Thursday, September 30, 2004

Goth Baby Returns


So here's what 5 spare minutes that coincidentally came after reading that Sprizee, in her best angry mom impersonation, had her [hand on hips] indicating that she just couldn't wait any longer for me to have Goth Baby come out in full makeup.

Though this doesn't represent my best, I am no expert. Therefore, I once again ask for your contributions to the "Have fun with Goth Baby" contest and email entries to me at chrisdaniele@hotmail.com. All entries will be posted!

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Our Fearless Leader

This picture is a hoot. Unfortunately, it's an insult to Alfred E. Newman who even as a fictitous character is more intelligent than GWB.
SHORT TAKES:
I spent almost $800 bucks on a combination of routine maintenace and brakes. I really hate that!
I am enjoying The Apprentice and Survivor and looking forward to the finale of Last Comic Standing; though I'm thoroughly disappointed that Jay London, maybe the funniest comic in America, has been eliminated.
The pool is closed for the season.
I hate chipmunks.
Expect to see another recipe in the near future.
I haven't taken a clear breath through my nose in my entire adult life.
I miss Daisy.
Jams!!!! Where the hell have you been?
Dr. Watson? Are you reading this?
Peace to all...back soon.

Monday, September 27, 2004

SPAMTASTIC

I took a look in the "JUNK" folder of my Yahoo Mail account today only to find a slew of ads that were for either the worlds cheapest software, or penis enlargement. What's funny, is that the spammers use all types of tricks to code the subject line in hopes of bypassing the spam detection tools. I must commend Yahoo for catching these gems taht I share with you:

W:HATS:HEW:ANT ITISBlG:GE:RPE:Nl:S,,

INCREASE PENIIS AT 30% WITH 1st NATURAL MALE ENHANCEMENT

GlVE THE GREATEST GIFT

NEW NATURAL P1LL TO B1GGER YOUR PENIIS ye toward

LATEST PROVEN NATURAL P1LL TO B1GGER YOUR L1TTLE D1CK fell list restaurant

HO:WTO imPres:sHER

E:nl:ArG:eYo:uRD:iC:k

You just have to laugh at this.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Grilled Crow



You are not seeing an optical illusion or the work of fancy graphics software. No my friends, this is the real thing; a live crow lodged in the grill of a 1970's Lincoln Continental. It all started with my coworker Carolyn driving to work, making her usual run along Union Avenue when out of nowhere this Crow began to take flight. Colliding with the grill of the car, the impact caused the right wing of the crow to get jammed inside the grill. Without missing a beat, Carolyn paid no attention to the situation and proceeded to drive to work and ignore her new hood ornament.
I learned of the incident after I had already arrived at the college and another colleague came by with his digital camera showing me two photos; one of which adorns the top of this post. "Only Carolyn" was my first response followed quickly by, "I've gotta see this." Apparently the bird was still alive in the grill and Animal Rescue was summoned to make the rescue. As I made my way to the car to examine the bird and it's misfortunes, the expression on the Crow's face was clearly one of disgust and embarrassment. As if I expected the crow to be fluent in the English language, I looked at him and actually said out loud, "that's one fine mess you've gotten yourself into. Does it hurt?" As if the bird actually understood, though silent, it's expression appeared to be one of response; which I interpreted as "I know, I know, I really messed up this time. From here on out, I'm sticking to worms and bugs. No more road kill."
Having a total lack of animal skills and not much in the way of brains, I thought I should at least make an attempt to rescue this poor creature. It's quite amazing how much you can learn about crow's by simply getting close to them. Suffice it to say, at that moment there would be no rescue and I retreated to my desk and some anxiously awaiting students who couldn't log on to the computers.
About an hour or so had passed and the computer literacy rate had skyrocketed since my return. As things slowed down up in the lab, I thought I might go check on the crow whose gender I decided was male (all the signs were there) and whose name I chose as "Maury" (for no particular reason). Upon my arrival I saw that Maury had quite actively been trying to escape as I could only assume his deep embarrassment was finally overcome by some great amount of pain. With no sign at all of Animal Rescue and a team of EMT students assessing the situation (Carolyn is one of their mentors - God help them), I decided that this time, not only would I take matters into my own hands, but also that I would not fail in my quest to rescue Maury.
After reassessing the situation that the Crow had found himself in and discussing the possibilities with the crowd of students, I grabbed two good size branches using one to collapse the grill (we determined that the grill must have some give which caused the bird to get stuck in the first place) far enough and the other to carefully jimmy the bird loose. It worked! Maury was free but not without serious injuries. It was evident that his right wing had been severed and there appeared to be no chance for Maury to ever fly again. He bounced around grimacing in pain (okay, maybe here I am stretching it but not that far from the look and sounds of the moment) and wouldn't you know it, the moronic crow bounced himself right into the middle of the street. Luckily, traffic was nonexistent. I went to try to get him out of the street but he got all crow on me and started making biting motions with his beak. I then gently tapped him with the two branches which I still had possession of and finally directed him to a grassy area across the street on the grounds of another town school. From there, I returned to my workplace and offered the following statement by email to Carolyn:
"Since it was I that masterfully removed said bird, please write a checque for $129.95 to the National Audubon Society in honour of Maury, the formerly right-winged crow who learned his lesson the hard way.

