Saturday, December 11, 2010

While on Hiatus, SHOP HERE (Please)

Until I have a better flow of words to re-energize this blog, I've put together an Amazon.com shopping blog. If you use any of the links on my Amazon blog, I get a small commission and would greatly appreciate it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Elfing Myself 2010

My cat Oliver takes on a dual role here:

Saturday, October 09, 2010

You Really Got a Hold On Me - The Series

If you aren't familiar with my podcast blog, there is a link over on the right side (you may need to scroll down a bit). I posted the last series I did, "15 Albums in 15 Minutes for 15 Friends" part by part; I thought I would offer my latest 3 part series, "You Really Got a Hold On Me: 15 More Albums that Matter (to me)" all together.

If you go over to the podcast blog, you can download each episode individually or subscribe to it on iTunes. Enjoy!

Part 1:

Compiled from albums that could easily have made the first 15 Albums in 15 Minutes list as well as a few that were inspired by your lists and a few others that came to me while reminiscing (not in this particular case to the Little River Band). In this three episode series, I'll play some music from this new list of 15 albums and tell some stories, memories, and offer some tidbits about the records and artists; I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed making the podcast(s).

Here's a look at the 5 albums covered here in episode #1:



Thanks to all of you for listening.
Part 2:

In a variety is the spice of life moment, this eclectic mix of musicians and albums makes up the second of this exciting three part series:



Let the music (and me) do the talking...enjoy! Actually, by a stroke of luck, there'll be some talking by Jools Holland and Warren Zevon via a BBC interview from 2000 - this is too cool.
Part 3:

This series concludes with yet another diverse selection of music and memories from the following albums:



The last 5 of the 15 albums plus a 16th that I mention briefly because it simply could not be left out. I had such a great time over the last 6 weeks making these podcasts and will make other music related podcasts in the future. Thanks to everyone who listened and I'll be back soon.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

S - - t Happens!

"There I stood, when I should have sat
took a leak, then oops! I shat (a little)

DISCLAIMER CHECKLIST:
  1. The following post may be considered gross. Check
  2. This post may easily be construed as TMI. Check
  3. The post title is far more literal than I hoped it would ever be. Check
  4. I’ve added a humorous video clip at the end to temper the horrid reality of this post. Check
Okay then, if you’ve stuck around to read on, here’s what happened to me today.
I was dozing on my couch. The plan was to go out to the Indian market to get a few items I need for a recipe but my body had decided a nap was a priority before my errands.
I awoke from the nap with the urge to pee and so I ran into the bathroom on my main floor and went about my business from the traditional standing position. At the tail end of the stream of (un)consciousness, I sensed the desire release excess gasses from the traditional below the neck orifice when all of a sudden, a simple fart became a shart.
My body stood paralyzed as I entered an amazingly brief state of shock and then upon uttering a loud, and quite literal, “Oh, Shit!”, I strategically waddled my way upstairs to assess the damages and take care of business.
I was pleased that there was no damage to any clothing and all was quite simple from there – I remained in a scattered and uncertain state for a (boxer) brief time and got on with my day after a delightful mid-afternoon shower.
And now for a funny clip from SNL:
 

Friday, September 17, 2010

PODCAST: 15 Albums in 15 Minutes for 15 Friends - Part 3 of 3

NOTE: If you prefer to dowload the podcast so that you can listen on your iPod or other device, click the title of this post to go to the Podcast site, where there is a download link for the podcast.
Hey everyone, this is the conclusion of this 3 part series and will feature music and stories about the following albums:



I had such a good time working on this project and truly appreciate the feedback. For those of you who have enjoyed this series, I have created a new list of 15 albums, sort of a follow-up list that will lead to a new 3 part series of podcasts...coming soon; more on that soon, in the meantime, enjoy part 3.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

PODCAST: 15 Albums in 15 Minutes for 15 Friends - Part 2

NOTE: If you prefer to dowload the podcast so that you can listen on your iPod or other device, click the title of this post to go to the Podcast site, where there is a download link for the podcast.

Are you ready for part 2? I had yet another blast recording this, a bit better production value than part 1. I hope you enjoy it...please let me know. Here the music I'll be playing/discussing:

Bruce-BorntoRun.jpg

Part 3 yet to come!


Saturday, September 04, 2010

PODCAST: 15 Albums in 15 Minutes for 15 Friends - Part 1

NOTE: If you prefer to dowload the podcast so that you can listen on your iPod or other device, click the title of this post to go to the Podcast site, where there is a download link for the podcast.

This started out as a Facebook Note from a friend that I decided to expand into a 3 part podcast. Here is a look at some of the music I'll be talking about here in part 1:



I had a blast working on this and I hope you enjoy the anecdotes and stories and of course, the music!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Blinking Green Light in Front of Me

Pretty fancy title for the first post here in the month of August (on the last day of said month). Here’s the thing, I had no idea how to title the post and in the nanoseconds I had to wait for the tool I use to write posts to open, I observed a blinking green light on my cell phone (which as you may have guessed, was on the table in front of me).
Since it’s freshest in my mind, let me touch on the Emmy’s. First off, Jimmy Fallon won himself a free pass in my book. From the brilliantest opening number, dare I say in the history of awards show opening numbers to a well rounded show and hosting gig. Next, kudos to the producers for producing a show for the current generation of television watchers (except for the dreadful appearance and arrogance of Al Pacino).
To my dear friend Annmarie – obviously, condolences on the loss of your husband John. But more, the pain and heartache you and your family have endured for so long. May the pain subside quickly, the joyous memories endure, and may each tomorrow be easier than each yesterday.
To my dear friend Tori – you are a good as they get. You have dealt with so much over the last five years and somehow, you always manage to be graceful under pressure and I’ve learned so much from knowing you. You always have you blogfolk, and for certain this blogger in particular in your corner.
For those of you who are aware of my personal life and those who’ve emailed and called me wondering how I am, I am doing fine. It’s a challenging time and not always pleasant thing to endure but I’ve done alot of soul searching and I am certain that the events in my life are all part of a bigger plan. I may not be at the peak of happiness, but I am grateful for the many blessings in my life and content to explore whatever may be next. I love all of you who have expressed concern and been there for me.
Thanks for sticking by me and this blog. I know I haven’t been around here much but I appreciate that you stick by me.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Recently Written Collection of Haiku

I was reading a collection of Robert Frost poetry, a free download on the iPad. The plane had just taken off from Logan airport in Boston en route to Orlando, Florida and we were forewarned of some choppy air on the way up – then this came to me:
In flight with my thoughts
Reading Frost and getting lost
No more turbulence.

