Monday, May 30, 2005

Happy Memorial Day?

Not a Happy Day by design as we remember the fallen heroes of war. However, most use this day as the unofficial kick-off of the summer season.

What does this all mean? Well, most of us neglect the significance of "Memorial Day" and instead, buy every grilling product, grillable food, and grillable food accessories (such as buns, relish, etc.) as if there was going to be nuclear war requiring us to load up our fallout shelters. In fact, Memorial Day is second only in sales to July 4th for these products - are we not just the classiest of the classy?

I think kicking of the summer with a nice cookout is a wonderful thing and Memorial Day is a perfect day to do such. However, let us always remember the meaning of the day and more importantly, those who gave their lives so that we can have these wonderful moments.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Neither a Whisper nor a Scream, Just a Few Friendly Words

this is an audio post - click to play

NOTE: HOST SITE NO LONGER OPERATIONAL - AUDIO POST LOST :(

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Half the Size, Twice as Annoying


These newly acquired #'s 5 and 6 are of the "miniature" variety. You know the ones, half the size, yet twice as annoying. I am a big supporter of Breast Cancer Awareness (represented by the pink one) and even were a very tiny pink bow pin on my spring jacket...however, this car magnet is just another annoyance as are all of the others. This is the first time I've seen this black POW*MIA magnet, it's rather sporty for an obnoxious annoyance but thanks to the Magnet Renegades, it will no longer annoy drivers.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

So the weather here in the Boston/Metrowest area has been about as dismal as it can get. I have several topics to talk about but zero motivation - this weather really has me blue and bitchy.
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I am driving down to NYC to see my beloved New York Yankees play the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. I spent a significant amount of time at Yankee stadium growing up but haven't been there in close to ten years - so I am looking forward to a trip "home".
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You just don't hear about palindromes that much anymore.

Monday, May 23, 2005

For the U2 Fans here in Bloggerville

This post is especially dedicated to Sprizee who'll be traveling across the pond to Ireland to see U2 - have a great trip!!!

This article was in this past Sunday's Boston Globe...
In the shadows, sharp as ever
The Edge helps U2 balance its big sound with Bono's big agenda
By Steve Morse, Globe Staff May 22, 2005

Imagine for a moment what it's like to be the Edge. The U2 guitarist has defined an era's worth of rock riffs and rhythms, making the band one of the most successful of all time. A multitude of modern-rock acts bear his sonic stamp.

And yet Bono -- he of the slicked-back hair and wraparound shades -- gets the glory. When the charismatic lead singer isn't stalking the stages of the world, he's elbowing his way onto the world stage, meeting with politicians and power brokers, rallying for third-world debt relief and AIDS funding.

All the while, the Edge remains the ultimate team player, one who doesn't mind serving as the quiet stoic (his nickname is ''the scientist") to Bono's rabble-rouser. But one has to wonder, does the band ever try to rein in Bono -- just a little? The Edge would be the man to ask.

''There are moments when you question whether it's the right balance between the politics and the music," the Edge acknowledges. ''It's a challenge to make sure the music doesn't become a sideshow to what Bono is doing. But, really, Bono enjoys the music so much more than he enjoys any of the other stuff, so I don't think he'll ever allow it to get too far out of balance.

''If we weren't still making good records and still functioning as a band," the Edge adds, ''I don't think [Bono] would be given the political access that he has."

There's no debate about the potency of U2's latest album, ''How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb," which has sold more than 3 million copies since its release last November. Tickets for the band's tour, which comes to the FleetCenter for three nights this week, disappeared in the blink of an eye.

The new album has been called the band's best since 1987's ''The Joshua Tree," but the Edge thinks the new one is even stronger. ''I think side one of 'The Joshua Tree' is an amazing collection of songs, but side two was good but not as great. I'm talking now about pure songs. But I think the new collection, just in terms of songs, is our best-ever record."

''At this point, U2 remains the most vital and important band on the planet," says Carter Alan, the midday DJ for Boston rock station WZLX-FM (100.7) who wrote the unauthorized U2 biography ''Outside Is America," reissued in 1997 as ''The Road to Pop."

''A lot of bands that started when U2 did [in the late 1970s] stopped caring later on, or got sidetracked or taken off course by personal problems, drug problems, or band problems," Alan says. ''U2 has never gotten knocked off their course. . . . They defy the rock 'n' roll model that if you become famous, you self-destruct."

Of course, bands, even the best intentioned, can get sidetracked for a variety of reasons. The Edge says U2 works hard to make sure that doesn't happen.

