Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sickly

I've been very sickly thus week, a cough that's ttotally kicked my ass.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Quick Points

  • I'm still memserized by Lady Gaga
  • There's no one left on The Amazing Race that I care about
  • There's an iPhone 4S waiting for me at work
  • Fiber One and/or Fiber Plus bars can be "dangerous"
  • The CMA (Country Music Association) Awards this year may have been the most entertaining awards show I've ever seen
  • I'm always torn whether or not to use periods at then end of bulleted text items.
  • Please use my Amazon link to do any of your Amazon shopping; its the big box at the right side of this blog, usually near the top
  • I tend to use the semicolon more than I once did and am not always 100% certain it's warranted (though I convince myself that I am right to use it)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tights Situation

Go ahead, look at it for a while. Click on the picture to see it larger if you must.This picture was taken outside of the community college where I work and it puzzles me. How does a pair of tights end up on the steps like that? I hate even thinking about it but can't help it. YIKES!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Stomach Full

I don't eat lots of food anymore, especially in any one sitting. Turns out, when you do something like that, the old belly lets you know you did something you shouldn't have done and you begin to think that the only shot of anything you desire is a viscous pink wintergreen flavored liquid.

Great fun, despite the belly issues, over at Linda's and glad that Bill was able to be there along with Jill and Bryan, Little Joss and Littler Calvin, Joe and Erin, and Vanessa and Victoria. The food, the games, the fun - great night!

I'm thinking tomorrow is a good day for laundry. Oh, and I taped Lady Gaga's Thanksgiving TV special, I did - can't wait to see it. I love me some Gaga!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ten for Turkey Day!

I’m jumping in on the bandwagon with the Ten on Tuesday game, as stolen from Brookem who stole it from someone else!

1. What are you doing for Thanksgiving this year?
Going to my friend Linda's. I've spent Thanksgiving with her family many times now over the last decade, it's always a fun time.

2. What are you most thankful for this year?
Wonderful friends, my health, and a new president at the college where I work who has restored hope and a positive attitude.

3. Do you have any traditions on Thanksgiving? The parade? Football? Long naps?
Nothing specific. In the 1970's and 1980's, I was a Dallas Cowboys fan so the football game was a must and there was always a large family celebration; no specific traditions though.

4. Is it called stuffing or dressing? Is it in the bird or a separate dish?
Stuffing!  Growing up, my mom always stuffed the bird and that's how it always was. As an adult whose studied cooking, I recognized that it's better not to stuff the bird and if I were cooking, I'd cook it in a separate dish and "stuff" the bird with aromatics.

5. Do you cook?
I do cook, though I hate to cook Thanksgiving dinner. the last time I hosted a Thanksgiving meal, I bought a prepared dinner, all I had to do was heat it up - just as good and gave me much more time to spend with my family.

6. What is your favorite dish?
Assuming this is in reference to the Thanksgiving meal, then my favorite dish is usually the stuffing. However, I must have at least one slice of the jellied cranberry sauce from a can, the one with the lines from the can - need it (perhaps that can be considered a tradition).

7. What is your dessert preference?
I am a huge fan of dessert, no major preference though in the spirit of the day, a sliver of Pumpkin Pie is typically a requirement.

8. What is your favorite Thanksgiving memory?
Not sure. So many different memories of family gatherings but they all kind of blend in. There was a funny time recently where I was driving in my neighborhood and on Thanksgiving day, there were three wild turkeys just roaming the streets - it seems as if they were taunting the cars passing by daring them. Perhaps the turkeys were playing chicken!

9. Do you plan to shop on Black Friday?
No chance at all. I think "Black Friday" should be banned!

10. What are you most dreading about Thanksgiving this year?I dread nothing about the day itself but I do dread every day after into the new year where once relatively simple commutes will become horrendous for a stupid reason.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Seasons Change(d)

Here we are just a couple of days from Thanksgiving and I find myself in something of a mixed mood. This particular season of holidays has been quite tough for me to get through for quite a few years, since the passing of my parents.

