Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 The Year in Review - Part 5: Television and Some Last Words Except the Ones I'll Forget

I spent alot of time in from of the tube in 2008. There was plenty of reality shows: Survivor, Amazing Race, Top Chef, The Next Food Network Star, Design Star, Celebrity Apprentice, Dancing with the Stars, Project Runway...I feel like I might even be missing some I am sad to say.
I rocked The Office and House very regularly (every episode) as well as (hold your breath and try not to think less of me) General Hospital. I dug The Sarah SIlverman Show, Bizarre Foods, No Reservations with Tony Bourdain and some others here and there.
I went back and watched every episode of The Office from past seasons and recently began working my way through Season 1 of 30 Rock and am amidst the third season of The Soprano's. I am the proud owner of all 5 seasons of The Odd Couple; my all time favorite show. Have I mentioned that I like TV?
I FaceBook'd quite a bit in 2008 having gotten hooked on a little game called Mob Wars and reconnected with some friends I haven't seen in many years.
I began to Twitter after learning about it at of all things, a conference (where I met Steve Wozniak).
Dearest Brookem lost her beloved grandparents. Amanda gave birth to a beautiful boy. Tori inspired me with her courage and resilience. Author and friend Erin's first book hits the street in 36 days. Egan and Sprizee made me better understand why their neck of the woods is sometimes referred to as "The Great" Northwest. My buddy Steve toured the world. Oliver (my cat) proved he too has a crush on EM.
I taught my first fully online course in 2008. I thought about the "serenity" prayer more times than I wished I had to. I paid as much as $4.299 for a gallon of gas and as little as $1.599.
Right now, Lionel Richie is singing "Dancing on the Ceiling" on my TV set and I wish I was somewhere other than where I am right now. Less than 2 hours in 2008 and I guess here comes 2009, ready or not.
My friends here in Bloggerville, please know that you are special to me. You are all a part of what I feel every day and my wish for you in 2009 is that you find some peace and some joy.
With love and adoration...
Chris
530

2008 The Year in Review - Part 4: The Podcasts

Last year I offered up a neat montage culled from the podcasts I recorded in that year. This year, I offer links to each month's collection of offerings along with the summaries that went with them. All are available on iTunes for free; use From A Whisper to a Scream as your search criteria in the podcast department of the iTunes store.
Again, I was going strong with podcasting and them it died off - mostly because they consume a great deal of time to record and...well I don't actually know. I do like doing them, I just haven't lately.
January

Three from the Road

A compilation of three stories recorded on a digital recorder while driving.
  1. "Buy or Go Bye-Bye" - a mis-adventure at BJ's wholesale club where I was forced to leave nearly $200 worth of merchandise on the counter while I walked away angry.
  2. "Saved by an Impatient Stranger" - going through a yellow light is bad, but going through a red is worse, especially when there's a cop waiting in the wings.
  3. "McStupid Idea" - My 2 cents on the idea of McD's opening cafe's.

Headache and Music

A bit o' chit chat about the Winter Reunion 2008 and why my head hurts.
Back to "the Music of My Years" - 1984-1989

I Think I'm Turning Japanese

  • Barack Obama gets a mega-endorsement.
  • The Japanese get days off for a broken heart.
  • Some selections from "The Music of My Years" (1990-1994).
    Poking fun at Bush.
February

Would You Rather...

Bits and pieces of thinks all pulled together via software:
  • A series of "Would you Rather" questions
  • My very brief "interview" with fashion guru Michael Kors at the Grammy awards
  • Just a couple of songs from "The Music of My Years"
  • And a few other gems.

How I Met Carol

  • Have you done your taxes yet?
  • How I Met Carol DeCoursey
  • The Music of My Years 1997-1999

Icicles and Indians at Sears

  • Look out for falling icicles in Russia
  • A BIG FUCK YOU to the Mashantucket Pequot Indians
  • The fading legend of Sears Roebuck & Co.
March

Stuff in the Truemor Mill

  • Musician Jeff Healey dead at the age of 41.
  • Stories from the website Truemors:
    -Woman finds half-naked man watching porn in her home
    -Teenage girl allergic to water
    -1 in every 99 Americans in Prison
  • A local story about two woman breaking into a fist fight at Chuck-E-Cheese of all places
  • Plus, hear my cat Oliver Meow!

Chasing Cars and Mixing it Up

  • Talking a bit more about stepping out of reality.
  • Maryann from Gilligan's Island gets Arrested; and, she's 69 years old!
  • One of the first times I ever asked out a girl; and how she beat me up-ish.
  • Some Random tidbits.

Pot Brownies and Other Oddities

  • Be careful what you eat. A story of how alleged "pot brownies" forced me to exercise.
  • Getting bullied in elementary school.
  • Silly moments from the classroom.
  • What I am reading and watching.

Record Store and So Much More

  • I am talking about Record Stores,what they mean to me, and what happens if they all go away.
  • My goofy DVR schedule.
  • A reading from The Prophet in honor of National Poetry Month.
  • A few shenanigans.
April

Weather it Be a Podcast

  • Recalling Easter's blog post, I read Gene Robinson's reflection as he considers the 5 year anniversary of his consecration as a Bishop. However, the controversy that surrounded the fact that he is an openly gay man caused a schism in the church and raised human rights issues that affect everyone.
  • Meteorology, is it the real thing?
  • And to lighten the load a bit, hear me list the items currently in my refrigerator.

The Podcast Returns

  • Welcome back after a 3 week hiatus from podcasting.
  • A little bit o'chit-chat.
  • Lasik Surgery
  • Politics - where I risk getting into trouble (with Republicans)
  • Some future podcast plans.
May

Funky Soda and Stuff

  • Checking out a hot "new" (to me) CD from Sly & Robbie
  • Grand Central, call me!
  • Funky Soda
  • Some Random Podcast Moments (from in the classroom)
  • Update on my Dunkin Donuts project

On the Road to Yip Yap

  • Shooting from the hip behind the wheel of my Jeep.
  • An odd story about a guy who got screwed out of his seat on a JetBlue flight.
  • Survivor-16 seasons down the road and still going strong.
  • Which TV show cast would I most like to hang with?

Tires Optional

  • Bird watching from my window.
  • Hello Jill, can we see you in Bloggerville once more?
  • My "flat" tire story with a happy ending.
  • There's a twin in my belly.
  • The great MAC vs. PC debate - take 1432.9

I Missed a Day

After 149 posts in 149 consecutive days from January 1st through May 28th, I missed a day on Thursday, May 29th; unintentionally.
This is a look at the journey, more accurately, the streak - how it started, how it ended, and where we go from here.
June
*** No Podcasts ***
July

The Return of the Podcast featuring Live Material from Las Vegas

After a two month absence, the podcast edition of From a Whisper to a Scream returns with highlights from Las Vegas including:
  • About 5 seconds of me singing
  • "The Bend-Over Test" by Cuzzup
  • A brief warning from a shuttle bus driver
  • A Big Boo to the Rio hotel, a report from the buffet
  • Group sing-a-long on the shuttle to the Rio Hotel (a different night from the buffet disaster)
  • The National Scrabble Championships, of all things
August

The Journey to The Boss

Hear the entire story how I managed to get tickets to see Bruce Springsteen on a night that the weather, the fans, and Springsteen himself helped make memorable. And, hear about the show itself as well.

NOTE: I've remixed the original so the sound should be a little better.

If you wish to skip past the lengthy story of how I ended up with tickets and the road to the stadium and exploring the stadium or anything leading up to the show and just want to hear about the show itself, forward to about the 15 minute mark.

