Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Lenten Devotional Guide

An annual tradition at my church is a book of devotions authored by the parishoners and inspired by the scriptures read on each day of lent. What follows is my submission for this years guide - before it hits the press.

Friday, April 7
Psalms 95,22 Psalms 141, 143:1-11(12)
Exodus 9:13-35 2Corinthians 4:1-12 Mark 10:32-45

Let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.”
Psalm 22, verse 2 reads “O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest.” It’s really easy to pass the blame, even if in our selfishness and need for instant gratification to feel “good” again; we have the nerve to pass that blame on God. I myself catch myself sometimes even using the Lord’s name in vain – “Oh God…”, “Jeeeesus…” It’s just easier to accept our misery and cast the blame that to make any attempt at really understanding what or why we feel the way we do.
I love the first verse in Psalm 95, “O come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! I think this line speaks volumes and I have heard it over and over in my head since first reading it in preparation for writing this devotion.
What is a joyful noise? Looking back to the reference from Psalm 22, clearly there was not a joyful noise, rather a self-absorbed moment (“I cry by day…”) that simply rings out me-me-me without any consideration as to the big picture. I ask you to consider all of the images that your imagination conjures in the story of Jesus and his brutal treatment before the unthinkable and unimaginable pain of crucifixion. At no point in the stories, not even the violent movie of a few years ago “The Passion of the Christ.” Most humans couldn’t even consider enduring any level of that pain but even in what seems like it had to be one of the most painful moments, after enduring so much pain and torture, while hanging on the cross, Jesus actually was able to offer forgiveness.
What I would ask you to consider and what I have worked hard to try myself is to try to see beyond the surface of a situation. Look beyond the pain or the hurt or the confusion and think about the big picture. Think about the possibility that one brief moment in time may just be a part of a much grander plan. I’m not saying it is wrong to have an initial reaction, it is quite human. What I am suggesting is that in that moment of reaction, take action as well. Take a course of action to look beyond the obvious. “Make a joyful noise.” Don’t cry for pity, remove yourself from the equation. Look beyond yourself at the world, the people, the planet, the heaven’s, your family, your friends, all that is around you. There’s a story unfolding and you my friend are just one character.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Window Shopping

The next in a long line of homeowner projects is replacing all of the crappy windows with new ones. Months ago on a whim after seeing an ad for Pella I decided the call them and get some idea as to cost and get a little education on windows.

I don't recall if I wrote about that experience but needless to say his "bottom-line but it today price" was in the neighborhood of twenty grand! I basically kicked him out of my house and thanked him for wasting my time. I mean Lowe's sells Pella windows for around one-third was he was asking - a real fucking nut job.

Over the past week of so, I though it time to get serious about replacing the windows (considering my $400.00 heating bill) so I started looking around for some options. The first call I made was to a local company headquartered in the same town in which I live. The guy who came by was friendly and low-pressure and gave me good information and had a quote ready the next day for an amount of money that didn't make me want to stab him repeatedly.

Today, a company called NEWPRO came by and he actually made the Pella guy look cheap and welcome. Let me give you an idea of the disparity - Pella started with a number in the range of 28 grand and magically lowered it to around 20 if I "act now." The local guy, who we'll call John, gave me a number of about $9400 and psychopath NEWPRO threw out (you really better be sitting down) 35 frikkin thousand bucks and then immediately knocked of 10 grand at my reaction ("Are you fucking kidding me?) to an equally insane $25,000 "if I am serious about acting now."

Who the fuck are the insane, yet apparently wealthy, idiots who fall for this? So far John is the only option but I have at least 2 more estimates/presentations to go.

I'll of course keep you posted but for now, in non-window related news, I am going to see George Strait (with special guests Tracy Lawrence and Miranda Lambert) tonight at the DCU center in Worcester, Massachusetts.

I need to write a reflection for the annual Lenten Devotional Guide that we publish at church every year. Of course I waited until the last minute as tomorrow is the deadline and I just this morning read the scriptures to base my writing on. Perhaps I'll share my end result with all of you.

