Sunday, April 29, 2007

U2Charist

Tonight I had a very spiritually moving experience. There were so many people from so many different places. U2 music was everywhere cleverly interspersed within the prayer.

We discovered / rediscovered the Millenium Development goals.

We sang - loud.

We were ONE.

I was moved so very deeply.

Thanks to all who made it possible.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Another Wacky Junk Email

I received the following email at work from the email address: Flora Pruitt [Jennysandwich's@reallyfast.info].

Subject: The Charm of this Man

No doubt that fenger's. The pilot's deck of. A gabby old girl. The admiring and tolerant. Her life men. I don't see. no one. It thirty-five francs seven. Their hands touched. Fengers shortly after her coming. Sheet handed him daily had. She was startled. Marble pillar his. Sarah-at-seven-a-week back in her. Day she left new. Had been rumored for many. None of your business she. About horn & udell. Floor she told. Salesmen and importers. Old system ought to be. Section he took your suggestion. The next bundles bundles bundles. Then convinced him within six. yes. Child but i've always managed. It's good for seasickness she. Steward was to. And fenger their minds often. They are in frock coats. Was hideously lonely. Her lap and brought. Day that everybody. -240-. Pay for a hat. Honestly what's he. I know. Of that kind. In the various sections. In her face is the. This delicate scale weighed. Thank heaven and this. Fanny bathward bound turned. Brandeis herself barring the blouse. Have enough white kid. Order millions of. And defensive attentiveness. To america but she would. Overfed populace and. I'm happy leave. Feel like a. Weeks perhaps was. Passed unnoticed or was taken. tell me. Wool and cotton not a. Only to glance at. Act contrary to her resolution. Champagne but isn't. Salary's expansion the streets seldom. The crash of the. communicates with the brain. oh everything. He should look so. Folks and if we can. For fashion. Kempinski's in berlin twenty. Her life men. Promptness in delivery played. Crowd pouring out of the. Of steps led. In madison square. And pounds and acids. Had gleamed out. Shone out. The actress in. Office after this first trip. You'll find your place. Chubby arms and a. Was working more or less. Away with the receding. Come when i can. Then i wish you'd take. Reluctant to acknowledge the. Glanced around the luxururious. And paris but she cabled. Suggestion: why can't we. Window of the loft. Grade stuff he can't risk. Plan smiled tolerantly and went. No 'phone me. Little boy to a. But something within her. For whom she. But they do. No ma'am when i want. The crowd and smiled down. Steep steps that. Of our women customers wouldn't. Won't admit a debt to. Said ella just to see. Passed unnoticed or was taken. 14 chapter fourteen. Six-figure terms to these. the report. Go to the theater. Busy mail room;. Repellent though interesting. A kind of a. Stone floor the. Could be he. The brick itself. Boasted fanny. Mean something more. On the tables. Suggestion: why can't we. To deal directly with those. I know they're from him. Material easily replaced.


I know, it's just loopy, but here's the kicker, attached to the top was the following graphic:


Seems to me an odd way to sell boner meds.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Six Hundred

This post is the 600th in the life of this crazy little blog o'mine. I continue to love this village of bloggerville though many wonderful people have seemingly abandoned their blogs while I've taken to some new ones over time.

It never ceases to amaze me just how unique blogs can be. There are those who put it all out there and those who remain a complete mystery. Of course, there's a whole lot of those blogs that run somewhere between those two extremes.

My dear friend Jill has pretty much abandoned her blog around Thanksgiving but she is completely responsible for turning me on to this wonderful form of expression.

Egan and Sprizee's blogs are two that I've read since for all of this time. Both are wonderful - in fact, I met Egan through Sprizee's blog in what I originally thought was a really peculiar interaction but as I got to know Egan better, it was just Egan being Egan. I had the great privilege this past October to meet The Lessinges's when they came to Boston for a wedding and they are just two really terrific people. Egan's blog is my all-time favorite place to hang out here in Bloggerville.