An Essentially Inspired Podcast

Before I turned 30 I was essentially offered a jog to teach at the College of the Bahamas and turned it down and yes, I regretted and perhaps still to some degree regret that choice because it wasn't made the way a decision like that should be made. Here's my story.

The Mash Up and More

Topics include:
  • My weekend in beer exploration
  • My visit to the Museum of Science to see the "Baseball is America" exhibit
  • A (very) brief moment in politics
  • Peculiar facts about the human body
  • -An entertaining and crazy "Email Mashup" that ya gotta hear to believe
September
*** No Podcasts ***
October
*** No Podcasts ***
November

Leveling out the Emotional Day of a Historic Election

Yacking it up, out of laziness and unwillingness to type, some mish mash as I attempt to sort out and come down from the emotional roller coaster that was Election Day 2008.
December
*** No Podcasts***

2008 The Year in Review - Part 3: The Books

I started the year off with a bang as I had set a goal of at least 24 books for the year. I know this is geeky but it's the truth and I have no problem reporting it. I figured if I could average 2 books a month, it would force me to read enough to not feel guilty about my television habit. I don't recall when it I hit the rough spot though I suspect if I wasn't too lazy I could tell with just a bit of research between this blog and Book Me In.
Anyway, when all was said and done, as I write this just over seven hours left in the year, I have completed 14 books and they are (the links will send you to my reviews of them on Book Me In if I have posted one):
  1. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life - Walter Isaacson
  2. Rickles' Book - Don Rickles (w/ David Ritz)
  3. Preacher Volume 1: Gone to Texas - Garth Ennis/Steve Dillon
  4. The Everything Home Recording Book - Marc Schonbrun
  5. Hide & Seek - James Patterson
  6. The No Asshole Rule - Robert I. Sutton
  7. Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
  8. Miracle on the 17th Green - James Patterson
  9. Hot Six - Janet Evanovich
  10. Born Standing Up - Steve Martin
  11. What on Earth Have I Done? - Robert Fulghum
  12. New Moon - Stephenie Meyer
  13. Boom! :Voices of the Sixties- Personal Reflections of the 60's and Today - Tom Brokaw
  14. Seven Up - Janet Evanovich
I guess on my list of to do's for 2009 is to continue to support the Book  Me In blog with reviews and to shoot once more for 24.

Monday, December 29, 2008

2008 The Year in Review - Part 2: The Movies

As of this writing, I've seen 65 movies this year. This list covers the movies I've seen, not necessarily movies that were released this year. My ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 5 and includes half points. The rating is based on this most recent viewing of the movie. While it doesn't happen often, I will rewatch a movie I had seen some time in the past and there are circumstances where a movie with have a different significance to me and end up with a different rating. I've reviewed some of these on the blog over the course of the year so you can do a search if it interest you - Blah, Blah, Blah. And now, the movies...
Saw III 2.5
The Pride of The Yankees 4.0
Reign Over Me 4.5
Marie Antoinette 2.0
Premonition 2.5
Good Luck Chuck 2.0
Underdog 3.5
Mr. Brooks 4.5
Rocky Balboa 3.5
Kiss...Attack of The Phantoms 2.0
The Illusionist 5.0
Blades of Glory 3.0
Shine a Light (IMAX) 5.0
Evan Almighty 5.0
The Condemned 3.0
The Nines 3.0
Nacho Libre 1.5
Black Snake Moan 3.5
Vince Vaughn's Wild West Comedy Show 2.5
Before the Devil Know's You're Dead 3.5
Auto Focus 205
Semi-Pro 1.0
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story 2.5
Brooklyn Lobster 3.0
Capote 3.0
I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry 3.0
Crooked Lines 2.0
You Kill Me 3.0
Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang 4.0
Rambo (2008) 3.5
I Am Legend 2.5
Next 4.0
The Eye 2.5
The Bucket List 4.5
Mad Money 3.0
Captivity 3.0
No Reservation 3.5
CSNY: Deja Vu 5.0
Happy Endings 2.0
Sicko! 5.0
Mr. Bean's Holiday 3.5
88 Minutes 3.0
Baby Mama 3.5
Million Dollar Baby 4.5
The Bourne Ultimatum 3.5
The Love Guru 2.5
Knocked Up 3.0
Married Life 3.0
Fool's Gold 3.0
Get Smart 4.0
What Happens in Vegas 4.0
1408 3.0
The Hitcher (2007) 3.0
Wild Hogs 3.5
P.S. I Love You 4.0
The Valet 4.0
Waitress 1.5
27 Dresses 2.5
Step Brothers 3.0
Gone Baby Gone 4.0
The Ex 3.0
The Incredible Hulk 3.5
Dan in Real Life 4.0
Bee Movie 4.0
Juno 3.0

Sunday, December 28, 2008

2008 The Year in Review - Part 1: The Blog

January
  • Saw III disappointed, but I survived.
  • In the cupcake vs. muffin debate, nothing much was resolved other than I am gluttonous for either.
  • I learned who Jon Lajoie was and laughed at the video for High as Fuck.
  • The first snow day of 2008 happened.
  • A former colleague was killed in a tragic accident.
  • I got turned on to Pandora.
  • The Winter Reunion took place on the 19th at Chez DeCoursey.
  • My 800th blog post.
  • I got deeper into the political landscape of our land than ever before.
  • 31 days - 31 posts.
Februrary
  • I began by 5th fundraising drive for Project Bread - The Walk for Hunger.
  • The Patriots lost the super bowl - a sad end to a great season but they still did it with class.
  • The ashes on my forehead looked like a fleur-de-lis.
  • I committed to purchase far more Girl Scout cookies than I should have.
  • The Grammy's sucked.
  • Jane Fonda said the word "Cunt" on national television.
  • I was neutral on the evil scale.
  • I found out I'm and ENFJ.
  • I fessed up to an 8th grade cheating habit.
  • I realized how ignorant I was on the topic of Native Americans - the hard way.
  • 29 days - 29 posts.
March
  • Jeff Healey R.I.P.
  • Rob started his blog.
  • A meme in photo's.
  • "Early" Easter.
  • Michael Stipe made me laugh!
  • 31 days - 31 posts.
April
  • I created the MassBay National Poetry Month blog.
  • I saw Avril Lavigne - what made is special is that a good friend of mine was her lead guitar player for the show and the whole world tour.
  • I cranked out a few poems for National Poetry Month.
  • I got 3 Yahtzee's in a single game - 436!
  • I saw the Stones in IMAX.
  • I discovered the joy of "The Coffee House" channel on SIRIUS.
  • I was disgusted by an infomercial for the "PedEgg".
  • I was caught off guard by an eavesdropping student.
  • 30 days - 30 posts.
May
  • My 900th post.
  • I completed my 5th Walk for Hunger.
  • I got a stomach sick thing that lasted longer than I wanted (I assume to this day a food poisoning of sorts).
  • I discovered a penis on the ceiling of my living room.
  • I learned that my credit score was a whoppingly awesome 930.
  • David Cook won American Idol.
  • I had a new roof installed on my house.
  • After 149 consecutive days of posting, I missed a day.
June
  • Turns out my name is sexy.
  • I officially became an Obama supporter (I previously supported Hillary Clinton).
  • Stephanie won Top Chef.
  • Tim Russert passed away - R.I.P.
  • I digitized my cassette version of Steinbeck's "Travel's with Charley".
  • I coined the word "conficockydence" (I think).
  • I am an "aquamarine".
  • I finally burned the U2 from SNL (which took place in November of 2004) onto DVD for posterity.
  • The greatest comic ever, George Carlin, passed away.
  • I talked about how much I love my Keurig Coffee machine and in return, Keurig sent me free coffee.
July
  • Larry Harmon died.
  • I was grossed out at SuperCuts and at DQ.
  • I heard of "Shabby Chic" for the first time.
  • I started playing Mob Wars.
  • Summer reunion in Macungie, PA.
  • VEGAS baby!
  • I began tweeting.
August
  • I saw Springsteen on a very rainy evening at Gillette stadium.
  • Had an odd experience at the Honeybaked Ham Co.
  • I saw Rod Stewart live on a very rainy evening at the Comcast Center.
  • My 1000th post.
  • I made a funny mash up.
  • A colleague left for another job - she'll is still missed.
  • Mystery finger thing.
  • I mocked Daisy Fuentes in a strange way.
September
  • I started trying to like Chelsea Handler (for something other than her rack :)
  • I went back to watch every episode of The Office.
October
  • Rob came to town and we hung out in Boston and did "Haunted Happening" in Salem.
  • I spent some quality time at Walden Pond.
  • Went apple picking for the first time.
  • Baked Apple Pie for the first time.
  • Baked even more apple pies.
November
  • President Obama - history!
  • I did a magic trick in church.
  • I finally became a nasal irrigator.
  • Compiled links to all of my Haiku posts.
December
  • F&%# off US automakers!
  • Turned 44.
  • 2 feet or so of snow.
  • ???

