Monday, February 28, 2011

Academy of Awards

I gave up on watching the Oscar's last night after only a short while. Each year, I grow more weary as I watch and realize what a bore fest this show is. Massively over produced way too long, I think it needs to be rethought (though I may be part of a minority because they keep airing the long, boring versions and people seem to watch).

For me, All I care about are Best Actor/Actress, Best Supporting Actor/Actress, Best Director, Best Picture - end of story. Show me those awards, perhaps a vignette, an opening monologue, a necrology, and a musical performance or two - an hour and done, 90 minutes tops.

What do you think?

Here are 2011's winners of the afforementioned Academy Awards:


Best Picture - The King's Speech




Best Actor - Colin Firth (The King's Speech)



Best Actress - Natalie Portman (Black Swan)



Best Supporting Actor - Christian Bale (The Fighter)



Best Supporting Actress - Melissa Leo (The Fighter)



Best Director - Tom Hooper (The King's Speech)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bishop takes Sunday

I know it sounds like some bizarre chess move but has nothing to do with chess at all. Today, Bishop Suffragan of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, Gail Harris, paid a visit to our church (St. Andrew's, Framingham).

The service was an extra special celebration featuring one of our choir members breaking out the violin, and playing in beautifully and a special performance by our youth band, "The Jesus Rocks Association". After service there was a lovely luncheon and then she met with the vestry (the vestry is the lay leadership of the parish-I currently serve as the Senior Warden).

One of the things I got from today  is to try to spend more time appreciating what I have instead of dwelling in what I don't have; realizing how fortunate I am to have so many things I take for granted such as clean drinking water, a roof over my head, clothes. I know every so often we get these kick-in-the-butt reality checks but today was different - just really felt so glorious - I was so moved watching the youth perform.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Gilbert, Sullivan, and Buttercup

First post from blogger phone app. I'm sitting at intermission at a local theater troupe production in which my pal Kathy plays a leading role; Miss Buttercup.
More later.

11:50pm
Back home. The production was two separate shows, both from Gilbert & Sullivan: The first, trial By Jury is a short, one-act musical - entertaining - funny - good job by the cast. The second, H.M.S. Pinafore, was the one my friend was in, playing the role of "Little Miss Buttercup".



It was fun to see the performance - I sat front row, center. We had an interactive experience as I Facebooked just before the show where I was sitting ans she had responded, "I'm not going to look at you." Then at the intermission, I replied, "You so looked!" (Not sure how this read but it was fun to be a part of it-LOL).

Another funny story, I got to hang for a short time after the show with Kathy and she told me that there is a monitor in the backstage area that is focused on the orchestra conductor, who happened to be directly in front of me - keeping me on camera for a ggod period of time. At one point (not sure if it was intermission or the end of the show) I got up, turned around and kind of made adjustments - she said it looked like I was going to moon them (of course, had I known the camera situation, I might have).

Friday, February 25, 2011

Funky, Not Chic

I feel in a bit of a funk this evening. Got to thinking about my parents somehow and missing them terribly. I went back and visited some blogs I've been away from (for no good reason) for a while - shout outs to Brookem, Joy, and Airam. I know that Facebook and Twitter have become more chic than blogging but they are very different animals. I must say that in bloggerville, I always felt like a part of a very special community.

Three special people at the top of my good thoughts list are Annmarie, Tori, and Maria - if you have some spare good thoughts, send some their way.

While this may sound odd to some, Sunday, one of the Suffragan Bishops from the Episcopal Diocese of MA will be visiting our church and as the Senior Warden, Sunday will be a long day for me.

Things I am loving right now:
  • Lady Gaga
  • Blood Oranges
  • Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages
  • The promise of spring on the horizon
Things I am not loving right now:
  • My mortgage and property taxes
  • A number of students in my online class
  • My current lack of inspiration
Have a great weekend folks - I'll be posting through the weekend, or at least planning to - see ya for now.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Work Related

The workplace is such a major part of most people's lives. There are good times and bad, office romances - that sometimes become office marriages and even office divorces. Friendships are forged - some that last as long as the work relationship and some, some last longer.

Take a moment to think about all the stories you can tell that started in the workplace. Think about how many emotional moments have stemmed from the workplace. The workplace, for many, is a necessary extension of our regular life. Funny though, we can, and often do, take a vacation now and again from our workplace but do we ever get to take a vacation from our lives?

