Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Me and My American Beauty


This is the first brand new vinyl record I've purchased in close to 30 years. In honor of "Record Store Day'" this past Saturday, Bruce Springsteen released a limited edition vinyl EP.

I went to two locations on Saturday and was unable to get a copy but today, I found a small local, independent, record store, that has been in business for 17 years that I never knew of...and there it was.

Side Cars and COD (Not the Fish)

You ever see a motorcycle with a side car? They are around, but not a lot of them. When you see one, you take notice, cause it's unusual. Of course, it get's an additional level of notice when there is someone actually sitting in the side car.

The other day, I'm driving along, paying careful attention to the road when what comes whipping by on the opposite side of the street? A motorcycle...with a side car...occupied by a dog!!! I actually had to remind myself that I was driving and that I need to focus on the road in front of me - that was truly memorable (and entertaining).
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COD, "Course of Distinction". I received official word that the online course I am teaching this semester has been chosen as a "Course of Distinction" and will be recognized my the Mass Colleges Online consortium of all 24 Massachusetts state colleges.

I'll receive my award at the annual conference in early June...I am so proud of this honor and achievement.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Book Review: The Last Time I Died

I was in a library a few towns away from me, perusing their tables with all of the books they are trying to get you to notice when I saw this one looking back at me. The title alone was enough to capture me but further investigation to the back cover, I learn the main character is from Brooklyn and the story is based in NYC...sold.

This could very well be the darkest piece of fiction I've ever read yet Nelms manages to add levity at just the right points, allowing the (morbid) curiosity of the reader to remain intact - just what will Christian Franco do next? Or more accurately, what won't he do?

The high cost of sanity and piece of mind are always at play in this amazing novel that author of "A Reliable Wife" Robert Goolrick writes, "Like a junkie, once you pick up this book, you do not put it down until after the dope is gone."

Let me wet your beak just a little without ruining the story. Christian Franco, the main character, finds himself in "a downward spiral - divorce, career, friendships, family, etc. Trying to piece together memories repressed from childhood, when, as he knew it, his father killed his mother, it turns out that traditional therapy just doesn't cut it for him. No, for Christian Franco, the only way to gather a piece of his past is by dying; then, it becomes a matter of how may times can one die and survive and will it be enough to finally be at peace? Will it be enough to see the light?

This is a must read, a really well crafted piece of fiction that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

On the Twitter Side of Things

Back in mid-March sometime, I made a return to Twitter after not being there for a while. I thought I would share with you all who follow me here, but not there, a large selection of my tweets since I returned. Here they are in order of oldest to newest:

I think Cap'n Crunch stole his elephant from Noah's ark. #ConspiracyTheories

When you run across that person looks like they have a mouthful of sour candy, only they don't.

How much is Mrs. Butterworth?

When did TBT become throwback Thursday? Back when I was in college it stood for throw up Thursday #tbt #fb

I wonder if there is a correlation between the resurgence of vinyl records and the increasing legality of marijuana.

Quiznostradomus was never given enough credit for predicting how much more delicious a sub can be when it's toasted.

If bacon was the "Breakfast of Champions" instead of Wheaties, we'd have lot's more champions.

Just discovered-Vladimir Putin has had the Beatles "Back in the U.S.S.R." on replay for two straight years. #explainsalot

Is there a Whole Foods brand half and half?

Pro tip: Put all of your dirty laundry in the bed of your pickup before driving through the car wash #protip

I have no desire to be on top of the world; imagine how cold it is up there!

Pro Tip:Add toothpaste to your chocolate brownie batter for a minty chocolate taste and no need to brush your teeth after. #ProTip

I think we should send our kids trick or treating for April Fool's day. #fb

Is it possible to wax poetic in 140 characters or less? #HeeDeeDee #fb

If it was confirmed that "the good life" tasted like black licorice, how many people would still wish for a taste of it? #fb

Should you ever really have to beg to differ? I think it should just come naturally or not at all. #fb

When life hands you lemons, squeeze them on the open wounds of your enemies.

If time heals all wounds, how come there are no Band-Aid brand watches? #fb

A friend quit smoking,I called him a loser. He said,what's up w/ that? "Winners never quit, and quitters never win", I didn't write it. #fb

My friend had a party for his dog - her day had finally come. The dog is melancholy though because she has nothing left to anticipate. #fb

Numismatists are constantly coining phrases #numismaticshumor

No man has ever been to no man's land. #fb

Every time a donkey makes a phone call, it's the result of an ass dial.

