Monday, October 22, 2007

Live from Minnesota

Minnesota is a nice state. The section I'm in (somewhere near Minnetonka) looks like the part of New Jersey I grew up in (I shit you not). I'm hear for one of my best friends' wedding. They're Jewish, so I got to partake in a Jewish wedding ceremony for the first time. It was pretty much the same as every non-Catholic wedding I've been to. I was the best man though, so damn I was scared about the rings and the speech. I tackled the rings by having the two of them in their cases with me at all times. And not just with me, but in my hands. It worked; I didn't lose the rings.

The speech was tough too. I have seen several best man speeches, and most were decent, but I wanted better. I decided my goal was to deliver the speech in under one minute. This took the pressure off of being too funny or insightful and allowed me to distil the essence of what I wanted to say into four three bullet points:

  • Joke that speech should be short, so no revealing stories (I ended up forgetting this bit).
  • Joke that when Joe told me about Liz, that I said she was out of his league.
  • Nice thing about Liz.
  • Nice thing about Joe.

By my reckoning (no one thought to time me), I came in around a minute and a half. And yet, I had them all in tears. It was awesome. The maid of honor went next and spoke for what seemed like 10 minutes, but it was a great speech too. Good stuff.

I'm packing up right now (actually I'm getting yelled at right now for blogging instead of packing) to head back home. Thank God we decided to take an extra day off.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Wishlist: Background

A short history of gift-giving as it relates to me.

Back in like 5th grade, my parents apparently found it too difficult to determine what exactly I wanted for my birthday, so they asked me to make a list. I made a list no fewer than three pages long. So my parents asked me the next day to make another list because they "lost" the first one. They compared the two lists, found about three items overlapping, and got me those things. I was happy.

In middle school, I was really into Magic: The Gathering. My friends all knew this, and so they all gave me Magic cards. I got pretty much my only good cards from that birthday (and recently sold them too).

Freshman year of college, for the first birthday party among my group of friends, we got together, each chipping in $5, and got Anna what turned out to be a huge set of birthday gifts. We quickly realized we'd run out of money fast if we continued this lavish process, and thereafter no one got gifts.

A few years back, I invited friends out to a restaurant to celebrate my birthday. I did not expect any gifts, but a good friend got me a really thoughtful gift; a bottle of low-carb wine (I was on the South Beach diet at the time and doing very well). It made me realize that now that we all had jobs, we could afford to buy each other gifts.

Which brings me back to the beginning. How do I let my friends know what I want unless they ask me? I've already received my fair share of ties, digital tire pressure gauges, and gift cards.

The answer: the wishlist!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Pedestrian Traffic

We have laws and rules for automobile traffic. Lane markings, traffic lights, stop signs, all sorts of good stuff. But what about foot traffic? We have no rules. It's every man for himself. A jungle, if you will.

We seem to abide by some soft rules for walking. Generally we try to stay to the right in two-way travel. Often when merging we'll take turns entering. But some people just want to take advantage of the lawlessness of the pedestrian frontier. Here are a few habits that annoy me the most.
  • Standing by the door that will open on the subway, planning to get out, the guy behind me says "excuse me" three or four times trying to get past me, not thinking that I might be getting off too. This often happens when approaching major hubs.
  • Walking into a crosswalk without looking. What the hell is wrong with you? I couldn't care less about your life, but if the driver swerves and hits me, I'm gonna be so pissed.
  • Walking to the front of a queue or merge and butting in. Hey buddy, you're not more important than the rest of us. I'd wager you're less important.
  • Suddenly stopping in the middle of a walkway. Don't look angrily at me when I bump into you; it's your own damn fault.

Next time I'll look at some rules we can all abide by.

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