Thursday, June 29, 2006

Will Physical Therapy Come to the Rescue Again?

I've started physical therapy this week in hopes of alleviating the discomfort of the herniated disc in my neck and avoiding major surgery. I'm cautiously optimistic because physical therapy was very helpful with my lower back pain. Also, I am working with the same therapist whom I like very much.

Many folks have asked me if I've ever been to a chiropractor. I have, and I hated it and would never consider it again. Here are a few things I would consider to relieve the pain and other symptoms if I knew for sure in advance that they involved little to no risk with a high probability of helping:

  • acupuncture.
  • a transdermal patch of some kind (they're all the rage).
  • medical marijuana (I stopped smoking marijuana in 1990 after a healthy run; near the end I found it to bring on high levels of anxiety and paranoia aside from the fact that I am now a responsible adult. Therefore, I would have to have some Valium or the equivalent to deal with that).
  • rolfing (no clue what it is, but it's fun to say).
  • qigong.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Cash for My Trash

Usually that slogan is used when there is an opportunity to get money for things that no longer have value to you. However, the town in which I live has decided to go to a new trash collection model called "pay as you throw."

Last year, for the first time in town history, residents were billed a $215 annual surcharge for trash collection (which limited us to a maximum of 4 bags each with a maximum weight of 30 lbs.). For this new fiscal year, which begins on July 1, the geniuses have reduced the surcharge to $138 but also added the following ridiculous caveat: all trash at curbside MUST be in TOWN issued garbage bags, which can be purchased at various locations about town at the cost of $6.50 for 5 bags of 33 gallon size, or $3.75 for 5 bags of 14 gallon size. Did I mention the Halloween orange color of the bags? It's just so frustrating that after paying close to $6,000 bucks a year in property taxes, I need to buy special overpriced bags. Bleh!!!!

Anyone out there have any experience with home trash compactors? I am seriously considering one of these...lemme know.

Reuters Worthy?

Here's a story I found on Reuters. Am I crazy or has the definition of news changed drastically over the last 20 years? I must say I did find this amusing.

Looking for a kangaroo repellant? Urine luck…
June 27th, 2006, filed by Robert Basler
Science is a hoot. Researchers in Australia have finally found a repellant to help keep pesky kangaroos away from places where they do damage.

The bad news is, it’s dingo urine. You see the problem. You can’t just go to dingopee.com and order in a supply. For now, the researchers are getting theirs from Australia’s Dingo Conservation Society, but how it is gathered is a tightly held secret. I’m not making this up.

Says one of the scientists: “At one stage we fashioned a little urine catcher to walk dingoes and collect it from, but that tended to be risky.”

Monday, June 26, 2006

Get a Clue Mr. Brown

What the heck is wrong with that UPS? As you can see, there was a package delivery attempt at my house today. Actually, if you look closely, it was attempted tomorrow. Okay, so the guy made an honest mistake on the date, I'll give him that. Let's study this a bit more...the driver failed to specify what time he attempted delivery, I looked it up and it was in the middle of the afternoon; when nobody is home. The InfoNotice also states that the 2nd of only 3 attempts will be made tomorrow between 10:30am and 2:00pm...who the F$#@ is home at that time? Here's the twist though, today, my wife was home and available to take delivery of the package but the driver took it upon him/her self to assume nobody would be home and left the InfoNotice without so much as a knock or the ringing of a bell. What the heck kind of crappy customer service is this?

Why does this company pay there drivers, and they are paid fairly well, to run around town attempting to deliver packages to people at times when they are least likely to be there to accept the packages? Wouldn't it make far more sense to have the delivery folks work say a 12-8 shift? Perhaps allow customers to specify a convenient delivery time...just something to make it useful to the customers who plan instead of having to make arrangements to get the package from a local depot or rearrange delivery. It seems the only guarantee UPS can make these days is that their rates will go up each February. How sad.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Waxing Nostalgic

I was moving junk around in my basement and stumbled across an "Underground Newspaper" that me and my pal Mike master minded back in 1986 under the influence of large quantities of marijuana. Here's an article I wrote:
Use It Or Lose It
How often do you come across things that you haven't used before? After many dedicated years of research, I have discovered a scientific phenomenon which I call "Old Shit".

One day, while in my laboratory, I went into my cabinet and noticed that there was this preposterous glob of stuff that I hadn't seen for years. While rummaging through this assortment, I noticed that it slowly started to vanish into a puke-green colored dust.