''Even on this tour, we had to be careful about what the opportunities were in the show to include some aspects of [Bono's] work," says the Edge, whose real name is David Evans. ''Of course, it would be ridiculous not to comment in some way, because it's such a central part of what has been going on for the last while. But at the same time, it's only one aspect to what the show is about. It's become, I think, the central theme in some ways, but obviously there are a lot of songs about other things, so you don't want it to be the entire show."

Bono has always been a firebrand. His political views have informed some of the U2's best songs, from ''Sunday Bloody Sunday" to ''New Year's Day." And while the Edge, bassist Adam Clayton, and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. may not be as vocal, they are hardly apolitical.

''We grew up in the punk era," the Edge says, recalling the start of the group in Dublin. ''The first live band I ever saw was Stiff Little Fingers and, you know, the Clash were not long after that. We didn't grow up listening to bands like Led Zeppelin -- the bands that were about pure musicianship. Our first experiences with live bands were bands that had a political awareness, and it always felt natural for us to include it."

U2 didn't get where it is without shaking things up.

''We've always thought, 'Throw it all in there -- politics, sex, religion, spirituality, everything.' And I think it's worked over the years," the Edge says. ''One of our favorite acts was Bob Marley for the same reason. He didn't avoid areas of his life."

The Edge is the first to admit that he's amazed at how much Bono has accomplished personally, especially in his fight to reduce the AIDS pandemic in Africa. ''I think what has been fascinating to Bono, and to me as a close observer of his activities, is to see how some help from key people -- like Bobby Shriver [nephew of John F. Kennedy] and the rest of his advisers -- has helped Bono infiltrate the political system of America and really get some traction. And being, as he describes himself, a 'pain in the [expletive]' for a lot of politicians, it does actually work."

For his part, the Edge is known as the band's technology activist -- and is given credit for pushing U2 into doing an iPod commercial featuring the first single, ''Vertigo," from the band's latest album. The ad ignited some controversy from U2 fans.

''I think the iPod commercial was brave," he says. ''It was taking a chance and we knew it would draw some fire, but I think the vast majority of people understood the reasons why we did -- and that it was partly to support something really good for music, which is the digital distribution system concept. Also, from our point of view, it was a great way to draw attention to our song at a time when it was coming out."

U2 has continued to roll this year. The group won three Grammy Awards and was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March. ''There aren't many artists inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame the same year that they win a Grammy," says the Edge, who has stayed fresh musically by listening to many up-and-coming groups. (He likes the guitar sound of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, to cite one example.)

''I've always loved U2," says Bruce Springsteen, who inducted U2 into the Hall of Fame, in a recent phone interview. ''I've loved their open heart, the openness of their music, and their willingness to lay it all out on tour. They welcomed the audience in a certain way without allowing it to ever compromise what they did."

U2 has received a few critical knocks on this tour -- notably from a Chicago writer who ripped the ''tired nostalgia" of its first show in that city. The Edge, forever candid, acknowledges that show wasn't the band's best.

''But mostly, I've been very happy with the shows," he says. ''We've tried to mix it up and do some songs we haven't played for years from our early records, and also play a reasonable amount of the new album with some old classics. So far, we're not really playing our big, big songs. I think we might have done 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For' just one night, and 'With or Without You' might have been just one night, too. And we put 'Bad' in just a couple of nights ago.

''We're being very selective about the really well-known songs from the past. . . . There's a big debate all the time to get the balance right."

Sunday, May 22, 2005

How Friggin' Obnoxious

Perhaps the only thing more obnoxious than the method in which this magnet was acquired for this photo is the fact that it was being sported on the backside of a rather pricey SUV. FEH!!!
For those keeping count, this is number 4.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Non-Sequitor of the Day, make that Lifetime

So I'm chatting it up with my pal Hatch when pretty much out of nowhere the following came from her mouth, "My nephew's balls are so much smaller now." [giant pause as I look in disbelief at the soundwaves my ears just picked up] "He had a hernia in his testicles and they were huge, disgustingly huge. [yet another pause of bewilderment as sympathy begins to roll on in to the mix] He had an operation and now he has normal balls for a four month old boy." [cringe, just plain cringe].

