Friday, October 28, 2011


Against all odds, I sold my house. Specifically, my ex-wife and I sold our house.

Why quibble over semantics, eh?

The hovel we called home is now somebody else's, thanks to an aggressive real estate agent and a prime location near the Delaware Bay.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the fucker sold.

Hurrah and huzzah!

In a shitty housing market where home prices are falling faster than Michelle Bachman's chances of becoming president, we pulled the ultimate real estate coup de grace and unloaded this hipster den upon an unsuspecting buyer.

There's a grand myth about homeownership, one told around campfires for generations. Said tale goes something like this: owning a home is an investment, and one of the ultimate accomplishments of the American Dream, the other being getting a blowjob from Olivia Munn. If you don't know who Olivia Munn is, you're probably too old. Check your pulse, grandpa. Olivia Munn is like Betty Grable for Gen Y.

Owning a home is not the apex of human achievement. It's a millstone around your scrawny neck, thick steel manacles around your wrists, a one-way trip to the gulag. It's a lot of work and requires maintenance and thankless drudgery, much like dating a Jewish woman.

Truth be told, I never felt that place was home. It was just a building where I ate and slept and had to clean. Yard work? Don't get me started on yard work! I sweated like a suburbanite lost in the inner city ghetto every time I mowed that lawn. Grueling, back-breaking work.

So I'm glad that house, with all its petty annoyances is no longer my responsibility.

It took years to finally sell the house, many months of nary a nibble before the big fish came knocking. many people are desperately trying to unload their properties. Some don't make it and face foreclosures and other grim realities in this sluggish and cruel economy.

I can put this wretched chapter of homeownership behind me. That place and me, we weren't a right fit. We just occupied the same space. True, the Bohemian hovel did provide shelter from the harsh elements and warmth from winter's icy touch. Air conditioning kept me cool during the summer's inferno. Yet the house just didn't suit me. Even the rock garden I built was overgrown with weeds. Try meditating looking at that. No inner peace there.

Good luck, house. Hope your new owners enjoy you.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Living in an iWorld

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
- Steve Jobs

My introduction to the Macintosh came during college. The student newspaper I wrote for, The Whit at Glassboro State College used the Macintosh Classic, a weird hybrid of monitor and CPU in one package. Back then, I was a Windows/PC guy, and thought Bill Gates was a silicon-breathing computer god. To me, the artists and hippies of the college publishing suite used Macs.

I became a true Mac convert in 2003, after plodding along with Windows 95 on a Compaq Presario of all things. The newspaper I worked for then used Apple products and I was forced to assimilate to the iMac. Around that same time, I bought my first iPod, a seemingly magical music player. I hopped onto iTunes, purchased a few songs and listened to my heart’s content. The marriage of iTunes and the iPod was truly revolutionary.

The Mac OS, named after big cats, put Windows to shame. Where Windows frequently crashed and hit my with blue screens, the Mac OS is tightly-programmed, and easy for customers to use. Those funky icons, including a trash can and dreaded twirling beach ball of death only added to the mystique of using a Mac.

I took the plunge and purchased a Mac PowerBook in 2004. It was a beautiful, sleek machine. It became my music library, film studio, library and writing desk.

In 2008, I bought an iMac and in 2009 an iPhone. I love how these products work, how they integrate well with each other and how their various functions are user-friendly. Each time I switch that iMac on and hear that signature gong reverberate from its metallic heart, I swell with pride.

Steve Jobs, the founder and former CEO of Apple Inc. brought innovation and new technology to the world. His revolutionary decisions changed the way we use personal computing, how we listen to music, watch movies and communicate with each other.

For me, Apple computers were about functionality, aesthetic perfection, sublime design and a hip coolness you didn’t get with any other computer. The IBM clones were always boxy-looking, grey or tan boxes sitting on your desktop. Apple products, with their gentle curves and futuristic shapes made you take notice.

Apple computers made you realize the future was now and “Think Different” more than an advertising slogan.

Jobs, the creative and innovative force behind Apple, is gone.

Yet his legacy is one of pushing boundaries, of experimentation, of trial and error. Some notable failures, the Apple Lisa and Newton pad, gave way to the stunning successes of the iBook and iMac.