In other work related news, my pal Wayne is celebrating his last day tomorrow as he moves onto a new position at another school. I remember there was a lot of tension when Wayne first started but over time, we were able to work through that tension and work well together. I had some fun times at the Blackboard World conferences in San Diego, Boston, Vegas, and Orlando with you pal - good luck at MCPHS and working on your Master's and stay in touch.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Goth Baby 2011 (or Doing Fun Stuff instead of Marking Assignments)

It's been a very long time since there was a new incarnation of Goth Baby (aka FB). So, withour further ado, here's what I've spent the last 20 minutes doing:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Collective Bargaining, Wisconsin, and Cheese

While there are all sorts of political upheavals in the middle east, it seems the assholes (conservatives and tea party alike) are up to new shenanigans and I only hope the pussies the Democratic party have become can grown a pair of balls and show them why those of us who support them why we want them in office.

I hated George W. - he was the worst president of all time. In fact, he was so bad that there are actually people who seem now to thin Reagan was a good president...I know, scary. However, as dumb as he was, and there aren't too many dumber, he had balls. Obama and the rest of the dems need to go kick ass and worry about explaining themselves and apologizing later.

Back to the dilemma in Wisconsin. I'm not 100% on top of it so instead of speaking specifics, I'll say this being both in public education as well as a union employee whose contract has been collectively bargained to death. I have seen first hand of the last 13 years how the once strong unions that I belong to have become all but powerless. Yes, the government whom they bargain with is largely responsible but the unions are not without fault. It's one thing to fight for, and defend the rights of the employees and ask for what is fair but I have seen time and time again the union pull shit out of a hat and use strong arm tactics and be greedy as well.

It's a very difficult situation. I pay over $800 a year for membership in three unions and I basically feel like I am just throwing my money away. I haven't had any raise at all in three years and my expenses have dramatically increases. I know I am not alone, my fellow union workers are all in the same boat.

It's all so unsettling and I hope it can work out. I fear this crazy country I once loved is fucked over for good. I have no hope that things will turn for the better in my lifetime - at least not of this writing. However, I refuse to let it consume me either, I need to wake up everyday and do the best I can for me and for my daughter.

I guess now I am just rambling, so I shall stop. B R E A T H !

Monday, February 21, 2011

Keeping Up Appearances

There were probably half a dozen times yesterday where I thought, "hey, time to write the blog post" and each of those times I somehow got diverted by something else. The net result, the first day of 2011 without a blog post. I've always said in the past that a post should be more about posting for some purpose other than just for the sake of it but I have since come to realize the simple discipline of wanting to post daily is something of a stimulant to the creative part of my mind.

I slept in today, until 7:30am. I know, doesn't sound much like sleeping in but ordinarily, it's 5:00am so 7:30 was a treat. I made myself a nice healthy breakfast and soon after, did a 45 minute workout on the treadmill while watching some of the Saturday Night Live special that was on last night.

I guess mother nature wanted to remind us who's in charge. After spoiling us with temps in the 50's last week, I woke up to a fresh thin layer of snow and as I type this at nearly 10 am, the now is still falling in a taunting flurry. The forecast for tomorrow indicates freezing temps so it's back to the real world here in New England. I'll be getting a second workout later this afternoon as I hand shovel my driveway leaving the snow thrower to rest for another day (unless the accumulation increases dramatically).

I guess that's it for now. I need to hit the shower then perhaps mark some assignments and stay on top of the workload. Take care readers and thanks to all of you who have been stopping by. The statcounter reports indicate that readership in 2011 has doubled on average...I guess posting makes sense. Also, in case you haven't noticed, I've been going back through the archives and adding LABELS to all the posts. There is a complete listing of all of the labels over on the right - click on a label and see the posts that are labeled as such. Peace!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Summemer's Coming (In a Few Months)

I forgot when I posted this to give credit to the beautiful Ria, whose blog I stole it from; thanks Ria!

1. Any vacations you are looking forward to this summer?
If I get approved to go to the Blackboard World Confrence, then I'll be heading to Vegas in July which I'll extend my stay for some fun and a visit with the O'Connors.

