Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Creative Retention: Changing Lives

One of the toughest parts of my job is seeing students who your gut tells you have the ability to succeed and then somehow life gets in the way or circumstances change and make success seem impossible - whether it be in the short term, for a course, or long term.

I had a student in my 8 week accelerated online course come visit me today to discuss their situation, it was grim. In order for them to just pass by the skin of their teeth they would need to score an 86.15 or better on every assignment and the final exam - not impossible, but not an easy task. Further, their hope is to transfer the class and to do so most often requires a C or better, an impossibility even if they were to score a perfect grade on each assignment.

In running through the possibilities and discussing the accelerated course versus the full semester course that I am teaching and amidst the discussion, the student asked if it were at all possible for them to transfer out of the 8 week accelerated section and into the 15 week full semester course.

I had to stop and think for a good few seconds to process this idea, I verbalized out loud how it would completely change this student's possibilities for success and then mentioned that it relies mostly on whether or not in week 5 of the semester the registrar would allow this and since it is way past add/the drop period, they may charge the student for another course. the student was willing to pay this high price - their reaction to this spoke volumes as to their commitment and desire to do better and I went to bat...

I told the student that if the registrar would agree and you agreed to the registrar's decisions, I would allow them to switch sections. I had the student come downstairs to me and the registrar employees on my campus were not able to make a decision on this situation, but I told the student to hang on, went in the back, and called the registrar to explain the situation - to my joy, he agreed to allow the swap with no financial penalty to the student.

We had to fill out a little paperwork but it got done. The student came in feeling defeated and off course, they left smiling, with a renewed sense of purpose and hope and grateful.

These are the moments at work that fill the soul.

Idea - Nap Drills

We go out of our way to have fire drills, preparing for an event that may never happen. I do think it's very important to have fire drills but they kind of suck in the winter! Also, again, the odds of a fire happening are super small.

Let's talk about a nap some random point, an alarm sounds, everyone gets a power nap I'd be willing to bet that anywhere in the world if you polled any 5 people at random, no less than 1 would welcome a power nap - that's way better odds than a fire breaking out.

Who's on board?

Dumb Ass!

I got an email from a colleague today, not the first I've received from them and it was also someone who I've emailed several times (this is relevant). My work emails include an image of a business card, which clearly has my name on it.

Today, I received an email from this person addressed, "Dear Dan" (my name is Chris). This is not the first time they've addressed me as Dan and not the first time I've corrected them...clearly their head is to far up their ass or they completely lack the intellect required to calculate the difference between a first and last name.

Quite frankly, someone with an MBA should have the intelligence to not make this mistake, certainly not more than once and certainly not after having been corrected.

It's just stupid at its finest.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Fed Up with the Cell Phone Assholes!

I was so burned up at lunch today that some time later, I posted this to Facebook: "Time we get serious, how about this as a law - you talk on your cell phone while your car is not in park, you lose your right to drive in the US for life. I know, sounds extreme, right? Look at the death toll and tell me what's more extreme. I saw a jackass driving today with the phone in front of his face. What the hell is it going to take to prove that this kills people? Holy FUCKNUTS!!!!!"

It is mind numbing to me how many people I see locked into their devices while behind the wheel in traffic, I just don't understand the incredible lack of intelligence of these people; how it is they don't realize that they are putting their life and worse, the life of others in serious jeopardy?

I am not exaggerating here, as wild as it sounds, the extreme nature of my suggested fix above may be the only way to start making a difference - heck, we can resolve the traffic issues at the same time.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

The Big E

Spent yesterday at the Big E...many highlights, the one I can't stop thinking about is a donut filled with soft serve ice cream, then topped with marshmallow and Oreo cookie crumbs (the booth lets you choose ice cream flavor and toppings).

What is The Big E you ask? Well, at its root, it's and agricultural exposition but it has over the years expanded to be, well, for all intents and purposes, a state fair.

