs since I started).

The wife hasn't had any chemical meltdowns of late.

And I don't have time to hate on any coffee shops at the moment (I'm actually writing this from an old favorite and I sort of wonder why I ever left - oh yeah).

Anyway, therein lies the problem. Complaining is my Yoko.
Without complaining, I'm a fucking mute. I know, I know. I sound like a real joy to be around. But this, sadly is just how it is.

And then last night, after a particularly enjoyable company outing, while driving the boss back to his hotel, I found myself complaining about something. Something minor and forgettable actually. But complaining just enough to trigger the boss' reaction: "My goal is to see if you can go three days without complaining," admitting that he'd just gotten two for setting me up in a swank hotel.

Apparently, this man, who has only known me on and off for the last three months, deftly identified my entire M.O.

Does this mean I've got it back? Or maybe it never went away. Either way, I hope this renewed sense of general displeasure has some legs. I've been a little lost without it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Coffee Shop Saga (Cont.)

When we last left off, nearly two years ago, I had found a coffee shop that met my early morning criteria - on the way to work, $2 Americano's, decent atmosphere/music/staff. Prior to that, it was just an endless barrage of me bitching about one proprietor getting too personal about my bathroom time (pre-dating the genius Curb Your Enthusiasm episode covering the same topic below), or my disgust for another shop's music selection.

The last place had a nice long run. But the owners got complacent, went on an extended vacation and hired
Portlandia cast-offs to run the joint. It was all downhill from there.

But, like the move that brought me there, I wasn't willing to completely forsake my morning ritual, until I found a viable substitute. And just when I least expected it, along came Water Avenue Coffee Company.

They roast their beans on site, and damn well, I must say. They kill it on the Americano, charging an equitable $2, though they call my version (very little water) an "Italiano" - a little contrived, but I'm not judging. And like all roastaries worth their metal, these guys serve up the array of pour-over brewing methods that bring out some crazy flavors if you're totally committed to the "experience."

Cool space (if not a touch "precious" - a descriptor to be discussed in greater length with the following post - coming soon ). Close to work. Nice staff. The music's never great, but it's certainly, no Paul Simon Graceland. More trance-y electronica. Fine for my purposes.
This appeared to be a relationship that could last.

And then, without even consulting my pre-work-self - with complete disregard for the fragile balance that is my morning refuge - my work-day-self accepted a new job on the other side of town. And just like that, my new-found morning paramour, would be ripped from my loving embrace.

I sit here now, soaking in my final days with Water Ave., recounting our short, but passionate lives together. We had a real good thing going, and yet, we may never see each other again.

So to this sweet little shop, tucked under the east side industrial bridges, you'll be in my heart forever. And maybe, just maybe, our paths will cross
again in this crazy, mixed-up world.


Monday, March 14, 2011

The Chemicals May Just Kill You - A Love Story (Part 7)

A Tale of Two Dressers

Yes readers, it has been a while. But not for lack of material. Only a lack of time. So much has happened with the wife's sniffer these last four months that I can only share with you the best and most recent episode now.

For the last five years, the wife has been pleading with me to buy her a dresser, as her clothes are strewn across our bedroom floor, occasionally making it to a laundry receptacle. This may come as a surprise to anyone who has been reading, but the wife is, how shall I say...a fucking slob.

Crazy, right? One would assume that with all her sensitivities to noxious odors, she would in turn also be a neat freak. Not the case.

Our house looks like an episode of Hoarders, but instead of garbage bags full of soup cans or feral cats cluttering the house, our place is wall-to-wall hairballs and dust bunnies. It's all organic, locally-grown dust, though, so it's fine.

Anyway, the wife wanted a dresser. And I was all too happy to provide. I took pictures of dressers I found in antique stores. I offered to order one from Crate & Barrel. But nothing was good enough. Either the drawers didn't open smoothly. Or The style wasn't right for our room. You know, that early-mission-I-just-don't-give-a-shit-style.

And of course, there was the smell issue. Anything new would be treated with chemicals and anything used would have someone else's smell on it.

Now, I am sympathetic to my wife's affliction, but every once in a while, I demand that logic come into play. She may not like other people's smells, and I'm with her there. But other people's smells should not cause the same reaction that say, a wood stain, might. Body odor is not chemically engineered.

My attitude was, buy someone else's dresser, give it a nice healthy scrub (with non-toxic cleansers) and deal with it until it takes on a smell of our own.

The wife went and bought an IKEA dresser. Obviously.

o be expected, the nondescript box with drawers smelled distinctly like new IKEA furniture - a mix of freshly pressed particle board and Swedish meatballs. And while the wife wouldn't dare bring the toxins into our home, she had no problem leaving it in the back of our car for the next couple days. Somehow, she's unaffected by glues and dyes when she's in motion.

So I brought the box directly into our garage and unpacked all 497 pieces. Never mind the fact that this would take up a ridiculous amount of space in our already cluttered garage. That thing had some
off-gassing to do. At least two months worth.

