Archive for August, 2009

Good morning!

August 17th, 2009 No comments

I know, its Monday and that’s a drag. So here’s a picture of Jasper to make your morning just a wee bit brighter.

Jasper in the grass

Jasper in the grass

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Bridge Night

August 14th, 2009 No comments

Its a lovely day here in Lake Annis once again so I’ve decided to slap some of the ol’ SPF 70 on my fair, rosy cheeks and click away out here lakeside. I was a wee bit tired this morning because I was up until nearly midnight (gasp) last night. Why? It was to play Bridge of course!

Marion and her adult daughter Beth have a summer home here in Mooswa and invited Alex, Alex’s mom Lisa, and me over to have some Bridge. Beth doesn’t play so she was my official interpreter. I would scribble onto my pad “2 Diamond” and she would call out triumphantly, “Billy bids 2 Diamonds!” Since there is little speaking in Bridge after the bidding ends (we shouldn’t really be talking at all but this is casual play, friends) Bridge is actually a rather good game to play whilst remaining silent.

I was a wee bit rusty but got back into form quickly. My teammate Alex (Bridge is played in two teams of two) was also playing rather well and we racked up quite a few overtricks. If any of you out there…in the dark…are bridge players let me know (comments section below – ho!) and perhaps we can organize a little game night. As some of you know, I’m also a fan of this board game, Settlers of Catan. Its quite difficult to learn, in my opinion, from the instruction book. However, its rather easy to grasp if you just do a round with someone who knows how to play already. As I know how to play, I could be the teacher. And as you don’t, you could be the student. But you know how the old saying goes: soon the student becomes the teacher. Or master. Something like that. But the point is, you could get really awesome at it and totally kick my ass off the Settlers of Catan island. Sweet!

While at Marion and Beth’s place last night, I learned that Beth at one point in her life was on a ventilator and unable to speak for three months. Yikes! Well it seemed only fitting then that between hands we commiserated about My Silent Life thus far (and by commiserated I mean she told me about her experiences and I noded sympathetically). Her much longer ordeal reminds me I have much for which to be grateful.

Something for which you all, perhaps, have to be grateful is the arrival of Friday afternoon. In case you aren’t familiar, Friday is a day of celebration for the working world. After your day of gainful employment is through, you change out of your Brioni suit or polyester high-water pants and Hanes wifebeater and head to the track to bet on the dogs. After that, you enjoy a chilled Grasshopper (or a glass of Courvoisier for you klassy bitches) and shuffle on over to the Meatpacking district to continue the evening’s revelry. At some point you will vomit or slip in someone else’s, and that will be your cue to head home and rest up for a day of agony tomorrow.

For those of us on the sidelines due to injury, un or underemployment, or a debilitating trust fund, Friday is, in general, a great day to host a game night (Bridge! Settlers!) or watch those three netflix movies that have been sitting on top of the DVD player for five weeks. Out here in the sticks, going out isn’t an option so my default choice will be of the games/DVD variety. But if I were in the city, I’d probably stay in tonight anyway. Why? Because as many of you know I’m quite the bon vivant. I’m for the most part self-employed and whatnot and thus rarely have to rise with the bugler’s horn to fight another day. Instead I stay in bed late, bundled up in down comforters against the freezing blast of an air conditioner turned down to sixty-two degrees, and click away on my BlackBerry for the first hour of the day. What follows is generally a whirlwind of racing with the clock and promising all the higher powers that if the 4 train comes now, I mean RIGHT now, I swear, I will leave on time for appointments for the next week…err…day. I promise! After a long day of working my own special brand of Billy magic the troops assemble for food and cocktails, sometimes enjoying said activities late into the wee hours. Thus after a week of intense work and play I’m rarely in the mood to fight off B&Ts with my sword and dagger. Houseparty? Yes. Cocktails on my roofdeck? Indeed. Screaming, “Stoli Soda with a LEMON NOT A LIME” sixteen times over four piles of badly colored hair? I think not.

I need not, however, worry about such a quandry this week as I enjoy the lovely and cheery afternoon here. Alex made tuna melts for lunch and, frankly, who can be blue after a really good tuna melt with onion?



