Sunday, May 24, 2015

Getting My Ass Kicked

Right now, it's these damn allergies! I don't recall a worse allergy season in years, I mean I am barely functional, this is painful and I'd be willing to battle another few feet of snow to get rid of it; that is how bad it is.

I remember when my mom had bad allergies, her sneeze could be heard from a city block away, those of you reading this that knew her know exactly what I am talking about. I mentioned this to my daughter once and her almost immediate response was, "you inherited her sneeze."

In other news, I am hooked on a goofy cell phone app called dubsmash. I will post the videos here at some point...just pure silliness, which for me equals lots of fun.

Thanks for stopping by, see ya soon!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

In My Ears 2015 Vol. 8

Various Artists - The Only Folk Collection You'll Ever Need
If you click here, you can see the CD on the publisher site, view the track list and heck, even buy it if you are so inclined. I think a more accurate name might be "If You Are Only Going to Own One Folk Collection, This One is Pretty Rad!" There is not a bad moment on this collection. If I could make one change, I opt to not use the live Pete Seeger version of If I Had a Hammer and go with a studio recording where he isn't announcing the words he's about to sing so the audience may participate.

Tony Bennett/Lady Gaga - Cheek to Cheek
Great record! Bennett is himself and Gaga is just gorgeous as a chanteuse.

Sleater-Kinney - No Cities to Love
After a decade long hiatus from recording, Sleater-Kinney releases their best work yet.

Ex-Hex - Rips
First heard this all female rockers on NPR. Interestingly, the last two listens have been back to back with the all female Sleater-Kinney. Love this debut release from them, looking forward to whatever might come next.

Guster - Evermotion
latest released from this Boston based band that have been around since 1991, but I only learned of them (and fell in love with their sound), in the last couple of years. This is a good record taking their signature sound and keeping it fresh.

Various Artists - Ronnie James Dio: This is Your Life
Usually, a collection like this can be scary...but this one is pretty awesome - even the Tenacious D cover of "The Last in Line". The collection ends with the haunting title cut sang by Dio himself

Bob Mould - The Last Dog & Pony Show
Regardless of where in his career you are listening to, if you are listening to Bob Mould, you are gonna enjoy it - the guy gives it every time.

The Kindness of Strangers

As see on Craigslist, under the "FREE" category:

Spare copies of some classic Genesis albums from the band's progressive era, for in-person pickup:

  • From Genesis to Revelation (1969) (Varese Sarabande 2008 remastering)
  • The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway (1974) (Virgin 2007 remastering)
  • A Trick of the Tail (1976) (Atlantic/Definitive Edition Remaster)
  • Wind & Wuthering (1977) (Atlantic/Definitive Edition Remaster)
  • Seconds Out (1977) (Virgin 2001 remastering)
  • ... And Then There Were Three (1978) (Atlantic/Definitive Edition Remaster)
  • Duke (1980) (Atlantic/Definitive Edition Remaster)
On not one of these albums does Phil Collins croon "Sus, sus, sus-sudio."

Hmmmmm, I said, I know I am missing a couple of those and the ones I have are not the remasters. So I sent an email, someone named "Dallas" got back to me...I now own them (and promised in return to pay it forward somehow).

Pretty cool transaction. Expect these to appear on future "In My Ears" posts.

Friday, May 22, 2015

This Brings Back Memories...

...but also, kind of makes a statement; don't ya think?

We had that model of rotary wall phone, ours was the yellow (if you were around back then, you know what I mean by "the yellow"). Also, ours had a volume control on the handset, because my mom was hearing impaired.

I still had my cassette Walkman up until a year or two ago.

The encyclopedias (we had Encyclopedia Americana) lived on shelves above my sisters bed.

I had an Atari 2600, loved it! A year ago I bought one of those "retro" units with a bunch of the games built in, in all their pixelated glory.

Oh, the passing of notes.

Where I lived in Brooklyn, NY, we didn't get cable TV until the middle to late part of the 80's. In fact, I was on an MTV special in 1985 and had to have my cousins in New Jersey tape it for me - I still have the VHS tape, watched it a few months ago.

I used to LOVE the road atlas books, and the giant maps that were a challenge to refold. My dad would let me map out an navigate road trips - that was fun!

