Auckland

Doing the Parnell bloke

A particular genre of masculinity prevails in New Zealand.

And it scares the shit out of me.

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A lot of New Zealand men are not merely men. They’re blokes.

Blokes are New Zealand’s “Regular Joes”. They enjoy being physical, building useful things, and just generally keeping active every frigging spare moment of their fricking lives.

Their weekends are spent deep-sea fishing, watching the rugby in the “man cave”, and getting strung-up naked by the wrists as their mates take turns thrashing their buttocks with a garden hose. And that’s just Saturday.

There isn’t anything wrong with any of that. It’s just blokes keeping busy and what-not.

My problem is how self-conscious I have become since moving to New Zealand of how alien the blokes and their folkways are to me.

It makes me realize that the only “man cave” I can accept is the one tucked safely away when I sit on my ass all day trying to think up new ideas for this lousy blog.

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My sense of masculinity is a case of nurture screwing with nature’s head, from a strictly cissexual perspective.

When you’re raised among sisters, your sense of gender-coding gets distorted by the colorful hand-me-downs you’re forced to wear. Boys on JV basketball don’t take you seriously when you show up to practice in the Osh Kosh overalls your sister was wearing the day before.

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None of that means anything. You’re still a man. With serious qualifications, sure.

But a man, nevertheless.

Just not a bloke.

How easy it is for a man like me (certain conditions apply) to feel a little less than a man when he’s around blokes. All eyes are on him as he returns from the bar with his shandy. Blokes laugh at him when they see him walk his cat at night. And he feels ashamed, even after his neighbor assured him that it is routine men to walk their cats, as long as they live in the confines of Parnell.

dog

This isn’t to say there aren’t blokes living in Parnell.

In fact, Parnell blokes sometimes display the one blokey quality I find intolerable.

It’s a juvenile, covetous fascination for other blokes‘ expensive cars.

I once saw some construction workers accidentally bury their foreman in cement because they were momentarily distracted by some wheels of desire. “Yeaah, awright,” they shouted, though it was unclear if they were cheering for the car or for what they did to their foreman.

This went on every day for more than a week, right here on Earle Street. One day, somebody parked a black, 2002 FERRARI 360 MODENA F1, I think they call it, right across the road from our building.

ferrari-360-modena

The car was in front of Otis Elevator’s single-story building on Earle Street, in a yellow-marked loading zone with a five-minute parking limit during business hours.

Bloke after bloke, sometimes alone, sometimes with friends or family, stopped dead, looked the car over and said, “Yeah, that’ll do.”

These continuous displays of envy disquieted me, amusing as it could be. I’d watch the blokes passing, pumping their fists, audibly drooling. Then I’d look at the cat and he would look at me, then there’d be laughter and one of us (usually me) would say, “what a dick”. (After a pause for the dick in question to pass out of earshot. We don’t eat our own in Parnell).

Even more galling was the prospect of the owner himself. How could he get away with parking in a five minute zone for more than a week? Not one ticket on this car. When you buy a Ferrari, does the sticker price include a bribe to the local constabulary? Was the conventional wisdom true, after all, that men who own Ferraris are to generally assholes?

The Ferrari being there didn’t make any sense. Until I remembered how a couple days before the Ferrari showed up, there was an attempted break-in of one of the furniture shops on the street.

One of the owners told me the police thought it wasn’t a real attempt, but someone casing the block, testing which buildings had what kind of alarm systems.

The owner advised me to be watchful. I agreed and tried to leaven an otherwise dour and extremely boring conversation lighter with a stock “cat burglar” joke.

“It was probably just Vincent,” I said.

Followed by a comment about how self-conscious I get when I masturbate in front of him.

She did not respond or smile, but walked away briskly, watching me from the corner of her eye.

It took me ten minutes to realize that not only was I not standing there with my cat on the leash, as I had originally thought I had been doing, but that not every new person I meet knows that I’m talking about my cat when I use the name Vince. Go figure.

So, first the break-in attempt, then the Ferrari shows up. Was the car part of some kind of sting operation? Was it left there intentionally, with a tracking device hidden inside, to tempt presumptive burglars? The possibility made me feel sorry for the New Zealand police department for this flimsy operation. If the burglars were smart enough to case the neighborhood, wouldn’t they see the Ferrari as the “too good to be true” score that it was?