Sitting a few rows ahead of me was a couple that seemed to be enjoying each other’s company. It was obvious to me they were talking but I had no idea what they were saying because they were too far away to effectively eavesdrop. Therefore, I allowed my imagination to take over and came up with this:
Speaking in a code
Known only to each other
They spoke of their love.

While I was alone with my imagination, thinking about what others might be saying or thinking, one more haiku came to me after looking at he scenario above from a different angle – not imagining what was said, but that which was unsaid:
Sparingly, they spoke
It was with their eyes they talked
And I heard it all.

I was listening to a keynote on Wednesday (7/24) and when the speaker was making a particular point in a story referring to listening/hearing, I was instantly inspired, pulled out the iPad and came up with this:
Don't just listen, hear
If you speak, speak from the heart
Make a difference

It was a few days of busy time (with quite a bit of fun time) before I was scheduled to return to Massachusetts on Saturday (7/17); I was sitting on the sofa, relaxing in my quarters, watching television and just chilling out. I went to get the iPad because I wanted to review some notes I made and compulsively tapped the notepad and wrote this:
I'm heading back home
Thought I'd find some perspective
I won't stop trying

Flipping through the channels, I don’t remember the specific moment of inspiration and I can’t even recall now if I actually saw the “comedy and tragedy” masks or envisioned them as a result of something I saw or heard. However, the idea of the comedy and the tragedy struck me and I wrote this:
Like a comedy
I laughed, then, started to cry
Like a tragedy

The final two haikus I wrote on this trip was inspired by a weather report. The mere mention of rain somehow got the Neil Sedaka song “Laughter in the Rain” stuck in my head. I began singing the song in my head and next thing I knew, I found myself amused and thought about intentionally twisting the idea that one would normally find sadness in rain and happiness in sunshine – this is what I came up with:
Laughter in the rain
Depression in the sunshine
Twisted emotions

I thought that was it, I had put down the iPad and began to doze off for a bit. I had intended on taking a short nap and I guess my brain needed a brief rest.
I later met my colleague and his wife for lunch and worked my way to the airport afterwards for the worst part of traveling, the traveling… after 45 minutes or so in the JetBlue line, where I was delighted to be successful at nabbing a seat on an earlier flight, and an awfully long wait in the TSA line, I arrived at my gate and planned to see if there was wireless so I could kill the half hour wait with some Facebooking or other Internet based activity. I heard a nearby traveler mentioning rain and the time I spent earlier in my room came back to me.
This last haiku, composed at gate 110 in the JetBlue terminal at MCO came to me and is the closest of all here to the traditional Japanese poetry form:
Flowers in springtime
Sunshine kisses morning dew
Summertime bouquets

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Flawed Algorithm?

I received this in an email from drugstore.com:
drugstoreI’ve ordered the Litter Locker refill from them. The litter locker is kind of a diaper genie, but for cats – you put the stuff you scoop out of the litter box into it, give it a twist and then get on with your life. What is obviously baffling, is how this computer decided I would possibly like tampons as a result of my purchasing cat litter supplies….
[**warning, I am about to go there, if you don’t wish to be a part of it then leave now…..**]
See, now I didn’t even need to go there as I have forced you to get there yourself! Enjoy the laughter. BTW, the above is a real, undoctored email.

Friday, July 23, 2010

One That Slipped Through The Cracks?

Tales from the helpdesk of a community college in Somewhere, USA (the names have been blurred to protect the…)
[You may need to click on the picture to see it full size and appreciate/fear it properly]
graduated

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Road (Way) Less Traveled

It was my first day here in Florida, I had my rented car and found my lodging. Once settled in, I made my way to the Gaylord Palms, where the conference was being held. I don't love to drive and when I am in unfamiliar territory, it takes me a bit of time to warm up - fortunately, Florida was warm, so I got more comfortable with the roads along with the aid of my GPS, which I cleverly brought from home.
Once at the Gaylord, I was unpleasantly surprised to learn that parking was not free and worse, was rather expensive ($12+tax per departure). While I resolved to deal with the parking fees later, I sought out the registration check-in booth to get my badge and materials and then walked around a bit to become familiar with the facility and locations of the various conference rooms and the sort.
After a while, I met up with W and we started to strategize a bit about conference sessions, chat about the previous couple of days when he attended the developers conference, and then made plans to go to dinner somewhere.
I left the Gaylord en-route to the Floridays Resort, where I was staying, upset at the parking fee, but looking forward to a shower, changing clothes, and heading back for dinner. Upon my return, I regretfully pulled through the gates of the parking lot taking my ticket and went about meeting up with W, Mrs. W, and Niece of W. We met up in the somewhat impressive atrium, a seemingly central concept of Gaylord hotels, and just hung out for a bit while contemplating some dinner option (with the help of my trusty Droid).
[*back to writing a few days later*]
I realize I could really go on and on about things that have nothing to do with the title of this post and the crazy story...so hear goes...
It's near 11:00pm and I start to make my way back from the Gaylord hotel to mine. I pay the ridiculous parking fee and set up my GPS and like a good soldier driving in unfamiliar territory, I pay attention to the lady inside my little electronic gadget.
At some point, GPS lady says, "make left turn on something or other street (name forgotten and not relevant)”. I dutifully make my left turn and while the road is super quiet and apparently under construction, I proceeded. Shortly into my cautious trek onto this road, I sensed something didn't feel right but then miss GPS directed me to make a right turn, which seemed to be such a relief at the time, I proceeded with hope that I may end up on a less remote road.
Unfortunately, hope does not always pan out and I was now on a far more remote road, a dirt road and hear are the fears and thoughts that topped the list just seconds after my obedient act of driving:
  • Where the fuck am I and how do I get out?
  • I had a few drinks, what if a cop finds me here and asks me to take a breathalyzer test?
  • What if there is a sinkhole or quicksand ahead?
  • Okay God, this is the test...let's both pass it, okay?
What was minutes surely seemed like much, much longer but after all that anxiety and worry, a main road came into view along with my lodging off to the left. I emerged from the, whatever it was I was trapped in to get right back onto International Drive, made the next U-turn while contemplating what must have been going through the minds of the drivers that passed me while waiting to get onto the road and eventually found myself at the entrance of the Floridays Resort...day one of trip down, four to go!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Tales from central Florida...Blackboard World 2010

