Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Musical Chairs Anyone?

Take a look at this gem of an item I came across:
Lest you think it's a ruse, click on it and order one for yourself.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Reunion is the Best Medicine

It's been no secret how crappy things have been for me lately. Yesterday, I received the best dose of medicine I could have asked for, our bi-annual, or is it semi-annual, our twice-yearly (give or take) friends reunion.

I have been so incredibly blessed to have a group of friends, people who genuinely are a part of each others lives regardless of the physical distance that time and circumstance have put between us. Some time ago we agreed to do our best to get together twice a year and share some time together, remember the old days, make some new memories, and instill a sense of tradition in our children's lives.

Last night a group of us got together at the DeCoursey (Johnny, Jane, and their oldest, Andrew pictured below) home in lovely Westchester county for yet another memorable evening.

I'm not sure that I can put into words the feeling of comfort, of home, of love that we all share. Our family's have grown in size, and our children are getting older - some are teenagers. We've all grown up together and now have had the priviege of watching our children grow up (as you can see below).
Here's to all my wonderful friends...I Love You all and look forward to getting together this winter.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Meet Cory

Back in college, I created a character named "Cory Sharmin". I wrote an outline for a screenplay (because I have no clue how to go about writing the actual screenplay) about Cory in his 20's, and his life around music and local bands.

About a year ago, I began writing a short story about Cory and where he is in his life currently. I got about 500 words and stopped. No editing, minor proofreading, and alot of uncertaintly. I have no idea if the story will ever go past this point but I thought I'd put what I have out here and introduce you to the guy...

It was a transitional time in Cory’s life. He had recently moved to a new city hundreds of miles from anyone that he knew or cared about and he was still trying to find out what he was going to do with the rest of his life. The music business had chewed him up and spit him out, as it tends to do to most people, but at 32, Corey was still young and felt he had so much more to give than to just be someone who worked at a job; there needed to be some sense of purpose.

While Cory was fumbling through the papers looking for work, back home things were a bit rough for his sister Shannon who recently divorced after a long unhappy marriage and there was a lot of tension with her two children – who were being force-fed deceitful and hurtful information by their seemingly insane father. Also back home, one of Corey’s best friends, Christian, was having relationship issues with his longtime girlfriend Alice. What made this whole situation somewhat complicated was that Alice was best friends with Shannon. Cory has known Alice for years and he’s always had a crush on her. However, when Christian and Alice hit it off at one of Shannon’s (in)famous parties a few years back, he simply ignored his feelings for Alice and went along on his (not so) merry way.

After three months and countless interviews, Cory found himself in a predicament of sorts. On the very same day, he received not one, but two job offers and was now confronted with an important decision. Unfortunately the one thing everyone knew about Cory, himself included, was that important decisions were not his forte.

One of the jobs was working the help desk in a prestigious bank in the city. The money was attractive, more than he’d ever earned before, but the thought of the commute and the robotic undertones of help desk work in such a large organization left Corey with more negatives than positives while weighing this offer against the other. The second job offer came from none other than the Board of Education, where he would have the opportunity to troubleshoot and consult on technical issues and help learning disabled high school students. This job had a lot of appeal to Corey as it brought him back to his roots as a techno-geek, as well as eliminated the need for a commute as he lived about ten minutes away and was able to get to the office using the traffic-free back roads. In fact, the only drawback on the comparison scale was the fifteen thousand dollar pay difference.

After careful consideration, that is, as careful as Cory could possibly consider anything, he took the job at the Board of Ed and felt a sense of renewal and purpose – at least for the time being. All Cory had to do now was consider the fact hat he had absolutely nothing in his wardrobe that he felt appropriate for this type of job. So Cory went off to Marshall’s to hunt the discount racks for some decent dress clothes as the inner workings of Cory’s mind began to address a new set of fears and anxieties associated with his new life in a new town and his new job.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Answering your Call

It seems I've disappeared
but that is not the case
and while it may seem that I've stopped running
I know I'll win this race

It's best right now to be distant
and while I appreciate your concerns
our friendship will remain
for as long as this world turns

For now I need some space
to make my world more right
I'll see you on the flipside
once I win this fight

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Boston Massacre

Yesterday, the New York Yankees completed a 5 game sweep of the Boston Red Sox at Fenway park. Being a Yankee fan living in Massachusetts has long been a challenge but these past 4 days have been both sweet and exhausting.

