Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A Contractor with a Work Ethic

The bathroom contractor started work today and I was amazed when I got home how much had been accomplished. The contractor who did my hardwood floors a couple of years ago is a real nice guy who I like, but he's super lazy; he actually called out sick a few times while he was doing the job.

When I left the house this morning after meeting with he contractor it was about 9ish. By 4pm he was gone and all that is left in my bathroom are the mere studs. He even thoroughly cleaned up all of the dust and remains. WOW!

I took before shots this morning and will shoot post day 1 shots before day 2 begins and overcoming laziness, will post them here.

What an impressive thought, a contractor with a work ethic. Here's to it's continuance throuhout the job.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World

I like Albert Brooks alot. Enough to give this movie a real chance and while I didn't hate it, I didn't love it; and I really wanted to.

The thing that bothers me most though is I'm no sure if I am just being selfish because the movie didn't end the way I wanted, or rather predicted that it should.

The premise was really funny as was the back story, but neither really ever came to fruition. The ending didn't really happen, and in my opinion needed to (even if it wasn't the one I thought would happen).

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Memorial Day Weekend? So What!

Thursday was a very long day. I was over at the Wellesley Hills campus by 7:30 going through emails, drinking my medium Dunkin Decaf with cream, and helping some students until the start of the faculty meeting. There was a continental breakfast served at 8:30 before the faculty meeting killed off an hour and a half plus.

After the faculty meeting, "Professional Day" began with a central theme around safety and security (in the wake of the Va. Tech. shooting). My boss, my colleague, and I gave a brief presentation on some IT stuff and the day was done - at work.

Thursday evening, (after dinner, which I prepared )we were scheduled to go the house of some friends from church who were hosting one of many get-togethers so that the parishioner's and the new priest can have some more intimate time together to get to know each other. It was a very nice evening but I was exhausted by the time we left (just before 9).

Friday was a usual work day for me- though it was a bit lighter than most.

Saturday I took Victoria for a haircut. She had decided that she was going short (shoulder length, down from butt length) and that she wanted to donate the cut hair to "Locks of Love". So, the haircut was done and I spent part of the rest of the day unsuccessfully attempting to remove the broken burners from my grill so that I can replace them. The darn screws are rusted in and I stripped a couple of them; F#@K! That evening I did some laundry and watched the tube.

I haven't yet mentioned that my wife worked 16 hours on Saturday so I didn't really see her much except for when she cam home to shower, change, and eat dinner.

Today I was up early for church. I left early so that I'd have time to grab a newspaper and also, it's my turn to serve "coffee hour". Coffee hour, fellowship, in this weather is actually lemonade and something sweet served in the memorial room at the doors that open up into the courtyard. Of course, when I got there early to make the lemonade, there was nothing to make lemonade with! So I scooted to the store and several Mr. Bean moments later decided to return with pre-made lemonade which I stored in the refrigerator until after service.

After church and fellowship, I headed home where Victoria was set to have a play date with a friend from school. What a joy that was! Oh, Lucy did another double shift, 16 hour day today! I'm a bit tired now and still have a few things I really need to get done like some bookkeeping and the sort. I actually forgot for a short time that tomorrow is a holiday.

To make a long story just a wee bit longer, Memorial day weekend was no big deal for me.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Television Commercial

My wife, a nurse and a student, recently had an acting gig in a commercial for Johnson & Johnson's campain for the nursing profession. I first saw it air on CNN, which was cool. Here's what it looks like: (I just tested this and it seems to either take forever or never, not sure yet, load - so if you wanna see it before your next birthday, click here).

Edited 5/25: I pulled the google player as it just don't seem to work. Use the link above for quick, easy access.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Reality Closers

Dancing with the Stars - Great competition last night. Great performances. I want Apolo to win (which may be the gayest thing I've said on this blog to date). Joey is talented, but he has professional dance/choreography experience. Taking the learning curve into account, Apolo is the most improved and better of the two. Leila did very well but she's not at the same level as either Apolo or Joey.

The Bachelor - I don't watch this show but the wife wanted to watch the finale. I'd say it was entertaining but that would be a lie though there were many opportunities, many of which I took advantage of, to punch up the dialog with my own improvisational wit. This show really belongs on the lifetime network after the infomercial about pink lemondade colonics.