I've always loved Thanksgiving. For most of the past number of years, I spend it at my friend Linda's house with her family. It's always a good time there - the food id good, the company is good and there's always plenty of wine and games and good fun with good people.

As Thanksgiving closes though, I get haunted by my old days in retail, of which that world has become even more demonic with the advent of "Black Friday" and the sort. The idea that now people will alter their plans for Thanksgiving so they can get up at the crack of dawn (or earlier), trample people to death if necessary (it's happened) to save $11 on some piece of shit that will likely not even be appreciated.

All that shopping mentality and running around frantically, creating unbearable traffic and making the everyday necessary commutes less bearable than they already are, it so not conducive to the spirit of the holiday season.

Here's to getting through it all.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Connecting Souls

I wrote this poem in May of 1999:

Connecting Souls

From yesterday, a soul was lost
a spirit hidden deep
a mind so full of life and dreams
a heart laid down to sleep

For six long years, all words were lost
a life so numb and dark
till one day, I looked before me
and a light came from her spark

It started in her eyes
so blue, the ocean’s roar
my heart no longer dormant
my soul began to soar

In the mirror of her heart
I’ve found the me I know
the dreams I lost in yesterday
are free once more to grow

Connecting souls have found their way and thus,
my heart once more can feel
inspired by the heavens
this gift of love, so strong, so real

With purpose in my life once more
and dreams of what’s to come
I’ll try to heed the prophet’s words
and nurture what’s begun

Come take my hand, oh precious love
let’s walk new roads together
as the moving sea between our souls
flows into forever

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturdangling

  • I don't recall if I ever posted the symbol above. A few years back at work, I was having one of those weeks (or two) and decided to emulate Prince by changing my name to a symbol; the graphic above was (unofficially) my name for a time (LOL).
  • I got a bunch of assignment marking done. Sometimes that can be painful!
  • How do I motivate my 13 year old daughter to do better in school? She's so intelligent and smart but she just won't do her work and I have no idea why! It makes me so sad because I know she has so much potential and I want her to have opportunities.
  • I was quite touched at the farewell of Regis from morning television. I went to college a few blocks away from the studio where Live is recorded and back at the very beginning of the show, before it went national and Cyndy Garvey was the co host, I was an audience member a few times.
  • Cheers to Sprizee for giving BOA the boot. I too have such aspirations but I haven't gotten around to it as of yet.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Piano Has Been Drinking

Throughout the day, I've had several blog post ideas that I was literally too busy to jot down. Of course by this time, I can barely stay awake, much less recall what I wanted to say. However, there's always a good time for this - super funny and a little awesome.

Here's Tom waits, from a 1977 performance on the show :Fernwood Tonight. Everything about this video is awesome.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Commentaries

  • On Ricky Gervais returning to host the Golden Globes: Bravo to the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. for hiring back the best awards show host in a very long time.
  • On Billy Crystal hosting the Oscars - big fucking deal, he hasn't been funny or relevant in a long time.
  • On the idea of black Friday: everything, and I mean everything about it is stupid and meaningless and it only serves to diminish the spirit of Thanksgiving and he holiday season that follows.
  • On this headline, "Rihanna Named Esquire’s Sexiest Woman Alive": No fucking way!
  • On the Nick and Artie show: "It's good to hear Artie again".
  • On Hope Solo being eliminated from DWTS: It was the right move if we're judging the dancing. I hate to see her go because there's something quite delicious about her.
  • On this statement in the news, "A report released today by the Republican leaders of a Congressional committee calls for the Transportation Security Administration to slash its work force, minimize its role in screening passengers and make public its performance results, among other recommendations.": First time I've agreed with a Republican in a long time. I hate the TSA!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Times Like These

Right now it's hard for me to give a crap about:
  • What sports team won or lost what game buy how much.
  • What politician is saying what about what other politician.
  • What (or who) any of the Kardashian girls are doing at any given moment.
  • The top of the charts, the bottom of the barrel, or anything in between.
Right now, there's a 4 1/2 yr old boy, the son of a friend of mine, battling Leukemia and it's hard for me think about anything else these last few days. I can't help but want to hug my own child and hold her tight and just be thankful every second that she' healthy. I want to find some way that I can do something meaningful for young Matthew's parents, I've offered to prepare a meal or run errands - not that that will do anything that really matters - I now all they want is for their little boy to get better.