Last time I went to The Big E, my daughter was still in the young bratty stage and didn't really capture all of it. At 17, she really got to appreciate it from a very different perspective and she had a great time.

It was great that our friend Rebecca joined us as well - Rebecca moved to Boston only a month ago for school, and she has been working super hard on her studies so it was nice to get her out of the city for the day and super nice to have her with us for the day!

Saturday, October 03, 2015

In My Ears 2015 Vol. 13.50: "NYC"

Recently listened to a playlist I called NYC, named for a road trip I took to NYC with my pal Nancy all for the purpose of visiting a storefront in Times Square called "Pop Tart World". I know, and you wondered how I manage this slender MMA type figure :)

Here are a few pics from inside the place:

Back to the music...I put together a playlist of 39 songs that made sense for this trip for a number of reasons. In this post, I will list the songs and if I am feeling like it, and remember to do so, perhaps in later post(s), I'll get deeper into the songs.

  1. Big Yellow Taxi - Amy Grant
  2. Changes - David Bowie
  3. New York Skyline - Garland Jeffreys
  4. Breathe - Alexi Murdoch
  5. Amarillo by Morning - George Strait
  6. I Melt With You - Bowling for Soup
  7. This is Me Missing You - James House
  8. Moments - Emerson Drive
  9. Every Light in the House is Blown - Cledus T. Judd
  10. Somewhere Only We Know - Keane
  11. Santeria - Sublime
  12. Personality Crisis - New York Dolls
  13. Rockaway Beach - Ramones
  14. You've Got to Hide Your Love Away - Eddie Vedder
  15. I Love Bosco (Bosco) - TV Commericials Vol. 1
  16. You've Got to Hid Your Love Away - Elvis Costello
  17. The Weakness in Me - Joan Armatrading
  18. Whatever it Is - Zac Brown Band
  19. This is God - Phil Vassar
  20. Why Didn't I Think of That - Doug Stone
  21. Cinnamon Girl - Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs
  22. Rockin' Around in NYC - Marshall Crenshaw
  23. The Only Living Boy in New York - Simon & Garfunkel
  24. New York State of Mind - Tony Bennett with Billy Joel
  25. What Goes Around Comes Around - Justin Timberlake
  26. Closing Time - Semisonic
  27. Welcome to the Future - Brad Paisley
  28. I've Been Loved by the Best - Don Williams
  29. Upside Down - Jack Johnson
  30. New York - U2
  31. People Are Crazy - Billy Currington
  32. Outbound Plane - Suzy Boggus
  33. The Reason - Hoobastank
  34. New York City Serenade - Bruce Springsteer & E Street Band
  35. I've Cried My Last Tear for You - Ricky Van Shelton
  36. Cape Canaveral - Conor Oberst
  37. Old Hippie - Bellamy Brothers
  38. Join the Book Club - George Carlin
  39. Leaving New York - R.E.M.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

An Odd Way to Learn of the Death of Someone You Knew

A colleague of mine came back from summer break to announce she had gotten married - surprise! At a local event this past Saturday, I ran into them and met her husband for the first time and it struck me how he had this familiar look to me, he reminded me of an old friend of mine named Gene.

I often credit Gene with saving me from further destruction, one day I was walking down Avenue U in Brooklyn and Gene was walking in the opposite direction, when we noticed each other, we stopped for a quick "Hey, what's up?" when before I had the chance to say anything, gene said, "Hey, I know that look, hang on a second." He then fumbled through the various pockets of his leather jacket and pulled out a business card, handed it to me, and said, 'call this guy, right after you call their office, you'll feel the weight begin to lift form your shoulders and it will all be alright - I just went through it myself."

The card was for a man named Lance Roger Spodek, an attorney specializing in personal bankruptcy. How did Gene know? What the hell did I look like walking down that street? I can tell you, that I was about 27 years old and in debt for a ridiculous amount of money and that it was eating at me every minute of every day.

gene was right, I called Spodek's office the next day, within a week the harassing and threatening calls from the credit card companies I owed money to came to a complete stop. It wasn't long after that all the papers were drawn up and I had a court date; the judge made me feel really bad about the poor financial decisions I had made to that point but soon after, he dismissed all of my debt, and let me keep my car.