I've seen love work it's magic all the way across the Atlantic ocean. Michael, living and blogging from England and Jenn, living and blogging from California, USA got together and are now married and living together in California. Michael is an utterly brilliant writer but hasn't spent alot of time blogging over the past year. I miss both of them. I also miss one of the greatest commenter's in the one and only Jammie. Also, I wonder whatever happened to Daisy?

Jessica and Brookem have recently captured my attention with wonderful blogs that I have gotten hooked on. There are still so many great ones out there. I check the blogs on the "blogs I frequent" list to the right each day and while some post less frequently than once before and some are new, and Egan is as prolific as they come - all are a wonderful part of my day.

I Love You all!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Rustic Pizza, Bathroom Stuff, and more

I decided not to cook tonight so I headed on over to the local Papa Gino's and ordered up a Rustic Pizza with sausage; it was quite delicious.

The power of negotiation: remember that I was quoted $1500 on a particular vanity, which I could not afford? After some research and brilliant negotiating with the same guy who quoted $1500, I purchased from him the "$1500 vanity" along with a granite counter top and back splash with a built-in sink and the overpriced Hansgrohe faucet ALL for $1536. I consider it a good deal. The contractor came to take some additional measurements so that I can now purchase the tile.

My cat is spending an overnight at the vet after laser declaw surgery. It had to be done. I called around 2 and they said, "Oliver is doing fine, he's just starting to stand for us now." It got me wondering if an animal's experience waking from anesthesia is similar to that of a human.

There are a couple of new blogs listed on my "Blogs I frequent" list...both are terrific, check them out!

Peace, Love, and Liverwurst.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Sinking

The next major hurdle in the bathroom remodel project is to select a vanity. Ignorant I thought the vanity was the entire sink item. Turns out, the entire sink item is actually comprised of 4 components: the vanity, the vanity top, the sink, and the faucet. Crap!

The contractor made a point that when considering a vanity, one should "spend as much as you can afford" as this is a piece of furniture that gets used and sacrificing quality based on price would be a mistake - he said to stay away from Home Depot or Lowe's as they tend to carry lesser quality product.

So the first place the contractor recommended was my Saturday morning visit. Their selection of vanities (one fourth of the entire sink item) ranged in price from $1800 to around $15,000. Holy fucking crap! I was outta there....

The second place had two vanities that were nice. The first one I asked a price on was $1500 (what's the deal here?) Pleasantly, the second one which I liked first (because it was closer to the front of the store and I saw it first) was heralded by the sales manager as "the best bargain in the entire showroom" "in fact, I have this very vanity in my own wash room at home." The price, only $400. When I questioned the exorbitant difference in price, the answer was simple and logical, the expensive one was made in the USA, the less expensive one was made in China. However, the less expensive vanity is still made of solid wood and quality construction, "or they wouldn't carry it." Without committing as of yet, I think I'm all in on the less expensive one but we'll see for sure in the next day or two.

The next conversation was the vanity top. It was happily a short one as I knew I wanted granite and he offered a good deal on a solid granite top which had the back splash and sink included for $333 but it was only available at that price in two colors. Fortunately,both were acceptable...done deal.

Finally, the faucet - let me just say this. Unless you've recently shopped for one, you can't even begin to imagine how crazy expensive three pieces of metal can be. Just so that you are clear on what comprises the faucet, I am referring to the Hot lever, the cold lever, and the spigot that the water comes out of; that's it. There were two that caught my eye and when I asked the price, I had to leave the store because they were closing and I was in too much shock to continue at that moment.

The first faucet, manufactured by "Hansgrohe" costs $486. The second faucet, manufactured by "Mico", $790. Now as expensive as these are, after nosing around the internet, I've seen faucets range in price from around $150 on the low end to nearly $2,000! I really like the Hansgrohe and aftersome research, I found that Home Depot offers it online for $326. Way more than I ever thought I'd pay for a faucet, but I think it's what I am going with.

So, that's my story. I am set to go see the guy to finalize the deal on the vanity and top at which point I'll ask him if he will match Home Depot on the faucet - if not, I buy that from Home Depot.

