Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Great Muffin Caper and Other Assorted Tales

This morning at about 7:20am, the food service people made an early breakfast buffet delivery to room 402 where an outside group was to hold a training event. At about 7:30, when I noticed the food service rep. leaving the room, I quietly made my way up to room 402 and snatched a chocolate chip muffin from the display carefully rearraning all other muffins, bagels, and pastries to fill the hole left by my muffin. By 7:35, I was chomping away washing it down with my daily dose of Dunkin' (that's New England speak for coffee).

In case you were wondering, I am still in a great deal of pain courtesy of a herniated disc in my neck. Next Tuesday I'll be making an appearance at a local hospital to receive a spinal injection of steroids in hope of avoiding neck surgery.

Tonight is commencent at the college. I'm attending as usual and "walking"... hopefully I'll survive the worlds worst rental chairs. It gives me a great deal of pride watching the "kids" walk.

Just finished reading the third Lemony Snicket book - fun, fun, fun.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Bruce Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions Live!

This audio post was filed while trying to leave the parking lot.

this is an audio post - click to play
NOTE: The audio is no longer available thanks to audioblogger disappearing without warning.

Here's the setlist for the show:
1. John Henry
2. O Mary Don't You Weep
3. Johnny 99
4. Old Dan Tucker
5. Eyes on the Prize
6. Jesse James
7. Cadillac Ranch
8. Erie Canal
9. My Oklahoma Home
10. If I Should Fall Behind
11. Mrs. McGrath
12. How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?
13. Jacob's Ladder
14. We Shall Overcome
15. Open All Night
16. Pay Me My Money Down
Encore:
17. Bring Them Home (If You Love Your Uncle Sam)
18. Ramrod
19. You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)
20. When the Saints Go Marching In
21. Dirty Water (w/ Peter Wolf)
22. Buffalo Gals (w/ Peter Wolf)

Review (posted 9:35pm - Sunday 5/28)

Including this performance I’ve seen Bruce Springsteen now a total of seven times and each time I see him perform it’s as if I’m seeing him for the very first time. A prolific songwriter, Springsteen’s albums have always included self penned material and his concerts have always revolved around that material. One of his strong skills as a performer, an entertainer, and an artist is his ability to constantly reinvent himself and his music so that it is always fresh and comes to life on stage.

Feeling incredibly comfortable in his own skin as a musician and his place in the world, Springsteen decided to challenge himself with a project that studies and explores a collection of songs most notably associated with folk legend Pete Seeger. These are not pop songs; they’re not about loves lost and loves longed for. The songs that Springsteen recorded on the We Shall Overcome CD are gritty, hardcore, tell it like it is tales when everything meant something. I have only listened to the CD twice thus far but I think the recordings are not only a tribute to the time and place they come from but also represent an outstanding translation of how the songs still fit into modern day society and history in the here and now.

There are so many things about the concert that completely blew me away. Shortly before the show was to begin I mentioned to my friend P@ that I wonder how many of the 10,000 or so in attendance really knew what this performance was going to be. How many people thought there might be a chance of hearing Born to Run or Dancing in the Dark? I’m glad that I was wrong in assuming that most people had no clue what to expect and in fact it was even more surprised that that even now after the fact, I feel that it was me who knew least of all. The crowd was very well rehearsed and knew all of the material and was not shy to sing and dance along when appropriate.

If you’ve ever seen performances by jazz musicians, bluegrass ensembles, or old school Grand-Ole Opry performances one of the things that distinguishes them is that the performance is focused not on the songs specifically, because the songs speak for themselves, but on the musicians, the instruments, and the musical interpretation of those songs; this was the type of performance that Bruce Springsteen and the Seeger sessions band gave on a perfect spring night in Mansfield, Massachusetts.

Having seen Springsteen so many times I am used to him rearranging and reinterpreting his own songs, but in the context of the performance, the musicians and their instruments, and that of the general nature of this tour, hearing new versions of Johnny 99 and Open All Night from the Nebraska CD, Cadillac Ranch, Ramrod and You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch) from The River, and If I Should Fall Behind from the Lucky Town CD was really like hearing brand new songs-it was simply stirring. The show closed with a rendition of the song Dirty Water, which followed into Buffalo Gals and both featured a guest appearance by Boston native Peter Wolf (of the J. Geils Band).

