Saturday, January 31, 2015

Latte Breath

I just finished a nice latte, hence the title of this post. I am spoiling myself with this home brewing of the latte's but it's way more economical that hitting up the evil empire known as Starbucks.

I spent some time out in the (very) cold clearing off the dusting of snow we got yesterday afternoon; I shall refer to it as my workout for the day; the latte was a nice way to warm back up and relax!

While we are all just recovering from the blast of snow this past week, we are gearing up for another blast scheduled for sometime in the next 24-48 hours. I will soon be off to fill the gas can so my snow blower can have the elixir she needs to keep on moving.

Here are some tips I'll offer as you navigate your way through this last day of January and beyond:
  • Listen to music
  • Support local
  • Dress in layers
  • Enjoy a nice latte
  • Be kind
  • Don't get involved with someone you work with
  • Call a friend you haven't spoken to in a while
  • Hug someone (use discretion)
  • Embrace the present before you anticipate the future
Off to the gas station!

Friday, January 30, 2015

In My Ears 2015 Vol. 1

This is my first "In My Ears" post of 2015, so let's take a look at some of the music I've been listening to:

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers-Hypnotic Eye
Been a fan for a long time, love the record.

Boy George-This is What I Do
I am a fan of Boy George, since way back in the early days of Culture Club. While there are a few enjoyable moments on this record, overall, it didn't work for me - the songs are just not strong enough in my opinion.

Sufjan Stevens- Sufjan Stevens Invites You to Come on Feel the Illinoise
LOVE this record! Very interesting spectrum of sounds, very unique.

Miles Davis-Kind of Blue
Born 50 years ago, just like me, I don't know how I missed this record all my life but now that I've got it, I'll listen to it for the rest of my life...stunning.

Prince-Art Official Pop
Wasn't sure this was possible, but I gotta put this one on the klunker list. I consider Prince a musical genius and one of the best guitar players that ever lived but I don't ever need to listen to the stuff on this record again.

Dawn Landes-Bluebird
Singer-songwriter-folky-just beautiful and entrancing music. I must find her other records.

Liam Bailey-Definitely Now
Moments had me saying, "Yes" and others "Who is he trying to be". In the end, I'm going to take a pass on this one for now.

Colbie Caillat-Gypsy Heart
Every time I listen to her it feels good, so I will keep listening.

Trisha Yearwood-Prize Fighter:Hit After Hit
Six new songs and re-recordings of some of her biggest hits. something to sell in preparation for her tour with hubby Garth (now in progress - as you all know, I saw the show here in Boston). I was on the Trisha Bandwagon when she debuted on the country scene more than two decades ago - I am still a fan.

Joe Bonamassa-Different Shades of Blue
Didn't know who he was, though when I saw the name on the CD at the library, I thought it was someone else. Took me a few listens and a little reading on the Internet...going to listen more.

Weezer-Everything Will Be Alright in the End
Solid record.

St. Paul & The Broken Bones
Didn't work for me.

John Mellencamp-Plain Spoken
Love it. Love it more after second listen. Been a fan for years - very different from the Mellencamp of pop hits fame - wonderful sense of songwriting and storytelling.

Taylor Swift-1989
Someone just recently mentioned how they were embarrassed that they liked Taylor Swift. I told them life is to short to apologize for the things that make you happy. I will not apologize for enjoying Taylor Swift's music.

No Rest for the Wicked Room

This may have actually happened exactly this way earlier today:

I had to pee really bad, so I trotted to my usual bathroom, an employee only one in a small office suite just down the hall from my work space. You know when you have to go really bad, everything is kind of mechanical until a certain point, you just get to where you have to be to make it all happen and only once it's happening do you become fully aware of your surroundings.

It was at that particular moment of relief where I took my first breath and nearly died of disgust. It's not the first time, and I suspect not the last, where that will happen. I am not expecting the essence of gentle spring mist nor any obligatory citrus scent - but Lordy Lord, it was as if an entire bison carcass was left to rot for a month and a few days, then removed just prior to my arrival.

I held my breath, finished my business, washed my hands and then exited the bathroom as rapidly as possible and as quickly as I exhaled once the door opened, just before I was about to take in some fresh air, a colleague appeared hoping to use the rest room. I was not in there long enough for the preexisitng odor to dissipate and this colleague wasn't there when I walked in, so to them, I am the cause of the death ray they were about to be subject to.

I looked them right in the eye and said, "at your own risk man, 'twasn't I", then gingerly skip stepped out of there while breathing whatever fresh(ish) air I could take in.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Pizza Soap

After a FB friend mentioned how after eating pizza, her hands continue to smell like pizza despite washing them. I posted the following:

How many of you out there would be interested in pizza soap if it existed? You wash yourself with it and smell like delicious pizza all day!