That's where I am at.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Podcast Overload

I love the whole podcast thing, I think I may be addicted! I've begun to get better at discriminating which ones I will really listen to and those I wil give a chance to and keep up with or let go of.

Currently, I subscribe to the following:
The Onion Radio News:a laugh-a-day guaranteed.
Real Time with Bill Maher:cause I can't bring myself to pay for HBO and I love this show.
NPR-Technology:I am a techno-geek gadget freak.
NPR-Pop Culture:A new find for me, very interesting thus far.
NPR-Movies:Another new one for me, it hasn't won me over yet but I'l give it a chance. I do love the movies.
NPR-All Songs Considered:One of my faorites. I've been turned on to at least a dozen artists as a result of listening to this show.
Joel Osteen Audio Podcast: While his theological perspective is very different from mine, this guy is a dynamic young preacher who I enjoy listening to.

* * * * * * * * * *
As i type this, I am watching American Chopper, somehow, I seem to have gotten hooked on this show about an upstate New York custom motorcycle shop. I don't know yet what the appeal is but I am very interested in this show.
Scary fact of the day: A Tempurpedic mattress commercial just aired and claims according to the Wall Street Journal, "the average mattress will double in weight in 10 years as a result of being filled with dust mites." I'm itchy just thinking about this as my king size mattress is ever so close to its 10th birthday.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

My VisualDNA

I saw this over at Brooke's blog and thought I'd give it a go.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Have I Mentioned...

Have I mentioned that I am on "vacation" this week? Turns out I have too much vacation time, so I had to use some or it goes away. One of the crappy elements of our union contract is that at the last pay period in April and October, all vacation time in excess of 480 hours is withdrawn from vacation time and added to sick time. You see, at retirement, vacation time is paid out at 100% of its value while sick time is only paid out at 20% of its value. The problem for those of us 20-30 years from retiring are now put in a position where we are in essence discouraged from coming to work.

Do you think there is an official statistic for how often the batteries you have in your drawer are different from the ones you need right when you go to the drawer to retrieve them?

Productive day in terms of getting ready for the bathroom remodel, I special ordered a toilet from home depot, then I purchased a fan/light (also from home depot), I also purchased a water mixing valve for the shower (again, Home Depot), and finally searched for and found the tile. A productive day.

In the previous paragraph, replace all instances of Home Depot with The Home Depot.

Later!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Monday Stuff and a Laugh

Horrible weather on this Patriot's Day holiday in Massachusetts but not horrible enough to keep the 111th running of the Boston Marathon from happening; what dedication.

With the exception of my leaky skylight, which I hope to have replaced withing two weeks, the storm has had no major negative effects on my property.

I hope you've all remembered to do your taxes - today is the deadline (except for MA state returns which is tommorow due to the Patriot's Day holiday).

Check out this killer work from the always funny Will Ferrell:


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Hospitale

As I may have mentioned here, I've been feeling quite crappy for the last few weeks and finally saw the doctor, actually a nurse practitioner, on Tuesday - of course those of you who've been reading along already know that.

Anyway, I started out taking the antibiotic along with a Mucinex DM. In fact, the first night I added a Sudafed PE to the cocktail for maximum relief but the next day, after my morning Antibiotic and Mucinex, began feeling somewhat lethargic and all around trembly. I though perhaps I should remove the Mucinex from the mix and stick to the bacteria fighting power of Bactrim (the antibiotic in question). So the day that I went Bactrim only, I felt pretty good, or as good as one could feel while recovering from the sinus infection and the Bronchitis. At least I wasn't trembly which is one of my least favorite sensations.

So Friday comes along and for a good part of the day, I've got the tremblies again and now it's a bit more frustrating because all I had taken was the antibiotic. As early evening approaches, I'm feeling real crappy and decide to take my blood pressure and it's way high. Tremblies = high blood pressure? Fast forward to bedtime, I go to sleep and awake to the sensation of my heart attempting to pound its way out of my chest. Three times this happened, each more severe than the previous so I woke up my wife and told her that I think I should go to the hospital.