Do the police lump all criminals together in one big stereotype? I mean, do burglars even possess the requisite skill sets and core competencies that car thieve so often take for granted? Or are the business models so alike, they’re exchangeable?

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Perhaps the police meant the Ferrari as a warning to the burglars that the area was being closely watched. In which case, the police have made a big assumption. Just because you’re breaking into a building, doesn’t mean you’re a bloke that gives a shit about sports cars. This is Parnell, after all.

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Crowdsourcing shame and disgust

Never take it for granted that people are assholes.

Because there’s ample evidence to justify your bias.

Nobody knows this more than an ex-smoker like me.

If you’ve ever wondered why it’s so hard for me to quit smoking, and why I ended up smoking two cigarettes this week, you don’t have to look far for the answer.

It’s your fault. For being an asshole.

You see, when a smoker gives up cigarettes, it’s like the scales fall from your eyes, man.

You start to perceive just how despicable everybody is. This new clarity of vision, curiously enough, improves in proportion to how much you want a cigarette. Who knew.

The fact is, everyone in your life, from your spouse and children, to your colleagues and friends, to your service professionals and spiritual advisers, is an asshole, more or less.

The active ingredient in tobacco, nicotine, is an insidious drug. It mimics Acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter indirectly responsible for the idea that people you know are “not so bad”. This delusion metabolizes completely within 72 hours after your last cigarette. By a week in on your quit, your ability to perceive the truly insufferable character of everyone you knows has completely returned.

I’ve certainly noticed over the last week what many ex-smokers claim. Namely, that their ability to detect assholes is far keener than those who have never smoked.

I’ll give you an example. The dairy near my work. From August 2011 through Friday, October 12, I smoked just under a pack a day. Sometimes I’d go to the dairy near Fairfax media to buy some Marlboro Gold.

The place is owned by a recent immigrant family from somewhere in eastern Asia, probably China. Every time I came in, the entire family would stop what they were doing to greet me. The mother could be out back sorting stock, and the father in the toilet with diarrhea, and the cousin or daughter is in class down at Uni. When you come in they stop. Whatever they’re doing they’ll drop so they can come out to say hello. And you cannot proceed with any transaction until each member of the village is satisfied that they have made you feel at home in their shop.

The mother comes in from the stockroom saying hello, the father comes out of the toilet and says hello, and if the cousin or daughter can’t be there in person, she will at least call in to the store to make sure the customer understands just how seriously they take hospitality.

Back when I was a smoker, nicotine had me fooled into thinking this was a good thing. How thoughtful and caring did their small talk about the weather seem. Of course, now I realise how wrong I was. They weren’t being nice. They were cloying and solicitous and generally overbearing. They made the simple prospect of purchasing a tin of mints more like what I imagine the experience of being shivved in a prison exercise yard to be. And I owe this revelation to quitting cigarettes, which has given me an acuity few possess.

In the week since I’ve quit smoking, mostly, I’ve wondered, is it really necessary for the entire village to greet me every time I come in to purchase a $3.50 item? Wouldn’t it be preferable if there was a single representative to speak on behalf of the group, so as not to interrupt so many people in their work?

By the way, I suspect this is only partly due to cultural practices the family brought with them from China. The pervasive mercantile culture in Auckland ranges wildly. There are, of course, people that I like, such as the owner of Videon, and a few bartenders at the now re-done “Fat Controller”. But there are also people at clothing stores at the mall who say things like, “isn’t shopping at the mall great” ranging to a notorious real estate agent from Barfoot and Thompson,covering Mt Eden, Eden Terrace and Kingsland. If this agent shows you an apartment for rent, don’t ask her anything, like how many jackpoints are there, or what the square footage is, because her only answer is, “How should I know?”

This kind of insight has been opening my eyes since I mostly quit smoking. I say mostly because I did smoke a couple of cigarettes when I had to give a brief presentation on the sixth day since I’d gone cold turkey.

It was an awards presentation my magazine co-sponsored and I was meant to give a little pitch for the brand. The thing is that not only had nicotine sharpened my insight of the proclivity among all my acquaintances to being assholes.

My brain was also stirred with electrical activity. I became anxious, haunted by the strange thought that perhaps I should store my semen in a sperm bank, undergo a sex change operation, and have myself inseminated with my own seed, specifically so that I could claim both maternity and paternity leave and get the next 16 months off from work.

When I told Jacquie, a psychiatric nurse by profession, she wasn’t very surprised. But she did raise a good point.

