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.