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Late Breaking News

August 13th, 2009 3 comments

There isn’t any. Sorry. But this post is coming a bit later in the day than usual because today was an especially busy day. Sir Jasper decided he needed to step outside to use the facilities at 7:35am so yours truly was up not-so-bright and early. Why not-so-bright? Well certainly I am not referring to my mental acuity as nine days without alcohol or anything that could give me indigestion has left me able to leap tall buildings in a single bound – intellectually, that is. No, it was not-so-bright because it was, literally, not so bright. Another overcast, chilly day here.

No matter because today Billy and Alex went on a field trip. At midday we hurriedly ate fig newtons, grabbed the keys to the trusty hybrid, and headed out over some dirt roads to visit Alex’s friend Clayton who lives in somewhere called Argyle (like the socks…I think). He had a big strange house that he told us was made by combining three houses. Two of them had been moved from somewhere else. What? And then they were joined with wallpaper and glue and filled with love. The house (or three) was chock-a-block stuffed with “local Nova Scotia folk art” which is art made by seven year old Vietnamese orphans on acid. Also, there were mosquitoes the size of your fist who would visibly wind up before plunging what appeared to be the entirety of their sagittate bodies directly into your arm. Ouch!

Nonetheless, Clayton was very nice and he and Alex talked of Art and Shakespeare and rhubarb pie while I smiled and gesticulated wildly like a lunatic. Sometimes, to make them chuckle with delight, I would scribble a few illegible phrases onto a page which Alex would pretend to both read and understand. But lest you think we were lonely, just us three, which is also sometimes a crowd, fret not. Because some friends of Clayton’s were wandering about the house on their way to India (how Nova Scotia is on the way I cannot fathom – where were they coming from, Nunavut?) Clayton introduced me to them with a cheery, “This is Billy, he can’t speak!” They were all very impressed and smiled. I smiled back and a mosquito sucked out three pints of blood. Splat!

In all, I think Clayton really liked me and would have invited me back had he not, you know, umm had that other place to be right…oh, look at the time! Gotta run!

Speaking of travel, have any of you heard about this promotion that JetBlue is running? September 8 to October 8, one month, unlimited travel, $599. There are some restrictions like you have to book 3 days in advance and of course you can only book on flights that aren’t full but still. Rock on! I’m seriously considering doing it and taking some trips. Subject, of course, to the approval of B. Healy who knows all things travel. If you’re interested, the link is here: As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section.

Until tomorrow…



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August 12th, 2009 1 comment

Its a legitimately beautiful day in Lake Annis. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping (not really – there aren’t many birds) and the insects are freaking swarming. I’m coated in Deep Woods OFF! – a product whose label cheerfully proclaims, “maximum amount of DEET permitted by LAW!” – and getting some much needed color on the increasingly flabby torso (a week off from exercise does not, friends, do a body good).  What else is happening? Glad you asked.

There is some community meeting going on in the backyard of one of the Burns homes here on the compound. I took a brief peek and it looked like a seance circle for the elderly. Lots of aged white flesh pressed into uncomfortable looking chairs, circled as if readying to defend the rations. I gather they are discussing an important community issue as seemingly everyone who lives within twenty five miles turned up (there were only seven cars but at least two hundred people. These folks love to carpool). But since there was no shouting, cursing, or overt threats being made I quickly lost interest. I grabbed my Vilebrequin bathing suit and made a beeline outta there.

Those of you who have seen me in a setting more rustic than my immediate neighborhood – such as Prague, the beach, or Williamsburg – know that I hate bugs. Especially mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are, pretty much, the bane of my existence. They love to suck my immaculate blood and leave me with welts the size of frisbees. I know not why these parasitic creatures enjoy my delicate flesh so, only that they do. And while I spray myself with my OFF! like a bronzed beauty in St. Tropez blasts herself with her Evian Brumisateur, the stuff eventually wears off and I get bitten. Additionally, there are places, tender private places, where OFF! dare not go. And the face is a whole issue unto itself because when OFF! gets into one’s mouth it has the rather alarming tendency to turn one’s lips wholly numb. Modern technology!

Nonetheless, I practically bathe in the stuff because its better than getting eaten alive in the woods. If you’ve got suggestions, hit up that comments box.

