Saturday, July 30, 2011

Password

There comes a point, at least for me, where security seems more of a hassle than its worth. A perfect example is the TSA. Conceptually, the TSA is a good idea but it's one of the most poorly executed attempts at something positive I've ever seen; a definite government failure. It's rare that I fly more than once or twice in a year so as much of a pain in the ass the TSA is and as much as I hate them, they aren't all that much of an interference in my life.

I do spend a lot of time on the Internets and have many places where I must log on using a password and this, yes this is where I am at wits end! Every f#*$ing site has a different password with different rules and different methods of retrieving or resetting your password should you forget it.

"Sorry, your password does not meet the criteria for a STRONG password. Please be sure there is at least one upper case character, one lower case character, one special character, an underscore, and of course, a number."

g0FucK_YouR/Self

"Sorry, / is and invalid special character, please try again."

GOFUCKyourself#24

"Sorry, there should be no more than four consecutive characters of the same case, please try again."

Holy_CrAp!34

"Sorry, you've used that password before. Passwords used in the last 36 months are ineligible, please try again.

eYe_H8_UveryMuCh!

Please enter your password again for verification.

 eYe_H8_UveryMuCh!

Thanks, your password has been changed and the feeling is mutual you miserable mother  fucker!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Five 4 Fighting

Everytime I've ever heard a Five for Fighting song, I've liked it. Last night, I became a real fan - John Ondrasik has a great live voice, is a terrific songwriter and performer, his band rocked (my dear old friend Jenn has been paying bass for him lately) and all were super cool as I had the great fortune of getting the full VIP treatment.

Here are some photos:

My backstage pass:
 The back of my backstage pass which I got autographed by all the band members after the show:
 Jenn entertaining her nieces as I watch:
 Me and Jenn:
 Sound Check:
 More sound check:
 Super cool security guy ribbing Jenn's dad as she chuckles in the background:

I love good music and have always loved good live music. What made this special is seeing a dear friend up there on that stage and doing what she loves. It was fun watching her sign autographs and be in the whole mix of it all. Jenn is an old dear friend, we grew up in the same neighborhood and I have been friendly with much of her family and we know a lot of the same people. It's kind of cool that she's doing a cool tour while her husband, the also awesome Steve Fekete, is out touring South America playing guitar for Avril Lavigne.

Here's some neat video footage I shot from the day:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Cheese Shop

My favorite of all the Monty Python's Flying Circus sketches ever, the Cheese Shop - presented here for your entertainment pleasure. However, before the video, let me explain why it's relevant in this moment in time.

There's a store in Wellesley Hills, MA called, "The Cheese Shop" - here's a photo of it:
Everytime I've ever passed it I thought to myself, I need to get a photo of that and share it with my fellow Monty Python fans and after I booked my trip to Vegas and knew I was going to visit with my old friend and fellow Monty Python fan, Dan, I had to photograph it for him.

While there, we enjoyed watching the sketch together along with his family and it was revealed to me that neither his wife nor his two daughters find the humor in the sketch. troubled at this, I began to try to analyze why and have decided to take on the task of rewriting the sketch with the intent of changing their minds.

My guess is the British sensibility is what they find difficult to cut through so my goal with me to ease that sensibility by Americanizing the script while maintaining the comedic fundamentals and of course, the jokes inside the jokes. While I find the time (and strength) to attempt this, here is the original brilliance by the Python boys - enjoy:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Two Sides of the Coin

This post was inspired by a question posed on Tori's blog, "If you had to be a coin, which one would you be and why?" I knew it was something that couldn't be answered in the small confines of a comment box and I'm always looking for a subject to write about here so that's what I did.

I think it’s important to look at each coin beyond its face value first before simply picking one. So here’s a brief (I hope) perspective on each coin out there:

Penny – The least face value coin but one that for the last few years has sparked major debate. Turns out that to produce a coin worth a single cent cost somewhere between two and three times that much and because of that, there are legions who think the penny should cease production and let those still in circulation run their course and eventually, not be part of our currency vernacular. In a way, I feel like championing the penny only because there are those who seek to destroy it before attempting to research ways that it might remain in circulation more practically. I also love the distinctive color of a penny that instantly distinguishes it from any of the other common coin denominations (unless you consider the 1943 pennies that were steel and not copper).

Nickel – The coin famous for being part of the expression, “If I had a nickel for every time…” always was the subject of that hope filled phrase that promised a fortune in nickels, “if only”. I’m not sure nickels ever really got their due as currency like pennies, dimes and quarters. Back in the day there was “penny” candy and while you could buy five pieces with a nickel, you needed to have one to do so – pennies were easier to come by. I’ll talk about dimes and quarters in their own space. A nickel is the thickest of the coins and that depth gives it a sense of character much like the historical figure that adorns the coin, Thomas Jefferson. There’s a firmness to it that almost make it feel more real, more substantial than the others.