As they say in Mexico, ¡Aýe Caramba!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

GWB's Amazon WishlistS




As the day went on...
I was on the treadmill this evening doing my awkward workout when it hit me, I had seen this before somewhere in bloggerville. However, I saw it this morning and it is still funny...so here it is folks!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The 10 O'Clock News

I remember growing up how at some point my dad made the switch to start watching the news at 10 instead of 11. At the time, the news was on channel 5, anchored by Bill Jorgenson (sp.). I'll never forget the introduction, which I didn't really get as a kid, "It's 10pm, do you know where your children are?"

Fast forward a quarter century or so and here I am sitting on my couch, laptop on my laptop, and watching the 10 o'clock news as I blog away.

I started this post for one reason, the brief moment of enlightenment I just had as to what the 10 o'clock news is. For me, the 10 o'clock news is simple, it's acknowledgment that humans are completely out of their mind and the world is a sick place - all one hour earlier (than of course the 11 o'clock news).

Monday, May 16, 2005

Gen X-er Am I



Your generation stuck mine with a motherload of cultural horrors (bradys! disco! plaid! roller skating!). -30% for being a yuppie.
5 point bonus for telling me where you saw this. Thanks!

Final Score: 79.55

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Make that Three

These two recently acquired magnets bring the total to three less annoyances in this world - courtesy of "Mr. Whisper Scream".


Is it Too Early to Laugh this Hard?

This made me laugh really hard - at my desk - while people were watching me - and thinking I had finally flown off the deep end - it's funny!

NOTE: THE WEBSITE LINKED TO IS NO LONGER IN SERVICE :(

Quote of the Day

"While I am not a huge fan of Matt Damon, he played a clueless guy perfectly!" (Kate Lane)

There's nothing I can add, this is simply brilliant!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Fly...On the Wall

At work on Tuesday, I was buzzing around a lot conducting workshops and the sort when my boss asked if I would attend his presentation during budget hearings to support our department. As I frantically worked to make it to the 1:45 budget hearing while helping someone load the Flash player, I managed to find a minute to head o the men’s room and “freshen up” before heading into the board room.

Guys, especially the shirt and tie guys, is it just me or do we all suffer from the t-shirt riding up under the dress shirt and creating some indescribable discomfort syndrome? So, while in the men’s room, I thought I’d address this issue and make any necessary adjustments allowing me to be as comfortable as possible for the budget hearings.

The board room was quick and painless, though chock full of executivity – especially the VP of finance, who gandered at me with a stare and a smile at one point (which will prove to be a pivotal psychological moment as you’ll see shortly).

After exiting the hearings, I went over to chat with a colleague about the experience, wandered a bit around the building, and then went to the Instructional Technology lab to meet with an adjunct. As I sat at my desk and the instructor arrived, I looked down and noticed that my fly was open. At that moment, I was simply devastated wondering who might have noticed and spoke not to me of their discovery. I retraced my steps and realized that my adjustment time mentioned earlier had to be when the zipper was neglected. Remember the odd stare by the VP in the previous paragraph? Could it have been acknowledgment of my fauxest of faux pas-es? I was rattled the entire balance of the day over this until a new turn of unusual events had me baffled.

I returned to the men’s room shortly before leaving for the day and while standing at a urinal looked up to notice a hair on the wall. Now the peculiar thing is that the hair was at least a foot above where my six foot body tops off. Just how does a hair end up 7+ feet on a wall above a urinal? Oh my oh my oh my!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Eganomics

I'm not going too deep into explaining this one. Needless to say, the ever so entertaining and intelligent Egan was inspiring.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Googleabamos - We Google

I feel like I've had this conversation a million times. We've made words like Tivo and Google verbs in our language. Today while reading the Boston Globe, I came across this rather entertaining article where regular columnist Sam Allis speaks on the topic (of google-ing). Enjoy:

Gaga for Google May the source be with you, over and over
By Sam Allis, Globe Columnist May 8, 2005

Last month, Newsweek national sports correspondent Mark Starr bolted from a seder table, obsessed with the need to remember the name of the male lead in Michelangelo Antonioni's 1970 disaster of a film, ''Zabriskie Point." He knew that the man had lived for awhile in the late '60s at Roxbury's Fort Hill commune and that he died in prison after participating in a bank robbery.

Starr found a computer and, like a Pavlovian dog, streaked to Google.com. He typed in ''unknown actor" plus the name of the wrong Italian director, Franco Zeffirelli, and came up with bupkis. He stayed the course, though, and as a Google artiste, eventually arrived at Antonioni and then his quarry, Mark Frechette.

''Why Mark Frechette's name came up during seder, I have no idea," says Starr. ''He didn't take anybody out of Egypt."