The series was a complete marathon. Yankees/Red Sox games always tend to be marathons, but five consecutive games, including two games in one day, was a real testament to the athleticism of these players - I was brutally exhausted just watching the games, I couldn't even imagine playing them all.

Regardless of the results of the past 4 days and my undying allegiance to my Yankees, I have learned over the years never to count the Red Sox out of it until they are out of it. I have nothing but respect for the team and know that they will play their hearts out until its over. I must admit it was fun watching them in the press conference after the seep was over - all dejected and defeated but trying, and failing, to hide it.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Canada Journal

More than a week late, but here it is - an accounting of my recent trip to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

Left around 9:30am en route to Bar Harbor, Maine (306.7 miles from home) where we would board the CAT ferry to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. The ferry was scheduled for a 4pm departure but didn’t take of until closer to 5 or 5:30. The ride to Yarmouth is just under 3 hours but with 2+ foot swells, the rough waters made the Cat ferry more like the “chuck” ferry. I wish I owned stock in those vomit bags that day. While I didn’t chuck, about 75% of the passengers did. Yay!

Upon arrival in Yarmouth we had to go through customs which was reasonably quick and painless but we were then left with a 189.4 mile drive to Halifax. With varying speed limits, pitch darkness, and unknown roads, it was about 11 pm or so when we arrived at the hotel.

Tuesday & Wednesday
The game plan for today was to drive 106.2 miles to Pictou where we would catch a ferry to Prince Edward Island; this did happen but not without enough annoyance to completely destroy the tone of the entire vacation. Just before we were to reach the entrance ramp to the highway, I noticed that my car was on the verge of overheating. Yes my dear friends, those gauges are there for a reason. Without much hesitation, I reversed direction, and pulled into a nearby service station.

Pat, the owner of the Shell station on the corner of North & Robie took a quick peek under the hood then pulled it in to the garage so that his master mechanic could have a closer look while we waited patiently and I was preparing for the worst while trying to grasp on to some glimmer of hope.

What was closer to one hour but felt like many had passed when Pat called me into the shop, pointed at a bunch of stuff under the hood while he and the mechanic were telling me all that was wrong as I nodded in disgusted agreement while not fully certain of what they were saying. Ultimately, there was no way that my car would make it to where we were going so I had to make some decisions. In the end, we were able to secure a rental for the couple of nights we’d be in Prince Edward Island (PEI). And while we left the hotel in Halifax around 10am, we had our rental car around 2pm and while my own car remained in Halifax, we had a 2007 Toyota Camry and were on our way.

We made it to Pictou in time for the 4pm ferry and after about 90 minutes on the water, we arrived at Wood Island on PEI where we then had to drive through 35 miles of farm land, dirt roads, and rolling hills before arriving in Charlottetown. My dear friends, I can’t emphasize enough how one should never consider driving through PEI without a GPS; it simply isn’t possible if you plan on making it through the island in anything remotely considered reasonable time.

Some words to describe PEI, quaint, interesting, calming…however, like all remotely populated areas, polluted. I don’t mean polluted in terms of how dirty the streets are, I mean even on PEI, smack dab in the middle, a giant fucking Wal-Mart. Look, I shop at Wal-Mart without shame. If ultimately they really will be the cause of higher prices, I say fuck that and may as well take advantage of the lower prices now. Additional highlights of PEI is that it was home to Lucy Maude Montgomery, the author of Anne of Green Gables. So, of course there is a museum, several homes and gift shops, a national park and an assortment of other Anne of Green Gables themed places and things to sort and wander through. Despite my concern over the fact that my car is still in Halifax and I have no idea how much its going to cost to patch it up, I managed to find a few brief moments of enjoyment on PEI.

Today we make the return trip to Halifax where I expect my car to be waiting for me and the entire drive to the ferry, the ferry ride, and the drive from Pictou back to Halifax all I can think about is how much is this going to cost me and how grateful I’ve got the GPS with me.

With the 2pm deadline to get the rental car back before over time charges kick in, I decide to modestly push the metric speed limits and arrive with enough time to check into the hotel before returning the car and getting to Pat’s shop to pick up my own vehicle (after paying the piper). I get to the car rental place with about 30 minutes to spare, sign of on the credit card slip, then ask for a ride back to the shop. Note that the guy at the car rental place, a friend of Pat’s, asked me if I wanted to call Pat to be sure that my car was ready before returning the car; I was certain it would be done, so I simply took my ride to the shop.