Please think good thoughts, prayers, whatever it is you do in situations such as this.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Walking the Walk

My friend Ted is someone I've learned so much about so many things from. He's one person that doesn't just talk the talk, he walks the walk.

In January, he's leaving for Columbia to work as a missionary for at least 3 years. Ted has spent a lot of time traveling to areas of the world most people would never consider going to and with the intent of finding ways to make the lives of people in those areas better.

Ted is a true inspiration and I am wishing him well on his mission.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Vertigo, Please Vertigo Away

It seems that I am battling another random bout of vertigo. I think the most difficult part of managing this is being certain that it is a by product of BPPV, or something more drastic.

This all started the evening of my 40th birthday, which is documented here. Eventually I was diagnosed with BPPV, which made me happy a little becuase my first thought was some kind of brain tumor.

I'll hang tight for a few days and if persists longer than a normal bout, I'll get it checked out. Not fun in the meantime though.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Leukemia

This is not a happy post. My friend Christina's young son, around 5 years old, was recently diagnosed with leukemia. This is such crushing news and one of those things that kind of shakes you when you hear it.

For me, this is one of those weird times where I find myself challenging the very faith I need to call upon, and reply on to get through it all - how does a parent resolve this?

Christina and Mike - I am praying for Matty every day. I am so sorry that you are going through this.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Inspiring Minds

One of the adjunct English professors is having her student do a pretty cutting edge assignment where they are creating a video essay. She did this once before and it was kind of thrown together and I was called in to support the project in its technical aspects and manage the flipcam loans and teach how to edit video. The end result was very interesting and I think some learning was dome by the students and those of us in the role of educators.

For this semester, I was again called in but dates changed and I had to present to two sections, one at 8 and the other at 9 this morning. I had no real time to prepare so I did my presentation off the cuff and tried to apeal to the createive aspect of the project and reach the students from a different perspective. Apparently, it worked. Here's a note I received a few moments ago from the teacher that assigned the project:

Dear Chris,

Your presentation today was terrific. It was spot on, inspiring and moving. You expressed the nature and heart of the project so beautifully. It really helped move the understanding of the project along. The students were spellbound. Can you please bottle it so we can use it again?

Thank you.
 
Pretty rewarding.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Scatting Through The Day

After getting home after midnight from my travels, getting thrown by gaining my hour in a time zone one hour earlier then giving it back returning to eastern standard time then waking up in the darkness of the very early morning - it was not an easy day to get through.

I was rather productive however - aside from a handful of clever saves on the job, since getting home, I've completed three loads of laundry, prepared dinner for me and my daughter, made me a bitchin' vegetable juice, picked up some things waiting for me at the library, and prepped a few packages for the mail tomorrow.

I'm out for now.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Natchez and Coffee

The bride and groom had a lovely breakfast gathering yesterday morning for all wedding guests, as there were a lot of out of towners, it was a nice way to gather once more to say goodbye in a less hectic atmosphere than the actual wedding day. It was a casual but wonderful gathering and really nice to socialize and just hang out for a couple of hours.

After saying all of my goodbyes to he people I've known for many years and the ones I just met, and of course to the bride and groom, I made my way through the streets of NOLA once more.

I knew I was planning to take a lunch cruise on the Mississippi river aboard the Steamboat Natchez but I also knew that after breakfast, the 11:30 cruise would be too early, so I bought passage on the 2:30 departure.

I then went for another attempt at Cafe du Monde and was defeated yet again by a monster line I was unwilling to wait on. So, I made my way along the French Market and I weaseled in and out of several spots along the French Quarter before coming back to Decatur street toward Canal and stopped into one of the Cafe du Monde factory stores to pick up a few boxes of their beignet mix for a few friends and a can of the chickory coffee blend for myself.

