I'm a fighter, not a lover.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Uncle Frank

My Great Uncle Frank passed away last night. He went into the hospital a while back with a bad case of pneumonia. When I did the East Coast phone-check-in recently, my mom told me that he was doing better and might be released. Last night, on my way out the door to dinner with friends, my sister called me to let me know that things weren’t looking good. By the time I reached the first traffic light, she called again to let me know that he’d passed.

I write “Great Uncle” as he is my Great Aunt Geraldine’s (my grandmother’s sis) husband. But, he was also great.

Frank, Irish through-and-through, lived and worked in the town I grew up in since the beginning of time. Roughly. He was a teacher and guidance counselor at the high school forever, although he retired well before I was a student there. I spoke to him a handful of times a year, at most, but he was always a quiet, contented man and from what I saw, was good to his family and most everyone else around him.

I am definitely closer to Geraldine, his wife, than I have ever been with him and I feel terrible for her. She and Frank seemed so opposite one another — just as my grandmother and grandfather do, only in a different way — but it seemed to work. Christmas Eve, up until recently, was always spent at Gerry and Frank’s crowded condo, where everyone got a gift, the food poured from the kitchen, and children reigned. They spent their summers in southern New Hampshire, near Mount Monadnock (the most hiked mountain in the U.S.), in a tight cottage with a sharply angled roof, near the edge of a small lake. When I was a kid, I’d spend several days per summer there; picking pine pitch from the soles of my bare feet or shirtless, floating on an old inner tube.

What I think of most often about Frank though is his love to be outdoors — not in the machismo, I-killed-a-large-animal sense, but simply in his appreciation to be away from walls and other enclosures. Frank was active everyday. He loved to walk. Walking became his premier retirement activity and, up until fairly recently, would walk more in a day than the average person does over the course of a couple months.

The town that I grew up in was not a walking community, as most suburbs aren’t. Walking isn’t a team sport, after all. So, in that sense, he was an oddity and I distinctly remember a strange occurrence one bus ride home after a long day in Middle School. Riding home we passed him, out walking as always, and far from home. I waved and shouted out the window, caught his attention and he returned the gesture.

A classmate immediately asked me how I knew him. I explained my relationship to Frank and he asked me if he was mentally challenged (in not such a nice way). Apparently, people that remain healthy and active well into their retirement are looked upon as handicapped. Silly.

I won’t be heading home, but feel tremendously bad for Geraldine.

Thursday, April 28, 2005


For the first time in a year or so, I actually have some job-related stress. Whoa. At least I have my cubicle.

Monday, April 25, 2005


New York was a drunken blast, just as expected. My consumption was more than “moderate,” but sometimes, that’s entirely necessary. I was able to see several friends that I’ve missed over the last year or two. Such is life.

I’ve also changed jobs and am trying to “wrap my head around it.” (This is a popular phrase around these parts.)

And finally, on the update front, my overachiever-friend, Bob, is in town, visiting Matt and I. Maybe there will be a cool post in the near future. Maybe not.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Open letter to Suzuki Esteem owners (years of manufacture: 1995-2002), particularly owners of the "GL" trim:


Dear Sirs or Madams:

Hello. I am writing to you because I know you. Indeed, up until recently, I was one of you and feel that because of my former Suzuki Esteem ownership, I have the right to call you on your ill-advised additions to your personal Esteems -- and frankly, your misbehavior in dealing with this vehicle.

My Esteem was a 1998 GL four-door sedan, royal blue in color, quite amiable in disposition. I bought her four years after her birth with 68k miles and recently sold her at 110k with plenty of life left in her (though missing a window, stereo and featuring a beat up dash; more on that here). She did me well, in fact, better than I anticipated she would. She was inexpensive to buy and maintain, kept the gas costs low and even rode pretty well, for the most part, despite the 13" wheels and occasional foray down a snowy canyon road meant to be closed to all traffic without four-wheel drive.

The Esteem is even a pretty appealing car on the superficial level. Like that girl in Algebra class who somehow becomes more attractive as the school year rolls on, the Esteem features subtle good looks. Sure, she's no super model, but a pretty gal all the same. However, the Esteem's rear end is a dramatic contrast for the worse, quite unappealing, as if math girl stands up from her desk to reveal some strangely mis-shapen posterior. (Interestingly, in 1999, the front end got a face lift, making it even more appealing, and yet the ass-end remained ass-ugly.)

The Esteem is definitely a more attractive vehicle than some of its mid- to late-nineties competitors [Hyundai Accent (before the re-design), Daewoo (any of 'em), Kia (again, any of 'em)] and camouflages itself nicely among the pricier Corrollas and Civics of the same time period. And therein lies the point of this letter, fellow Esteem owner, and really, the point of the Esteem itself.

The Suzuki was designed to be non-descript, to blend into daily life, not to draw attention to itself or the driver. It was manufactured to quietly get you from Point A to Point B without receiving too many laughs or insults along the way. Of course, the crazy Suzuki engineers had to have some fun with you and name the sucker "Esteem," but come on, it could be worse. You could be driving a Ford Aspire.

So, keeping in mind the aforementioned goals of the Esteem, I am asking you fucktards (for lack of a better word) who feel the need to tint all windows to a hue of black, install lowering springs and body kits in order to bring an already low clearance to a centimeter from the ground, switch the stock wheels for some chromed-out 19" "spinners" despite their not fitting within the wheelwells, craft spoilers reaching Tower of Babylon-proportions, and install aftermarket shift kits and muffler/exhaust systems to disguise the sound of a 95 horsepower engine, I beg of you: Please stop. This is not what is meant for the Esteem and it truly hurts my senses to come across one that is so "modified."

Perhaps you are a visual learner; I can respect that. If this is the case, please see below. Note: the first two photos are acceptable; the remaining photos are Suzuki Esteems that have gone terribly wrong. I have no doubt that if these vehicles could speak for themselves, they would either beg to be destroyed or put their respective asshat owners in their place.



If you are guilty of "customizing" your Suzuki Esteem, please change it back immediately. If this letter does not apply to you, thank you for your good sense in not making a silly car more silly. In either case, I thank you for your time and attention to this matter.


former 1998 Suzuki Esteem GL owner

This is one of those recap posts.

Don’t you hate them? Alas, this is what you get.

It's been a pretty busy couple of weeks. Mostly, this is thanks to KRCL's spring Radiothon which raised, roughly, an ass-load of money. Also, I am starting a new job on Tuesday and am quite excited about it. I start on Tuesday because I don't get back from Brooklyn until Monday night. I know! There's just so much going on.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Radiothon, Kilby, Leia

So, it's Radiothon time around these parts. Radiothon is how KRCL makes its money -- it's listener-supported and commercial free, after all. What this means for me is far too much time spent at the station and a huge goal for my show.

However, I have some special Radiothon Thank You gifts to make that a bit easier... Check it out.