Thursday, March 31, 2011

Pop Goes the Weasel and 11 becomes 9

The jack in the box was always a questionable toy for the young. I recall this one whee the clownish thing that popped out was particularly evil looking and the music was extra creepy. It was freaking scary, not fun...except, get this, when it was, kind of fun.

I have planned for four vacation days in the month of April, partly because I have an excessive amount of vacation time and I'll kind of lose some of it if I don't take it. I've already started thinking about excuses for not cleaning my house, or attempting to, during some of that off time.

Thea and Naima are going home, still plenty of awful singers left though.

I've received lots of great, positive feedback on my presentation from professional day - this is the kind of thing that makes me feel good. Every so often, we all need a bit of validation or positive reinforcement.

Finally, I am sending out lots of positive vibes to a few folks who could use them.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

(Another) "Professional" Day

We had another professional day at the college yesterday so the "kids" in all the day classes were happy for a break while us "professionals" gathered to develop our minds and sharpen our skills (so to speak). In preparation for rolling out a new version of our learning management system (Blackboard) in the Fall, I was charged to offer a presentation demoing the new product, touting some of its features and dodging questions; I thought I would dress the part...but only after an unusual event led me to purchase a new tie.

I happened to be in TJMaxx the evening before and I always look through the tie rack to see if there are any Garcia's. While there weren't and not much of anything else worthy either, there was a neat little black and red number in the back of one rack that I thought was kind of cool and would look sharp against my black shirt. However, I kept in it my mind, left it be, then headed to the back of the store to see if they had any bargains on a second pair of sneakers.

With nothing on the shoe rack, I made my way back toward the front of the store for a quick glance at the dress shirts when I noticed the tie that had caught my attention earlier had moved from near the back of the rack to right up front - no doubt, the work over an observant and clever employee (or a fucking ghost). I couldn't resist another look see and so this time, I flipped it over and to my surprise, it was clearance priced at an irresistable $3.00! I paid the small bounty in cash and was on my way...

here's the thing, this is where I go on about professional day but don't really feel like it. Okay, you twisted my arm, I'll give you something. I did a great job! That's right, I said it - sounds like a brag and in a way, it is. I worked very hard to prepare and I gave it my all and I ahve every reason to believe that it paid off (besides, I did get a few raves from the crowd).

After leaving for the day, I had to go pick up my daughter who made a point at telling me how sharp I looked and that she wanted to take a few pictures so here I give you a serious one and a silly-ish (smiling) one:


Monday, March 28, 2011

Chopped All Stars/Robert Redford Purchases Petrol

Food Network has a Chopped tournament going on called "Chopped All Stars" and it has made for some really amazing television; especially the last two episodes. Last week pitted 4 food network hosts and was awesome - especially watching Robert Irvine and Anne Burrell. Last night, 4 regular judges actually became contestants and it was just so incredible to watch. This has been a redefinition of reality television!

The gas receipt to the right features the "lgendary" Robert Redford as the patron...oh, the entertainment it was as I signed these and at no point ever was questions. I should add, that back in those days, they actually took your credit card, made the impression, handed the form to you on a clipboard for your signature then gave you back your card - lots of opportunity for observation.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I am Madonna

Today we are looking at a gas receipt from the 90's where I signed the name "Madonna" to make my purchase. Take a look at the price I paid for 93 octane back then, $1.269 per gallon (a few days ago I paid $3.479 for 87 octane).

I've listened to the Tom Waits album "Closing Time" all the way through on three separate occasions in the past week. This record has always been a favorite of mine but for some reason, this week it was burned in my mind and I wanted to keep it there.

Closing Time
I invented a new communications initiative today called "Sunday Smiles" where I send an email to someone sending smiles. I sent my first one today and just need to remember this next Sunday and each Sunday thereafter.

I clipped Oliver's claws last night, all of them (he only has them on his rear paws). The significance of this is that he would never have that in the past and I would always have the vet do it and watch in awe as they completed the task in seconds and I would always need to struggle for ever and consider myself lucky to get one. However, patience, observation, and the right clipper all go a long way into achieving success.

I am working on putting an XTRANORMAL movie together based on a prank phone call I made a number of years ago - look for it in the near(ish) future.

Enjoy the short remains of the weekend and remember to hug someone (but ask permission first).

