Wednesday, February 22, 2006


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Vladimir Krestovich, Chapter 2

Vladimir was excessive in his moderation. This trait was the most prominent aspect of his personality, overpowering all else. Vlad's mother hoped that her son would go to the extremes exhibited by the other children in the neighborhood; even if he incurred the wrath of authority.

During the frequent social gatherings, whenever a parent would recount their child's latest episode, Mrs. Krestovich could contribute nothing. She would sit with a blank expression feeling ashamed of her reasonable and well behaved son. Their next-door neighbor, Corey Flintoff had killed a small dog with a monstrous wad of chewing gym. Even the shy Ira Livingston had made the papers when he accidentally robbed a halal cart with a 2" Swiss army knife.

When Vlad entered adolescence, Mrs. Krestovich gave him a wide berth hoping he would rebel. He never did. A mediocre athlete and proficient in most subjects, Vlad excelled in nothing. Vladimir knew where the line was, and unlike his peers, he did not believe in superstition, luck or god. It could be said that Vlad's one true genius was his ability to use pure reason as a guide in his decision making.

Even at an early age Vladimir would examine every fact and every situation in an unbiased fashion. As he matured he realized most individuals lacked this capacity. In fact the older one was, the less they were willing to incorporate reason into their decision making. The elderly terrified Vlad.

At the age of fourteen he began donating some of his time to the Sunset Elder Care Home downstate. Vladimir spent 4 hours a week helping move patients into (and out of) the facility. During this time Vladimir met his mentor to be—a sage who had lived his entire life having committed to no single philosophy.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Vladimir Krestovich, Chapter 1

Vladimir Krestovich grew up believing he had been born late at night in Logan Airport. His mother had gone to great lengths to conceal the true nature of his birth. According to her, Vlad had taken his first breaths in a Cinnabon near gate D12. A baker named Mateo, from Bogotá, had helped with the delivery. Once the paramedics had taken charge, Mateo from Bogotá handed out complementary cinnamon rolls to the entire terminal; leaving the minds and bodies of those present feeling utterly satisfied.

In actuality, Vladimir’s birth could not have been more ordinary. He took his first breath in a hospital outside of Newark, New Jersey. No less than thirty children had been delivered that same afternoon. It was a Tuesday, the most lackluster of days, and overcast.

Mrs. Krestovich waited 18 years to reveal the truth, and only did so at the prodding of a priest who had learned her secret. Vladimir was devastated. It is remarkable how a story of so little consequence had grown to impact the child. Cinnamon rolls had always been Vlad’s favorite food. After that day, Vladimir never ate one again. The slightest smell of a cinnamon roll could make him physically ill; traveling through airports and shopping in malls was made forever difficult.

Mrs. Krestovich expected great things for her one and only child. Vladimir came from a long line of Krestovich men, every one of whom had lived a completely conventional life. This was unfortunate, for as was the case with his birth, Vlad was a completely normal individual.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Turn it down.

Loud music. Its right up there with drugs, fast food, and Paris Hilton.

Hearing loss has yet to become an important issue for our generation--it will be. According to the National Institute on Deafness the number of Americans with a hearing loss has doubled during the past 30 years. Some sources say the incidence of hearing loss may triple in the near future.

While this is good news for hearing aid companies (if you ever sit in on a presentation given by a hearing aid manufacturer they will offer up similar statistics, only with more enthusiasm) it is worrisome for young adults.

Mp3 players have altered the music experience. We have access to a variety of music and content that would have been unfathomable only five or six years ago. Devices are more portable than ever, capable of holding exhaustive volumes of music, and accessible to most consumers (you can buy a refurbished Ipod shuffle for only $50). Our generation is listening to music all the time.

Most often, we listen through headphones placed in the ear. Those trendy white earbuds popularized by the Apple Ipod are most likely to damage your hearing. The smaller the headphone, the higher their output at any given volume-control setting. Earbuds also lack the ability to block out background noise causing the user to increase the volume to compensate.

As ears adapt to loud sounds the listener perceives a gradual drop in loudness even though the volume has remained the same. Headphones are most responsible for this 'dulling' effect. With just a flick of the touch sensitive click wheel, volume can be increased to a level that will damage hearing.