Aside from the numerous "likes", here's the wacky conversation thread that ensued (names removed):
as long as It comes with beer deodorant.
Yes, but what u fail to explain is.......does it smell like hot fresh pizza or pizza that's been sitting around for hrs. Big diff dude
Yeah why not? Better that than limburger cheese deodorant
That's just my point, that's exactly what old pizza smells like
Rotten ass cheese
I like a brisk yeasty smell.
That would be nauseating. How about some bacon soap? Lol
I am going to go upstairs and cuddle with my Irish Spring.
See now bacon soap I can get on board with!
I luv Irish Spring!!!! Yum
Yuck. Hahaha
ya..and look out for the incoming dog snouts in your critch.
Are you high?
Not if u run fast enough....
Reason why I love FB #436: Post something like this and you still get a whole conversation going. I LOVE IT! MY FB family rocks!
no..dogs like bacon.
I know, isn't it fun?! We just go lolligaging off in so many different directions
The dogs will think it's snausages
I can jump like spidy man. They'd never catch me
Says the woman who's dog triggered an unfortunate series of events that involved muffins
Look everyone, my cuzz-in-law found this:https://www.etsy.com/search/handmade?q=pizza+scented+soap
pizza scented soap on Etsy, a global handmade and vintage marketplace.
pizza scented soap
The cheese pizza soap will possibly give you a "gnat fruit fly" shower fresh feeling....
LOL!!!!! I didn't see the dog comin at my.......BACK!!!! sneak friggin attack man!!!
mmmmmm.....smelling delicious pizza soap
U people r weird.....
As long as the pizza soap has no anchovies!
*********************************************************************************
If you made it this far, you might suggest that removing the names makes the thread harder to follow and harder to make sense of. Then, you realize the original topic and say, what the heck does it really matter anyway?


In the end, I hope you laughed.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Moving Past this Storm

When all was said and done, my estimate for my town got between 24" and 30" of snow; I base this on how much snow I moved and the height of my snow blower, I manually carved the path to my front door as my snow blower was not going to go uphill through over 3 feet of snow (that area had lots of drifts). The path I did manually was some workout, a good 20 feet in length through 3 feet of snow then the stair case to the front door.

Not complaining here - just elaborating on the work load - it was a prolific storm after all. According to the news yesterday, it was the 8th snowiest storm ever recorded in MA.

I has some friends in NY that actually complained that they didn't get lots of snow because the Governor and other officials declared it a state of emergency and prepared for such.Can you imagine? Complaining over that?

Back to work in the morning.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

White Out

There's an awful lot of snow out there if you are anywhere near me (and quite a few other places too). I went out for round one of move the snow at 5:45 am; I am not sure how my neighbors feel about me running my snow blower at that time but it had to be done.

I am feeling fortunate that my snow blower still manages to get me through these storms, she has been showing signs of age and wear the last couple of seasons but in the end, she has performed well enough to get me through.

IT is quite cold and windy, and sometimes the adrenaline that kicks in as I get to a certain point in moving all that snow takes over and I forget to consider taking a break. Fortunately, I am constantly running that through my head and force myself to do so - usually at just the right time.

I think I ma going to chill out for a bit, maybe take a warm rinse in the shower and watch a movie - round two is forthcoming.

See ya later.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Pics from the Garth Show

These are not Annie Liebovitz shots here, they were taken with my cell phone from the loge, decent seats but still, limited lens capabilities.

 This was was right as they let us into the arena...the "g" kept spinning and there were some messages from garth being played.

 The crazy roundish thing had the drummer inside. Nothing like a getting pointed to by the performer :)

 It's like he's playing for our section..haha




Boston's finest on hand to keep us safe

The next two were during the duet "In Another's Eyes"




 Trisha gets to do a short set:

This is Karyn Rochelle, one of the writers of the Trisha Yearwood Song "Georgia Rain" - they let her have a brief moment in the spotlight (she was one of the backup singers all night)
 









Saturday, January 24, 2015

Garth, Trisha and a whole bunch of Electricity

It was 1992, during what was then called Fan Fair", when I first saw Garth do a showcase set of about 20 minutes in length. I recall him wearing the shirt her wore on the cover of "The Chase" album.

Last night, Garth was in a position where artist get when touring deep into a recording career, having to choose what songs to add to the set list knowing some favorites will be left out. Most noticeably missing for the show I saw were the classic "If Tomorrow Never Comes" and very surprisingly, the brand new "Mom".

The show was fabulous and well structured considering he was performing twice on the same night for two consecutive nights. Here's the set list/show structure for the more than two and a half hour performance.
  1. Man Against Machine
  2. Rodeo
  3. Two of a Kind, Workin’ on a Full House
  4. The Beaches of Cheyenne
  5. The River
  6. Two Pina Coladas
  7. Papa Loved Mama
  8. Ain’t Goin’ Down (‘Til the Sun Comes Up)
  9. Unanswered Prayers
  10. Make You Feel My Love
  11. That Summer
  12. The Thunder Rolls
  13. People Loving People
  14. In Another’s Eye’s (w/Trisha Yearwood)
Trisha Yearwood
  1. XXX’s and OOO’s (An American Girl)
  2. Prize Fighter
  3. How Do I Live
  4. Georgia Rain (featuring Karyn Rochelle)
  5. She’s in Love with the Boy
Garth Brooks
  1.  Shameless
  2. Callin’ Baton Rouge
  3. Friends in Low Places
  4. The Dance
Encore
  1.  Fever
Second Encore
  1. Much too Young (to Feel this Damn Old)
  2. Longneck Bottle
  3. Standing Outside the Fire
If Garth has a date in your area, or adds more dates and plays in your neck of the woods, please go see the show, you won't be disappointed.