I've always loved the library - still do!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

I Know I Should Proofread Better, but...

I don't.

Most of the time, I can't type as fast as I am thinking and just need to get it down before I lose it. Most of the time I run the minimal spell checker in Blogger, make those corrections, then do a once over and make changes. However, that is not always enough to be sure that all of the err's are unerr'ed.

Three are times where at some point after a post is published that I read it and recognize errors, then fix them.

I just can't be the guy that only publishes to the blog when it's perfect though.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Six it Yourself

At Wegman's,they have "create your own 6 pack" selection of craft beer's and ciders. While it's a couple of bucks more expensive than a standard 6-pack, it does give you a great opportunity to try things one bottle at a time, so that if you don't like it, you don't have to toss whole six of it.

Last time I was there, I though after seeing it for so long, I was going to treat myself; here's what I included in mine:

I didn't have my first "shandy" (not to be confused with the Yiddish "shanda") until last summer - and I liked it. Last year, I tried the grapefruit shandy by UFO called "Big Squeeze" and like it. I also tried a nice lemon shandy by Leinenkugel's and when I saw they made a grapefruit shandy, I thought I had to give it a shot.

Only recently got into the ciders, this was something that seemed quite unique, a blackberry pear cider from Crispin. This might be the one I am most looking forward to trying.

This is the only one of the six I have tried before, first on tap and then in a bottle (I will always choose the tap before a bottle when given that choice). I picked this in the six because I don't see it often and wanted to have one - it's good!

From the brewers of Grey Lady, this is a summer offering by the Nantucket, MA based cisco brewers.

The minute I saw this I began singing "Edge of Seventeen" in my head ("just like the white wing dove..."). I've like Belgian whites in the past and this had a cool label!

A cider, or as they say, cidre, from Stella...had to try.

That's my six. I haven't had any of them yet, this will last me a while....I'll try to remember to let you know what I think.
BONUS: Here is a cider that I first tried on tap at the British Beer Company in Framingham and LOVED LOVED LOVED. In fact, I turned others onto it as well...turns out Wegman;s had it in six packs, so I bought one:

Please try this, it's great!

Thanks for All the Laughs, Mr. Letterman

I hope at some point I can put an eloquent thought out on this blog about what David Letterman meant to me. With tonight's show being the last one, I wanted to present you with a very well written piece that my buddy Dan wrote over on his blog. Please read:

MEME: The Employment Enjoyment Meme

What kind of work do you do?
I work in higher education, academic computing (elearning). I also teach as an adjunct in the computer science department.

During the course of your lifetime, which job or career has been your favorite or most fulfilling?
This one for certain. I am pretty passionate about education everyone's role as an educator. While the time I spent in advertising wasn't as fulfilling as a whole, there were parts of it I really liked, in particular, the creative part.

Do you think it's necessary in your life to have a day-to-day "career" that is meaningful and service-oriented or do you function better in "just a job" with a steady paycheck?
I think because I am in a position where I need to work to live, I am capable of good work under either pretense. However, if you are doing what you feel like you are supposed to be doing, there are far greater rewards beyond the paycheck. Of course, that is not to say there aren't ample frustrations and tough times, but working through those knowing what the good stuff is, is far easier.

Was there ever a time in your life when you wanted to stay home with your children instead of working, even if it meant less money in the household?
I can't really say this s applicable to me and my life.

Tell us your worst boss story.
I had a boss who was a cocaine addict and once I started managing the business, he virtually disappeared and it was tough to get paid or any other information from him.

Have your ever been the boss? Do you like this this role?
I've had management roles, it's really hard to manage people and almost impossible to manage a friend. That said, while I think I am okay at it, it's not my favorite thing to do.

What is your dream occupation?
If we are talking broad strokes, I'd love to be a performer. I've dreamed so many times of commanding an audience. I do love what I do now, it's not always easy, in fact, it's rarely easy, but there is something wonderful about it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Project Mitzvah

A while back I saw a post from a woman in my town asking for recommendations for someone to do a slide show video for her daughter's Bat Mitzvah. I knew that whomever she found was going to charge a lot of money and for some reason, I felt compelled to step in.

I'm no professional, but I have some talent in this area and I know that I could probably get this family what they are looking for and charge a significantly lower fee - it felt like a way to do something community minded by helping a neighbor,

We had a phone conversation, and I was hired.