Hey everyone - I hope you're all having fun. Smile!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Sporadic Intervention

I really hoped to have more time but this has been a really nutty beginning of semester thanks to the usual craziness coupled with bizarre weather patterns. So, here are so things I've been meaning to discuss since my last post:

(from MSN Entertainment) LOS ANGELES -- Actor Chris Penn, brother of Sean Penn, was found dead Tuesday at a condominium near the beach in Santa Monica, police said.
Police said they discovered the 40-year-old actor's body around 4 p.m. Lt. Frank Fabrega said there were no obvious signs of foul play.
-I've always enjoyed Chris Penn and like the fact that he didn't seem to be nearly the asshole his brother Sean appears to be. I have noticed over the years that he had blown up to a hefty size in recent years. I am sadenned at his death which from the perspective of a 41 year old man seems way too soon. I wish the best to his family as they mourn his passing.

Though the PATS didn't cut the mustard this year, I think the Seattle/Pittsburgh madcap for the Super Bowl should make for a great game. I'll have to route for Seattle because back in the 70's I was a Dallas Cowboy fan and Dallas/Pittsburgh was a classic rivalry in that era. Congrats to both teams for some pretty awesome football over the last few weeks.

I had a pretty good first class last night. I'm teaching on Tuesday nights again and there was a great moment where I had a line fed to me that was a perfect opportunity for a hit or miss joke and I must say I killed. Here's how it went down...I was giving an overview of the Windows desktop and demonstrating how the taskbar can be moved to the top or the sides and even resized. One student blurted out, "My grandfather once accidentally moved it to the top and couldn't get it down." I responded with lightning quick comedic timing, "pretty impressive, usually grandfathers have a problem getting it up!" The room was instantly filled with laughter and I had one over the class.

As a testament to the overly busy nature of my world this past week, I wrote this after I finished working at my desk before going home then saved the draft to finish it up at home. Yeah, right! Too much to do there and no chance at turning on the computer so here I am finishing it up at 7am alongside a medium decaf from Dunkin Donuts.

I absolutely hate meetings. More than my hatred for meetings in general is my hatred for non-productive meetings. Have you ever had the displeasure of attending a meeting whose only end result was the discussion and planning of additional meetings? Meetings absolutely suck!

I just looked at the title of this post and realize that I don't much like it but I won't change it - no censorship here. Not that it's dirty or evil, it just gives me the sensation of mold spores consuming my life - which is one thing that isn't happening.

The delightful Dr. Watson and sidekick Stephanie continue to be faithful From a Whisper to a Scream readers along with some of my homies. A big shout out to Johnny D, the son of Mike Chepiga, Joy, Egan, Spriz, and everyone else who stops by every now and again. I'm outta here for now.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Sing Us a Song, You're the Piano Man

Despite the lack of new music, Billy Joel’s first solo tour in more than six years (stopping here in Boston) proved to me that the only thing missing from this amazing performer was his hair. There were no signs of “ring-rust” as Joel sat front and center at a rotating piano so that nobody had the “cheap seats”. In classic Joel performance style there were moments where he played to the behind stage crowds at standing keyboards on either side of the platform and then he even played the rock and roll front man with mic stand moves that would rival those of Beantown’s own Steven Tyler. Noticeably absent from Joel’s stellar band was longtime drummer Liberty Devito. However, saxophone player Richie Cannata (a regular member of his band from 1975-1981) was the centerpiece of a killer horn section that punctuated the soundtrack for a memorable night of music that simply reiterated the appropriateness of the “Piano Man” moniker that has adorned the career of Billy Joel since the album of the same name was released more than three decades ago.