Dime – There was a time, in my lifetime, that the dime was the most important coin you could possess. Back when there was such a thing as pay phones, they were for years a common receptacle for dimes. A single dime was what was required to make that all important local call. A dime was once the required currency for all parking meters – in fact, the dime was so prevalent during its era of prevalence that there were companies in Asia that produced bingo markers in the exact dimensions of a dime and they were sold and purchased with the intent to be used as “slugs”, in place of the dime (for a fraction of the cost when bought in a tub). The nostalgic factor of what the dime once was makes it special. Oh, I remember it was important to keep a dime in your shoe so that you would always be able to make an emergency phone call – how special is that?

Quarter - There is something forceful about a quarter that starts with its own description on its back, “quarter dollar”. The penny says one cent, and expression of singularity (or perhaps individualism). A nickel states, “five cents”, a slightly more than subtle way of expressing either dominance (one of me for five of you dear penny) or perhaps economy (the value of five pennies with the convenience of carrying a single coin). The dime shouts, “one dime” which can be taken as a combination of the singularity/individualism of the penny’s wording yet the dominance/convenience of the nickels verbiage; most interesting is the dime carries all that weight being the lightest and smallest coin of the bunch – pretty impressive! Back to the quarter, this is in fact the quarter’s paragraph, “quarter dollar” not only identifies is as an individual (quarter) but clearly as a part of something bigger than itself (dollar) – perhaps the quarter’s greatest value is as a metaphor for human kind and not just a coin worth twenty five cents.

I suspect anyone can make a valid argument why any of these coins might be a good choice in answering the question posed but there is another coin out there that I think of all, might be the one I’d be most drawn to choose in response and that is the Sacagawea dollar. The Sacagawea dollar doesn’t have the rich history of the others that have been in circulation for many, many years as it has only been minted since the year 2000. One of the early issues this coin had was a result of its physical dimensions being so similar to a quarter that it was often confused as vending machines were unable to distinguish between the two. This design flaw, a byproduct of human error, caused the coin to be devalued, often obliviously and again, we have a metaphor for human behavior. How often do we devalue people, places and things in our life simply because we don’t pay them enough attention? The simple act of awareness, care and concern for that which is before us – respecting the value of the people, places and things in our life, much like the Sacagawea dollar instantly change its value. I think just like human life, relationships, and that which we as humans must be stewards of, such as the environment demands attention, awareness and respect in order for us to realize its true value – just like this coin.

The one trait all coins have is two distinct sides. Both are very different, both have attributes that make them unique but combined, form the single coin which is an entity unto itself. Similar to a relationship between two humans each must respect the others individuality and uniqueness but both come together and unite into a single couple which also has qualities that distinguish it from the two individuals involved. Both individuals at all times need to respect that the relationship is three distinct entities that must find harmony to remain strong.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Meaningless Questionnaire

I'm a bit hypersensitive and emotional tonight and instead of randomly bantering on a specific topic, I've found a ridiculous questionnaire that I've completed with the intent of amusing you all to some degree of laughter. Enjoy!

WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
Yeah, a nice Jewish boy who’s dad created all existence.
WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED AND WHY?
About eleven minutes ago when I realized I accidentally sat on my cajones and after the pain subsided, I realized the only thing I had left to do was this ridiculous questionnaire.
YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
Not nearly as much as I like a good cannoli.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
I don’t recall her name any longer; it was quite some time ago and in a place so very far away.
DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
No, I don’t do young goats but I do have a daughter.
IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
Damn straight!
DO YOU USE SARCASM ALOT?
Me? Sarcasm? Never!
DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?
Do you still have your dignity? (Yes by the way – on the tonsils thing). Oh, and the expression “Tonsil Hockey” is vile.
WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
Yes. Would you do shots of Patron and Mineral Oil?
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
General Hospital…Oh, Cereal, not Serial…What are those things called, “Fiber Fuckers” or something like that.
DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
Not usually – is your world a better place now that you know that?
DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?
I think I have strengths – does that count?
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?
Yes.
WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE ?
The quantity of appendages currently forming acute angles and whether or not their wearing socks.
RED OR PINK?
We talking strictly colors or are body parts involved?
WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING about yourself ?
It involves teeth.
WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
Frankie the mope (inside joke).
WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
Kind of an off white on the pants, though more accurately cargo shorts – no shoes.
WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?
Is anything sacred anymore? The last bit of food I ate involved an array of grains such as quinoa, wheat berries, lentils and other boring items.
WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
TBTL
IF YOU WHERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
Burnt Sienna
FAVORITE SMELLS?
This is a perfect space to respond with, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.” However, I will refrain, because I am better than that and instead say, “Fresh bread baking in the oven is hard to beat.”
WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
Cuzzup
FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?
Football and Baseball – but only when competitive mumbling is off season.
HAIR COLOR?
Upstairs or downstairs?
EYE COLOR?
Brown
DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
No, but I have some Outlook ones.
FAVORITE FOOD?
Pizza
SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
What do cinema and professional massage have to do with each other?
LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
Oh, it was the one with that actor – you know, he was in that other movie.
WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?
Duck billed platypus white.
SUMMER OR WINTER?
Sam Adams Summer ale is way better than their winter ale but I prefer cooler to warmer temps.
HUGS OR KISSES?
Your place or mine?
FAVORITE DESSERT?
Your place or mine?
WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
None.
WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
Blood, it’s the mouse’s time of the month.
WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON T.V. LAST NIGHT?
Television programs.
FAVORITE SOUND?
The toothless drunken dude ruining the poker game getting tossed through the screen door then hitting the plastic yard furniture before lapsing into a coma.
ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES?
Why choose, can’t we all just get along?
DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
Answering meaningless questionnaires is a somewhat humorous fashion.
WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
Inside a vagina.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Baffled Once Again by this Crazy Thing Called Life