Hmmm, I'm not a bettin' man, but I bet that's the first time someone ever served grilled crow while it was still alive!"
Leave it to me to make two bad jokes at the expense of a bird who more than likely wouldn't have much longer to live.

Beer Salmon

A short time back I promised a salmon recipe and here I am to deliver. Before I do, let me just banter on a bit about how "behind" I feel. I need to clean the pool this weekend so that I can close it and prevent a forest full of trees from dumping their leaves into it. Besindes that, I have like a million other things to do and I have to deal with contractors giving me the runaraound and my own procrastination and it all sucks.

Here now, the absolutely delicious...Beer Salmon.

1 (12-inch) tail piece salmon fillet (about 1 1/2 pounds)
2 teaspoons garlic salt
3 tablespoons brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 (12-ounce) bottle beer

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. (This can also be cone in the oven on a cookie sheet - preheat to 525 degrees.)

Using aluminum foil, create an oblong cooking tray (approximately 13 inches by 8 inches by 2 inches-or an aluminum tray covered with aluminum foil does work as well) to be placed directly on grill.

Place salmon fillet in center of tray. Season first with garlic salt, sprinkle with brown sugar, and then cover with pieces of butter. Top with sliced red onions.

Pour beer of choice into tray to just below the highest point of the fillet.

Cover tray with aluminum foil to envelope fish completely.

Place tray on grill, cover with lid, and grill for approximately 8 minutes or until just cooked through.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

"Goth Baby"


"Goth Baby"

This my friends, is "Goth Baby", aka "Fat Bastard". About a year or so ago, one of my colleagues purchased a picture frame from Staples. The stock photo inside was this adorable little child unusually dressed in a black turtleneck. Popi, my colleague, dubbed him "Goth Baby" and another of our witty co-workers dubbed him "Fat Bastard". After proudly displaying the young child in this frame at her desk, Popi returned from a weekend only to find the frame and photo gone. Our beautiful child had gone the way of all the others often found on milk containers (I've never been comfortable with that).

Anyway, the other day, Popi is rummaging through Staples for no apparent reason other than it was there and her need to rummage was calling. Then, as good old aisle six faded into aisle seven, there he was - "Goth Baby" was coming home again.