In the meantime, with clothes piling up in every corner of our bedroom, the wife surprised me one day as I returned home from work. She's purchased a lovely, mid-century modern dresser that she found on craigslist and had it delivered to our home - already assembled. I loved it.

All I had to do was repackage the IKEA dresser, drive it back to the burbs and reclaim my $100. And with the help of our neighbor, I carried the pre-owned dresser upstairs and found a nice spot between her just laundered jeans and slightly soiled jog bras that littered the floor. Perfect.

Perfect until we opened up a drawer. Yes, it smelled. Kind of perfume-y. Kind of moth-ball-y. But according to the wife, all deal-breaker-y.

She gave each drawer a once-over with our highly ineffective non-toxic cleaners but it still smelled. And yet, as if the smells inside the drawers were hermetically sealed in this wobbly mid-century modern design, the wife closed the drawers up and went on about her business, leaving the dresser where it sat, mere inches from where we sleep at night.

That was two months ago. The
used, mid-century modern dresser still sits empty in our bedroom. The new, unassembled, IKEA, off-gassing dresser still sits in pieces in our garage. And the woman's clothes still take up every square inch of usable floor space in our bedroom. She refuses to put her clothes in the used dresser. And we can't assemble the new dresser until we sell the vintage one.

So, anyone in the market?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Do It For Your Prostate - 2010

I like to grow mustaches. Plural. I just can't keep them.

The growth is rich and thick, sure. But short, bald and oddly groomed facial hair don't mix. No matter how hard I try.

So I grow them for as long as I can bear to be laughed at, and then the inevitable shave.

It drives the wife bonkers. Which is kind of my way of getting payback. Besides, it's a super cheap thrill.

So for the last two Novembers, I've used
Movember, a fund raising effort that seeks an end to prostate cancer, as my excuse to 'stache out.

I don't know anyone who's ever had prostate cancer, so this is not a personal mission for me. And, as I mentioned here last November, I'm not much of a "giver," so this is not just another altrustic hobby I've jumped on.

This is about me and mustache. And without this blessed annual event, there is absolutely no reason for me to look this absurd.

Last year, I didn't raise a dime. I didn't even donate to myself. Nor did I inted to. I set up a Movember page just to keep up my shaky charade. And to be fair, I started growing the mustache about a week into November and shaved it right before Thanksgiving dinner. Fails on both counts.

But this year, I'm all in. I've had this bad boy growing since day one. And I'm taking it on the road, to spend Thanksgiving with the in-laws. The wife couldn't be more thrilled.

I've even raised some money. $160 to date. And I'm only about half way through the month. And yes, I plan to make a financial contribution myself, this year.

If you'd like to contribute to my mustache, and other people's prostates, you can make your donation here

Or just grow your own mustaches.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Chemicals May Just Kill You - A Love Story (Part 6)

The wife and I don't get out much. At least not with each other. Our lack of babysitters and the cost associated with them have conspired to keep us socially irrelevant.

But when our good friend invited us to the opening of his new bar, we made a thrice-annual night out of it. Not only did we want to support our friend, this particular bar opening was slated to be a real big deal, based on said friend's past endeavors
(I'd mention the friend and the bar, but we have a very strict, no real names policy here at Look Lefty).

Parking was a challenge and we found ourselves walking, hand-in-hand through a bizarre stretch of road framed by Dennys restaurants and cheap convention center hotels.

About a block away, my wife quickly veered off the sidewalk and through some bushes into a random parking lot, pulling me with her. "What's going on?" I asked, only with a super annoyed tone. Disgusted, she replied, "smokers!"

I hadn't even noticed, but sure enough, right in our path was a plume of hot, steamy carcinogens. I acquiesced and joined her through the bushes.

I think it's important to note here, that this woman who claims to experience such volatile reactions to all things chemical, was actually a smoker herself when we first met. And the really weird part - while many people claim to be social smokers, only opting for the fashionable little cancer wands when out with friends, my dear sweet wife, was a closeted smoker. She would only puff in the privacy of her own home (where she all but chain-smoked), extinguishing any sign of them when people (including myself) came around. Nowadays, she can't lick a stamp without getting chest pains.

Now back to the bar.

As we rounded the corner, we ran into two more smokers standing right outside the door. There was no getting inside without walking right past them. And the best part was, one of the two smokers was a partner in the bar. The wife had never met him, but I had on several occasions, so an introduction was not only in order, it would have been terribly rude to enter his bar without doing so.

The wife extended a tentative hand like a little mouse about to get batted around by feral cat. The
friend took her hand and smiled graciously, not knowing anything of my wife's afflictions, all while his cigarette continued to burn just inches away.

I reveled in the moment, watching my wife squirm before finally entering the bar. Not nice, but that was my only entertainment for the evening.

As expected, the place was incredible and packed to the gills. The food looked amazing and the space was styled out beautifully. Surely, a place I will frequent.

And like any new establishment, the air was thick with the lingering aroma of fresh paint and toxic adhesives.

We said hello to our friend, congratulated him on the opening and promptly

All in all, a night to remember.