Anyone that truly believes in fortune tellers and palm readers and the sort clearly has never really lived heir own life but rather pretended to do so or simply occupied space and oxygen.

For all that life deals us that is so out of left field, so beyond the predictable, it stuns me that someone could lay their had before another and be fed with strategic bullshit and actually give it any credence.
********************
That being said, today is my daughter Victoria's 13th birthday and as she has been shouting to all who will listen (and a few who didn't want to) she's "officially a teenager". Yikes! She loved the gifts I got for her stating after receiving them, "I'll never be happier than I am right now!" A sweet thought but my wish is that she is always that happy. I took her to a Japanese restaurant because she is currently enthralled in all things Japanese and then I dropped her off at her friends where she is swimming about and having fun and I get to relax a bit.

Enjoy what's left of your Sunday if you get to this today - Peace!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

R.I.P. Amy Winehouse

I know that to many, it seemed inevitable that Amy Winehouse wouldn't live long enough to see her 30th birthday. However, hearing of her death, at the so very young age of 27, even knowing of her troubles with drugs, alcohol and all around hard living, makes it no less tragic.

It's especially tragic to those who've taken a moment to put aside the media coverage of the train wreck of a life she led and focused on the brilliant music she created and the the magical voice she possessed.

I know it would be easier to do that thing where you say she got what was coming to her and that there are far more tragic deaths of young people who had nothing to do with their deaths. The fact is, all are tragic in their own context.

I suppose all we can wish for is that in death she finds the peace she never seemed to find and I have no idea if she ever sought in life. May her family and friends come to terms with their loss and find a way to move forward with some positive memories.


While there is not nearly the body of work left behind that could have been, I know I will cherish whatever there is because it's as good as any music ever made. Rest in Peace Amy Winehouse.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Las Vegas 2011 - The Video Collection

I have finally gone and edited all of the footage I shot last week in Las Vegas and thought I would put the wrap up on my trip by offering here a few of the videos I have assembled:

The first is the extended version of a day on the Las Vegas Strip, which clocks in at 9:17 (the shorter 3+ minute version follow):


If you prefer the shorter 3ish minute version of that day on the strip (or loved the long version so much, you just can't wait to see how it was edited) - here's the version assembled using the same clips with the "Magic Movie" feature of the flipCam software:


Now onto Freemont Street, or more accurately, "The Freemont Street Experience". Freemont Street is sometimes referred to as "Old Las Vegas", or "Downtown Las Vegas" and is the home of many of the famous wedding chapels and the pawn shop seen on the TV show "Pawn Stars".

This first video is called "The Freemont Street Experience - Summer of the 80's" and runs about four and a half minutes showing the sights, sounds and, well - this is Freemont St. as seen through the lens of my flipCam in all it's - well, I shall let you decide:


Finally, the 80's theme on Fremont Street was most notable in the live music, This last video is 4:20 shot during a set of an outstanding 80's cover band called "The Nancy Rayguns" (gotta love that name); as good as the band was, the crowd was something else - the lens does not lie...enjoy:


Both the business and pleasure components of my trip were terrific and it was especially awesome to hang out with Danny and JoAnne, whom I hadn't seen in nearly 20 years.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Be a Part of My Podcast, Won't You?

I just listened to a "Songs of Summer" themed podcast from NPR and it was so great. I loved hearing people talk about these songs and what they mean to them. I've been looking for a new theme for a music podcast and I have long wanted to get you, my reader, to participate in some way - so here is my idea...

As the end of summer is weeks away, in preparation for a podcast that will air around that time, the theme will be "Summertime Memories". What I would like from you is not only your choice of a song that reminds you of some wonderful summertime memories or one that perhaps tells the story of a joyful memory but also tell me the story behind what the song means to you, the memory and how it relates.