Here’s how the set for the night moved along:

Prelude/Angry Young Man
(Originally released on the Turnstiles album in 1976) Insane piano work and poignant delivery setting a tone for what was yet to come.
Pressure
(Originally released on The Nylon Curtain album in 1982) Pressure introduced the lighting as an interpretive element of the show.
Everybody Loves You Now
(Originally released on the Cold Spring Harbor album in 1971) Funny how sometimes life comes full circle. As I listened to the lyrics being sung it was hard not to relate them directly to Joel and where he is in his career. Though written and recorded at the start of his solo career, the thirty four years that have lapsed since its release have literally given to life to the lyrics and I suspect its inclusion in the set list is intentional to this point.
New York State of Mind
(Originally released on the Turnstiles album in 1976) Richie Cannata’s smoky sax and Joel’s jazzy delivery were the highlights of this classic.
The Ballad of Billy the Kid
(Originally released on the Piano Man album in 1973) As many times as I’ve seen Billy Joel live, see this song performed, and heard his rap about how he wrote it, it never seems to get old.
Stiletto
Zanzibar
(Originally released on the 52nd Street album in 1980) The 52nd street could arguably have been delivered at the most important time in Joel’s recording career. It was a time where things could have gone either way and of course, it was all uphill as his greatest successes were yet to come; so much so that the success he enjoyed actually breathed new life into his earlier body of work.
Of note on Stiletto was the saxophone work of both Richie Cannata and Mark Rivera (who through the years has played with Billy Joel and Hall & Oates). I might note that while Rivera’s sax is still sharp, it was slightly disturbing to see him in tight black leather pants. Though both album tracks, Stiletto and Zanzibar are still superb musical pieces that stand the test of time and only further give credibility to the genius of billy Joel.
Allentown
(Originally released on The Nylon Curtain album in 1982)
The Great Wall of China
(Originally released on the River of Dreams album in 1993) An unusual selection delivered with the anger that Joel describes that it was written with after his former manager “stole a lot of money” from him.
Sometimes a Fantasy
Sleeping With the Television On
(Originally released on the Glass Houses album in 1980) No rock and roll performance or songwriter is complete without a song about masturbation; Sometimes a Fantasy rocked the house and Sleeping With the Television On was another welcome surprise to the set list.
Goodnight Saigon
(Originally released on The Nylon Curtain album in 1982) One of the most moving songs ever written – simply amazing!
Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)
(Originally released on The Stranger album in 1977) Introduced as “…the name of a Broadway Show” Movin’ Out had everyone singing along to on of the more familiar and defining songs of Joel’s extensive song book.
The Night is Still Young
(Originally released on the Greatest Hits Volume I and II album in 1985) This was one of two “new” songs that rounded out the double greatest hits album and comically introduced by Joel as being originally released on the greatest hits album and “wasn’t a greatest hit, in fact it wasn’t even a hit.” I’ve always loved this song for its unique arrangement. This certainly wasn’t the song of the night but I have a hard time criticizing Joel because I just love this stuff.
She’s Always a Woman
(Originally released on The Stranger album in 1977) Strategically placed ballad flawlessly performed.
Keeping the Faith
(Originally released on the An Innocent Man album in 1983) The first time I saw Billy Joel, which was also the first concert I ever attended was the Innocent Man tour. The album was a tribute to the style of music and times in of Billy’s childhood and the album represented in my opinion a turning point in Joel’s writing.
In the Midnight Hour
(Originally recorded by Wilson Pickett) Billy Joel acknowledged that Wilson Pickett had passed away on this day and that “even though this is gonna rip my throat, I don’t give a shit,” Billy and the band just kicked ass on this song.
The River of Dreams
(Originally released on the River of Dreams album in 1993) I love the tribal feel of the music and the spiritual nature of the lyrics.
I Go to Extremes
We Didn’t Start the Fire

(Originally released on the Storm Front album in 1989) I Go to Extremes is one of my favorites and in this show it sustained its energy from the original version recorded about fifteen years ago. When We Didn’t Start the Fire was first released ,I bought the cassette single (affectionately known back then as the cassingle) so that I could listen and transcribe the lyrics. On this night all these years later I remembered about thirty eight percent of them but enjoyed all of them. When Joel strapped on his guitar at the start of the song, we all expected to hear A Matter of Trust but instead, Joel decided to play the other guitar chord he knows and treat us all to a history lesson as well.
Big Shot
(Originally released on the 52nd Street album in 1980) Joel put the piano away for awhile and grabbed the mic stand and worked the crowd beginning with Big Shot, then moving along into…
It’s Still Rock and Roll to Me
You May Be Right