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Squares

1 log pre-made chocolate chip cookie dough
16 oz. cream cheese
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
topping(s)*
Bring everything to room temperature.
Don’t skip this step, it helps to ensure that all ingredients that are mixed, mix well and it’s makes the cookie dough easier to use.
Line a 9" x 13" pan with parchment paper (with paper hanging off sides, so you can lift it up after it's baked and cooled).
I made the mistake of skipping this step because I ran out of parchment paper. I sprayed the pan instead and it was very difficult to deal with; get the parchment paper.
Take chunks of cookie dough and flatten until the bottom of pan is completely covered.

Mix cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla until nice and fluffy.

Pour cream cheese mixture over cookie dough layer and spread evenly.

Sprinkle topping(s) evenly over the top of the cream cheese layer.

Bake at 350 degree for about 35 minutes, until top is golden brown.

Cool then freeze -- yes, freeze! This is the magic part: After frozen, remove and slice into bars.

Topping(s)

I used Oreo™ cookie crumbs and Heath™ bar crunch. Get creative, use what you like best – some suggestions: Oreo™ cookie crumbs (sans crème), Heath™ bar crunch, M&M’s, etc. You might want to get fancy and drizzle with chocolate – go nuts, have fun and enjoy!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Post Christmas Catch Up

It's a little after 11pm on Christmas Day and I thought I'd make an offering in the form of bullets:
  • My cat had no interest in unwrapping his gift but enjoyed playing with it after it was unwrapped for him.
  • There are raw oysters in my near future thanks to a Legal Sea Food's gift card.
  • I recently devoted some time to watching 30 Rock. After viewing the first 9 episodes from season 1, I am convinced that this is a terrific show.
  • I thought Tina Fey was hot long before the masses.
  • I received a surprise phone call from my cousin Anna in Canada. Unfortunately I was out when she called but I'll "phone her" tomorrow. I hadn't spoken to her in close to 7 years though we exchange Christmas cards annually.
  • Edmonton, Alberta.
  • "Testicular" is a funny word no matter how you look at it and it's a crying shame that there is such a thing as "testicular cancer". I say we should look to preserve the humor of the word testicular and refer to the cancer as ball cancer, cancer of the nads, or the more formal Sack-C.
  • R.I.P. Eartha Kitt
  • 530

Monday, December 22, 2008

Almost Paradise

Mike had this iPod meme thing on Facebook, I stole it and am posting it here. I've since noticed that another special someone has posted it to Facebook but I'll not mention the name so as to keep Facebook identity private if necessary.

1. Put your iTunes on shuffle.
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS!
4. Tag 10 friends who might enjoy doing the same as well as the person you got the note from.


IF SOMEONE SAYS "IS THIS OKAY" YOU SAY?
"If The World" (Guns N' Roses)

WHAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY?
Then You Look At Me (Celine Dion)

WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL?
Canto Alla Vita (Josh Groban featuring The Corrs)

HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
Cold Hard Bitch (Jet)

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?
Per Te (Josh Groban)

WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?
Our Country (John Mellencamp)

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
Always See Your Face (Love)

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND?
Here Come The Rain Baby (Roy Orbison)

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Riot Girl (Good Charlotte)

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?
Kiss The Rain (Billie Myers)

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
Purify (Metallica)

WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
Loser Like Me (Sixpence None The Richer)

WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
Election Day (Arcadia)

WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
Dance Into The Light (Phil Collins)

WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
New Frontiers (Counting Crows)

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?
Black Coffee In Bed (Squeeze)

WHAT'S THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN?
Cruz (Christina Aguilera)

HOW WILL YOU DIE?
Buffalo Gals (Bruce Springsteen)

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU REGRET?
Simon Smith And The Amazing Dancing Bear (Randy Newman)

WHAT MAKES YOU LAUGH?
Return To Innocence (Enigma)

WHAT MAKES YOU CRY?
Coming Home (John Legend)

WILL YOU EVER GET MARRIED?
The Weakness in Me (Joan Armatrading)

WHAT SCARES YOU THE MOST?
Plop, Plop Fizz, Fizz - Alka Seltzer (The Commercials - Vol. 1)

DOES ANYONE LIKE YOU?
Last Man Standing (Bon Jovi)

IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE?
Son Of A Ramblin' Man (Vince Gill with The Del McCoury Band)

WHAT HURTS RIGHT NOW?
Let Me Into Your Heart (Mary Chapin Carpenter)

WHAT WILL YOU POST THIS AS?
Almost Paradise (Ann Wilson & Mike Reno)

Model's Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies


My very talented friend and former colleague has joined the ranks of published authors. Erin's first book, pictured above, is set for a February 5th release date and will be published on both hardcover and paperback editions simultaneously.

Please take a moment to click on the book above to learn more about it and if so inclined, support her by purchasing a copy. If you click on Erin's name in the previous paragraph you'll be directed to her web site, it's worth the trip (Erin Rock's - I'm very happy for her success and miss working with her...please show some good old fashioned blog love).

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Storm Trooping

It's ben a while, but Sam Allis' Observer column from today's Boston Globe is so good I had to share it with all of you. Enjoy...

Grocery gridlock
Stuck at the intersection of storm panic and holiday stress
By Sam Allis, Globe Columnist December 21, 2008

Some men climb Everest without oxygen. Others sail solo around the world. The Observer shops at Roche Bros. the morning of the storm.

Experiencing a case of the vapors, I volunteered to do the food run Friday before the heavens opened. I realized the gravity of my mistake when I approached the large parking lot of the West Roxbury branch and witnessed what appeared to be a traffic scene at the Piazza Venezia in Rome.

You had your cars, blinkers on, waiting to take the spots of others, should they ever decide to leave. The exit process was routinely stalled by chats over car roofs between drivers and copilots after the groceries had been loaded in the trunk. They eventually got in, labored to put seat belts on, chatted some more, then pulled out with the speed of a yak.

Meanwhile, you had the car on the other side of the waiting car in front of you unable to pass because the waiting car in front of you was blocking the lane. You wondered at this point whether the other car was planning to steal the spot cherished by the car in front of you, leading to bodily harm. Then you noticed four more cars idling in the wake of the other waiting car. You looked back to find four inert vehicles behind you, too.