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Elvis is Everywhere

The title of this post references the title of an awesome tune by Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper. The image to the right is one of a number of gas receipts I've unearthed where I was signing the name of someone other than myself, and in many cases, that of a "famous" person. The receipt to the tight sports the name of the king himself, as the signer. I'll post more of my silliness in posts to come.

I had a pretty lazyish day today. I "slept in", did my workout (today was a Total Gym day), had a healthy breakfast and then went at a few items in my DVR before showering and getting dressed. Once dressed, I took care of a few more items from the DVR and then took a trip to the library this afternoon; but not before a PB&J sandwich and a cup of coffee.

I listened to a few podcasts, cleaned out a bunch of crap from my office, and a bunch of other nothingish stuff before telling you all about it right here. I've got a lot more nothing planned for later this evening and I am sorry that I wasted your time with all of this nonsense about my ridiculous day.

Friday, March 25, 2011

RIP Sully

This was the cryptic text of an email that only some of us at work received today, "We have received some bad news. We welcome you to come to room 503, between 10:45 and noon today, to come together as a community."

I suppose the most common conclusion that can be drawn is someone died and in fact, there were two names that came to mind immediately: one because the person in question is in the mid eighties and as much as it wouldn't make sense, it would make sense. The other, a faculty member in their seventies who has been quite ill of late and out on sick leave all last semester. Someone did pass away, and "suddenly", but it was neither of the two people that came to mind in that moment of nervous response to the email, rather, it was John "Sully" Sullivan.

Sully had run the Boston marathon a number of times and always seemed to be in great shape. He was a well respected professor or history and a member of the Mass Bay Community College family for close to four decades. Sully had a unique calming effect and even when very angry, somehow was able to maintain perspective and keep his cool and in disagreement, he was always respectful.

It's a great loss to our community and I am sure his students will be as shocked as we were and lost without him. I salute your legacy my friend, I am proud to have known you and to have experienced your ability to reason and challenge. My thoughts and prayers are with your family an your extended family as we all mourn your death. Rest in Piece.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My thoughts On Idol Performances (In a sentence or two)

Here is a quick sentence or two about each performance from last evening's Idol:

  1. Casey-"Heard it through the grapevine": really good - a very unique (and talented) performer
  2. Thea-:Heatwave": very karaoke...not strong at all, no soul
  3. Jacob-"You're all I need to get by": captured the spirit of Motown and put his stamp on it in a very special way.
  4. Lauren-"You keep me hangin' on": her strongest performance in a while. She countrified it and sang with more conviction than in the past.
  5. Stefano-"Hello": looked and sounded like he hadn't dropped a deuce in a week or two and was pleading...horrible performance, a slaughtering of a beautiful song...really awful, worst performance of the night by far.
  6. Haley-"You really got a hold on me": felt very contrived and phony. She seems to bust out vocal tricks simply for the sake of using them and not to express the sentiment of the lyric. While this was a strong performance than I remember from her, it wasn't anything special. I think she needs to learn how to use the voice she has.
  7. Scotty-"For once in my life": he couold have a hit on the country charts tomorrow with that song. Very unique and convincing adaptation - stayed true to his vocal identity and really did a great job.
  8. Pia-"All in love is fair": I'm not a fan, she's so terribly overrated in this competition thus far. Is was another underwhelming performance for me. Very showy, no real emotion, nothing to grab hold of. Yeah, she can it a high note, that doesn't mean she's a great singer.
  9. Paul-"The tracks of my tears": I had lost my faith in him the last two weeks but this was a nice rendition of this song. Knowing he couldn't and shouldn't do his version of Smokey, he made it his own and gave it a singer/songwriter folksy vibe and made it work.
  10. Naima-"Dancing in the street": a valiant effort but short of the level needed to excel in this competition. There were moments, she clearly has a performance bug but there's something missing for me in the big picture.
  11. James-"Living for the city": loved it! Such a strong performer and vocalist...so good, so so good.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Priorities

Today I met with a student who recently completed my 8 week course and earned an A in the class. The student worked hard, respected deadlines, and asked good questions. She was troubled at the grade she received on the Microsoft Word portion of the exam and asked for a meeting so that I can go over it with her.