(Originally released on the Glass Houses album in 1980) with fancy stage moves and still in fine voice – the show was just rocking at this point. The crowd was just brimming with adrenaline as Joel closed the set with You May Be Right.
Encores:
Only the Good Die Young
Scenes from an Italian Restaurant

(Originally released on The Stranger album in 1977) Only the Good Die Young is a fun song that really captures the essence of the period in which it was released. I was always particularly affected by the Stranger album because it came out around the time I really started to consciously appreciate music as a soundtrack for reality.
I’m not sure what I can say about Scenes from an Italian Restaurant other than it’s a great song, so perfectly written and adaptable to the concert stage and delivered this time as brilliantly as ever. It was fun to see that Joel’s sense of humor is sharp and willingly self-deprecating as he modified the lyric to Scenes with “A bottle of white, a bottle of redPerhaps a glass of ginger ale instead” making reference to his recent tabloid DUI and rehab coverage.
Piano Man
(Originally released on the Piano Man album in 1973) From the first note on the harmonica to the last, the Piano Man closed the two hour and twenty minute show with a stirring rendition of a timeless classic.

Finally, one of my favorite parts of a great concert is getting to see it with great people. Along with me were my beautiful wife, and our great friends Jenn and Steve. Jenn and Steve of Jenn and Steve Show fame are just two of the coolest people whose company I always enjoy and I love them both a bunch; I am so glad I got to share this experience with Lucy, Jenn, and Steve.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Professional Day

Today is professional day at the college. I hate professional day and often find a legit way to skip out on it. Today I come in to work and look at the schedule of events only to find out that I am presenting not one, but two workshops. It would have been nice if someone thought to ask but hey, I accept that I'm just a pee-on.

On a happier note, I am going to see Billy Joel in concert tonight and will report on that perhaps tomorrow.

Everybody have a great day - whether or not you want to.

:)

Monday, January 16, 2006

Back Home, Not Well Rested but Happy!

Here's another list of sorts to bring closure to my brief weekend "tour" (pisking up from last post).

Prepped laptop/GPS combo for road trip to reunion in Yorktown Heights from Staten Island.
Arrived in Yorktown Heights flawlessly.
Enjoyed the company of friends.
Ate enjoyable foods that will require extra treadmill activity.
Drank enjoyable libations that required enjoyable foods to help absorb.
Sang Karaoke.
Drank more enjoyable libations.
Ate enjoyable desserts that will require extra treadmill activity.
Sang more Karaoke.
Drank more enjoyable libations.
Realized that even if I was sober enough to drive home, the weather decided that nobody would drive home therefore turning our friends reunion into a slumber party.
When it became apparent that it was I who would bunk with the funk (inside joke), much joking was done.
Kept score for an after midnight ping-pong challenge between Jane DeChantal Farrell DeCoursey and Re (the friend formerly known as Re-Re).
Discovered banana under furniture while looking for ping pong ball.
Laughed like nuts.
Played (and I use that term loosely) ping pong.
Returned upstairs to find the remaining awake friends hanging out in the family room chit chatting away (except for Roberto who had fallen asleep).
Sometime after 2am, all retreated for their sleeping quarters (though I can't recall how Roberto, who was still asleep got up and went to sleep) and I was assigned to the sofa in the family room (a familiar and comfortable place).
Set my cell phone alarm for 7am (OUCH) so that I can make it back in enough time to pick up Lucy and Vickie from the airport.
Woke up at 7am to a very loud and obnoxious cell phone alarm.
Brushed teeth and replaced sweats (which I only put on because of Jane's house rule that elastic waisted pants must be worn by all sleepover guests) with jeans.
Loaded belongings into car.
Started car.
Removed large quantities of ice from car windows.
Began long ride home (usually 3 or so hours) which ended up 4 1/2 hours and friggin' scary thanks to overnight snow.
Spun into a 180 on the freeway - fortunately the Lord was driving along side and had my back.
Stopped somewhere in Connecticut for gas, a bagel, and a small Vanilla Chai (Dunkin' Donuts).
Heard from Lucy on the cell phone as she had just arrived at JFK.
Made it home in time to shower and change before heading to Logan Airport in Boston.
Picked up the girls and returned home after brief detour to get newspaper and chinese take-out menu.
Unpacked, did some laundry, and ordered chinese food opting for delivery.
Received Chinese food in 30 minutes (or half the time we'd be hungry after eating it).
Back to normal time.
- - - - - - - - - - -
I'd like to personally thank the DeCoursey's for hosting the reunion. John and Jane are just 2 of the classiest people I've ever known and the party was not only a smashing success, it was a memory we'll all be talking about for years to come.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Road Update 2

