Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Blogger Birth!

The very first comment on my very first post read as follows:

Blogging's a funny thing, isn't it? I started my own as a precursor to a travel diary I intend to keep when I leave England in the near future. It was a chance to write in a journal format for others to see and to practice a talent that was getting rusty. I enjoy writing fiction, but it's a while since I sat down and wrote anything lengthy about my own life and feelings.

The reason I'm here in your blog was the title. Made me smile that two such different people could arrive at the same place through lyrics from two completely different songs. One of my favourite tracks is by a Welsh band called The Manic Street Preachers, entitled La Tristesse Durera. The title is an Italian phrase which, roughly translated, gives you 'The Last Sigh'. The chorus of the song, though, translates it as 'Scream To A Sigh'.

Which is what brought me here.

And that, I think, is why the Internet as a whole and specifically blogging is a fascinating thing.

I have a blog on here, entitled Notes From A Darkened Room. My username is NeonExile. We don't share much philosophical common ground, but if you're as open to these things as I am, then check it out.

Your blog's an interesting read, Chris. I'll be back.


That was written my Michael, who at that time, in 2004, lived in England. There was another blogger who name is Jennifer who lived in California. Somehow, over the years they met through the blogosphere, got to know each other, then got to know each other really well. They've been married a few years now and live together in California and today, at 11:38 am PST, their son Ryan Hunter O'Mahoney was born.

Congratulations Michael and Jennifer - and Ryan, who is going to be one interesting guy.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Autobiographical Briefs

I posted this on the book blog that I occasionaly contribute to and thought I would offer it here as well:

I read two autobiographies recently that were highly anticipated for a number of reasons and I thought I would share a few thoughts on each here with all of you.
I saw Rob Lowe on a few of the talk shows while he was out promoting this book. Aside from the stories he told on the talk shows that implied the book might be interesting, being roughly the same age and having watched all of the "Brat Pack" films (because it was something you did in the 80's) and wanting to know more about the culture of that group of people in that time and place - I opted to give this book a read. While it wasn't the worst autobiography of all time, and there were some sincere moments that had a rare humanizing effect on a celebrity, it just didn't ring as a cohesive piece of storytelling for me and I was left feeling like it may have been okay to just leave it be with what I saw on the talk show circuit.
Tina Fey captivated me on SNL and then again on 30 Rock. She's witty, intelligent, and powerful but also has, for me, a remarkable charm that I simply can't get enough of. This book not only offered the story of Tina Fey from then till now but it was punctuated with the witty humor that makes those of us that love her, lover her. I laughed so much while reading this book that I'm smiling just writing about it. Fey doesn't take herself so seriously that she isn't willing to be self-deprecating almost to a fault. If you are a fan of Fey, this is a must read.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Good Night Irene

I should be thanking my lucky stars that Irene has come and gone and left behind very minimal damage for me to clean up. With the exception of a very small amount of water in my basement, which was in an isolated area, loss of electricity for about 5 1/2 hours and lots of leaves and branches liberally spread about the property - that was it! I know there are many people who got slammed and are still suffering the after effects and will be for some time to come.

I did get to spend lots of one-on-one time with my daughter, who was forced into finishing her summer reading and to hep encourage her and set a good example, I read right along side of her - that was kind of cool.

I did get a bit crabby at the electricity thing and feel kind of stupid about complaining but there was never a time I wasn't aware of those going through much worse times. here's to hoping it all eases up soon for everyone.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Changing Education Paradigms

I had the great privilege of seeing Sir Ken Robinson speak at a conference back in July. Robinson is a visionary in the field of education and was totally captivating.

The video below contains audio content entracted from a speech about changing education paradigms and animated quite brilliantly by a group called RSA. This is something very special and if you have any interest in education, I think you'll be fascinated; enjoy!

Friday, August 26, 2011

There's a Fire Pit in the Cards

I am heading off to a fire pit in a short while. I love fire pits - just hanging out with good friends, shooting the breeze, a nice glass of wine or two, or...

The summer is officially over as far as I am concerned, my kid starts school on Tuesday, Monday, I begin my series of drop-in sessions for the teachers at my school to get them up to speed on some new technologies in place and the Fall semester kicks of on 9/6 - so I put final preparations on my teaching materials.

As I write this, I am listening to a CD by a band called "Volbeat". I had never heard of them until very recently and when I did, I went over to their website and was able to listen to some of their current songs. The CD I have with me now I got from the library and was released in 2009 - it's called, "Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood" - WOW! It's freaking awesome! I don't know how this band fell through the cracks for me but I am so grateful to Tori for turning me on to them.

Okay peeps, those of you on the path of the storm - be safe, don't be a hero, and have fun!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Irene Alert Etc.