American Idol - My favorite this season, Melinda, is now gone. With Blake and Jordin left, I'm kind of split. Both are unique and very different from each other. I think what I am actually saying is that while I like alot of what both have done thus far this season, I really don't care which of the two wins because Melinda is my winner.

Enough about this. Goonight, and good luck.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Throwbacks at Natick High

I need to start by saying I like the town of Natick, at least what I know of it. I know several good people from there...this post is not a diss...and I'll repeat myself on this but...

Sounds kind of like a cheesy, D-list, horror film, eh? Actually, it's not too far off as I spent my afternoon is a surrealistic crowd filled with woman whose 80's hairstyles were a throwback to a grittier and downright uglier time as far as hairstyles go.

I found myself in the town of Natick to attend my daughter's dance recital which was held at the high school. Most of the students at that dance school, also in Natick, are also residents of the town and as such, the mothers of those students are "townies". Now I know a number of people from Natick and my purpose here is not to generalize, only to report one very specific observation; that is, a large group of the mothers had exorbitantly huge hair. In fact, the woman sitting in front of me not only had big hair, but an enormous head to carry it with.

The whole recital thing makes zero sense to me. It pissed me off that I had to spend $15 for a ticket to see my kid dance after spending $500+ to the dancing school for her classes and the costume. I must confess there were some entertaining moments, mostly the really small kids looking super cute.

So Natickians, whassup with the hair? Is this a norm for your town or just a one shot deal or just a small click of throwbacks? Lemme know!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Poetry in Motion

I received this email from a former colleague that I new I had to share. Of course, I don't know of its origin or validity, but it is quite interesting:

Subject: Sharon Olds, Poet, declines White House Invitation

The power of poetry In a culture like ours, one sometimes forgets the power of a poet's words. Here is an open letter from the poet Sharon Olds to Laura Bush declining the invitation to read & speak at the National Book Critics Circle Award in Washington ,DC. Feel free to forward it if you feel more people may want to read it. Sharon Olds is one of most widely read & critically acclaimed poets living in America today.

Laura Bush
First Lady, The White House

Dear Mrs. Bush,
I am writing to let you know why I am not able to accept your kind invitation to give a presentation at the National Book Festival on Sept 24, or to attend your dinner at the Library of Congress or the breakfast at the White House. In one way, it's a very appealing invitation. The idea of speaking at a festival attended by 85,000 people is inspiring! The possibility of finding new readers is exciting for a poet in personal terms, & in terms of the desire that poetry serve its constituents--all of us who need the pleasure,& the inner & outer news, it delivers. And the concept of a community of readers & writers has long been dear to my heart. As a professor of creative writing in the graduate school of a major university, I have had the chance to be a part of some magnificent outreach writing workshops in which our students have become teachers. Over the years, they have taught in a variety of settings: a women's prison, several NYC public high schools, an oncology ward for children. Our initial program, at a 900-bed state hospital for the severely physically challenged, has been running now for 20 years, creating along the way lasting friendships between young MFA candidates & their students--long-term residents at the hospital who, in their humor, courage & wisdom, become our teachers. When you have witnessed someone non-speaking & almost non-moving spell out, with a toe, on a big plastic alphabet chart, letter by letter, his new poem, you have experienced, close up, the passion & essentialness of writing. When you have held up a small cardboard alphabet card for a writer who is completely non-speaking & non-moving (except for the eyes), & pointed first to the A, then the B, then C, then D, until you get to the 1st letter of the 1st word of the first line of the poem she has been composing in her head all week, & she lifts her eyes when that letter is touched to say yes, you feel with a fresh immediacy the human drive for creation, self-expression, accuracy, honesty & wit--& the importance of writing, which celebrates the value of each person's unique story & song. So the prospect of a festival of books seemed wonderful to me. I thought of the opportunity to talk about how to start up an outreach program. I thought of the chance to sell some books, sign some books & meet some of the citizens of Washington, DC. I thought that I could try to find a way, even as your guest, with respect, to speak about my deep feeling that we should not have invaded Iraq, & to declare my belief that the wish to invade another culture & another country - with the resultant loss of life & limb for our brave soldiers, & for the non-combatants in their home terrain - did not come out of our democracy but was instead a decision made "at the top" & forced on the people by distorted language, & by un-truths. I hoped to express the fear that we have begun to live in the shadows of tyranny & religious chauvinism - the opposites of the liberty, tolerance & diversity our nation aspires to.