While I was impressed with her desire to learn from the mistakes she made, despite her already having achieved the maximum grade in the class, I was disturbed at some of the other students who seemed not to give a crap.

I wish I could tap into that part of the student brain that seems to have an odd sense of prioritization. I was a student and I had my moments, but I certainly gave a crap. I know a bunch of people that wish that could go back in time and have a do over and while its nice to think it's never too late, sometimes, the second trip to the plate comes with regrets.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Make 'Em Laugh

I think I've talked here about the few times I've attempted stand up comedy. It's been many years since I stood on the stage and tried to make people laugh but I remember as if it were five minutes ago how difficult and daunting a task it is. I remember the highest moment, the one time I had them - on their feet and laughing so hard. In my head, I had done something I never thought possible and it was only a minute or two in. Seconds later, I was about to learn the biggest and most important lesson, when you have and audience where you want them - you need to keep them there or they will turn on you; faster than a speeding bullet.

It's been nearly 20 years since I stood before a crowd hoping to get them to laugh and on April 30th, I will finally take the chance to do it again. I am hosting a fundraising dinner at church and coordinating the talent and as part of that, I will be performing original comedy material and if everything works out, I'll get through it and maybe get a laugh or two. Heck, perhaps I can avoid the entire crowd turning on me. We shall see.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Alone in The Moment

Sometimes the loneliness declares itself as a sign of independence and freedom while other times it rips through the core like a barrage of bullets leaving only an emptiness that can't be defined and a pain so deeply profound...

Regardless, that's the essence of life in some way, is it not? There have been so many times I have felt absolutely nothing and wonder if this is what death is? I sense in those moments that at least with pain, regardless of how deep, it's something, it's living...

Have you ever had one of those days where you can look out the window and it seems like a still frame? there must be something going on out there but you've shut yourself off and tuned out so deeply that the world outside stands still and you once again wish for the pain because at least then you can have some purpose again, to feel the pain, to feel anything.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

5 You Should Know

Here's 5 great songs from different times, different styles of music, but all great. Listen and love:


Get a playlist! Standalone player Get Ringtones

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Podcast: Taking it to The Streets

  • Rethinking the Oscars? - After listening to a brilliant monologue about the Oscars by Marc Maron (included here) I may need to rethink my stance a bit on the Academy Awards broadcast.
  • Taking it to The Streets - an update on my fitness regimen.
  • Bobby Brown - a great song by Frank Zappa

OR, LISTEN RIGHT HERE:

Podcast Powered By Podbean

Friday, March 18, 2011

Such a Deal

I love a good deal! I received a coupon in the mail from JCPenney the other day offering me $10 off any purchase of $10 or more with no restrictions.

I can always use another dress shirt or a tie and have recently discovered that I like JCPenney's house brand of shirts - so at lunch time today, I rode on over.

Lo and behold, there was a large rack of clearance items with exceptional markdowns - note the receipt, this one was marked down 70% from list so what was $36.00 was ticketed for clearance at $10.80 - apply aforementioned $10 coupon and I walked out of there with a lovely new dress shirt for 80 cents!

Here are all the things I love about the receipt:
  • "Total Discounts  -35.20"
  • "Your Total Savings Today: 35.20"
  • The cash $1.00 and then follow-up, Change 0.20 amuses me
  • Finally, there's something entertaining about the return policy appearing down there.
That's it folks - I am just so loving this bargain, it made my whole day.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

To the Vet

Today, as has been tradition the last few years, I tool Oliver to the vet for his annual checkup, and this time, for his 3 year booster shot. After my morning workout, I took the pet carrier from the basement, where Oliver was with me to ensure I was exercising and not goofing off. The instant he saw me grab that carrier, he took off; I find this insane since it has been an entire year since his last time in - yet this year, and each of the past few, he seems to know what it is and runs at first sight of it.

I brought the carrier upstairs and placed next to his little "house". I then went to the upper level where he was hanging out under the sheets on Victoria's bed. I had one of his toys in my shirt pocket and once I got his attention and he saw it there, the deception began. I eventually picked him up and while I was carrying him, he became preoccupied with the toy in my shirt pocket - that was enough to get him close enough to the entrance to the pet carrier.