While drugs, fast food, and Paris Hilton have all achieved a fair amount of media attention, the public has turned a blind eye (a deaf ear??) to loud music. I propose a simple solution:

All portable music devices should have the option of "locking" the volume so that it cannot be increased beyond a safe, preset level.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Subways are a valuable commodity.

View out of my apartment window this morning.

Week Ended February 12th, 2006

I spent Superbowl Sunday at Rustam's house. As is the tradition, he went all out with an spread of food and drink. I prepared some MSG-laden chicken sandwiches for the occasion. The game was okay but the commercials were AMAZING! I love COMMERCIALS!!! Woohooo! In all seriousness though, commercials are great...not just on the superbowl...anytime.

Work this week was very productive--I have been spending a lot of time with the HCID database. We've got some great guys (certainly overqualified) working remotely throughout the country helping us clean it up and populate it with new companies.

I took it easy on Monday. I did my laundry, went grocery shopping and cleaned up my apartment. On Tuesday I had a satisfying workout and then went to Queens and hung out at Dave's place. Wednesday I watched "Dog Day Afternoon" (I don't recommend it) and then headed to Morningside and hung out with Rustam and Adam. Late Thursday I met up with some new friends I had met the week before at 1020; one of the girls was having a birthday party.

Around 630 on Friday I walked to Morningside and hung out with Rustam, Dave, Francesca and Jill. Rustam, Dave and I headed out around 9 and hit up Adam's apartment. Sarah (visiting from Rochester) and Henry (who displayed his tremendous yo-yo abilities) were there. We sat around until late and then went out for one drink at Redemption.

On Saturday I got up early, worked out, and then brought some shelving to Jon S' new studio on 85th. We went to a coffee shop and chatted for a few hours. We stopped by his old place and hung with Shrob and Evan. At 6 I headed home and made some dinner. And at 9 I headed downtown and met up with Sarah, Adrienne, and Sean. A friend of theirs, Mike, lives on Crosby Street in Soho.

At 1130 we departed for Solas on East 9th for Erica Z's birthday party. Adam stopped by around midnight and I ran into Marissa B., an acquaintance from Tufts. I had a great time at the party, and after splitting a cab to 59th, took the subway home.

I didn't get to bed until 430 but woke up at 730am. It has been snowing like crazy. They are predicting total accumulation of 18 - 24 inches.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Senseless violence.

Every year millions are separated from their families, cut from their roots, and shipped in substandard conditions to far off places. After being exploited for 5 - 9 days, having fulfilled their inauspicious destiny, the downtrodden masses are cast away with little thought. Estimates show that 156 million roses were murdered on Valentine's Day in 2003.

Please stop the senseless killing of flowers.

Men are the biggest offenders. We buy 73% of the flowers sold on Valentine's Day. To be fair, 15% of U.S. women send themselves flowers on Valentine's Day. Now that is just sad!

The flowers are not the only ones being harmed. Studies have shown that 50% of workers in the Costa Rican flower industry have symptoms of pesticide poisoning. Areas surrounding flower farms there have higher miscarriage and birth defect rates than do other areas.

The toxic chemicals spread onto the clothes and into the bodies of farm workers and their children. Florists who handle the flowers have been known to develop dermatitis on their hands.

Please! This Valentine's Day--adopt a plant instead.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Five Things About Myself

Skateboardingmom requested that I post five things about myself:

1) I just placed an order for my seventh consecutive pair of Adidas Superstar 2G sneakers. I will buy them on the internet whenever I can find a pair for less than $30.

2) I prepare 75% of my meals using a microwave and yet eat better than 95% of Americans.

3) I refuse to play the lottery because the odds are not in my favor.

4) When I was eleven I took my best friend's oscillating fan during a particularly hot night while at summer camp. When he protested I told him that it was necessary to turn the fan off intermittently throughout the night to prevent overheating and the potential fire hazard--only I was responsible enough to do so.

5) I despise knick-knackery.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Greg and Elvis

Sonya and Greg after the eating contest held in Las Vegas. Sonya ate this hamburger the fastest.

9 lbs of meat.

Sonya Thomas

Thursday, February 02, 2006


Are you familiar with Airborne?