I’m starting to get scarily used to being unable to speak. When those around me address me I have a kneejerk response not to verbalize anything, but rather to give them a thumbs up. The thumbs up has become the nearly universal response. “Billy, how are you?” Thumbs up. “Are you ok, do you need anything?” Thumbs up “Do you want to sit in on the local community board meeting?” Blank stare. Its actually a fabulous way of communicating as long as your needs aren’t too nuanced or complex. What’s more, all the thumb upping (thumbing up?) can’t help but remind me of a trip I took to Brazil a few years ago with two fabulous friends. Everyone in Brazil, like deep-sea divers, enjoys utilizing the frequent thumbs up move. On that trip I did substantially more speaking and boozing than on this one and thus have fond, if hazy, remembrances of wine lists, discotheques, and speeding taxis at 5am.

Alas, none of that here. Instead I shall make due now with a bit of wading in the lake. Lets hope I don’t encounter too much icky gross moss underfoot.



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Movie Night II plus Canoe

August 11th, 2009 4 comments

I’ve gotten some grief over my portrayal of the weather here in Lake Annis. So today, instead of truthfully reporting that its grey, I will report that its sunny with light tropical breezes.

Last night was another Movie Night here and the selection was Madea Goes to Jail. In this abysmal piece of cinema, a bunch of fat, unattractive African-American people (spoiler: they’re all played by the same person!) are funny and several thin, attractive African-American people are not. Do you remember that episode of Real Housewives of New York where Kelly Benjamin Samoan asked what the charity was for and Jill said “oh its for arthritis because my daughter has arthritis” and Kelly said “oh that’s cute!”? Remember that? That’s how I felt watching this movie.

I had high hopes for this movie because Rudy Huckstable from the Cosby Show is in it. She plays a hooker who is described as a “binge user” by a non-medical professional and has very nice skin and surprisingly large breasts. Still, she’s a hooker and that’s bad. You know how in movies there’s often someone at the beginning of the movie who is tortured and “repressing something that happened long ago” and therefore smokes cigarettes? We as viewers know that smoking is a code wink-wink-nudge-nudge for “something’s gotta change or Cybil Shepard is going to drive that BMW into a wall! On purpose!” Well Rudy doesn’t smoke in this movie but she does wear what has to be the most unfortunate red wig ever to hit celluloid. In the end tho she doesn’t and that’s how we know she’s gonna be ok. Let me bring you up to speed on Rudy’s journey. See she pops up out of nowhere and her prosecuting DA, who looks like a younger, less intelligent version of Denzel Washington, realizes he knows the lady-of-the-night in question. The frothy dialogue that informs us of this includes, “Hey, I know her!” and “She’s someone I knew a long time ago, we grew up together.” So that was clear.

As the film progresses young, dumb Denzel wants to help Rudy but she wont let him. But when she ends up in the slammer and he gets her free (with the help a certain life-coach who gives mad props to Jesus – Let HIM Live!) she realizes he is the one for her. She no longer shoots heroine, and they kiss on the steps of the prison, flashbulbs of the paparazzi illuminating her rosy cheeks and his fine – I mean fine – physique.

While I did not particularly enjoy this film, I do recommend it for those readers who have young children of the female variety at home. Because while you may know the stale, tired “hooker with a heart of gold” trope from Pretty Woman, you’ve not yet seen “hooker with a bad attitude who changes to brilliant, compassionate lady for no intelligible reason.” You see in this film, all that’s needed for Rudy Huckstable to have her epiphany is for young, dumb Denzel to love her – just really love her. Which I think sends an inspiring message to young women around the globe. You can be a messy ol’ crackhead, but just so long as some man comes and rescues you, you’ll be ok. If you choose, however, to pursue goals that do not involve living as chattel, you are doomed. Inspiring!

Well that was then and this is now. And what a now it is. Today Alex and I (accompanied by my faithful companion, Jasper) canoed to some patch of woods to look for something Alex lost there. He couldn’t find it and we paddled home. Two meals were eaten and I did a bunch of research for the pro bono work I am doing at the LGBT Center in the West Village beginning October 1st. Shawna had sent me syllabi, outlines, forms, and oodles of information. I made cosmetic changes to bolster my own ego and sent them back. What a long bloody day!

What did you do today? Won’t you share your story with me – and the world – in the comments section?