A big part of my life changed forever the moment I walked out of that courtroom, I have not owed any money to anyone with the exception of my mortgage and an occasional car load since, my credit rating is as perfect as one can be. More than two decades have passed since I went through that experience. I take that experience with me each and every day of my life and use it as much as I could to teach others of my mistakes in hope that they won't make the same ones that I did. To this day, I remain grateful to Gene for someone seeing what he did and giving me that card.

I hadn't seen or heard from Gene in many years, life just moved on. Yesterday, at work we shared a cake to help my colleague celebrate her marriage and it reminded me again of Gene, so I decided to hit up the old Google monster.

After a lifelong battle with alcoholism, Gene's liver failed, and at the age of 55, Gene passed away back in 2011. Almost ironic that he once played in a band with his previously deceased brother called "The Medicine Men".

Rest in peace Gene.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Boy did it rain today! So much rain fell that the lobby of the campus where i work flooded. So much rain fell that some cars on the main road met with water up to the windows. So much rain fell that one of my colleagues drove a distance of less than two miles and it took 75 minutes.

Boy was it a mess out there...yet, there were more reasons to be grateful. I only hope the west coast can get some more frequent rain as they need it way more than we,

Goodbye September!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Defeat ALS

I just signed up for the Defeat ALS Walk - for my local peeps, if you feel like taking the walk as well, join the team I created by clicking on the team page link on my personal page, the team name is "Friend of the Farrell's" - I am walking in honor of a friends brother. I know lots of people are always asking for donations and support and it's not always the right time, if you are unable to contribute financially at this time, then may I ask that you help by sharing the page? Thanks! - Chris

Click the image below to go to my page:

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Podcasts I am Listening to These Days

It's been a few years I think since mentioned the podcasts I am listening to - so here goes my current listens:

All Songs Considered - still one of my primary sources for new music to listen to, great show.

Fitzdog Radio - Comedian Greg Fitzsimmons either rambles solo or chats with another comedian, actor or some other celbrity - lots of fun.

Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast - Every other episode is an interview with an actor/celebrity. the show was built on interviews with real old timey stars but there are sometimes current stars. Every other episode is called "Gilbert & Frank's Amazing Colossal Obsessions" - here Gilbert and Co-host Frank Santopadre each recommend one of their favorite films.

Larry Miller Show - A standup and actor, just being himself and being cool. This is such a charming and neat podcast, totally infectious weekly fun.

Nick Dipaolo - This dude is a funny fuck, way too right wing for em but entertains me as he always has.

Piper's Pit - With the death of Roddy Piper, I learned he had a podcast and am working my way through the available back episodes,. What I've listened to so far is interesting and entertaining.

Pop Culture Happy Hour - Delivers just what the title implies - a really fun listen!

Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me - A really fun news magazine/comedy show disguised as a game show.

Wooooo! Nation with Ric Flair - Another wrestling based podcast, which I find interesting for it's storytelling and behind the scenes banter.

WTF with Marc Maron - The gold standard in podcasts. You get a Marc Maron monologue and an interview (occasionally two)...awesome show.

In My Ears 2015 Vol. 13.25: "The Moon"

With the eclipse activity last night, my daughter and I sat for some time at the end of our driveway, to help pass the time, I came up with the following playlist featuring songs that reference the moon:

  1. Pink Moon by Nick Drake
  2. Moondance by Van Morrison
  3. Bark at the Moon by Ozzy Osbourne
  4. Fly Me to the Moon by Frank Sinatra
  5. Shoot the Moonlight Out by Garland Jeffreys
  6. Can't Fight the Moonlight by LeAnn Rimes
  7. Talking to the Moon by Bruno Mars
  8. Moon River by Andy Williams

It was a nice way to help pass the time while watching the wonders of the cosmos.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Cell Phone/Service Update

I had been with Verizon Wireless since 2002, when I called to cancel my service, the customer servant seemed confused and genuinely sad that I was leaving (I guess he's a good actor).