The concert was simply phenomenal. A far more intimate venue in the great outdoors on a night where mother nature was clearly expressing how much of a Springsteen fan she is. I have seen a lot of concerts and musical performances over the last 23 years and as I mentioned before the show was one of seven Springsteen concerts. As absolutely stunning a performance Springsteen put on in Worcester, Massachusetts just a few months ago, and as many wonderful, inspiring, outstanding performances I have seen in my life, this concert could very well have been the best I have ever seen.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Our American Idol 2006 - Mr. Taylor Hicks



I am happy for this dude. Look, I don't care if it's odd that a 41 year old dude watches or even cares about idol. Ultimately, I need to be entertained and the show entertains me on a number of levels (I must admit the auditions are the best because I love the awful ones who think they are great). Taylor Hicks has something that I've never seen before in an idol contestant - soul. Everytime I've seen him perform I see a superstar and wish him the best. I'm off to slip into something pink....later!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Time's a Wastin'

Here's my result from The Late-Night Cable-Movie Plot Generator v 1.2:

Here's Your Plot:
Intimate Dances
A nursing student putting her way through college (Deborah Shelton) invites a mysterious stranger into her home with something to hide and no clothes to help hide it. More than he seems, a homeless man (Jan-Michael Vincent) drives a hard bargain, a fast car, and the ladies wild. Shannon Tweed sizzles as the bartender with something special.

Don't we all love spending countless hours negating any traces of productivity in our lives? The Internet is amongst the best places for such a task and here are just a few more places that I've recently wasted taxpayer money not doing my job while visiting:

The Phrase Finder - On a daily basis, you toss out "A cock and bull story," "Turn a blind eye," "Back to square one," and of course, "Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey" plus many other odd phrases. However, you never knew where to find their origins (or were never bored enough). Well, this no-frill's site has got your answers and much more. It's a real treasure trove for the word geek: popular phrase fallacies, misheard song lyrics, animal adjectives, obscure proverbs... get geeking! (extracted from usedwigs.com)

Uber Breakout - A 360 degree twist on the original breakout paddle game.

Neave Games - An nostalgic touch on the "classic" arcade games. I've wasted countless hours on Space Invaders, Asteroids, and (**head hung down in shame**) tic-tac-toe!

Hey look, I gotta get back to work!

I'm just back from lunch with 10 or so to spare before my hour is up...and look what I found...



Some quick jokes/observations (and I use that term loosely) that came to mind after seeing this photo:
Does a cop here walk the beat off?
Do the street cleaners get any special consideration?
Is it a place that men arrive at earlier than expected?
Is it located in the red-light district?
If one was to be standing on that corner, would one refer to it as the corner of Seaman & Cumming or Cumming & Seaman?

Nuff Said....

Monday, May 22, 2006

Let the Floating Begin

Those of you who read this blog with some regularity know how much I like Sam Allis, columnist for the Boston Globe. Here is this past Sunday's column which I deeply enjoyed and found to be relevant during his time of year.
Author(s): SAM ALLIS Date: May 21, 2006 Page: A3 Section: Metro/Region

The Observer offers felicitations to all freshly minted college graduates and their parents for surviving the ordeal. I'm talking as much about the ceremonial bloviation on diploma day as the previous four years.

Given the scandalously short academic year, many of the little tykes have already deposited their BAs in their sock drawers. Some will streak to Wall Street for a piece of the action. Some will choose the weird world of graduate school over real life and pursue a really useful PhD in Elizabethan drama. Others will enter the workforce as proles, bent on climbing out of the mines into the sunlight of the executive dining room. But there's another cohort, a huge one, that interests me far more. The floaters. I define floating as subsistence living while you decide what to do with your life. It's the life without focus that unfolds while you're chasing the focus. It's a sunny exercise with a dark underbelly.

Floaters fill the ranks of Starbucks baristas. They become Kinko's cadets and wait tables and work the shelves at Borders.

They earn just north of minimum wage and work part time in exchange for the freedom to ponder the universe and participate in the excellent pursuit of fun.

Some float because they can't think of anything else to do. Many are middle-class kids who enter the fray lacking grit or healthy ambition. They're not spoiled, but they're soft. Most will get grit but it will take time.

Others float with purpose. They float while writing the great American novel, their first screenplay, their early poems. They float while they're sculpting and hatching a dot.com. Some will return to grad school with drive. They float, in short, on their way to achievement. Both tribes look identical now but will part ways soon.