“You might find that difficult,” she said. “How are you going to inseminate yourself when a sex change operation does not include a uterus?”

“I would insist on it,” I said.

And I would. Technically speaking, I was just asking for the right that every man and woman takes for granted whenever they successfully procreate: it’s the constitutional right to fuck myself by having a kid.

Plus, I’m a fighter. “Not without my child” is my motto.

Deep down, however, I knew Jacquie was right. The acquisition of a uterus was just a pipe dream.

It was in this nicotine-deprived and disappointed state of mind that I prepared my two-minute presentation for the awards show. I arrived for the rehearsal, which went by pretty quickly, and suddenly found myself with hours to kill before the event.

This wasn’t going to be a demanding presentation. But the idea of public speaking can sometimes have a deleterious effect on me. I count this as the main reason I never made it past the open mic circuit as a standup comedian. That, and I wasn’t funny.

This might have been because to cure stage fright, I would always drink heavily before my set. That way, by the time I got to the microphone, I was on the edge of blacking out. Which was really the most amusing part of my routine. It was just easy on Thursday to revert to my public presentation form. I drank two glasses of champagne before it was my turn to go up on stage.

The longer I waited the more anxious I became, and with these terrible thoughts off public embarrassment and asexual reproduction floating through my head, I caved, and purchased a $17 pack of cigarettes (not my brand) and smoked a cigarette, which immediately made me feel light-headed, but not quite euphoric, thanks to an overwhelming sense of nausea.

In fact, I was so green that during my two-minute presentation several member of the audience interrupted me, I think to see if I was ok or if I needed an ambulance. Pretty soon, it was over, though, and things returned to normal. Because I realized that everyone that interrupted my speech to see if were ok were actually a bunch of assholes.

The therapeutic relationship

Update: A run-on sentence was corrected so that it actually makes sense.

Talk therapy may be taxonomized the same way interactions in the biosphere are put into categories by naturalists.

You become familiar with certain paradigmatic, therapeutic relationships when you live in New York City.

The reason why everyone mows you down on the sidewalk is because everyone is running late for their weekly session.

You think it’s because they’re busy? Nobody’s busy in New York. They’re just in therapy. Everyone sees a shrink there.  It’s like a law or something.

Consequently, when you live there long enough, you get to hear some pretty alarming stories about therapists. There’s transference and counter-transference. There’s the corporate medical plan deciding that they’re no longer covering your mental health, unless you’re absolutely positive that you’re going to take a gun in to work and take out half the staff. Even then you need a reference from your GP. Then there is the creme de la creme. It’s the moment when you discover that your therapist’s partner is a huge blabbermouth, because your therapist’s partner is your ex-girlfriend’s therapist, and one day your ex-girlfriend says that her therapist said that your therapist said that you “had the most miserable childhood” she’d ever heard about in her 20 year career. Horrors.

Given that, it might make it easier to understand the generalization that all therapeutic relationships are, to some degree, a kind of mutual predation.

In Auckland, though, I’ve found therapy to be far more beneficial, symbiotic. My therapist gets as much of our regular sessions as I do. For one hour each Friday, I get to go on and on and on about my bizarre youth and upbringing, my various ersatz careers, and my inability to accept Auckland as legitimate city. Meanwhile, my therapist gets to catch up on some much-needed sleep. You see, therapy doesn’t have to be a zero sum game. It’s a total win-win.

To be honest, my relationship with my therapist doesn’t stand out as exceptional among all my relationships The only difference between therapy and the rest of my waking moments is that when I’m in a session, strangers aren’t gaping at me like I’m a six-toed geek whilst I mutter incoherently. That doesn’t happen in therapy. My psychologist is a professional, trained in the delicate art of concealing her disgust. Which is neither here nor there, as between the time she sets her alarm clock and 50 minutes later, she is asleep.

I don’t want to give the impression that I dislike my therapist or my therapy. Quite the opposite. I haven’t made it a secret on this blog that I’ve been suffering from depression, for which I take a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor, or “Happy Slappy” as I call it. And for which I gave up reading in order to watch every episode of every series in the Star Trek franchise. (From The Next Generation to the largely horrid and unwatchable Enterprise).

And for which I have seen a psychologist. It has been more than a year, now. And I would have to give therapy credit for lifting me out of the abyss I descended when I first found out in early 2010 that Jacquie meant us to move to New Zealand, not just visit. My outlook has gotten a lot better since those evil days, and not just because of Happy Slappy, neither.

