Christian Ross

Dear Paste magazine,

I am writing this letter to inform you that our relationship is on the verge of coming to an end.

It’s not me, it’s you.

My courtship started late last year, November most likely. I found a link to your website and an offer from you to name my price for a subscription. I was excited for this new way into a subscription service. I felt like this could be an opportunity for other magazines to follow especially since most magazines make their money on ads rather than subscriptions.

2007 was a slow year for music. As I stumbled upon your offer and website, I felt that potentially you would be an open door for new music and other fine arts. Though small, there was a small excitement building in anticipation of your arrival in my mailbox soon. I hadn’t had a subscription to any magazines for a while and thought it would be a good change of pace, a little light reading for down times or restroom breaks. And best of all, I set my own price, $5. Yep, that’s right, a full year’s subscription for less than a Super-sized number three (plain Quarter Pounder, with cheese only) at McDonalds.

I know $5 dollars seems a little low. On one hand, I didn’t want you to feel cheap or cheated but on the other hand I wanted a deal. And since I had never had the opportunity to flip your pages, I really didn’t know how much you were worth. So I placed my $5 order and smiled when it was accepted.

Then I waited.

Christmas came and went and you chose not to arrive. I justified your absence to myself by thinking that I ordered late in the month and missed the December cycle since most magazines go out a month ahead of time.

It’s official, I’m learning Spanish.

For if no other reason than to be able to interpret the lyrics of the wanna-be-Selena concert that the nice people of the Bahia Mar on South Padre Island decided to throw starting at 11:08pm this Friday evening.

Not that I have a six-month old or anything. Asleep. Since 8:15pm.

I’d like to learn it for several reasons. One, we will all need to know it in the near future. B, It’d be handy to figure out if people are saying dirty things about you without your knowledge. And third, the lyrics to Tejano songs must be the most inspirational ever written. Cause there’s no way anybody enjoys it for the music. Terrible.

I’ve entertained the idea of throwing on some flops, grabbing the camera, and making a show out of it. It’s a pretty safe bet to assume Selena2 isn’t much of a big shot. The 4/25 Bahia Mar show isn’t exactly Red Rocks. The pink hotel as a backdrop is nice stage setting and is great for acoustics, but the army green creek winding through the complex (hopefully not funneling back into the ocean) and the random individual screams from the audience of 8-10 are a give away.

I haven’t heard any words that have tipped her hand yet like Iglesia, Biblio or Jesus but there’s a chance that she could be evangelizing. In the parking lot today, the old BM was filled with multiple Assembly of something church vans. The lobby of said pink hotel was overrun with old hispanic women, all in dresses, and most with some sort of veil that covered part of their head. If I were to guess, I’d say witches. Random, actually. Another moment where a little Spanish would have been handy.

Reason #4 on list of needing to learn Spanish: Early this week I received a phone call from a guy looking for Julio. or Juan. or Paco. No English whatsoever. After about 5 questions I finally got, ‘Se Habla Espanol?’ For those of you less educated in the ways of Spanglish, he needed to know if I would be willing to partake in his little foreign name game. I didn’t. No Habla Espanol. But if I would have known what he was asking for I might have been able to give him directions or something. Or at least tell him to quit calling my phone number in a language that he understood. I used the common American method of communication when someone of another language doesn’t understand, slow down and get louder. But do it in English. Works every time.

Speaking of new languages, I often vowed pre-child that I wouldn’t be joining the ranks of all those people who decided to communicate with their baby in unintelligible ways. Eating words daily.

For some reason having a kid either strengthens your vocabulary or inhibits completely, just depends on how you look at it. I’d like to think mine is growing, I have seemed to been able to make up all kinds of words in the last six months. A few of my favorites in phonetic form:

  • ‘tchewse you – somehow when my kid sneezes (usually in pairs), my brain tends to think that ‘tchewse you is an acceptable replacement for excuse you. To test it, I am planning on using it in my next business setting to see how it works.
  • bess you – see above
  • stinks – now I realize that stinks is not a new word, but I can almost confirm that it isn’t a noun. Which in this case is how it is used. Sometimes when C smells, and even sometimes when he doesn’t, he gets referred to as Stinks. In noun form. Shouldn’t need much explanation on how the name came about.
  • pee(t)-boo – this one was a little hard for me phonetically, the first half of the word doesn’t officially end with a strong T, but it does end before the boo. It’s not pee-boo. Though sometimes my laziness takes over and it does become p-boo and boo.