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August 10th, 2009 2 comments

Its another dreary, wet day here in the land that Momma Sunshine forgot: Nova Scotia. Everyone says it only gets overcast and rainy when I am here but I’m beginning to think I’ve been deceived. I betcha the weather is always this crummy.

I’ve spent the morning doing Sentia-related work and harassing Shawna over email. Also, I forced everyone to listen to 4 remixes of “Put Your Hands Up For Detroit” that I found on a sketchy Russian music downloading site. Awesome! But fear not, excitement is in store yet. We are going to TOWN! That’s right, in just a few short minutes we will consume our small rations for luncheon (that is, if my stomach can manage it over all the excitement) and then pile into the Prius to have an oh-so-efficient hybridian ride into town. There I will return DVDs to the video store (For Lease!) and mail my mother a postcard. Are you jealous yet? You should be!!!

This brings me to some musings about nature. As you know I am now, temporarily (we hope – Dr. Zeitels you better have done me right!) a mute. Thus I am deeply and fundamentally in tune with my surroundings. That is because when you lose the use of one sense, you become a Wicca. I can actually hear the crackle of the tree bark splitting as those majestic ferns reach infinitesimally higher into the blue, clear grey, overcast sky. Squirrels come and gather at my feet, offering up their delicious forage of cashews, almonds, and macadamia nuts for my consumption alone. A lone fawn leaps on gilded wings up…up…into the stratosphere, carrying with it all my thoughts and cares. Thus we can come to the logical conclusion that nature b my bitch, holla.

But in musing on nature I’m forced to confront some ugly truths, truths many would rather avoid. For instance, nature is filled with bugs, many of them flying. That is gross. They fly around and end up like in your hair and landing on you and some of them bite and even suck out all of your blood like Count Chocula. This I cannot tolerate. People say to me, “oh but Billy, without bugs there would be no flowers.” That is fine. I do not need flowers. I have the whole flower district right off 6th Avenue for that sort of thing. Plus there are flowers in greenhouses and if you’ve ever been in a greenhouse (have you? Not the club in Soho I’m talkin a big glass thing filled with fawna) then you know that all greenhouses are filled, packed, bursting practically with flowers. But what don’t they have? Bugs. ‘Nuff said.

The other unfortunate thing about Nature is that it is dirty, often wet, and sometimes dark (especially at night). This necessitates all sorts of equipment that would rightly be considered extravagant luxury in the city: flashlights, fur and gore tex lined boots, hockey masks, etc. These items come at considerable cost and then one loses them or they break or get dropped into a stream…the means of destruction and loss are, quite literally, countless. Thus it is necessary to purchase and re-purchase multiples of everything until soon you become the little old lady who lived in a shoe from Eddie Bauer. And while its “charming,” its far too expensive and outlandish for “regular” people and thus I find myself more than a wee bit uncomfortable with the implicit class distinctions we are making here. I look forward to returning to the real world of glass, steel and marble known as The Ludlow.

Please share your thoughts with me – and the world.



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Movie Night

August 9th, 2009 2 comments

Alex and I watched a fabulous movie last night. It came from a video rental store in Yarmouth decorated with signs advertising the space as “For Lease!” Alex, ever the optimist, asked the sole employee, a teenage girl, if they were relocating. “Wer goin outta business,” she replied flatly. Then she informed us we had three minutes to make a selection as “we close eleven.” A careful perusal of all available titles was not an option but I knew I was hankerin’ for a comedy. Thus, I elegantly lunged at the first DVD with a smiling person I recognized on the cover and came up with the aforementioned film. I don’t remember what it was called but it had in it Amy Poehler and Parker Posey (playing a role that was obviously written for Tina Fey). It had a sort of charming, straight-to-DVD type of energy that I always find seductive after 2 painkillers and a bracing glass of ice cold apple juice. Let me recap some of the crucial plot elements, since I highly suspect that there are certain markets in which said film will not be released (i.e. “The United States” and “all of Europe”).

The three gals play younger versions of themselves in an opening sequence that taxed the film’s makeup artists beyond their meager capacity. Very little attempt was made to craft the appearance of youth. Parker Posey looked fabulous even though she was supposed to be a nerd. This is because Parker Posey clearly does not eat and has wonderful, threatening, high cheekbones.