Of course, I do slip once in a while. A few weeks ago, I experienced my worst episode in two years. It was a usual Friday after work, but I’d arrived at my therapist’s office 15 minutes early. There was a radio playing, which I’d assumed was meant to prevent me from overhearing the session going on behind closed doors while I waited. It took a few minutes after I’d sat down to realize that I was in a really shitty mood, and the reason was the radio was tuned to The Breeze FM, Auckland’s answer to a fatal morphine drip.

Actually, morphine drip is the wrong metaphor. In fact, it’s difficult to understand how the shrill, nasally, canned, screaming, soft pop The Breeze plays is supposed to relax anyone. Personally, it makes me feel violent. They play the exact kind of creepily unimaginative music that used to drive me out of delis at lunch time back in New York.

Here I was seeking to improve my life when all of a sudden I wanna dance with somebody by the late Whitney Houston comes on. Was this her shrieking, horrible cry for help? Would things have turned out differently had she been able to finally dance with somebody? And was it her off-putting, siren like, ear shattering voice that actually prevented her from dancing with somebody? The more I heard, the deeper my gloom. I had never wanted to commit suicide more in my life than that moment.

But as I say, I have a good therapeutic relationship, who interceded just as I was about to fashion a noose out of an extension cord.

My therapist sat me down, gave me a drink of water, and assured me that suicidal ideation was not an uncommon reaction to Whitney Houston music.

After I’d calmed down a bit, my therapist said, “And you could have always just turned off the radio.”

This subject will be picked up again in a future post. In the meantime, feel free to adore my kitten.

His name is Vince. He’s a six month old purebred Maine Coon (with papers). His breeder name is Mainflame Red Hustler. And I will tell you more about him in an upcoming episode of Basement Life.

We’re better than you

Now that New York has been destroyed, Auckland is rubbing its hands in glee, anxious to fill the cultural gap as the premier city of the anglophone world.

The horrible bruising the Big Apple received in the arms of Hurricane Irene should be seen as a great opportunity, not just for Auckland to finally not suck in comparison to New York. But an opportunity for New Yorkers, themselves.

If you live in New York, and you’ve drowned, you might consider how moving to Auckland will improve your circumstances.

Here are three reasons why.

1. Superior Climate

Wouldn’t you love to live in a place where the temperature never soars above 80 nor sinks below 70? Where you are constantly refreshed by gentle trade winds, and where cocktails are served by sea turtles wearing cute little bow ties? Well, in Auckland, we wish we could too, so get over yourself.

A view of Eden Park, looking northeast from Sandringham Road, and a five minute walk from my house. Eleven of the 48 Rugby World Cup matches will be played at Eden Park. The surrounding residents look forward with great anticipation to the French Rugby fans urinating on our public and private infrastructure, just as they do in New York. The World Cup begins September 9, attracting something like 75,000 drunken foreigners to this city.

2. Superior Agriculture

Most New Yorkers weren’t prepared for the devastating affect Hurricane Irene would have on their flocks. Consequently, their sheep at this moment are being herded like cattle into high school gymnasiums. The luckier ones are shitting on their owners’ friends’ futons. And the luckiest ones have been able to make special friends of their own. Auckland presents a different story. You might think that story ends in a slaughter house. But it doesn’t. That’s just the beginning. It then goes to the part where you have a little too much to drink, but thank god the kebab shop is still open. But the story still doesn’t end there. Because after you’ve wolfed down your doner kebab, you say to yourself, “holy crap, I’m going to vomit.” But the story still isn’t over, because even though you’ve completely missed your toilet bowl, your cat is showing a keen interest in what’s been spewed on the bathroom floor, and the cycle of life continues.

Fresh lamb, warmed over, resting on a pleasant Saturday afternoon, not too far from their whoring mother.