True floaters float until they conclude that poverty is overrated an epiphany, parents fear, that will arrive around 2035. For now, these kids want to keep their options open. They want to explore life. Most are willing to play without the net of a parental checkbook.

Good for them. Growth takes time. No one becomes interesting overnight. I'm still a sucker for the frayed image of a kid working for passage on a tramp steamer that travels the globe, and I've always worried about the ones who know on graduation day what they want to do for the rest of their lives.

Much has been written about the neophytes who, absent gainful employment, move back home to practice the ancient family tradition of eating. Bad idea. By now, parents have earned the right to love their offspring from a distance and, barring emergencies, children have earned the right to sweat it out.

The tougher question is whether they should get any financial support at all. My daughter, who lives in sublime squalor in Brooklyn one year out of college, reports that many of her friends still receive money from their parents.

She, in contrast, ekes out a living from three pleasant, dead-end jobs while performing with a variety of theater groups. Her parents cover her healthcare premiums but that's it.

The Observer is unmoved by parental largesse. Nobody wants to see offspring in homeless shelters, but the subsidies of well-meaning parents simply postpone the inevitable.

Barring a trust fund, you're on your own. (I've never bought the idea that a trust fund is a curse.) Welcome to the majors, where they throw high and inside.

I recently completed a field trip in Brooklyn to investigate my daughter's flotation. Her current slum is slightly better than her last one and it is fairly clean, with the exception of the refrigerator, which revealed what I pray was maple syrup that had spilled and congealed maybe seven months earlier. There was also vegetarian matter in there I wouldn't step in. All in all, she's grand.

Liberal arts types come with floater DNA. Their diplomas prepare them for everything and nothing.

My daughter's degree in theater from NYU, I've told her repeatedly, is her passport to poverty. She nods and beams. She runs with a great Brooklyn group of arts and design kids. They have no money, they're incredibly creative, and they're having a ball. So I declare victory.

For now. You still wonder when floating will no longer be OK, when getting food for free from the farmers' market, where your floater works for peanuts, will feel like failure.

Your nightmare is that your floater will still be floating at 34. Still living in a shabby rental. No health insurance. Ratty clothes. No simoleons to do any of the things that enrich life. It won't happen, but that's your fear.

Achievement matters. It can come in any form. Floating in pursuit of nothing, in contrast, is a dangerous game after a certain point. But parents should breathe deeply and remember that life is also about the pursuit of happiness, a chameleon of a thing.

So pay attention to your floaters because you can learn from them on this score. Revel in their joy. Some of it may rub off. This whole thing, it turns out, cuts both ways.

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

Barry Bonds-“Hall of Famer”

Please note the following was written while angry and in pain. It is just one man’s opinion…

I’m so sick and tired of all the crap people are spewing about Bobby Bonds. Stop with all the steroid bullshit – it really is not relevant. I am a mark for Babe Ruth – I think the guy was just awesome when it came to playing the game of baseball. However, there is very clear evidence that outside of the game, the guy was an asshole, a womanizer, and a drunk. Can we with full confidence say without any doubt that his life outside of the game (what we do and don’t know of it) had an impact on his performance in the game? None of it is relevant because the nature of the game is about numbers and consistency.

Before making any harsh criticisms, it might be prudent to have some understanding as to what is involved in being at bat in the major leagues and what statistics really mean. For instance, to simply look at a statistic such as RBI without considering the actual significance of the number and its relation to the on base percentages of those who bat before is not really seeing the whole picture. In order to produce the statistics that Barry Bonds has produced not in any one year, but over a 20 season career is truly the mark of a talented professional whose must be recognized in the hall of fame.

I’m so fed up with all of this crap that I don’t even want to continue – but I will say that I also feel that Pete Rose belongs in the hall as well. Who gives a crap if he’s a degenerate gambler? Pete Rose was arguable one of the best contact hitters of all time. I am outta here!

Thanks to Egan who discovered that in my anger, I erronelously titled the post using Barry's late father Bobby's name. Must've been the Yankee fan in me. Thanks E!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

"The Greatest Show on Earth"

I can remember the advertising from when I was a child; “Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus – the greatest show on earth!” today, at the ripe young age of 41, I finally got to see what all the fuss was about. A few months back I received an e-mail from Ticketmaster offering a 20% discount on tickets to the circus. Never one to just turn away a bargain, I logged onto the Ticketmaster site and shortly thereafter I was the proud owner of three tickets to the so called greatest show on earth for a surprisingly low fee of $51.00.