After thanking the driver as he pulled away, I headed into the shop to greet Pat and ask about my car. “It’s doing better and should be ready tomorrow morning,” said Pat. A brief summary of the problems found were enough to keep the large pit in my stomach large. Ultimately, I made it back to the hotel on foot (about a mile and a half) and planned on calling Pat around 5ish as he promised to do his best to complete the job by them.

Fortunately Halifax is a “city” and there was plenty to do in walking distance to the hotel. In fact, the Halifax Public Gardens were directly across the street and that was our first stop upon my return to the hotel. After wandering about the city for a while, it was time to call Pat, confirm that my car was ready, then head on over to pick it up. I intentionally did not ask “what the damage was” because I knew it really didn’t matter. The work was done and I need the car to get back home to the states. My only hope at this point was that I wasn’t completely taken advantage of and most important, that the repair would be enough to make it all the way home.

When I had arrived at the shop, Pat had “just left” but one of the workers had my paperwork ready for me. “That will be $553.80 please.” A big sigh of relief for me considering what the bill could have been but I knew this was only the beginning. Once home, who knew what kind of cash I’d still have to invest. Anyway, I tried to put it all behind me for now and upon my return with the car, I parked it in the underground garage until morning as we had planned the balance of our evening within walking distance.

For dinner, I had a craving for some sushi and I knew there was a sushi place right around the corner. We walked over to the restaurant and quickly noticed there hadn’t been anyone other than employees in the place, not a good sign. We walked a just a short way up the block and noticed an Italian restaurant but once again, no eaters. At this point I suggested that we walk for a few short blocks and look at all of our options. Just a couple of short block up the street was another Italian restaurant ony this one was packed to the gills. And so it was, dinner would be at Il Mercato, but not until a 30 minute wait before we were seated. If you ever happen to be in Halifax, do yourself a favor and stop by Il Mercato for a meal; what an wonderful meal.

It was this day that we get to put Pat’s repair shop to the test as we drive half the (driving) distance home, about 190 miles, to Yarmouth. Happily, we made it there with the engine showing all signs of proper functionality, especially with regard to the cooling system. Of course, I have not been able to use the A/C, which has already been on the fritz except for at max, but with a faulty cooling system, I was taking no chances.

I found Yarmouth to me a chincy little town with not much character. We did visit a lighthouse which involved a scenic drive and featured a delightful tea room where I had the best coconut custard pie I ever ate. Back to the underwhelming hotel not even close to worthy of its name (Rodd Grand) for a bit of a rest before driving around the local area to find a place for dinner. We settled on a Chinese restaurant and once seated, I noticed something very peculiar. I’ve been frequenting Chinese restaurants my whole life and the one constant is Chinese people. We had been seated, had our orders taken, waited longer than the average time for our food, complained about the lack of beef in the beef and broccoli, and received our check before we had spotted the first Asian; totally twilight zone.

The sub par Chinese food left us longing for home more than ever. We headed back to the hotel, slept, then prepared for a 4 hour ferry ride to Portland, Maine before the 135 mile drive home.

Completely uneventful. The ferry ride was smooth as silk. I slept, ate, and read for most of it. The drive home was smooth and the car held up. In summary, while I have nothing against Canada, I have been there twice and always had something make the trip less than what it could be. While Toronto in my opinion was nothing special and I would not consider returning, Prince Edward Island and some of the rest of the uncharted areas of Nova Scotia might someday lure me back. However, I shall no longer be driving to Canada, ever again; at least not in my own car.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Brief Update

Right now I am sad, mad, and frustrated. I have been wronged and treated unfairly by people that I respect.

Here's a really cute picture of my cat:

The large Brazilian population of Framingham and the Metrowest area has several portuguese newspapers that are locally distributed. For the last two weeks there has been an ad in the "job opportunities" section that in a nutshell is looking for girls between the ages of 18 and 30 who are attractive for an opportunity to work in a massage parlor and make up to $100 per hour. Hmmm!

Out for now.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Laugh Your Ass Off Funny Article

The following article was in a local newspaper this past week. I read it this morning and as a result, much of my coffee never made it to my digestive system. Very Funny!

'American Idol' contestant tests positive for soul-enhancing drugs
By Phil Maddocks Friday, August 11, 2006

Fox television announced early yesterday that a urine sample provided by Taylor Hicks during the 2006 "American Idol" contest showed traces of synthetic testosterone designed to boost his "soulfulness" and said the contest winner would likely be stripped of his crown and subjected to nine months of verbal abuse from acerbic "Idol" judge Simon Cowell.