Proud Papa


My daughter's band was so fun to watch last night. I am so proud of my kid for just doing stuff like this. The program is really neat, the idea is that there are so many very young (below legal age) kids that have great musical talent to share but there are so few all-ages show venues that they rarely ever get to play out. The "Rock Off Main St." program is geared to providing a venue for talented young artists who have no other play to perform for an audience.

Here are the songs my daughter's band, Gun in the Ballroom, performed:

  1. Time is Running Out (Muse cover)
  2. Spooky Scary Skeletons (Andrew Gold cover)
  3. Teenagers (My Chemical Romance cover)
  4. Fluorescent Adolescent (Arctic Monkeys cover)
  5. American Idiot (Green Day cover)
  6. I'll Stick Around (Foo Fighters cover)
  7. Stacy's Mom (Fountains of Wayne cover)

Friday, January 23, 2015

Gonna Be a Busy Night

Going to see my daughter's first big gig tonight with her band "Gun in the Ballroom". Funny, I knew she was hanging with this band and they were practicing for a while but I thought it was just kind of an after school excuse to hang out...then somehow they got a gig!

Fortunately, the gig is early enough so that I can still go to the Garth Brooks concert. I had the Garth tix before my kids mentioned the gig. The Garth show is unique in that it starts at 10:30 pm in a major arena; the second of two shows in one night.

I am already tired and I haven't evens tarted yet, here's to the hope for adrenaline when necessary :)

NOTE: By the time this post goes live, my kid's show will be over and I will be en route to The TD Garden...updates tomorrow.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

92 Radio Follow Up

Ran into my 92 year old colleague that I referred to in yesterday's post and she made me laugh so hard...I just had to share it with you.

After taking the photo that I included yesterday, I printed it and gave it to her along with specific instructions for switching from FM to AM and back.

Today, she says, "What were you trying to do? Test me?" I had no idea what she meant until I asked. She said, "How come you just didn't change it to AM for me?" OMG, I just laughed my ass off!

I told her that after giving her a big printout and instructions, I was just so confident that she would be able to handle the task. She insisted she did it without referring to the instructions.

We both laughed...a lot...it was nice.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

92 Radio

This is a picture of the car radio from a colleague of mine who happens to be 92 years of age.

Convinced that all technology is against her, she often requests assistance with both work related and personal technology, all "forced" upon her.

Today, her problem was that she was unable to change her car radio from FM to AM. She was adamant that it switched over to FM all on it's own. BTW, it was after I took the picture, which I did so that she can use it as a guide for how to change from FM to AM and the sort, that I started laughing almost uncontrollably that I was hearing a Fergies song in a car owned by a 92 year old lady, in particular, this 92 year old lady!

Anyway, the mystery was solved, I had to contort myself to get into her car (though I could have more easily just adjusted the seat first)...fun times!

Mr. Chair

I guess the problem with demonstrating ability in something is the eventual expectation that you should perform that task again. A few months back, I stepped in and took over the chair duties for a search committee. HR was particularly impressed, at least they said so at the time.

Today I received an email asking if I would chair another search committee, and I accepted the task...here's to a quick and successful search!

Back in 2007, I was part of a very large search committee to find he rector of the church I go to. That was a major undertaking but also a tremendous learning experience. I've used a lot of what I learned during that process in my job and in the searches I have been a part of at work since that time.

I think the only thing I wish I knew in advance before agreeing to chair, or even serve on the committee, is who else was asked to served and more importantly, who else has agreed to serve. Professionally, I know I can handle anyone, but I am at that point in my professional life where if I could choose not to work with some of the more difficult folks, I would.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Fill In the Blank Friday...Monday Edition

I've used this meme before, but it's been a while...it's a good exercise, so here goes:
  1. I wish... that delicious food wasn't so detrimental to human health.. And why is is that I could eat a slice of pecan pie in under two minutes and yet it would take a solid week of workouts to burn it off? I wish that weren't true!
  2. Yesterday... I performed a miracle on my friend's computer. Her and her husband had already called HP, who insisted they needed a new hard drive - and for a cost of about $250. I was able to revive it and get it to boot.
  3. Today... I had a great time with my daughter visiting a quirky and unique sandwich shop. It was an interesting study in the power of language and communication as well - for example, I could say, "My daughter and I had some great quality time together as we drove an hour each way to visit this really unique sandwich shop that also has a great collection of music memorabilia and a super interesting owner." Or, I could say, I drove two hours for a sandwich." Both of these sentences are accurate...interesting, eh?
  4. Tomorrow... is the first day of the spring 2015 semester, I wonder what kinds of madness it will bring.
  5. Maybe... I will fulfill the promise I made to myself to get a dumpster and clean out this place for real this year.
  6. Someday... I hope to find the balance.
  7. I love... the people who get me. My real friends who let me be me, even when I am a ass sometimes and say stupid shit without really putting all the thought into expressing what I really mean. I also love that they call me on that shit and put me in my place but do so because they care. I also love firepits, a nice glass of wine, unexpected joyful moments...
I had to keep my last answer for number 8, it's just too darn good!

Roy's Cold Cuts...Yum!