She calls 911, I say please drive me, she hangs up, 911 call back, she tells them I am having chest pain, 3 minutes later there are 5 guys in my house doing an EKG on me on my own couch. Shortly thereafter I am hitching a ride to the ER in an ambulance popping baby aspirin (4 of them - chewables) and a squirt of nitro-glycerin while a medic in stabbing me with an IV and another fitting a nasal cannula with freshly piped in oxygen to my nose. By this time, the EKG machine is providing a constant readout which one of the medics is calling in to the ER in anticipation of my arrival.

Fast forward to arrival at the ER they pull me out on the gurney, wheel me into the ER, and the first face I see is that of a nurse who is a former student at the school where I work - slightly awkward even under these conditions. More EKG's are taken, Blood is drawn, pushing, probing, nurses, doctors, questioning, then, the waiting. It was 1:30 AM or so at this point, my wife and daughter are in the room, I have the fresh oxygen in my nose and the EKG probes on my chest, and I'm settled down a bit. Several people say that all seems to be fine right now but we need to determine if this was a "cardiac event" of which the first determining factor will be a "cardiac enzyme test that will show in the blood - we should have preliminary result in about an hour."

Two hours or so later, the doctor comes in and said the initial test showed negative but they want to admit me overnight for observation and additional testing. After a short time, I send the wife and kid packing and tough it out alone as it takes another 7 hours or so before I get a bed in a room - and let me tell ya, the gurneys in the ER along with the noise aren't exactly conducive to sleep or relaxation.

So, I get up to the room in the 9 am range and almost immediately visited by a series of nurses sticking needles in me for blood and to inject medicines. Dr. Buckman comes by for a consultation and then it's time to meet the first of two colorful cardiologists who name I forget other than it was an O'Irish name and he had a thick brogue.

Around noon, all the other patients are being served something resembling food items but I am denied as the cardiology team is insistent that I take a stress test once the second round of blood work is complete. I am by this point exhausted and starving and my breath was so funky, I was offended. I joked to the nurse that in hotels, they stick a mint under the pillow, they should do that in hospitals where it would be more useful. Two seconds later, I was sucking on a starlight mint courtesy of nurse Bev.

About oneish, I get wheeled oer to the treadmill, get a horrible dry shave to the chest so that the probes will work properly. At this point I joke to the nurse who dry shaved my chest that long after she forgets me, I'll be remembering her while scratching my chest like a monkey. Anyway, I get through the stress test and the person running the test machine said it seemed fine but the cardiologist will be along in your room shortly to discuss it with you.

About 2 oclock, Dr. Sheihkh (pronounced Shake) comes in and tells me that since my cardiac exam, my two blood tests, and my stress test were all fine, this wasn't a cardiac event. based on the sound of my lungs and the severity of the bronchitis, it is likely to have been a Broncho-Spasm - "which can feel very much like the way your pain did." Anyway, Dr. Buckman decides it's time to put me on a mild blood pressure medication so I am discharged with a prescription and assurance that my heart is solid. I was kind of expecting to get wheeled out on a chair but evidently that is no longer a requirement.

Other than than, my weekend was reasonably uneventful.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Thinking About You

Once we were friends and our friendship kept us close
we got to hang out and talk alot - and oh, the laughs we had
Much time has passed since those days
I haven't seen you in more days than I can still count
but not one of those days has gone by without a thought of you

Life has its ways of pushing and pulling
there are reasons beyond understanding why I am here and
you are wherever you are
but friendship lives on regardless

I miss you like crazy
I hope that someday we can get together again
and talk, talk about good things,
and laugh - how I miss the laughter.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Overheard

This morning, I felt well enough in my recovery to take 5 minutes to venture out to the nearest Dunkin' Donuts for the first breakfast I've eaten in about a week. My appetite is beginning to return which I guess means the antibiotics are slowly defeating the ugly bacteria in my sinuses and lungs.