Arriving at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts about 40 minutes before show time Lucy, Victoria, and I had the opportunity to walk along the circus floor and interact with some of the performers. There was part of me playing the role of the cool-cat daddy, but on the inside I was just one of the kids finally getting his chance to see the circus of all circuses.

Aside from the $8.00 lemonade and the $3.00 popcorn, every moment inside of that arena filled me with sheer and other joy. The elephants, the tigers, the clowns, the acrobats, the human cannonball, what an extraordinary experience. Victoria, about two months shy of her eighth birthday, said to me “this was the best circus I've ever seen!;” my only response could be, “me too.” Interestingly enough, she has been to the circus more times than I have. In fact, I was 30 years old before I went to the circus for the very first time.

So of the several things I learned today, the one that will stay with me the longest is that each time I hear the advertisement for the greatest show on earth I will always know the truth in advertising exists at least in one place.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Reading the Fine Print

I must first thank Egan for noticing the delay in my post after I promised one sooner. One of the liberating and wonderful things about blogging has made it difficult to post of late. I have been in pretty bad shape pain wise for a longer than I hoped for period of time and though I love talking about me here on this blog, what blogs are pretty much for, other than the fact that the pain and post-operative conditions make it difficult to type and sit in front of the computer for any length of time, I just didn't want to keep repeating how much pain I was in - it's too draining.

One of the things I have learned through this whole ordeal is to read the fine print on the information sheet that comes with your prescriptions. I was prescribed the all too familiar Percocet to deal with my post surgical pain. It seems to me when they designed this information sheet, they prioritize information as they see fit. It usually starts with describing the medication and what it is typically prescribed for; of course that's obviously the reason it was prescribed to you therefore does this really need to be at the top of the page?

Like most I'm sure, I was in pain, I had pain medication, I took it ignoring the information sheet "end of story"- not quite. You see, way down at the bottom of the information sheet for Percocet, in teeny weeny print, are the following words, "It is highly recommended that you take a fiber supplement while taking this medication as it has a tendency to cause constipation." Need I say more? I will anyway...this is my blog.

Okay, I'll curb my enthusiasm and leave you for now with this - one of the reasons I didn't post, or do much of anything on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week was because I didn't read the fine print.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Hasta Manana

I'll post tomorrow - I'm hanging in there. I Miss all of you!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day 2006

For as long as I can remember I have always hated mother’s day and father’s day amongst the many other fake holidays created by hallmark and exploited by the retail industry . However, since mother’s day has existed throughout my lifetime it of course has always been about honoring my mother. I don’t consider myself as having been an exceptional child, just a normal one can never went out of my way to truly that my mother, or my father for that matter, no much I appreciated them at the time. I would hope that at some point later in life that some of my actions made them understand how much they meant to me. I was in my late twenties when I lost my father and only soon into my thirties when my mother passed on. I would be lying if I said there were times that I didn’t feel cheated for not having more time with my parents but I do understand and accept the unpredictability of life here on earth and am comforted by my faith and have no doubts as a result that my parents are together, in a beautiful place, no how much I love and miss them, and are aware of my accomplishments.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Speak Clearly into the Microphone

For today’s blog post I am speaking into a microphone and my words are being transcribed using computer technology. The strength in my right arm is slowly coming back and I’ve cut back on most medication but there is still some pain present. I guess no matter how minimally invasive the surgery, the human body still needs some adjustment period after being probed and prodded.

I watched a movie last night called The Notebook which was based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks. Considering that I was convinced prior to watching it that it would just flat out suck, it turned out to actually be worth watching. I’m not much for chick flicks, but this one wasn’t bad.

I am a big fan of the TV show House. The lead actor in the show, Hugh Laurie, is particularly brilliant. Laurie, A native of Oxford England, plays an American doctor with a bad ass attitude. The show is well written and the supporting cast are all very good in their own right. Having become a fan of Laurie, I’ve started to seek out some of his earlier acting work. Upon recommendation of a colleague, I’m currently viewing the first season of the British television program that starred Laurie , called Jeeves and Wooster. I’ve made it through the first two episodes and not only do I love the program, I appreciate the acting skills of Hugh Laurie even more.