I think #BenFranklin would have been a prolific tweeter.

Even one lotte fish is a lotte fish.

Who put the cat in the bag in the first place? #fb

I typed an entire proposal on onion skin; I couldn't stop crying. #retrohumor #thegeniusofme #fb

I'll never understand the allure of auto-erotic asphyxiation. Though I hear it's breathtaking. #fb

Had a chat with Evander Holyfield, he gave me an earful - but it was all one sided. #fb

Gotta hand it to a proctologist who can keep it together, all day at work - nothing but assholes!

I feel like I am way too late on making "Mile High Club" references to pot being legal in Colorado. #fb

Should "Kick the Bucket" be the last entry on everyone's bucket list? #fb

Before I go to bed, a big fuck you to whomever decided "Bologna" was how you spell it and/or "Baloney" was how you say it. #fb

The dating scene in Holland is all about going Dutch. #fb

The iceman cometh. And that is how iceman jr. came to be.

I went to a furniture store and asked for a cliner. Salesman said,"You mean a recliner?" I said,"Well.yeah-but I don't want a used one." #fb

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Would You Like to Visit Your Slab(s)?

As the kitchen remodel moves forward, they came to "template" (measure) for the stone counter top. Because of the nature of stone, they want you to sign off on the fact that you understand the inherent attributes of the stone you are buying before they fabricate it for your home. You can sign away your right to see it beforehand, or visit your slab(s) and sign off before the cutting frenzy ensues.

I opted to go visit my slabs today. It's prety interesting to see the warehouse and fabrication facility.

Here is a picture (that really does not illustrate what they look like as a result of poor picture taking), but it's fun to see them in this form:

To get a sense of what I mean about how poorly this particular photo illustrates what it looks like, here is the "sample" as pictured on the manufacturers web site:


In person, it looks way (way, way) closer to the bottom picture. I selected it from a physical sample, that I brought with me. I think it will look terrific with the maple cabinets and the back splash tile.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Every Other Day of the Week Experiment

For more than 25 years, I've shampooed my hair every single day, despite the claims by some that this is not advisable, that it dries out the natural oils, and all that. I don't believe there's any evidence of that making a difference to me.

When I was last sick with that crazy coughy/sinusy thing a few weeks back, I was so ill, that I went two days without washing my hair and then decided to try washing it every other day. I've stuck with the every other day thing and so far, while it hasn't sucked, I haven't seen any benefit.

Sure enough, just as I typed that last paragraph, I got an itch on my head! LOL! Who the heck knows, not really all that significant I guess.
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Tomorrow I need to go to the plant where they are fabricating the counter for my kitchen to sign off on the slab

I'm a bit disappointed at someone I love.

Tomorrow is "Record Store Day"; there is a new Bruce Springsteen vinyl EP being released - I may have to find one.

I hate the fucking cell phone companies as much as I hate the cable TV companies.

Nothing

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Birthday Wish and Some Gibberish

Must offer super Happy Birthday wishes to the awesomest of Tori's. I know, it's after 11pm, but I've made those wishes much earlier, this is just when I am posting to the blog.

There was snow on the ground this morning, but there were less individual snowflakes than the number of people on Facebook talking about how there was snow on the ground.

Some Gibberish

The workplace had been really great for most of the last couple of years under the new president. However, recent financial troubles, which are not a result of anything he has done wrong (I think) have made things a bit more tense. I hope it doesn't last long, there's lots to be done.

I thought I'd care way more about baseball this season that it turns out I do...not all that much.

Goodnight!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Goodbye to You My Trusted Friend

In September of 1978 I walked through those doors to begin my freshman year of high school. When I left in June of 1982, I was forever changed. Those four years at Bishop Ford were transforming and special in ways I'll always hold close to my heart.

All these years later, I am still in touch with many of the people I spent time there with. Yesterday, it was announce that this June, Bishop Ford Central Catholic High School will close their doors forever.

Hard to believe that kind of thing can even happen.

This R.E.M. video was actually shot at Bishop Ford, some time after I left but watching it today and seeing the hallways, the class rooms, it all came right back to me.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Saturday Night's Alright for...Uh, Oh..Make Way...

There is a local band called "The Peacheaters" that play southern rock, heavy on Allman Brothers music. I've known of this band for some time and have met a couple of guys that play with them but never saw them live. I got word they were playing on Saturday, so I decided that it was time.

