Elster's World

Friday, June 30, 2006

A Lawyer's Life For Me

Reason number 4,523 why I hate my job:

I worked until 4:00 am this morning - and needed to be back in the City early for a big closing conference call. As a suburbanite, my to and fro commute was too long to make it worthwhile to go home for a few precious hours in my own bed. So after crashing on a partner's couch for two hours, I put on tallis and tefillin in my office and mumbled some prayers. Positively awe inspiring, let me tell you.

Incidentally, this is my 150th post at Elster's World. A small accomplishment to some, perhaps a larger accomplishment for me. When I started this blog, I had no idea of it's direction. Now, 150 posts later, I am happy with where it is. Which is to say, despite the fact that it still lacks direction, I'm liking it.

The Red Sox sweep of my beloved Mets, while sad, is no reason to get down. The Mets are in the midst of a fantastic season and there are always bumps in the road. Bellany and I are going head to head this weekend.

I'm tired, I need a shower and I want to go home. Let the FOUR DAY WEEKEND begin.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Housekeeping and, of course, Baseball

- The first stage of the soon to be massive changes at Elster's World has commenced. I have added an email address to my profile. I'm convinced that there are legions of silent readers out there who want nothing more than a more private way of contacting me. So this is for all of you, legions of silent readers. Enjoy.

- The Mets/Red Sox series, in the grand scheme of things, is probably not that important in terms of what it means in the standings or how it will affect the Mets playoff hopes. Yet, in other ways it's extremely important. The media hype, Pedro's return to Boston, Pedro vs. Beckett, Glavine (11-2) vs. Curt Schilling and his Bloody Sock (9-2). Plenty of interesting subplots there.

But the biggest of them all, for me, is the yardstick test. Every series, every game, is a test for the Mets. How good is this team really? Sure, they can beat up on some very flawed divisional teams. Sure they have the best record in the weaker National League. But how good are they really? When the Mets went 9-1 on a recent west coast swing, it was telling. Why? Because those west coast trips are usually a study in disaster for them. So at this point, everything is a challenge. If they beat the Pirates, it shows they won't let down against bad teams. When the beat the Phillies or Braves, it shows they can get up for divisional rivals.

Right now, the Sox are the hottest team in the league. They have won their last 10 games. They are one of the best teams in the American League. This series, and the one following it at the Yanks in the Bronx, is a measuring stick. Can the Mets perform against the best in baseball at a high level, series in and series out? That's what this is about. Can the Mets go 4-2 against two top teams away from Shea? Sure Soler threw up a stinker last night, Lastings made a terrible play in left, and it appears that Nady got hurt. All true. But there are still five games to go. Prove yourself Mets.

- One other baseball note - The Mets really could use a decent Cliff Floyd back in the lineup. He gives David Wright more protection than Xavier Nady, and turns Nady into one of the best number 7 hitters in the league. Also, it's nice to have a number 6 hitter who can potentially hit 30 home runs (if healthy) and drive in 85-90 RBI. AND he's a true clubhouse leader.

- Couple of relatively new posts below. If you haven't seen em yet, get to it.

- Travel Mates - Tomboy seems to have dropped of the planet. Have not heard from her in well over two weeks. Scraps and I have pushed the story as far as it can go without her contribution. So if any of you are still reading, please be patient. We hope to be up and running soon.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Image Is Everything

Back when Andre Agassi was a teenage punk with long hair and no Grand Slam victories, he came out with a commercial for the Rebel Eos (I think) camera. “Image is everything,” he said, as he rocketed forehands all over the court. My dad always hated that commercial. Image is not everything, he’d argue. It’s more important for a tennis player to win his matches than to look cool. While as a kid I loved Agassi’s denim jean shorts and orange sneakers (I even bought a pair of the orange and light blue kicks for camp one summer, even though I played much more basketball than tennis), turns out dad was right.

I mention this because a friend of mine (A) just told me something very shocking about someone else I sort of know (or think I know), (B). This really threw me for a loop. B is a very presentable, seemingly good person. If I didn’t know A so well, I’d be apt to disbelieve what I was told.