I tried to see my way clear to attend the festival in order to bear witness - as an American who loves her country and its principles & its writing - against this undeclared & devastating war. But I could not face the idea of breaking bread with you. I knew that if I sat down to eat with you, it would feel to me as if I were condoning what I see to be the wild, high handed actions of the Bush Administration. What kept coming to the fore of my mind was that I would be taking food from the hand of the First Lady who represents the Administration that unleashed this war & that wills its continuation, even to the extent of permitting "extraordinary rendition": flying people to other countries where they will be tortured for us. So many Americans who had felt pride in our country now feel anguish & shame, for the current regime of blood, wounds & fire. I thought of the clean linens at your table, the shining knives & the flames of the candles, & I could not stomach it.

Sincerely,
Sharon Olds

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Finals

Today was the last day of class and I gave my final exam. Actually, because I completed the course early, students had the option of doing part of the final last week and completing it this evening. I had my geek-filled Excel spreadsheet all ready and waiting for the final grades at which point the final grade computation was quite simple and quick.

Melinda is gone from Idol. She was, is my favorite as a singer but I can understand why she doesn't fit the "American Idol" formula. I think she'll be successful if she chooses to be - she really is an outstanding singer.

It's a tough choice between the Blake and Jordin. Jordin is the better singer and fits the formula better. However, Blake is very unique. I really have no concept as to how to make those beat box sounds.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Responding to Joy

Joy's most recent blog post was about the current status of Dancing with the Stars, a show that I watch regularly (useful information should you choose to roast me). While I would have loved to respond there, for some reason, the response/comment mechanism was not available, so I am commenting here on my blog.

Joy, I think the level of competition at the final four was a good as anyone could ever have imagined. While Ian, which should be spelled Eye-An, admittedly had a great week of performances, he had previously been consistently stiff and week. I agree with you about his smarminess and his lack of chemistry with Cheryl (who I would imagine it to be impossible not to have chemistry with. In fact, I have chemistry with her just through the TV set LOL.)

I could see any of the three finalists winning and not being upset though my favorite pairing is Apolo and Juliane - who really has done some extraordinary choreography, especially for a 17 year old.

I think that Leila is a winner wither way because I have only known her as a rough and rugged boxer. through this show I got to see her feminine and human sides, both of which are wonderful.

Taker care Joy - see ya at the finals.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Sleepy Time

It's been a while since I posted one of Sam Allis' comumns. Allis writes a column called "The Observer" for the Boston Globe and it's just one of those columns you go out of your way to look for each Sunday.

What follows is this past Sunday's colum which revolves around the daunting task of purchasing a mattress - one of my least favorite things to do - enjoy.

I'll just sleep on itChoosing a mattress can be exhaustingBy Sam Allis, Globe Columnist May 6, 2007

No one sits bolt upright in bed and announces, "I feel like buying a new mattress today." No one.
In a world of college tuition and mortgages, mattresses rank somewhere south of andirons on the must-buy list. And in those rare moments when microscopic bits of disposable income surface, what are you going to do -- go skiing or buy a mattress?

Sooner or later, though, everyone caves. They have to. It's like a hip replacement. Some do it before the topography of the old mattress resembles Monument Valley. Others don't. Some are driven out by tiny insects. Others stay the course like George Bush.

I confess I've slept on the same mattress since late in Ronald Reagan's first term in the White House. I was faintly embarrassed about this until a friend from Wellesley told me she and her husband have slept on the same one since he was in medical school.
Unless you move or break up with someone, your mattress is apt to remain as invisible as your shoetrees.

Gary, my personal sleep technician at Jordan's Furniture, has seen people show up whose mattresses are 40 years old. (Gary wears one of those fab Marcus Welby M.D. white coats.) One lady boasted she'd had hers for 50 years, held together at one corner by duct tape. My kind of woman.

The Observer has been urged, strongly, to get a new one, so I motored into the wilds of Natick last week to find The Perfect Mattress. That's when I met Gary, along with John at Mattress Giant, Ted -- "Ted For The Bed" -- in the Sleep Zone at Bob's Discount Furniture, and Spencer at Sleepy's. I call this lineup the murderer's row of mattresses across scenic Route 9 from the captivating Natick Mall.