 

3. Superior Lifestyle, Fantastic People

Close your eyes. Imagine yourself standing in a parking lot. You’re in New Zealand, so you’ll have to imagine yourself standing in a ‘car park’. I don’t use that term, myself, because I don’t like the idea of my car having fun without me. I’m not sure what Kiwis mean by car park. Is it a park where you can toss your frisby and your car will catch it in mid-air? Or is it the kind of park with water luges and roller coasters and rides that go in circle until you vomit and then all the cats come around to check out what’s been spewed on the ground? Well, no matter what kind of park it is, you’re standing in it. And you’re having a good time. At least you’re imagining that you’re having a good time. (I hope you’re still keeping your eyes closed). Now imagine yourself standing in the car park with a few friends. Perhaps one of them is smiling. Maybe another one is looking at his camera and realizing that the photograph of the hazy, rain-disturbed murk off the coast of Piha is actually not as interesting as he thought it would have been. Perhaps you have your hands on your hips because the ocean that you are looking over from the car park at the top of the coastal ridge is somehow displeasing to you.

Now with that picture in mind, open your eyes and look at the photograph below.

In Auckland, you don't have to imagine yourself having a good time.

Distance-Learning: Empathy

Early this month, there was a serious earthquake on Te Waka-a-Maui, the South Island of New Zealand. One person died from cardiac arrest in the 7.1 magnitude tremor. Damage to the city of Christchurch and the region was extensive.

Though Auckland is 650 miles away on the North Island (Te Ika-a-Maui) I knew exactly what those people were going through and my heart went out to them.

It was a terrible day. I found out my supermarket no longer sold Wattie’s reduced-fat, low-salt Vienna sausages at two cans for the price of one. “Why god?” I screamed. “Why do you let such terrible things happen?”

The manager came over to see what the fuss was about. Of course, this forced me to exchange a few unpleasant words with her. The whole experience was so distasteful that I now suffer PTSD because of it.

Anywhoodles, the Canterbury Earthquake, as the tremor has been dubbed, was the eighth most powerful to hit New Zealand in modern history. I’m not likely to forget it any time soon because my brother-in-law told me a funny Holocaust joke that day.

He’d heard it from a German comedian whose name I can’t remember. Probably not Adolph, times being as they are.

I remember feeling bad about us being too flippant in light of tragedy. Sure, the Holocaust was a long time ago, but some people haven’t gotten over it yet.

Just then, the TV flashed a telephone number for us to call if we wanted to help out with the earthquake relief effort.

I wanted to help, nay I was compelled to help.

Operator: Relief hotline.

Me: I want to help, nay I’m compelled to help. You’re not getting my money. And I hate needles so if it’s blood you’re after, you’d better find yourself another stooge.

Operator: Do you have any clothes?

Me: You can have my old pleated khakis. But only as an anonymous gift. I won’t be known as the guy who gave pleated pants. Just because I’m generous doesn’t mean I have to come out looking like a chump, you know what I’m saying?

Operator: Um–

Me: What I really want to donate is a special gift: the gift of laughter.

Operator: Uh–

Me: You know, the gift of humor. You like Holocaust jokes, right?

Operator: I’m not sure–

Me: Sure you do. I’ll tell you one and then you can spread it. Share it with as many earthquake survivors you want. Or Holocaust survivors for that matter. But really, if there’s some guy trapped under some rubble and they’re not going to be able to dig him out for a few days, what better way to cheer him up? Only, he probably shouldn’t laugh too much because of the oxygen situation but you’ll figure it out.

Operator: Sir–

Me: Come on. Laughter is the best medicine. So here goes. My grandfather died in the Holocaust…yeah, he fell from a guard-tower at Auschwitz.

I’ll never know where my gift of humor ended up because somehow the telephone line was cut off, probably due to one of the Canterbury Quake’s hundreds of aftershocks.

But from that day on, I was filled with love for all living creatures. Sheep, specifically. September is lambing season so the sheep get all up in your face and the fields are dewey and red with discarded placentas and the hills and paddocks are alive with the sound of little hooves squishing said placentas.

A (an?) ewe and her newborn lamb at One Tree Hill in the city of Auckland. The sheep-birthing process is quick and painless, as this photograph clearly illustrates. One minute, you're in the fetal position, the next--boing, boing, boing--you're hoovering grass like you were in some kind of friggin' bucolic idyl and shit. (Photo by Harold "Doc" Edgerton).

There’s been trouble, though. The news has reported that this has been such a cloudy, rainy spring (which in NZ officially begins Sept. 1, three weeks before the equinox). Consequently, the lambs aren’t getting enough sunshine and many are dying, ostensibly from being wet and cold. (Welcome to New Zealand).

So, Jacquie and I went to One Tree Hill last week to see the poor creatures. I mean, what a tragedy, lambs dying before anyone got a chance to eat them.