I walked back to my hotel and dropped of the stuff taking a scenic route down blocks I hadn't seen previously. After a brief rest, I walked again this time down into the Warehouse District; I wanted to see where Emeril's original restaurant was. I then proceeded down Julia street to and through the Riverwalk, then through Harrah's casino.

Next up, Peaces records where I admired an impressive vinyl collection then off to the dock behind Jackson Brewery (which is no longer a brewery, but a mall). While waiting to board, some last plays a steam calliope atop the steamboat. The calliope is interesting for the first song or two then begins to feel like someone drilling through your frontal lobe with boiling lava.

After boarding, I ate a massive lunch with delicious southern fried chicken, baked beans, corn bread, Mac and cheese, slaw and bread pudding; it was enough food to sustain me the rest of the day and pretty much through until breakfast today.

The cruise itself was okay but it was very relaxing, I love being on the water and the engine room was super cool. When the cruise returned two hours later, I made one more attempt at Cafe du Monde where while relatively full from the meal on the ship, since there was no line, I had to take advantage. I ordered a decaf Cafe au Lait with an order of beignets. I had to remove as much of the sugar as I could for health reasons (I should have ordered them naked but I didn't want to.. You know what I mean) but it was all great. The hot fried glob of dough and the coffee... I had just days before ranted about how pretentious coffee has become with these boutique cafes, but this was for certain the best cup of coffee I ever drank.

The rest of the day I basically relaxed; I had done lots of walking and so I made it back to the hotel and rested for a couple of hours then just hit a bar to hang for a beer and some hanging with whomever was there to hang with before one last stroll through the French quarter then back to get some sleep.

As I write this at just before 9 am local time, I've already had my morning workout, breakfast and showered. Iay or may not return to Emeril's for lunch but I am going to take the longer, more "scenic" route to the airport using public transportation.

Catch you all from back home.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Insaner than Vegas?

Las Vegas has been one of my favorite places to visit in short spurts because it's so eclectic and just wild enough that you can ease in and out of it rather swiftly. I've always love the insanity of it from the perspective of an avid people watcher but last night, I witnessed something way insane than anything I've seen in Vegas; it's name is Bourbon street.

If you ever had a question about the true definition of the word "uninhibited", or if you actually thought you knew the definition but have never been to Bourbon street, then I must challenge your knowledge.

I've seen a fair number of peculiar things: I watched as a homeless man pulled down his sweats and just dropped a deuce on the median strip onBroadway and sixty something street, I've seen the Red Hot Chili Peppers take the stage and play an entire song wearing but a sock on their something that rhymes with sock...but on Bourbon street, I think the souls of its inhabitants are being haunted and just a little bit of evil seeps in and sometimes, seemingly more often than not, people do things that perhaps they may or may not ordinarily do.

As an observer, I was partially scarred but not necessarily in a bad way. I'd be lying if I didn't say I had something of a fascination with trying to understand not only why people do things but the effects of what and where are equally intriguing.

If I've learned anything about at least two things I know for sure that New Orleans has it sinners and Saints (though apparently getting Saints tickets will cost you big-I tried, and failed).

Saturday, November 05, 2011

(French) Quarter of Nine

I started my day with a 7 am workout in the hotel fitness center; it was my first ever workout on an elliptical and I'm not yet sure how I feel about that.

I had a little breakfast, in the hotel lobby, then hit the showers while trying to figure out how to best kill a couple of hours before the wedding this afternoon.

I decided to takes stroll through the French Quarter so off I went first to Canal St. from here, then down Bourbon, then down St. Peter on to Decatur and then some equally random method back.

I'm certain the FrenchQuarter at night is very, very different at night but I am also guessing the morning view tells something of a story about what the night might be like.

I found it very interesting that everyone seemed to be scrubbing down the streets with soapy water and water hoses and there were these large trucks also spilling out soapy water at high pressure... made me very curious about what it is they might be scrubbing away.

Bourbon street is loaded with adult oriented establishments, Larry Flynnt's name seems to appear on every block. I made it down to the famous Cafe du Monde but was unwilling to endure a very long line to get in so I just continued to soak up the vibe of tourists, vagrants, artists, musicians and whatever else was available.