This arrangement rendered both parking lot exit lanes useless. It was gorgeous gridlock, so I started planning to spend the storm in situ with some Gatorade and Triscuits.

Suddenly I grasped the magnitude of the situation. I had walked into a trifecta of storm, early Christmas food shopping, and regular weekend shopping by people who had lost their minds.
Inside, the place was teeming with grown men and women dashing around the store like road runners, emitting stress every step of the way. They carried a sense of urgency reminiscent of the Running of the Brides at Filene's Basement. If they didn't get out fast, they reasoned, the authorities would find their bleached bones in the spring.

I vectored over to the deli section. This is the heart of the matter. This is where people in line watch their lives dribble away. This is where you find out whether any of that Zen stuff about acceptance is worth one Tic Tac.

The crowd was patient but tense. Men shifted their weight from one leg to the other. It was unnervingly quiet.

I noticed a guy named Bob Boynton reading a tabloid he had spread across a shelf of cheese nearby. I asked him how long he had been there, and he said close to 15 minutes. I glanced at his ticket for the deli. It read 307. I looked up at the electronic scoreboard on the deli wall and saw 281.

A lunatic friend of mine was also there Friday morning, I learned. In a separate countdown, his ticket read 337 when the scoreboard read 275. Let's be clear here. There is nothing in the deli section worth waiting that long for. You come home empty-handed, claim they ran out of the potato salad, and hunker down for Defcon 1 if that doesn't fly.

Bob informed me this was not the worst jam he'd faced there. That would be a Saturday after Thanksgiving some time ago. A chill came over him as he said, voice rising: "I'll never go again. Never."

Bob not only had the patience of Job, he had news you can use. He told me the absolute best time to go shopping all year is after 6 on Halloween night: "You've got the whole place to yourself."

The hordes of people kept pouring in. One of the kids working in the vegetable department exclaimed in mock horror, "It's the end of the world!" Someone asks for canned goods. "Aisle 2," he said and then slipped back to his "The Martians Are Coming" voice: "They're everywhere!"
Over in the cereal section, I ran into an older gent named Pat. He looked around and shook his head. "These people are nuts. The idea that you need to stock up for a week is crazy. It's one day, maybe two," he said. "I can't get past anyone in the aisles."

Pat's on to something. The storm panic is now on par with market collapse, driven largely by local TV that hypes storms. Think storm as entertainment.

The signature TV storm scene is a reporter in a parka with the station logo prominently displayed on it standing in North Attleborough in horizontal snow. His future in television is inversely proportional to the direness of his situation. After informative exchanges with the anchor - "Just how bad is it, Bob?" - said anchor cuts out with, "Be careful out there."

This rite is part of the larger scheme where weather people now start with the wind chill in lieu of the temperature. Just give us the temperature. We're big boys and girls, and we'll take it from there.

Back in Roche Bros., I see a kid on his knees unload a carton of butter, four sticks to a box, onto a display case. I watch customers assemble and look down transfixed, as if they're staring at a dead body. Then they dive for the stuff like pelicans for fish and disappear.

I asked him what's going on. He shrugged and said, "I put 120 units out 20 minutes ago, and they're gone. I don't know how butter became this 'before the storm' thing."

My favorite shopper is a woman in for pickles. That's it. Pickles. "I just want some bread and butter pickles to go with my grilled cheese sandwich," she explained, irritated that the store only had bread and butter pickles with no sugar added. "What's the fun of that?"

Sam Allis can be reached at allis@globe.com

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snowboundish

Piles of snow were in the forecast, so it was no surprise. I had already planned for the whole day off as I was patiently awaiting a delivery scheduled between the hours of 8:30 and 1:30 - the snow didn't begin until around noonish, or maybe oneish.

When the snow started, it came down fast and furious and stayed that way for many hours and come 10pm, as it slowed somewhat, I felt it necessary to go out and play with the snowthrower. Here are some things I must bullet:
  • I hate the fucking snow when it disrupts my world.
  • My snowthrower reminded me that it too is ageing.
  • I need warmer boots.
  • I need better gloves.
  • Why do the town plows have to maul the sidewalk so badly?
  • Every time I use the snowthrower I sometimes wish I had a plow on my jeep.
That's all for now.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

ChristmasMeme I Stole

1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Hot Chocolate
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Wrapped
3. Colored lights on tree or white lights? Colored though I don't object to white only 
4. Do you hang mistletoe? I have
5. When do you put your decorations up? They aren't up yet - yikes!
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? When my dad was alive, he made a mean Frutta di Mare 
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? I used to love going shopping for seafood with my dad
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? No clue
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Growing up we did it at midnight on Christmas eve; it was torture waiting 
10. How do you decorate your tree? very carefully 
11. Snow! Love it or dread it? If I only get one choice then hate for sure. It does make for beautiful scenery but it's a bitch to clean up and dangerous
12. Can you ice skate? yes, and I say that very loosely
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? no, I do recall being very fond of a pinball machine I got once as a kid 
14. What is the most important thing about the holidays for you? to be honest, it's been very hard for me to get into the spirit of the holidays after my parent's died 
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? Struffles (sp.)
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Pounding one out to Mrs. Claus - no, just kidding! It's been so long since there were any traditions in my life that I can't recall
17. What tops your Christmas tree? I lighted star will 
18. Which do you prefer-giving or receiving? both have significant value to me
19. What is your favorite Christmas song? Mary, Did You Know?
20. Candy Canes-yum or yuck? Yuck---YUM.
21. What do you want for Christmas? 530
22. Do you attend an annual Christmas party? I have attended parties that were referred to as annual Christmas parties 
23. Do you dress up on Christmas or wear PJs? nothing fancy schmancy 
24. Do you own a Santa hat? no
25. Who do you normally spend Christmas with? family

On Sadness

sad Storms rage on inside. There seems to be no peace to be found and each day the pain grows stronger and the screams of silence rise in volume.
Strike me, lightning, for I can no longer bear the heavy burden that consumes me for soon, there will be nothing left to save.

Monday, December 15, 2008

This is Nuts!


This is the label from the container of my lunch. I show it to you not to prove that I can eat healthy (especially since 15 minutes after eating it I ate about 30 tootsie rolls). I offer up this label because something about it bothers me greatly.
The container was a clear cup so you could see everything in it, including the delightfully delicious Pecans (pronounced pee-cons, as Emeril says, a Pee-can is something truck drivers use). Notice how they list all of the ingredients as well: non-fat vanilla yogurt, bananas, strawberries, pecans...then...
...then, the insane part kicks in, "contains nuts."
Contains nuts!!!
No fucking kidding, a pecan is a fucking nut - you already list the pecans, you display them for all to see, are there people so fucking stupid that can't figure out that the pecans are nuts?
Such a litigious society we live in that we are compelled to require that the label state that nuts are included in the nuts?
Oh, the sadness.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Perfect Disappointment

When I first heard Keane's alubum "Hopes & Fears" I thought to myself how could this possibly be any better? Not only was there something distinct about their sound but the songs were just so well crafted. I have listened to that CD so many times and every time I love it more.

The follow up to Hopes & Fears was "Under the Iron Sea", which couldn't possibly live up to the awesomeness of Hopes and Fears but sadly, it seems that Keane didn't even try. I don't dislike the disc but it just doesn't have the same kind of impact as its predecessor.

And then, apparently Keane threw in the towel with their latest release, Perfect Symmetry. It's rare that I would use this phrase but the fact is, this album sucks. While there are (very) brief reminders of what made me fall in love with this band listening to Hopes & Fears, in total, these songs are forgettable and there's one point where Tom Chaplin begins to gurgle mercilessly - I almost pulled the CD out of my car and threw it out.