Being the chowderish professor I am, I decided to analyze this dust and noticed it had some unique qualities about it. First of all, if you just by chance happen to regurgitate in the same room as the dust, it will sweep it up for you at the modest fee of five bucks. Also, if you have the urge to take a piss and don't have the facilities at hand, it will remove the urge for a mere three dollars and fifty cents.

Most people that I have enlightened by this discovery are bewildered and respond in the same manner that worn out fallopian tubes would. But I have used my research to my advantage, let me pass this vital hint on to you. If you acquire the instinct to throw away that "Old Shit" because you have no apparent use for it, remember to look at it with the cruelest mug you can muster up and hope that this dust will appear for you too. Not only does this dust provide some really good bargains, but it easily replaces that grotesque smelling lint in your belly button which makes it easy to carry. For those of you with the outsie style of belly button, I am making a one-time offer on a special outsie-to-insie converter kit for the low price of just $9.95. Mail inquiries to Navel Inc. 2020 East 28th St. Bklyn., N.Y. 11229.

It's much clearer to me that I lost more brain cells than originally thought from all that inhaling of the pot. I still laugh at that stuff though.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Turn Signal

From Wikipedia: "Turn signals (properly "directional indicators" or "directional signals", also "indicators," "directionals," "blinkers," or "flashers") are signal lights mounted near the left and right front and rear corners, and sometimes on the sides of vehicles, used to indicate to other drivers that the operator intends a lateral change of position (turn or lanechange)."

The reason I begin with a formal definition is for those of you who may not know what a turn signal is. I know some of you out there are saying "what's up with this guy?" You know that you're guilty, or rather, some of you are. Do you use your turn signal each and every time you make a turn? I hope so, because if you don't, and if you have driven in front of me at any point while not using your turn signal, I have cursed you out thoroughly.

It's pretty simple. There's a little lever of sorts just to the left of the steering wheel. To indicate a left turn, push the lever down. To indicate a right turn, lever up; simple. Please don't take for granted that everyone, or even anyone (including yourself) has any idea where you plan on driving your car. If you plan on turning, please use your turn signal - it's easy, fun, and necessary for survival.

Friday, June 23, 2006

When Good Grills Go Bad

I had really grown to love my grill. I was sad at the end of last season when I had to clean it up and pack it away. Every day since I've eagerly anticipated wheeling out the grill for another all too short grilling season. Much to my unpleasant surprise, I had noticed some unusual and uncalled for erosion when I had unpacked the grill for use this year. I have two full tanks of propane and a burning desire to grill, but I sit at the mercy of Nexgrill to send new burners, flame tamers, and cooking grates as the original set didn't survive the winter storage.

Fortunately, they said all will be covered under warranty but I called them on May 30th and as I type this while waiting on hold with them for a status report, obviously have not yet received them. Living in the northeast, I try to take advantage of every grill-friendly day we have considering how few we get in a year but I now must wait as each grilling day passes until the new parts arrive.

I am so bummed out!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Neck Follow-Up

I saw my neck doctor today two weeks and two days after I had the spinal injection. I was sad that I had to report that the injection left no improvement in my condition and that I am still getting stingers in my right arm. Next step, physical therapy. What a horrible ordeal this has been thus far.

Random Bits:

  • Dunkin Donuts new summer feature this year is Smoothies. I'm not much of a smoothie kinda guy but my wife is hooked.
  • Quiznos is a hard habit to break...the Prime Rib sandwich and the Pastrami samdwich are both killer.
  • Where do weather reporters go? I've noticed on three seperate occasions in my time living here in MA that local network wetherman have been replaced. There's never any warning or word, no goodbyes, nothing. One day it's "chief meteorologist Mr. X" and out of nowhere, Mr. Y shows up unannounced with no traces or mention or MR. X anywhere.
  • Canned "compressed air" contains no air.
  • The new Toshiba Qosimo notebook computer looks like an impressive piece of machinery.
  • Looks like Canada for vacation this year.
Off to work I go...!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Rules of Life

