Saturday, June 30, 2007

Davis Farmland and more Jib Jab Genius

Today we hung out at Davis' Farmland located deep in the stix of Sterling, Massachusetts. It's a pretty neat family oriented place with lots of animals to pet and feed as well as a little water park that kids seem to love so much.

My damn Yankees are really pathetic this season.

I really need for one of these home improvement shows to help out with some of my projects on the waiting list. I haven't updated you on the bathroom remodel of late so here's the scoop...The contractor is having some nasty back problems, so bad that he has little control of his left leg. So while he has been working, he's been working very slowly and with the help of his son. It's coming out great, but very slow - we are 4 full weeks in and at least 2-3 weeks from completion.

Finally, here's one of the latest videos from the geniuses at Jib Jab, it really is quite amazing:


Thursday, June 28, 2007

This Post Includes the "C" Word, the Bad One!

Anne Coulter is a normal man's nightmare, a hot cunt! This bitch is so darn lethal I almost find it hard to believe that even she believes the shit that come out of her mouth. Someone need the fuck the conservative right out of that cunt.

Now that I got that off my chest, I've been waxing nostalgic over board games. In particular, the quest for a particular board game of my childhood called Payday. Turns out it's out-of-print. The version I played came out in 1975. There was a version release in the 90's and evidently, a 30th anniverary version, both variations of the original - which is what I wanted to get my hands on. In comes eBay and $5 (plus $8 shipping) later, I am the proud owner of this...





To round out my 70's revival, I borrowed this CD box set from the library and now am enjoying it via my iPod:

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tragedy, Comedy, and White Zinfandel

Perhaps you've seen the story of the professional wrestler Chris Benoit? I watched wrestling as a kid and still occasionally flip it on. I remember when Benoit was first coming up on TV wresting. I understand how kids watch these guys and get into the characters. The magnitude of the tragedy that happened with Benoit in beyond what any child fan of wrestling should have to understand. How incredibly sad.

I am a subscriber to SIRIUS satellite radio and one of the channels I love listening to is RAW DOG COMEDY. With the exception of a couple of formatted shows, the channel airs bits from stand-up comedians. I am a huge fan of stand-up comedy and of course, I love to laugh, so I listen to this channel quite a bit. Anyway, the other day I heard a bit by a comic named Ron Shock, whom I've never heard of before. The bit was called, "Ball-Shrinking Cold" - way funny! I have to learn more about this dude.

I was completely prejudiced against White Zinfandel for a long time. I recently gave it a whirl and thought, hey, not bad. I'm not prejudiced anymore.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Tolerance

I hate when that happens. When I allow life and its commitments to overwhelm me to the point where I blow up at the people I love the most.

I hate when I feel so darn blue that I just spontaneously cry and don't really know why.

I hate when life shifts the lives of people I love around and as a result I can't get to see them and laugh with them, talk with them, just hang out with them.
* * * * * * * * * *
Kathy Griffin entertains me.
The Howard Stern Show continues to be incredible.
I simply can't get enough reality television.
Please keep Sprizee's dad and Brookem's grandma in your thoughts and prayers.
I have nothing else worth saying right now...goodnight.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Grillin' with Mr. Me

It took from May 2006 until a month or so ago for me to get the parts covered under warranty from the manufacturer of my grill in order to get it working again. I managed to get the rusted in screws and remove all of the old burners and clean out the guts. In went new burners, flame tamers, and stainless grids and once again, my love for grilling, grilled fod, and most importantly, the bility to grill had returned.

One of my favorite things to grill is corn and I've developed a wonderful method/recipe that I can't help but share. First off, please don't be one of those people who remove the husks at the market and brings home only the corn on the cob; this is ridiculous, nonsensical, and even more, ridiculous. Feel around the husks looking for a uniform firmness and you should end up with good corn.