Which leads me to today’s point. Joe will often grouse about J-bloggers who keep their identities hidden. When you hide behind a wall, it’s much easier to say whatever you want with no fear of repercussions. In many ways this is entirely correct. The J-blogverse (obviously, this is not limited to J-bloggers) allows people to invent themselves any way they please and say anything they want. After all, if you are careful enough about covering your tracks (or even slipping in just enough misinformation to throw people really off) then it’s entirely possible that no one will ever figure out who you are.

There are a couple of really good examples of this. Last year, there was a J-blogger who gave himself the name of a popular actor and he would enforce that name by using a picture of that actor as his image. He would never post more than once a week and his posts tended to be pretty good mussar-type discussions. The thing with him was that he always managed to make himself look really good. Super good. And he developed quite a following of people who would literally hang onto his every post or comment. And I always wondered to myself how much of his fan base was due to his posts (which in all fairness were pretty good – though nothing earth-shatteringly brilliant) and how much had to do with his slick packaging concept. It all became moot later when he dropped off the map about four or five months ago.

I suspected then, and continue to suspect now, that this person’s disappearance from the blogverse was due to the fact that he had given away too much information about himself. That he was on the verge of being “discovered”. Not that, heaven forbid, his reality was so far off from his blog image, but rather when people know who you are, sometimes it’s harder to be as preachy.

Then there are those who decide to use their new found freedom (and anonymity) to say whatever foolishness pops into their heads. We all can name these sites off the tops of our heads so I will only give one example (see here)

I know one blogger personally. Joe and I went to school together. I met him for dinner and a hockey game a few months ago. I can tell you with certainty that he is the man he comes across as on his blog. He vehemently loves Israel and New York Jets football. The Mets do often disappoint him, but he pulls for them hard. He has little patience for silly errors and he will strongly disagree with people who oppose him. And just like his blog makes it appear, he is a good guy and very, very smart. I know these things are all true because I know him.

But that’s it. I have never met another blogger. I have no idea what they are really like. Jameel certainly seems to love Israel, but for all I know, he can be a member of Fatah’s radical, militant arm. Jack reminds me a little of me, but it’s possible he’s really a computer, trained to spit out random posts every 15 minutes. I wouldn’t know.

I’ve spoken via email or instant messenger with Tomboy. I have read about her very interesting life in these places and on her blog. But do I really know her? Of course not. The list is endless.

Sometimes being able to re-invent yourself is a good thing. For example, there’s always that one person in the group who is the joker, the one no one takes seriously. But that person may have serious thoughts getting tossed by the wayside. What better place to come than the blogverse, where you can reinvent yourself as The Serious Jew and start posting morbidly depressing posts on everything from cancer to hunger to mass murder. The world can be your serious oyster here if no one knows who you are.

But there is a flip side to the case above. He’s the blogger who posts with an impressive piety which draws many people to him. He also has concerns about immodest dress? Me too. He also has issues with the way people speak nowadays? He also calls for a return to a better, more simple time? Wow we are so on the same page.

But every once in a while, the blogger slips. His post carries an undercurrent of something more than just his studied piety. It might be a post on dating that goes a little too far, he’s single after all – of course he’s looking for that certain someone. But there is something there. Something out of place. Something which makes you go “hmmm”. Then he posts his controversial position on topic X. Gets a lot of comments. Backs off. Returns to his normal stream of “perfection”. Then he slips again down the road.

It makes you wonder. Who are these faceless bloggers after all? I have a natural suspicion of anyone who comes on here anonymously and tries to put themselves in too good a light. If you are anonymous anyway, just be real. No one is ever that perfect. We all make mistakes, we all screw up. We all do things we aren’t proud of. So the people who don’t seem to have any faults are the ones I mistrust the most.

This is not a uniquely blogger problem. This is true of the so called “real world” as well. I am a pretty honest person. Generally with me, what you see is what you get. I often say things without really thinking the through (just ask Joe – who relishes deconstructing some of my sillier assertions) and I often do things I regret later. I am a person who cannot learn except through experience (and, often, error). And that’s ok. I make no bones about it.

Therefore, I trust myself. And I trust my judgment. So when I see these too perfect characters here, it makes me wonder. They are leaning too hard on their image. For them, image is everything. And sometimes when the truth comes out, that image will topple over like the house of cards that it is.

