Elster's World

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Story Of My Life

Forgive me for I have sinned.

It has been too long since my last blog posting. An eternity for all of you out there straining to hear my voice. So sorry.

But my inactivity here is a perfect microcosm of my life. I have to act on momentum or things fall to the wayside.

Exhibit A: The Job. Was going to quit in December. Decided to wait it out untill I had a better "escape plan" in effect. Inertia struck. Got into a fight with my boss in March. Decided to quit. Decided to get fired instead. Found out I am not going to get fired (in this case, the worst news). And, shock of shocks, inertia has set in again. Wash, rinse, repeat. Blah.

As my Labor Day Weekend derailed in a flaming trainwreck of sick kids and sick wife, I was thinking abut this. When I woke up this morning with the usual cold band of fear sqeezing my heart, I thought of it again. Why am I still here? What do I think is going to happen if I do nothing? Wait, I know the answer to that last one: NOTHING.

I consider myself a pretty smart guy, but I am as thick headed as they come. Perhaps I need a heavenly voice???

Happier (I hope) post to follow.....

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Mediocrity Sucks

And no, I'm not talking about me. I'm talking about your 2005 New York Mets. Look, I know that, while Omar Minaya did a good job of upgrading the talent since last year's trainwreck, we weren't exactly looking at a hundred win team here. But even so, this constant up and down is painfull. Lose 5, win nine. Lose 4 win three. You have to love see-saw sports. Or do you??

I should be used to it. You'd figure that a lifetime spent rooting for average (and that's being generous my friends) teams would have prepared me for this. Mets, Jets, Knicks, Rangers. 32 years, exactly 2 world champions ('86 Mets, '94 Rangers). To quote ESPN.com's Bill Simmons, not good times.

Is it bad that I would contemplate exchanging my spleen for a Jets Super Bowl victory? Is it bad that I contemplate the murder of Isaiah Thomas for taking a terrible, salary cap stuck team and making it even worse; for being the punchline of the NBA beat writers? Ugh. Is it bad that while I love Herm Edwards, I constantly find myself wondering if I am a better game coach than him.

Yes, it is bad. But that's sports baby. It's life and death. That's why we love love it. If it didn't bring out our passions, it would be, well, chess.

Write Me a Song of the Piano Man

Once upon a time there was a young boy who thought that, simply put, Billy Joel was the finest musical performer in history. And such a fine choice it was. The man could sing, he could write music; what better choice could this young boy have for a musical hero?

Those were simpler times. And that simple boy, of course, has grown into a more complex man.

Read that again.

Who is that boy? That boy is all of us. Forget the Billy Joel part. For you it might have been Cindi Lauper or MBD. Maybe you didn't even like music. It doesn't matter. That child was all of us.

Robert R. McCammon wrote a book called Boy's Life. It is the story of a young boy's loss of innocence in a simpler time than the one we live in today. In his post-script, Mr. McCammon writes that every single child is born with magic in his or her heart.

That magic is adulted out of us. We grow up and learn to ignore the magic. We take the place in our souls where the magic is and we fill it in with "responsibility", "duty" and "all that jazz".

How did it come to this? Why did we let it happen? Who am I kidding? I have no answers to these questions, only more questions. But I will say this. I cling to what's left of my magic with everything I have; like a life raft in the deep blue sea. I look for magic in the beauty of a cloudless blue sky. I see it in the red bird perched on my deck. I live it in the worlds of my children. I search for it in books and movies and television shows like Lost.

Scoffers may think me foolish. They use the "real world" like a shield or worse, like a surgical instrument with which to cut out the magic from their own hearts as though it was cancer. But who is the fool, he who tries to keep a treasure or he who tosses it away as carelessly as a chocolate bar wrapper on the highway? Exactly.

Wow - lotsa heavy blogging here the last few days. I want to go a little lighter. As usual, suggestions are always welcome.

The Classic Rock Experience

With some exception, I hate modern music. I belive that Rock and Roll peaked in the 1960's and 70's, almost flamed out in the 80's, and i still trying to resurrect itself today.

My music chart of the greats is simple. There's Zeppelin, there's Floyd and then there's everyone else. I feel that no one can hold a candle to these two supergroups. Take Zeppelin. Talk about lightining in a bottle. One of the greatest rock/blues guitar players of all time (Jimmy Page) teams up with a strong voiced kid from Birmingham, England (Robert Plant). Talk about a front line. Wow. Fill in the band with John Bonham on drums and the multi-talented John Paul Jones on everything else and you have yourself an all-star team.