With an earthquake just behind us, the east coast now prepares for a hurricane named "Irene", which promises the potential for some major damage. Here's a plea for all who might be affected to heed the call, don't be a hero or just assume it won't happen because it hasn't...take care of yourselves and your family and friends.

Did you see the story where the dog of a fallen soldier was at his service and laid there before the casket? There were photos online - so very moving - beyond words.

Some people need to get a sense of humor, especially since you supposedly had one at one time.

Steve Jobs - I've made it no secret that I do not like this man and I think he is bad for Apple and for the customers of Apple. However, he is very ill and I do not wish that for him. Also, I'd be a fool not to acknowledge his part in making Apple a major business success - the problem I have is that the business model used to do it favors only the company and not the consumer.

That's enough for now. Peace!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Shakin' All Over

Apparently there was an earthquake here. My daughter felt it. Several colleagues and students at school felt it. Several Facebook friends felt it. Me - nothing! My friend Cindy found a very funny post with the headline, "Photo of Devasation from the East Coast Earthquake" with the following photo:

Oh well, I've seen more drama on a 30 second Jersey Shore commercial and quite frankly, I am grateful for the lack of devastation and that nobody I know of was injured.

Monday, August 22, 2011

MDIII

This is the 1,503rd post on this blog. I know that 1,500 would have been the more socially accepted milestone to recognize but if you've read more than one of the 1,503 posts here, you know that social acceptance isn't necessarily a relevant criteria.

The first post was back on June 24th, 2004 - that was 2,615 days ago. The average over the life of this blog is a post every 1 3/4 days (I can assure that the standard deviation is a bit high considering all of 2010 there were only 42 posts).

I've talked about some very deep and important things here and complete nonsense along with just about everything in between. I've laid out a lot of me here - the good, the bad, the ugly and whatever else that can't be described by those three adjectives.

Most special of all, is that there are people who give a crap enough to read it. I've met such an eclectic and wonderful bunch of people through this medium and while a few years back, blogging was as hot as facebook and twitter are now, I still think it's a wonderful medium and I hope we see a bit of a resurgence to keep it alive.

I have no idea where specifically this blog will go from here other than I am just going to go on being who I am and talking about it here and hopefully, you'll come by every now and again to say hi and hang out.

With love and admiration,
Chris

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Podcast: (Not Quite) 20 Questions - Part 2

Here is the thrilling conclusion to the (Not Quite) 20 Questions podcast. To download or subscribe to the podcast, click on the post title to go to the podcast website or listen right here if you wish:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Gas Crisis?

One of my favorites, Barney Frank having an expulsion of gas while talking to Rachel Maddow; notice he actually does a little lift to help it through:

Podcast: (Not Quite) 20 Questions - Part 1

I cam across this questionnaire and decided to give it a go. I broke it up into 2 parts, each are approximately 11 minutes. Here is part 1:

If you wish to download the podcast or subscribe via iTunes, click the title of this post to be transported to the podcast site.

Or, feel free to listen right here:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Q and A Fun

Q. When you buy/receive new clothes, do you wash them before wearing them?
A. Yes. I happen to hate trying on clothes for fit because there is a chance some stranger has worn it before.

Q. Did you have braces growing up? Did you hate them or tolerate them? Were you happy with the results when they were taken off?
A. I did have braces from the ages of 10 to 13. Before I got them, I had a rather prolific overbite and was super self conscious - even that young. I hated having them because all of the traumatic mocking that happens to kids with braces happened to me. Plus, it really sucked when you had to go have them "tightened" and on the occasion they would snap in the mouth - crap, that hurt like hell! While my overbite was much less prolific after they were taken off, I've never liked my teeth.

Q. If you have or could have a vanity plate for your car, what does/would it say and mean?
A. I once had one that said "BOOBA" - a girlfriend in the past called me that and someone once told me it meant "Doll" in Yiddish but I never confirmed that. I gave up the vanity plate because I think it's silly to pay so much extra money per year for it and I don't believe I would ever pay for one again unless at some point money was no longer an object (and even then I likely wouldn't waste it on a vanity plate). However, were I to have one, I'd like it to say HEEDEEDEE. You can read all about the meaning of Hee Dee Dee here.

Okay then, I think three questions is enough - go have yourself a grand little time now.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Upgraded Out-A (Work) Day in the Life

Been very hard at work migrating to a newer version of our learning management system which involved heavy testing and working closely with someone that can be difficult to work that closely with for so many days in a row.

Next steps are waiting for the user base to chime in and soon after, prepare training and workshops and of course, the dreaded "professional day". It's all quite exhausting but also, an interesting challenge that allows me to work some muscles that I like working.

I like a good challenge of e mind and the ability to think creatively about something that is so often met with a more formulaic approach...it's interesting to search for the right balance and very gratifying to find it.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Effing Post Office

I have tried so hard to be supportive of the post office but they do not make it easy. I can't tell you how many times I've gone to mail certain parcels and how many different rates I've paid for the same package depending on how the postal worker interpreted how to determine the fee.

