If this shit keeps up, I’m pretty sure I’ll be sleeping at Howard Stern’s place this weekend

howardreminder

I received this reminder in my email yesterday … and a good thing, too, because I had forgotten all about it!

That pesky illness that forced me to call out sick on my birthday earlier this month? It seems to have returned in a more potent form. This particular strain is known as the Howard Stern Birthday Bash flu … and the only known treatment was for me to get my ass on an Amtrak to New York City.

outsidepenn

The first sign I saw upon exiting Penn Station? “Mind Your Meds.” It’s like they knew I was coming.

Originally, I had planned to work today and then head up to New York tomorrow, but my plans changed when this little Cinderella story of mine got even better.

As if winning tickets to tomorrow night’s event wasn’t enough (and believe me: it would’ve been enough), I’ve been invited to participate in tonight’s episode of “Super Fan Roundtable,” a radio program hosted by Stern-Show Super Fan Mutt (the man behind SternFanNetwork) that airs regularly on SiriusXM’s Howard 101 channel. And so, in a few hours, I’ll be heading over to SiriusXM’s headquarters to hit the air with Mutt and a half-dozen other lucky folks who also won tickets to the Howard Stern Birthday Bash. (For those of you who have Sirius: The show airs at 7 p.m.; with any luck, I’ll actually get to say a word or two.)

And the good news just keeps on coming; as I was writing this post, an email from Mutt arrived:

Anyone at the studio by 6P can be a part of Sternthology. As you know Sternthology are classic Stern Show moments that relate to that mornings Stern Show. When they need something more, they’ll use fan requests. We’ll be making those requests.

You need to think of favorite stern show moments ahead of time and we’ll record short intro when you say who you are & what your favorite moment is. It will be used to intro that segment. You can come up with several of them. Your into is about 1 minute so you need a couple sentences to say.

Seriously? I’m starting to think I’m getting Punk’d.

So, yes, I seem to be riding a fat-ass wave of good fortune right now. In fact, the only bummer in sight is that I’m flying solo today because Wonder Woman can’t join me until tomorrow. However, when she does arrive, she’ll be treated to some sweet accommodations, because the boutique hotel at which we’re staying emailed me earlier today to say that we’d received a complimentary upgrade to an Executive Room with a king-sized bed … and seeing as how most hotel rooms this close to Times Square are too small to even think about housing a king-sized bed, I’m feeling like we’ve made out quite nicely.

cassa

Oh, and the hotel representative who emailed me the good news? Her name is “Margarita.” No, I’m not even kidding.

And, hey! Speaking of “Margarita” … it’s time for me to go have one … or two. Maybe three.

I’ll let you know what Howard’s crib looks like. Clearly, the sleepover invitation is coming any moment now.

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Posted in Howard Stern | 8 Responses

The Week in Review: January 24, 2014 … a collection of bitching and moaning misleadingly presented as though it were part of an ongoing weekly feature that doesn’t really exist

nobel-snow

I call this one “Winter.”
(Actually, I call this one “Random picture that I just took out the side door of my office building for the sole purpose of having a photo to stick at the beginning of this post.”)

As previously reported, I had a lovely birthday last Friday … and I am both glad and thankful for the memory of that day, because I’ve not had a particularly good one since.

Over the weekend, I … Christ, I don’t even remember. I know it largely involved trying (and, ultimately, failing in epic fashion) to not lose my shit all over my eight-and-a-half-year-old daughter, who for the past two weeks has slipped into a horrifically disconcerting, anxiety-induced regression back to age three … complete with nonstop, inconsolable crying and “No!”-ing and grunting and, most disturbingly, endless amounts of high-pitched, prolonged, banshee-like shrieking and screaming that has caused the rupturing of eardrums in both dogs and people alike in lands as far off as Reykjavik, Iceland. (And I would take the time to articulate for you just how sad and scared and upset and concerned for her this behavior has made me, but doing so will just accelerate my arrival at Camp Depression, so I will instead continue in my customary, flippant, asshole-like tone.)

Her continuous shrieking and screaming pierced my skull and skewered my brain with what felt like an electrified ice pick, and after repeated stabbings, I erupted last Sunday by non-ironically screaming

STOP
SCREAMING!

in a positively thunderous tone at a positively frightful volume. I sounded monstrous and terrifying and altogether inhuman … which, as you might imagine, was the perfect balm with which to soothe not only my already distraught daughter, but also my wife and son, both of whose nerves — much like my own — had long ago been stripped raw by Jayna’s incessant meltdowns.

In related news: Scaring the ever-loving fuck out of your entire nuclear family by turning into Godzilla is an excellent solution for those of you puzzling over how to make yourself feel like The Biggest Douche of All Time. Also? A spectacular aphrodisiac with which to arouse your spouse. No, wait: the opposite of that.

I’ve since apologized to all of them … and, to their credit, none of them have yet poisoned me or bludgeoned me to death in my sleep, which I think is a good sign.