I've been working on the project for a while, it's almost done, but I have to say, it's been rewarding in ways beyond the civic-minded idea that prompted me to offer my services. Sequencing these pictures to music and editing the songs - it's really reminded me so much of the potential impact of setting pictures to music.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

R.I.P. Brian

We were never best of friends, never really hung out, but as the years since high school past and we reconnected as adults, I learned a bit about your years on the NYPD, I saw that you had become something of a troubadour, and most of all, I saw how you were a good man.

I think it always stings hardest when you lose someone from your generation, puts a real dose of reality in front of you.

I am saddened at your loss.

Rest in peace.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Not in a Rush

I drove to get gas and while I wasn't in a Rush, it seemed that fate had determined I was (see receipt at the right).

I've been snatching up concert tickets, it seems the theme of the summer is "see a concert, see another".

I've always loved going to concerts, my kid has heard all about many of my concert going adventures from years past and this year, I will be taking her to see a few.

One of the shows I have been attempting to get affordable tickets for is the band Rush. Rush is out on their 40th anniversary tour and it's commonly speculated it will be their last tour - and I have never seen them live.

BTW, for those of you really confused about the receipt, one of Rush's classic records is called 2112.

Thus far, between now and the end of July, I have tickets for 8 concerts; should be a blast.

Expensive Shit


The gift of being 50 years old, my doctor insisted that it is time for my first colonoscopy.

I received a prescription for stuff that is designed to power was the colon, so it will be nice and clean for the camera,

The kit to the left, is the stuff in questions and costs a fortune, I paid $50 out of pocket, regular price before insurance was $93.01...


I am baffled at why this shit is so expensive (pun intended).

I can't tell you how many people have told be about their colonoscopy experiences, apparently it's a thing. Having had an upper endoscopy, I know they knock you out so that's all good but the 30 or so hours leading up to the intrusion I am certain will be among the least pleasant block of time in my life.

For the record, date of intrusion in 6/10.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Casual Colonoscopy

My doctor is a riot, not because he ever intends to be funny, but he's just so laid back and humble, that he says things in a way that are unintentionally hilarious (unless he has me fooled and my reaction is the desired result of his delivery - which would make him a comic genius).

Today's comic brilliance was in the way he indicated that I should be sure to stop by the referrals office to schedule my colonoscopy - I can't really explain his delivery or why it was funny (though it's likely that it's because I have a juvenile sense of humor). Of course, I totally fucked with him by replying, "I'll get cracking on that."

In other news, I made an eye doctor appointment today, and saw a blue car.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

True Gangster Stories

My buddy, and excellent author, Dan O'Connor recently compiled a number of true gangster stories from the old days in the time and place we all grew up. If you like this sort of thing, they are a great read and I will offer links to both posts below; I encourage you all to take the time to read them, they are a fantastic read:

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Limerick Day

Did you know that May 12th is Limerick day? You'll find a number of limericks on this blog over the years, I thought I would write one in honor of this particular day, here it is:

Once per year there is Limerick Day
On May 12th, hey wait, that's today
I'll come up with one
'Cause it seems like such fun
When I'm done, I'll get on with my day

Aside from the classic dirty limericks, do you have any limericks that you've heard, read or written over the years that are among your favorites? Share one in the comments...PLEASE!

Here's one I just wrote just now, inspired by the great Bob Dylan song "Blowin' in the Wind":

At the question they all stopped and grinned
Such a query one could not rescind
How many deaths will it take 'til we get
There's no second chances and no time for regret
The answer is blowin' in the wind

Monday, May 11, 2015

You Spin Me....Again

This morning while getting ready for work, I went down, pretty hard. Only thing that protected me from potentially serious injury is I felt it happening and was able to control the fall.

I suffer from something called Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). It doesn't strike often, and thankfully, never nearly as bad as the first time back on the night of my 40th birthday about a decade ago, but when it strikes, it's quite disconcerting.

I had some spin action on and off for a good part of the day, even a touch right now, and while not as scary now that I can attach it to a specific condition, having an inherent anxiety condition only amplifies it all.

hopefully, the symptoms will be short lived,

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Meme: "The Saturday 9 with "Harper Valley P.T.A."