If you call my google voice number and leave a message (5 0 8 - 2 4 4 - 4 0 7 9), I'll include your voice on the podcast - if you are okay with that (which would make me so happy) or you can email me at (fromawhispertoascream @ gmail . com) and I will read your note (use Summertime Memories as the subject line). In either case, I can ensure your name remain anonymous if you prefer but I really would love your participation - it'll be so fun.

In fact, if anyone would like to schedule a live call that I can record for inclusion, I am open to that as well.

I hope to hear from several of you. :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lady Gaga - Amazing Live Performance

Brilliance! One of the best live performances I have ever seen - just jaw dropping, breath taking, overwhelmingly amazing!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Trial by Jury

I heard a rather interesting debate related to the jury system currently in place. Of course this was all triggered by the Casey Anthony trial but raises an issue that’s far more compelling. The argument was made as a comment on the idea of “reasonable doubt” and that since there really was no major criteria for a juror, that a highly educated lawyer could easily “trick” a common jury member into having reasonable doubt.

I am sure it’s reasonable to assume a jury of twelve would be ideally be diverse in its makeup but inevitably, there is going to be an unskilled, uneducated and probably vulnerable (and/or gullible) individual and this isn’t necessarily an insult but rather a real possibility. I know that our judicial system is supposed to be one of the pillars of our democracy and freedom and when it works, it’s not questioned but when it doesn’t (as most believe it didn’t in the Anthony trial), it raises a lot of ire but should raise a lot more questions for review.

What are your thoughts?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Meme-ingless (Part 2)

Here are the last 25 questions:

26. Do you like someone?
Okay, back to the third grade style questions…yes, I like someone.

27. The last song you listened to?
“I Believe in You” by Twisted Sister

28. What time of day were you born?
12:36 am.

29. What’s your favorite number?
Pi

30. Where did you live in 1987?
Brooklyn, NY

31. Are you jealous of anyone?
Most likely.

32. Is anyone jealous of you?
Not a clue.

33. Where were you when 9/11 happened?
Heard it on Howard Stern while driving to work then got to work and nobody believed me because I said I heard it on Howard Stern. I then rigged up a TV and put the news on and we all watched in horror watching those building fall.

34. What do you do when vending machines steal your money?
Get very angry.

35. Do you consider yourself kind?
Most of the time.

36. If you had to get a tattoo, where would it be?
Never thought of it because I would never get one.

37. If you could be fluent in any other language, what would it be?
Italian.

38. Would you move for the person you loved?
Yes

39. Are you touchy feely?
In a good way.

40. What’s your life motto?
This questionnaire goes from third grade schoolyard to Socrates. Here’s one, “Live, learn, teach, repeat.”

41. Name three things that you have on you at all times?
Heirloom tomatoes, a petrified enchilada and an Erlenmeyer Flask.

42. What’s your favourite town/city?
Tougher question than I thought. I’ve had great times visiting San Francisco, San Diego and Las Vegas.

43. What was the last thing you paid for with cash?
Lunch this afternoon.

44. When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper and mailed it?
A few months ago – for real!

45. Can you change the oil on a car?
I know how to, I’ve done it once because my brother made me but I choose not to.

46. Your first love: what is the last thing you heard about him/her?
Depends on how you define first love, there are a few heartbreakers out there  I was such fulfilled with low self-esteem as a youth that the first “relationship” of any kind I had was at 19 and oddly enough, and the thing is, aback then I thought she was awesome and today, I know for certain she is even more awesome.

47. How far back do you know about your ancestry?
Not very far at all. I’ve only ever met one of my grandparents and I was 4 at the time. All others were long gone before I was born.

48. The last time you dressed fancy, what did you wear and why did you dress fancy?
I dress in a shirt and tie for work most days (less in the summer time).

49. Does anything hurt on your body right now?
No.

50. Have you been burned by love
Yes – almost not possible to have lived as long as I have and not be burned at least once.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

More from Las Vegas

How's about a couple of photos?
Here's a picture of me, my old friend Dan O'Connor and his wife, another old friend, JoAnn:
We had some chinese food, which JoAnn had informed the public about on Facebook and this was our "proof is in the pudding" picture.

Earlier in the week I learned of the fact that the Chinese in Las Vegas don't know the difference between Chow Mein and Lo Mein. On this particular evening, I learned something else about them:
A picture is worth a thousand words, I assume you've figured it out on first glance.

Dan put on some Monty Python episodes, in particular, the one with the "Cheese Shop" sketch in yet another effort to get the rest of his family to be able to appreciate the humor in it but is seemed to be another failed attempt. However, he and I enjoyed it along with his oldest daughter's boyfriend.