Since last update:
Had lunch at greasy spoon.
Hung out with Bro & Sis-in-Law and 2 crazed dogs whose hair will remain with me for eons.
Drove into New Jersey to visit with Glen & Anne whom I haven't seenin 3 1/2 years.
Got lost briefly because of wack NJ roads that I forgt about - fortunately the newly acquired GPS software got me back on track quickly.
Enjoyed a nice dinner, wine, and conversation with Glen & Anne.
Left NJ in a dense fog and once again, despite GPS, got "off route" a number of times due to odd NJ roadways and lack of clear view due to dense fog.
Arrived back in Staten Island at Bro & Sis-in-Law's for some hanging and TV.
Slept on pull out bed in sofa.
Awoke to the smell of coffee.
Called Lucy and Vickie in Brazil before they leave for airport to return home.
Noticed insane quantities of dog hair on my sweats and laughed.
Showered & Dressed.
Plotted route for driving to Yorktown Heights later this afternoon.
Typed this update.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Road Update

this is an audio post - click to play

Friday Morning Update...

Got into Brooklyn and visited the old Computer Store I used to work at.
Learned of my friend Pete's removal from old Computer Store.
Chatted with Ike (owner of old Computer Store) about lots of things.
Left computer store to visit with old friend Jack.
Left Jack to visit old friend Rob in Long Island.
Hand dinner and chatted with old friend Rob (first time at his house) while his kids were enjoying "playing up" to company.
Left Rob's in Long Island and headed to Staten Island for a visit with my brother and sister-in-law.
Spent some quality time with bro and sis-in-law and 2 crazed dogs.
Left somewhat after midnight back to Brooklyn where I was to stay at a friend's house. Friend was away and left a key and requested that I feed the cats.
At around 1am began being frustrated cause I couldn't find the key he left.
At 1:30am, called friend on cell - got voice mail.
At 1:30:03am, yelled "FUCK" loud enough to get a neighbor to turn on their lights and snoop around.
At 1:30:06am, pondered looking more for the key but then just said "FUCK IT!"
Got back in car, returned to Staten Island (Paid $9.00 toll on Verazzano Bridge).
At about 2:15am, arrived at the Staten Island Hotel and fabricated an internet reservation (because "drop-in" rates are much higher).
By 2:30am I was safely tucked into room 617 where I checked for the bible (a hotel habit of mine - those Gideons are impressive), turned on the TV and surfed all available channels (another hotel habit of mine), opened then closed all remaining drawers (you guessed it...), then prepared to sleep.
Awoke several times beginning at 7ish but remained in bed until around 8:40 then went down to the fitness center in the hotel for about 45 minutes on the treadmill (and a brief sampling of the elliptical machine).
During workout watched Regis & Kelly featuring Anderson Cooper subbing for Regis.
Returned to room for shower and change.
Checked out ($161.01 poorer :)).
Went to Staples and bought a GPS locator for my notebook PC.
Went to my brothers to install software, type this update, and go out to lunch.


That's it so far....

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

This Week for Me

I took this week off from work with the intent of doing some short trips and getting some stuff done but I feel like I've accomplished nothing at all. When I discovered the water damage/pipe problem last week it kind of just threw me for a loop.

I've been awake every day by 6am to catch Howard Stern on SIRIUS satellite radio. It's been interesting watching to show redevelop and I am having a blast exploring the rest of the offerings. The depth of content is quite interesting and vast and thus far well worth the $12.95 a month.

Yesterday I took a drive up to New Hampshire to vist some good friends that moved up there last June and it was a nice day of chatting, listening to music, and of course eating.