Now please excuse me while I try and pierce the blog veil.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Knick Knuckleheads

Ok, so I have lost the ability to write about anything other than sports. I'm sure that will pass.

In the meantime, the saga with the New York Knicks continues to boil my blood. Honestly, I can't understand why I care. It's been three or four years since I have followed basketball - mostly because the Knicks have been so bloody awful during that time that basketball has simply become unwatchable.

What kills me is that, according to people who still know things about the sport, basketball has been reborn the last few seasons - as players like Chris Paul, Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, 'Melo Anthony and Steve Nash are making things more exciting again - a push from the Pat Riley Knick and Heat teams of the 90's who clutched and grabbed their way to prominence (and yes, I AM aware that Riley's Heat just won the NBA championship, but still). I wouldn't know as I have stopped watching basketball altogether (thank you Knicks).

As basketball returns to a more enjoyable style of play, the Knicks continue to be the joke of the league. The Larry Brown fiasco, the ineptitude of Jimmy Dolan (to the point where his father, Cable giant Charles Dolan, was forced to write a letter to the New York Times in response to Selena Roberts' fantastic rip job last week - in which he mentions how proud he is of Jimmy and what a fine job he's doing) and last and certainly least, that the controls to the organization are now completely in the hands of Isaiah Thomas, the worse executive in sports.

Thomas will take his horrible roster and try to turn them into the Phoenix Suns. They will run at every opportunity, they will not play defense and they will try to outscore (instead of stop) their opponents. The problem (of which there are many) is that Phoenix' attach is predicated on certain parts:

1. Having a pass first facilitator at point guard (Steve Nash) who looks to get his teammates actively involved first and only tries to score/take over the game if absolutely necessary. The Knicks have 4 "point guards" on the roster (Jamaal Crawford, Stephon Marbury, Stevie Francis and Nate Robinson) all of whom would rather score first and pass later.

2. Having wing players (Diaw, Barbarosa, The Matrix, etc.) who can all stroke the open three and finish around the rim. Um...Anyone? Hello? Tumbleweeds blowing. The Knicks have slasher Jalen Rose (past his prime, poor shooter), Quentin Richardson (who thrived in this system in Phoenix but word on the street is that Thomas is trying to get rid of him because he was a vocal Larry Brown supporter), David Lee (undersized power forward/rebounding machine who is worthless from outside of 16 or 18 feet) and a host of undersized twos who don't shoot particularly well from downtown (see Number 1 for a list).

The fact that the Knicks will be playing this style means they will probably win more games than last years' debacle of a season. It's almost impossible for them not to. But the parts they have will eventually tune out Isaiah as well. This roster is just filled with too many overpaid malcontents. If nothing else, Thomas needs to identify which of his younger players will be around to help the team when it is finally ready to escape salary cap hell and turn around.

In the meantime, I will continue to not watch the Knicks but allow them to burn me up. Why? Because being a diehard sports guy isn't easy. It means suffering with your team even as you can't seem to let them go. It means following them from a long distance, even when Isaiah Thomas is running the team. In other words, sometimes it just sucks.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Dried Up

He sat in the small office, the only illumination from the rain streaked window and the artificial glow of the computer screen. He repeated the same pattern of the last few weeks. Stare at screen, stare at walls, stare out window. Wash, rinse repeat.

There is no inspiration. Not in the trees or flowers outside the pane, nor, either, in the pouring rain. There hadn't been for too long now. All of the outlets have become one dimensional, shells of their former selves. He tapped on his creative side, digging deeper and pushing harder - but whatever it is that flips the switch, that turned the gears, lays dormant and cold.

The rain pounds. He is alone. Yet even the rare isolation does not motivate. He is in a sea of nothing, floating on empty, unformed verse. He knows this should scare the hell out of him. He doesn't know from where the muse came, does not how long she stays. Worse still, does not know when she will fly - whatever sparse "gifts" she may once had given now ruthlessly gone.

So he gets up, closes the shade and lets the computer screen go to saver and eventually fade to black. There are other things to do today, other games to play. If the muse is sleeps, then there is nothig he can do to awaken her charms. They come and go at her whimsy. They always have. It's the unspoken deal.