I've been reading a collection of Andy Rooney material and one of the essays called "Rules of Life" had a few points that struck me enough to share them with you here. My own 2 cents follows each in attractive yellow italics.
  1. Don’t pin much hope on the mail, and when the phone rings, don’t expect anything wonderful from that, either. (I don't know why, but I have this odd obsession with the mail. When I get home and see the little thingie on the mailbox that indicates that there is in fact mail inside the box, I get all nuts. Then, when I grab the mail out of the box, I need to flip through it immediately.)
  2. The best things in life are not free, they’re expensive. (Any male standup comic would mention sex here. However, the statement is true - nevermind the so-called luxury items, just ask any homeowner what they think of this statement.)
  3. If you wonder what anyone thinks of you, consider what you think of them. (Here’s one I wrote while driving about a week before I read the above line…The driver of the car behind you most likely feels the same about you as you feel about the driver in front of you.)
  4. Don’t take a butcher’s advice on how to cook meat. If he knew, he’d be a chef. (I never thought of that. Although, who the heck actually has a butcher these days? Haven't all the supermarkets swallowed up the mom-and-pop butcher shops yet?)
  5. Not everyone has a right to his own opinion. If he doesn’t know the facts, his opinion doesn’t count. (Except if you're from Brooklyn.)
  6. If you think you may possibly have forgotten something, there is no doubt about it. You’ve forgotten something. (I can't for the life of me remember what I meant to say about this.)
  7. Wherever you go for whatever reason, it will turn out you should have been there last week. (It's the story of my life - bad timing. I'm always to late or too early.)
  8. The people who write poetry are no smarter than the rest of us, and don’t let them make you think they are. (Maya Angelou - go fuck yourself you pretentious bitch!)
  9. You may be wrong.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Walking in the Footsteps of Dylan

It was a moment that changed the landscape of popular music at the time. It was 1965 at the Newport Folk Festival and Bob Dylan plugged in much to the chagrin of the folk aficionados that made the pilgrimage to the lovely Rhode Island waterfront. It was a moment that will forever be remembered…unlike the day that I, Chris Daniele went electric and opted to take “The Norelco Challenge.”

Shaving has always been one of my least favorite things to do because I have super sensitive skin. I have bounced from razor to razor as each new product has come to market; additional blades, smooth strips, vibrating razors…the whole works. I have been using the Gillette M3 Power™ since it’s arrival on the men’s grooming products scene and though satisfied with the product, I’ve never been thrilled with the $2.50+ cost per blade and the reason I’ve not “upgraded” to the new Fusion 5 blade system is because the blades are more than $3.00 each.

Over the last few months, I’ve procrastinated with the idea of trying out an electric razor. I tried an electric years ago but gave up after like two days because it was very painful and irritating. With improvements in technology, I figured now is as good a time as any to give it a try again. While reading the little “instruction manual,” I noticed that it made a point of saying that there is an adjustment period involved and as such, they ask that you give it three full weeks before making a final decision about the use of the electric razor. So, here I am on day 2 with some irritation, but bearable and hopeful that all will work out as I have made the commitment to go the full 21 days.

I’d like to thank the legendary Bob Dylan for his inspiration and for setting the groundwork nearly 40 years ago. I’ve been to Newport on several occasions and am hopeful that the next time I return there, I will be accepted for who I am – even if I have gone electric.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Fat & Skinny

Remember that old laugh line from childhood "fat & Skinny went to bed, fat rolled over and skinny was dead!"?

It is being reported in the news today (as I enjoy my lunch with Internet access) that Nestle is purchasing the Jenny Craig company for $600 million. So now, they can fatten you up with all of the Nestle products, then get your on the back end with the wight loss products. Though brilliant from a business perspective, I find this terribly evil.
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SIRIUS satellite began streaming the Howard Stern channels this past weekend. Though technicall still in "Beta testing", the stream works great and I predict even less productivity in the american work force.
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It's pretty sad that until Brangelina went to Namibia, 84% of Americans had no idea what or where Namibia is.
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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Episcopalians Elect 1st Female National Leader

Move could harm relations between American denomination, AnglicansThe Associated Press
Updated: 3:53 p.m. ET June 18, 2006
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Episcopal Church on Sunday elected Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori as the first female chief pastor of the denomination and the first female leader in the history of the world Anglican Communion.

The choice of Schori as presiding bishop complicates the already difficult relations between the American denomination and its fellow Anglicans.

Only two other Anglican provinces—New Zealand and Canada—have female bishops, although a handful of other provinces allow women to serve in the post. Still, there are many Anglican leaders who believe women should not be priests.

Schori was elected during the Episcopal General Convention, where delegates have been debating whether to appease Anglican leaders by agreeing to stop ordaining gay bishops—for now. In 2003, the Americans angered the Anglican world by electing the first openly gay bishop—V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

Episcopal bishops elected Schori on the fifth ballot in a 95-93 vote then presented her to delegates for confirmation. That consent is nearly always given, however some delegates may voice objections.