I've literally mailed the exact same packaging of the same product five times over a period of five days and every single time was told a different thing, charged a different rate and was either denied or offered certain services depending on the person on the other side of the character.

The other stupid thing is how complex they make shipping packages with too many confusing options and fees such as certified, registered, delivery confirmation, signature confirmation, priority, first class, parcel post, media mail and more.

Make it simple folks - make the rates and packaging standardized and cost effective. Make it not unpleasant and then maybe, just maybe, people will keep coming.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hipster Ipsum

Thanks to Sprizee for the magical link to Hipster Ipsum
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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips

This isn't a story about one of these restaurants that may still exist but rather one from the early days, back in the 1970's. There was an Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips on Avenue U between East 29th. Street and Nostrand Avenue and I recall on particular instance being in there with my brother.


I am recalling the thick, crunchy fried batter surrounding the fish and the pungent malt vinegar we used to pour atop the fish before dipping into the tartar sauce. I recall the hush puppies, little fried balls of oniony dough and the fries - well, they were there but not nearly as memorable as the fish or the hush puppies.

My brother and I had our food at the table and he asked me to go get something, either additional condiments or napkins or something. What it was I had to get wasn't as relevant as knowing it was planned trickery so that while I was gone, my evil brother can add a host of items into my Coca Cola. Upon my return, there was no indication of trickery and I had no clue even through the meal while sipping my soda that it had been altered by the addition of salt, pepper, tartar sauce and who knows what else. I know that once the meal was done, my brother began laughing and fessed up and that was that - I don't recall getting angry as it didn't really affect the meal but the prank stuck with me and perhaps influenced my pranksterisms later in life.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Last Day of 6 Weeker and other Points

  • Today was the last day of the 6 week summer session II course I've been teaching. I almost have all of the marking done and then it'll be time to begin prepping my two fall semester courses.
  • Jani Lane, former singer of Warrant, was found dead this week at the age of 47 - ugh!
  • I'm currently reading the Rob Lowe autobiography, "Stories I Only Tell My Friends". I chose to read it after seeing him on the talk show circuit during the book tour but thus far, the book isn't as interesting as I thought it would be as I am about half way in.
  • I've seen through season three of Curb Your Enthusiasm at this point  - still LOVE it immensely (season 4 is on the coffee table).
  • I sold some gold jewelry that I've had for years. I had no emotional attachment to it and I never wear jewelry, I kind of hate it so instead, I turned it into some cash which I'll need to pay for some dental work I am about to start.
  • Had to say goodbye to a colleague who's moving on to another job advancing her career. Lynette was, and is, a "Little Bucket of Sunshine" and while it sucks that she's left us, it's great for her as it is a step up (perhaps even a few) on the career ladder and she deserves it...Good Luck LBOS :)
  • There's a very small chance I may be traveling approximately 530 miles north west in late October but several things need to fall into place - gotta make some calls.
  • That's it for now!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

It's a Dog's Life

Let me first provide you with some backstory by inviting you to read this post. Well, Roxy the wonder dog is at it again starring in her first feature short and since her drawing skills are the center piece, it ties in great with the post from February; check out the princess of paper and pen here:


Cuzzup is responsible for all the training of the pooch and also, creating the video - feel free to subscribe to her youtube site and enjoy - laugh!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Currently...

...had dinner at a friend's house tonight. Was nice to hang out and chat.
...completing "Director's Cut" edition of video footage from F4F show.
...has a dental appt. on Fri. Morning AND Monday evening.
...hating all of the irrational market swings.
...think I may have seen an almost human side of Gordon Ramsay.
...am almost through season 3 of Curb Your Enthusiasm and am loving it!
...has Thursday and Friday off then no more days off until mid-October except for Labor day and Columbus day.

Monday, August 08, 2011

A World Gone Mad

The hardest thing to do is to ignore the big news stories but it's the only thing I can do to stay sane. The instability of the economy and world markets is scary stuff, real scary stuff. However, scarier is the ridiculous reactions by the American public which is so incredibly unintelligent and scarier yet, I am seeing this irrational and unintelligent behavior by otherwise seemingly intelligent people.

I hate thinking about it, I hate hearing about it but it's so prevalent in the media that it's hard to ignore and hard not to be affected. I've been digging harder into a few creative projects I've been working on to try to keep my mind off of the news but heaven forbid you look up, even for only a second.

I'm outta here for now....

By the way, "Larry Crumholz" - if you are reading this, I miss you and hope all is well.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Podcast: Wrapping Up the Week

Just a quick wrap up of some of the things that came across my world this past week(ish). BTW, if it sounds like this was recorded in a wind tunnel, your hearing isn't failing you. Perhaps the background noise is a testament to the microphone on my little digital recorder as it seems to have picked up the oscillations of a fan about 4 feet away.