Very sad.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Gift Post for Cuzzup

So that you'll laugh...

Noprah's Book Club?

Get a good look at this crazy picture, click on it to see it in full size then come back if you will:


Did you catch the fanny pack belt, all cinched up and stuff?

The book came out in the mid-80's in case you couldn't tell from the hair, the track suit, and the fanny pack. It is sitting on a table in the campus library labeled "Plans for the New Year".

For the heck of it, I googled the author and he's apparently still kicking and hasn't seemed to age a day (unless he's using mid-80's pics on his web site).

Oh, this has had me busting a gut for days so I thought I would share it with y'all.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Amazonian Err

Between getting home at 10pm, having to write a final exam or part of it), and Blogger being down-ish to boot - there's not time for verbiage (other than this nonsense).

Here's an item I found on Amazon - the photo is unedited. What's wrong with this picture?


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Brought to you by The Letter “N”


I have been assigned the letter "N" by rialeilani. What does that mean? It's a simple, yet interesting piece of memery that goes like this:

You leave a comment on this post, and I'll assign you a letter. You write about ten things you love that begin with your assigned letter, and post it at your place. When people comment on your list, you give them a letter, and the chain continues on and on.

  1. Noodles – a lovely comfort food that comes in many forms spanning many cultures.
  2. Noise – not just any noise but let's face it, without noise it would be silence, which can be golden but noise, when done right – very sweet.
  3. Nookie – and particularly this eloquent definition of it.
  4. Nature – regardless of nurture, nature keeps us in check.
  5. Neighborhood – not that I have one now. But I grew up in one and all of the positive connotation that can be derived from that word is something I had the privilege of experiencing.
  6. Nursery Rhymes – early exposure to literary classics and the written word in general; I still love them.
  7. Nipples – not in a dirty or exploitative way, in an erotic, sensual and beautiful way.
  8. Novelties – the word, the concept, the actual items sold under that classification – everything about it says fun.
  9. Novels – What better way to escape the world we live in that to jump into a fictitious one at the mercy of the author and their characters and scenery and their vivid imagination as seen through mine.
  10. Nabisco – for providing Oreo cookies to the masses for which I am a part. Especially for double stuff Oreos and yet more for double stuff chocolate crème Oreos.
Yes, that was far more enjoyable to write than I expected – care for a go at it? Ask for a letter.

Friday, December 05, 2008

What’s in a Name?


I thought I would partake in some good-natured goofiness in hopes to bring you all a chuckle of sorts (thanks to the blog & that's the way life goes: The life of a fake princess in her whimsical world) where I snatched this from.

1. Witness Protection Name (mother's & father's middle names)
Luciano Mildred (no clue what my parent's middle names were so I took poetic license)

2. Nascar Name (first name of your mother's dad & father's dad)
Don Giovanni (While my dad's dad's name is accurate, I have no clue what my mom's dad's name was; so, I picked one that fits nicely)

3. Star Wars Name (the first 2 letters of your last name & first 4 letters of your first name)
Dachri

4. Detective Name (favourite colour & favourite animal)
Blue Cat

5. Soap Opera Name (middle name & city where you live)
Anthony Ashland

6. Superhero Name (2nd favourite colour & favourite alcoholic drink, optionally add "The" to the beginning)
The Red Beer

7. Fly Name (first 2 letters of first name & last 2 letters of your last name)
Chle

8. Gangsta Name (favourite ice cream flavour & favourite cookie)
Chocolate Double Stuff Oreo

9. Rock Star Name (current pet's name & current street name)
Oliver Cordaville

10. Porn Name (first pet's name & street you grew up on)
Bear East 28th Street

Thursday, December 04, 2008

What Was That?


On my way out to lunch and I get to the stairwell and as I begin my descent, there are two girls walking up and all I hear of their conversation is the following line, "I remember the position…" Now how is one to interpret that?

I actually figured out later what they were talking about. Both are "Rad-Tech" students and they were discussing Radiographic Positioning; more specifically, stuff they had on their exam.

Back when I worked as an Account Executive for an advertising company, we had a colleague, Ed Madigan. Ed was a great guy but had a very unique spin on the English language creating what we used to refer to as "Madiganisms."

At one point, I decided to keep a notebook on my desk and jot down every one of them; boy, I wish I still had that notebook cause there was some funny stuff.

Have you got any funny lines that you may recall overhearing, or, heaven forbid, may have uttered yourself that you wish to share?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Auto Bitches

Wah, wah, wah! Cried the "big three" American auto manufacturers. "We need billions of dollars now!" I say, Go fuck yourself shit fer brains!
I know there are many intricate pieces of the puzzle, it's not such a clear cut thing but I have no desire to see yet another bailout gone awry. We're already in such bad shape, let's make some demands before we fuck ourselves further.
You wanna bailout, how about you give the American people real incentive to want to buy your cars. Make better  cars and prove that they are as good as the cars that are being manufactured by the "foreign" companies and stand behind your products.
Also, I need to see a required production plan for fuel efficient and eco-friendly vehicles. I don't see a reason to produce vehicles that get less than 30 MPG - so don't do it!
We need to get these bastards in line or make them go away.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Ring in December

December already? I seem to say this so much more frequently than I once did and should, but where the heck does time go?
They finally admitted we are in a recession. Duh! I knew that way back and I am no financial mogul - denying it didn't mean it wasn't true...here's to moving ahead and hopefully putting the pieces back together.
I don't know about you, but I find it foolish for all these news stations to be touting how they have the best and fanciest weather equipment. Why bother spending millions on equipment to predict the weather incorrectly? Grab anyone with a bad set of knees, it's all you need.
I'm watching the 10pm news and they are showing a Boston Red Sox casket; and urns. And yes, they are officially licensed by MLB.
I often say that if I struck it rich that I would be different. I wouldn't let it get to my head. I'd do it right. I'd love to find out if hat's true or not.
I should probably have an energy audit done on my house.
530.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Getta Offa My Chesta

  • Not a fan of college football
  • Hate that college football takes over television on Saturdays
  • Made "Churkey Soup" today
  • Saw a funny foreign film today, a French one called "The Valet" - I recommend it
  • To reiterate the foolishness of "Black Friday", a WalMart employee was trampled to death by the morons who thought they had to be there at 5am to get a bargain - I hope every human that stepped on that guy gets cancer and suffers badly
  • I know, maybe I got carried away on that last one - not as much as those morons did - let's end black friday
  • December birthday shout outs (that I can recall off the top of my head): Jenn, Jill, Me, Kathleen White, My nephew Steven (I know there are others not on the top of my head - sorry).
  • Between Facebook & Twitter, I may never be truly productive again
  • I have a "physical" on Wednesday the 3rd and I feel like I have an exam I'm not ready for.
  • The NY Giants WR "accidentally" shot himself, in a nightclub - huh?

For Cat People

I am not only very interested in all things cat, I am a Roomba owner as well which is why this video really made me laugh:

Friday, November 28, 2008

Haiku-llection

I've decided to go back and find all of the posts that include Haiku. I've collected the links and included them here in case like me, you are interested in having quick access to all of those posts in one place:
  1. Posted 6/25/2004
  2. Posted 7/18/2004
  3. Posted 1/31/2005
  4. Posted 4/25/2005
  5. Posted 6/10/2005
  6. Posted 11/19/2005
  7. Posted 1/21/2007
  8. Posted 6/27/2007
  9. Posted 2/8/2008
  10. Posted 2/9/2008
  11. Posted 3/11/2008
  12. Posted 11/20/2008

Why I Wish to Vanish for a Bit

When Black Friday comes
I'm gonna dig myself a hole
Gonna lay down in it 'til
I satisfy my soul


I remember the things I loved about Christmas when I was growing up. I'm not going to say the presents weren't a big part of it, but it wasn't all of it. The whole process of watching my parents prepare for it - getting the house in tip-top shape for "company", and of course as the holiday was a couple of days away, the pilgrimage to the waterfront to get the fish.