The presiding bishop represents the Episcopal Church in meetings with other Anglican leaders and with leaders of other religious groups. But the presiding bishop’s power is limited because of the democratic nature of the church. The General Convention is the top Episcopal policy-making body and dioceses elect their own bishops.

Schori will inherit a fractured church. The Pittsburgh-based Anglican Communion Network, which represents 10 U.S. conservative dioceses and more than 900 parishes within the Episcopal Church, is deciding whether to break from the denomination. The House of Bishops recently started a defense fund that will help fight legal battles against parishes that want to leave and take their property with them.

Membership in the Episcopal Church, as in other mainline Protestant groups, has been declining for years and has remained overwhelmingly white. More than a quarter of the 2.3 million parishioners are age 65 or older.

© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13119225/

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Overflow

Here are some random thoughts, observations, and thingies that are occupying real estate inside my brain:
  1. I absolutely love the texture we refer to as crunchy.
  2. Anne Coulter is a CUNT; and an unintelligent one at that!
  3. Apple needs to get their act together and make iTunes a good program.
  4. Why is a relatively simple task such as putting a key into a keyhole and unlocking a door so much more difficult when you need to pee?
  5. Sirius Satellite Radio is da bomb!
  6. Andy Rooney may be getting old and crusty, but he really entertains me.
  7. Spongebob Squarepants will stand the test of time.
  8. Not too many more tedious tasks than to spend 5+ hours of a day repairing broken links in web documents.
  9. There is no such thing as an easy upgrade.
  10. Jay Leno has lost most of his credibility in my eyes.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I've Been at a Conference

For the past two days I have commuted to Lowell, MA to attend the Mass Colleges Online Conference. Conferences are a funny animal. You wander about from breakout session to breakout session and mentally "keep track" of the "stalkers" who seem to follow you through your selection of sessions (friggin' copycats). I sometime will question whether or not they are smart for following my gut instincts or begin to seriously doubt my instincts who may subconsciously have me as the follower as opposed to the leader.

Another funny thing that happens at conference sessions is the inevitable emergence of stupidity, cranky yokels that can never be satisfied, and the all around clueless. Of course, there are those wonderful occasions where you seek and find true collaboration and learn something new to take back with you. Of course, the one thing that ties all social events and by which most are judged by in the long tern - the food. Ask anyone that's been to a conference, "expo", heck - even a wedding and there will always be a link to the food that was served.

As a bonus, here are the sessions I attended:

  1. Options for Streaming Media in Online Courses
  2. Using E-Packs to Design High Quality Courses
  3. "A Taste of MERLOT" (http://www.merlot.org/)
  4. Creating Camtasia Online Tutorials -Easy, Simple, Fun!
  5. Professional Development: A Community of Practice - Roundtable
  6. Online Timeline
  7. Blackboard Users Forum
  8. Empowering Teachers: Developing Active Content Simply

Monday, June 12, 2006

Three Fun Videos

This video has been floating around for a while now. I became aware of it thanks to the lovely Stephanie in Con-Ed and thought I'd share it here cause it's 6:00 minutes of pure fun:



I linked to this one sometime back but now that I've got this embedding feature, I thought I'd slip it in again; especially because it is so darn brilliant:



Finally, Al Gore's brilliant appearance on SNL:

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Shuffle Me Up a Top 10 List

Sitting here bored. Picked up iPod. Selected Shuffle Songs. Here are the first 10 songs that played in the randomness that only iPod can manage while selecting from the 4329 songs available:
  1. A Little Bluer than That – Alan Jackson – Drive
  2. Stranger than Kindness-Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – The Best of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
  3. Girlfriend – Alicia Keys – Songs in A Minor
  4. Rescue – Uncle Kracker – 72 and Sunny
  5. I Don’t Know – Uncle Kracker – No Stranger to Shame
  6. The Story of My Old Man – Good Charlotte – The Young and The Hopeless
  7. I Got What You Need – Radney Foster – Another Way to Go
  8. Days of Heaven (Demo Version) – Randy Newman – Guilty: 30 Years of Randy Newman
  9. Matters of the Heart – Michael McDonald – The Very Best of Michael McDonald
  10. Bubble Pop Electric (w/ Johnny Vulture) – Gwen Stefani – Love, Angel, Music, Baby
Knock yourselves out!