The Observer was bitten by the same bug. I have sat bolt upright in bed at 2 a.m. and, face illuminated in a dark room by a monitor screen, found the correct century in which El Cid lived -- the 11th -- and reviewed Hungarian history in Transylvania. The truth is, we obsessives streak to Google at all hours in search of facts that masquerade as knowledge. They are of no use to anyone, yet we must own them. There should be a 12-step program for this malady.

Once infected, a person is consumed by the Google virus like a flesh-eating worm. I've been hopeless for years. Over a 24-hour period last weekend, for example, I Googled, as follows:

When did they come up with the Nicene Creed and, while we're at it, where the hell was Nicaea?

It was Tolstoy, wasn't it, who wrote the ''Kreutzer Sonata"?

When is the Hamilton College graduation this year?

Was Michelangelo older than Leonardo?

What was actor Michael York's breakout movie?

When exactly were the Dark Ages?

Who was St. Barbara? (I love this one: The patron saint of artillerymen.)

I confess I also stopped once to ask myself out loud, ''What am I looking up?"

Starr's seder performance and my weekend tally underscore a couple of things. First, Google maps the unfathomable human thought process. How the ''Kreutzer Sonata" appeared on my radar screen remains a mystery. Second, it highlights a new millennial reality: Dinner decorum has been changed forever.

For better or worse, it is now common for a person to abandon the halibut and asparagus to resolve a food fight of a debate or answer a question that, left open, will cause night sweats. (''Why am I thinking there are 12 rather than 14 stations of the cross?" or ''Who else besides Jimi Hendrix recorded Dylan's ''All Along The Watchtower"?)

There are a number of theories floating around about the DNA of hard-core Googlers. John Townsend, a New York headhunter and Googler addict of some note, was informed recently by a woman friend that there is something distinctly male about the Google obsession.

(Townsend recalls reading a William Safire column in the subway with a quote in it that was driving him nuts. He Googled ferociously when he got home and learned it was from Browning. Apprised of this, his wife went to ''Bartlett's Familiar Quotations" and found the reference faster than he did on Google.)

Anyway, men must always be right, the woman's theory goes, because they are so competitive. So they Google ad nauseam to gird their loins for battle over a potential bar bet or cocktail party warfare. Women, in contrast, are more secure and have less need of abstruse answers to arcane questions.

An arresting thesis, but an empty one. There are plenty of women who must know the answer to something. A colleague with whom I raised this readily admits she is every bit as consumed by this obsession as I am, and lots of men couldn't care less. Until recently, former oil trader Bo Howard of Houston was as interested in Google as he was in Tom Menino's golf handicap.

But it doesn't take long for Google to bite. Howard, it turns out, adores the music of the late Antonio Carlos Jobim. He learned there was a real person who inspired Jobim's classic ''The Girl From Ipanema" and just had to know her name. So he Googled his way, haltingly at first, to one Heloisa Pinheiro, whom Jobim and his friend and lyricist Vinicius de Moraes used to watch as they drank beer at a beachside bar in Rio.

Now a committed Googler, Howard e-mails me, ''I have been unable to confirm the brand of beer they drank while watching her, but I'm working on it." Minutes later, he comes back with: ''The boys were not drinking beer but ''caipirinhas" made with cachaca -- the brazilian aguardiente (read firewater)." Welcome aboard, Bo. You've earned your stripes.

The Google psychosis is answer driven, not gender based. It has captured an army of men and women who can't let go. Of anything. The essence of Google is less about trumpeting one's array of factoids, assuming you can remember any of them, than scratching an itch. And then scratching another one. And another. That's the point. There will never be a time when we will not itch. Imagine.

Sam Allis's e-mail address is allis@globe.com

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Straight from the Sun

I found this quiz via a random blog and you know me with online quizzes. This quiz poses the question "What planet are you from?"


You Are From the Sun



Of all your friends, you're the shining star.
You're dramatic - loving attention and the spotlight.
You're a totally entertainer and the life of the party.
Watch out! The Sun can be stubborn, demanding, and flirty.
Overall, you're a great leader and great friend. The very best!

A Quote, An Observation, and Ben & Jerry's

A Quote

"To get added value, you need to add the value." (Professor John Perkins 4/26/2005)

An Observation

There are no "quick stories" (as in, "let me tell you a quick story").

Ben & Jerry's



The last time I did the Walk for Hunger, I was elated to complete the 20 miles and be rewarded at the finish line with a delectable Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream Bar; this made me very happy.