(Forgive me, the mall has a new name -- "Natick Collection." There also are condos being built behind it called "Nouvelle at Natick." Whoever dreamed this name up must be the same person who arrived at "Alero" for Oldsmobile. Can you imagine living voluntarily next to the Natick Mall? Maybe kick back and hum "Country Road" as you make coffee in the morning?) But I digress. The mattress showrooms are all unnerving. You think, "Maybe I've entered an Ambien sleep study." Eventually you gird your loins and try one. You pitch and roll and flop onto your stomach like a beached whale. There is no elegant way to do this. I know because I saw other shoppers who also resembled baby belugas on dry land.

What you look is weird. You're performing an intimate rite in public. In any other store, you'd be removed in four-point restraints. But after the third trial, you say, the hell with it. You become unembarrassable.

The first truth of mattress shopping is: The more you look, the less you know. If you're a conscientious little beaver like me, you bring a notebook to record reactions, model names, prices. But it's all for naught because you retain not one of the different joy rides in your muscle memory.

It's like having 500 TV channels. You end up watching seven. The answer is to have two kinds of mattresses in the showroom: firm and soft, like toothbrushes. What's in them is none of your business. If you like one, buy it. If not, get a futon.

I review my notes to find that I apparently liked the Beautyrest Atkins X Firm . Ditto for Jordan's own Tranquility Ultra Firm . Down at Mattress Giant, John steered me to a Kingsdown Monarch that eased my fevered brow.

He also showed me a Sealy Bellson that had cashmere on top. I can't remember why that's good, but how bad can cashmere be? John claims that a big hotel chain uses the Beautyrest Relaxation .

"Ted For The Bed" over at Bob's showed me the Serendipity Plush Firm that felt fine. His mattresses come with a non pro rated guarantee, which sounded ominous until he explained it to me. The comfy Bobby Bear was his best, but I could never sleep on a Bobby Bear.

Spencer at Sleepy's showed me a Serta Perfect Night I purportedly swooned over. I passed its Vera Wang line too. You can see where the woman is going -- first wedding dresses, then mattresses. Next has to be baby clothes.

You sink further down the rabbit hole with dialectics on foam. Memory or latex? You start believing your future depends on the right answer. There are, I learn, hypo allergenic mattresses. What do I do with that? I know dogs that are hypo allergenic. By the time I hit Sleepy's, I talk a good game. I go up to Spencer and say, "I want something firm, with plush, pocketed coils, latex, and some memory." He knows instantly I have no idea what I'm talking about.

The second truth of mattress shopping is that any decision you make after lying on one for two minutes is laughable. You need to sleep on it for a week, rendering this whole exercise worthless. Even if you do a mattress exchange in the first month, alpha neurotics will wallow in buyer's remorse for decades to come.

Today, I'm back where I started. I have no idea what to buy. Thank God I gave up on perfection back in third grade. Anything is better than what I have now. And, as the guy said who saw me leave Sleepy's in a fugue state, "It's a bed."

Sam Allis can be reached at allis@globe.com

No Laughing Matter

Today started out pretty good
We all got to laughing
I laughed so hard and so much
It was so wonderful
that is, until I realized when the last time
I had laughed so much was...
When I last saw you.

Do you remember how we used to laugh?
Do you remember all of those fun times?
Do you have any clue how much you are missed?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Updating...

So I chose to use the "update" feature on blogger and without getting technical, it took away my fancy schmancy logo at the top of the blog replacing it with drab straight text. Once I figure out how to replace it with my snazzy logo, I will.

I spent some time cutting boxes and cardboard to the required 2'x2' size for recycling. There was quite a mountain of cardboard in the garage but it's getting under control.

I traded in lots of cans today for $13.00 in cold hard cash.

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore!

Sunday Update - Obviously I figured out how to get the logo back - it was actually easy.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Post Suck

I've sucked at posting these past two weeks. I have and make no excuses for this either. I could easily say I'm too busy...as if you're not - I just can't be that insulting to you, my dear reader.

This coming Wednesday, I'll be getting injected with a radioactive substance, getting scanned, running on a treadmill, then getting scanned again. It's called a Thalium Stress Test and will determine if there are any cardiac issues that I need to be concerned with. My recent stint in the hospital led to a series of cardiac tests, this will conclude the tests if it confirms that my ticker is functioning properly. Of course I suspect it will be the first in a long line if something bad shows up but I'd rather not consider that option.