Of course this time, I had to take action. Before any of the thieving little bastards get there hands on "Fat Bastard" again, I removed the photo and scanned him. Now, I've got a .jpg that will last a lifetime. My challenge to you (Sprizee, this has your name all over it) is to get creative with things like PhotoShop, Morphing, etc. and let's have fun with "Goth Baby". Email me your creations at fromawhispertoascream@gmail.com - I'll figure out how best to display them later.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Mindless Ranting

Every so often I do this odd little exercise where I grab a pile of scrap paper, a pencil, and a kitchen timer and simply put the pen to paper and let the mind rant. Today, I did this for exactly two minutes and the result is below. What I always find interesting about this exercise is the lack of context and how the actual words read within that lack of context. Anyway, here goes...


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

i don't know why it never made sense and it probably never will but that is the meaning of faith but so find faith hard to find but love is never easy nor is life though life lingers and that which lingers lasts longer if nurtured but how does one nurture what one does not fully understand as time moves forward it doesn't get easier to understand yet our understanding changes somehow making the pain more tolerable though unfortunately more frequent as we allow ourselves to be influenced by that which means less than that, and more important those who are far more significant in our lives.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

over and over its always the same day after day help help help they need my help but they don't realize that i can't even help myself because i am lost completely lost no idea of who i am or where i am going not even why i am where i am right now

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Reflections on MOM

It was 8 years ago tonight that my mother passed away in her home in Toms River, New Jersey. I usually spend a fair amount of time on this day and her birthday (February 18th) reflecting on her life as I knew it; some through stories passed down, and much through observations in my lifetime.

Growing up through the depression years, money was tight, grandpa was a drunk and never around, and grandma was severely diabetic, an amputee, and virtually blind. As such, mom had to leave school with a 5th grade education to help take care of things in the house, and soon after, to begin working. I don't know much more about her early years other than she worked in a crayon factory.

By the time she met my father, her oldest sister was married to my father's uncle. I don't have a clue how that came to be. I presume however that the relationship between my aunt and my dad's uncle was the catalyst in my mom and dad meeting. At the age of 30, my mother married in December (10th) of 1955. This event finally led to happier, safer, better times for my mother.

My older brother came along in March of 1959 and all was cheerful in the basement apartment of my Aunt Josie (mom's sister) and my Uncle Carmine's house at 2016 East 28th Street in Brooklyn, New York. Soon after, mother went through a period where three babies were conceived but didn't survive the pregnancy. I don't know the details but as an adult, can scratch the surface of the emotional and physical pain this must have caused her. Finally, in December of 1964, yours truly, in a rush as usual was born into the world after an abbreviated, 8 month pregnancy. Fifteen months later in March of 1966, my sister was born completing our immediate family.

The joys of motherhood to the three of us was complicated by the onset of illness during and after the birth of my sister. Fast forward to some point later, mother was diagnosed with diabetes; which over the last 30 or so years of her life, would slowly degrade her quality of life and eventually, take it from her.

To this point, I've painted a fairly bleak picture highlighting many negative points about my mother's life. I do this only because to those who knew my mother and were touched by her goodness - it only shows the magnitude of whatever it is that drove her to do what she did and be who she was despite all the pain and suffering she endured.

Carmela "Millie" DeBella Daniele was a remarkable woman despite her flaws, her lack of education, and the pain and suffering she endured. She had the undying love and support of my father whose death a couple of years prior to hers turned her life upside down and slowly became the reason, in my opinion, for her own will to live to dissipate. Spending more than half of the last two years of her life in hospitals, my mother somehow still found the strength to ensure that her grandchildren got enough of her love in that time to carry them through their young lives and into their adulthood.

The last day of her life, as I have heard it by those who were there, was one that I can only interpret as a reward by God for the life she lived here on earth. There was a birthday party for my cousin Christine that she attended under the condition that she be home by a very specific time. My cousin Janice (Christine's mother) was living with my mom and helping to care for her at the time and dutifully delivered my mom back to her home at the requested time. My mother soon after called my sister to check in on her "baby" and two of her grandchildren and told my sister of how she treated herself at my cousin's birthday party by having not only a slice of pizza, but also some ice cream. Shortly after the phone call, my mother, my cousin Janice, and Janice's boyfriend Michael were sitting in the living room when my mom excused herself to go into the kitchen. Moments later a loud sound brought Janice and Michael to the kitchen, where they found my mother on the floor, she was dead.