When you are ready to prep the corn, pull back the husk but don't remove it (you can remove a few from the outer layer), just pull it back evenly around the cob until you get to the silk (that's the hairy filaments that cover the corn). Remove all of the silks and tie back the husks with a piece of butcher's twine (or wrap them in a strip of foil). Not only does this look decorative, but the tied back husks also serve as a handle of sorts.

Now for the F L A V O R !

4 parts butter (I use Smart Balance)
1/2 Part Dijon mustard
1 part honey
1 part mayonnaise

Mix well to an easily spreadable consistency then spread well on corn and follow it up with salt and pepper.

Place buttered, seasoned, ears on grill turning regularly. After the corn begins to caramelize, start basting with remaining butter mixture.

Enjoy - this rocks.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Lemony Wordplay and Mediocre Haiku

I just started the 13th and final book in the Lemony Snicket series and happened upon what I consider a brilliant wordplay to kick off chapter 3. I have to share it with you here:

"As I'm sure you know, there are many words in our mysterious and confusing language that can mean two completely different things. The word 'bear,' for instance, can refer to a rather husky mammal found in the woods, as in the sentence 'The bear moved quietly toward the camp counselor, who was too busy putting on lipstick to notice,' but it can also refer to how much someone can handle, as in the sentence 'The loss of my camp counselor is more than I can bear.' The word 'yarn' can refer both to a colorful strand of wool, as in the sentence 'His sweater was made of yarn,' and to a long and rambling story, as in the sentence 'His yarn about how he lost his sweater almost put me to sleep.' The word 'hard' can refer both to something that is difficult and something that is firm to the touch, and unless you come across a sentence like 'The bears bear hard hard yarn yarns' you are unlikely to be confused."

That my friends is brilliance at its most brilliant.

Now for some silliness:

Reality show
I just can not get enough
I'm hooked, yes I am

My cat Oliver
Always meowing, so darn cute
Likes his belly rubbed

Sunday newspaper
Absorbed in the world's problems
Give me the comics

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

You Can't Judge A Book By It's Cover...or Can You?

I was perusing the "Summer Reading" table expertly set up by our librarian when I stumbled across this book and being in the juvenile humor mode that I typically am in, the title struck me. And while the book isn't about a man going down on anyone, I found it extremely hilarious when I typed the book title into Amazon.com and received the following results (you'll need to click on the picture below to enlarge it enough to read it):

Monday, June 18, 2007

My So Called Broken Heart – Part 2


May 30th, 2007 – 3:15pm.
At first the nurse brings me in to back and takes my weight. I dropped 9 pounds in 13 days simply out of fear. Just about every food item I looked at I did so as if it was a murderer ready to take my life should I consume it; so I didn't. I stuck to yogurt, kasha, tofu, and salads with a touch of EVOO. My blood pressure, which I expect to be good these days considering I take medication for it was teetering from nervousness. The doctor then came into the examining room and listed with his stethoscope in a variety of locations about my body. It was time to go to his office and talk.
Dr. B reviewed carefully the results of the tests I had taken along with past history and a wealth of notes drawn from my case. He said that the data is somewhat conflicting because while there was an "incident", there is no real presence of symptoms indicative of a major heart problem, but both the MST and the echo do show evidence of a heart muscle not functioning as it should and the possibility of arterial clogging. Dr. B then said that the only way to be certain at this point is with "Cardiac Catheterization"; which he then proceeded to describe in detail, with props.
It didn't take long to convince me that we needed to proceed. I'd have had a heart attack not knowing for sure if there was a problem. It was bad enough that I'd have to wait until the 14th of June for the procedure, but I did schedule that date (soonest available) along with a pre-surgical visit on the 11th so they can draw blood and do an EKG etc.
I was calmer during this period because while it seemed likely that there was a problem, at this point is seemed treatable. There were moments where anxiety got the better of me, but for the most part, I was okay at least until the evening before the procedure where I was a bit scared; not so much of the procedure, but of the possibility that they could find something so bad that I'd need to be transported to the O.R. immediately.
Needless to say that the procedure went off without a hitch and while it can be a bit humiliating, I made the best of it bringing some of my wit and lighthearted humor in the room along with the doctor and four assistants (3 ladies, 1 man). Oh, I brought in Bruce Springsteen's Greatest Hits CD and we all listened to that during the procedure. The best part was that at the end, the doctor announced that all looked as it should and that there is no evidence of a cardiac problem. I'll leave out the details of the few hours in recovery, which were essentially uneventful (except my need to pee in one of those hospital pee containers). I do have an Angio-Seal inside of me, which is kind of interesting. All that is left is one follow-up visit, this Thursday at 3:15 and all should be fine. I do have some nasty bruising, which I think is normal but you know my paranoia. I'll keep you posted. For the time being, I am so very grateful that my heart is fine. It's now time to seriously take stock of my mental health and get my anxiety condition in order.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