I ate dinner at Bugaboo Creek Steakhouse tonight - it's way overpriced.

I am still loving my new exploration of the music of Fountains of Wayne.

A radio personality referred to the recently voted of Lakisha from American Idol as "Shrek looking" - that's some funny stuff right there.

Happy Mother's day!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Dramatic Blog Post Title Not Included

It was just a few weeks ago I stumbled across a new blog called "My Self Portrait" written by a woman names Jessica. Jessica is a very talented writer who cut no corners, told it her way. While arguably risque or adult oriented, it was brutally honest, very real, and so very well written. Jessica, I don't know if you're still out there reading - if you are, I hope that you are well. I hope you find your way back to bloggerville sometime but even if you don't, be happy and may life bring you all that you wish for.

I recently got hooked on a band called Fountains of Wayne. I saw part of a concert they did on an HD channel I have called RAVE. I was instantly hooked on their pop sound and immediately bought 4 of their CD's.

I've taken delivery of the tiles for the bathroom remodel and purchased a light fixture over the weekend. All that remains to be purchased is "accessories" such as towel bar(s), toilet paper holder, etc. Also, once the room is gutted, I may consider upping the insulation factor. It's just so ridiculous what this project is costing for such a small room - very scary!

Monday, May 07, 2007

The Aches & Pains of Victory

I completed the 20 mile Walk for Hunger yesterday in my best time of the four years I've done the walk (4 hrs. 48 mins.). It was my personal goal to complete it in under five hours, so I am hapy about that. I am pretty convinced that it's close to impossible to complete it in much less without an occasional jog, modest run, or a short sprint here and there (unless of course you have 60 inch legs). The best news of all is that I raised $755.00 for Project Bread - that makes me happy.

I made the very big mistake of entering this walk extremely unprepared. Last year, at the finish and even the evening and day after, I felt pretty good. Today, my ankles feel like broken springs, I had shin splints earlier on, I ache from the waist down- but I wouldn't trade any of it.


My cat Oliver is getting back to his spry self after recovering from his laser declaw surgery. He's completed all of his medication and has only another day or two he can use his "normal" kittly litter (he hates, yet tolerates the stuff he's using now).

I'm out for now.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Drained

As the semester comes to a close, I must confess that I am drained, exhausted, wiped out. In my class tonight, I completed all of the course material and now must prepare my students for the final, that is, those who haven't earned an exemption from the final - which I now need to compute.

My pal John, and his sister Danielle are hosting their annual fundraiser for breast cancer research in honor of their Mom, Carol who was one of the most beautiful people I ever knew - this Friday night. I so dearly wish I could make the trip down but that unfortunately can't happen. For those of you in NYC that wanna have some fun and contribute to a good cause, here's the info: Metro 53, E. 53rd St. Between 1st and 2nd Aves.(www.metro53.com)-Open Bar, Appetizers and DJ-$60 Per Person. Alternatively, if you wish to make a contribution, click here.

Meanwhile, I'm the least physically ready for the 20 mile Walk for Hunger than in previous years but having done three, I hope that knowing what I am in for will compensate.

Joshua Bell - way cool.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Fo Shizzle

I don't know why I like that whole snoop dogg talk -it makes no sense at all to me but it sounds cool, especially when it's snoop dogg himself speaking it.

This coming Sunday I'll be participating in the Walk for Hunger. This year will be the 4th time I've done the walk in the last 5 years; 20 miles through the beautiful city of Boston and through some of the western suburbs. If you've got some spare cash that you've been looking to donate to a good cause, click the picture to the right.

As I type this, the American Idol contestants that remain are about to take on the music of Bon Jovi. This reminds me of a parody I started to write back in the 80's for the song "You Give Love a Bad Name." The parody was by the band An-chovy and the song - You Give Pizza, a Bad Taste. I wish I could remember any of the few lyrics I wrote at the time, but hey, we're talking 20 freaking years.

I have a major jones right now for some BNL, If I had a Million Dollars.

Has anyone seen the newer Ben & Jerry's flavor "Steven Colbert's Americone Dream" in the stores yet? I need me some!