I firmly believe with all my heart that God let my mother know that her time was up as a gift for the life that she lived. I also firmly believe she orchestrated the last few hours of her life the best way that she knew how. I type these last words with tear filled eyes remembering my mom through the thirty one plus years of my lifetime.

Mom, if somehow there's an Internet cafe in the streets of heaven and by some chance you stumble across this bog and read this post...I'm sorry about the curse words, I miss you, and I Love You.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Not Just Another Computer Class

One of the challenges of teaching a computer class is keeping it interesting. For the most part, computer concepts are B O R I N G! So, I am constantly looking for ways to keep the class interesting so that I can hold the attention of people from 6 to 9 pm.

Somehow, tonight's lecture/demonstration of the campus email system ended up being a talk on cultural diversity and the impact and definition of "the college experience." I had a great time and it appears to have gone over well with the students. Though, I must say the most fun part of the class was when I showed the JibJab animation.

I am looking forward to testing out some new ideas in the classroom this semester. I feel invigorated after tonight's class.

Later...

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

I Got Dem Ole Blues Again


That's right folks, I've got the blues. Feeling a bit down the last couple of days. I sense that I really need a vacation, perhaps a bit of solitude, and a smattering of sleep. My brain actually hurts!

Some items from early in the semester:
-It's astonishing how many college students have no clue what their social security number is.
-I'm baffled at how many college students simply refuse to READ simple instructions then lie about having read them when asked if they did (of course this must be balanced with the frightening number of college aged students unable to read and comprehend the simple instructions - with pictures).
-I realized today that my entire job revolves around resolving other peoples problems which in turn occasionally creates more problems for me of which I am unable to resolve due to the amount of time it takes to resolve the problems of others.

***Chris stops to take a deep breath***

There, a little better am I...

I've had my first miserable experience with DirecTV which after weeks I though would be resolved today - but only grew more frustrating and will result in a customer service call. I am extremely pissed off about this!

***Chris pauses hoping to find something positive for this post***

Coming soon...the booklist continues, a yummy salmon recipe (that involves beer), "MAD-LIBS", Politics, Religion, and more. Stay tuned!

Until next time, May God Bless You All!

P.S. Jams, If you are reading this, let me once again encourage you to write a blog.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Greatest Blog Quotes

In my first few months of blogging, I've come to realize how many wonderful quotes can be found in the expressions of those who are part of this vibrant, intelligent, funny, and interesting community. As such, I'd love your participation with this post.

At the end of this post, I am going to put my current pick for most entertaining quote by a blogger. I'd love it if you all participated by posting a favorite of your own in the comments. At some point, I will compile them all into one easy to read post.

And now, for my favorite quote...

"Did you know: I don't like to say "fuck me" during sex because it reminds me of The Exorcist." Melika

Saturday, September 11, 2004

The 5 Things I am Currently Wishing for...

This is in no particular order and is being written on the fly:

1. If we must hurt, let it only serve to remind us that when we find that which brings us joy, it is worth both the sacrifice and the risk it may take to get it.

2. Before I take my last breath in this life, I get to meet the beautiful people I've grown so fond of in the blogging community.

3. The people of the United States of America to open their eyes, ears, hearts, and minds and realize that our current president is an evil man whose only good intentions are meant for him and those who serve him. Please let this country band together to make him go away.

4. For the families of those who've endured tragedies such as 9/11, any of the many wars, and any of the lesser known but no less tragic events that fill our newscasts nightly to find whatever it is they need to move on and have some happiness and joy in their lives despite the scars these tragedies will leave them with.

5. That I can have the strength and courage to continue to grow as a person, and share what I've learned in this life with others.