My So Called Broken Heart

You may have read my story back in mid-April about my visit to the emergency room after waking up due to chest tightening severe enough to awaken me (if you haven't and desire to read this "Hospitale", click here).

Picking up where that story left off, I see my primary care doctor about a week or so later as a follow-up. The antibiotics had done there job and the bronchitis was pretty much gone, as was the sinus infection. Regarding the cardiac workup in the hospital, he read a notation from the cardiologists in the hospital, who assured me the ticker was okay, that while everything looked fine, they thought to be certain all was fine, one might consider a "Myoview Stress Test" (MST). My doctor and I discuss my case and he feels comfortable at this time telling em that we could skip it for now and in the meantime, schedule a complete physical (which I am overdue for). A couple of days later, I get a call from my doctor saying that he really wants to be certain, and suggests now that I have the Myoview Stress Test. This of course got the hypochondria and anxiety disorder rolling; among other things.

There are several parts to an MST (which you can read about in detail at the link above if you wish). First you get injected with a radioactive contrast dye and then a series of pictures are taken. Later, you do a treadmill stress test then get more radioactivity injected and more pictures are taken. John, the wacky technician completely forgot to take the "resting" (pre-exercise) pictures but when all was said and done, the result was indicative of some heart problem. I didn't get alot of detail but the cardiologist recommended I return the next morning to do the resting pictures and also, take an echocardiogram as a back-up test.

Day two comes, I do the tests and then I meet with the cardiologist. He says that there is evidence of a cardiac problem as originally found in the MST and confirmed by the preliminary report of the echo. The test showed an "ejection fraction' of 44% - normal should be over 50% and four or so years prior, mine was at 54%. The doctor said that I should schedule a consult with him and by then he would view the echo completely and we could discuss the whole situation. By this point, I had been more scared than ever before in my life. The appointment for the consult was two weeks away and before I left, I looked at the doctor and flat out asked him if there was a chance of me dying before I saw him again. He told me to try not to worry, he didn't think it was that sever, but before I left, he did recommend a take a low dose aspirin once per day.

In the two weeks that followed before the consult, my neurosis computed every possible doom and gloom possibility of the grim results that had been laid before me. It was ugly and near impossible to get a full nights sleep. I cried every day, sometimes at work and in public places - fortunately it was during allergy season, so I always had an excuse for moist red eyes. I was scared and seemed to have good reason to be. I did take into consideration that the doctor knew full well that two weeks would transpire before I saw him again and he wasn't nearly as concerned as I was. I made it through the two weeks, and now it was time for the consult.

To be continued...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

143


How many of you out there know what 143 means? I learned today which brought on deep feelings of shame and inadequacy considering my deep rooted links to the field of technology and my feeble yet persistent attempts to remain aware of the current state of pop culture.

Back in undergrad in the early eighties I was an avid reader of Games magazine and thrived on the odd little brain teasers and puzzles and figuring out many of them. Yet none of that was adequate enough training for me to decipher to code of the modern era; text messaging.