2. What is your favorite article of summer clothing (shoes are included)?
I'm not much of a clothing guy per se. I mean, I wear them, I just don't give a crap about them - my wardrobe doesn't change much from season to season except I tend to wear short sleeve polo shirts in the summer and not so much in the other seasons.

3. What is your favorite summer drink (alcoholic or non)?
Pete's wicked Strawberry Blonde on tap.

4. Do you tan or burn?
A little of both.

5. Any goals you are working toward this summer?
I need to continue the path I am on now to better health through diet and exercise. I'd like to get to the next level peraps but I need to take it slow to stay committed. Perhaps I might consider assembling something of a personal life but who knows right now.

6. What is your favorite summertime food?
I love to grill in the summertime though  didn't grill at all last summer. Watermelon, other than being delicious, also conjures lots of memories of my childhood - mostly good ones.

7. What song most says “summer” to you?
Summertime Girls by Y&T

8. Any home improvement goals planned for this summer?
Not sure financially feasible but a few that I'll look into: Kitchen remodel, Back yard landscaping, and a few other miscellanous landscaping projects in the front of the house.

9. What is one thing you hate to see at the beach?
I am not a beach eprson, I kind of hate it. However, if I must be there, I really hate the people who kin of "take over" the beach and make themselves a little too comfortable and thus forgetting that there are other people there.

10. Did you ever go to a summer camp?
Xavarian Day Camp. I had a crush on the counselor (big surprise) Mrs. Montelbano. Also, My sister and I got picked up in a yellow slug bug for the ride to the camp.

Friday, February 18, 2011

From the Parent Files

My 12 -year-old daughter called me up today and asked if I would bring her favorite pair of jeans to her at her mother's house because her mother did not do the laundry and she was out of pants. Seemed like a reasonable request so I said "sure I can bring them over later on". Then she says "can you bring them by six o'clock." I replied, do you turn into a pumpkin at six o'clock." After she and I had a chuckle she just kind of shrugged it off and then I proceeded to end the conversation and got back to work.


A short while after I got home, I decided I was going to take a nap since it was only four o'clock. Just as I was getting cozy under the covers and drifting off, the phone ring and guess who? That's right, Victoria. "Hi dad, are you going to be able to get me the jeans by six o'clock." "I'm going to take a nap first but I should be able to get them to you by six o'clock, by the way, why are you so interested in having them by six o'clock if you said you just want to wear them tomorrow."

"I'm going to go out with some of my friends. But I wasn't lying I do want to wear them tomorrow too." I was exhausted, I wasn't really sure what I was hearing and I was just overwhelmed. I figured her mother knew what was going on and a parent would be involved-so I kind of let it slide and didn't question it further. I turned the tide by trying to get out of a special delivery in my fatigued state asking her to call her mother and ask if she can dropy by on her way home to pick up the pants (genius move aht worked).

After talking to her mom, it turns out that her friend's mom is taking them to the movies...I am glad the whole thing took place while I was battling exhaustion because it took the edge of the anxiety. I guess I need to come to grips soon, she's 12 now and I suspect this kind of thing only will get...shall I use worse for lack of a better word?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

replan - a post in bullets

  • My trip to NJ has been postponed due to illness; get well soon Annmarie.
  • I am marking assignments as fast as I can without going bonkers.
  • Bought sushi for dinner forgetting that I had two tuna steaks marinating in the fridge.
  • I currently have a headache.
  • Happy that Egan is once again in the work force.
  • Unhappy that Doug once again is no longer in the work force.
  • I now own these:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Podcast: A Brief Rant on Today's Entertainment Headlines

If you don't currently subscribe to my podcast in iTunes, you can access the feed here or you can listen right on this page (clocks in at under 5 minutes-warning: adult language within):


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Musical Memory

I wrote the article below describing a very eventful day on the concert scene - I enjoyed reading it so much I thought it would be fun to post since it's older than the blog.

My Musical Day – Sunday, August 15th, 1999 by Christopher Daniele


About 11:30am I headed out to The Indian Ranch in Webster, MA., a campground where they happen to host outdoor concerts. The headliner today was country star Jo Dee Messina. Jo Dee has begun her “breakout” this past year with the release of her second CD, several top 5 singles, and an all around buzz in country music and radio. What made this concert extra special is that Jo Dee was born and raised in Holliston, MA – so she was playing to a “hometown” crowd. (For my definition of energy, see a recently successful performer entertain in front of a hometown crowd.) Incidentally, I arrived without a ticket and wound up close enough to the stage that if I stretched, poor Jo Dee would go home with a headache. This is the kind of wonderful luck the Good Lord has gifted me with as far as country music events.