In a statement released through his personal bitterness trainer, Cowell said he "was looking forward to the awesome responsibility of reducing a celebrity to complete and utter worthlessness."

"It's one thing to do it to a terrified nobody on national television. It's something else altogether to do it to a talentless hack that I helped make famous," Cowell told reporters during yesterday's press conference.

Insiders report that Cowell has been watching old tapes of the famously temperamental college basketball coach Bobby Knight for inspiration and they say that he has already reduced fellow "American Idol" judges Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson to tears on several occasions during spirited sparring sessions in preparation for taking on Hicks in public.

"I've always said that no matter how bitter and mean you are, there is always someone else out there who is even more bitter and meaner. I think in that respect Bobby Knight has been an inspiration to all of us in this business."

In a statement yesterday, Hicks, a 29-year-old white man with graying hair and a preference for an old-fashioned version of soul music, vowed to fight the doping accusations as well as Cowell "even if it meant hurling chairs in protest."

"It is now my goal to clear my name and restore what I worked so hard to achieve," he said. Also, his lead lawyer, San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds, said in the statement that they would prove that Hicks was not aided by any banned soulfulness-enhancing substances during the "Idol" contest.

Hicks said his spirits have been buoyed by the success of trailblazing athletes who in defending themselves against doping charges have "dreamt up the wildest imaginable excuses that are now part of the public excuse-making domain."

Hicks also took a swipe at Cowell during an interview on the Internet radio station Northern Soul Radio, suggesting that the famous "Idol" judge's soullessness might be somehow synthetically produced.

"I think he needs to be tested," Hicks told his interviewer. "His lack of feeling and absence of human passion is unnatural. They should be looking at his urine, not mine."

But with yesterday's test result, the case against Hicks is growing. The initial urine test revealed an 11-to-1 ratio of soulfulness to non-soulfulness, much higher than the ratio of four to one allowed for an awkward dancing Caucasian.

Even so, Hicks has denied taking soulfulness-enhancing drugs. In the week after his Tour victory, he said that his soulfulness was "natural and produced by my own organism."

"I was the most soulful singer in the "American Idol" contest, and that is why I am the champion," his statement said.

Reaction to the accusations of soul doping by Hicks have been mixed.

The Official Soul Patrol Headquarters, a site "dedicated to Taylor Hicks." posted a statement saying that Hicks would be fired for breaching the patrol's ethical standards.

But President Bush seemed to come to the aid of the embattled "American Idol" winner. Speaking from his ranch in Crawford, Texas, Mr. Bush said he had looked into Hicks' eyes and "found them very soulful." The president also offered an open invitation to the singer to drop by for a backrub at anytime.

In Massachusetts, Gov. Mitt Romney asked the legislature to give him the power to take over the judging on "American Idol" because the public had lost confidence in the leadership of Cowell, Abdul, and Jackson.

Cowell said he found the new proposal "interesting" and would have to think it over.

Hicks said he welcomed any change that might give him more time to come up with a better way to defend himself and might make Simon Cowell cry.

"American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest said 2 trillion votes had already been cast by "Idol" followers regarding Hicks' guilt or innocence in the doping scandal, which helped to further enrich cell phone services and give rise to an idea for a new Fox reality show called "Duels."

In the show, disgraced entertainers are paired with disgraced athletes and the teams of two attempt to win back their good names by savaging the reputations of the other teams with outlandish accusations and denials.

In other doping news, The International Cycling Union announced that Howard Jacobs - who is representing Tour de France winner Floyd Landis in his doping case and who has also represented other athletes in doping cases, including the suspended sprinter Tim Montgomery and suspended cyclist Tyler Hamilton - has been banned from participating in cycling legal proceedings for two years because of his association with athletes that are known to have taken banned substances.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

A Poem/Prayer by Thomas Merton

Val brought this to our Search Committee meeting today. Between this and today's sermon, they just came to me at the right time. Enjoy...

"God, we have no idea where we are going. We do not see the road ahead of us. We cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do we really know ourselves, and the fact that we think we are following your will does not mean that we are actually doing so. But we believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And we hope we have that desire in all that we are doing. We hope that we will never do anything apart from that desire. And we know that if we do this you will lead us by the right road, though we may know nothing about it. Therefore, we will trust you always though we may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. We will not fear, for you are ever with us, and you will never leave us to face our perils alone."