Dad grew up in Mola di Bari, on the coast of the Adriatic Sea near where it feeds into the Mediterranean Sea and spent a good portion of his time at sea. So, when it came to seafood at our house, that was Dad's domain; there are times that I can still taste the Frutta di Mare by just thinking about it.

Back to Christmas, there was always a whole slew of people coming over and if by chance one year, someone wasn't going to make it, I remember getting sad over that because the gathering was as important as anything else. How could we have Christmas without everyone there?

When I got into my teens and began working in retail, even back then, Christmas started earlier and dealing with the people at that level really added a huge level of disgust as I began to see the ugly underbelly of the holiday season. As the years passed, it only got uglier and started sooner and of course, the celebration at home changed somewhat as many of the relatives moved on or disappeared as a result of silly family squabbles (friggin' immature adults).

I hate to say that for the past few years, I wish I could just disappear from around Thanksgiving through the middle of January. Then, I wouldn't have to deal with all the mayhem, the traffic that makes doing everyday tasks near impossible, the nastiness of the people as the push and shove their way to the materialistic disintegration of a holiday that actually has a significant meaning to those who truly celebrate it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Nasal Irrigation

This little device is my latest friend. It was recommended to me by a nurse a month or two ago and then I went into my obsessive research mode before settling on the idea of gravity based nasal irrigation through the use of a Neti Pot.

Yes, it's totally odd to pour liquid into my nose and even weirder that it ends up coming out of the other nostril. However, the end result thus far, after only three days, has been very positive; I breath better and I just feel better.

I have always had fucked up sinus issues and allergies so I am looking forward to see how this works out in the long term.

Any of you peeps out there have any nasal irrigation stories?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I Heard a Secret

Actually I read one. Oh, and it wasn't one, it was eighty of them. Some incredible blogger organized an even called "Blog Secret" and in total, there were 80 submissions.
I was totally blown away after reading some of these secrets and applaud all who had the courage to take part in such an event. There were so many that made me think and just tugged at my emotions.
There was one in particular that moved me just a little more than the others; you can read it here. The first line of it reads, "My wife is a male to female transsexual."
I don't care how liberal you are, it's a compelling opening line - just not nearly as compelling as the story that follows; which made me think deeper that perhaps anything I've ever read in my life.
Instead of commenting specifically on that post, go read it and you can read my comment there (which is loaded with typos).
I'll summarize here though - we really need to band together on human rights. There are enough complexities about life and the world we live in and we don't have to make things complex that need not be.
Let's define marriage. Let the definition of marriage refer to a bond between two consenting adults, there need be no reference of gender. Please, if you are inclined to respond with a reference to the bible, please don't respond - I am not interested in any reference to the bible that may say otherwise. The bible is a story book, not a rule book. Here in the real world there are human lives being affected.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

51 Syllables and Something about Them


Long time readers know of my penchant for haiku. All it took was hearing the word today to stimulate the part of my brain that desires the challenge of the haiku form and as a result of this stimulation, I offer you three new haiku's and a little about what ran through my thoughts as I composed them.
A month ago I spent part of a Saturday taking in the beauty of the autumnal season at my favorite place in all of Massachusetts; Walden Pond. Even driving up a narrow country road under the canopy of colorful leaves, I must force myself to focus on the road as the palette of the season hypnotizes me with its beauty. As I place the sheet of paper in front of me to begin writing, I looked out a large picture window to see only branches and this view served as the seed for two of the three offerings below.
the colors of fall
perish as the chill rolls in
the dark of winter
Driving eastbound in the morning and westbound in the evening, I often fall victim to the blinding rays of the sun as it is either rising or setting. If the timing is right, you can still see the powerful rays of the sun but as autumn fades into winter, the frigid force of the season overpowers the warmth we long for.
the blinding sun light
with it no offer of warmth
only deception
The first time it is cold enough to see your breath is usually the first time you fully realize it's cold enough to see your breath; it's that time again.
my breath visible
the dormant grass topped with frost
while trees stand naked

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Book Meme - Take Two?

I am almost certain I've done some version of this before after seeing it on Joy's blog but I'm always game for a blog - especially when it comes from a sexy reader.

Rules: Pass it on to five other bloggers (you can take care of that yourself now), and tell them to open the nearest book to page 46. Write out the fifth sentence on that page, and also the next two to five sentences. The closest book, not the coolest, or the one you think will sound the best. THE CLOSEST.

"To break that bond, which is at the core of their brain, causes a severe rupture that can make the woman feel fragmented, as if she were not quite whole without the man. She may be plagued by sleep and appetite problems, depression, irritability, and social isolation. I once treated a woman who was married to a controlling, angry man whom she could never please. On the day he told her he was leaving her for another woman (causing her a severe limbic injury), she became so depressed that she put her head in the oven and turned on the gas."

Oh yeah, just a little lite reading. Sheesh.

Two Numbers that Blew Me Away

I received an email a little while ago from the treasurer of the church, also my co-chair of Stewardship. Here's the first sentence:

"Hey Chris - we got a full 51 pledges for $150k on Sunday! That is a really stellar start and beats the hell out of response other years!"

This just blows me away because when I first accepted the role of "Commissioner of Stewardship", I had no clue what I was doing and I'm pretty sure that hasn't changed but somehow sticking to the one rule I set for myself - always speak from the heart to the people, not at them - it seems to have made a difference.

I don't know where it will go from here but I am happy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Abracadabra


I serve on the vestry at my church as the "Commissioner for Stewardship" and also am the co-chair of this year's stewardship campaign. As such, I have had to make a series of announcements to the church about stewardship and so forth. Yesterday was our "Stewardship Ingathering", where we ask the people to make the pledge commitments and in one final talk, I thought I would spice it up by performing a magic trick (one that I hadn't performed in more than 20 years) in front of the whole church.

We built a theme of stewardship using a balloon metaphor. Without going into detail, I blew up the balloon (bantering along the way to drive home the point of the balloon thing). While tying off the balloon, I told everyone I was going to ask them to do something that may be a little uncomfortable, but to go with it. I asked everyone to partner up with someone, look them in the eye, and say, "I believe in you." This was quite interesting to watch.

I then went into how our faith revolves around a God that we can't physically see, feel or touch. We call ourselves children of God and therefore, are we not representatives of God? So, if we can't find a way to believe in each other, how can we truly believe in God? The felling in the room was exactly how I imagined I wanted it to be so I was on a high – then came the magic trick part.

I said, "Sometimes, if you believe in something enough, you can achieve that which may seem impossible." I then held up a rather large, sharp, stainless steel needle with a ribbon threaded through the end and proceeded to insert the needle into the balloon. When the needle was fully inserted and protruding I held up the "miracle" and then I pulled the need all the way through, all without bursting the balloon. They were impressed enough to offer a rather cheerful round of applause but this wasn't about me or my ability to entertain so much as to drive home a point (not that the applause wasn't fulfilling). I then offered a loud "But…we mustn't be complacent. "For once we stop believing (I then use the same needle that I passed through the balloon to pop it – that get's their attention), there may not be anything left to believe in (kind of a dual purpose line, one that hopefully gets them to think. I was driving home the "in" as in the place where we worship – the congregation itself, but I really wanted it to be left to their own thought process)."