I refuse to "text" someone. In fact, I've pretty much put IM'ing on the shelf after years of abuse and in fact, have blocked texting from my cell phone so that I can send or receive them. Apparently there is an entire sub-culture creating a new language out of necessity and I have completely missed the boat and as a result, am drowning in inadequacy.

Actually, I'm not all that cut up. I hate the idea of texting. I'm over it. Later….
143 all my dear reader(s).

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Evil Garage Stairs


The stairs in my garage and I are on the outs of late. I don't recall doing anything to upset them but they are evidently pissed at me big time. Last week, I took a tumble going up them, apparently they moved one of their stair treads while I was climbing, and as a result, ended up with a bruise that occupies 6" on my right arm and features a nugget of a bump that started out the size of a golf ball (not even close to an exaggeration).

Yesterday evening, those same demonic stairs played yet another prank on me, this time while I was going down. The scam this time was to make the step I was stepping down on completely disappear causing me to land in a way where my ankle twisted in directions that it wasn't meant to and as a result, I'm in a fair amount of pain and using a cane today to get around.

I hate using a cane because immediately, everybody gives you that look and wants to know what happened, and I hate to keep repeating the story (I always said that "next time" I would get a digital recorder to record the story on then just hit play when asked – but I never followed through). Of course working in a college where there is a heavy focus on health sciences, I often get a number of possible diagnosis and remedies.
Anyway, Thursday or Friday I'll have a story to tell, barring any unusual circumstances. In the meantime, "Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars."

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Oliver, My Cat

I know there've been a lot more photos than usual here which has me a tad hesitant to blatantly post photos of my cat, However:

(a) it's my blog and I'll post what I want to
(b) the cat is just too darn cute
(c) it's the weekend, no one is reading this
(d) Good Evening!






Friday, June 08, 2007

Nancy


Sometimes, free will isn't free. I believe sometimes we are led to the place we are meant to be so that we can serve a purpose beyond the familiar. Today, I am certain that every moment from the time I decided where I would eat lunch to the time when I left to return to work was God working through me.
I know this is a very bold and out there thing to read for some of you, and perhaps surprising to read it here in Bloggerville. Those of you who know me and who've read this blog though know that I pull no punches and tell it like it is, this is just who I am. So no, this isn't some big defining moment in my Christianity, nor is it some great revelation and it definitely is not an evangelical exploit. What follows is simply a moment in the life of some guy who took the time to consider the alternative possibility.
I needed to go to Lowe's to return a flood light that I purchased yesterday and purchase one that actually fits into the fixture where it belongs. While pulling in to the parking lot, I got this great "idea" to stop over at Panera for lunch since it's in the strip mall just across the way and since it's before noon, I should be able to avoid the usual very long lines and difficulty finding a seat.
Just before leaving for lunch, a couple of us were chatting at the library circulation desk. My last words before "I'm heading out to lunch…" were "I'm reading a James Patterson book from the late 80's, but I need to get The 5th Horseman now that the 6th book in the series is out, I need to catch up."
So I finish up at Lowe's, get to Panera, and the line is as long as I've ever seen it even though it's 11:45. I actually turned around to leave then thought," it usually moves pretty well and there are plenty of seats – so I'm gonna stay and get some chicken noodle soup in a sourdough bread bowl (the finest sourdough east of the Mississippi)." I place my order, receive my beeper and while waiting for the soup, grab a cup of water and pick a table; a tall table with two stools. Almost immediately after putting the cup of water down and pulling out my chair, the beeper went ballistic indicating that my soup was ready at the pickup counter. Before they instituted the flashing beeper system it was far more hectic, they've learned how to handle the crowds quite impressively over the years.
As I return to the table, which is right next to a wall with a ledge, I notice a book at the corner of the ledge which was apparently left behind, I assumed inadvertently, by a recent or nearby patron. Further inspection revealed that of all books, it happens to be The 5th Horseman, by James Patterson; how darn freaky is that? There happened to be a woman sitting at the table just on the other side of the wall so I asked if the book was hers. She said that it wasn't then grabbed the book and noticed an index card on the inside that had a note that read, "FREE – take this book home and read it if you wish, enjoy!" She then asked if I would "read a book like that" to which I responded, "I've read the first four books in that particular series and am a big James Patterson fan." She then said, "Well, I've read enough; you may as well take it." She then handed the book to me, and then began talking for about forty minutes straight.
I'd be lying if I didn't say that the devil on my left shoulder constantly whispered things like "she's nuts", "what a fruitcake", "bail now", but there was another voice, and for some reason, I have complete clarity that it was my own, my conscience, recognizing that she might just be someone who is lonely, and really craves some human contact, someone who will listen to her, someone who will acknowledge her presence in this world. Over the course of her talking, she mentioned that she was a baby boomer ("Now I'm giving away my age"), a cancer survivor, a cancer patient, a former member of the military during Vietnam and subsequently went AWOL, a prosecuting attorney, a computer programmer (Cobol and Fortran), among others. She told be of loves lost and how she feels that she has accomplished many things in her life that she is proud of. She was a model; she said "I was beautiful once." To which I felt obliged to respond, "You still are." She just kept talking and gave me very few opportunities to respond, which was fine with me. I sensed she wanted to talk and more importantly, wanted to be heard – so I listened. I listened until the time came where I really did have to leave to get back to work.
She said her name is Nancy. I said that mine is Chris. Her last words to me were "God Bless you Chris" and mine to her, were "God Bless you too Nancy."

