Monday, March 26, 2012

How to Satisfy a Lover in a Few Short Clicks

My father has prodded me to see The Graduate—one of his favorite movies of all-time—for as long as I can remember. Well, recently, I kicked back a few Bud Light Limes and watched it from start to finish. Like many other times in my life, I should have taken his advice much, much sooner. What a fantastic movie about love, hope, despair, fucked-up-ness, drifting, and, of course, sexy older women. I wanted to watch it all over again right away. I wanted to be Dustin Hoffman during his first encounter with Mrs. Robinson. I wanted to feel his anxiety and his sense of adventure. I wanted to inhale Anne Bancroft’s every smoked filled exhale. I wanted a lover and I wanted one right then and there.

But is that even possible in today’s world? Would Hoffman order the room from Expedia on his smartphone from the hotel bar, bypassing the awkward encounter with the front desk manager all together? Not suave. Would Mrs. Robinson have simply sexted young Ben instead of bothering with a physical interlude? Horribly unsexy. Would Elaine have just blocked Ben from her Facebook page so he couldn’t get in touch with her? Lame.

It’s hard enough having friends with all the technology that supposedly exists to make being social easier and more efficient, never mind a lover you would potentially have to please day and night. Seems pretty hopeless for someone desiring to acquire a love interest these days, doesn’t it?

Fuck that. Being the hopeless romantic writer I am, I decided to dream up some tips on how to seek out and satisfy the love of your life using all the media at your disposal.

Send Heartfelt Text Messages

You don’t need to be a writer to do this. You can be cheesy. You can be mushy. You can be sweet to the point of inducing projectile love-vomit. Do or say whatever you want, just do it in a genuine and human way. Actually, make it seem like you want to connect with the person on an emotional level instead of saying something like: “I’d like to stick it in you if you’re of age.”

People like hearing nice things about themselves, especially when they have a mutual attraction with another person. They want their insecurities to be reassured and have their hopes built up to a point that fortifies every positive quality they believe they possess. It’s not a vanity thing. It’s just what you do when you woo someone.

And instead of getting sweaty palms saying this love-crap in front of some flesh and blood human, you can ease your brain and heart into it by sending text messages.

Here are some suggestions:

“Your hair makes me want to commit crimes against nature.”

“Your voice inspires me to give money to panhandlers in the subway I know drive a better car than I do.”

“You deserve ancient scrolls dedicated to your beauty (or handsomeness.) Like past humans knew that it was coming to the world and were driven completely mad by it.”

Hallmark, I’m waiting for your call.

And don’t use emoticons. You can employ an emoticon when you’re busting a friend’s chops about how horribly their band bombed the night before so they don’t take you completely seriously, not when you’re professing your undying love to someone you may want to see naked one day.

Tell me how this looks:

There has never been love in the world like my love for you ☺

Okay, well, that actually doesn’t look too bad. Let me try again.

I want to race home and make sweet passionate love to you ;)

That wink does nothing to help your cause. Does the wink mean you’re kidding? Does it mean you’re horny and you’re just using “I’ll make love to you” to get yourself in the door so you can drop in “beat me with heavy chains tonight”? It could be an innocent wink, but if your lover takes it the wrong way it could also take the wind out of his or her moment.

Writers have given their lives to give people across the globe spectacular words to describe the emotions they’re feeling . If you’re too lazy to look up the works of Shakespeare or Gabriel Garcia Marquez, at least have the decency to visit You’re in love for a reason, so put some effort into creating the orchestra of words you use to define it.

Use Email and Social Media to Set Up a Rendezvous. Don’t Use it as the Actual Rendezvous

All digital affairs should be a product of distance, not of convenience. You can dash off a quick email that reads: “Meet me at this spot, at this hour, wearing this outfit.” It adds some adventure to the whole thing. Think about all the mundane emails that thud into your lover’s inbox on a daily basis. Now imagine his or her face when your direct, honest, and impassioned email comes through with a fucking brass band behind it.