It was a pretty cool and moving experience for me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Teacher's Lament

I just finished "marking" an exam and it's just so darn depressing to see these scores. 19 people took the test, only 6 got passing scores (2 by 4 points). The class average was 57.79 (influence by 2 high scores, a 100 and a 95).

This was an easy exam. I told the students that the best way to prepare was to do the additional exercises in the text. I took this exam right from those exercises.

They just don't give a crap. It's so hard to believe - they pay to take the class, why don't they care?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Top Chef Inspired Post

Top Chef: New York is about to premiere on Bravo - if you've never watched this show or have been looking for a reality show to watch that's different, this might be the one for you to try. My only issue is all I want to do is eat when I watch it but then again, who am I kidding? All I wanna do is eat all the time :)
I happen to like to cook, and bake and I learned early on how very different both of these are. I would love to go through the entire culinary school experience but if I had to make a specific choice, I think the pastry chef option might appeal to me just a little more (even though while I have a creative mind, I don't consider myself all that artistic, which may make being a pastry chef much harder.
Have you ever watched Alton Brown? Not only is he utterly entertaining but he gets into a little of the science of foods and cooking them. Learning about the properties of food really opens up the palette of possibilities for creating recipes.
Baking is like science class made fun - the recipe is actually a formula and the end result is dependent on chemical reactions...cool, eh?
All right, I am out of here for now.
530

Monday, November 10, 2008

Agitated Writing

I'm in a funk of a different sort that seems to have an adverse effect on my ability to effectively write Twenty minutes have lapsed from the first sentence to this one. I have a topic, kind of know the direction I wanna go, I just can't put the words down - something just gets lost and I have to keep drifting away from the computer.

I think I need to go back to my old longhand for a while. I think it's easier to be expressive without the confines of a computer in front of me. I have always felt that the computer impedes creativity, at least where writing is concerned.

There are so many things I want to talk about, President Obama, Proposition (h)eight, the entertainment value of various herbal remedies such as Milk Thistle, and so much more.

I've always felt the best way to break out of a writing slump is to keep writing, not give up. So, I'll keep plugging away and hope for the best and if at times my thoughts and words seem disjointed, if I'm not making myself clear - feel free to nudge me a little. I need your help with this - I am a bit lost but I will not succumb.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Got Pie?

I just watched a pie competition on the food network and have an overwhelming desire for pie.

Now on to Movie talk. Here are the last 10 movies I've watched and a word or six about each:
  1. Sicko! - Michael Moore's documentary on the health care system in the USA. Scary!
  2. Mr. Bean's Holiday - A joy. I am a Bean fan.
  3. 88 Minutes - a decent action flick.
  4. Baby Mama - funny and starring the hot Tina Fey.
  5. Million Dollar Baby - terrific film.
  6. The Bourne Ultimatum - may be the best of the trilogy, certainly the least boring.
  7. The Love Guru - occasional laughs, a big disappointment overall.
  8. Knocked Up - better than expected.
  9. Married Life - interesting - the story told in the time period it was told in added a unique twist. My darling Rachel McAdams stars alongside Pierce Brosnan, Patricia Clarkson, and the brilliant Chris Cooper.
  10. Fool's Gold - another better than expected - a romantic comedy worthy of a rental and a large bowl of popcorn.
I still want pie. Get well soon Joy! (Hugs)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Office Talk

I just finished watching The Office and am very pleased to say that I thought it was very funny. This shouldn't be a surprise but I've kind of felt that this season thus far has been far weaker than the past.

That was tough to say. Before the start of this season, I went back and watched every episode of the first 4 seasons and had a hard time finding a clunker. This season, while there have been funny moments, with the exception of tonight's episode, none of the others would have the ability to stand beside any other from season's past.

I don't know what the deal is but can only assume the problem lies in the writing and I can only hope it picks up, like tonight's episode for example.

In the meantime, the whole bluetooth thing was super funny."I wasn't talking to you..."

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Podcast: Leveling Out The Emotional Day of a Historic Election

A rare podcast, only cause I was just too spent to type -
CLICK HERE
or listen here:

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day Widget!

Let's Go President Obama!
5 3 0

I Support Barack Obama!


BROKEN LINKS - NO LONGER AVAILABLE

Monday, November 03, 2008

Out of Context

“She’s got one big, really attractive bush.”

That's what I heard. I was sitting at my desk, either working on something really important or not, my head buried in my desk and all of a sudden, I did the double-take after hearing those words.

I looked up at a nearby colleague and said what I (thought I) heard and her reply was either verification, or one of intervention on behalf of me finally having cracked; of course I took it as verification.

Anyway, it seems the discussion I overheard was related to an assortment of shrubs in the yard. Yeah!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Lambeth What?

I participated in a discussion about something called "The Lambeth Conference". There are a number of issues under discussion in the Episcopal Church and some issues currently affecting the relationship with The Anglican Communion, The Episcopal Church USA, and many churches within the Episcopal Church USA.

One of the most controversial subjects discussed stems from the consecration of the Rev. Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, as a Bishop. While many churches in the Episcopal Church have been "tolerant" of the ordination of homosexuals into priesthood, there seems to be greater issue in the area of Bishop.

Woman were first allowed to be ordained into the priesthood in the Episcopal Church USA in the early 1980's and the current presiding bishop is a woman.

For me, what attracted me to my current parish, and on a larger scale, the diocese of MA, is that they are progressive. There is no logic, in my opinion, to limiting the choices for clergy (at any level) based on sexual preference or gender - it has nothing to do with the job at hand.

I hope that sometime, preferably but highly unlikely, soon, this will all be properly resolved. It's sad that people of "so-called faith" can have such opinions especially when the Episcopal church is "supposed to be" more liberal than many of our Christian counterparts.

I hope this is coherent enough to be readable, I am out of steam after grading assignments.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Debatableisticalities

Last evening I changed my facebook profile picture to an Obama button and the daughter of one of my friends, who happens to be 17 (or 18), a staunch supporter of the other candidate.

While we ended in disagreement, we knew that we would and agreed that was okay, I must say that I was impressed with the passion, intellect, and courage displayed by someone so young. We need the youth of America to take a greater interest in politics and their civic duties.

On a completely different note, the weather was spectacular today and I did some seasonal cleaning up outside.

For now, I must go rest.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Post with a Missing Title

I'm watching last night's Letterman and Alec Baldwin just referred to Sarah Palin as "Bible Spice" - that's hysterical!
I had a student email me today and it turns out that he just now realized, more than 8 weeks into the semester, that he has the wrong textbooks for the course.
Did you read my last post? I wrote it while actually driving on the country road describes in the post. Of course, I took some poetic license to romanticize it somewhat.
While I am glad that gas prices are down in the $2.50 range from over $4, I still think it should be below $2.
Oh, this afternoon I started singing a random song to myself, "Take the Long Way Home" by Supertramp (it hit the charts in 1979). I get into my car, flip on the satellite radio and press one of the preset buttons and guess what song came on...Holy Freaknuts! It was "Take the Long Way Home" by Supertramp.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Driving to Work on a Long Country Road on a Fall Morning

My travels had me driving on a long, narrow country road. This time of year, the darkness lingers into morning and as a result, my focus was on the modest boundaries of my driving lane.
Somewhere along the road, I began to see evidence of the breaking dawn. The deep dark sky had slowly begin to lighten and the road seemed to widen beyond the tunnel like effect of the darkness beneath the canopy of the foliage.
As the sun, seemingly struggling to force its way through the thickly clouded sky, broke through, the glow began to accent the stunning colors of fall - the deep crimsons, the reds and oranges, the browns and yellows, it was like watching a perfect photograph develop before my eyes.
My driving had been so distracted that I chose to pull over for just a brief moment to watch as nature once again left me breathless in its beauty.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Somewhere in the Middle of Things

I've spent a good amount of time since Friday grading exams (or as the exquisite Essentially Me would say, marking tests - I need to transition to that, marking sounds so much better than grading) and computing the ever annoying midterm grades (midterm marks - I love the alliteration!).