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Bathroom Remodel in Pictures - Volume 2

The plumbing and electrical are done and have passed inspection. The plaster work was completed yesterday:

Here's the window wall..
Here's a part of the ceiling (the opening is the skylight)...
This is the ceiling inside the shower stall. The opening is the guts of the fan/light...
This is the fixture wall inside the shower stall...
This is the shower floor. Its covered with a tarp and has some of the contractor'stuff. You can see some of the cement work and the orange liner under the tarp...
This is the wall to the right of where the vanity will be. There is an electrical receptacle on the left and to the right is where the light and fan switches will be.

Research Dollars


"T. rex was no slacker. But the popular image of a nimble predator turning on a dime and chasing down prey with lightning speed is fiction, new computer models show. The terrifying tyrannosaur was actually a slowpoke. "
The article goes on and on about all this research that has been done to make this useless revelation. All I can think is why is all of this money being spent on researching the ground speed of an animal that hasn't existed for thousands of years when people are dying of heart diseases, cancer, MS, AIDS, and a host of other diseases today?
Where the fuck are the priorities when it comes to research dollars? Can someone justify to me how it's more important to know how fast a dinosaur was than to pursue possible cures and treatments for current illnesses?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Bathroom Remodel in Pictures - Volume 1

Get a load of the nauseating linoleum! You can't really see how banged up the vanity is.
The window wall. The window is fairly new. The toilet paper rack won't stay attached to the wall for more than a week at a time.
Oh, the shower! Pre-fabricated fiberglass and ugly. Very hard to keep clean.
This is the ceiling above the shower. The paint is chipping from moisture and the mold is very hard to keep up with without a fan.
Day 1, The Demo begins...
Toilet placeholder...
Vanity Placeholder...
Some shower shots...


ANd the ceiling.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Week Out

The first three days of Project: Master Bath are in the can. Day 1 saw complete demolition, day 2 was light - the plumber came and the contractor had to wait for the town inspector, who didn't show, so he left early. Today, the electrician showed up at 6:50am and took care of his business while the plumbing inspector showed and signed off on that end giving the contractor the chance to begin building the shower. I'll get some pix up tomorrow.

I've been hanging on to some medical news related to me and I will share it soon, I am just not ready...think good thoughts.

The college's commencement took place last night and I missed it for the first time in a number of years. I was really feeling kind of crappy and the weather wasn't conducive to feeling anything but crappier given the ceremony is held in a giant, often leaky, tent out of doors. Congrats to those who graduated though.

Tired...catch ya later.