Later, the girls realize their lives suck as adults and so through some shenanigans they end up in a tropical locale that looks like Cancun but is called something else. Kristin Cavallari (the reality TV star) was in some of these scenes but I didn’t recognize her. She was either the girl with the really big lips or the one they always put next to the Asian. There were also lots of hot 26 year old non-union actors playing teenagers. Many of them had little clothing on. This was the high point of the movie for me. There was one really spectacularly gorgeous guy in a blue baseball cap who had that YDFC quality I so admire. Talk about hired for talent! Blue Baseball Cap didn’t actually have any lines, just sort of stared blankly at the ladies as they “did comedy” around him. He was very good at this. In one of the last scenes Blue Baseball Cap has to say, “Wait” and he was actually okay at that too. I hope he earned his SAG card.

So what else happens? Well, everyone has sex and then learns to like themselves for “who they are.” Oh and someone played the bongos at some point badly but not intentionally-funny-for-effect badly. Just badly. That was good too.

As you can see, Percocet is a very powerful narcotic and not to be used recreationally. If my darn back and throat and just ‘bout everythin else didn’t hurt so darn tootin much I’d never sip the sticky stuff again!

Also, lots of people have been emailing me and saying “oh I just forwarded your email to like 63 people and they LOVE it.” And by lots of people I mean 1 and by 63 I mean 3 (4 if you include her other email account ‘cause I was sending it to her old one) and by LOVE I mean SKIMMED. A few people have also mentioned that I should start a blog so I had Alex set one up for me (Shawna – he’s angling for your job – rub him out now) and he did a really good job! You should check it out even though there is nothing there that you haven’t already seen in email form. But still. And tell your friends too. Especially if they are easily offended. The site is (catchy, huh? I thought of it!).



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Summer Reading

August 9th, 2009 2 comments

It’s another lovely day in Nova Scotia. Jasper is lounging next to me. We had a very busy day – we drove into Yarmouth to get some more of his organic dog food as well as an iPod cable, some BenGay (cue the jokes!) for my back and other sundry items. We’ve had lunch and are now settled in next to a bookshelf filled with titles such as, “Shroud from the Archbishop,” “The Good Terrorist,” and, my favorite, “The Queen’s Man.”  I would crack open these rarefied titles to see just what these them books be all about but wouldn’t it be so much more fun to make it up? Its time for some imagination time kids. And remember, as Tina Fabrique reminds us, “I can go anywhere. Take a look, it’s in a book, a Reading Rainbow…”

Shroud from the Archbishop

Obviously this title concerns the controversy over circumcision in the church. A lowly peasant boy – rich only in faith – rises through the ranks of the clergy to become Archbishop of the land. But deep within his burlap slacks hides a dark secret he has kept from the world for over fifty years. You see, Archbishop Johnny never had a briss…err…whatever its called for them.  So he resolutely decides to perform the snippy snippy himself. Alas, his skills in exegesis far surpass his skills in surgery and Archbishop Johnny’s efforts prove overzealous. Mortified, he presents his severed member to a lowly peasant boy – rich only in faith – as a cautionary tale. The boy forever treasures his Shroud from the Archbishop.

The Good Terrorist

This particular terrorist only attacks people who don’t turn the sound off on their hand-held gaming units on the subway.

The Queen’s Man

I certainly hope you’ve all read this classic, I believe it is firmly cemented in the canon. Thus, I will keep my summary brief. “The Queen’s Man” relates the timeless tale of Fernando, a world-famous choreographer, and his assistant Deep Saddles, a young man with a dream in his heart and a twinkle in his eye. Deep Saddles just adores Fernando despite Fernando’s sometimes persnickety personality. But when Fernando smacks Deep Saddles across the face with a heavily ornamented pink boa encrusted with semi-precious jewels in the middle of a famous borscht joint in Moscow, Deep Saddles knows Fernando will never change. Despite his hundreds of fans, Fernando, Deep Saddles now realizes, can never love HIMSELF. Deep Saddles walks out the exit, hearing only the squeak of a creaky joint and the slam of the unbuffered door swinging shut behind him, never to return.