Tomorrow I am heading down to visit some friends and family in NYC and NJ and will work my way back up Saturday afternoon the Yorktown Heights, NY for our semi-annual reunion this time being hosted by the DeCoursey's.

Lucy and Victoria return Sunday from Brazil so it'll be off to the airport to get them and then MLK day will be a day of rest and recovery before it's back to work for Lucy and I and back to scholl for Victoria.

I learned of some new equipment coming out for DISH network which I am loking forward to. In fact once available, I am going to take advantage of the newer dish installation date and have they guy install a roof antenna for my satellite radio at the same time.

I'm determined to get a haircut today.
I need to clip my fingernails.
Mormons are far wierder that I originally thought.
How is it that there are humans on the earth that have any respect for George W. Bush?
I never drank a Pinot Noit until I saw the movie Sideways (which was great).
I have nothing left to say.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Word Search

How neat is this? I found a word search generator online and make one using all of your beautiful blogs. Have fun!

Holy Weekend Blogman!

Church Talk: I spent most of the weekend involved in church related activities.Saturday morning I attended an ordination. Andrew, who was ordained as a deacon about 6 months or so ago and then came on board at our church where he is serving as an interim assistant. Saturday, Andrew was ordained into the priesthood and sure enough we put him to work right away at our church having him serve as the celebrant at both services. I had never been to an ordination, it was quite an interesting experience. I even had some "it's a small world" experiences running into people from "other" parts of my life.
I attend church services every Sunday so this week was not unusual in that sense nor was it odd that I had a search committee meeting afterward, which kept me there until 2pm. The search committee work is challenging and complex but quite gratifying on many levels but the work is very time consuming.
Other random bits: As I write this just after 6 am on a vacation day, I am awake this early on a vacation day to listen to the entire debut broadcast of Howard Stern's radio show on Sirius Satellite Radio. I set up my subscription about a week ago and have since been exploring the depth of programming on satellite radio and find it to be quite impressive.
I sustained a shoulder injury of sorts while cleaning out my garage on New Years Day. Since I am past the point of recovering from a hangover on January 1st, I thought cleaning the garage was the next logical thing. Anyway, I was loading my Jeep with junk to bring to the dumpster and the back door of the Jeep came down on my shoulder. I screamed rather loudly, and since earlier in the day I saw Lucy and Victoria (the other residents of my household) off to the airport, I was the only one to hear the scream. I am seeing an orthopedic doctor, the same guy who took care of my left knee a couple of years ago, later this afternoon. I've been in some sort of pain ever since the day it happened, even to the point of not being able to sleep through the night, so it's time to have it checked out.
I stumbled across an article this morning called "The 50 Greatest Gadgets of the Past 50 Years" which was fun to read.

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Four Degrees of Vinny T’s

Back in 1999 Lisa decided to leave the college. Lisa was and is a really special woman. She’s the type of person that regardless if you were friendly with her or simply worked with her, you couldn’t help but recognize how important her work was to the organization. I can’t begin to tell you how fortunate the students who were lucky enough to have Lisa as their advisor really were. They never knew it either but by this time in their lives, I assure you that it can be traced. Not only was losing Lisa a devastating blow to the college, but it was hard to deal with not getting to work with her and have her around every day. Just before Lisa left for good, a rather large group of us got together at Vinny T’s (then called Vinny Testa’s), a family style Italian restaurant, for wine, food, fun, wine, and fellowship (and a little more wine).We all had a wonderful time talking about memories, new beginnings, staying in touch, and moving forward – actual grown up stuff. A few days later, Sue brought back a photo of us (those of us who hadn’t left early) before we left the restaurant. To this day, that photo sits on my desk and since that day, we’ve been rather successful at getting a similar group together to meet at the same restaurant and reconnect with each other as well as enjoy some wine, food, fun, wine, and fellowship (and a little more wine).

Not only do I look forward to this event but it’s just always ends up being so much fun and a really special time. I really love gathering with good people and just enjoy each other. I feel so blessed to have these opportunities and to have such wonderful and interesting people pass through my life and I just refuse to let any of them go completely.