Follow it up with directions from Google Maps. Send links of the restaurant, bar, or coffee shop you’ll be meeting at with pictures of the two of you Photoshopped into them. Find a YouTube video of a song that means something to your relationship and post it on Facebook. Then send your lover an email telling him or her to check your Facebook page. I bet you get an instant “like,” not to mention real-life brownie points for being thoughtful.

You are allowed to be playful. Correct the other person’s grammar. Send funny pictures you found on Pinterest of the Founding Fathers signing the Declaration of Independence in their underwear. Write 800 words about a recent disastrous subway ride home that compelled you to take a sledgehammer to a defenseless bunny rabbit.

You should also write long literary love-mails. Love letters used to mean something in this world. They connected people separated by war, famine, distance, longing, and doubt. There’s a reason whenever a new book of love letters from some beloved public figure comes out it shoots up the bestsellers lists. It’s relatable at the most basic human level. Even people above your station in life need to love someone and be loved by someone in return.

But maybe you can’t express yourself for that long in an email. That’s okay. Writers are all about borrowing or stealing outright, especially if it advances a cause of the heart. Find a web clipping that reminds you of your lover and include it in the body of your email (with attribution of course.) It will explain your love for them in words you weren’t able to form, and show you were willing to put time and effort into trying.

Odds are you are the bright spot in your lover’s day. Don’t screw that up by having the entire relationship online. You’re there to make their lives better through today’s media, not to make it more complex and involved.

Videos Don’t Have to be Graphic to be Sexy

Keep your clothes on.

Okay, I’m not going to lie; seeing someone naked is fun. But it’s such an awful tease seeing someone you love bare-assed and sweaty on a smartphone or a laptop screen no matter what activity they happen to be engaged in. As with the email rendezvous, if there is distance involved, by all means, go hog wild. But I guarantee, a better bet at pleasing your lover day in and day out is sending them videos of little everyday things that make them a part of your (clothed) world.

Allow me to be Martin Scorsese for a second.

The scene begins with an empty seat. The sun is shining into the window. A woman enters into the screen. She appears not to notice the camera is on. She’s wearing your favorite outfit. Maybe it’s a T-shirt of yours, or a blouse you once told her made her look sexy. She starts to type away at her keyboard. She can’t suppress the smile she’s been holding in. She eyes the camera as if she’s mad at you for making her smile for no reason. But a beautiful, toothy grin comes out all the same and she makes a kissy face into the camera. And then she eats a Snickers bar and lets out a loud fart that causes her dog to start sniffing curiously toward the camera.


I would watch that all day long if someone sent that to me. It would be a genuine piece of your lover you could cherish forever instead of a fleeting physical encounter.

Never Say Goodbye

You don’t need to anymore. Leaving a lover can be heart wrenching—even more so if God forbid there are other people involved—but with today’s technology, you don’t ever have to say goodbye.

Say there is this incredible make out session at the end of a passionate evening of laughter and drinks. That’s the end to your moment. Goodbye doesn’t have to be said. Because odds are, you’re just going to email, text, tweet, or Facebook message that person as soon as you get into the front seat of your car and stare out the windshield in disbelief your life is actually happening.

Keep the conversation going because it was never meant to stop.

Now, get to it. Find your moment. Find your lover.

If none of this works—hey, what do you want from me, I’m still single—just hang out with some of your friend’s better-looking moms and hope for the best.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Love Affair With Astoria, N.Y., in 15 Photos

I have lived in the borough of Queens since my arrival to New York City nearly 10 years ago.

I was hell bent on moving into Manhattan after I graduated from St. John’s and was hired by JCK magazine. I wanted to experience what it was like to walk out my door and be in the heart of the city that I was still very much in love with.

That never happened. And it’s all because I met Astoria.

It wasn’t love at first sight. In fact, it took a visit to an apartment claiming to be in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn—but was really smack in the middle of Bushwick—that scared me and my girlfriend at the time into accepting the first apartment we had seen in Astoria.