I saw a clip from a local show about places to eat the other day that made me just want to go there as soon as I could. With the MLK holiday today, I thought I would take my daughter and we would have us a nice lunch.

The clip from the "Phantom Gourmet" TV show is below, we had the "Godfather" and "Meatball Parm Deluxe" subs featured in the clip; they were phenomenal!



Aside from enjoying the memorabilia, the awesome food and meeting and chatting with Roy, it was a great time with my kid - love to get good quality time in with her.

Former Wrestler Sends Message

Of all the things one might expect from a pro wrestler, or a former one, a message like this is probably low on the list. I watched it because it came to me and I recall his wrestling career...I share it, because the message is a beautiful one.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Pats Win!

 Perhaps when "The Shredder" himself, John Paolilli, chose to wear this shirt last night at The Road Dawgs gig, it was a good luck charm for the New England Patriots.

While the Colts were a good team this season and Andrew Luck is a talented quarterback and a class act, it was not their (or his) day today by any means.

I am very happy that the Pats will play in the super bowl. I am not happy that they are playing the Seattle Seahawks, but I also must admit that the Seahawks beat the Packers fair and square and earned their spot.

Episcopopoly

I've seen lots of variations on Monopoly, this one just floored me.


From the publishers website: "Based on the classic American board game—with a stewardship objective—this educational game is filled with respectful humor about the realities of building and maintaining an Episcopal church while bringing awareness and recognition to churches and church organizations nationally. Game includes board, offertory plates, steeples, cornerstones and bricks, tokens, Time, Talent, and Treasure Cards, Operating Budget Cards, property deeds, offerings, dice, and property brochure."




Saturday, January 17, 2015

Brrrrr

It was 58 frigid degrees in my house when I awoke! I went down to the boiler room to assess the situation and was able to determine that the circulating pump was working, and the boiler was on, but there was still no heat.

I remembered from several years back, that I should check down below the boiler and saw no flame. Aha, the pilot has gone out.

I was remotely confident that I might be able to avoid paying a plumber, so I went to work, and I was slightly petrified for the off chance I might blow up my house and perhaps even perish in the process. I unscrewed a few things, I had the flashlight with me, I even believe that my sweats in combination with my positioning left me with a resemblance to a common stereotype about plumbers.

I recall my last plumber showing me how to light the pilot, but that was some time ago. I did attempt a few things and then made the decision that if this was the only problem, I'd rather pay a plumber than risk blowing things up - so I caved and made the call.

To his credit, my plumber did attempt to walk me through if and was actually successful, but the pilot would not stay lit and so came the diagnosis that the thermocouple needed replacement. Within an hour, he had come by and made the repair. He did tell me to be sure the baseboards got hot, to ensure they didn't freeze...that set in some panic as I was writing the $150 check to pay for services rendered.

As of this writing, it's back up to 65 degrees and all is fine!


Friday, January 16, 2015

The White Elephants and a Shot of Water


This is a picture of all of the "crappy" gifts that were acquired at the white elephant swap this evening. My contribution to the mix, for which I earned 2nd place in the best worst gift award, was a VHS copy of the movie Titanic along with a VHS VCR (you can see them in the bottom right of the picture).

The item that I picked was the Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post calendar. I opted to "steal away" an elephant paperweight (not easily visible in this shot). My daughter happens to like elephants, so I figured I would go for it. Of course, the woman who I swapped it from was pick #1 and got last pick, and she swapped it back.

Someone else had gotten a really cool crappy gift. Cool in that it was something my kid would love even more - Canned Bread, from Japan. In fact, the woman who brought it, just got back from Japan yesterday and brought it back with her for this purpose of this swap. I know, you are all getting hung up on the idea of canned bread - unless of course you are Spongebob Squarepants fans and know of Squidward's love for this product.

It was fun getting together, there were twelve of us, just laughing and having some fun!

As we were winding down, after we had paid our check, a server comes over holding a beer and a shot and puts it in front of me; I was perplexed because I hadn't ordered them - like I mentioned, we had already cashed out. Server leans over and said these are complements of the family over there, and points to a table with some folks I know. I went over the say thanks and say hello, where I was informed that the shot was just water, for joke purposes. Then of course, they were interested in the fact that I was with 11 ladies :).

It was fun, I was the only guy because the other guys that were invited didn't show up!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The White Elephant in the Room

From an email I received from a colleague:

"I think it would be fun if we did a “White Elephant” gift exchange. For a “White Elephant” (cribbed this from Wikipedia): each participant supplies one wrapped gift. The gifts are placed in a central location, and participants determine in what order they will take turns selecting them. The first person opens a wrapped gift and the turn ends. On subsequent turns, each person can open a new present or gets the choice to "steal" another person's unwrapped gift. When a person's gift is stolen, that person chooses another wrapped gift to open. When the last person has taken their turn, the first person to open a gift gets their choice of all gifts then the game is over. Gifts are typically inexpensive, humorous items. The term white elephant refers to a gift whose maintenance costs exceed its usefulness.
Let’s re-gift our “gems” from the holidays (or see what remains on the 90% off gift sales after the holidays). I’ll give a prize to the person who *gives* the gift voted the Best “Worst” Gift. (You can’t vote for your own to win the prize.)"