What do Venezuela and Morocco have in common?
We are at a party hosted by one of the vendors, a sponsor of the conference and someone we do business with. The event is at a restaurant in the hotel and features a lovely open bar and a lovely paella featuring some serious prawn action.
After several plates of the luscious paella and a few Peroni's, I was jonesing for something sweet, none of which was to be found...that is, until I turned on the charm.
Throughout The evening, I was making small talk with the wait staff, in particular a lady from Venezuela named Kristelle and a lady from Morocco named Farah...just little chit-chat, where are you from, what brought you here, etc.
At some point, I caught both of their attention and motioned for them to come over to the table. I told them how nice it would be if the vendor had a table of desserts and how good a nice sweet dessert would be right now. I had them laughing but they said this event was just food and drink. Then I started asking them if they do the traditional restaurant thing and if so, how many times a day they had to sing the dreaded happy birthday....they continued to laugh and then, I went for the bleachers and said this...
"I can't imagine anyone wanting anything sweeter than the two of you, but boy, a little ice cream or s piece of cake would really hit the spot; I'm just sayin'." Soon after, they were on their way to wait on other table and 5 minutes or so later, as pi was deep into shenanigans and conversation, the two of them come out with this beautiful brownie sundae with a birthday candle in it (it wasn't my birthday) and just smiled. I thanked them both, gave them each a hug and then went on to eat my dessert (I did share it with my colleague's wife and niece)...fun times!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

iPad – 2nd Date

apple While the photo is not flattering (it’s hard to take a good picture of yourself with a cell phone while holding an iPad), it does in fact depict me holding my work-issued iPad for extended use and review.
Back in early May, I posted “My 20 Minute Date with an iPad” where some might say I eased up a bit on my usual negativity over Apple products. Turns out that while some of what I said is true, after having had one in my possession for a couple of days, it is now clearer to see the evils of Steve Jobs and Apple, Inc. for the capitalist slime they are.
I think the most appropriate adjective I can find for Apple products is “engaging”. This is a good thing, I want to be engaged my technology, I am a techno-geek. However, When you look deeper, under the hood, at least for me, there’s a whole lot more style than substance when you consider the premium price Apple charges for their products.
The model iPad I have is a 64GB+3GS, which currently sells on their web site for $829. Quite frankly, the new iPhone 4 is a far better investment with way more capability at less than half the price (if you can stand inferior phone service – another Apple mishap agreeing to have ATT be the exclusive provider).
As a computing device, I would purchase any of the many netbooks in the marketplace before I would spend my own money on an iPad. A netbook is equally portable with eons more capability and computing power can be had for almost 1/3rd of the cost. In fact, even Apple’s own entry level MacBook at an overpriced $999 is a better investment for just a little more money.
Major iPad gripes:
  • 3GS – only ATT option and very expensive
  • Limited to no device connectivity – how about a USB port you cheap fucks! How about an easy way to connect to a printer!
  • iTunes – aside from being a mediocre piece of software at best, iTunes is the only method other than via Internet to manage data and apps on the iPad.
  • No camera – not that you would want to use a device this size to take a snapshot but a front mounted webcam would be useful.
  • At first glance, this wasn’t as obvious but now that I’ve had it a few days, I think it would have made more sense to include the full blown Mac OS and adapt it to the portability and touch screen of the iPad. If Apple does one thing really well it’s their OS and the full package is sorely missed on this device.
  • How about a built in mic and voice recognition?
Some positives on the iPad:
  • The virtual keyboard works great, especially on this screen.
  • iBook reader is neat (though I would opt for the $189 Kindle as a reader over the iPad any day).
The fact is, gladly, I didn’t pay out of pocket for this so my gripes are somewhat moot. I do enjoy trash talking Apple because they are always on their unwarranted high horse. They make good products – but they are way overpriced and for me, the hype and the cost is just unwarranted.
We’ll see if I can find some practical uses for it as time move ahead.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Whispers and Screams

Hello, yeah, it's been a while.
Not much, how 'bout you?
I'm not sure why I called,
I guess I really just wanted to talk to you.

I’ll start with the screams:
Went to court today for what I thought was going to be a simple divorce hearing when the stupid court system yet again proved to me just how broken this country is.
We filed the papers in January and sometime in March we get a note that the court date was set, in June. Here we are in June, go to check in and the Court officer reviews the papers and asks who drew up the settlement agreement. “We did.” I responded and as he perused them, he pointed out problems and at the end he said, “you aren’t going to be able to go through this today, the judge will look at this and dismiss the case without a hearing and you’ll have to re-file and pay the fees again…you don’t want that. I advise you to seek counsel and have the agreement written up properly.”
FUCK YOU! In the two months the court had the papers, I would assume that someone would read them and ensure that they are court worthy before assigning us a court date months into the future.
I accept that the papers should be written properly and it was my bad for relying on the research materials I had at my disposal and assumed they were accurate. However, this is a simple uncontested divorce case – give me a fucking template, don’t force me to give some jackass two grand two piece together some boilerplate text, or rather, have his or her just over minimum wage paralegal do it.
Okay, rant over, now the whispers (appearing as bullets):
  • Going to the Blackboard World conference in Orlando next month (anyone gonna be near Orlando 7/13-17?)
  • Today is the first of 19 straight days off from work (except for teaching)
  • Currently reading Ozzy Osbourne’s autobiography
  • In 16 minutes, I am going to DQ for a Blizzard
  • Getting my house clean and organized is so difficult for me
  • I wish we were all together hanging out (us Blogger folk I mean)
Peace and love!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Grandma’s Cake Mix

Recognize the doctor in this?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Brilliant Negotiator

I had spent about a month or so learning everything I could about mattresses. The mattress I currently sleep on is the only one I’ve owned since moving to Massachusetts back in 1997; it was time to find something new.
I had recently purchased some bedroom furniture – nothing super fancy, and certainly not expensive since I am on a super tight budget being a bachelor carrying the mortgage solo, but functional. One thing that was necessary was putting a new mattress atop the new bed and so the story begins.
I’ll try to edit…ultimately, the mattress business is pretty fishy! I would even go so far as to say it’s easier to shop for a car than for a mattress. You see, let’s say you want a Honda Fit Sport – the car and what’s in it is the same at every dealer. There is also plenty of information available about cars so that you can make an informed decision on what you are buying and how much you should pay for it. With a mattress, it is virtually impossible to find an exact match from one store to another and the worse part, it is intentionally designed that way – to confuse and worse, in a nutshell, rip-off the consumer.
Instead of citing numerous examples and getting into more detail than is necessary, I’ll use the mattress I finally purchased as an example and the rest, I’ll leave to your all too vivid and likely realistic (at least in this case) imagination.
matt
The price label you see here is the one that was on the mattress I purchased. In fact, I shot the photo with my cell phone right there on the sales floor. I purchased the King size and needed only a mattress and the bed I purchased has a platform that takes the place of the box spring as the foundation.
First piece of important information is that the $1799.99 price is actually a considerable discount from the $3500 “list price” of the mattress and therefore, just on an initial glance, the average consumer is led to believe that they are already saving nearly 50%. Imagine that the consumer who likes to try to “talk down” the price would even dare shoot for $300, $400, or even $500 off of that – because it seems so unreasonable that if they are already marking the thing down $1700, that once could get that much more chopped off. Alas, spending quality research time about mattresses and learning about the business from as many angles as possible, I walked into that store confident and ready to make an offer and willing to walk out if they said no. This my friends is a major factor in a successful negotiation – knowing that you must walk away if your price, the one you ultimately determine is the most you are going to pay, is not met.
So, here’s the deal – believe it or not, I paid $675 for that mattress. Yes, that is a whopping $2825 off the list price and  $1125 of the “regular discount price”. the most important thing I learned about the mattress business is just how ridiculous the markups are. One important thing to keep in mind is also an awareness of the marketplace. For instance, Tempur-Pedic mattresses are very expensive and probably have at least an intrinsic markup of a similar nature. However, just try to negotiate a deal on one of these and in most cases, you’ll walk out empty handed. The reason, brilliant marketing, strong branding, and good marketing.
Lesson here folks is that when making a big ticket item purchase, take the time to learn as much as you can about what you are buying. Information is power and the almighty dollar always looks nicer in your wallet than someone else’s!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Podcast: Interview With a PC