I feel that people tend to mis-categorize Zeppelin as a Metal band. But honestly, that's just silly. Sure, they could rock with anyone, but this is the group that mixed in other cultures (see Kashmir) as well as the Lord of the Rings mythology (See battle of Evermore, No Quarter, Misty Mountain Hop and Ramble On) in with original blues sounds which they borrowed from blues greats going back to the 1920's. Hello? Metal band? I think not.

As for The Pink Floyd Experience (early name for the band), their path was very different. Their primary songwriter/lead guitarist went insane after becoming addicted to mind-altering drugs. Their early sound is psychedelia (heavily influenced by the soon to be departed Syd Barret) and their middle stuff is the Roger Waters influenced sound that would make them uber-famous (Dark Side of the Moon, The Wall). As for me, their best album BY FAR is the very under-appreciated Animals. 5 songs. 2 under two minutes. The other 3 at least 10. Every human being categorized as a dog (those who work for the pigs), a pig (evil leaders) and sheep (the followers). Brilliant sounds. "Dogs" may very well be my favorite Pink Floyd song.

Recently, I've been getting into some of their less famous stuff. Atom Heart Mother, Obscured by Clouds. This stuff is genius. All you need is the patience.

Good Luck.

I'm So Tired

I feel like I have been swimming upstream for the last six years. Don't get me wrong, life is pretty good. Overall, I really don't have that much to complain about. Well, there is this one teeny tiny thing....WORK.

I hate my job. Despise, abhor, fill in your own word here. Yes, yes, I know. Everyone hates their job. Join the club you big crybaby. Well, for me ladies and gentlemen, it's different. My hatred has taken on a physical and emotional life of its own. It ruins my sleep, ruins my weekends. Makes we irritable when I should be happy. It's not fair to me or my family.

So quit, you say. And excellent advice that is. The only problem is, well, money. I need it. There's that pesky mortgage thing, tuition. Oh yeah, and food and clothes and stuff.

But I am working on it. I am ready to move on. I cannot hide in my office and pretend forever. I used to think that SOMETHING GREAT!!! was going to come along. But I realized that SOMETHING GREAT !!! Doesn't come along for people like me. People like me have to make their own luck. Take a risk, make a change. I will have to take matters into my own hands.

But hell, it's scary business jumping ship mid-stream. I know what I want to do (write) but what if I can't make a living out of it? What if I'm fooling myself? Authors are a dime a dozen. Successful authors? Well, they are a bit more rare.

Of course I'd love to hear what you guys think. Oh wait, there are no "you guys". Even better. My blog is like a secret journal with no lock. It's private, but anyone can read it. How very exciting.

What I'm Watching

Is there a better show right now than ABC's Lost? Seriously, can this possibly be the Best Show of All Time? Depends who you ask of course. My vote? So far, it's off to a tremendous start but one year does not the Best Show of All Time make.

I will say, however, that John Locke is my favorite television character ever. Bar none. And he has some tough competition. There's Hawkeye Pierce (M*A*S*H), Hannible from the A-Team, David Addison (Moonlighting), Remington Steele (if only for the name), etc. The list goes on but you get the point. But Locke...Locke is complexity as defined. He is mysterious yet an open book. He seems to be helpful but what are his motives really? Is he just a good guy or is he just trying to make allies? What did he see when he saw the monster? How much about the island does he really understand? All this and he does it all with one kidney. And the guy couldn't even walk before he got to the island. Absolute kudos to Terry O'Quinn who took a good character and made him great.

Some people are upset that Wednesday's finale will cliffhang, leave many lives in the balance, but reveal little of the island's mystery. To those people I say: "What is wrong with you?" The greatness of Lost is the journey, not the destination. I don't WANT to know. Once you know, the show is over. And Lost is a few seasons away from jumping the shark. We are lucky enough to be on this ride. We shouldn't be in such a hurry to jump off.

Next up: What I'm listening to. Stay tuned, it should be cool.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Dear Diary

This past Friday I discovered that something I've been trying to accomplish at my job for the last three weeks has failed. Very disheartening. Especially since what I've been trying to do was get fired. Seems like thats easier said than done.

So I was thinking about what that means. Am I the biggerst failure in the world or am I uber-successful? I'm not quite sure. What i do know is that it's chose or lose time at work. Jump on the bus or cut bait. Shrug. We'll see...

Though I must say I do so very much enjoy pissing off my bosses.

Bloggers of the World Unite!!

Thus begins my first blog. Hmmmm. Truth is, I am a little unsure about this bad boy right now. What do I want to say? How do i want to say it? As Yoda might say, "Much thought to this I will give."

In the meantime, I shall revel in my blog's solitude. As no one knows I'm writing this, no one will be reading it. Writing for writing's sake. Can you think of anything more pure? No, I mean besides Ivory Soap, dumbass.