Oh, as I was walking out the ramp to the parking garage in the Venetian to meet up with Dan and JoAnn, there was a very tall, buff, and tanned Elvis walking by on the other side checking his smart phone - I wish I had a camera ready to shoot that...too funny!

Here's a little video action for ya. This is a randomly complied (by flipshare software) collection of some randomly shot (by) footage from the late morning/early afternoon of Friday, 7/15.


Catchya all later!

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Very Brief LIVE Update from Vegas

Just some words of wisdom from yours truly:

There's nothing better about aging than learning the true meaning of friendship and that time and distance can never take away it's true value. Another reaffirmation of life's blessings...

Meme-ingless (Part 1)

NOTE: This post, and the follow-up part 2 were actually done before I left for Vegas and kept in the till for when posts were needed.

Here are thes first 25 (of 50) random questions I found on a random blog somewhere thanks to Google:

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?
I may hate this daily exercise thing but it sure does make a difference.

2. How much cash do you have on you?
Twenty one bucks

3. What’s a word that rhymes with DOOR?
MORE

4. Favorite planet?
If woman really are from Venus then…Uranus only has one but here on Earth there are billions…hey, is this thing on?

5. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone?
I don’t get enough calls to have missed four calls. The 4th number down on my received calls list is the Group Insurance Commission – yipdee freaking do!

6. What is your favorite ring tone on your phone?
The one of me saying the following in a uniquely entertaining voice, “Hello, pick up the phone. I’m trying to reach you!”

7. What shirt are you wearing
A rust colored Hanes Pocket T-shirt

8. Do you label yourself?
I’ve been known to stick price tags on my nipples; does that count?

9. Name the brand of the shoes you’re currently wearing?
Dearfoams (they are my slippers)

10. Bright or Dark Room?
Is this a euphemism?

11. What do you think about the person who took this survey before you?
Guessing he was equally amusing…almost.

12. What does your watch look like?
Like a fucking whistle…it looks like a watch. Round face, numbers in the usual place, hands, band…you know.

13. What were you doing at midnight last night?
Sleeping.

14. What did your last text message you received on your cell say?
Bring $500,000 in unmarked bills…ha, just kidding. It actually said, “Hanging on the dock and grilling.”
15. Where is your nearest 7-11?
Natick, MA

16. What's a word that you say a lot?
Heiroglyphic

17. Who told you he/she loved you last?
My daughter

18. Last furry thing you touched?
My cat.

19. How many drugs have you done in the last three days?
The only drugs I take are prescription based – there are two of them (you nosy fucker).

20. How many rolls of film do you need developed?
What year were these questions written? I can’t recall the last time I bought film.

21. Favorite age you have been so far?
One was pretty cool because nothing was taboo. I could shit myself, play with myself, suck on my own mother’s tit and everyone else in the world would find that rather cute.

22. Your worst enemy?
Sugar. I love it more than almost anything else but I can’t eat it because I am pre-diabetic and I want to not become diabetic.

23. What is your current desktop picture?
A bird of paradise that I photographed in Hawaii back in 2005.

24. What was the last thing you said to someone?
In person…”Enjoy your weekend”
Via email…”Just wanted to say Hi ”

25. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to fly what would it be?
Are you kidding me? Million bucks, hands down.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Podcast: I Saw God Today

While attending a conference in Las Vegas, during what seemed to be just an ordinary conference day, I sat for a brief rest when who sits beside me but God himself. I wasn't aware at first but it didn't take long to realize.

Of all the places to have such a spiritually moving experience. You can listen here:

or, go the the podcast site here to download.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Things I've learned, relearned and/or observed at the conference thus far:

  •  If you try hard enough (took 3 tries for me), you can get an elevator full of people to vogue (strike a pose) on the next floor the doors open.
  • It's possible to convince people that they should get on the elevator even though there is limited space because in fact, you are the "fun" elevator
  • By extension of the last one, it's possible to get a group of people to believe you are the "leader"of the elevator.
  • It's possibly to slightly annoy the CEO and president of a major global corporation by stepping in front of the camera filming him to do schtick.
  • Anyone that has a cup, glass, or other drinking vessel with do a "cheers" with you if you have the right personality.
  • I am looking "svelter" than ever.
  • I am "handsomeish, devilish, sort".
  • "It's not the heat, it's the humidity" is a myth.
  • In order to get a "sicilian" style pizza in Nevada requires at least 24 hours advanced notice.
  • Apparently the Chinese people that live in Nevada think Lo Mein is actually Chow Mein.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sin City Rears It's True Nature- Live Update 2

With the time difference factored in, I've been up quite a few hours in a row and it was a travel day. I thought I would take it light - as you saw from my last update.

My old buddy Dan came to pick me up around 5:30 Vegas time last night and we went over to his house and had some pizza and chat. Then He looked tired and I was starting to give in and thought it best to call it a night since he was kind enough to drive me back to the hotel.