I haven’t been able to land a human interview in a while so I decided to do something a bit unconventional and interview my computer. She didn’t have lots of time but was willing to answer the “Pivot Questionnaire” … here’s the result.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

My 20 minute date with an iPad

ipad
Early on, I referred to the iPad as “an inconvenient iPod”. Today, I went over to the Apple store and spent 20 minutes getting acquainted with the latest offering from Jobs and Co.
Turns out, that the iPad is in fact, a giant iPod (giant being a relative term). What differs from first time I made this reference is that here, after touching, feeling and playing with the device, is that I say this in more of an endearing tone as opposed to one that can be easily construed as derogatory.
After playing with many of the bells and whistles, most of which impressed, I wanted to get a feel for typing with the virtual keyboard and this is what got me thinking about what confuses me most about the iPad.
Considering the size of the device, my best guess is the closest representation to a competitor in the marketplace would be a netbook. I’ve sampled several of the netbooks out there and while on some, there may be an ever so slight compensation necessary for the scaled back mini-laptops, in short time they become just a effective as a standard, full-size keyboard. The iPad’s virtual keyboard was pleasantly simple, accurate, and comfortable in the context of typing a URL but I question how it will feel if using it to say, create  a word processing document?
Ultimately, even if I wanted to dislike this thing, I just couldn’t. The iPad had an infectious quality about it that had me regretting I was in a retail store that was mobbed with people, many just to get a feel at this device and so I had to walk away. Knowing Jobs and his cronies reputation, were I to crack down for one I’d wait until at least iPad 2.0 as there are obvious features left out, most notably the ability to make a phone call. Heck, if you are going to make a giant iPod, you may as well make a giant iPhone!
Revised definition: “iPad: A really cool enlargement of the iPod.”

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Hello My Friends, here’s what’s newish:

Hello my dear, and so very obviously loyal, blog readers (as well as any new stragglers). I wanted to stop by and offer a few updates and just chat for a bit:
  • The podcast has now been completely moved over to a new host. You can find every one of my podcasts at the new podcast home site by clicking here. There were many missing podcast for a while when the old host crashed – I’ve restored the entire lot here. Soon, you can subscribe directly from within iTunes but you can also click on the subscribe link somewhere over on the right (I haven't actually tried it yet but were I a betting man, I would say it works).
  • I am just a few days pas my first month as a bachelor. While the divorce is not final, I am living alone in this big house. The transition has been interesting though is still new – need to find a new rhythm that matches where I am – in time, it will happen.
  • Thus far there is not set schedule for child sharing but it has been working out okay so far. In time, I realize the need for something a bit more rigid than random will be necessary.
  • I have been working hard on my “Living in the Moment” initiative and I do believe I may have begun to see time moving a wee bit slower as a result (which was partly the intention).
  • The New York Yankees are playing well – yay!
I’ve received a few emails from some of you with encouraging words and good thoughts, I can’t even begin to scratch the surface on expressing my gratitude.
later for now.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Podcast: Lake What?

Aside from discussing my podcast in general and the hosting issues I am having, I talk about what's next to combat those issues.

More importantly, and more fun - the whole inspiration for recording this podcast came from hanging out with someone and jsut having a silly fun time talking about "Lake Webster", which is really named "Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg" - hear how it sounds when properly pronounced, and even more entertaining - when it isn't.


Note: I am working feverishly on porting the podcast to it's new home (as you'll hear if you listen), until then, this method of delivery will have to suffice....smooches :)
NEW NOTE: NOTE THE EMBEDDED PLAYER - FROM MY NEW PODCAST HOME - PODBEAN...COMING SOON TO iTUNES.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Family Feud Redux

Today I got a voicemail in my Google Voice box that was from random guy who mentioned that he was going on an audition for Family Feud and wanted to know if there was any advice I can offer - and then of course, he left a phone number.

I felt compelled to return the call since I did have something to offer. You may recall that I once auditioned for this very same game show, in fact, the fact that I told the story about it here on this blog was exactly what led my caller to find me.

When I spoke to caller, he had mentioned that he Googled Family Feud something or other and stumbled across the post I wrote about my audition experience. I also happen to have a "Call Me" widget that connects to my Google Voice box so he decided to give me a call and ask for some advice. As I mentioned, I did call him back and offered what I thought was some wise words and wished him and his family the best of luck and most of all, to have fun.

See that - blogging for a purpose!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Podcast - Don't Call it a Comeback

NOTE: I am on a new host! You can hear the podcast using the embedded player below; coming soon to iTunes.
Long time no podcast! I created one last night but there are some problems with www.mypodcast.com, the host site I use and I am not sure I'll be able to publish there any longer (looks like they are going under).
While I look into other hosting sites and options, I am posting this here is a somewhat makeshift fashion - while it won't automatically add itself to iTunes (for those of you who may subscribe from there), at least you can download it from here and listen at your leisure.
Enjoy!