Aside from treating us to her own wonderful music, there were several surprising (to me) cover tunes including selections by Paul Simon (Late in the Evening), John Hiatt/Bonnie Raitt (Thing Called Love), and a rousing rendition of Turn the Beat Around (made famous originally by Vicky Sue Robinson, later reprieved to fame by Gloria Estefan) where Jo Dee took to the percussion. Oh, did I mention she played sax? This young lady is talented, spiritual and sincere. The whole time I felt like I was at a backyard family barbecue with a bunch of old friends and neighbors. We (the audience) even took time out to sing happy birthday to Jo Dee in the middle of the show. Whoever said you can’t go back home probably never really tried.

Warming up the crowd for Messina were a group of locals named “Sugar Creek.” They played mostly cover tunes, but I must say, they knew how to work the crowd. I look forward to the opportunity to catch these guys in a more intimate setting, say, a local pub…

After leaving the Indian Ranch around 4:45pm, I thought to my self – “Self, I’m pretty jazzed up right now. Perhaps I’ll go to yet another concert today. It is still early.” And off I drove to the BankBoston Pavilion on the Boston waterfront (not before stopping home to switch from shorts to jeans and put some socks on).

The show at the Pavilion tonight was Dwight Yoakam with special guest Deana Carter. My first stroke of luck here was getting a parking spot that I didn’t have to pay for. The show is scheduled to start at 7:30pm and I arrive ticketless at the box office at 6:45ish. I look up, requesting yet another stroke of luck, then ask the ticket booth guy if there are any available seats. Before an answer could arrive, a gentleman standing nearby makes mention of a ticket he was stuck with as a result of being stood up (his loss, my gain). I offered face value, (he accepted) and to my surprise upon arriving at my seat (after a tet’a’tet with a concessionaire) I was in the fifth row, center stage. Officially, this is the best seat I have ever sat in for a concert…what a country!

The gentleman who sold me the ticket was so unusually impressed by my days events, traveling “all the way” from Indian Ranch to see Dwight, that he offered to buy me a drink (being that I don’t drink, I gratefully declined). There was some local celebrity directly in front of me named Fred, people kept bugging him for autographs. I did not recognize him but my guess is that he was an athlete; he was quite muscular (so much for stereotypes). Also, Carolyn Kruse from local country station WKLB was several rows behind (you read correctly, behind) me (she happens to be a really nice person and strikingly attractive).

The barefoot contessa (I just made that up-I’ve never seen her in shoes), Deana Carter opened the show with a 50 minute set that got the crowd primed with a well programmed sequence of hits and new music. Deana is not only a talented singer, she is quite gifted as a musician and songwriter as well. The crowd was privy to all of her talents in what was an entertaining performance (albeit barefoot).

9:00 P.M. – time for Dwight.

Dwight came out to an amazing crowd reaction. By this time, the 5,000 seat amphitheater had filled to capacity and was ready to party. A lot of hits have accumulated in Dwight’s 15 year recording career and just about all of them were played by one of the tightest touring bands around. Interspersed amongst the hits were some obscure songs that had personal relevance (to Dwight) and were welcomed by the crowd. The balance in the set was masterful as Dwight switched genres from country to rock, to swing – ballads to up tempo, and never did the audience skip a beat. Closing the first set was a version of the Queen classic, “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” 5,000 fans (technically, short for fanatic-in this case very evidently true) dancing around like tomorrow may never come, but today made it worthwhile…it was surely a sight to see and a moment I won’t soon forget.

The first encore was a 20 minute acoustic set featuring Dwight, a guitar, and an audience held tightly at the edge of their seat. It was one of those jaw-dropping moments that you describe physically. Again, in Dwight we have not only a performer, but a songwriter and a musician whose talents are remarkably honed.

Just as my jaw had reached the ground, the rest of the band returned to retrieve the crowd from their seats and send them home with music in their souls, a dance in their hearts, and a memory for the millennium.

I arrived home somewhere in the neighborhood of 11:30pm. The quiet forced me to reflect on the days events and the magical, musical journey I had traveled. Perhaps we all have a song in our hearts, sometimes, some of us are lucky enough to hear it.