I get back and literally the minute I walk into the hotel with the intent of going to my room and calling it a day, I walk past where I saw the sugar-free gelato I saw earlier (to my delight for a later try) and there is someone I know siting there having a gelato. It was fate and I treated myself to a sugar-free almond gelato.

While eating said gelato, I get a message from my old colleague Wayne that he was heading over to Margaritaville and would love to see me there. Yikes - okay, I'll have 1 drink then go back. Well, I did only have one drink, thankfully the service sucked making it unpleasant to even consider staying for "just one more" so we left and and then we went up to Wayne's room where he, his wife and I watched ESPN and chatted for a bit before my eyed began to roll behind my skull begging for sleep.

I said I surrender and left to return to my room where I now type this after brushing my teeth and now  I must go sleep. As I type these last words, it's 1:15 am Vegas time, 4:15 am Boston time (just 45 minutes from when I normally awake on a work day and just about 23.5 hours from when I last awoke.

Goodnightish!

Update at 11:20am
  • I hit the gym at 6:30 am and to my surprise, it was packed- I had to wait for a treadmill.
  • Took a stroll down one end of the strip and noticed there is still a large empty gap of nothing between the Fashion Show mall and Circus Circus - these were the former sights if the Westward Ho and the Stardust hotels.
  • Going to meet a colleague for lunch at noon-ish (west coast time of course) and attending conference stuff from 2-7 then going to check out the other end of the strip.
  • Later all.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Quick Live Check-In from Las Vegas

Hey all, landed in Vegas a little before noon (LV time). It took a little while for my luggage to surface and grab a ride to the hotel but hey, not too bad. My room was ready so they let me check-in. It's pretty nice suite I must say however, three years ago I stayed at the sister property next door, the Palazzo and that was way ritzier (believe me, this isn't at all shabby but the suite I had at the Palazzo was majestic).

Once I unpacked, yes, I do that on stays of this length, I did what any normal guy does the minute he arrive in sin-city, I went to the gym! Really! The treadmills in that place are a dream. I worked up a nice sweat since I had to leave so early from home and didn't get my usual workout in - it felt good.I cam back to the suite (I know, I should be calling it the room by now but I am still showing off) for a shower then a call to my pal Dan who I am going to meet up with later.

Dan, and his wife JoAnn are old friends from the Brooklyn days and I haven't seen them in nearly two decades. They live out here in Vegas so it's going to be great to spend my off time from work with them.

Okay, outta here for now.
XOXO

Derek Jeter

Consistently one of the classiest guys in the sport of baseball, a consummate professional and teammate and a real ladies man. I type this post just hours after Derek Jeter became only the 28th player in the history of Major League Baseball to amass 3,000 hits (and only the second in history to do it with a long ball). Aside from the obvious celebratory delay of the game amongst team mates and the fans, I must give kudos to the Tampa Bay team for their awesome show of respect to the future hall of famer.
Jeter would be the first to tell you that after 17 seasons (he's currently playing in his 17th) that he's lost a step or two but he's still got the drive, determination and the heart of that 21 year old kid that became a Yankee and stayed one. Jeter is a model athlete and public figure and I have such great admiration for all he has accomplished. Congratulations on this historic moment in your career.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

SundayNanigans

Just to be clear, I am typing this while coherent at 6:18pm on Saturday. There is travel in the air (literally and figuratively) and many preparations are being made and there is a dreaded alarm that will sound at 3:00 am on Sunday morning (that's now in the past) so that I can drive Victoria to where she will depart for the airport en-route to her first trip away without either of her parents.

The noble young lass will be in Washington, D.C. for a week doing mission work along with a dozen or so others from our church and many, may others from churches across the country.

I'll need to return home for what will hopefully be easy to get a few more z's before awaking at around 6ish, getting in a workout, heading to church for services (all now in the past if successful) then returning home to finish packing and preparing for my trip (oh, I need to get a haircut too).

I head out early Monday morning on a flight bound for "Sin City" where I will be attending Blackboard World 2011 and spending some off-time with a few old Brooklyn friends who now live in Las Vegas. I haven't seen the O'Connors in nearly two decades so there's lot's to catch up on and they are such good and fun people that I an pretty psyched about the trip (only one thing could have made it better, if "Larry Crumholz" was coming along-LOL).

I'll try to check in from Vegas here and there - I have a few posts prepared and scheduled to post daily for at least the next few days and we shall see what posting opportunities arise from deep in the dessert. I suspect there may be some photos, perhaps some audio and who knows, maybe even video - for sure there'll be some stories to tell but in the meantime, I need to mentally prepare for a 3 am alarm - catchya later.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

“It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless.”