The indelible mark Jobs left on personal computing cannot be understated, and his personal style was reflected in the company's creative and inventive output.

Apple keynote addresses, when they rolled out new products, were always great. Jobs, in his signature jeans and black shirt, appeared like a tech-savvy Everyman instead of a corporate CEO. We sat in rapt attention as he explained the features of the iPone, iPad or tweaks and improvements to the OS software. Jobs nurtured the brand into a relevant cultural phenomenon, and the Apple Inc. logo became synonymous with high-end computing. He was the guru leading us into a digital Nirvana, a tranquil place with tools enabling us to do wondrous things. Apps became our means of recreation and productivity and brought the wider world to our palms and literally at our fingertips. A geek with an appreciation of pop culture, rock music and the arts, Jobs made it possible for us creative types to express ourselves through his products. Apple devices became the conduit for our energies and passions and functioned as digital playgrounds and workplaces.

Jobs had an innate ability of tapping into the technical zeitgeist of his times. Through his innovation, Apple revolutionized computing. Where others only gave us glorified calculators, Apple gave us the future and all of the possibilities that go with it. Within the silicon guts of his machines lay the foundation of productivity, of breaking down barriers, of communicating, obtaining information and consuming media.

We’re a better world because of Steve Jobs’ dedication and genius.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Digging My Own Grave

So here's the thing: My father calls me up today and tells me my uncle and aunt were in town to purchase their cemetery plots. My father says this got my mother thinking (and when that happens, look out! Armageddon usually follows!) about purchasing grave sites for the whole family. She wanted to know if I wanted a cemetery plot with them.

What a pleasant way to start the day: dwelling on your own mortality.

My father said my uncle wanted a cemetery plot, while my aunt didn't want to be buried and instead stored in a mausoleum.

Dad wanted to know what my plans for interring my earthly remains were.

I'm in my 40s, so the thought hadn't crossed my mind.

Unless you're dying, who really contemplates such morbid things?

My cousin wants to be cremated and have her ashes scattered in the ocean. What kind of depressive state does one have to be in to make such plans?

I told my dad I want to have traps installed in my crypt to deter grave robbers, like a rolling boulder or spikes shooting from the walls like in Raiders of the Lost Ark. How about mummifying my body and enshrining it inside a sarcophagus decorated with Anubis and Horus? Oh, and naked chicks. Lots of gratuitous nudity in my tomb so the family wonders if I was really Larry Flynt.

My mom worried if I die before her, my body would not rest in the cemetery where my grandparents are buried. She also worried because I don't have children, nobody would mourn me.

I think the entire concept of western burial is overblown. You saddle your loved ones with paying for a coffin which costs thousands of dollars, then thousands of dollars for funeral arrangements, then buying a burial plot and headstone. An extravagant funeral is the ultimate "fuck you" to cash-strapped, grieving family members.

Why should I have a burial plot now? I plan on living for another 50 years. A grave site is so final. I can take my girlfriend there on the weekends and look down at this grassy piece of earth and tell her, "When I die, I will be laid to rest right here, for worms to gnaw my face off."

After that date, she'd dump me.

What about donating your body to medical research? Having some fidgeting medical student dissect you like a bloated frog? Or a perverted necrophiliac lab tech molest your cold corpse? Actually, that last one describes sex when I was married. Banging away on something cold an immovable.

How about cremation? Stored in an urn and placed on someone's mantle for decades? What happens when they die? Do they suck you into the vacuum cleaner and toss you out?

Who obsesses about this crap? Dark, brooding goth teenagers, maybe.

What if you marry somebody your family hates and both of you are buried side by side. Your family, visiting your grave has to stand near the grave of the person they despise. They lay flowers on your half while taking a piss on the other half.

"Shame about Eric. I always hated that bitch!"

I don't know where my bones will rest, whether in a marble tomb in some distant graveyard with haunting willow trees blowing in the wind, in a pauper's grave for failed writers or in a serial killer's cabin in a jar with the remains of a dozen hookers.

Don't really know where I'll end up.

When you're dead, you're dead.

It isn't how you die, but how you live, right?