Tonight was the latest of our get togethers, which was later than usual and as a result of some bad timing, instead of the usual dozen or more, we were a rather svelte group of four. What made our gang of four interesting was the fact that we all shared the common thread of either having been or still being employed at the college but represent different generations. I’ve been there for eight years (as of this February 5th), Lisa was there before me but left in 1999, Erin was there in the 2001ish time period (give or take a year) and Nancy has been there since 2004. Also in common with Lisa, Erin and Nancy is their caliber of work. They all worked (or work) in different areas yet all are just about the best you’ll find at what they do. Though it would have been nice to have a large group, I really treasured this nights more intimate setting. The food was delicious, the wine was delightful, the conversation terrific and overflowing, and the night – a beautiful memory.

Thank you Lisa, Erin, and Nancy for being a part of something so special to me and know that I am appreciative of your wonderful talents as professionals, your unique individual spirits, and I treasure your friendship.

I already look forward to the next time we can all get together.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

My Pipe Got Nailed!

I came home from work today and went down to my basement for something and noticed an unwelcome surprise - a floor full of water in the boiler room. Of course being the level headed inept homeowner, my first reaction was to scream out the f-word (Did I just say f-word? I screamed out F - U - C - K !!!)

Once my panic began to settle and the fowl language leveled off I began to search for the root of the problem, so I ran to my car in search of a flashlight thinking that no household problem can be found without the aid of a light emitting object powered by D batteries.

Flashlight in hand I began pointing around and found some pretty severe dripping and wetness coming from above where the two heating pipes happen to be positioned. I came up into the family room just above the drip and noticed [***gasps with sickness***] water damage on the brand new hardwood floor and loose molding. After returning to the basement for another look at the drip from above and a closer survey of the surrounding area, noticing the ends of the nails that hold the hardwood into place, I hypothesized the possibility of one of those nails finding its way into a pipe that water travels in thereby causing the existing water damage.

I called the plumber who popped on over at 6:45, and after reviewing the areas with his more professional flashlight, pulling off the molding in the family room, and poking through the wall, confirmed my hypothesis. Seconds later I spotted the nail still stuck inside the pipe. Anyway, he'll be over tomorrow to patch the hole in the pipe hopefully preventing any more liquids from getting where they simply do not belong. In the meantime I contacted my contractor who did assure me that he would take care of his end of the bargain.

Now that I've told all of this to you I think - why? Then it hit me - that's what friends are for. I simply needed to vent. Thanks for always being there bloggervile.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Dear Weather...

Dear Weather,

I am fully aware of my conscious decision to live in New England as am I aware of the nature of the weather here. However, is it really too much to ask that if your intent is to cast a blizzard upon us, you do so with enough vigor so that by 5 am it is clear to everyone, especially those who decide to close the school I work at, that in fact school should be closed? I am a responsible adult that jumps at the sound of the alarm each morning at 5:45 and as much as I don't that type of beginning to a day, I understand my responsibilities and rarely complain. What is a real pain in the ass though is getting up at 5:45 on a bad weather day and flipping on the news to see that my school has not announced its closing - which means that I must not only go through the morning ritual and get ready for work, but also in many cases I must go deal with a snow covered 100 foot long driveway. What made today even worse, and the reason for this letter is that once I saw with disappointment that the grim forecast and already bad conditions were not enough to close our school - I showered, shaved, dressed and so forth only to flip on the news again and notice that while I was showering, my school closed. I know that this would be a thrill to most and I am grateful to have the day to myself (though I will need to move that snow), I really would rather of had the luxury of hitting the sack for a while longer right after I awoke when there would still be some, albeit slim, possibility of getting back to sleep rather than after showering, shaving, and dressing.

I've spoken my peace and will sign off now. Thanks for listening.

Chris

P.S. Wanna laugh your ass off? Click here.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

January 1st - Pet Travel Day?

I was at Logan Airport earlier today and there was an unusual number of pets traveling today. I'm not sure if I have ever seen a pet at an airport and today alone, I counted no less than 6 dogs being readied for boarding on flights to Florida, California, and other sunny locales across our great land.

Is New Years Day some traditional travel day for dogs and I never knew about it?