I have also noticed tendencies to shorten or drop words from phrases:
Regularly, the offering of going for a ride in the car (mostly to benefit daddy) is given as ‘wanna go ride daddy’s truck?’ Notice the lack of sentence structure, missing words, and all around bad grammar.

This happens more often than I’d like to admit or possibly remember. Shortened phrases have definitely made it into my vocab. Take bath? Cohen eat? Cohen hungry? You smelly. Get bathtub. And one. Hey ref, call it on both ends. All mini-phrases that he is doing well with.

Side note, nice to hear that JLo has decided to pack it in for the evening. I still hear a crowd out there so I haven’t closed up shop just yet. Waiting to see if Jenny-from-the-block was just the opener. I hope so.

We have been blessed down here with some friendly fellows as common-wall neighbors. Not necessarily friendly with us, but they seem to enjoy each other’s company pretty well. Usually between the hours of midnight and 4am. Swell guys. I’m just glad building 9 of the BM condos wasn’t built with newsprint for walls. Or 2*6 wooden stairs.

Otherwise our time down here has been pretty good. Had some bad wind yesterday until about 3pm when it decided to clear up. I’ve done a little work, and we’ve all had a little time to spend on the beach. Decent trip all around.

SPI is no Hawaii by any means (not that I would know) but it’s close ( in proximity), it’s Texas, it’s pretty inexpensive, and it’s a beach. All good marks. Avoid it during March and you’re pretty much safe.

I guess the Los Tornados or La Tortillas weren’t on the bill for tonight. Bummer. Guess I’ll go give sleep another shot. Uno sheep, dos sheep, tres sheep…

these vagabond shoes, are longing to stray…

A happy NYC Saturday morning to any who might read this. Sorry for not posting our pictures last night but it probably wouldn’t matter since most of you are an hour or two behind and probably just getting up anyways.

Things in the City are still great. Lots (and lots) of walking again yesterday. Cohen did well for the most part with only a couple of breakdowns around feeding times. The Macy’s/Banana Republic dressing rooms were sufficient enough to get him back on track and moving again. For the day run, he was once again strapped to my belly and seemed to enjoy the ride. For the evening, we decided to try the stroller route like all of the others we had seen. Bad idea. I am guessing the suicide rates of people using strollers in NYC are 8 times the national average. Don’t try it. Today we will move him back to the harness method and hope that he is good with it.

NYC is great in the daylight as well as night. You rarely feel unsafe in either situation. Melissa lives in a neighborhood that seems to be family friendly. Lot’s of kids with either their mothers or nanny’s. (Some are easier to distinguish).

We were able to start the day at the famous (I think) H&H Bagels to grab a NYC bagel. If I ever took the time to type or scan in my writings from my August trip to Colorado Springs then you would understand my feelings on bagels, so in turn I went with the cinnamon bun.

Next we ventured south to the worlds largest department store, Macy’s. After letting Cohen eat we jumped in the rather long line to put Cohen on the lap of the real Santa Claus. I’m not much for lines but I figured it was a one time opportunity and the 6 foot tall elf told me that it would only be about 25 minutes. Not too bad. It did go pretty fast. One of the reasons it went fast is that you only get a minute or so with Santa and the other reason is that there are either 3 or 4 Santa’s at any given point holding kids. Our Santa, we will call him ‘Rabbai Santa’ or ‘Santa Goldberg,’ was a nice enough fellow but I was hoping for at least a real beard. Either way, it was fun, didn’t take long, and can claim that we have now been through Macy’s Santa Land and seen the man himself.

Favorite moment not pertaining to my family at Macy’s: Mrs. Claus, even more realistic looking than her spouse, made the rounds through the line to keep the crowds entertained. The family behind us had two young’ens both older than ours. As she stopped to talk and welcome them she pointed out to the older boy that Santa was so excited to meet him; the young was taken aback at her comment and responded, ‘but I met him last year,’ quickly the Mrs. had to back peddle and cover her tracks. She did a pretty good job of cleaning up her mess but I would have liked to see his time spent with Santa to see if any questions were brought up.

After Macy’s we decided to go eat and found a nice place that served a little of everything. It was a chain but it was good. I had the guy make me some fresh cajun chicken alfredo while Melanie and Melissa each got some sort of pita sandwiches. Other options included oriental food, fresh salads, pizza, cheesecake, fresh baked goods, and so forth.

From lunch we headed south to Ground Zero, not much you can say either while you are there or after the fact. You really have to see to understand. I know there has been progress made since the last time I visited but it doesn’t look like much has changed. I recommend seeing it at least once, and visiting it any time you are here. I would make a point of visiting it once a month if I lived here.