I've thought about this for quite some time. My decision was final yesterday as to what I would throw into the mix as my white elephant - a two part gift, that I think has a good chance of being best worst.

I want so badly to divulge what it is but just in the slim chance that someone that will be there reads this blog, I'll post it after the party, which is Friday evening.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

It's a Crock...Pot

I bout my Crock Pot (or if you prefer, slow cooker) a while back. When I first bought it, it was really just a vessel I needed to bring a pot luck dish and keep it warm. I vowed then to explore using it more...that was years ago.

I recently broke it out and used it for one of my thanksgiving dishes. Again, I swore I'd finally get into using it, a claim I've made a number of times in the past few years.

I've used it a total of twice.

Even my daughter said to me the other day, "hey dad, you should do more with the slow cooker."

How many of you out there are crock pot afficionados? How many of you out there have sourced some great recipes designed for the slow cooker? How many of you know some exceptional web sites with slow cooker recipe?

Share your thoughts, ideas and resources...please! I gotta make this happen.

Got My 14 cents Back

Checked my credit card statement online today for a different reason, but noticed that I did get back the 14 cents that I was overcharged the other night...disputes work quick! Also, now the establishment who took it upon themselves to round up knows that someone is watching.

I was so busy yesterday, that I didn't get to post a Happy Birthday wish to my pal Johnny D! I did call but had to leave a voice mail...so if you are reading this, whether or not you know him, please give a big HAPPY Five- OH! to JD.

I'm in a bit of a health rut. Not to imply I am sick, but I am just not taking care of things the way I was and I am starting to feel it. I need to kick start at some point, and sooner, rather than later. Perhaps I should get off the dam computer and defer this post until I've done a little treadmill time. I also need to get out of holiday shove the food in my face hole mode. I know, crude, ugly, sorry!

Time to share a couple of great tunes playing in my brain, cause they are great:





Monday, January 12, 2015

For 14 cents? Really? Well, Yes!

I was at a bar/restaurant with some friends to watch the football game the other day. When it came time to pay the check, I did the match and when all was said and done, I tacked on the tip to bring the total to $32.86.

Today, I go to reconcile my credit card statement and noticed that the restaurant charged $33.00 to my card; they took it upon themselves to round it up.

Not sure who they think they are by doing this and while it may seem trite to raise a fuss over 14 cents, it's theft, it's illegal, and I won't have it!

I placed an official dispute with the credit card company today and sent them a copy of the receipts.

Folks, please, don't let shit like this go, even though it's only pennies and even though it may not seem worth it, it's all about the principle of the matter.

Why Is It So Hard to Find a Pair of Winter Gloves? It's Winter!

I have not been able to find my winter gloves, looked everywhere (except where they are)!. I've been wearing my knit mittens that were made for me. The mittens are warm, but not really designed for the super cold and they are not waterproof.

Saturday afternoon, while waiting for my tires to be repaired, I went on a mission to find gloves. I went to:

  1. TJ Maxx
  2. Sports Authority
  3. Bob's
  4. Marshall's
  5. Kohl's
  6. WalMart
Not one of them had any gloves at all except for Sports Authority, but they only had gloves that cost over $60 per pair and I just won't spend that much on a pair of gloves, that is ridiculous!

I resumed my search today by trying Target, nothing. I even went on a few online outlets: JC Penny, Macy's, L.L. Bean, and Amazon and again came up empty on almost everything, again, except for a pair of gloves that was around $80 (not going to happen).

I am perplexed!

On a positive note, after telling this story to one of my colleagues, she thinks she may have a pair of new gloves that her uncle left behind after he moved to Hawaii convinced he would not need them there,,,so we shall see,

Sunday, January 11, 2015

And So it Begins (It Being the Whole Kid Preparing for College Thing)

My daughter is a junior in high school; that kind of freaks me out a little on it's own. But having taken the PSAT's before the holidays, it's time to begin exploring colleges.

This evening, her and I set up some appointments to visit a few colleges - it's a bit surreal, a bit nerve wracking, a tad exciting, and I guess just another rite of passage and part of life.

I know many of you, many of my friends, have all been through this. I am sure I will be calling on you for advice.

I am thinking of starting a crowd funding campaign...and that is only partially a joke :)

Commentary on Football

I know that not all of you that read this blog are football fans, and to be clear, I am speaking of the American football, not soccer.

There has been a lot of controversy and ire from fans regarding the quality, or lack thereof, of officiating in the playoffs. I think most who watch football somewhat regularly will agree that the officiating has been poor )perhaps even deteriorating) for a few years now.

The reality, and not a good one, is that the poor officiating has become a part of the game and all teams are subject to being a victim. I know this doesn't make it easier on us fans (and of course the actual team) when a bad call potentially alters the end result of a game.

I think the only solution is for the league to step in and set some real standards, hold officials accountable for their actions and level of required expertise, consider alternatives and/or other methodologies...in short, the league needs to take action.

I know that it can't be easy to make calls on the field, amid the action. I know there are going to be mistakes and bad calls every now and again. However, the bad call should be an occasional exception...one that has some method of corrective action, but something that happens rarely, not regularly.