Friday, September 10, 2004

The Fall Semester Begins/Evil Thoughts Lurking

And so ends week one of the fall 2004 semester. Another year of hope and dreams begins, another year of "How the freak did these people make it this far", another week of 68.392% of the campus community in a complete fog as it relates to logging on to a computer account, another year of "I forgot my password" and the even more astounding, "My social security number? I have no idea!" Such is the joy of working at a community college. Though I must admit, I do love it. I especially to teach - I am trying a new approach this semester where I plan on having my student develop questions based on their reading, then using those question to play games shows in class. I hope they enjoy it.

I've decided to wish for bad things to all who intend to help re-elect the current leader of our cuntry. That's not a misspelling, I just thought in case 'ole W happen to peruse this blog, I'd at least spell one word the same as he wood. Anyway, this week I actually wished for the fingers, and perhaps any other limb or body part that may be used to cast a vote for the scanky Bush-whacker would simply fall off. That's right, a sort of misguided voters leprosy. Hey, I know it's cruel and evil but I'd rather have to deal with the aftermath of an odd form of leprosy that four more years of GWB in the white house. Beside, under Kerry, there's a possibility of finding a cure through the wonders of stem cell research.

I'm gonna pop the DVD "Secret Window" starring Johnny Depp into the old player and chill out...Until next time, May God Bless You All!

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Wowie Cake

Something you may not know about me is that I like to cook and I love to bake. Once while lecturing a class of students in a computer class and demonstrating how to format recipe pages in Microsoft Word, one of my student was inspired to share with me a book of favorite recipes that she put together from her family.

Amongst her favorite recipes was one called "Wowie Cake". I am led to believe this recipe (which goes by several different names depending on the region it came from) was particularly popular during wartime (WW II) as it required no perishable items. I've enjoyed this recipe not only because it is so easy to make and because of the no perishables, it's ingredients can be handily stored in the cupboard for whenever a craving for chocolate cake happens (every six and a half seconds for me).

Here it is:

Ingredients
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2/3 cup oil (vegetable or canola work best as they are fairly neutral in flavor)
2 cups cold water
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa (unsweetened, for baking)
2 tablespoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (please use pure vanilla extract, not imitation)

Mix all ingredients until smooth.
Bake in a 9x12 baking pan at 350 degrees (preheat oven) for about 30-35 minutes.
Use the "toothpick test" for doneness (stick a toothpick in the cake, if it comes out clean, cake is done.

Enjoy and be creative.

Daisy - Wherefore art thou?

In hopes that Daisy will read this, or someone that knows how to contact her will - I miss you as I am certain several members of the blogging community.

Please let us know where and how you are.

Monday, September 06, 2004

I Laughed at This and other Nonsense

There's a really funny post called That's right. Git'ter done.* at this blog...Sprizee :: A simple girl replete with complications

As I type this, I am watching one of the scariest programs I've ever seen on TV. It is about a family who has 14 children, with a 15th along the way. That is just absolutely NUTS!

The CD In the Pursuit of Leisure by Sugar Ray is a masterpiece.

I made pan-fried pork chops with Basmati Rice for dinner today.

I think it's really odd that they make children's vitamins in the shape of cartoon characters and superheroes. Why are we encouraging cannibalism at such an early age?

I watched none of the recent summer olympics.

Before I typed this line, I enjoyed a wedge of sweet, seedless watermelon.

I have nothing left to say, so I'll say goodbye, for now.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Your Heart Can Tell The Difference

A few days ago while shifting papers around, I rediscovered a poem I wrote a little more than three years ago. I think over the course of the last few days I've read, and reread that poem about a hundred times because I was trying to put myself back in the place I was when I wrote it. I wanted to feel it again; so badly in fact that in my mind I actually created an entire cast of characters and wrote a little story about them that eventually could be summed up by the words of this poem.