I had practiced in my head the specific technique for grabbing him so that he wouldn't be able to wiggle away from the carrier yet I wouldn't be causing him any harm. He was about a third in before he started to struggle and escape and in his frantic panic, he actually pee'd a little spot on my right hand. I slightly tilted the carrier upward and he slid in enough so that I was able to close the door before he turned around and attempted an escape. He looked at me almost as if he was saying, "okay, you won, that is, if you consider getting your hand pee'd on a bit a win."

It was a 40 minute ride to the vet and he was quiet the whole way. Once there, we had only a short wait before being called in to the examining room. I still get a kick that when they make the call, they use the pet's name and not the owner - it's very funny. In the past, Oliver is extremely submissive once he gets poured out of his carrier onto the cold stainless steel table in the exam room. Today, on several occasions he attempted to flee and oddly enough, was gunning for the same pet carrier he was so reluctant to get into at home.

The visit went well, he is in perfect health and weighed in at exactly the same (13.7 pounds) as he did last year. Time to put the carrier away until next year.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Mission: Fundraising

I just spent two and a half hours in a meeting about a specific youth mission trip and left having learned how complex fundraising can be and even more so in the context of our church. [end of relevance to post title].

I purchased protein powder to help supplement my daily workouts. I spent som time researching one that was low in sugar, low in calories, a good product at a reasonable cost...and I found one that tastes good to boot. I had only research to guide me as to expectations and since today was only ay 1, I can't make any radical proclamations. However, I can say this, my muscles ached less and I wasn't as hungry as soon as I normally am.

Can I suggest a moratorium on Charlie Sheen press so that we can be more attentive to things that matter, such as the crisis in Japan?

No work tomorrow...it's evacuation day. I am bringing Oliver to the vet for his annual check up. The idea of getting him into his carrier...hmmmm!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Spring Break 2011

Hard to believe, not really, but it's spring break at the college and the official first day of spring is this coming Sunday. The campus is much like a ghost town - funny thing is, when the students are around and things get crazy after a while, I look forward to the quiet times and here I am two days into the quiet and think it's way too quiet.

Here are some bad names for self help books:
1. Riding the Peristaltic Wave
2. Saving for a Rainy Minute
3. 1001 Vegan Enema Recipes
4. Negotiating Skills for the Part Time Pall Bearer
5. Friends with Benefits Benefits Administration Guide

Easy Bake Oven as A Weapon and as an Oven

As a weapon: The easy bake oven in an iconic toy "selling more than 23 million units since its 1963 debut" (Datko). I recall at one time, they were yellow - and I recall there being one in the garbage can out in the back alley sometime back in the 1970's. I know the fact that there was an easy bake oven in the trash may seem like a "yeah, so what?" piece of information but let me tell you of its relevance (even though I sense I may have told you at some point before).
There was this kid that lived up the block, Michael Sorrano (sp.) and one day, we got in a tiff. I have no idea over what but in those days, it was one minute pas then next, at each others throats. Anyway, I was a weakling without any fighting skills, yet still managed to be an occasional wise ass troublemaker and get into fights. Not sure of the specifics as to why, but Mike came at me and started throwing punches and the sort and before I got hit hard enough to go down, I grabbed the easy bake oven from the garbage can and swung it by the electrical cord smack dab into the side of Michael Sorrano's head face...we were pals the next day.

As an oven: Hasbro will stop making the easy bake oven in it's current, and classic form, which uses a 100 watt bulb to generate the heat needed to bake the "cakes and cookies" (in quotes because I use those terms loosely - there's still one in my house) in favor of a more energy efficient and eco-friendly heating element. I love what Stephen Colbert said, ""It's the end of all light-bulb-based cooking, this light-bulb ban has set off a watt riot." The light bulb based toy was the brunt of many a joke over the years but I am easy - I am all for "green" even when we are talking about toys.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Alpha Meme (borrowed from Brookem)

Here’s 26 things about myself that you may or may not give a hoot about, something to do with the ABC’s.

Age: 46

Bed size: King

Chore you dislike: All. But cleaning house is the hardest for sure.

Dogs: Like them. Have had two in my youth but none now. I do have a cat.
Essential start to your day: Of late, I start the day with exercise (I hate it but it is necessary).

Favorite color: Blue

Gold or silver: Silver if we are talking aesthetics but if you are offering, I'll take the gold so I can sell it :)

Height: 6'

Instruments you play(ed): None - I attempted to play bass at one point inl life and as a small child I could play the organ.