Until such time as action is taken, I think we as fans can either decide to boycott the game - this may be an effective method as the revenue generated by the fans is 100% of the revenue generated - we stop watching, they will have to take action.

Realistically, that's not going to happen, so we can get angry, curse, whatever, but ultimately, we just need to deal with it.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Rest of My Day (and the Pats Win!)

Unfortunately, my appointment for my tire repair was later in the day - this made it impossible to consider heading into NY to celebrate my friend's 50th so opted for some local plans. A few buddies and I went to a local place to watch the Patriots game  the good stuff:

  • $1 Oysters (I ate a dozen)
  • 50 cent wings (I ate 10)
  • Pats won (it was a nail biter, and featured a stunning play)
After the game, there was a band scheduled to play. This band, whose name I'll not mention, is consistently rated most popular local band, their singer has many times won best local band vocalist (or something to that effect) and I had not seen them before tonight, so I was psyched to see what all the fuss was about.

I gottta say, I couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about with this band, not only was I not impressed, I was so bored, I left. To each his own I guess!

Earlier in the day, I went out to get the mail and ended up shoveling the snow from the driveway - manually. I must say that while the snow blower needs work, it wouldn't have helped today anyway, there was too little accumulation.

Rest in Peace Taylor Negron. If you don't know the name, you most certainly know the face - his IMDB credits are overflowing with many things you've seen.

That's all for now!

Early Saturday

I like to "sleep in" on Saturday, with few exceptions, it's the only day of the week I don't have to set an alarm. I put quotes around sleep in because it's a bit laughable to those who really sleep in. For me, it usually means somewhere between 8 and 9 in the morning, which to most sleepers in still super early but I am up at 5:30 during the week, so those extra few hours are big for me.

This morning, I awoke at 6:00 am! BOO!

I went to the bathroom and didn't even try going back to bed, I was awake - so I went on the computer and reconciled my checkbook and lurked on Facebook. I type this at about 7:45. over a toasted bagel and a cup of coffee, listening to WTF and contemplating a nap.

Have a relaxing day!

Friday, January 09, 2015

Quick Coconut & Chia Seed Pudding

Yield: Serves 2

Nutrition Facts based on 1 of 2 servings



INGREDIENTS
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/4 cup chia seeds
3/4 cup full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut water
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
1/2 cup fresh raspberries

INSTRUCTIONS
In a small bowl or half pint Mason type glass jar, add coconut, chia seeds, coconut milk, coconut water, vanilla and salt and mix until very well combined.

Place in the refrigerator and allow to rest for at least 2 hours.

Serve with fresh rapsberries or other fruit of your choice.

http://thehealthyfoodie.com/quick­coconut­chia­seed­pudding/

Plurp


  • The world seems to have gone crazy enough that it's getting hard to ignore.
  • Gets harder and harder to believe Bill Cosby could be innocent.
  • Coconut & Chia Seed Pudding - just got the recipe, looking forward to try.
  • I think the friggin' public works offices should be responsible for tire damage caused by poor roads.
  • Having some tire damage repaired tomorrow - thankfully it is covered under my tire insurance plan.
  • Despite the fact that I haven't sent Christmas/Holiday cards for about five years, I still received more than a dozen. Thank you everyone!!!
  • I need to have my snow blower serviced (that's sounds so perverted).
  • I hope the temptation to run out for a latte fizzles, especially since I am in my PJs and SBUX is only open for another 40 minutes or so.
There, I've said everything :)

Smile - it's Friday.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Travel Goals for 2015

I don't know if I will be able to pull all of this off but it can't hurt to shoot for the moon.

Seattle & Portland - If I can get to one, it seems to make sense to get to the other as well. Seattle has been on my wish list for a longer time than Portland and I have some friends in both places.

Washington D.C. (Baltimore too?) - If I get approved to go to the Blackboard World Conference this year, it is being help in D.C. Since it is in the summer, I am hoping to catch a baseball game both in D.C. and in Baltimore (plus get a glimpse of both cities).

Chicago - Loved it there, wanna go back and bring my daughter.

I'll be visiting my hometown in NYC in April for a reunion with my former colleagues.

Finally, I'd been itching to get back on a cruise ship.

We'll see how much of this I can pull off.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

The Podcast is Gone - For Now

I've had a few issues with the host site for the podcast, plus I had kind of not recorded a podcast in a year, plus I wasn't all that consistent for a long time before that, plus I had to pay for the site I wasn't using all that much...

All of this led me to cancel my account, which of course made all of the posts here that refer to that site and those podcasts useless.

I still have most of the audio files and may at some time find another way to host them. In the meantime, if you still have audio copies, hold on to them, they are now collectibles :)

Do you Have a Question for Meme?

If you had a word bubble over your head today that could say anything (and yes, people would see it), what would it say?
Stay warm!

Tell us about your first day at something — your first day of school, first day of work, first day living on your own, first day blogging, first day as a parent, whatever.
I once quit a new job after 2.5 hours of the first day.
The job was at a recording studio in New York City. I was so into music and I was also just naive enough coupled with believing that maybe this could be my in. I was told that if I were willing to take a data entry job, that perhaps I could learn the recording business by hanging around and eventually be promoted from within.
Clearly, I was both vulnerable and delusional and began to gain awareness to this fact by 10 am as I was chatting with my data entry cubicle neighbor who was sold a similar bill of goods as had many others. There was no intent other than to have me do data entry until I realized that it was all I was ever going to do at the company. At about 11:30, I went to my supervisor and asked if I could take my lunch so that I could keep one last commitment with my previous employer (a lie).
At 11:30, I left, never to return and never even called to ask for my paycheck. That was that.