I got to the venue just a little early with the intent to have dinner there, I ordered one of the specials, "Steak Bomb Pizza" along with a pint of Shock Top. It was around 9 pm when my food and beer arrived, a glass of water had been delivered just before.

By the time 11-11:30 rolled around, I had eaten a good amount of the pizza (it was a 10" personal size), polished off the pint and the water and hadn't been re-visited by the server in the nearly two and a half hours since she delivered my order.

There was also a "ladies night out" party that decided to congregate at my table since it was the only place there was space - they were an interesting bunch....two of them kept going out to smoke and the other two were obsessed with their colorful beverages and the free popcorn. My friends who were supposed to show never did, mattered not to me, I got to see the band.

Anyway, over the course of the set, my stomach had begun doing gymnastics and by the break, I began to feel not well. I went to the rest room and I won't get into detail, I'll just say that returning to the main room for the second set was not an option. I left, went to my car, and got home as fast as I could.

It wasn't a pleasant night but when morning came, I was alright for the most part. As I was getting ready to pick up my daughter to go to church, it occurred to me that I never paid my check! I was mortified, that was not my intent and not something I would ever do - but since more than two hours had passed since I saw my server and I got sick, I just never thought of it.

I'll be calling them this afternoon to tell that I was the dude they were probably cursing out when they were reconciling things after they closed and explain what happened and then offer to make it right. Shit happens!

Update: Called the place, no management was available. I told the employee my story and she said usually if there an open check, they make note of it so everyone is aware and there were no notes left; so they had no idea that I never paid the check. Which means, either they messed up or, now that I think of it, maybe those four women that were sitting with me paid it (oh God)...LOL!!! I'll have call back on Wednesday when the owner and the server are there.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

In My Ears 2

Here's what I've been listening to since the last "In My Ears" post:

Daughtry - Baptized
Solid record.

Sara Bareilles - The Blessed Unrest
Something about her makes me happy, there are so many good qualities about her songs, her voice and her presence.

Bruce Hornsby & Ricky Skaggs - Cluck Ol' Hen (Live)
Bruce Horsby is popular for some pop music records he made starting in the mid 1980's. Ricky Skaggs had a budding country music career in the early 80's and surrendered his chart topping fame for his love of blugrass and his mission to keep it alive. This isa live concert bluegrass collaboration reimagining some songs, reinventing others but mostly, celebrating seriously the joy and intensity of this important and often misunderstood genre .

Toby Keith - Drinks After Work
Less chart oriented feel but still, a Toby Keith record - hard to find much fault with that.

Boston - Life, Love & Hope
Technically, it is that Boston but really a Tom Scholz record with Boston alumni and other guests. I expected this record to suck but it doesn't. However, just don't expect it to be anything even close the the first Boston record, they never have nor never will achieve that again. Take this record for what it is, simply at face value, and you will find something worth listening to.

Paramore - Paramore
Sublime (the adjective, not the band)

Jeff Perry - Quartet
Jeff is a friend. I've had this record since release and listen to it regularly. Great Jazz record for the masses.

LeAnn Rimes - Spitfire
You need to be a pop-country music fan to like this. Leave her personal life, chronicled in the rags constantly, and listen as a fan of her and this genre and you will love this record.

Jimmy Webb - Still Within the Sound of My Voice
Webb has penned songs that you know for decades. Here, he performs some of them, along with some special guests. There are some really great cuts here, most notably for me, the title cut.

Nick Lowe - Quality Street: A Seasonal Selection for All the Family
Nick Lowe has long been one of my favorite songwriters, producers and performers. The last few years he has sort of stylized his music to match his age but in a classy and wonderful way. This is his take on a holiday record and while I often talk about how much I hate Christmas music, this record is so fun.

Hearts of Palm Sunday

I've talked about hearts of palm sandwiches here on this blog. In fact, in this post, I provide details about a sandwich I invented, "The Ace of Hearts", based on the original hearts of palm sandwich that has become an annual palm Sunday tradition at church.

My daughter has such admiration and love for the hearts of palm sandwich that she was willing to miss a few hours of a gaming convention this morning so she can first go to church, so she can have some of these yummies after.

I drove her into Boston for her convention, then went pack later to pick her up and drive back her and a couple of her friends.

Remind me later to tell you about Saturday night, went to go see a band but something very odd happened. Right now, I gotta go...