One of the things that have always attracted me to poetry is that it can be interpreted differently by each person and therefore mean many things to many people and even have no meaning whatsoever. As a writer of poetry, or anything for that matter, one of the most difficult things to do is to put your writing out there and actually embrace the vulnerability of your words, your thoughts your emotions, and your feelings. When I first started writing poetry intentionally, I always said that the only thing I could ever hope to accomplish beyond the completion of a poem, is to have just one person read it. With that, I offer you this poem that I have re-lived many times over in the last few days (I'll warn you now that it's both sappy and spiritual - but it also represents an important piece of who I am):


Your Heart Can Tell The Difference

Spent the last year of my life
Putting yesterday behind
Not once looking for the magic
I was soon about to find

I saw you from a distance
In your world, you shined so bright
While I walked through my own darkness
Somehow in you, I saw a light

So I listened for a moment
While my heart spoke to my soul
Though I thought I had the answers
It was out of my control

I believe that up in heaven
The good Lord made a choice
And in the sounds of silent whispers
I listened for a voice

It said, "If this is what you're feeling,
Though it may seem like a dream,
Your heart can tell the difference
This is all you'll hear from me."

Then I knew beyond the shadow
Of any doubt - it must be true
All that had been empty
Was now filled up with you

Each day we share together
Each time that we make love
I'll remember those words I heard
From the good Lord up above

My heart can tell the difference
My heart knows what is true
And in these words I offer
My heart, I give to you.

© 6/17/2001 Christopher Daniele

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Dunkin Donuts Dynamic

There's a really odd dynamic at the Dunkin Donuts. At first I thought, maybe the one I am a regular at is just in an odd place, with odd people, but no - there are certain consistent oddities at more that just "my" regular stop.

First, there's the regular group of old men, I assume retirees fleeing from their old wives, always at the same table, with the same amount of coffee in their cups, seemingly talking about the same things (size of prostate, how annoying the old lady has become, politics, neighbors, etc.).

Next, the crew. It seems that there are always at least two or three that are always there, then another two or three people that appear to only work there for a few weeks at a clip until a new two or three arrive to take their place. Now if this phenomenon only happened at one of the Dunkin Donuts in the area, I could easily make the assumption that it's perhaps a training facility where after a few weeks, they ship off their trainees to other local Dunkin Donuts shops; that just doesn't appear to be the case. For those of you outside of the greater Boston and Metrowest area, there is a joke around these parts that says "you know you're in Boston when you pass at least six Dunkin Donuts on the way to work." I hope that Dunkin Donuts isn't using the Soylent Green concept.

A personal gripe about one particular member of the crew at the particular Dunkin Donuts I got to. I've been a regular there for more than four years and am there almost every working day. There's one woman who has taken my coffee order at least three or four hundred times (at the very least). My coffee order is always the same, "medium decaf, cream - no sugar". Now I respect the fact that she must take hundreds of orders each and every day. However, I just don't understand that if she could recognize me every day, why is it that there are occasions she will ask if I want sugar, cream, or not ask anything and include sugar in my coffee (rendering it undrinkable)? It just baffles me to no end. I have changed the way I order my coffee recently and to their (and her) credit, it's been correct ever since. I now as for "medium decaf, just cream)".

Finally, the "hold the door" thing. Or what I like to call these days, "hurry the fuck up, do you think I am the fucking doorman?" I can understand being nice, being cordial, even attempting to be civilized at the ridiculously early time we all show up at the Dunkin Donuts shop for our particularly unhealthy breakfast, but do we all really need to hold the door for each other? I say NO. I don't want you to hold the door for me, and likewise, please do not expect me to hold it for you. It's a whole thing where people (me included) pull off some kind of bluff maneuver to stall either leaving or entering so that they can synchronize the right time to hold the door for the person either exiting or entering behind them. It's just plain goofy, annoying, and not genuine - and I just do not wish to take part in the charade any longer.

I think I better let this go for now as I feel my blood pressure beginning to rise. Until tomorrow morning when I'll order my medium decaf, just cream (usually along with a muffin of sorts)...

May God Bless You All!