The place was a little far from the subway, we had to take two trains to get to work, and there was a horrible couple with a yippy dog living downstairs that moved in shortly after we did.

However, the view of the RFK Bridge from our windows was like having an expensive work of art on our walls, Astoria Park was a runner and writer’s paradise, and the food in the area was spectacular.

I began to fall more and more in love with each passing day. I’ll never have gyros anywhere other than BZ Grill, Trade Fair became my favorite grocery store despite its hectic and cramped quarters, and my running route through Astoria and around Roosevelt Island remains my favorite in the city. Did I mention that the Bohemian Beer Garden was a drunken stumble down the street?

Moving out of that apartment was all the more heartbreaking because Astoria was now more than just an address. It had become a loving and trusted friend who never let us down.

I don’t know if I’ll live my whole life in New York, but if I do, I’m sure that Astoria and I will have to resume our love affair. My heart will always consider it home because of the passion, energy, and inspiration that I created and discovered there.

These photos are for you Astoria. I love you, and I miss you.

When I got off the N or Q train to make the five-minute walk to my apartment, the worries of the day seemed to just melt away as Astoria welcomed me home.
The corner of opportunity and dreams…
This is the view of the RFK Bridge I mentioned before. 
RFK lit up as the sun goes down.
All unpacking stopped the first night in Astoria once the Fourth of July fireworks started. It was the first sign that the area was going to yield more surprises than we had anticipated.
Me and my friends Scott, Softball Spud, and Steve-O (left to right). I was overly excited to hand out those birthday cupcakes and the guys still haven’t let me live it down. Also, no one in this picture won any money.
The Bohemian Beer Garden in the rain.
Brick Café is my absolute favorite place to have brunch in New York City. The French toast with strawberries and whipped cream is to die for.
The next six pictures were taken during my last run through Astoria Park as a resident of the area. I still don’t know why or how those shoes ended up there, but they make for a great photo.
This is where my running career started. Originally, I would run one mile and call it a day. It was at this track in Astoria Park that I started to add a little to my run until the night I ran seven miles without stopping.
The trees lining the straightaway of my out and back in full bloom.
My nephew Jack loves this photo of the “train bridge” as he calls it.
I love rocks.
The signal to turn around and head home.
This photo was taken while I was writing my final paper for my grad class on the Church in the Middle Age in Astoria Park last year. The beautiful weather and unparalleled view made writing about a dry topic bearable.
For more cool photos, check out:

Sunday, March 11, 2012

14 Cool Photos From Back Home in Connecticut

Photos are big in my family.

The walls in my parent’s house in Connecticut are covered with photos of grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, tantes, s’onks (don’t ask), nieces, nephews, and family pets. Each brother has his own wall in family room—which are now being taken over by both my younger and older brother’s kids—and my mother has shelves and boxes devoted to old photo albums of the rest of the family.

Its in that spirit that I decided to indulge a nostalgia trip and compile some of my favorite photos from the past couple of years—starting with this blog that focuses on my recent visits to Connecticut.


Hiking with older brother Tom in Macedonia State Park in Kent, Conn., in 2010.
Great scenic vistas on this hike.

View of my Aunt Kathy's lake. This was taken during my grandmother's 90th birthday party in August 2010.
Nothing better than doing yard work with my pops.
The green, green grass of home. The next generation takes a swing!
The early morning sky during the 27th Annual Simsbury Fly-In. I was helping out Patrick who was handing out information about the C5 that flew over the event.
Sweet color, sweet plane.
Pictures don't convey how blue the sky was that day. These planes cutting across it provided quite the contrast. 
My brother and I thought this guy was going to land on our heads.
My future car.
Best. Hubcap. Ever.
Badass tractor at a small farm down the street from my parent's house.
Moved my Uncle Bobby into his new house just before this storm knocked out power in Connecticut for a week.

Bonus: Cool Videos of a Blackhawk Helicopter Landing