Tell us about the time you rescued someone else (person or animal) from a dangerous situation. What happened? How did you prevail?

When was the first time you really felt like a grown up (if ever)?
After both of my parents had passed away, there was kind of a reality check. The realization that I couldn’t go to my parents to ask for some kind of help was an awakening. Not that I was ever the guy who did that, I got into my own messes and I always felt that in order to learn anything, I had to get myself out of them – and I did; but I always knew that if I had to, I could call my parents and they would be there for me. After they were gone, and even more, when I became a parent – wow – there is an eye opener!

Do you prefer gift wrap or gift bags? Simple To & From gift tags or cards?
Easy, gift wrap. Even a bad wrap job indicates there was a real effort made. A gift bag is, in most cases, just a quick and dirty solution. That’s not to say that it isn’t appreciated, after all, someone took the time to get the gift in the first place, so don’t misunderstand me. I know that I really love the process of wrapping a gift for someone, there is something meditative about it and allow me to reflect on the person, the gift and the whole thought and I feel like that comes across to the recipient.

What are your favorite and least favorite things about Winter?
Favorite: There is something cleaning about the cold and snow can be absolutely beautiful.
Least Favorite: Excessive cold and while sometimes beautiful, the snow and cold can be treacherous and is always annoying to have to clear out from the driveway and get around in.

You’ve just been given a ticket to travel anywhere. Where is your destination?
I’d probably go with Italy. I want to tour Italy someday, especially my dad’s hometown.

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

The Weather Outside is...BRUTAL!

My friend in Florida sent this today; yeah, she's a pip! To her credit, she's lived through the cold winters of the north so I guess it's okay :) I have to admit, I laughed so hard at this that I almost stopped breathing.

Once I got past the laughter though, I had a vivid memory of walking in New York City back in the early 80's. Some have made light of this imagery, but it was real - seeing people actually living in boxes, all wrapped up in whatever they could find to add just one more layer.

Think about when you walk out in the really cold, or even decide not to go out at all because it's just too cold to do so.

To think that there are people out there with nowhere else to go - people that must endure that cold and just find some way to get through it.

I am so darn grateful to have what I do and I know that I sometimes take it for granted, even if it is not my intent.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Some Thoughts

Wishing Artie Lange good luck in his new podcast. I won't be listening since it's $7 per month...I have enough great free ones to keep me very busy.

Really a little pissed of at my town - consistently raising property taxes, it's going to get to the point where it's be too expensive t live here. Worse, we have to pay extra for trash pickup, then still pay more on top of that for terrible quality plastic bags that the trash must be in in order to be picked up and even worse service.

Never ceases to amaze me how quick people jump on some of these hoaxes. Yes, I should speak after the McD's hoax I fell for, right? Seriously though, there are some real doozies out there of FB.

This lovely collection of CD's is called "ELO - The Classic Albums Collection"; it just arrived from the U.K. today. The box contains 11 studio albums and a booklet and was a pretty great bargain - about $35 U.S. including shipping.

I've already got my TurboTax software, Amazon had a nice deal for Prime members, so I took advantage; now all I need are all the relevant forms and I can do my taxes (let's go people who get me my forms).

I really want to get motivated to podcast more.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Recipe: Sausage and Herb Stuffing

Ingredients

  • 16 cups 1-inch bread cubes, white or sourdough (1 1/2 pound loaf)
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups medium-diced yellow onion (2 onions)
  • 1 cup medium-diced celery (2 stalks)
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, unpeeled, cored and large-diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 pound sweet or spicy Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
Directions

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Place the bread cubes in a single layer on a sheet pan and bake for 7 minutes.

Raise the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

Remove the bread cubes to a very large bowl.

Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, melt the butter and add the onions, celery, apples, parsley, salt and pepper. Saute over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the vegetables are softened. Add to the bread cubes.

In the same saute pan, cook the sausage over medium heat for about 10 minutes, until browned and cooked through, breaking up the sausage with a fork while cooking. Add to the bread cubes and vegetables.

Add the chicken stock and cranberries to the mixture, mix well, and pour into a 9 by 12-inch baking dish.

Bake for 30 minutes, until browned on top and hot in the middle. Serve warm.


2008, Ina Garten, All Rights Reserved

Pot Luck and Manhattan Special

I did the whole pot luck thing today, it was Sarah and Mike's annual twelfth night (billed as the Almost Twelfth Night) shindig.

For my dish, I made a sausage and herb stuffing. I first made this stuffing for Thanksgiving, from an Ina Garten (aka Barefoot Contessa) recipe and it was fabulous. My friend Mike is a big fan of stuffing and I wanted to eat it again, so I made it. I'll post the recipe on this blog later for any of you that wish to give it a whirl, it's not difficult to make and it really is super delicious.