I wrote the following back in February of 2003 for publication in a Lenten Reflection Guide that we used to do at church. The title, is a line from a gospel scripture and one that get me thinking. This isn't a post or a piece of writing that has anything to do with touting the scriptures or the bible or God - I respect that we all have different belief systems and I won't go deep here in this post about my thoughts of the bible but I bet you there not what you think they might be. All that being said, the important psrt of this post - the poetry:

“It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless.”
It is not the eyes that see, but the visions of never ending beauty
It is not the nose that smells, but the lingering fragrances of life that waft beneath
It is not the Ears that hear, it is the sounds and silences that pass through
from a whisper to a scream, from the lips of God to you
It is not the tongue that tastes, but the flavors -
such as the salt of the earth and the sweet fruits of life we bear upon it
It is not the fingers that touch, but the textures of the rich fabrics that weave the complex and beautiful world we live in that we feel
“It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless.”
For in the pondering moments of meditation
the spirit speaks and the soul feeds on prayerful reverie.
“It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless.”

Friday, July 08, 2011

Dog Ears

I was reclined in my brand new chair in the corner of my bedroom and reading a book I was about halfway through and eager to get back to. As I am laughing out loud reading this collection of essays, I flipped the page and noticed the following page was dog-eared at the top right. For some reason it grabbed my attention enough to get me to stop reading for the moment and get me curious about the previous reader.

I know that I am reading this particular book, a second collection of essays by the author because of how much I enjoyed the first. I learned of the author from a Seattle based podcast called TBTL – she was interviewed by the host and between the interview and Luke Burbank’s (the podcast’s host) banter regarding the books, I had to check them out. I wonder though how the previous reader came to know of Sloane Crosley and her essays and did they read her first book too? Were they laughing as much as I had been before getting to this point in the book and decided to dog-ear the page in case the book fell from their hand while laughing?

I get most, in fact, almost all of the books I read from the library so in almost every instance, there was at least on previous reader and most likely several to many previous readers not just of the same title, but the exact same book that ends up in my hands. Sometimes the creases and folds in a book or the specific wear to the binding tells a story all its own.

I’ve noticed when I take out recipe books from the library, the binding is looser at certain recipes than others. This to me is unscientific validation of a popular recipe and I assume that the loose binding is a result of mass photocopying and more often than not, I follow the lead of those who’ve borrowed the book before me and photocopy the recipe as well. With other books though, narrative based ones, if the dog ears or loose binding represent something random or if, at least in some instances, a similar experience in the flow of the narrative and the need to pause to embrace that experience of digest the author’s words into some meaningful understanding.

Of course, there are times when reading a book that one must stop reading. I stop when I am tired, if I have somewhere to go or some other interruption occurs and often don’t think anything of it because it just seems so normal. But for some reason, I wonder what it was that occurred in the previous reader’s flow that led them to dog-ear the page. I suspect its life as usual as in my cases but I wonder if ever something spectacular happened that led them to stop at that point. Perhaps one of their children needed help with homework or dinner was ready or a movie was about to being or just about anything could have been the cause for the pause. I wonder if the reader themselves was tired and dozed off and someone else was kind enough to retrieve the book and dog-ear the page for them.

Hmmm.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

For my pallen

It's been a very long running joke. My colleague, Tish Allen's computer username is pallen so I always called her that, emphasizing the pal part. Tish was something of a mentor to me early on in my career at the college and has always been a colleague I've admired and looked up to. Her professionalism and genuine care for her chosen path as an educator is as evident as anything I've ever seen.

Today, I learned that my colleague, my friend, my "pal" was recently diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and begins aggressive treatments this Friday. She's taken on so may vital roles in her life, parent, grandparent, teacher, mentor and now, the one that may be the difference maker - fighter.

I've shed a lot of tears today. The news was devastating as this type of news always is but one thing it forces one, at least me, to do is to just take stock in the things I may take for granted and make sure the people you care about know how much you care about them and how special they are.

To my friends and family and extended family here in Bloggerville and beyond - you all are special folks who've supported me in different capacities -  you are all very special to me adn I greatly appreciate all that you have done for me.

Please keep my friend Tish in your thoughts, prayers, well wishes - whatever it is you do in these situations. I've gotta go send an improtant email...Tish, you may not see this on your own but all of us at MassBay who've gotten to know you and whom you've touched over the years - we are all right here with you. You need something, anything, just ask and fight like we all know only you can!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Prepping for Travel

I love going places but rarely love getting there; especially in the post 9/11 era with the TSA maggots creeping around my genitalia. Then, there's the anxiety of packing - What should I take? How much should I take? What can I live without and what do I absolutely need? Will there be a place to get so and so if I forget it? what if I just don't bring it, will there be a place for me to get some? How much is that doggie in the window...wait, that one is misplaced.