I sold my Verizon phone (an HTC One M8 that I didn't love), bought a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and am now with Cricket Wireless.

Loving it!

Insurances and Remodels

Just got my renewals for home & car insurance, might be time to get a quote or two outside to see where I am at.

I wish this stuff was easier, hate having to think about any of that stuff and wish I could rely on the fact that my loyalty to a company would matter.

I did a quick quote on Geico's website, homeowner's was about the same but Auto appears to be about $400 less...going to verify this week.
I've given a good faith deposit to a contractor to secure his services for my bathroom remodel. I ordered the last major components on Friday - the bathtub along with the tub and shower thingies.

Of course the tub is a special order, 3-4 weeks away, which may delay the start of the project. Of course I called the contract, who was set to start 2nd or 3rd week in October - I only thought it was fair so that he can take on a job or reschedule so he can take jobs instead of waiting for my stuff to come in.

Feeling a bit stressed - leftover from the kitchen remodel nightmare last year...wish me luck!

Food Trucks, Music and Fun

I started my day with a visit to the Farmer's Market, a commonplace event for me on  Saturday but being in Maine the past two weekends, it was a bit of a homecoming; there's only two more weeks left!

This afternoon, I spent the day at an event called "Metrofest" in Framingham - there were bands all day, and all were very good. There were food trucks - I picked a bad one but the ice cream truck rocked it! There were all sorts of vendors and booths - including one by my school, I spent a lot of time supporting my colleagues in spreading our word.

It was a fun day...what did you do today?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Lock the Freaking Door!!!

What is the deal with some of the people I work with? For at least the 4th time, today I walked in on someone in the employee rest room because they chose to not lock the door.

I've gotten to the point where I now open the door slowly, so today, there was barely any light passing through but it was enough to alarm the idiot inside that there was someone about to enter and got them to scream as if they were being attacked...just gave me a heart attack!

For heaven's sake, this is a college, we are supposedly professional people with some education - hard fucking hard it it to lock the door before to take care of your business?

I felt compelled to hang a sign...we shall see if it works.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Eleven Years of "Goth Baby"

Yesterday was the 11 year anniversary of meeting "Goth Baby" -

There's a whole story behind the picture and see all the posts (or find the "Goth Baby" label to the right of the blog)

R.I.P. Yogi Berra

I guess the game had to end sometime. Yogi was a NY baseball icon, he was the bridge that made Yankees and Mets a single entity, New York baseball. Yogi's wit and humor will always stand the test of time, his memory will always be and I will mourn his passing only because the mortal world is just not going to be the same without him in it.

Rest in Peace Yogi, send our love to The Scooter (whose first words upon seeing you in the great beyond had to have been "Holy Cow!")

I originally wrote this on Facebook earlier today.

Monday, September 21, 2015

One Minute Ahead, The Next Behind and Pics

I don't know why, but I find it so hard sometimes to stay on top of everything. There are periods where I feel productive and on top of things, all caught up...then it seems a minute later that I feel a bit lost and behind.

Here's some pics from Maine:

Sunday, September 20, 2015


This was the second weekend in a row I spend time in the state of Maine. I also happened to spend a little time in New Hampshire this weekend, a brief visit to Mount Washington.

The odometer has seen some action!

This weekend was about a visit with some old friends, the Ten Broeck's

I have a few scenic pics, that I really should post, but I can't at the moment - perhaps I shall offer them tomorrow.

Just listened to a cool interview with Richard Thompson and currently listening to one with Lemmy.

How you doin'?

Missing my reunion gang and craving a trip to Illinois.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

College Application Seminar

It gets a bit more real each day. Today, my daughter and I sat through a college application seminar at her school....lots of information, dates, notes.

We're both slightly overwhelmed but in an excited and positive way.

I should write more, but I am at a loss for words.