Good Night Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Fiction Friday: Prompt #3 - Wordsmithing [Part 2]

This is part 2 of last Friday's post - the next 5 words I've redefined.

6. Oncogene – A synthetic genetic marker making it possible to receive OnStar™ service transmissions directly to the human brain (currently not available for political conservatives, tea party members, or people who think the Bible is a rule book). [also, Oncogenetics, Oncogeneticist, and of course, the late Imogene Coca.]

7. Pyrophoric – An expression used to distinguish the unique sense of euphoria brought on by pyromania. Ex: “The pyrophoric sensations I felt after setting my tool shed ablaze were nearly orgasmic.”

8. Steapsin – The venial sin that occurs when one accidentally drops a teabag (or tea ball) into a vessel of holy water (note, the sin becomes mortal if there was intent to drop the tea). Ex.: “I should not have been anywhere near the holy water – I accidentally dropped my SleepyTime™ tea bag into it and now need to say seven hail Mary’s for committing a Steapsin.”

9. Widdershins – A painful condition of the shins brought on by the defiance of the sun’s natural movements. Ex: “The reorganization of the Des Moines marathon to run a counterclockwise loop about the dust fields left many runners with a case of widdershins.”

10. Isallobar – A novelty type of bar that serves an unpredictable menu of libations based on changes in meteorological phenomena. Ex: “The unpredictable weather patterns in New England make it an entertaining evening at the new isallobar in Southie.”

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Starring in Mad Men

once again, my cat Oliver steals the show (in this case, as Roger Sterling):



Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Take a Wild Guess

So that I need not think all that hard and get to rest my brain cells a bit, I offer this piece of a larger photo and ask you, reader, to take a wild guess as to what it is you are looking at.

This is a piece from the actual photo without any alteration.
Any ideas?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fiction Friday: Prompt #3 - Wordsmithing [Part 1]

The writing prompt I worked with today was very different but very fun. In fact, there's this game I've played at a friend's called "The Dictionary Game" that this reminded me of.

I used one of the large dictionaries available to me and I simply opened to a random page and just grabbed a word. Here in part 1, I present the first 5 words I've redefined:

1. Mesentery – a “messy” or unkempt burial ground. Ex.: “St. Charles has become a mesentery as a result of cutbacks in the groundskeeping staff.”


2. Borzoi – an expression steeped in the occasional boredom brought on by celebrations of the Jewish faith; combines the root of the word for boredom with a familiar Yiddish exclamation. Ex.: “The cantor was a real borzoi; did he have to do the extended remix of every song?”

3. Humectant – a lozenge designed to impede uncontrollable laughter and often advertised for use in situations where such laughter is imminent, yet inappropriate. Ex.: “During the somber eulogy, I broke out into a fit of laughter. Fortunately, I had a citrus flavored humectant handy.”

4. Velarium – A novelty terrarium that features miniaturized replicas of velociraptors and other assorted minutiae related to the natural habitat of the velociraptor. Ex: “The new velarium was the highlight of the dinosaur exhibit at the Cleveland institute.”

5. Collimator – The collimator is a device used to destroy old colanders. In accordance with the federal mandate issued in 2006 declaring colanders unsafe for normal waste procedures. The collimator, invented in a dorm room at Aloysius Belvidere University, somewhere east of Tempe, Arizona, safely disintegrates colanders, regardless of material, into an eco-friendly dust suitable for planting artificial plants.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Humanitarian

"Dad, what's a humanitarian, someone who eats humans?"

The laugher ensued....then of course I got serious, explained what a humanitarian was. My daughter was looking through newspaper articles from the Boston Globe for a school assignment. She kept insisting there were so many hard words to which I agreed but also mentioned, "that's how you learn new words..."

This post brought to you by the "you can't make this stuff up" files, family edition.

In completely unrelated follow up news, I posted the pictures below on Facebook a while back claiming that I had been introduced to this new artist and imlying how much I loved these works. Most people thought I needed to have my head examined :)

Well, the fact is, both were created by my cousin's dog Roxy. My cousin taught her to draw and these two were the fruits of her labor. Now look at them again and I hope you will agree, for a dog, pretty impressive!


Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Technobabble

A few weeks ago, I built an Excel spreadsheet for the department of Institutional Research. It was a basic statistical analysis that generated a report for course evaluations. The department liked it so much that i was asked to adapt it for the online course evaluations. Initially, the adaptation was fairly easy, there are a few more questions on the online evaluation so insert a few lines, copy a few formulas and bingo.

Here's where the hitch came in. The data that gets imported for analysis comes from a different source than the original sheet. On the first version, anytime a "N/A" was selected, and asterisk was marked for data; in the Excel sheet, it was simple to count the asterisks and determinie how many "N/A's" were selected. The problem is that the data source for the oline courses designates a NULL character, the same NULL character that lives in every other cell on the sheet, even within the data range...hmmmm.

Alas, my quest to win "most creative use of a tilde character in a spreadsheet". I replaced all of the cells within the data range to start with a ~, a character unlikely to be typed accidentally; it worked like a charm. Feeling cocky afterward, I created a macro to repoplate the data range with the tlde character with a simple ctrl-j keystroke.

Okay, I am done, you can wake up now.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Awaiting At Sunset

Summer of 1999 is the best guestimate I have for this. I came across a picture, the one just below, stared at it for between 3 and 5 minutes and then wrote the poem that appears below the picture...

Awaiting at Sunset
All the day it seems I find
thoughts of you run through my mind
So here I stand with setting sun
knowing someday you will come

At the water's edge
I will wait
My heart and soul
in the hands of fate

This scene so graceful
yet so empty
Until you’re standing
right next to me

I know, not brilliant by any means but nonetheless, it's a part of me somehow.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Getting Shot At (Even if Only in a Dream)

I had a crazy ass dream last night. I am standing on a street corner, I don't know where and there is this guy pointing a gun at me. He says, "stop or I'll shoot..." I reply, "Tough shit..." then BANG! I take a bullet to the abdomen and I recall my first reaction being that it didn't hurt nearly as much as I thought it would. I think I may have thought it missed until I looked down and saw blood, that is when the pain rushed through as well as the fear. I began to cry and out of nowhere, a woman appears - it was someone I know, a lady from church (whose three children are all in my age range and all are friends of mine).

The lady appears before me and asks what happened. I say that I was shot and she asks if I am going to die. My response was, "I don't know, but if I do, please tell my mother that I love her." Here's the thin, my mother died more than more than 13 years ago and more than 4 years before I ever met the woman who appeared in my dream. Next thing I knew, I woke up.

When I first woke up I was quite startled and my very first thought was, "am I alive?" I genuinely was not certain, if even for a few seconds. I put my glasses on and saw it was 3:30am - I got up out of the bed and stood up - this for some reason was most of the assurance I needed to convince me that I was alive and then I went to pee - that made me certain.

So, how was your night?

Sunday, February 06, 2011

R.I.P. Gary Moore

Gary Moore and Phil Lynott are performing this live right now in the afterlife. This video is from a Phil Lynott tribute concert - I hate to say it's Gary Moore at his best but only becuse it's the only way I've ever heard him. Rest in Peace.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Labels, Tables, and Aesop's Fables

On occasion, I think back to a blog post or make reference to one but sometimes have a bit of a time finding it on the blog. So I thought, I really should have utilized these labels, I guess I need to go back and ad labels to posts that really should be labeled. Considering the 1300ish posts, it will take a while to get through but the ones that have been labeled, are now accessible via labels over on the right side of this blog.

In case you haven't noticed, I've been spending quite a bit more time here than last year. I know that there are folks stopping by based on the statcounter reports and if you have a chance, I would greatly appreciate a comment - any kind of feedback would be great.

This is a very interesting table:

I haven't read any of Aesop's fables in a long time so I decided to download a free version to my Kindle.

BONUS MATERIAL:
  • I finally scraped up the courage to go up into my attic to see if there were any signs of snow damage and much to my delight, there isn't a single drop of water or evidence of any problem.
  • I stand by my assessment of the iPad being a piece of crap.
  • Angry Birds is addictive.
  • I wish Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and Men of A Certain Age were all on and running new episodes right now (despite I have a nearly full DVR).
  • I am hoping that I get approved to go to a conference in Vegas this year - hoping to hang out with my pals there.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Fiction Friday: "Her Laugh Broke the Silence"

This started from another writing prompt, that I shall refer to as "writing prompt #343": Start your story with the line Her laugh broke the silence. Here is what I came up with...