Our feet carried us from there to the bottom of the island and into Battery Park to view Lady Liberty without taking the ferry. She’s a little far away but you can her still standing there after 121 years. One of the very few things the French should be credited for.

Getting late in the afternoon, we hopped the Green Line back to the apartment and let the little one rest for a while. I think I napped longer than he did.

For dinner we again headed out, due partly to being in NYC and wanting to make the most of it and partly to the only offerings from Melissa’s fridge were two frozen Eggo waffles and a South Beach TV dinner. Yummy. Instead we got soup at some joint in Rockefeller Plaza and then took some time to see the tree and ice skaters. Good times. Across the street from the GE building (Reckefeller/NBC studios) stands Saks Fifth Avenue and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Both must sees. Saks’ windows were all dressed up as well as many of the shops along 5th Avenue as we walked. By the time we made it to FAO Schwartz, they had just closed up so we headed home.

We are in the process of getting ready to head out again for the day. Slow start but probably needed it. We are probably headed to SOHO, Little Italy, Chinatown and such. More walking. Will try and keep track of it all.

Note: Possible chance to see Kyle this weekend. He’s arriving at his base some time late afternoon today in Jersey. Once checked in he is going to find some information about getting here. If he can get a ride/cab to Trenton, he can catch the train right in. Would be good to see him if possible.

Note two: Heisman trophy presentation tonight here in NYC. Not exactly sure where they do it, might head to TS to see if it’s a mad house down there. It’s either got to go to Tebow or McFadden. I don’t like the Gators so I will root Woo-Pig-Sooie.

Pics of the day:


Cohen – bedtime, Christmas PJ’s

Empire State Building

Macy’s Entrance

Santa line

Santa Land

Santa Land

Kris Kringle himself

Old fashioned Santa correspondence

Fancy new internet Santa correspondence – note that Santa is a Mac man

Ground Zero

Statue of Liberty from Battery Park

St Patrick’s Cathedral

Keeping warm

Rockefeller Plaza/Tree

GE Building

Rockefeller Plaza/Tree

Want proof of my laziness?

Recently, my lawn mower died, mid-mow. It was created and referred to as Frankenstein by a buddy of mine who combined the working parts of two mowers he had. It lived a good life, or three.

I’ll leave out the details of the lead-up, but I got a flyer on my door last week for a guy in the neighborhood starting a lawncare business. It sat on my desk for several days but on Friday before we headed out of town I gave Wayne (flyer distributor and lawncare entrepreneur) a call. Nice guy, drove over for a moment to quote me a price and we worked out a deal and a schedule.

Wayne informed me that he was retired, and looking for a way to stay busy. I told him the story of my mower and the lead-up to calling him. Handshake occurred, deal was made. After a much needed knock down of my St. Augustine on Friday, Wayne would start a regular rotation on Wednesdays.

Now, I know some of you may be thinking to yourself at this point, “now that Christian is a strapping young lad with rock-hard abs and the endurance of a wild antelope, why would he need someone to help him with the weekly task of mowing the lawn?” Two reasons:

1. Brandon (previous homeowner to 890 E. Riverside) failed to mention the work he put into making and keeping his yard the best looking on the block.

2. I’m lazy.

By understanding the two stated reasons fully, I knew that it would be much more to my benefit to find a man like Wayne who enjoyed his time as a green thumb and was willing to keep my yard in tip-top for a small fee.

But, as the radio great Paul Harvey always states, ‘…and now, the rest of the story…’

This Wednesday was my first, regularly scheduled day for lawn maintenance with Wayne and I was a bit excited. One, to be able to thank him for the fantastic job he did on Friday. And two, to reward him for it with a check in his name.

Wayne made it to the house as scheduled on Wednesday. The lawnmower started and thus I headed to the living room to get said check for him. As I made it out the front door, I noticed several things right off the bat. First, the Texas heat and DFW humidity were in full force that day. Second, the familiar sound of a lawnmower running. And third, the sight of Wayne standing by the pick-up truck filling the weed-eater with gas.

Now if you can put 1, 2, and 3 together you can probably tell Wayne wasn’t running the mower.

At that moment all proof of my laziness struck me; currently mowing my lawn was Wayne’s “supervisor” – his wife. His nice, older, should-have-been-enjoying-life-from-her-back-porch, wife.

I am that guy. The 29 year old, able-bodied male, who makes retired ladies cut his lawn. Feel free to insult me at any point. You have a free pass.

So here’s my dilemma: I now pay a retired lady to mow my lawn but there’s no possible way to fire her.

Thanks a lot laziness, you burned me again.