Relax. Smile.

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One of my New Years resolutions was to try to be happier.

People always tell me that I am “so serious” or ask “what is wrong.”  Such speculations bug me, because most of the time nothing is wrong at all and I am actually quite happy.  I suppose that it is years of playing poker professionally that has forced my face into a constant serious expression, void of emotional indications of happiness.  So while I am not sad or angry, I understand that the general assumption from people who don’t know me is that I am.

In general, I would say that I am not sad, but also not overly happy.  Like everyone else, I am prone to bouts of melancholy.  But I am also just as disposed to attacks of pure happiness.  Most of the time, however, I am just leveled out.

In short, I am normal.

But if I am to be completely honest with myself, I suppose that this winter was a bit depressing.  Aside from the fact that I am essentially starting a new career and dealing (no pun intended*) with the drama that goes along with it, I also have been living by myself in a fairly desolate town, so my human interaction has been almost exclusively limited to the depressed degenerates who like to place the blame of their bad run of cards on me.

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Cookie-Cutter Shows

I often make fun of my parents for watching shows such as Numbers and The Mentalist.

They are cookie-cutter shows that simply present a problem (Think: A murder) and a solution (Solve the case, bring a bad guy to justice).  Each week, this is done in a formulaic method that is dreadfully predictable and offers the viewer nothing more than a sixty-minute waste of time — a gift-wrapped box-of-nothing, complete with a bow.  The thing that I hate the most about them is that almost no plot development occurs from one episode to another.

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So yea.  I make fun of my parents and try to convince them to watch shows with depth and drama.  Shows that leave you hanging and wanting more.  Shows that don’t offer you a gift-wrapped package, but instead light it on fire.  Shows that leave you heartbroken for the next 6 days and 23 hours.  Anything on HBO or AMC would suffice.

But then I realized that I am a hypocrite.

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Score One for the Strippers

8ef90-bareexposurestripclubAt work, we are usually able to park in the customer parking garage, so long as we park on level 7 or above.  However, if it is deemed to be a “high volume” day, the employees have to park in a different parking lot, two blocks away.

Last weekend was one of those times.

I parked my car and began laboring towards my place of labor, when I noticed a car suspiciously inching around the parking lot.  The car idled past a few female employees as they hurried their pace.  Then it sped up and approached me.

I am always surprised to meet someone who isn’t aware that Atlantic City is not a safe city.  I suppose that someone who has never been there simply assumes that it is a bustling beach town, full of casinos and commerce.  But these people are only privy to the flashiness and charm of the high-rises, and not the dilapidation and despair of everything else.

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Driving: Part III (The Car as a Sword and Shield)

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The car itself is a powerful tool.  It is this tiny capsule that takes me places.  Moreover, it is a bubble that allows me to be more significant and my actions to be more substantial.

For example, giving people the finger in the car is the only time I feel as if it is really actually giving them the finger.  It is saying “Hey man, fuck you,” as opposed to just giving it as a joke to one of my friends.  Additionally, giving the finger is such a rare occurrence for me that if I give it to you, you can be damn sure that you are very low on the Good Driver Hierarchy.

The best thing about my car is that while within the safe confines of it, the recipient of my middle finger can’t punch me right in the face, or at least it will take them a great number more steps to do so.

On the flip side, driving in my car grants me escapism as well as literal escape from my favorite form of escapism.  Let me explain.

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Driving: Part II (The “Good Driver” Hierarchy)

Here’s the thing about “Good Drivers”: There are none.

Or at least there are none that I know or could describe.

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Well, maybe one.

The only descriptors one can give another driver are those that have negative connotations.

For example, I know “Fast Drivers,” who don’t hold my safety in high regard.

I know “Slow Drivers,” who don’t think that my time is of paramount importance.

I know “Jerky Drivers,” who don’t want me to be able to sleep during the drive.

Then of course there are “Aggressive Drivers,” who tail people dangerously close, and occasionally honk, all in the name of keeping things moving.

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Parenting Advice for My Sisters

Both of my sisters are pregnant.

It is very exciting.

What is even more exciting is the fact that I am going to be the godfather of both of the little cherubs.

I am already an uncle to perhaps the coolest little three-year-old boy in the world, and I can’t wait to meet two more awesome babies in the next two months.

My older sister, already a mother, should probably be the one giving my other sister and brother-in-law parenting advice.  But I will do my part by referring them to this helpful chart of Baby Do’s and Don’ts:

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