Airborne is a dietary supplement and health formula which is said to help ward off harmful bacteria and germs, and help prevent the flu and the common cold. The formula contains herbal extracts, amino acids, antioxidants, electrolytes, vitamins and other nutrients, and can be purchased in many U.S. retail stores over-the-counter.

It has been ranked the #1 cold and flu remedy at, and is considered one of the fastest selling health products in retail history.

Intrigued?? At this point I'm sure you are wondering what team of scientists came up with this proprietary formulation? How many hours were spent perfecting this "natural formula containing 17 herbs and nutrients"? And of course, what type of carefully controlled clinical testing was undertaken to establish Airborne's efficacy.

Who needs scientists!!! Airborne was developed by, "a school teacher who was sick of getting sick in the classroom."

Victoria Knight-McDowell, an elementary school teacher from Carmel, CA developed the product to "ward off" the germs spread by her 2nd grade students. The marketing geniuses (or perhaps the cartoonists who devised the packaging) chose to disclose this fact prominently on all Airborne advertising.

I don't know what's scarier. The product's slogan: "
Created by a school teacher!", or the fact that Airborne is ranked THE #1 COLD REMEDY AT DRUGSTORE.COM!

Forget drug companies--I'm putting my health in the hands of a 2nd grade school teacher.

There is no conclusive evidence that this product or any of its ingredients prevents colds or shortens their duration. The adult tablet contains 1 g of vitamin C, and the directions for use advise taking 1 tablet at the first sign of a cold and repeating the dose every 3 hours as necessary. Vitamin C in doses higher than 1 g increases oxalate and urate excretion and may cause kidney stones (EN Taylor et al, J Am Soc Nephrol 2004; 15:3225). The safety of this placebo extraction combination has not been established.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Richard and Bill

Deer Valley

On top of the World.


Five Days In Utah

I spent the past five days out in Utah. The trip came about with minimal notice and I was fortunate to get the time off of work. I awoke at 5am on Friday morning and met my father in front of my building. We drove together to JFK and then set off for Salt Lake City. After arriving we rented a suburban and started driving.

By Noon we had arrived at Deer Valley and were renting equipment; not long after we were on the slopes. My father and I reflected upon the times we live in--having woken up in Manhattan we were now on top of a mountain 2500 miles away and 10,000 feet in the air wearing synthetic planks attached to plastic boots.

The trip had been organized by Richard and his father for Ben's 25th birthday (many thanks). We met the crew at lunch at the Stein Erickson lodge; Debbie, Lenny, Mia, and Dennis were in attendance. We hit the slopes after the first of many good meals.

After closing we drove to Solitude, a mountain where Ben works as a snow cat driver. We met Alyssa at the resort, showered and went to dinner.

After eating I was beat. We returned and went to sleep. The next day we woke up for a breakfast buffet. Once on the slopes Ben acted as a guide for Alyssa, Dennis and I. They are all excellent skiers and I was happy to follow along. I got to experience some deep powder and great terrain. It was a fun and exhausting day; we returned around 4pm.

The snow began coming down that afternoon. It snowed about ten inches that night. The conditions on Sunday were excellent. Dennis, Debbie, Alyssa, and Mr. F. departed that day. And that night we drove to Deer Valley.

Richard, Lenny, Bill and I spent Sunday and Monday night at the Goldner Hirsch Inn, a very nice hotel reminiscent of my days in Zermatt. On Sunday night we ate at the hotel, the food was very good.

We skied Deer Valley on Monday--the sun was out most of the morning. Deer Valley is famous for their grooming; the conditions were in line with their reputation. My father was particularly pleased with the trails. Richard visited some of the more challenging terrain. That night we headed to Park City for dinner.

We were back at it Tuesday. The weather was inconsistent (it was cloudy--and by cloudy I mean we were in a cloud, sunny, windy, snowing), but the conditions were perfect, owing to a fresh 5-6 inches of fresh snow. I knocked off at 12pm and showered then packed.

After altering my travel arrangements, Richard, Bill and I had lunch and said goodbye to Park City. We drove to the airport and chilled out. I had an easy flight back. After finishing 'Hocus Pocus' by Vonnegut I got well into Christopher Moore's 'Lamb' ("The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal") a novel Lenny had recommended.

I was home by midnight, I showered and went to bed.