Her laugh broke the silence. We’d been trapped in the elevator for nearly an hour and for some reason, until she started to laugh, we hadn’t uttered a word, much less a sound. I know, it doesn’t just seem strange, it is strange. I am normally very sociable and start conversations with everyone, everywhere. On this particular day though, I just was not myself. I was on my way to hear a reading of my grandfather’s will and from the moment I stepped onto the elevator, I felt almost paralyzed by thoughts of grandpa and having to accept that he was gone. I don’t even think I realized the elevator stopped moving until we had been stuck for ten minutes.

As for her, Celia – that’s her name, she was going to visit a lawyer to handle an abuse case. Turns out, she was frightened for her life because she was trapped in an elevator with a man and while normally, that wouldn’t have been an issue, recalling the reason she was in this building was enough to petrify her into silence and disconnect.

58 minutes and 43 seconds after walking onto the elevator, I’m not nuts, I just recall the reading on the digital clock in the elevator that read 9:00:00 when I stepped on, to go six floors, a voice came through a shiny, nickel plated speaker mounted above the control panel, “we apologize for the inconvenience and are sorry that we were unable to communicate with you sooner…” That was it – not another sound or word from the speaker and about five seconds later, the elevator began to move again and Celia started laughing; uncontrollably, with a loud and infectious laugh that soon got me to start laughing.

When the laughter ran its course, we introduced ourselves and decided to meet up for coffee after our meetings were through. It’s hard to believe that was 30 years ago – retelling the story of how we met at our silver wedding anniversary celebration brought back many good memories. I suspect grandpa was watching then and is still watching now; I know he’s smiling down on us and our children.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Snow Mirage

I've heard it said that when you walk in the desert for an extended period of time you begin to see mirages; I believe that is what I am beginning to see when I walk outside and all there is to see is snow. For instance, today I was walking to my car at lunchtime and I could swear I saw this giant yellow ball in the sky emitting mildly heated rays of sunshine.

The extent of how damaging this quantity of snow can be hit home today. One of the campus buildings was shut down because the roof had been compromised from the weight of the snow and ice. Fortunately, they caught this in time before anything happened and before anyone got injured but it is still kind of scary to know that this type of reality exists as a result of this weather.

I will count my blessings and continue to hope that no one gets hurt in hopes that some of the snow will begin to melt especially when the accumulations are at dangerous levels.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Where I Come From

I've read a number of books about my hometown of Brooklyn, New York. It seems that in order to effectively talk about Brooklyn and what it meant to grow up there, especially in the context of the period of time I grew up and how it relates to and was affected by previous periods in time, would take at least a single volume worth of space.

I suspect most people can wax nostalgic about where they come from - and most people might even feel the same as I do about the good feelings I get when I think about how it was. It makes me a little sad to say that things have changed though. I've been back a few times since I left 13+ years ago and each time I go back, I get a little sadder because it seems to be a little "worse" than it was.

I guess it could be just me and the distance that has altered my view because the way of life there is way different than where I live now. I miss "home" sometimes but I think what I miss more than the place I grew up in is the place I grew up in when it was the backdrop for so many memories that shaped who I am and how I think.

Today I received a link from a dear friend who also moved away from Brooklyn. The link was to a youtube video that is actually a montage of different places in Brooklyn, serving as music video for a song about Brooklyn, the hometown of the composer. I've embedded the video here - I walked many of the streets, been to many of the shops/eateries pictured here - I got quite emotional watching this.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Snowpression

I am not sure what possessed me to leave my house this morning and actually show up for work. All of the newscasts insist that it will only get more treacherous on the roads as the day progresses and the M.O. for where I work is send them home at the most dangerous possible moment.

Here is a view from the loading dock at the college; it's just starting out and I know, my phone apparently only shoots video in one direction and I forgot, so tilt your head 90 degrees to the left or your monitor 90 degrees to the left :).:

video

I've coined a new word, "Snowpression" which is a combination of three words: Snow, Oppression, and Depression...use it accordingly.

I suspect when I get home, there will be just enough snow blocking my driveway so that I won't be able to drive in (thanks to the asshole plows)...sorry to be a downer, I suspect if I stood home I would be far less upset. I shall go now - perhaps I will check in later with some visuals from the home front.