Job title: Academic Computing Specialist. Also, Adjunct Professor of Computer Literacy and Computer Science
Kids: a 12 year old lass.
Live: Massashusetts

Mom’s name: Carmella formally but went by Millie to those who knew her.

Nicknames: beaver at one time.

Overnight hospital stays: yes - I had an infection of the appendix.

Pet peeve: dozens, amongst them: students that sneeze over the keyboards in the open lab, people that park stupidly, and Republicans.

Quote from a movie: "I do not, for one, think that the problem was that the band was down. I think that the problem *may* have been, that there was a Stonehenge monument on the stage that was in danger of being *crushed* by a *dwarf*. Alright? That tended to understate the hugeness of the object."– David St. Hubbins, This is Spinal Tap

Righty or Lefty: Righty

Siblings: An older brother and an younger sister
Time you wake up: 5:00 am - it hurts even to say it!

Underwear: Fruit of the Loom (sometimes boxer briefs and sometimes, just briefs - but never, never tighty whities).

Vegetables you don’t like: No such animal
What makes you run late: If I am "running" with someone other than I. for the most part, I am never late.

X-Rays you’ve had: too many to mention - just pick one, I've probably had it.

Yummy food you make: carmelized salmon over roasted garlic mashed potatoes - you want some now, don't ya?

Zoo animal favorite: I kind of have a fascination with the llama.

How about you guys? Tell me one thing about you that not many people know?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Segregation

No, not racial segregation - political segregation; it might be time. Let's just divvy up the USA and one side can contain the crazy conservatives and the other for the liberals. While I myself am a democrat, I clearly see issues with how both parties are playing the game right now and the biggest problem I have is that they are playing a political power game instead of looking at the specific issues and the needs of the people. The agenda seems to be first advance the party then do what you can for the people - this is not what I learned that democracy was about and quite frankly, I am not sure if this is democracy and if it is, whether it is best.

My number one criticism of the republican party is how is has somehow attached itself to the religious right and extended the rightness of conservatism so far that many historically conservative politicians would stand on the left side of the scale today. God, whom I do believe in (I am a practicing Episcopalian), has zero place in politics - religion in general should be moot (never mind the bible - that's a whole different post at some point).

My main criticism of the democratic party is their complete lack of a backbone. Take a stand, make a move, be firm - what is with the cowering on every darn thing? There is a big difference between compromise and cowering and there is just too much cowering going on. As much as I hated Bush and as much as he screwed up this world and our country (probably beyond repair), when he made a decision, he took action and didn't worry about whether or not all parties felt good about it. Granted it was probably not him who made the final decision because of his lack of a brain but nonetheless, he never cowered (in all fairness, he rarely compromised as well).

The only way this country can ever begin to heal is if somehow both parties can put the people's agenda first leaving God's agenda for God and the people to work out for themselves (separation of church and state, remember that?). Enough politics, I've got pizza dough rising and better things to do....besides, I did my first workout on the Total Gym this morning and I ache a bit - time for a hot shower to relax these muscles (I used that term as loosely as possible).

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sillies

7:33 AM
I just came across this in the help desk and had to share it:
"I was wondering if i was still a students at XXXX XXX. I attended about 2years ago and i don't remember if i dropped my classes. I wanted to know if i was still enrolled, because if i did not then i would like to unroll."
Unroll? Oh man did I laugh out loud!

I'll see ya later with some more of my day perhaps...

7:37AM
I didn't expect to be back so soon but I came across another help desk goodie that I saw the other day and it is still there, so I thought this is sad/funny, let's share:
"Please post new signs indicating the Men's Locker Room and Women's Locker Room in Framingham, the signs are spelt wrong. thanks!"
Do I even need to say anything about that one?

Later again lovies...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Reckoning of Sorts

There are very few people who can read this post and truly understand it or know the individuals; don't waste precious time trying to guess - focus on the spirit and the sentiment.

It was the laughter and fun that defined the most memorable moments. There were so many times in the short time we had together where I knew there wasn't anyone I felt closer to. We should've been together but somehow, in it's cruel way, nature brought s into each others lives at the wrong time and saw it fit to never find a way to correct that error; at least not yet.