I’m also reading a book called Marley and me written by John Grogan. I must confess all that I knew of this book before requesting it from the library was that Howard Stern read it and liked it. I’m currently a bit more than half a way through the book and I’m really enjoying it as well.

I think that is all for now my friends. .. until next time, Peace!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Post-Surgery Update

this is an audio post - click to play

:( Audio post no longer available - host site went bye bye without warning.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Walking the Walk, Talking the Talk

Yesterday was the Walk for Hunger and I'm pretty sure it would be impossible to have had better weather than we did. It was a great day, agreat turnout, and I'm glad to have walked the entire 20 miles with my good friends Jenn and Steve. I left an audioblog at around the 6 mile mark but apparently forgot to press # and lost it in cyberspace.

I'm at work today to tie up some loose ends before surgery tomorrow morning. The arm/shoulder pain was the greatest challenge to overcome during the Walk especially since being so close to surgery day, I was not allowed to take most of the pain medication that actually has any effect on the pain. I'm looking forward to no pain and hope that it is possible to achieve.

The surgeon who will be performing the operation on my shoulder actually lives along the Walk for Hunger route. His son sells lemonade to passers by and donate a percentage to the Walk for Hunger. I stopped by and was tempted to ask for a cortisone shot via reverse house call. No cortisone, 3 cups of Lemonade (one for me, one for Jenn, and one for Steve) to which I offered the young boy $5.00 and said "keep the change young man!" I'm such a show off.

I'll catch you all on the flip side of surgery. Please send some positive vibes my way!

Friday, May 05, 2006

Cinco de Mayo

Top Ten Responses to the question, "What is Cinco de Mayo"?

10. "Holy crap, I'm late for work!"
9. "The day the French sunk the mexican battleship O' de Mayo."
8. "Not sure, but let's discuss over some enchiladas and some frosty Dos Equis."
7. "Uh, that means the 5th of Mayo in Mexican...right?"
6. "Yet another justification to get lit for the sake of celebrating a historical event."
5. "The one day of the year it sounds really cool to say Benito Juarez."
4. "Just another trite attempt by the History Channel to get us all to give a crap."
3. "Border patrol's worst nightmare."
2. "The one & only day of the year where restaurants across america need to hire temps."
1. "The day the rich & famous must endure the dust and fend for themselves."

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bone Spur and Some Frayed Something or Other/"Presidential Speechalist"

"...you cannot rise your hands are tied, your legs are strapped a light shines in your eyes you faintly see a razor's edge you open your mouth to cry you know you can't it's over now the blade is gonna ride 'cause you're under the blade ohhh you're under the blade."

After meeting with the orthopedist today, the results from my shoulder MRI clearly show an answer to the pain I have endured for the last 5-6 weeks. I'm scheduled for arthroscopic surgery next Tuesday morning to remove a bone spur and "clean things up, and repair a tear if we find one". I just really need to get out of pain - it is starting to fuck with my mind and I just can't take it anymore.

Someone sent me a video file of a short film done by Andy Dick called "Presidential Speechalist". It may be the funniest thing I've ever seen. Okay, that might be a bit of exaggeration but folks, this thing is brilliant and hysterical. You can view it here.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Is it Really the First of May?

My brother and I once discussed (boy, now that I think about it, it must have been 10 or 15 years ago) the passage of time having realized how quickly it seems to pass, and how as we get older, time seems to move faster and faster. The conclusion that my brother came up with is that we perceive time differently as we age. Makes alot of sense...I distinctly remember as a kid thinking that a relative when turning 3o was "so old." Today, at 41, I sure as heck hope I was wrong! All that said, I ripped a page off the desk calendar today marking the end of the first trimester of 2006 and about 993 more days (give or take a couple) of George W. Bush as president unless we get lucky and he dies.

This past Friday evening I had the pleasure of attending Jill and Bryan's wedding in Gloucester. It was a beautiful setting, a fun night, and all the best to both of them.

I had an MRI done of my shoulder yesterday and am seeing the doctor on Wednesday morning. Here's to finally relieving the pain.

I'm blown away at the generosity of those around me as my total thus far raised for the Walk for Hunger is $1360. THANKS!

Until next time.