In the wake of all that fun, Mother Nature dumped about a foot of snow on us Tuesday and, as noted in my previous entry, the blizzard transformed my usual 25-minute commute into a two-and-a-half-hour episode of “Man vs. Wild” … which sucked enough in its own right, but the magnitude of the day’s Suck Factor ballooned exponentially when, moments after returning home, I learned that my one close friend at work — the dude whom I credit with making bearable the 9-to-5 drudgery of the bleak, three-and-a-half-year detour my career has taken — is leaving next week for a new and better job.

To give you some idea as to how crucial he has been in helping me hold on to the few remaining shreds of my fluorescent-tinged, cubicle-shaped sanity: Zan, Jayna and Wonder Woman all responded to the news by hugging and consoling me.

I am, of course, happy for him … but his imminent departure is forcing me to look with renewed scrutiny and an increased sense of panic upon the massive disparity between what I’m doing for a living and what I want to be doing for a living. Still, I’m inclined to believe that his leaving ultimately is in my best interest; the less comfortable I am here, the more motivated I’ll be to finally make my escape. I hope.

Meanwhile, on a more positive note, this just arrived in my email:

bdaybash-1week

Is it next Friday yet?

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Posted in Cubicle, Howard Stern, Life, Winter | 8 Responses

Fuck you, snow.

If you can read this, please send help. I'm being held captive in a place where it SNOWS.

We’ve long ago established how much I detest winter, yes? Then you can imagine the joy that filled me near to bursting as I drove home from work in today’s blizzard.

It took me almost two-and-a-half hours to cover 13 miles. Most of that time was spent sitting at a dead stop … but the rare moments during which I was moving were made all the more lively by the exciting manner in which my tiny, little, 15-year-old, far-too-light, front-wheel-drive sled — er, car — spun its tires in place and made repeated overtures toward sliding off the roadway. (Granted, it would have had plenty of company.)

Fortunately, I grew up in Boston, where my friends and I spent every snowstorm of our teenage years perfecting our arctic stunt-driving skills … which is why, during today’s commute, I was able to narrowly maneuver my way out of some ugly moments that would have had most gamblers betting the farm on yours truly becoming one with a snowdrift.

As if the treacherous, unplowed roadways weren’t enough to deal with, this was one of those shitty, unyielding storms that makes everyone’s windshield wipers keep icing up. After reaching out the window several times to quickly bang the ice off the driver’s-side blade as it reached its apex (because I sure as shit wasn’t getting out of the car to do it), I employed my tried-and-true method of turning the heat all the way up with the fan maxed out on the “defrost” setting. Sure, it felt like I was sitting in a dry sauna for two hours and I was sweating my ass off by the time I got home … but every motherfucking snowflake that came within six inches of my windshield was vaporized before it could even think about clinging to my wiper blades. So there.

I'm not asking for much. I'll settle for a tastefully decorated beachside bungalow anywhere in the Caribbean.
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Posted in Winter | 11 Responses

44

44

This is what 44 looks like, people.
(Funky photo effect added to help diminish the glaringly obvious signs of my advanced age.)

On my 43rd birthday, I went to work like it was just another day. During my lunch break, I decided to really live it up … by going to my doctor’s office for my annual physical … because nothing says “Happy Birthday” quite like immunization shots and bloodletting, am I right?

They say that with age comes wisdom … and they must be right, because, one year after the aforementioned birthday blowout, I decided to wise the fuck up.

I called out sick today. *cough cough* See? I’m dyin’ over here. (Actually, “called out sick” is a misnomer. Thanks to the Internet, I didn’t have to call anybody; I simply emailed my boss to inform him that I was burning a sick day. No need for the whole fake-cough-on-the-phone performance. Thank you, Al Gore.)

Yes, I actually gave myself permission to really enjoy my birthday for a change. I stayed up late last night to watch a movie. Wonder Woman made me blueberry pancakes for breakfast. I took a long, hot shower (until all the hot water ran out). And, right now, instead of wasting away in a fluorescent-lit cubicle, I’m sitting at my dining room table, bright daylight streaming in through the windows as I write this blog post while listening to Van Halen. (Coincidentally, the song playing right now is titled “Beats Workin’.” And, yes, they’re goddamn right it does.)

As we all know by now, my BIG birthday celebration will be taking place in New York City two weeks from tonight, when Wonder Woman and I attend Howard Stern’s Birthday Bash (I still can’t believe we’re going!). Meanwhile, I’m having a great day, and I still have plenty to look forward to. Zan will be home soon, and I predict that he and I will be rocking some “Guitar Hero: Van Halen” in short order. (It’s kind of a birthday tradition.) After that, the family and I are off to dinner at my favorite Italian restaurant, where I’ll be ordering the chicken parmesan for the 9-bazillionth time, because it’s JUST. THAT. GOOD.

No complaining about my age this birthday. I’m cool with with 44. In fact, I’m planning on having a kick-ass year. For starters, I’m gearing up to get back in shape … and by “gearing up,” I mean “I bought a case of Sam Adams Light today instead of the usual heavy stuff.” An impressive start, as I’m sure you’ll agree. Also? Writing, writing and more writing. So you have that to look forward to.

Now, if you’ll pardon me, Zan’s home … and there’s a toy guitar calling my name. It’s time to ROCK OUT … in an extremely nerdy, geeky way.