And now for a random selection of recent photographs. (Note to Matt E…I will post a couple pictures you took soon. Your work was not in vain!)

Kauri grove in Cornwall Park/One Tree Hill

Drinking at The Patriot in Devonport.

Devonport is a waterside enclave on Auckland's North Shore. The small, rather posh community is home to at least five book stores, including this one in the ferry terminal.

Sunny, the pet that currently flops in our flat.

Learning my AC/DC’s

Last night I went to the Horse and Trap to hang out with 40 people I don’t know. We’re all good friends, I’m guessing. I can’t figure why else we would meet once a month to have discussions that are entirely over my head. (Unless it has something to do with beer.)

Yesterday, for instance, we talked about neuroplasticity, which generally refers to the brain’s inclination to develop, reinforce or lose neural pathways over time. The status of those 100 trillion synaptic connections in the average brain depends on environmental and other factors ranging from the salubrious effects of continuous learning to the euphoric effects of continuously sniffing magic markers. Which just goes to show how unfair life can be.

Anyway, I found the discussion fascinating.

“Whoa!” I shouted. “One hundred trillion neural connections? You have got to be joshing me. A trillion isn’t even a real number. You must mean a ‘gazillion.'”

Some of my friends at this point gently corrected my mistake. They invited me to the front of the room where they shaved my head and trepanned me with a corkscrew in order to see what a net loss of neural connections actually looked like in a living specimen.

Then they gave me a cookie.

“Now give me a chicken kebab,” I said.

Instead of giving me a chicken kebab, my friends lifted me by the elbows and carried me off until I found myself face-to-face with the street.

They had totally missed the point I was trying to make. I wanted a chicken kebab. And I wanted one even more after they kicked me out of the pub because, like so many millions of other people, nothing whets my appetite for middle eastern food quite like the taste of asphalt.

So I ran to Kebab Stop Takeaways at the corner of Mount Eden and Valley Roads, a middle eastern joint that in all seriousness makes the best chicken kebab on a pita that I’ve had in a long time.

“Gimme one,” I said.

“We’re closed, sir,” the Kebab Stop Takeaways man said.

“But it’s 9:30 in the evening.”

New Zealand's operating hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please leave all off-hour deliveries with Australia.

“Yes, and I was supposed to close a half-hour ago.”

I suddenly had an unfamiliar experience. My brain was getting bigger.

“Hey,” I said. “Either my hat is on too tight or I must be learning something.”

“I don’t care,” the Kebab Stop Takeaways man said. Then he pulled down his shutter.

But it was true. My brain was getting bigger and all because I learned something new: New Zealand keeps business hours.

In thinking over the ramifications of my new insight, I suddenly felt sorry for travelers who landed at Auckland International Airport on a Saturday morning only to be asked by immigration officials to come back the following Monday during regular business hours.

But then I also felt a little confused because while the Kebab shop and all the other places on Mount Eden Road had closed up for the night, I could hear a foul voice on the wind.

“What is that awful sound?” I said.

Then my brain got even bigger yet as I remembered that AC/DC was scheduled to give a concert in Western Springs at that time. At last, after 30-something years and 20 albums, this rock-n-roll combo had finally found New Zealand on Google maps and decided to bring its special brand of entertainment to give Auckland’s pensioners a sound to snap their fingers to. It puzzled me why AC/DC was playing on one  random Thursday in February, but then I figured it must have been Neil Finn’s night off.

Well, exhausted after the cookie rush faded and tuckered out by the rapid expansion of my neocortex due to all my figuring things out, I went home. I crawled into bed. But that dreadful noise continued.

So I lifted my window and threw down a shoe, knocking Brian Johnson’s famous scally off his head.

“Hey, you septuagenarians, knock it off,” I screamed. “New Zealand is closed.”

The band instantly began playing an acoustic version of Highway to Hell which pretty much ended the show.

I was finally able to fall asleep. I felt a little bad when I woke up this morning for showing off my new knowledge the way I did. But when you’re as smart as I am, do you ever really have a choice in the matter?

Please Stand By

Hello, friends. I am planning to post something here very soon. I’ve been busy with other things and we just had a three-day holiday weekend so I wasn’t on the computer very much. But, for those who care, there will be something in the next few days. In the meantime, here are some more pictures of Chester, named after Parkchester, the housing development and neighborhood near where I grew up in the Bronx.

See you real soon.