New York City
Take it on down. Down the slippery slopes of melancholy. Holidays induced sorrow. Seasonal depression. Mostly rooted in traumatic experiences from previous gloomy holidays and the onset of a cold and bitter winter. For many years, I always wondered why I was bombarded by the blah's from early November through early March. Part of it was the winter weather but the other direct cause? The holidays (Turkey Day, Christmas, New Years Eve, and Valentine's Day) and the forced interaction with family.
Over the last ten years or so, I've done a lot to alleviate the year end blues. I scheduled trips to warmer climates. About a decade ago, I frequently followed Phish in the later months of the year which always had me on the road. Sometimes I headed down to Florida to visit Jerry and get away from the East Coast for a few days. Over the last two or three years, I frequented sunny California and hung out with Nicky during the winter months or I worked down in Australia (where it was the middle of the summer) and then stay an extra week or too to enjoy summer in January.
Sunshine is an amazing thing. The warmth on your face elates the soul. When I eliminated the harsh winter parts of the year, a major component of seasonal depression was removed. However, the confrontation with family types were inevitable during family meals on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Ganja helped. I'd just show up stoned to the gourd and zone out in front of the TV. And if I had to talk, I was way to high and inclined to keep my mouth shut (and thereby avoiding any arguments incited by yours truly) which allowed the elders to pontificate about the last things on the planet that I wanted to talk about.
The holidays will always be stressful and unwelcomed, but I finally transformed decades of morbid and suicidal thoughts into a dose of everyday misery. Merry fuckin' Christmas. However, I'd love to combine Thanksgiving and Christmas into one long holiday. Why don't they push back Turkey Day to late December and give everyone the last week of the year off?
And perhaps I'm exaggerating the misery a bit. There were a couple of good times and bad times and lots of medium times in between. I'd say that most of the time, the holidays were medium times. They could have been greater but at some point an insane family member brought down the festivities.
There's always a high probability of bumping someone into you know on the streets of New York City. And during the holidays, that chances increase exponentially. When I'm around on Turkey Day weekend or before Christmas, I definitely bump into people I haven't seen in a very long time. Maybe they migrated outside of the city to the burbs or to another city and they're returning to see their families. Or maybe they moved to a different borough and checking out the old hood.
Luckily this year, I managed to go undetected. It helped that I didn't go out much. I went downtown a couple of times; once to meet Derek for lunch and the other to hang out with a buddy of mine. For the most part, I spent the last week inside. I read a bunch of books, watched sports, and worked on some projects. Even on Turkey Day morning when I finished off edits on a column.
I devoted the rest of the weekend to re-writing an old project. I was merciless and tore the previous manuscript to shreds. That was something hard to do when I was in the middle of writing it, but I've had several months away from the project and the detachment allowed me to make the correct decision and let pages and pages fly out the window. Alas, it had to be done.
The first 15-20 pages or so were tweaked and refined and spliced and stitched together as a new draft emerged from the rubble of the previous Frankesteins. I smoothed off the edges on some older material and I added a few new lines. I'm essentially telling a new story that's a derivative of the older story. I simply flipped the back story and the front story. The second story is far more entertaining and it will take the entire project down a different path. The elusive path to completion... and the one way that will lead me out of this jungle. Someday, I'll see the light.
I'm trying to work on that while I can. I doubt that I'll have time for it at all this week. I have to finish up the December issue of Truckin' and I have a couple of travel days this week which always throws a monkey wrench into things. I fly to LA on Tuesday afternoon and fly down to Mexico on Thursday morning for an assignment. Warm places in December.
Anyway, I got a haircut on Friday with Vinny the barber. He was excited about completing the NYC marathon with minimal training. It took him five hours but he finished without hurting himself. Not bad for a guy who is 30+ years older than me. He said his goal was to run it when he was 70 years old and to do it in 4 hours and 20 minutes. I laughed. 4:20. He had no idea why I was laughing at the time.
He told me that he got a comped room at the Water Club down at the Borgata and wondered if the Jets can keep it together for a Giants/Jets superbowl. And yeah, we found out the answer to that. In a game at home that they should have won, Brett Favre played like shit and the Jets lost an ugly game played in the soggy Meadowlands.
I was tied for first place in the Pauly's Pub football pool and took the lead by one point on Thanksgiving when I went 3-0. There were three tough games on Sunday. I lost 2 out of 3 of those. I changed two of those picks (Greenbay and San Diego) at the last minute. If I stuck with my gut, I would have expanded my lead. As is, I didn't do so badly and I still have a one point lead over the pack behind me.
I finally posted a decent score in Sundays with Dr. Pauly over at Fantasy Sports Live. I actually came in second in my contest and cashed!
Tonight is a big game for Uncle Jodd's Band over in the Lamont Jordan Fantasy Football League, because Senor and I will find out what seed we have for next week's playoff berth. We essentially clinched playoff spot and have to figure out if we're 4, 5,or 6. We had a decent season and finished up 7-6. We lost one game by 0.4 points and only two other teams had more wins than us. We won the weekly high score twice this season for a cash bonus. And we made the playoffs for another year.
Most of the other owners in our fantasy football league are whiny thirtysomething lawyers who bitch and moan about every little detail and decision from the commissioner. Takes the fun out of the game sometime. Heck, all of the time. Most of them are super geeky fantasy football guys and spend their entire summer charting players. Right after the draft, they always trash Uncle Jodd's every year, yet we always seem to go to the playoffs.
Although we have never won the league championship, I think we have a legitimate shot this year depending on the playoff match ups. Uncle Jodd's Band posted the second highest point total of the season - and that's with both Tony Romo (broken pinky) and A. Bouldin (broken eye socket) sitting out for a few games with injuries. Our first round RB, Larry Johnson was suspended for a bit too for being a stupid drunk and beating up chicks. And our TE Jeremy Shockey was also sidelined for a few games. Despite the injuries and mishaps to our starters, Thomas Jones and Santana Moss shouldered some of the weight and posted some big games for us this year. Uncle Jodd's Band can be an offensive juggernaut. Let's hope we see that next week... and over the next three weeks.