Category Archives: Greatest Hits

My all-time favorite posts.

What’s your GSD-Q?

What’s your GSD-Q?

Of course there are a lot of great personality tests out there.. Myers-Briggs, the Enneagram, EQ, etc.

The test I offer here, the GSD-Q is great because you only have to look at three simple diagrams and you can “type” yourself within a few seconds. The other great thing about the test is that whichever type you are, you can make an instant shift in every area just by adding a dose of the other two types.

Take a moment to clear your mind, breathe deeply, and sit comfortably. When you are ready, look at the next three images for about three seconds each.

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One Night in Fort Lauderdale

One Night in Fort Lauderdale

I take a redeye to Florida every January to visit my grandmother. In Judaism, you always pray to spend the next holiday in Jerusalem, but somewhere I think it was mis-translated to Fort Lauderdale. You spend your life working and saving to one day finally retire to the beach, and you spend the rest of your life sitting around watching Good Morning America in an air-conditioned box. Waiting around for the big air-conditioner in the sky.

I catch the flu two days before I leave, as is my religious custom. I arrive at 8 am, not having slept on the plane. I try all eighteen sleeping positions, and none yielded the fruit of sleep. I am exhausted to the point to pure acceptance. I don’t have the energy to be offended at the onslaught of impending abuse.

The truth about Fort Lauderdale is that it’s a wasteland of Wal-Marts and early-bird buffets, separated by strips of concrete, and sugar-coated with a white-sand coastline and tangerine waters. It’s as if Costco bought a swamp, installed A-C and invited everyone to could park their RV in the parking lot.

I finally figured out the difference between how it feels driving in a sea of SUV’s on the Florida Turnpike and a sea of SUV’s on the 405. Everything’s the same, but in California we’ve replaced Jewish guilt with white guilt and a healthy dose of pollution guilt.

Part of the genius of our family’s “abuse” is that it is invisible to the naked eye. I present her with my new 8″ x 10″ head shots. Since my last photos, I’ve lost 10 pounds, removed my lip ring, and no longer have bleached, spiked hair. Not fifteen minutes after I arrive, Ruth Dattner, who can see a crow perched on a lawn chair and Venus in the night sky, but even sitting 12 inches from a giant plasma TV, cannot identify George Clooney, Ruth Dattner says for the first of eleven times today, “I don’t like your hair in these photos.” “Grandma, I spent an hour getting my hair done for these photos. “Some hairdresser.” Ensuing are the eleven iterations, a la Mozart. “If you get a good haircut, you wouldn’t have to spend an hour making your hair look good, it’ll stay looking good. When was the last time you went to a hairdresser?” We both cut our own hair, but today, as she squawks that we’ve used two whole teabags for two cups of tea, she doesn’t care that I’m saving money or that I might actually like how my hair looks. “Your hair today looks…. blech.” I just spent six hours overnight on a plane. “It’s your haircut.” My cousin Antonio says “I think your hair looks nice.” In this one fell swoop, I’ve been usurped as the family peacemaker. Relieved of my duties. I’ve been defended. It’s a strange, woosy feeling. “Comb your hair before we go, will you? It looks terrible.” “I will comb my hair if you don’t mention it again all day.” “I can’t make any promises.” “Then I’m not combing my hair.” “Comb your hair.” “Only if you don’t mention it again.” “Ok.”

I give my father several copies of my new headshots as well, a gift I’m hoping will fill out my sparse attendance on the mantle next to the weddings and babies of my step-siblings. “What kind of lens did this guy use?” He’s looking at the nose he passed on to me. “I don’t know, some wide, some telephoto.” Did you not just hear Grandma capping on my hair, dude? “I think you do better with a 120 lens, shot from far away.” My own father wants me to have an optical nose job. If there is a third insult in the first fifteen minutes, I am possibly going to explode.