How many of you have ever made the mistake of shortchanging yourself on, oh, let's say underwear? Have you ever out of necessity dropped a few dirty shorts and a few other things to not be so obvious in the drawstring bag in the hotel and then have to fill out the incomprehensible triplicate form before dangling it outside your room in someting of a Hester Prynne fashion? Aside from the inevitable mockery of your lodging neighbors and passers by, there's that little twinge of fear that your laundry may get lost in the shuffle and you'll still be shy of underwear. Then there's the decision beyond all decisions: (a) Do you attempt to scrub a pair clean in the bathroom sink and blow dry it? (b) Sift through the batch and find the least offensive pair for the ride home praying there are no travel delays so you can go home, remove them, throw them away and boil all parts of your body that were covered by them, or (c) go commando?

I remember the good old days of travel where it was practical to attempt to get everything you need in a carry on so as to avoid the additional nightmare of checking luggage. Who's ever had checked luggage lost? I have - it had a far more exotic trip that I and was flown back to me several days after I arrived home. I know I am not the only one who's been in a position where most (if not all) of my wearable clothing are in my checked luggage and if it really disappears, the only acceptable place to be in public would be a nudist camp.

Now I check everything - I don't to have some TSA maggot fisting me because he doesn't like the idea that I occasionaly wear boxer briefs and heaven forbid, am carrying my 3.2 ounces of Pantene or 4 ounce tube of toothpaste that I was secretly plotting to use for some diablolical terrorist scrubbing ritual.

Oh well, at least JetBlue offers a snack. See ya on the other side.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Independence Collection

Here are some posts from past July 4th-ish themed posts:

2004          2006          2007

In 2009, the post wasn't about July 4th but was posted on that day and it's funny (if you ask me). I went to a Red Lobster in Wehtersfield, CT and tried to get someone, anyone, to sing me the Red Lobster theme...this post is a live recording of that event. Check it out here.

Funny how I don't spend all that much time thinking about my old stomping grounds in Brooklyn except every once in a while but there's someone there who's been at the top of my thoughts lately...Happy 4th to all - especially you "Larry Crumholz".

Sunday, July 03, 2011

La Forza Del Destino

When I first opened the "New Post" window and typed in the title, the plan was to write a story involving two very specific characters. The story was based on some very deep feelings that are real and as it tuned out, so deep and so real that what I hoped to craft into a story became more of an expression of reality.

While that what was in me is now out of me, in some form, I decided it's not something to share here at this time so instead, please accept the following for today's entry into this blog:

This is a poem I wrote way back. It's called "I Sit Here Alone" and while the subject is suicide, it's not with a grim ending. It was published in an "e-zine" many years ago, before the Internet and back in the days of electronic BBS systems, this particular one was focused on poetry. Soon after it was published I received considerable feedback about the positive message it ends with and that was very validating to me. I've know victims of suicide but while I've been to some dark, lonely and sad places - I've never thought about it myself but have wondered what could possibly lead someone to that choice. Here's the poem:


I Sit Here Alone


I sit here alone – waiting to die
No reason to live
Just reasons to cry

All that I live for – has cast me away
Forgetting tomorrow
To end it today

I sit here alone – confused as I weep
Wishing for death
While I fall asleep

The pain grows stronger – each breath that I take
Could it be that my life
Was one big mistake

I sit here alone – and I pray to the Lord
Make peace a weapon
And hand me the sword

Please give me the strength – and the will to survive
Tell me there are reasons
To be alive
 
I sit here alone – waiting to hear
Knowing that someday
Someone will care

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Hanging On the Harbor

Capt. Chuck & Kahy were kind enough to invite me on their boat (The Urban Escape) today for a bit of chilling and a bit of crusin' the Boston Harbor. Here are some pix:
The U.S.S. Consitution

From the back of the boat looking upish

Me
The Boston Garden

The Dock at Marina Bay

Another View of the Dock at Marina Bay

Boston World Trade Center

Leonard P. Zakim Bridge

Friday, July 01, 2011

Crunch Time for The Holiday Weekend

I've done a good job of keeping up with grading assignments for summer session one but with all final assignments due on Sunday, there are a few stragglers still finishing up so I need to do that and get all final course grades done after than and submitted.

My session two class starts next Tuesday so I need to make a few simple modifications to the course documents and specifically the syllabus and get it out there and ready for those students.

Tomorrow I will not be getting up to an alarm clock - this is a simple pleasure and a welcome one, it seems like it's been longer than it should be since I've had that luxury.

I've been in the mood for fireworks lately, for obvious reasons.

Today someone said something to me that nobody in my life ever has before. Seems like a simple sentence, "I believe in you." I don't doubt that my mom and/or dad believed in me but they never directly said so. I'd guess my brother believes in me but never heard it out loud there either. In all fairness, it's not something a lot of people think to say to someone. I've said it to very few people - and I make sure only to say it because it's genuine. Today, it was said to me for the first time ever and it just filled my heart with joy.

hat's all for now, I need to get back to grading stuff.