The Andy Rooney Segment

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Time to Go Public

Hi blogger friends…much time has passed and I’ve been either silent or cryptic here. It’s time to come clean and let all of you know what’s been going on in my life and why this blog has been so quiet.
Divorce. That’s it…I know there are probably some of you who didn’t even know I was married. It’s been quite some time since I made any mention of family on this blog but if you go back to the  archives, I once did.
Regardless, the marriage had been a struggle for both of us for quite some time and we’ve discussed it, worked on it, thought about it, and been back and forth and then a few months back, we both decided that we should probably end our marriage before we just end up bitter and angry.
There’s no mystery, no skeletons in closets, no radical incidents, just two mature adults that grew apart.
I am doing fine. Time will be the greatest healer in this and everything else that needs to work out will – in the meantime, for those whose natural curiosity raise questions, I ask that you take a moment to realize that the answers to those questions do you no good other than to satisfy that curiosity and therefore, if you want to do something to help, I ask that you refrain from asking any of them. I assure you, when and/or if I need some help, with anything, I will ask and I have every confidence that those of you who truly are my friends will respond.
I suspect it will still take some time to get into some kind of groove and write here on this blog but I am not giving up on this medium – be well my friends and I’ll be back soon.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Coming Soon…

Words are hard to come by of late – just to much to digest. It is often periods such as this however that tend to inspire…
…ends, beginnings, moving on, coping, living, feeling again.
Words will come as will everything else but until then, this is just a short visit with you dear reader and friend…
just dropping by to let you know you are in my thoughts and I will see you all soon.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dunkin Dunce

I’ve spent quite a few mornings at Dunkin Donuts this past month as they are featuring Triple Chocolate Muffins for a limited time. Regardless of the store, the encounter is always the same and always annoying:
Me: “May I have a triple-chocolate muffing please?”
DD: “Would you like anything to drink with that?”
In my head, “Why the fuck would you ask me this question? Is there any way that you could think of to be more insulting to me this early in the morning? You basically sell two types of products: stuff to eat and stuff to drink. Granted, my brain doesn’t function as sharply this early in the morning but it certainly works well enough that I am aware of your product offerings…”
Do these morons actually believe that I may have forgotten that I might need something to wash my muffin down with? Or, that I forgot that I could purchase a beverage here; despite the waft of coffee products and the dozens of people in my midst sipping away?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cat Got My Tongue?

I feel so conflicted sometimes. I hate to post something for the simple sake of posting something but then I also hate not posting something – especially to be gone for as long as I have.
I don’t want to harp on the idea that I am going through a transitional period right now as well as things in my professional life are rather stressful – so I won’t, nor will I discuss either further here – at least not for now.
What I will do is remind those of you who take the time to come here that I so greatly appreciate that you do so and I hope that you’ll bear with me for a little while…
I can never predict what will inspire me with verbiage but I do know that it’s harder right now and I suspect that will be the case for at least the next month or two.
In a bit of randomness – I will mention that American Idol really sucks this year so far – the talent pool seems quite sparse.
Much love!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy February 14th

I know other people in the world celebrate a Saint whom I happen to think might be fictitious. Many are hypnotized by the powers of the retail and marketing industry and the color red. Right now, I happen to find myself in something of a holding pattern, unsure of so many things – especially, what the next chapter will bring.
On this day though, I am certain of one thing. If I could spend some quality time with only one person I’ve ever known or know now, without hesitation - you would be my choice.
I can see us sitting in a cafe somewhere. Not that it would matter where but if I am choosing, either Venice or Paris seem appropriate. Sitting there talking and getting to know more about each other – listening and hearing each other, feeling emotions perhaps, I am certain there would be some laughter.
I cam imagine us just walking around exploring a fun place like Las Vegas – people watching and just having fun doing nothing more than being together with no motive other than enjoying spending time together. I can even imagine passing a piano and me daring you to play something – I know that you play. At first, you resist but my charm is too convincing and besides, you wouldn’t back down from such an innocent dare.
I need to touch you – your heart, your soul, your mind, and your body. On this day, it is you that I will think of and the time we’ve yet to share.
Happy February 14th.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

More on the 7 Things continued

Here’s what I’ve yet to elaborate on:
d. I’ve proposed to Joan Jett live on the radio.
e. I was at Joey Ramone’s birthday party one year.
f. I’ve auditioned for Family Feud.
g. I once quit a new job after 2.5 hours of the first day.

I’ve proposed to Joan Jett live on the radio.

Back in college, I was very involved in the radio station, I was the production director for some time and I also had several air shifts. Because I was deep in the heart of New York City, I knew there were opportunities in my midst and in those days, opportunity knocked more than usual in the month of October – which WNEW, the premiere rock station of the time, redubbed as “Rocktober”.
Every “Rocktober”, WNEW has what they called a “Shootout at The Hard Rock Cafe”, where in celebration of their anniversary as a radio station, they would broadcast from the Hard Rock (just a few short blocks from my radio station) and play host to many iconic figures and top stars of Rock and Roll. I occasionally took advantage of this opportunity by bringing a remote setup with me and attempt to get a little radio gold for our little college station that only aired on Manhattan cable FM.
As I arrived at the Hard Rock on this one day, I knew that Joan Jett was going to be there and she was my prime target on this day because I was a fan, because she was hot, and because I had a live microphone in my hand and wanted to make a little history.
After her interview with WNEW, she was brought out to a stretch limousine parked on West 57th. street, just outside the Hard Rock and a line formed quickly for a short meeting and autograph opportunity; I got in line with everyone else and waited my turn.
When I had gotten to the point where I was next, I was almost ready to bow out. My heart was racing and my palms were sweaty and the equipment I was lugging felt like it weighed a ton – but I couldn’t let my listener(s) down and I wouldn’t allow myself to back down from the task at hand.
After what I remember to be about 45 minutes or so, the time had come. The person before me had moved on and the security team, with whom I had received clearance before I got on line to have my equipment with me and recording, waved me in. I approached the car door and kneeled before the rock goddess and reach out my hand. Jett extended hers and without hesitation I looked her straight in the eye and said, “Joan, will you marry me?” The surrounding crowd reacted almost immediately and Jett grinned ear to ear and said, “that’s very sweet but I am in no way ready for marriage right now.” Again, almost immediately, someone from the crowd who overheard the interplay shouted, “she’s not quite ready for men…”
Jett’s gender preference in the sexual arena was of no interest to me at the time – all I saw was a hot rock and roll chick and an interesting opportunity. She took my notebook from me and signed an autograph and said, “very nice to meet you”. That was that and the entire transaction aired on 88.7 WTNY Manhattan Cable FM.

I was at Joey Ramone’s birthday party one year.

This was another cool thing I got to be a part of as a result of being involved with the college radio station. It was at a club in NYC, in the Union Square area and the band that was playing was newly signed to RCA and doing a showcase. I can’t for the life of me recall their name and am too lazy to go downstairs and dig out the cassette. The highlight of the night for me, was almost literally running into Joe Ramone. leaning against a a pole in his lankiness and just hanging out.
About halfway through the band’s set, they acknowledge Ramone’s presence and brought out a giant sheet cake. We all just hung out until about 3am – it was a total blast.

I’ve auditioned for Family Feud.

I wrote  a whole post on this…see the post below this one.

I once quit a new job after 2.5 hours of the first day.