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Walden Pond - First Visit of 2014

Here are some photos:





And a short video:


video

Friday, April 11, 2014

Kitchen Remodel: What a Difference a Day (plus two months) Make

They made quite a bit of progress today. The installers arrived while the cabinet delivery was in progress so things got started right away and kept moving all day. Here are some photos of where they left off; the third one has the best lighting and best illustrates the maple wood species.

Looking forward to Monday. Need to arrange for the appliances to get delivered. Oh, because the appliance guy has been so super cool and not charging me to store the appliances I bought (and paid for) back in December, I bought him a bottle of Jameson's (I have it on reliable authority it's his favorite).

Part of what I need to factor in on how the cabinet dilemma screwed me is that the appliances have never gotten to my house and a third of the warranty is up! Life is hard. First world problems, but still annoying.




I've taken the steam mop to those nasty stains that were under the stove, feel much better.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Kitchen Remodel: Update

It seems like a million moments have come and gone since I spoke of my kitchen remodel. As a reminder, when last we spoke of the remodel, the cabinets that they began to install were of the wrong wood species and since they are semi-custom cabinets, getting new ones with the correct wood was going to take at least six weeks.

It was February 20 or 21 when they were here last, tomorrow is April 11 - I've since had to suffer the misery (I know, first world problems, poor me) of basically not having a kitchen since - I am very hopeful this all works out fine.

More as it happens.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Book Review: Joyland

A one time voracious reader of Stephen King, the last thing he wrote that I held to read was "Lisey's Story" and I never really got into it. I've left King behind for the last, I don't know, I guess close to a decade. For how much I loved so much of what he wrote, I found myself hating some choices he made, I didn't like the direction the fabled "Dark tower" series took, and had grown weary of his excessive verbosity; so I took a much needed break.

I had been recently thinking about maybe picking something up by him again and the other day, I was at the Wellesley town library and saw "Joyland" sitting there. The cover was all I really needed, plus the fact that it wasn't 800 pages. The whole look of the paperback had a very old timey, dime store novel feel, turns out, that was the intent.

I finished the book this afternoon, and I am not certain if I can recommend it or not. I can say that what I liked about it, I loved, really loved. But, there were things I didn't love, in fact, things I really hated. Right off the bat, it took almost a third of the book before the story even began. Almost one hundred pages in building characters that were irrelevant or developing main characters that could have been done in a third the space. For me, this is a chronic King condition - and it really makes me mental.

In the end, I loved the actual story, but it seemed disjointed at times trying to find itself within the intended genre while blurring the lines from what the name Stephen King invokes just upon hearing it. I don't feel like I wasted my time reading this, I really like a few of the main characters and their interactions but I am not sold on how the story was told.

Your choice.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Wait, Weight?

More often than not when someone goes out of their way to talk about their weight, it's to brag about a weight loss. Of course, that's a wonderful thing and I encourage such; I've done it myself.

I'm writing to discuss a weight gain, mine. Not an enormous amount but enough to make the clothes start fitting less comfortable and get me thinking, "hey, wtf!"

Yes, I have been under a bit more duress of late than usual, I haven't had a kitchen for about 6 weeks or so, but in the end, I made a choice to eat irrationally and that's the bottom line.

I feel like putting it out there in the universe is the next step from self-realization and hopefully will spring board into getting back to fighting weight.

I am hoping that Friday or Monday will see the kitchen work finally resume.

Hee Dee Dee!

Monday, April 07, 2014

What?

What the heck is happening in this world? David Letterman is retiring, The Undertaker loses at Wrestlemania, Richard Marx and Cynthia Rhodes are divorcing, and an airplane the size of a third world nation seems to have disappeared.

Yeah, it's not so clear cut what really matters and why, life changes in an instant. The heart is another funny thing isn't it? Why is it that the heart seems to have a mind of it's own sometimes?

Have you ever in one moment thought about the relationship between human time and dogs then in the next instant, craved popcorn so bad it almost hurt?

I saw a sign at the Sherborn Inn about an Easter Buffet. I checked their web site because I thought it might be a nice thing to go to with my kid. The breakfast buffet is $45! WTF is wrong with them? They should burn down for charging that much.

In related food news, my favorite food-related typo was "Craving Station" instead of "Carving Station". I thought is was a clever intentional thing and even acknowledged it to an employee who quickly apologized for the error and took the sign down.

I feel like the selfie needs to be put out to pasture. I confess to doing it on occasion, but that doesn't make it right. Sleep well!