At the chinese buffet (incidentally called Chinese Buffet), we sup on round after round of fair to middling cuisine. It seems to me that food quality is often inversely proportional to food quantity. It is here, between the crab rangoon and the shrimp with lobster sauce that Grandma beings to unleash her mighty storytelling prowess. And when I say story, what I mean is judgement, for there is no middle or end to most of her long, descriptive “tales”. Some fat people sit down at the table next to us, and she says “(blah blah blah I missed the first part) we were watching this family eat and they each had a giant glass of milk, hash browns, eggs, bacon, pancakes {time out here–this is almost exactly what we just had for breakfast} and the thinnest one was two hundred pounds.” “And what happened?” I naively ask. “Nothing. They were eating a lot of food.” I wish I realized this when I was a kid; I could have been curled up with her around the fire and pleaded, “Grandma, tell me another judgment!” “Poor people steal, and so does George Bush. Don’t marry an Armenian.” (She told this judgment again two days later.)

After the buffet, Grandma’s poor ankles are swollen. We’re rubbing them at home, treating them with electrical devices. She’s feeling hopeless and asks “Do you have a passport, Alicia? You can’t get back in the country without one now. Even if you go on a cruise or if you go to Canada.” “Yeah, I have one.” Duh. “You have to have one to get back in the country. Promise me you’ll get your hair cut.” I had promised myself I would draw the boundary. No more abuse or I’m leaving. But it sounds so ludicrous… Who says “Tell me to get a haircut one more time, and I’m taking the next flight home?” “I promise I’ll get a haircut when I get home.” I have been wanting to get a really nice cut, but I’m growing my hair, and I don’t want to lose the inches after all this time. “And then send me a picture of it.” “Ok.” Oh, the fields of battle are bloody. My soldiers are bleeding chocolate. Tomorrow, I really swear that I am drawing the line.

there are no coincidences.

there are no coincidences.

are you ready to put the power of synchronicity into getting shit done?

i’m going to suggest something radical. i want you to throw out your to-do list. i’m not kidding. take it now, and tear it word from word. every task you’re supposed to finish, everyone you’re supposed to call, the reminders for the thank you note to your boss for the raise, the birthday card for your neice, the electricity bill. everything. now put the pieces of paper in a bag along with your wrist watch, which represents your concept of time. ‘there’s never enough time,’ we say, ‘time is running out,’ we insist, ‘it’s later than you think!’ we cry.

now get a hammer. smash the watch and the paper. break it up real good. now put it in a top hat and set it aside. we’ll come back to it later, but first i’d like you to pick a card.

seriously, read on only if you’ve burned, shredded, or drowned your to-do list. and put it in a top hat.

that’s the card you want? don’t show it to me. have you memorized it? ok, put it back in the deck. no, face down. good.

now i want you to get a pen and a piece of paper. do it. seriously, do it. i want you to write down the three people you know personally who most inspire you. now write down your three favorite activities. now write three favorite times in your life.

and now write down the one thing they all have in common (e. g. the quality of ‘gentleness’). i want you to write the opposite of that one thing (e. g. ‘forcefulness’). and now, this is complicated, but i want you to write down the opposite of the opposite, without using the first word (let’s say, ‘allowing’). put that aside for now.

ok, have you ever experienced coincidence? have you heard talk of the same book several days in a row, and subsequently found a copy of it on the sidewalk? have you run into a friend in a distant city? randomly asked someone’s birthdate and found it was the same as your own?

write down the first coincidence that comes to mind. immediately and without thinking, write down what that coincidence signaled to you (e. g. ‘my best friend called me at the same moment i picked up the phone to call her. the phone didn’t even ring. from this i take that somehow we are connected in an unseeable way’).

now plug your answers into this equation: i am (allowing) that (we are all connected in an unseeable way). make it grammatically correct so i don’t look like a shlump. just jam it together. go ahead. i have a 5 o’clock show on a cruise ship.

now i want you to take this equation, and put it in the top hat. wave your hand and say, ‘there are no coincidences! there are no coincidences! there are no coincidences!’ now, take out your piece of paper really dramatically as if it’s your old smashed watch that’s been magically transformed into this new thing.

is this your card?


no. it’s today’s to-do list.