I can't say I've ever been able to let that go and while I won't let go of what we had, whatever it was and was meant to be-this is an official letting go of what never was and what isn't.

I'll never stop hearing that laugh. Good luck with whatever it is you have in your now and I, I am ready for whatever tomorrow brings.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Potpourri for 200 Alex

  • I loved it today that someone said, "Happy Lent"
  • I received ashes at lunch - there were 2 instances afterward, back at work, where people looked at me and said, "you have something on your forehead". I accept that different cultures may not understand or know what it is but is it really possible they thought I was unaware of a smudge of ash occupying about a third or so of my forehead?
  • This interaction actually happed this afternoon as I was returning to campus with a plastic shopping bag that clearly had 4 containers of yogurt in it. "Hey, what you got there, yougurt?" "Yeah, want one?" "If you don't mind"
  • Sometimes when I am in my house, I am sitting there in the quiet and I look around and feel scared and lonely and then other times I feel like anything is possible and the sky is the limit.
  • I wrote a joke near the end of last summer based on a weird story in the news and on April 30th, I will finally have an audience to tell it to; which leads to my next bullet...
  • ...I am working on some comedy material, suitable for the church crowd as I am the emcee (and talent coordinator) for a dinner/silent auction fundraiser on the night mentioned in the previous bullet.
  • Just got word that my summer teaching assignment is as requested - though this semester, the course runs only 6 weeks.
  • Beware, the bookworm.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

A Teacher's Lament - Umpteenth Edition

I have a student who waits until the very last minute to do every assignment, has zero time management skills, and does nothing but complain. I am convinced that if this person where to invest as much time doing the work I require of them as they do complaining that they would be in very good shape - but no, complaint after disrespectful complaint!
* * * * * * * * * * *
I've been conferring with colleagues who also teach online classes about how the new generation of e-student has a whole new slew of BS excuses - it's funny how the excuses are all the same.
* * * * * * * * * * *
I've been working with an English class doing a video essay project - I think I may have mentioned it - this is fun stuff!
* * * * * * * * * * *
I'm fascinated to see the tech savvy students who are utilizing smart phones, tablets, and other new technologies as companions to their studies.

Monday, March 07, 2011

I Need Your Help

I have been going through each post here, one by one, and adding labels. As I get to podcast posts, I have been editing the links so they point to the new podcast blog,where they now live. Today I got to the post for 4/28/2008, a podcast called, "The Return of the Podcast". The topics discussed are:

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

Turns out that somehow, this episode never made it to the new blog and I don't seem to have a copy of it anywhere, this is where you can help. Is there anyone out there who might still have a copy of this podcast in their iTunes? If you do, please email it to me: fromawhispertoascream@gmail.com. Thanks for checking.

RIP Mike Destafano

Comedian Mike Destefano passed away at the age of 44 after a massive heart attack on Sunday. I had no idea who this guy was until I saw him on Last Comic Standing but I quickly became a fan and after hearing his interview a few months ago with Marc Maron, I gained alot of respect for him.

You can google him to learn more about his story - suffice it to say it's a great loss to the comedy community.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Podcast: Start With A Bang End With Eh

This podcast starts out prety good but goes potentially downhill-ish LOL! I was bored and there was a headset in reach and so I went for it. Hey, they can't all be gems but go ahead and judge for yourself.

Click the post title to be transported to the podcast site or just listen right here if you wish:

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Funny How Things Workout

As many of you know, since October, I have been committed to a daily workout. While I know that I am fortunate to have a treadmill and exercise bike conveniently located in my basement, the workouts are starting to get a bit boring for one and since my knees have never been in top form, I need to add some variety that will be easier on the knees and perhaps as a bonus, will be helpful for the issues with my lower back and neck.

After a bit of googling, it seems that Mr. Chuck Norris and Ms. Christie Brinkley were onto something with this "Total Gym" thing - of course I am not in a position to drop nearly $600 on a piece of fitness equipment; that's where Craigslist comes in.

I found the model pictured here, the Total Gym 2000, listed on Craigslist for $75, a hefty discount from the $599.40 price on the Total Gym website or even the $535 and change on Amazon. I email the guy with the following, "Please know that my intent is not to insult your intelligence nor to yank your chain but money is very tight. I don't know how motivated you are to be rid of this or how many offers you may have on it so if you find yourself in a position where you just want it gone and are willing to take $25 - please email or call me at ###-###-####." Hours after my email, I received the following reply, "If you are okay with $40, it's yours - if not, sorry, I can't help you." I picked it up this afternoon. However, that of course isn't the interesting part of the story.