The job was at a recording studio in New York City. I was so into music and I was also just naive enough coupled with believing that maybe this could be my in. I was told that if I were willing to take a data entry job, that perhaps I could learn the recording business by hanging around and eventually be promoted from within.
Clearly, I was both vulnerable and delusional and began to gain awareness to this fact by 10 am as I was chatting with my data entry cubicle neighbor who was sold a similar bill of goods as had many others. There was no intent other than to have me do data entry until I realized that it was all I was ever going to do at the company. At about 11:30, I went to my supervisor and asked if I could take my lunch so that I could keep one last commitment with my previous employer (a lie).
At 11:30, I left, never to return and never even called to ask for my paycheck. That was that.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

The Family Feud Audition Story

I didn’t expect as much time to pass since my last post but life got in the way again. Before elaborating on the rest of the seven things, I had a few requests to go a bit more into the Family Feud audition so I thought I would do that first.
family-feud_485983
Family Feud got quite popular in the 70’s and 80’s when it was hosted by Richard Dawson, who seemed to get a thrill out of kissing every woman contestant. Dawson left the show in the mid-80’s and hosting duties were left in the hands of Ray Combs, who a decade later left the show and eventually committed suicide.
In the mid-90’s, the producer’s were looking at reviving the show to it’s heyday and had signed original host Richard Dawson to host again. It was around this time, national auditions began and my then sister-in-law (TSIL), thought it would be a gas for our family to give it a run.
TSIL’s application was answered and she called me asking if I was interested – duh! ME! Of course I was interested. The audition was at a hotel (can’t recall which) in NYC and we had to bring our “family” to play a simulated game of Family Feud.
Our team consisted of: me, TSIL, TSIL’s mother, TSIL’s brother, and my sister Rose. I know this is going to sound arrogant but it happens to be the truth – I was friggin’ awesome and TSIL was pretty good as well. The rest of the bunch may just as well have been ashes in an urn.
When the producers are auditioning families for these show’s they aren’t so much looking for smarts but personality that will translate well on television – people that are potentially interesting to watch on television and for the most part, our group was a dud.
Unfortunately, Richard Dawson was nowhere to be found nor was there anything resembling a set. Our family was standing across from the other family and one of the producer’s served as the “host”. It was lots of fun!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

More on the “7 Things”

This appeared in my last post:

4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
a. I’ve been inside of a professional wrestling ring.
b. I’ve inquired to become a justice of the peace.
c. I’ve performed stand-up comedy – 4 times.
d. I’ve proposed to Joan Jett live on the radio.
e. I was at Joey Ramone’s birthday party one year.
f. I’ve auditioned for Family Feud.
g. I once quit a new job after 2.5 hours of the first day.
I thought I would expand a little on each and tell you more about each, assuming they are actually interesting to you.

a. I’ve been inside of a professional wrestling ring.

When I was a senior in high school, they actually had professional wrestling come to my school and because I was a wrestling fanatic at the time, I signed on to “work” the event as, get this, staff security (to put that into perspective, think Uncle Frank on Jimmy Kimmel).
There were two pretty big names of that era there, Pedro Morales and Adrian Adonis. Arnold Skaaland, famous for being Bob Backlund’s manager was also in attendance but he was working in the background for the promoters.
At one point, I went into the dressing room for something and there was a larger group of wrestlers and suits (including Skaaland and a few other older folks) playing poker with wads of cash all over the table, Skaaland pulls his fat cigar out of his mouth, looks my way and says something like, “kid, it would be a good idea if you left this room now and didn’t come back in unless you want to…” I left not wanting to even hear the rest.
Anyway, when the wrestling event, which was fun, was over, a bunch of us worker bees got to play around in the ring so we did – yes, the mat has a giant compression spring at the bottom but if you hit it hard enough, it doesn’t feel nice.

b. I’ve inquired to become a justice of the peace.

Recently, the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of MA gave his blessing to all priests in the diocese to preside over same sex marriages. This cause another stir amongst some older and more conservative thinkers in the diocese. I am baffled why people would be opposed to such a thing and it occurred to me that maybe I can have some positive effect in some way.
I had recently learned of a friend of a friend who recently was marries to his same sex partner and because of their plight, he had decided to become a justice of the peace and offer services to any and all who wanted and promised to make available a safe, comforting and welcoming atmosphere where the ceremony would be the focus, not the gender or beliefs of the participants. I was inspired understanding that a wedding ceremony shouldn’t have boundaries other that those placed upon it by the participants. I want to be able to provide a safe haven as well, so that all who desire to be married can do so in an environment free from bias.
The process of becoming a justice of the peace here begins with an inquiry to the secretary of state (which I have done and am awaiting a response), having an application processed through the secretary of state and signed off on by at least five prominent members of the community in which you live, an opening must exist – there can be no more than one justice of the peace for each 5,000 residents of the town in which the applicant resides (I think I am okay on this), and then once the application is approved, an appointment to the position by the governor of the state (for a 7 year term). Wish me luck!

c. I’ve performed stand-up comedy – 4 times.

This didn’t start out as anything other than my pain in the ass friends being asshats. We were at an open mic night at Pips Comedy Club in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn and while we were laughing it up and getting hammered, the host calls out, “our next comic tonight is a young lad from East 28th street…” (I’m thinking, someone from my block is here?), “…let’s give it up for Chris, the Beaver (don’t ask), Da…(me).”
Almost instantly, my (former) friends are egging me on to get up to the mike and chanting my name and I ma cursing them out violently but in my liquid courage induced state, I said to each of them, “F&$K youse all, I am doing it!” I got up to the microphone and everything became surreal, like in slow motion I could hear every clap stop individually and the sound just drop out of the room. I began to stutter, not really sure of what I was going to say and then came out with a line that is as unoriginal as any, “hey, why do they call the Belt Parkway the Belt Parkway? Shouldn’t it be called the Belt Driveway?” (boos ensued). “I mean really, most of the time traffic on the Belt is so bad it may as well be the Belt Parking Lot…” (that was when actual food items began getting tossed to the stage) and do I leave? No, not yet! I know that I stammered out at least one more “joke”m the food thing became enough of an issue for management concern and I went back to my asshat friends and drank as much more as I could until passing out.
Sometime a day or two after, in a totally sober state while chatting with one of my asshat friends I actually said, “that was kind of fun, I’m going to actually prepare to do one intentionally.” My friend thought I was nuts but I did jus that, prepared what I thought would be minutes worth of material and a few months after the first debacle, I was back at Pips and was called on to the stage as “A brave soul looking for a second chance…” I might ahve heard something of a chuckle for a second but  I could have been mistaken. the thing is, there was no food being tossed this time and in my feeble brain, that means I had potential.
My third try was totally a result of the encouragement of my friend Jerry who, like me, loved comedy and the idea of creating it. We had even developed an idea for a cable access talk show format that I still think would be funny, but we never executed it. We were at a company holiday party and there was a general talent show portion. Jerry thought it would be funny for me to go on last and close the show kind of poking fun at the acts before me.
I studied each act and the two in particular that cracked me up were a trio of plus size ladies singing “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” and then a dude dancing and lip syncing to a Prince song. So when I came out, I made some small talk about the event and the performers and then said I wanted to pay tribute to my two favorite acts by doing an impersonation of Prince singing Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.
I went all out with the drama, turning my back to the audience at first then the dramatic head spin, the Prince-ish smirk and facial gestures and then I began to belt out the song in as close to a Prince-like falsetto as possible shorlty after climbed onto the piano and began dry humping it in a Prince-ish way never stopping the song. The crowd went wild and were on their feet – hundreds of people, standing and howling with laughter because of something I did.
I learned a very valuable lesson just seconds later. Once you have a crowd where you want them, you must be able to keep them there or they will turn on you faster than you could possibly imagine. It was less than 30 seconds later every cheer became boo-ish and seconds later, I stammered my way from the stage not even sure if I completed the thought of the next joke; and yet, apparently I didn’t feel I was through even then.
I gave one more crack at an open mic night after putting some time into thinking about some material and while the reception wasn’t great, I actually got more of what could be considered laughter than completely negative response. That last attempt was in 1992 and while on many occasions I have put the pen to paper in hopes of putting together another set of material, I’ve yet to to brave it again…one day perhaps.
To Be Continued…