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Me + My Car + Canada = :(

Just back from a week in Yarmouth, Halifax, and Prince Edward Island. While it may sound exotic, interesting, or the sort - for the most part it was a nightmare which I may talk about sometime soon, but I am just too tired right now.

What I will share with you is that for some reason when I enter Canada with my car, bad things happen to me...I'll go now but will return soon.

With love...C

Monday, August 07, 2006

Greatest Hits? - Volume 2

Right about this time last year I headed off to Hawaii and knew that I'd be gone for two weeks with not much intention of computing or blogging. At that time, I created a "Greatest Hits" highlighting some of my favorite posts. Come Monday, I'm heading north to Canada, more specifically Nova Scotia (Yarmouth, Halifax, and Prince Edward Island). While there is some chance that I'll blog from there, there is also some chance that I will not and therefore, I leave you with a compilation of some of my favorite posts since the last Greatest Hits post. Enjoy...I Love You all!

1. Greatest Hits? (Volume 1)

2. Bookshelf

3. Funny How Time Slips Away

4. Hawaii Trip Journal

5. Lost
6. Subservient Chicken
7. 40 Things in the Life of an Italian Child
8. 26 Thoughts that Popped into My Head Just Now
9. The Boss is The Boss!
10. A Public Restroom Anxiety Story
11. 300th Post - Goth Baby Goes Mod!
12. CREEPsville
13. Attack of the Earworms!
14. Casey on the Mound
15. I Got Wood - A Year In Review
16. Sing Us a Song, You're the Piano Man
17. Messing with Kim
18. The American Spirit at Work
19. Bruce Springsteen - The Seeger Sessions Live!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Life Time Network

I snatched this from Joy....

If you could watch only five TV shows for the rest of your life, what would they be?

Here are my five (the first 3 came instantly, the last two with 2 minutes of thought and could potentially change with more thought):

1. The Odd Couple
2. The Honeymooners
3. I Love Lucy
4. House
5. Project Runway

Joy's choices were:
West Wing
Mary Tyler Moore
Designing Women

What are your choices?

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Bleach Wizard

The bathroom I frequent at work is always an adventure with regards to the color of the liquid in the toilet bowl. Most often it is Tidy Bowl blue but in recent times there's been an uncomfortable shade of pink and yet other times it remains clear with a foamy skin at the surface.

I was pleased to find the clear and somewhat less foamy than the usual clear and foamy after a several day pink period. I thought little of it mostly because of my extreme need to release excessive liquids trapped inside of my bladder. Oddly, the moment my liquids made contact with the clear toilet water, a noxious seemingly toxic chemical reaction began to fill my lungs with a burning sensation as the scent of bleach wafted through my head.

I held my breath for seconds that felt like minutes while completing my task and left the bathroom after a brief flush. After exiting the bathroom, I breathed deeply and quickly almost to the point of hyperventilation but soon after regained control. I then went to another bathroom to wash my hands and be on with my day.

Perhaps someone should mention to the cleaning crew that pouring gallons of bleach into the toilet is not advisable.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Mel for President...NOT!

If anything, Mel Gibson has proven one thing for sure; he’s dumb enough to be president. Speaking of our president, here’s a quote that was captured last month while Bush and Tony Blair were chatting in a room with a live microphone that they were oblivious to…”see the irony is what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit and it’s over.” Oddly/sadly enough, this may have been one of his finest moments.

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I thing it’s time for The Jerky Boys to reunite.

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Does it annoy the crap out of you when someone refers to desktop wallpaper as a screen saver?

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The air conditioning in my car is currently not working, which translates to: now I hate everyone else on the road twice as much as usual. It was 99 degrees and humid like a mofo the other day and I drove past an “assisted living” facility – can that be considered sweating to the oldies?

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One time…crap, a slight distraction and now the thought is gone!

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Here the down-low on the new season of Celebrity Fit Club, right from the horses mouth: “The fourth season of Celebrity Fit Club features eight new cast members eager to drop the pounds and get in shape: Vincent Pastore (The Sopranos), Carnie Wilson (Wilson Phillips), Ted Lange (The Love Boat), Nick Turturro (NYPD Blue), Angie Stone (R&B Vocalist), Tina Yothers (Family Ties), Bone Crusher (Rap Star) and Erika Eleniak (Baywatch, Under Siege).”

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Customer Service Comics

I am busy prepping for vacation so I thought I'd take some time to offer you these funny comics that came across my desk at some time in the past.