The Mets call. He goes.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Unfathomable

ESPN.com Is reporting that the New York Knicks have fired coach Larry Brown after one miserable season in New York and replaced him with non other than the man partially responsible for the destruction of the Knicks - Isaiah Thomas.

I say partially responsible for much of the blame must fall upon Horror Show Number 2 - James Dolan.

Don't get me wrong. Larry Brown's actions this past year have been reprehensible. This is by far the worst coaching job of his career. He alienated his "star" player (Stephon Marbury), didn't define roles for players, used too many people in the rotation, constantly sniped at players through the press - the list goes on and on.

But Brown is one the greatest coaches in NBA history. Does it really make sense to think that he suddenly lost all of his skills? Rather, look at the roster Thomas had assembled for him. Filled with rich, past-their-prime malcontents, they didn't play hard, didn't play defense, didn't rebound and didn't protect the rim. You don't win unless you do that. Midseason trades for Jalen Rose? For Steve Francis? What was Thomas thinking? But when you realize that while Thomas was a great player, certainly one of the top 5 or so point guards in NBA history - he was a fair coach at best, responsible for the destruction of the CBA and not a particularly great GM for the Toronto Raptors - then his track record with the Knicks makes more sense. He's simply a terrible GM prone to making horrible trades and stupid free agent signings (see Jerome James free agent signing and the Eddy Curry fiasco which cost the Knicks this year's number 2 pick in the draft and a possible flip flop of next year's number 1).

Which begs the question - what the Hell is Dolan thinking? Word is, he values loyalty over everything else. While Brown sniped to the press about the roster - implicitly attacking Dolan and Thomas for putting together this collection of horrendously mismatched parts - Thomas was the ever present faithful one. And for this, Knick fans are about to pay a terrible price. The team is a mess that will take years to recover from and Dolan is to blame for this. A smart owner would not have allowed Thomas to add more salary this past season by bringing in Marbury clone Francis or a player like Rose. The Knicks had something like 20 million dollars coming off the books, but instead they traded that away for more dead weight. The Knick cap hell will continue for at least a good 3-5 more years.

I could go on. My (almost) hatred of the Dolan/Thomas combo is pretty intense. But what's the point? It won't change the fact that supposed savior Brown is out after one years and Thomas is not the man leading his own sinking ship. Pathetic.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Travel Mates

The next post, The Watcher, is up and running. It's full of suspense people. Get to it.

Monday, June 19, 2006

At Long Last

New Travel Mates post is finally up - thanks to Scraps taking control. Read it at your own risk.

Friday, June 16, 2006

A Fine Tribute

I love all things Led Zeppelin. I always have. Ever since I heard Stairway To Heaven in camp for the first time, I was hooked like a ten-pound bass in a fishing contest. After convincing my parents to shell out eighty bucks for the four disc boxed set (the second greatest coup of my life after getting my dad to let me go to a co-ed sleep away camp), I was in love. Plant’s voice, Page’s guitar, the subtle brilliance of John Paul Jones and the heavy attack of John Bonham. Quite simply, Zeppelin is the greatest ever.

So when Zeppelin came back into the limelight a few years ago (Page and Plant teamed up to do MTV’s Unplugged and the ill fated Walking Into Clarksdale album) they released a Zeppelin tribute album. Called Emcomium: A Tribute To Led Zeppelin, it featured various artists covering Zeppelin classics. The artists ranged the entire spectrum, from Tori Amos, to Hootie and the Blowfish to Henry Rollins. Needless to say, I had to have it. I listened to it a couple of times, realized the originals were better, and put it away to collect dust in the Elster cd collection.

As it happens, I came across it on my ipod this evening on the train ride home and gave Emcomium another listen. I was surprised by some of the covers, really impressed with others, and downright horrified by certain cuts. Here’s what transpired in my brain as I listened:

Track 1: Misty Mountain Hop – 4 Non Blondes – Scarily, the female singer of 4 Non Blondes and her crazy hair sound exactly like Robert Plant. This is so eerie, that I’m forced to move on without completing the song. Verdict: Pretty decent job by a group you will never hear from again.