Back in the summer, Sarah's niece graduated high school. At that party, I was chatting with her cousin Jeff and others and had mentioned this wonderful gem from my childhood, a regional beverage called "Manhattan Special", which is an espresso coffee soda, one whose roots date back to 1895! A really great treat is a Manhattan Special Ice Cream Float. Jeff was intrigued and said way back then, "do you think you can bring some to Sarah's for the next twelfth night party?"

I kept my end of the bargain, I need to send thanks to my sister Rose who came through big time by mailing me some (that's a whole other post, or could be, but suffice it to say, Rose came through for me - I am so grateful!). Back to less horrible grammar (hopefully) and the story at hand...

In addition to the stuffing, I brought a few bottles of Manhattan Special and some French vanilla ice cream and made a bunch of floats for the guests - they all loved it. Jeff liked it so much, he wanted to take home the empty bottle but I had a nice surprise for him, I brought an extra full bottle for him to take home.

It was a lot of fun to share this piece of my regional heritage with some friends!

Saturday, January 03, 2015

It's Okay to Chill

I was in my pajamas today until 6:00 p.m.!

While I wasn't completely unproductive for all of that time, I was for most of it. I am going to a pot-luck tomorrow so I had to prepare some food. I made a batch of the delicious stuffing I made for Thanksgiving. I started that at about 3:00, up until that point, the only other remotely productive thing I did was take down the Christmas tree.

Normally I don't take down the tree until the Epihany but this tree was sort of a special needs tree and it's lower branches were dropping down low - so I had to put her down. My daughter and I named her "Ethel". Ethel has taken her place at the curb awaiting pickup on Monday.

As I write this at 7pm, I am showered and dressed and only moments ago learned it was snowing out. Yes, one of those days! I am still planning to head out to support some local music and spend some time with some pals.

I did really want to spend at least some time cleaning today but alas, it will wait. I do regret not getting a workout in but that too will have to wait.

Happy Saturday!

Friday, January 02, 2015

The Night Nostalgia Turned to Shame

Two all Beef Patties
Special Sauce
Lettuce
Cheese
Pickles
Onion
on a Sesame Seed Bun

The legendary Bic Mac

Back in the day, I ate my share of them. As I grew older (into my 30's and 40's, I began to feel like each time I ate one (which was very infrequently), that I took a chunk of time from my life and kind of regretted it. After the last one I had, probably a couple of years ago, I felt that I had my share and was done.

About a month or two ago, there was a news story about how McD's was planning to cut items from it's menu and there were a few stories I saw that listed the Big mac as one of the sandwiches to go.

While I felt I had my share of Big Mac's, I guess a part of it being easy not to have one was knowing that if I really wanted one, I could. When I saw they were going away, i kind of felt like I had to have one more, just to say goodbye.

As I am driving around gathering groceries before coming home this evening, I decided that tonight would be the night for goodbyes. I stopped at McDonald's, waited in line for longer than I should so that I could swim in the shame I felt for even being in there, watching in disbelief wondering if there was any chance those employees would ever be more than a McD's employee (I know, sounds judgmental and harsh but if you were watching what I was watching, you might wonder the same), and prepared to say the words I would cringe at having said, even as they were coming from my mouth.

"Number 1, meal please." I didn't even have the guts to refer to it as a Big Mac Meal. In an effort to seek revenge on me for thinking so lowly of him, the young genius at the register forced me to swim in my shame for a bit longer by asking that horrific question, "Medium or Large?"

I began to break into a shame sweat and resisted all compulsions to surrender to my inner demons and uttered "MEDIUM" rather forcefully, then pulled back to a more relaxed, "thanks".

Yet again, boy McWonder has the last words my forcing me to pay up. "$7.37 please." All I could think of is that in 1975 it was about $6.00 less expensive, then I realized I was paying $7.37 for the privilege of this experience and in a brief moment of illusioned clarity, I realized that the Big Mac would actually be gone, something in the past, a moment in time and while all of he shame was valid, the nostalgia was also valid...it made it all easier to bear once it came time to eat the damn thing.

When I got home, after putting away the groceries, I got onto the computer and out of curiosity, I hit up Google to find out when the Big Mac would be gone for good, only to find out that the whole thing was a hoax. I fell for this hoax...big time, and this is me owning up to that.

I will lay this shame to rest now that it is off of my chest.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

21/50

These are the states I've been to thus far:


Create Your Own Visited States Map

Twenty-One of the Fifty, before it's all said and done, I think it would be cool to have visited all fifty - I'm sort of plotting the next two.

How about you?

Note: I realized later I forgot to include Wisconsin...I apologize people of Wisconsin, I enjoyed my time in your state - it was just an oversight.

On the first day of this New Year...2015

I wrote this on New Year's Day back in 2005 and posted it here...worthy of a repost for sure. have a great 2015 everyone - thanks for reading.

On the first day of this New Year
I hope to leave behind that which
cripples the mind
weakens the soul
shakes the foundation on which
my life is built

On the first day of this New Year
I will live for today and
pray for tomorrow
I will do my best to learn from the
mistakes I made last year
and do my best to give more of myself
than I take from others

On the first day of this New Year
I will try my best to spend the year ahead
Bringing joy and laughter to others

On the first day of this New Year
I give you my love
and wish for you
all that you wish for yourself