The particular Dunkin' Donuts in question is attached to a gas station convenience store. I was surprised at how long the Dunkin' line was at 11:15 in the morning but I took my place in line and waited patiently as I contemplated the sausage, egg, and cheese on a croissant (I was indulging) washed down with my medium decaf with cream.

While waiting, two woman with clipboards walked in and waited to speak to the counter attendant from the gas station, who was busy selling a pack of Marlborough to someone who I would bet wasn't of legal age to purchase them. Anyway, once he tendered the cigarette transaction, the two ladies approached him and one looked at him and said, "Hi, we're from RJ Reynolds Tobacco and we're subbing for your regular guy, may we come back there and service you?" You just gotta love the English language.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Medicine Man (or is that, Medicine Person)

My sickly ways persisted to the point where I sought medical advice yesterday. Of course since I wanted to see the doctor on such short notice, I couldn't, but I did get to see a Nurse Practitioner. I hope Dr. Chau was away or off - I didn't see him there so that at least makes me feel better about not seeing him.

Anyway, after a series of questions and a touch of probing, I was diagnosed with a probable sinus infection and perhaps a touch of bronchitis. Following the diagnosis I was given a prescription, or rather a prescription for an antibiotic was electronically transmitted via PDA to the pharmacy of my choice. After the prescription was sent, I was ordered to drink lots of fluids and get plenty of rest because this could also be viral, in which case the antibiotics won't cure it.

Of course what the NP failed to state and what most people ignore is that taking antibiotics unnecessarily is not a good thing. You see, over time, the body can build an immunity to the effects of the antibiotics ultimately rendering them useless as the mighty fighters of bacterial infections they are.

However, the insurers who hold tight strings on the medical community feel it is too expensive and time consuming to take an x-ray or do a blood test or some other test to be certain. SAD!

As for me, 1 day into the 10 day there is a positive effect, so perhaps the gamble was worth it - in my case. Hillary! Help!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Batman Begins, Out Sick Continues

While convalescing at home today, I had the opportunity to watch the movie Batman Begins which I absolutely loved. Christian Bale was magnificient as Bruce Wayne/Batman and the whole story was really terrific.

Some other items I learned while out sick:
Larry Birkhead needs to learn about contraception.
My cat really enjoys sleeping on my legs.
Mucinex DM is quite effective.
The meaning of the expression "horse pills".
The USPS is going to be offering a "Forever Stamp", get yours here.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter and Stuff

Happy Easter!

So, I received an email from the bath contractor today, on Easter, asking if I wanted to move forward because one of his other proposals decided they wanted to move forward faster. Why does home ownership require such decisions, which are blurred in my current sickly condition?

While I haven't had alot of experience with contractors, I can say that this guy is by far the most professional - and I just need to put this job behind me. In fact, the first guy who I gave a chance to was the guy I've used for my kitchen floors and my hardwoods. He is a nice guy but very unprofessional and unreliable in the grand scheme of things. I can't tell you how many times during the wood floor install he actually "called out sick". I like him personally and will give him a chance at some future jobs but I'm convinced it's time for a change when it comes to this bathroom project.

My throat currently feels as if I swallowed a hundred or so double-edged razor blades and they are all lodged firmly in my throat. I must go gently sip my Sleepytime tea with lemon now - goodbye.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Ailing for Easter/Bathroom Remodeling Issues

I've been running a fever on and off all day and I've got a horrible cough. It sucks big time!

I've got a second quote on my bathroom remodel and was please that it was close to three thousand dollars less than the first quote I received. I spoke to three references that were provided and all had glowing reviews and ready to get things going with contractor number 2, I sent a lengthy list of questions about some of the things I would need to purchase.

When reading his responses, there was one thing that caught my attention. Evidently, there was a miscommunication about how much of the bathroom would be tiled and after reading his response, and mostly that it will now cost an additional $2,000, I am feeling depressed on top of my feeling sick.