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A Meme of Joy

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
Joy, thank you for tagging me and know that you never have to be sorry for tagging me…X O X O.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
KreativBloggerAward-277x30023. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
The wonderful Joy at Babble On.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
a. I’ve been inside of a professional wrestling ring.
b. I’ve inquired to become a justice of the peace.
c. I’ve performed stand-up comedy – 4 times.
d. I’ve proposed to Joan Jett live on the radio.
e. I was at Joey Ramone’s birthday party one year.
f. I’ve auditioned for Family Feud.
g. I once quit a new job after 2.5 hours of the first day.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers and post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
I like the word nominate better than tag. Of course, your choosing to do this is totally optional and while there are more than 7 bloggers whom I could easily nominate, I will simply pick them at random and ask that if you notice your blog not on this list, it does not mean I think any less of you – I love all of my blogger peeps.
a. Coming Home: A Journey Like No Other – I’ve had a crush on Essentially Me since day one and every time I read her words, I am more intrigued.
b. Radioactive Girl – Without a doubt the most courageous person I have ever met. If you strive to be a better person, nobody I know could be a better model than Tori.
c. & that's the way life goes – What a wonderfully unique woman whose tweets often get me through the day and whose blog is always a fun read.
d. Les Singes: The Life of Monkey Boy – Egan is one of the first people I met in Bloggerville. I have a great deal of respect for this man who I’ve learned a great deal from.
e. Skrinkering Hearts – Brookem is a fun gal who has no problem’s sharing her life in this community. I had the great privilege of meeting up with Brookem for lunch a while back – a terrific lady and a great blog writer.
f. Wishing for Fiction – I don’t always get the chance to read this blog but Sam Stecher is a gifted poet and wordsmith.
g. Midnight Feedings – Can’t link because it’s password protected. I have the privilege of being invited to read this blog written by a special lady.
6. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.
Great, now I have work to do!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Awesomeness – Part 1 Pants on the Ground

My super talented pal Steve is part of a new project called “The Awesomeness”. In part 2 (coming later this weekend) I will post more links and information but for now, check out this neat cover version of “Pants on the Ground”.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Back to Work

Well, it was a nice run… Last Tuesday was the last day I was at work and since then, I’ve done a fair amount of preparing for the course I’ll be teaching starting Thursday evening, spent some time doing some work for church, watched some stuff on the tube/DVD player, read a book, listened to loads of tunes and podcasts and tweeted through a good portion of the Golden Globes.
And now, it’ll be back to the grind tomorrow as the Spring semester begins and the first week of semester insanity starts again. It’s that time where the grim realization that so many entering the community college experience aren’t actually ready to be there and then there are the pleasant surprises…
Regardless, I do actually look forward to getting back to business and I am actually looking forward to teaching in an actual classroom again after several semesters of teaching exclusively online (though I am not so happy that it will be on the Wellesley campus requiring a slightly longer commute but hey, it pays the bills).
Finally, my foot in mouth apology goes out to the dude from the show Dexter who was wearing a black hat on the Golden Globes last night. I went and called him a pretentious asshole for wearing the hat and of course he’s been battling cancer and covering his treatment ravaged skull…leave it to me to be an ass all by myself.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Compound Hurt

Seeing the images of devastation in Haiti over the last couple of days have had a profound effect on me. It’s so hard to comprehend these things. Why must so many people suffer so greatly? What is the message we are supposed to receive as we bear witness to such horror?
I’ve got a full plate of personal problems right now to keep me in all sorts of emotional pain; enough to want to be selfish and shut out the rest of the world…
However, I see those images of Haiti, I recall recent disasters throughout the world and here at home (Katrina’s wrath and 9/11 are still fresh in my mind, my heart, and my soul) and I almost want to give up on everything. Thankfully, my rational self and my faith (in God), along with the strength I get from the love of my family and friends gives me the will to hope, the ability to understand and feel compassion, and the desire to somehow help those in need.
I feel so much right now – I am so conflicted. My heart aches so badly for so many reasons and so much about the future is so unclear right now. I wish I could be hugging everyone I know and care about. I wish for all the people affected by the quake in Haiti, and all disasters and wars around the world whatever it is they need to find that ray of light, that glimmer of hope, the road to tomorrow.
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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mother Nature Strikes Again

So once again mother nature rears her sometimes seemingly ugly head and we are left to figure out why.
My heart goes out to those affected by this disaster and while I am truly happy and inspired by the outpouring of those ready to pitch in and help it raises a question for me.
Why is everyone so quick to help in such dire situations but not in the nitty gritty of every day life? Why is it that we don’t see the current state of our nation as a disaster (I’ll say it, thanks to GWB)?
I will leave it there, not expecting an answer, only hoping to get people thinking. In the meantime, follow your hearts and do the right thing.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Looking Back: A Mix CD from 2001