Love to all,

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What Dreams May Come

August 9th, 2009 No comments

Last night I had a dream wherein I drank exactly one, perfectly poured, measured, shot of Maker’s Mark. It was delicious. I woke up in a (silent) panic that I had broken my prescribed course of action. Nope. In dreams, friends, anything is possible. (For evidence see assorted poetry, Debbie Gibson, and Russian personals ads)

Someone said to me (you are on this list, forgive me that I’ve forgotten which of you it is) that it would be hardest to refrain from speaking to the dog. That has proven to be very much the case. Its a reflex to say, “No!” or “good sit!” or “are you ok?” and as a result I have to be most careful around Jasper.

I was worried Jasper would be troubled by my inability to speak. My fears were ill-founded. He seems only too happy to trot around beside me and bark at birds and grass and such. People, however, continue to act strangely around me. Some only speak to me in a whisper, as if my inability to produce sound has also made me suffer from hyperacusis and they are afraid of popping my eardrums with their booming voices. One person even decided it would be more efficient to refrain from speaking all together and just pass my notebook back and forth. I suppose he felt by restricting himself to writing he was leveling the playing field. Nah. It was merely annoying. I walked away with my pad and that was the end of his grand experiment. He attempted to perseverate but was denied. Yep, I took my ball and went home.

My back and hamstrings are totally tight and awful from all the time spent under general anesthesia. A long swim is generally my solution but, of course, I’m not allowed to swim. So I’m restricted to a few downward dogs and such.

Speaking of dogs, Sir Jasper is enjoying himself up here immensely. Nova Scotia is filled with his favorite playmates in the whole wide world: bugs. He loves biting, swatting, and carousing with just about any bug that crosses his path. Those critters that make me curse (silently!) and reach for the OFF fill him with canine delight. He is one happy camper.

Unfortunately for me, he has lots to be thrilled by. The wet summer has afforded us a surfeit of seventeen-legged creatures. I desperately want one of those huge standing bug zappers that entice mosquitoes and flies in with a tempting blue light and then electrocute them with a satisfying sizzle. Yes, I know, respect all living things. No.


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Second Full Day of Silence

August 9th, 2009 No comments

First, my BlackBerry doesn’t work here. I should be used to this as I’ve been here before but I’m not. If I stand on the end of the dock and assume the Statue of Liberty Position with my beloved RIM device as torch and….hold it….hold it….hold it…for about 5 minutes, sometimes my email comes through. Other times, not. Weather is not a good predictor of when this method will succeed or fail, neither is duration of the attempt to receive signal. Rather, I’ve come to accept simply that cell reception here is an unpredictable whore.

Last night a bunch of people here drank too much and made fools of themselves. No one else noticed though because everyone was bombed on wine and talking lots of nonsense. If you’ve never observed the aftermath of a dinner party sober I don’t suggest it. It will lead you to uncomfortable insights about how you undoubtedly behave.

As you can deduce, I’m not allowed to have alcohol during my recovery period. Nor may I have citrus products, chocolate, very hard or scratchy food, coffee, tea…basically anything. I’m not allowed to exercise or swim or have fun. I am not allowed to commit suicide because then Cigna might reject my claim for the surgery leaving my family destitute in their attempt to settle my jaw-dropping bill from Dr. Zeitels. Essentially, I’m fucked.

So, is it terribly isolating being silent? Yes. When conversation is clipping along there is no way to scribble something down on a pad in time to make a relevant point before the topic has been swept by. And in an animated group, few are willing to divert their attention to the guy waving around a secretarial pad so that they can read his insights aloud. When they do, the pronouncements come out stilted and jumbled, inevitably carrying a weight they would not if simply verbalized in the slip and flow of conversation. Quickly worn down by the disillusionment of this process, one learns to tune out the conversation and retreat to the corner with a book rather than face constant frustration. But even so, its hard to keep a good raconteur down. I still find myself perking up suddenly at a point made (NO, that cant be right because the Red Sox didn’t play last week – HA!) but the moment has passed and no one is paying attention to the particulars anyway. Back to my book.

Its rather annoying that people feel the need to speak to me slowly, as if I am perhaps deaf or retarded. Its an interesting lesson though in how we receive feedback and adjust our actions accordingly. When one doesn’t receive verbal feedback from a verbal “exchange” one automatically assumes, despite consciously knowing better, that one’s intended message has not been understood. Reaction: speak slower, louder. Example: See “American at cafe in Provence”

My throat is killing me but I’m trying to rely only on Tylenol for the moment. Bets on how long I’ll be able to hold out are being taken.


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