I actually hate that I am remodeling this bathroom now in the first place as it wasn't anywhere near next on the list of projects. In fact, here is the last version of the list:

Wood trim/doors/stairs
Living room furniture
Window treatments/Downstairs
Deck/Patio Door/Back Yard
Vinyl siding/gutter/garage doors
Landscape/Front
Family room furniture
Master bedroom furniture/mattress
Victoria's room furniture
Guest room furniture
Driveway reseal
Master bath
Main bath
Basement ceiling
Kitchen
Finish garage
In fact, the master bath was 12th on the list, costs about 75% more than I originally expected, and costs more than the first 3 things and part of the 4th thing on the list. FUCK!
Gone for now...Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Ta-Dah

I am currently listening and absolutely loving the Scissor Sisters CD or the same name as this post. I had seen the Scissor Sisters on television a few times and while I found them entertaining, their visual appearance is sometimes distracting from the music. Happily, I can say that after listening to the CD, I can say the music speaks for itself. This CD is a quite spectacular blend of classic disco and synth/pop along with some heavy R&B influence and even a touch of Leo Sayer falsetto. I love this CD - there, I said it.

I'm sick right now - bad cough - gotta go.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Silly Bus

I've been teaching college level credit courses since 1999. I teach because it's what I am supposed to do - plain and simple. Over the years, I suspect I've learned as much, if not more than I've taught.

It's remarkable how many "stories" you hear and while it may seem simple at first, the task of having to filter these stories (from as classic as my dog peed on it to just about anything you can imagine) and act accordingly.

What I have learned to do over the years is become better versed on college policy and be as specific as possible about both the college policy and my class policy in the syllabus. It then comes down to enforcing the syllabus by holding everyone in the class equally accountable.

There have been many times where enforcing the policies in the syllabus help weed out the slackers effectively. Sadly, there are occasions where a student has every desire to work hard and be a good student but real difficulties in their personal life inevitably and inevitably, I need to withdraw a good student. I always hate when that happens but in our sadly litigious world, it just has to be that way.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Put Another Notch in the Crazy Belt

I've read a number of Rolling Stones/Keith Richards stories to realize what a sick motherfucker hat dude is. However, just when I thought I had a handle on his nuttiness, I read this...

LONDON -- Keith Richards has acknowledged consuming a raft of illegal substances in his time, but this may top them all.

In comments published Tuesday, the 63-year-old Rolling Stones guitarist said he had snorted his father's ashes mixed with cocaine.

"The strangest thing I've tried to snort? My father. I snorted my father," Richards was quoted as saying by British music magazine NME.

"He was cremated and I couldn't resist grinding him up with a little bit of blow. My dad wouldn't have cared," he said. "... It went down pretty well, and I'm still alive."

4/4/2007 - Another Day, Yet Another Notch

Today it looks like Keith is taking it all back...

LONDON -- Keith Richards was joking when he claimed to have snorted his father's ashes along with cocaine, a spokesman said Wednesday.
"It was an off-the-cuff remark, a joke, and it is not true. File under April Fool's joke," said Bernard Doherty of LD Communications, which represents the Rolling Stones.
Doherty declined to say any more about why Richards made the statement in an interview with NME, a pop music magazine.

At this point I am trying to figure out if it's nuttier if the sotry were true or to have just made it up. WOW!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Opening Day 2007

I had the day off from work today and as I type this, my New York Yankees are playing the first game of the 2007 season. Currently, in the bottom of the 7th, tied at 5, the Yankees are playing a fairly sloppy fame - but Hey, it's early. A-Rod just scored the go-ahead run; it's 6-5 Yankees!

We are soon to embark on a bathroom (master bath) rennovation project that will start with replacing the leaky, old, crappy skylight with one that would actually pass current building code and aditionally offer high tech glass and the sort. Soon after, total demolition of the current bathroom and a custom tile shower stall will replace the prefabricated crappy shower stall currently in place along with a ventilation system that was left out on the original construction. I can't get over how friggin' expensive it is but it needs to be done. Without ventilation the mold growth has been difficult to keep up with and in the long run it will be cleaner and healthier.

It's cold out today. I still love my Roomba, Apple needs to make iTunes a good program, and Hips Don't Lie.