In anticipation of one of our friends reunions, the one that was to take place in January of 2001, I decided to put together a music mix because those are the kinds of things you do in that situation.
I happened upon the particular mix while rummaging through my basement the other day and just listened to it in my car over the last couple of days – LOVED IT!
So, without further ado (was all that I wrote to this point ado?), here’s the mix and some commentary:
  1. I’m Not Feeling It Anymore – Van Morrison I went off the beaten path with this one but I happened to have heard it just before assembling the songs and I just couldn’t get the groove out of my head. I knew that everyone would recognize the performer but may not have been familiar with the performance and I felt compelled to share.
  2. Amen – Elton John and the Sounds of Blackness This is off the tribute to Curtis Mayfield and again was just so different and exciting. While we all love Elton this was something, for me at least, that was extra special at the time and I needed to share it.
  3. Lowdown – Boz Scaggs Silk Degrees is on of the five most important “albums” I have ever owned and I needed a Boz fix. This is a great tranition song in a mix as well (one that keeps the mix in mix).
  4. Money’s Too Tight To Mention – Simply Red Mick Hucknall is a brilliant vocalist whose name doesn’t get thrown around in that regard often enough. A little bit of “blue-eyed” soul never hurt a music mix and talk about a kicking rhythm.
  5. The Harder they Come – Jimmy Cliff While I firmly believe there is such a thing as too much reggae, I also believe there is such a thing as too little reggae. It could have been Marley but that was far more predictable than Cliff.
  6. Too Much For Me – Virgil Cain I spent alot of time with these guys and they are terrific. Mike Verge is a great songwriter and this is one of many great Virgil Cain songs I wanted to introduce to my friends. I also wanted to see in anyone stopped and said hey, wait a minute – who is this?
  7. Beautiful Girl – Pete Droge and the Sinners From the movie soundtrack “Beautiful Girls”, this songs is great and again was one I had heard just before making this mix and couldn’t resist including it here.
  8. Hey Jealousy – Gin Blossoms Even to this day I can’t hear this song enough. On 2001, it was still fairly fresh and was a tribute to the music of the time that was worth listening to.
  9. Fox On The Run – Sweet  If you are old enough to remember the song, you know why it’s here and if your not, well, you’re not.
  10. Rock Me Gently – Andy Kim I had recently got the Time/Life series “Sounds of the Seventies” and this one really made me feel nostalgic, so I added it for that reason – I knew it would get some interesting reaction but in the end, everyone would sing along.
  11. What Do All The People Know – The Monroes This song has always had an air of mystery surrounding it. The Monroes only release was an EP and it had been elusive almost since it was released. When I finally got the song on a compilation, I had to put it here.
  12. Pump It Up – Elvis Costello Every party compilation needs an Elvis tune; this one is no different.
  13. The Day He Didn’t Die – Might Mighty Bosstones A Boston based SKA band that has won me over so big and in my opinion, perfectly placed after an Elvis song.
  14. Looking for Clues – Robert Palmer I was flipping through my CD’s and this one actually fell off the shelf accidentally – when I saw it I thought, hey, yeah!
  15. I Was Wrong – Keb Mo’ I had seen him open for Bonnie Raitt and I wanted to get a bit of the blues on this thing.
  16. Landslide – Smashing Pumpkins I wanted to see my buddy Rob’s reaction, he’s the biggest Stevie Nicks fan I know. Also, I really loved this version.
  17. You're My Home – Billy Joel I wanted a Billy Joel song that almost no one would ever expect to hear but would loved having heard it when they did.
  18. Summer of Love – Jefferson Airplane Amazing song that just makes me feel good and reminds me of the wonderful friendships we all have.
  19. I Don’t Wanna Go Home – Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes It’s how I feel when we are all together and who cooler than Southside Johnny to close it out.
Noticeably missing – Bruce, but there was much Bruce to be heard that night.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet

hamlet
Congratulations to my enormously talented friend Erin on the release of her second book.
Erin, you are infinitely talented and have a heart bigger than what most would consider already big.
I look forward to reading this one and of course, stopping by a book signing for an autograph, a photo-op, and a hug.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Training Time

Today I received one of the best surprises in a while. It started a few weeks ago when I received an “invitation” to attend a Psychological First Aid” conference in early January. I had no idea why i received it, though it was misdirected, then declined the invite as pleasantly as possible.
Moments later, through a series of emails, I discover that the aforementioned “invitation” is closer to an order – I was “volunteered” as a participant by the CIO. So at this point I feel like I am stuck and pissed for being treated that way but I let it go.
Today was day one of the two day conference and I learn the following:
  1. It’s not a conference but a 13 hr course
  2. it was actually an honor to be selected
  3. it was freaking awesome and I can’t wait until tomorrow’s session.
Not sure I would have thought of myself as remotely qualified for crisis intervention but it turns out I have skill and have actually done some of this work. It really is incredible stuff and I am so happily surprised this turned out to be something so awesome.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Truffles of Chocolate-Take 3

I went to my friend LJ’s for Thanksgiving and contributed a chocolate cake with a decadent chocolate ganache topping. With the leftover ganache, I opted to take a crack at making truffles for the first time and was pleased with outcome.
Post Christmas, I took a stab at white chocolate truffles which was less successful, a bit of formulation issues, but while the consistency was off, the flavor was good – they took on the flavor of a good vanilla ice cream.
Today, I decided to hit whole foods for some good chocolate and went with a combination of bittersweet and semisweet at the recommendation of the Barefoot Contessa. the result, delicious; I even dresssed up a few with some coconut.
truffles

Saturday, January 02, 2010

In Like a Lion

So here we are on day 2 of the new year/decade and we are working an annoyance of a snow storm. I am still sore from moving snow – not that it was massive quantities (thus far), I decided to see how far I can get manually “shoveling” the stuff before calling on the assistance of my regretfully aging snow thrower.
After doing a lovely job on the sidewalk and entry to the driveway, I completed about half of my driveway before realizing I was bathing in sweat while it was about 15-20 degrees – clearly I was working. I decided it was time to bring out the machinery.
While the snow thrower achieved its apparent goal of letting me know that it wasn’t operating at 100%, it did assist in completing the job and as I said, I am still quite sore and that was about 12 hours ago.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
How’s this for an ambitious start of the year, I am 3/4 of the way through my first book (which I should be finished with tomorrow) and have already watched 3 movies. Actually, with the crappy weather and other circumstances, there hasn’t been much else to do.
Okay, you have yourself a pleasant one – catch ya on the next go ‘roound.

Friday, January 01, 2010

So It’s 2010…

Hello there new year, I know that you don’t know me yet and let’s face it, the way time moves, we don’t have long to become intimate. However, you should know that I won’t judge you by your predecessor, it wouldn’t be fair and besides, it kinda sucked.
I already know that part of you will bring on some challenges that will be difficult. However, I firmly believe that that even if I am not strong enough alone to make it over the hurdles, I have my faith, my family, and my friends – my true friends that will help me through and I know that in the end, it’s all going to work out for the best.
I have some hopes and I want you to know that I will work harder than ever to keep them clear and stay focused and not let doubt, fear, or sadness cloud what I feel and how I wish to feel it.
I know that on the horizon lies the music of my soul and before you and I must part, I will “dance, like nobody’s watching”.