Hear the song here:

This week's featured artist uses her middle initial (C. for Carolyn) all the time. Do you use your middle initial very often? 
I actually don't have a middle name, hence no middle initial. When I made confirmation in 7th grade, I took a confirmation name "Anthony" and have been know to on random occasion to refer to myself (and be referred even rarer, mostly by Johnny D, by my full name including the initial from my confirmation name.

In this song, a mother tells off the local PTA. What's the most recent school event you attended -- whether as a parent, a teacher or a student?
I work in a school, and the most recent event I attended was the employee recognition event. As a parent, I began doing college tours with my daughter not too long ago.

The lyrics reference the mom's miniskirts, which were trendy in the 1960s. The website Popsugar reports that gingham checks are trendy for 2015. Tell us about the most recent addition to your wardrobe.
Bow ties. I have wanted to jump into the bow tie arena for some time and then I just did it. I have begun a thing I call "Bow Tie Monday" where I wear a Bow Tie each Monday. I suspect I will take a break during summer session as I usually heavily relax the dress code during that period but look out for a return in the fall (and for the next Monday or two).

Thinking of moms, Access Hollywood named Carol Brady of The Brady Bunch TV's #1 mom. Who is your favorite TV mom?
In recent times, Betty Draper, because she is smoking hot...not going to sugar coat it.

Mother Winters always gave Sam peppermint tea to calm her stomach. Do you have any tried-and-true home remedies to share?
Not really, at least not any that really work awesomely. However, there are a couple of nostalgic things that come to mind such as using Witch Hazel on pimples, which kind of does work, ish - (though it's ridiculous that I still occasionally get a blemish at 50), and my dad's solution to fighting a fever of getting completely under the covers (I may even have that right, but I do it).

Sam's mother always tips 15% in restaurants. Sam has worked in food service and is more judgmental, tipping between 10% and 25%, depending on the quality of the service. What's your tipping policy? Are you more like Sam or her mother?
If you've been a reader of this blog for any length of time, you know how much I hate the idea of tipping, and that tipping on a percentage basis is stupid, makes zero sense. That said, I base my tip on the quality of the service I receive but I will very rarely if ever go over 20%.

When the tip of her shoelace becomes frayed, Sam's mother snips off the end and then paints the tip with clear nail polish. Good as new! Sam thinks that's crazy because you can just buy new laces for less than $2. Are you more frugal like mother or spendthrift like daughter?
Forget about frugality, I want to try that method just to see if it really works - that would be awesome. By the way, those tips are called "aglets".

Mother Winters loves how french vanilla smells and burns her Yankee Candles all year around. Do you use scented candles or air fresheners?
Yes, not all the time, but on occasion.

Sam is celebrating Mother's Day with her mother's favorite, Hershey Bars. Would you prefer classic milk chocolate, dark chocolate or chocolate with almonds?
Dark chocolate with almonds, thanks for asking.

Video Right

I've spent a good amount of time producing tutorial videos at work in recent months. Not too long ago, on a local town bulletin board on Facebook, I saw that a local couple was looking for a referral to have a video/slide show made for their daughter's forthcoming Bat Mitzvah. I know how much this job would cost them in the open market and I decided to offer to work on the project for them at a significantly lower price than they would likely pay.

One of the things about this project that I have enjoyed most the remembering just how powerful it can be when you put images to music. I've just finished and will be delivering soon the first proof of the project, it's been hard work, but great fun as well; most of all, I find it rewarding to be able to contribute to my community in this way.

Friday, May 08, 2015

A Lot On the Table

It the end of the semester, so there is a lot of grading, cranky students who did nothing all semester begging for a second chance to pass the course (sorry, not gonna happen), and because I am insane-ish, I've taken on some side work creating a slide presentation/movie for a family in town as their daughter is having her Bat Mitzvah.

I am at the very beginning stages of planning a bathroom remodel, oh God, I am just in pain at the thought of dealing with another contractor at this point...but the job kind of needs to get done. I think my target is for late summer/early fall.

I am considering piloting a new text/software package for one of my fall courses. If it works out, it will ultimately save me time but to get to that point will require a considerable investment in time building out the course from scratch.

I'm going to go breathe a little, remember to be grateful at having these opportunities and think about what I might eat for lunch.