This year, as I was doing the walk, I was especially looking forward to getting that Ben & Jerry's bar because I hadn't had ice cream in several months as I have been "watching what I eat" in an effort to improve my cholesterol. I thought since I've been so good for so long and did this wonderful 20 mile walk and raised $660.00 that I would allow myself a treat.

Much to my chagrin, they were handing out ice cream bars from a far less appealing brand and I simply refused to indulge in an inferior product. I simply smiled a fake smile, hid my disappointment, and headed for the train to go home - still proud of my accomplishments.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

200th Post Celebration

313 days ago I wrote my first post with the following to say, “I like the idea of extremes, especially the idea of one extreme to the other and the effect it can have when used in the context of various creative mediums such as art, music, poetry, etc. Over the course of time I hope to share some of me with all of you and hope that in return I'll learn something about myself, you, and how or if blogging has any relevance in my never ending quest to discover the who, what, why, where, and how of me.”

Two hundred posts later (or is it 199 posts later, since this is the 200th post?), I know that I have shared a lot of me, learned a few things about myself, met some wonderful people and learned a lot about some of you, and most importantly – that blogging is a truly relevant and significant form of communication. In fact, the events of just a few days ago when Michael and Jennifer were married proves that blogging can even be a vehicle for the realization of dreams, fate, destiny, and even love.

I suspect that in 52 days when I am searching for something to talk about, and decide to use the blog’s first anniversary as a topic, I’ll touch more on the last year and perhaps the thought will have stimulated a more interesting response to the idea of where things may go from here. The one thing I am certain of is that I love blogging and will continue to do so. I am so grateful to those of you with whom I’ve interacted and shared such wonderful creativity. See ya later!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

How Many Steps Does is Take to Walk 20 Miles?


Apparently somewhere in the neighborhood of 40,000. This is the reading on my pedometer as of a few short moments ago. As some of you know, today I participated in the Walk for Hunger; a 20 mile walk around the city of Boston and suburbs.

As it was last time, it was an amazing experience which I had hoped to journalize somehow but instead, will summarize. We started out with a small team from the college - a nice mix of staff and students. The walk itself was a more intense challenge considering it rained, and pretty hard, for the first 7.5 miles or so. As such, the first three dropouts from our team came a the 5 mile checkpoint. I a "she'll never live it down moment", the athletic director of the college was amongst those three (tsk tsk).

The rain subsided somewhere in mile 8 I believe but by that time I was completely saturated. I was wearing 2 T-shirts, a longsleeve and a short sleeve on top - which turned out to be necessary as the temps were somewhat brisker than expected/hoped for. As I remained waterlogged for the entire 20 miles, the cold harbour breezes blowing on my musky, wet shirts causes what felt like a chilling sensation about my nipples. I joked about this until I got all the way home and showered only to find myself in excruciating pain and then discovered that the wet t-shirts must have actually caused nipple erosion. That's right folks, you may be cringing with disgust but I was, and still am cringing with pain because my nipples are actually injured somehow.

Somewhere into the 12th mile is when parts of my body were letting me know that it was aware of the fact I had been using them more than usual. These signals became quite uncomfortable over the course of the next 4 miles or so but around mile 17, adrenalin started to kick in and I began somehow to feel a bit better. Also, in something of a strategic guess, I popped 2 Advils at mile 12 thinking that it may have a positive effect.

Mile 17 through the 18.5 checkpoint dragged as expected but things began to move on from there and the last 1.5 miles was some combination of relief, a wave of emotions, adrenalin, and anticipation. As we crossed the finish line it was only Jim (the Dean of Students) and myself. We hadn't seen or heard from the others we began with since the 7.5 mile checkpoint though another Mass Bay student spotted us around mile 17 and also finished with us.

I sit here at 10:20 not as exhausted as I'd expect to be, but exhausted nonetheless. My body doesn't ache as expected, but it aches nonetheless. Of all the potential injuries and/or ailments, the last one(s) I'd have expected are giving me the most difficulty. The aforementioned nipple erosion and something similar to (brace yourself) diaper rash. You see, I was really wet (from the pouring rain) for the whole time. This apparently in combination with my having worn briefs and denim shorts have put me bottom in something of an uncomfortable state of being.

All of the pain, pleasure, and disgust aside...I thank all who supported my fundraising efforts as I raised $650.00. The most satisfying part of this whole journey was the spiritually enriching symbolism of being amongst 40,000 people who all had the same selfless goal. Now, I gotta get off this chair and into bed - you know why.