Looking forward to the view at night. Later for now.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Travel Anxiety

I love going places but al most always hate getting there. Air travel is so over-stressful thanks to the stupid TSA (and of course the slighlty stupider terrorists that gave rise to the TSA). I am trying to make it so that my travel for this trip is all carry-on but I am now forced to pay very close attention to the vague details of TSA carry-on policies that seem to vary from agent to agent despite being written a particular way that would make them appear to be standardized to the average (and perhaps even below average) traveler.

The good thing is I am going to New Orleans for the first time! My friend Michelle, an old neighbor growing up, is tying the knot. Michelle's brother Dave and I were in the same Boy Scout troop - he'll be there, I haven't seen him in decades. My dear friend Jen is her Matron of Honor - so it'll be good to see her and I presumer Michelle's other brother Matt along with ehr parents will be along and who knows who or what else will happen but I am ready for some fun!

I will report to y'all from NOLA tomorrow-ish!

FROM LOGAN AIRPORT
TSA check was like nothing. All that anxiety and preparation and I barely got a feel on the calf.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Paying it Forward

I'll start with my FB post from yesterday evening:
"Someone gave me a scratch ticket as a gift today because I helped them with their computer - apparently saved a bunch of work they were super worried about...well, the good news is, that scratch ticket was a 1 in 28,800 victory worth $200! I'm gonna pay it forward a bit and do something nice for a friend."


I'd have written about this in yesterday's post but yesterday's post was set on auto pilot so I let it be. It's very rare to have a windfall and while this isn't a huge amount of money, as was the case any other time cash fell into my lap, but I have tried to make a concerted effort to pay it forward.


A couple of years ago, it was super easy. I had a few tickets to a ball game and auctioned them off yielding $501 from a pair of tickets that I paid under $100 for. So, I donated the entire $501 to Katrina Relief in New Orleans and it  felt great to do it.


Not to long after that, won a $200 gift card for Home Depot. I went to home depot and exchanged it for two $100 gift cards - I kept one for myself and gave the other to a friend who had just bought a house. The reaction was so great - I love just that type of happiness and appreciation that can only come from someone who genuinely appreciates nice gestures (though it always saddens me a little that such niceties are so rare).


There was a time when a friend of mine won a gift card and we were all excited and cheered her on. A few days later, I received a really sweet thank you card from her along with that gift card from Bed, Bath and Beyond. I was overwhelmed because I didn't think I did anything that I wouldn't do for any of my friends but the gift card was so perfectly timed as well as I was eyeing something I couldn't afford to buy until that card came along.


I believe in the whole paying it forward idea - not just with money but in general. My whole philosophy on teaching and education is based on the the idea of paying it forward and while it isn't always the easiest thing to do, it always feels good.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Schooling It

I guess I have a thing going for schools. I work and teach in a school, I've been having some dental work done at a dental school and earlier this evening I had my hair cut at a beauty school.

While waiting for my haircut, I began laughing out loud playing out a silly scenario in my head. I pictured a teacher at the beauty school having to tell one of the students that they were being released from the program, fluning out and then running a highlights reel set to "Beauty School Dropout" from Grease. Does this make me insane? Does me telling this to the poor soul who cut my hair make me insane?

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Next Up in Podcast Land and Other Things

  • I came up with an idea for my next music podcast series: "Only God Knows Why: The Legend of Johnny Kool". This is the title of a CD I created as a gift to my brother John. There is an interesting mix of songs and liner notes that I wrote and I'll be sharing it all in a 3 part series. The thin is, my time is super limited in the very near future so I don't think it'll be ready to go for like two weeks or so.
  • Hopefully mentioning it here will serve as a reminder to me to get on it. Marc Maron is doing a live WTF podcast here in Boston at the end of January. I really, really wanna go - I just may!
  • I must get a haircut tomorrow! Travel anxiety is about to kick in.
  • It's good to hear Artie Lange again - here's to staying healthy Artie!
  • I'm still digging House - Hugh Laurie is so f-ing great.