I get to the guy's door and both of us stared in shock at each other when he answered - "Jake!', "Chris!" Turns out, I've known this guy for a long time and have been on each others professional contact list for a while as well. I hadn't seen him in some time but through LinkedIn and email we've had sporadic contact.

And once again, the world grew smaller.

Friday, March 04, 2011

A Lost Haiku Collection Recovered

A few years back I served on the search committee at my church that eventually brought us our rector. The two and a half years I spent on that committee was an important experience for me and one of the wonderful parts of it were the relationships and friendships that were forged. When the search ended, I wrote a haiku for each of my fellow committee members (and for our rector) as a gift. Here's what I gave each of them:

My search committee friends,
With our celebration in the past and Julie now in place as our rector, I spent some time composing haiku form poems for each of you. One of the things I like so much about the haiku form is that there is no room for filler, the entire poem is 17 syllables and everything you need to say has to fit. While the search process and our time together has brought many thoughts, the ones reflected in these poems are the ones that came to mind first at the time of writing and as such, they reflect a piece of what you mean to me and/or what I see in you.

Mark:
A brother and friend
Finding his place in God’s world
In search of a call

Pam:
The voice of reason
A fellow Yankee fan too
A cherished new friend

Valerie:
Prayer and reflection
You always had the right words
Your spirit still speaks

Kathy:
A child of our church
From its birth to the future
With you, we move on

Marty:
A wordsmith at heart
Our great communicator
You gave us a voice

Don:
Unique perspective
The wisdom of your life’s work
And your gentle soul

Tshina:
At first a stranger
I’m grateful to have met you
Stranger, now Sister

Zach & Brandon:
More than just “the kids”
You’re the voice of our future
Keep us in your heart

To our dear friend and consultant Barbie:
A loving mentor
Your wisdom and your guidance
An angel from God

And for Julie, our wonderful new rector:
A leader chosen
With the spirit in our midst
You, our shepherd priest

Here’s to all the moments we’ve shared thus far, and to our wonderful future.
I am truly blessed to have all of you in my life.
Love and Blessings,
Chris

Thursday, March 03, 2011

More on Writing

On several occasions today I read back yesterday's post on my cell phone and realized how potentially incomplete the thought is and hope it isn't misunderstood. Today I worked with a group of students who have been tasked with shooting a 3-5 minute movie and writing a companion essay.I love this assignment and love that I am a part of it.

I spoke briefly to the students about what I wrote here yesterday, they are all so very motivated to forge ahead at their challenge and are willing to work through the challenges; I love that.

I can't wait to see what they all come up with and can't help but feel it will have a positive effect on me as a teacher and as someone who writes sometimes.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

The Writing is the Hardest Part

The hardest part of writing for me is writing. Most days, there are at least a time or two where I think hey, this'll make a good post. However, by the time I get to the point where I sit down to write the post, I have long forgotten the moment or idea or can't figure out how to get the words out. I find, and have always found writing to be very laborious - I kind of hate it almost as much as I love it.

Said Dorothy Parker, and quoted by the Oscar Madison character in the TV version of The Odd Couple, "I hate writing. I love having written." I think that kind of sums it up for me most of the time. I'll admit that sometime the process is therapeutic, revelatory and even exciting - but not most of the time.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Excel-lence

Someone at work is spreading this nasty rumor that I am good at Excel. As such, I have been drowning in Excel projects-some are just your run of the mill challenge but one, yikes!

I am involved in another cool project. An English professor is having her students create an essay based on a short video shot by the student. We are lending them flip cams, I'll be training them on how to use them and how to edit video and convert to flash and finally, embed into a Wiki...this is going to be a fun one.

Did you know I am on twitter? @heedeedee

I'm feeling like it's getting time for a podcast.

I'm typing this on an iPad...the iPad sucks. I wish I could afford to check out a Xoom.

I endorse this ice cream scoop:
Norpro Nonstick Anti-Freeze Ice Cream Scoop

That's all for now loveys.