Track 2: Hey Hey What Can I Say? – Hootie and the Blowfish – What can I say, Hootie nails this song, absolutely nails it. He gives it just the right amount of bemusement when singing about his street corner girl who stays drunk all the time. The more I listen, the more I like it. Maybe even more than the original. Verdict – Second best song on the album.

Track 3: D’yer Mak’er – Sheryl Crow – Sheryl Crow should not be singing Zeppelin covers. Sheryl Crow and Led Zeppelin should never be used in the same sentence under any circumstances. Ever. This cannot be stressed strongly enough. Verdict – This song never happened.

Track 4 – Dancing Days – Stone Temple Pilots – The good news is that they got Scott Weiland on a non-heroine day. The bad news is that the song is kind of blah. Not the best effort from a group that would have been great but for the aforementioned drug problems. Almost like they knew they could do a good job even if they just punched the clock. Verdict – I like it but it doesn’t blow me away.

Track 5 – Tangerine – Big Head Todd and the Monsters – Basically, they take one of my favorite Zeppelin ballads and butcher it because Ol’ Big Head Todd has a crappy voice. Verdict – Pass.

Track 6 – Thank You – Duran Duran – Let me start by saying DD was my absolute favorite guilty pleasure of the 80’s. And they do not disappoint. Simon LeBon and crew take this song and make it their own. It’s great – very 80’s. They take an early 70’s ballad and totally transform it. That’s good musical chops. Like they need my validation. Verdict – Best work on the disc. Thank you Duran Duran.

Track 7 – Out on the Tiles – Blind Melon – This just makes me sad. Blind Melon had an outside chance to actually be the next Zeppelin if not for the very untimely death of lead singer Shannon Hoon. But I digress. They play this song straight up and do a very nice job with it. Verdict – Third best song on the disc.

Track 8 – Good Times bad Times – Cracker – Uch. A cover only a Cracker fan could love. It sounds like something I’d do in my garage with my three talent-less friends. Verdict – We are getting to a bad stretch in the album.

Track 9 – Custard Pie – Helmet with David Yow – This is why it angers me when people call Zeppelin heavy metal. Heavy metal sounds awful and grating. Verdict – Thanks David Yow for taking my favorite heavy Zep tune and making it unlistenable for me. Good job.

Track 10 – Four Sticks – Rollins Band – Verdict – Kill me now. Please?

Track 11 – Going to California – Never the Bride – Never heard of Never The Bride, but the lead singer sounds exactly like Melissa Ethridge. Song starts out strong then takes a major dip down in the middle (from which it doesn’t recover). Verdict – Alas.

Track 12 – Down By The Seaside – Robert Plant and Tori Amos – Perhaps the strangest duo ever until you realize that Plant was always a pop singer who just happened to front a rock band. Anyway, it’s a pretty disturbing song. Recent Plant doesn’t have the vocal range he had in the 70’s. The result is that he sounds, well, not so good (waits for lightening to strike). Verdict – I have no idea how I feel about this song. I’m totally lost.

Anyway, there you have it. All in all, there are more bad songs than good ones, and three unlistenable songs (including the Crow debacle, even though it never happened). Yet still, I would recommend the album for the top three – but only if you could get it for less than 10 bucks or you love Duran Duran. Verdict – Buy it for less than 10 bucks.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Dream Job

Apropos of nothing:

If I could swing it financially, I'd love to teach a creative writing course to high school or college age kids. That would be a nice way to pass the time.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Elster's Jinx - Revisited

- So after giving the Mets some good vibes yesterday afternoon - generally a sign of the apocalypse according to some - they still somehow managed to hold off the Phillies last night in large part to some clutch hitting by the middle of the order and a nice ninth inning combo performance by Billy Wagner and David Wright.

The truth is, the Mets are laying the smack down on the National League right now. Up until this season, I would have dreaded Yankees followed by Red Sox series' in interleague play. This season, I'm relishing it. The Mets are going to Fenway Park where they will try to lay down some more smack against some of the best that the superior American League has to offer. Is it too early to dream about a Schilling-Pedro matchup? Not for me. Bring it on.