It's interesting to compare the variance of the grade spread between my two sections. One section, I teach during the day to the "typical" community college student, between 17 and 22 on average and for the most part, they still have this high school mentality. The other class is taught completely online; I never see the students. Once the initial weeding out process which I got out of the way mostly before the start of class) was through, what remained, for the most part, are people who have discipline and are determined to do what it takes to get a good grade.

Here are the stats between the two classes:

There are 17 in the online class and 25 in the "Misfits" section.

I'm not a big fan of the midterm grade in general, I'm on the fence about them philosphically. However, we do what we must do.

All my grades are in and now, I take a deep breath.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Hijinx at the Expense of Politics

Dancing With the Stars



This is some mighty fine photoshopping and I haven't stopped laughing sice I've seen this - I just had to share it with you all.

And if this isn't the shiz, click here then start clicking away as each click will bring you a new laugh.



There are about a million versions of this picture but this one just cracked me up -->



Laugh, laugh a litle more, and remember to vote - but only if you vote for Obama/Biden.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Under Examination

I gave my students an exam in Microsoft Word 2007 today and have thus far graded about half of them - boy are the results awful! The misfits blabber about during class and don't pay attention and during the exam, there they are asking questions - quite silly if you ask me. Oh well!

It's gonna be cold tomorrow.

Who am I kidding, I've got nuttin' more to say right now cause I needs me some sleep.

530

Sunday, October 19, 2008

One More Batch of Photos, this Time from Apple Picking/Pumpkin Patching

These photos where taken at Shelburne Farms in Stow, MA. I went there after Walden Pond to do some Apple Picking (believe it or not for the first time ever). Apple picking never appealed to me because there's always far more apples at then end that you will ever need. However, it was a delightful fall day and as you saw from the Walden Pond pics in the previous three pics, I was working my way out of a funk and this seemed like a good follow up to Walden.

I love the whole one missing pumpkin thing going on here. Not only does it make for a cool photograph but it conjures up thoughts about the pumpkin's new home and whether or not he'll be missed by these guys and whether or not these guys will miss it. I know, silly - that's fine - it's what I was thinking though.

The whole pumpkin patch thing made me smile, which was completely unexpected for me.
I wasn't too sure about these bails of hay and still wonder. I did take the photo though so what the hay...
Many of the apple trees near the front were pretty bare except for a few here and there at the tops of the trees which were unreachable.
Can you guess the variety of apple from the photo? I think this is a great photograph.
At this very moment, is the very first apple pie I ever baked in the oven; it will be ready in about 15 more minutes. I did cheat in that I bought the Pillsbury pre-made pie crusts to save time. I'll keep you posted on how it turned out though I did forget to get a slab of cheddar cheese which I only learned in the last year or two was a wonderful accompaniment to apple pie.

A Fall Day at Walden Pond - Part 3




I've been in a funk for a while but there is no time or place for a funk when at Walden Pond. There is something, for me, that is magical about this place - a peaceful oasis that tranquilizes me.

A Fall Day at Walden Pond - Part 2

For me, the leaves are the canvas for which the fall season paints itself into our little world. While my absolute favorites are the deep reds, I love when all of the shades blend into each other and look as if the heavens pulled out a paint sprayer for the amusement of the human inhabitants of the earth. Here are some leafy expressions left to us in Walden Pond.





The last photo here is one of a leaf from a cluster of leaves that just caught my attention. I stopped to just stare at them for a few minutes when my focuse led my eyes to this particular leaf - so I photographed it.

A Fall Day at Walden Pond - Part 1

Here's the first of three posts, to be released in two hour intervals starting with this one at 9:00 am on Sunday, 10/19, that will include pictures taken on Saturday, 10/18 at Walden Pond. Not every photo will receive a caption - quite frankly, the place is so darn beautiful that very few, if any need captions.

This is me in my lumberjack outfit :)



This guy was having some fun. You should know that when this photo was taken, the temperature was at best in the low 50's. A resilient old chap who claims to do this pretty much every day.


Loving the colors of fall.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Why McCain Shouldn't be Allowed to Run for President

The average life expectancy of a male in the United States is 75.6 years. The loser McCain was born on August 29th of 1936 and will strike the life expectancy (if he survives that long) in early to mid April of 2012. Again, if Americans do prove they are dumber than dumb McCain is elected president, his first term would not be scheduled to end until January 19th of 2013.

Therefore, the last 8 1/2 months of his first term would be on "borrowed time". Considering he's already had cancer twice and is a complete idiot, there is fair reason to assume he won't live through to the life expectancy and that means that the utterly insane and equally stupid Sarah Palin would be the president of the United States for some period of time.

All of this leads me to a larger thought that perhaps there should be age limits at both ends of a president's term. The Constitution declares that one must be at least 35 years old to become president, perhaps we need an amendment that would also require their age to be at least 4 years younger that the average life expectancy.

Not As Geeky as I Thought....

...but Geeky (ish) just the same:


My computer geek score is greater than 60% of all people in the world! How do you compare? Click here to find out!
Overall, you scored as follows:
39% scored higher (more computer geeky)
1% scored the same and
60% scored lower (less geeky)
Compared to those in the same age group as you:
47% scored higher (more computer geeky)
1% scored the same and
52% scored lower (less geeky)
What does this mean?
Your computer geekiness is:Low Ranking Computer Geek. Definitely a Computer Geek, but low in the computer geek social structure.
Thanks to Joy for the link.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Cat Got My Tongue?

Even I feel like I haven't said (or written) much of late. It's isn't necessarily that I haven't got anything to say but I seem to have fallen into this funk that I ain't likin'. It not any one thing, it's a bunch of things.

In the meantime, the world goes on in all its unstable, uncertain, ways. I spend an unhealthy amount of time wondering what goes through the mind of a McCain/Palin supporter. How can a human being with a brain even consider this ticket? I know that this is a time when we should all be encouraging people to exercise their right and civic duty) to vote, but I can't help but wish that only people smart enough to vote for Obama should exercise that right.

I know, in a way it's pompous to think that because I feel Obama is the right choice that everyone else should think that way and if that makes me an ass, then fine, I am an ass. I genuinely am not certain I can remain in the US if Obama does not win, it's going to require some serious evaluation.

Oh, I was catching up on listening to some NPR stuff and there was this guy Kurt Wagner from a band called Lambchop doing a few songs and wow, was he great!

I'm gonna go for now.
530.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Things Aren't Always What They Seem

I went over to the giant window in the library today and took a peek out to be startled temporarily at what seems like some old dude rubbing one out behind our school. What made this even more startling than usual is that it wouldn't be the first time I caught someone wanking it back there;I know, right?

I don't recall if I've told the story here but I will soon. In the meantime, back to today. I called over my colleague who was there for the first incident and she to agreed that it looked like this dude was going for broke so I suggested she call campus police.

Of course, campus police is never reachable when you need them and in the time that she was attempting to make the call, the "guy' began a series of stretches and then broke into tai chi poses. Oh, and it wasn't a dude, it was an old lady.

Very odd experience.