Happy Birthday to me!

Peace out.

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Posted in My Birthday | 13 Responses

In which I place far too much importance on winning tickets to Howard Stern’s Birthday Bash

I don’t let myself get my hopes up about anything that isn’t a complete and utter lock — mostly because I’m an emotionally fragile pussy who strives to avoid disappointment — but I was unable to keep from getting my hopes up about attending Howard Stern’s Birthday Bash in New York City later this month.

In a rare move, I let myself be openly optimistic. Howard first announced plans for the January 31st event back in mid-November … and I immediately booked a non-refundable hotel room in midtown Manhattan. I figured, worst case scenario, Wonder Woman and I get to have some more fun in New York City.

“Are you still going to be able to have a good time that night if we don’t get tickets?” she asked.

It’s almost like she knows me.

“Of COURSE I am, honey,” I lied through my fucking teeth.

And I tried to convince myself that I believed that lie … but I didn’t try all that hard, because I still felt confident that we’d get tickets. After all, I have a pretty spectacular track record of making this sort of shit work out (like that private Van Halen concert, for example).

When I didn’t win tickets via the initial SiriusXM subscriber lottery, I set my sights on the “Howard Stern Look-a-Like” contest on Facebook, for which I dug up a 13-year-old photo of Wonder Woman and me at a Halloween party disguised as Robin Quivers and Howard Stern.

DS & WW as Robin Quivers and Howard Stern

I’m the one on the right.

And I was positive — POSITIVE! — that I was going to be one of the four winners … so much so that I actually dared to speak aloud about the likelihood of my victory. And in return for that foolish act of hubris, I was swiftly and decisively kicked in the metaphorical balls. Four winners were picked, and I came in fifth. FIFTH! No victory. No celebration dance. Just the knowledge that I had come THIS CLOSE to scoring the most hard-to-get ticket of all time. Too bad, so sad, fuck off, The End.

The thing is, I had truly believed I was going to get tickets … and my disappointment after losing ran much deeper than the simple fact that I wasn’t going to be at the show.

As those of you who have read my “About” page already know, Howard Stern has been a significant figure in my life. I began listening to “The Howard Stern Show” show more than 20 years ago while serving as a military police K-9 handler in the U.S. Army, and it is largely because of my exposure to his show that I made the massive shift from a career in law enforcement to a career in writing (by way of a stint in college radio).

I know that Howard Stern is a polarizing figure, and I’m not going to waste my digital breath trying to change the minds of any among you who might have a negative opinion of him. Suffice to say, I do not concur. But, whatever your opinion of him may be, the important takeaway here is that Howard Stern has been my primary creative and professional inspiration for the past two decades. In addition to making me laugh and generally entertaining the hell out of me, he has represented to me the possibility of becoming a self-made success by using your creative talents, and of achieving that success by sticking to your creative vision … even when doing so means risking failure.

With all of that in mind, you hopefully can understand how, without consciously intending to do so, I had let the prospect of winning tickets to Howard’s birthday bash become for me the sign I needed in order to believe that, despite the major, unexpected and completely depressing detour my career has taken over the past few years, I still have “it” … I still have that little bit of magic that has helped make possible things like all of my amazing experiences with Van Halen and my subsequent dream job as a music journalist. And if I still have “it,” then maybe I can get back to believing in the prospect of the rewarding and creative career I had always envisioned for myself. Maybe I can stop feeling like I’ve already missed my chance, and stop feeling like I’ve been sentenced to Death by Cubicle.

Maybe I can get back to believing in the dreams I had for my life.

And, yes, I am fully aware that it sounds completely fucking insane to place that much significance on winning a pair of tickets to a show … but no one’s ever accused me of being the poster child for sanity.

Listen, I wasn’t actually banking the rest of my life on whether or not I won tickets to Howard Stern’s Birthday Bash, OK? But a win would have provided a much-needed ray of hope.

Bottom line: The loss really threw me for a loop.

The first time I listened to Howard’s show after losing, it stung like a bitch to hear him hyping the party. I seriously considered tuning out until February so I could avoid suffering daily multiple twistings of the knife in my heart.

And then, much to my surprise, another Facebook contest was posted, the theme of which was to create a birthday card for Howard. Short on hope, long on desperation, and fearful of opening myself up to another gut-wrenching loss, I recycled my previous entry, turned it into a birthday card, and carpet-bombed the entire fucking Internet by hounding every last person I could think of to “Like” it.

Our birthday card for Howard Stern

Because nothing says “Happy Birthday” quite like a woman in blackface and
a dude making fun of your nose.
(For the uninitiated: The “Peace & Love” thing is an ongoing gag on the show.)

On Sunday afternoon, this showed up in my email:

bdaybash-win

Fuckin’ A. I’ve still got “it.”

Thank you all for tolerating my obnoxious campaign to win tickets … especially those of you who actually “Liked” and “Shared” the photo. I can assure you that no one was more annoyed, sickened and disgusted than I by my pathetic begging and kvetching.

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Posted in Howard Stern | 21 Responses