And for those of you doubters who want to bury your heads in the sand until the end of the season - you need to be enjoying this. The Mets have not looked this good since, well, since 1986 (dare I say). They can pitch (both starters and a very deep pen), they can play some defense, they can hit and they can run. There are some great personalities like Jose Reyes, El Duque, Julio Franco and Pedro in the clubhouse. I even saw Kaz Matsui smile once or twice before he was unceremoniously dumped for a .217 hitter. The seven and a half game cushion they are opening up adds a little breathing room going into a very tough stretch of the season.

- Speaking of laying the smack down, how good is Dwyane Wade right now? Is he Lebron good? I don't know. But he's certainly top-5 in the league right now when you consider how absolutely clutch he is. How about throwing up a 42-13 in an absolute do-or-die game last night? 13 rebounds from your shooting guard?

In all probability, the Dallas Mavericks are going to win this series in six games. But it won't be because Wade didn't bring it. You can blame it on a deteriorating Shaq and a lousy supporting cast, but the Wade/Lebron James/Carmelo Anthony/Chris Paul nucleus makes it almost palatable to start rooting for the NBA again.

If only I wasn't a Knicks fan...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Return Of Elster's Ramblings

Upon Popular Demand, Elster’s ramblings return:

- Despite Joe’s insistence that my good will towards the Mets results in their inevitable decline, let me throw some good will towards the Mets. The team is clicking on almost all cylinders right now. The starters are pitching well, even the back-end guys like Alay Soler and El Duque. Soler, in particular, has been excellent in his last two outings, culminating with his complete-game shutout the other night. After a rocky first few starts, he is settling down and playing well. El Duque has been a little more shaky, but certainly pitching decently for a number five starter. I believe his value will be come September and October. He is a big game, big stage pitcher and has been since coming to the US.

Carlos Beltran is finally starting to play like the star he is being paid to be. His torrid hitting earned him Player of the Week honors and his 17 home runs and 49 RBI pace the Mets. The emergence of other strong personalities in the clubhouse (Carlos Delgado, Pedro Martinez, Cliff Floyd and Julio Franco) as well as the emergence of hitters like Delgado and David Wright, is taking the pressure off Beltran to be someone he isn’t.

Despite the Elster Jinx, this team just has a really nice feel to it. The players genuinely seem to like each other (ask the Red Sox of Detroit Pistons how important team chemistry - or the lack thereof - is), leaders are emerging and Willie Randolph is not screwing up too badly. While by no means a great game manager, he seems to have a decent feel for what motivates the players. He also has a steady as she goes approach which works nicely with this group as well.

- Yesterday was my firm’s annual golf outing. Basically, it’s a day off from work where you have to spend the day at a country club in Westchester with a bunch of people from work. But hey, it beats working. The trouble started when Elster went to sleep at almost two in the morning (baby issues) and had to wake up at six in order to be at the club in time for an 8:15 tee-time. But golf was fun and my friend and I left right after lunch. Thanks to traffic, we didn’t get home until four, whereupon I took my daughter to the post office to send my manuscript to an editor, followed by me chasing said daughter all over the neighborhood on her little bicycle. I was so tired, I dropped off to sleep at the unheard of hour of 10:00 pm.

- For those of you die hard Travel Mates followers, the next post (Tomboy's) will be up shortly. Tommy seems to have some punctuality issues, but we will beat one out of her soon.

- We at Elster’s World recognize that we have not posted anything of substance in quite some time, whether that substance be my take on an important issue or a marvelous piece of fiction, and for that we apologize. The new addition plus a large end of the month closing are taking all of my time - not to mention creative energy. Hang tough though, I’m sure things will pick up here in the near future. – The Management.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Extreme makeover - Part II

As a follow up to my post from earlier today - I'm getting rid of Word Verification and allowing anonymous posters. First of many changes people.

Extreme Makeover - Elster Addition

So Sara from Trophy offered to help give my site a face life. Actually a full makeover. Like major plastic surgery. (So that's why I haven't been getting comments on the ol' blog recently, it's not spunky enough) Apparently it's uncool that I don't know how to link things on the side, that it has no background color, no pictures and no banner. "What's a banner?" I ask. (I'm not technically gifted.)

"It's the thingy across the top of your blog, like the one I have on mine," she replies. (Note: I'm totally paraphrasing - she didn't say thingy.)