Listen here if you like:

Or, click the title of this post to go to the podcast site where you can download individually or subscribe via iTunes.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Back to School

While the school season begins again soon, that's not what I am referring to in the title of this post. Recently, I visited a periodontist on the recommendation of my regular dentist; after looking at x-rays, he thought I should have the implant work I had done about a decade ago evaluated.

Long story (way) shorter than it could be, I need to get another implant so that there can be a tooth where a tooth never was (birth defect) to reduce the "trauma" on the existing implant work and slow down the bone loss which could eventually cause the older implants to "fail". English translation, about four grand (give or take a hundred or two). There was more to the treatment plan but I'll leave it there, very expensive!

I was a bit anxiety ridden over the prospect of having to come up with four grand for a tooth with my current state of affairs. I decided to consider looking into the local dental schools as I have heard from many that one can get quality work done for way less money than private practice offices. In fact, I was chatting with a former colleague, who had mentioned Boston University Dental School (where I was about to investigate) and that her father has several implants done there at substantial cost savings and he was very pleased with the whole process.

I went to BU today for my initial consult. The fee, not four grand, but twenty two hundred - almost half price. A little bit of relief!

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Another Embarrassing Day to Be an American

While the 500+ point dive in the stock market may not directly be only the fault of unintelligent Americans selling everything they own in a panic, it's driven by the stupid Americans who support the political agenda of the conservative party and in this case, both parties who neglect to consider the American public for whom they serve and simply make decision, that affect the rest of us, based on how it might advance their political agendas, that only seem to positively affect them.

Still befuddling, why do we allow the Christian Conservatives (whom I think are scarier and as dangerous as any radical religious group in the land) to control the Republican party and why do otherwise intelligent people who are Republicans because of their belief in the political/fiscal conservative principles of the party allow this to continue?

I am a Christian but I am not a freak and no that God has no place in politics. I don't believe the Republican ideals can make a positive difference in out country but I do respect that those principles are based on anything but religion.

Let's leave our religious beliefs in our hearts and in our churches and anywhere else but politics, it does not belong there.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Bullet Points

  • I'm off from work until Tuesday.
  • Next week I am only working on Tuesday and Wednesday; then, it begins to get nuts!
  • Satisfied a craving for Chinese food today and turns out, it didn't make me all that happy.
  • I saw an idiot texting while riding a bike and I couldn't help but hope for him to wipe out and get hurt badly enough to realize how stupid he was for doing so but not too seriously that he won't recover fully.
  • I'm seriously considering changing the food I feed my cat only to try to change the smell of his poops - which are not good!
  • Wishing for some more response to my podcast project.
  • Looking at going to go to a dental school for dental work and save big cash.
  • Gave a presentation to my colleagues today to discuss and debrief my findings at the conference I attended in Las Vegas last month.
  • Seriously considering promoting and delivering a "motivational" style speech.
That's it for now.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Social Networking in Action

There was a 15 minute span of time this evening where I was able to actively engage with over a dozen friends living across the country; this was a social networking gone right. No, we didn't come up with a cure for anything but we did enjoy each others company, share some laughs, and we all engaged - something that sometimes people believe is less likely to happen in a social networking interaction.

It all started with Meg who posted this:
Movie game! The actor I was given was Matt Dillon.
Movie I loved: Something About Mary.
Movie I liked: Wild Things.
Movie I hated (only by virtue of never seeing it?!): Herby Fully Loaded.
This was a tough one for me! "Like" this post and I'll give you an actor!


Of course, I "liked" the post and awaited my actor assignment which led to me posting this:
Movie game! The actor I was given was Tom Hanks
Movie I loved: Big.
Movie I liked: Forrest Gump.
Movie I hated: Cast Away.
"Like" this post and I'll give you an actor!


Then, the flurry of likes, responses and retorts - it was great and even continued. Yes, I really enjoy exploring how social networking can reach beyond the inevitable "just killing time" or "messing around" and while what we did earlier was more of a fun interaction, it really does illustrate a framework for effective communication.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Beloved C-Word!

How come nobody told me just how funny Curb Your Enthusiam is/was? I'd heard some rumblings and I knew of the players but until yesterday, I had never seen a a single episode. I borrowed seasons 1-3 from the library and yesterday watched the first 7 episodes loving each minute of each one. Today, after work, I went ot finish up season 1 and in episode 8, I came very close to peeing myself and nearly choking to death with laughter.

Larry volunteers to use his connection, via his manager Jeff to get a last minute obituary published and it fails to get proofread. Here's the scene where Larry walks into the house after the family has seen the printed obituary (please swallow all liquids before watching):