The Sun is Shining, I must be Dreaming

It's around 9 am on Sunday and the sun has been shining this morning for the first time since Memorial Day weekend. We have had a ridiculous amount of rain here in the Northeast of late, the kind that has displaced people from their homes and has them using canoes and rowboats to navigate their neighborhoods. I'm grateful for the sunshine and hope it lasts throughout the day.

Last Tuesday I had a steroid injection planted deep into my neck via the spine. Since my shoulder surgery, the herniated disc in my neck has been causing my right arm to spasm uncontrollably at times as well as constant pinching (as if the entire arm, right through the hand and fingers are asleep). Three months of pain weighs on the mind and is taking a toll on me both physically and mentally. I know there are people much worse off, but I can't minimize what I have been dealing with. I'm seeing the neck specialist on the 22nd as a follow-up and hopefully there'll be a turnaround and I can avoid neck surgery.

I've been reading the Lemony Snicket Books lately. I've read through book 5 and saw the movie, which was based on the first 3 books. The movie was extremely disappointing and not worth watching. The books I highly recommend.

Hope the rest of your weekend is joyous - later for now.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Staggering Statistics

As a member of the National Education Association, I receive several publications over the course of the year including one called The Higher Education Advocate. In the June 2006 issue, I read the following:

The United States has the second worst newborn mortality rate in the developed word, according to a report from Save the Children, an organization that works for change for children in need.
American babies are three times more likely to die in their first month as children born in Japan, and newborn mortality is 2.5 times higher in the United States than in Finland, Iceland, or Norway.
Only Latvia, with six deaths per 1,000 live births, has a higher death rate for newborns than the United States, which is tied near the bottom of industrialized nations with Hungary, Malta, Poland, and Slovakia with five deaths per 1,000 births. An estimated 2 million babies die within their first 24 hours each year worldwide.

I hope I am not the only one frightened by this. Somehow I can't help but want to blame George W.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Chit Chat

Malcolm Gladwell was the keynote speaker at the conference I attended in San Diego back at the end of February. His speech was one of the best I had ever heard and promptly ordered both of his books when I returned home (because I didn't want to pay full list price at the conference nor did I wish to wait 90 minutes to shake his hand and get an autograph). Anyway, I just got around to starting, and finishing his first book - The Tipping Point. What an amazing book! Click on the picture of the book to go to the Amazon page where you can learn more about the book and/or purchase it. You can click on the photo of Gladwell to go to his website and learn more about him.
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Here a goofy picture I found while cleaning out my hard drive at work:


Everybody Wang Chung tonight!!!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Silent Screams

Steeped in pain
Thoughts and emotions dissolved
Words are whispers
Feelings are screams

Life is now a blur
I can't see in front of me
Joy is but a memory for now
Hope is fading fast

My days are dark
Nights yet darker
How much further must I fall?
On sanity's edge I am screaming
but even I can no longer hear

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Self-Portrait Saturday

While in San Diego a few months ago, I visited the Museum of Photographic Arts where I saw an exhibit by Graham Nash (of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and sometimes Young fame). There was a series of photgraphs that were referred to as "self-portraits" in which Nash shot at reflections of himself in various settings. I thought the words and pictures were inspiring and while in the science museum, decided to give the self-portrait photograph concept a try. Here are my 3 "self-portraits" shot in early March of this year in Balboa Park, San Diego:



Friday, June 02, 2006

Happy 400th Post!

708 days ago I started this little thing after a conversation with my friend Jill. 400 posts and I haven't said a darn thing that's useful! Well, that's probably debatable, but one thing that has been wonderful is meeting all of you and hearing what you ahve had to say (or not say).

I recently won "The Extra Mile Award" (for the second time) at work.




The trophy thingy is nice but the $100 gift card that came with it was pretty sweet too. the school also gave out imprinted USB flash drives but they cheaped out and bout the 16mb ones.
A few months ago they had make your own "spin-art" frisbee day. Here's one that I made (I think Sprizee's gonna like this one):



Other meaningless stuff:
I'm wearing an orange T-shirt today, there's a can of Endust for Electronics on my desk, I'm currently running a hard drive test on a laptop. the taxpayers of MA (including myself) are paying for me to blog right now, Chris Chepiga's father is named Mike, my business cards are old and have incorrect information on them, I post once every 1.77 days on average, and the printer in the open lab is currently in sleep mode.

Thanks for reading this...I Love You!