Oh.

So within the next few weeks, you may notice some changes at Elster'sWorld. There will be a banner - something very cool and Elster-like. There will be a link or two on the right (no - I will probably not be linking to other blogs on the side - too often they fall out of favor and then I'm stuck with links that I don't want - or you accidentally forget to link someone and end up making some fellow blogger angry) - for example, Travel Mates will have it's own special little place, a section of honor if you will (or at least a permanent link). As for other links, we shall see.
I'll probably change the background color a little too.

Regarding other changes - well, I'm just a simple technophobe with no html talent. I will leave that to my consultant and spirit guide Sara. I have the utmost confidence in her abilities to fix this place up. I'm actually excited. As much as I treat this blog with little respect (posting trash, not carefully proofing), it has still become my only major outlet for doing anything creative. So I might as well perty it all up. It deserves it, no?

So get ready for Extreme Makeover - Elster addition - coming soon to a site near you. Actually, to this site.

And with that, a good Shabbos and happy weekend.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

MySpace

There are many excellent advantages to having a baby nurse. They are (for the most part) monumentally helpful; either for first time mothers learning the ropes or even for cagey veterans who need extra pairs of hands to deal with all of the little ones now populating the casa. And let’s not forget the all-important Even Though I Have A Newborn In The House I’m Still Sleeping Through The Night equation – the pinnacle of reasons for the baby nurse. That one last shot at slumber before the ensuing months of H-E double hockey sticks. I’m sure there are very few moms out there that, all things being equal, wouldn’t want to take advantage of the baby nurse.

But here’s the kicker. When baby nurse’s quarters happen to double as your home office/guest room, it suddenly means you have no access to your best friend (obviously discounting your spouse and your drinking buddies from college) - the home computer. At first you panic. How long is she gonna be here? Can I last that long without Joe’s take on the Mets (though he's been curiously silent as of late except for ripping me in the comments here), Sara’s uplifting words or Tomboy’s Tomfoolery? What about ESPN.com? Or any of the dozens of sites where I waste time in such spectacular ways?

Then it hits me. Not to worry, you have the laptop. And a wireless router. And a wireless card. Several hundred dollars worth of useless crap is about to save your worthless behind. Sure she’s six years old and a Toshiba - but she’s about to come out of retirement in a big way, baby.

So that first night, you sneak away from mother/baby bonding time and hit the dining room table. You pop open the laptop, get her running, and cross the fingers. And…there it is, an internet connection! It actually works. You are home free. You check your MSN email and…wait, what. Hmmm. For some reason, I can’t check my MSN email. OK it’s only the shul newsletter and school crap. I can live without it. Time to check the Netscape emails. Ok, need to reply to that one…what? Hmmmm. Can’t seem to reply to any emails. Ok, I’ll do it from work. And on and on it goes, issue after minor issue. But the access is there. Limited access, but access nonetheless. Frustrating but workable.

But then, oh sweet freedom. The nurse is gone. The baby room once again MySpace. My computer. My house. No interlopers abound. Normal freedom dress code is back in effect (i.e. I’m free to walk around in my boxers if I so wish). I can both receive and send emails. I once again have my full arsenal of time wasting weapons. I am unstoppable in my distractions. Life is good.

So what does this all mean? Am I too reliant on my computer? Am I not spending enough time with mom and baby? Do I need professional help? Probably yes to all three. But you know what? At least I have MySpace.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Travel Mates

Next Installment, The Deal, is up and running. Check it out.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Post 134

For lack of a better title. Well, the Elster home has relaxed, the dust has settled and the nurse has gone. I'm back and better than ever. So much to talk about. There's a new Elster in the fold. She's a real cutie (not that I've seen too much of her with the nurse around) and thank the good Lord she looks like mom.

The Mets (despite 2 dreadfull loses to the Giants) are flying pretty high. Even though they lost today I take at least cold comfort from the fact that they finally got to Armando Benitez. I'm pretty sure today's meltdown will begin his seasonal downward spiral. Good times.

I have completed the next installment of Travel Mates and it will go up as soon as my two cohorts give me the thumbs up (or down).

Tomorrow I go back to work full time after a brief baby induced vacation. Not good times.