Saturday, October 31, 2015

Sorry!

It's been a few days, this 8 week course on top of a particularly busy schedule these last few months have really caught up with me. I am sorry I haven't been here as much as I want.

In good news, the bathroom remodel is coming along well, just a couple of very minor glitches. I am betting it will be done very soon.

Grading final exams right now in the 8 week course - here's how it's going:


later.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Financial Aid

I've been working inside the higher education system for long enough to see some crack that are so obvious that I can't imagine why they haven't been patched up this far in. I am all for the idea of financial aid, I think in theory it's great and opens up the opportunity for education for so many people. That said, the system is so broken and it needs to be fixed now.

Int he current system, let's say a student qualifies for $1000 in aid and there expenses are $800; they can finagle a refund check and cash out  the $200. In fact, I've heard with my own ears student complaining about needing their refund checks for a variety of things such as vacation, Christmas gifts, cigarettes, and other things they should not be spending that money on. Whatever isn't spent on tuition and text books MUST go back into the system - we need to implement this right away.

Another rule that must be implemented immediately is academic criteria for maintaining financial. I say you should be required to maintain a C average or better or you lose your aid. You did below a C, you get on a payment plan, wages garnished and all, and pay what you took for an education that you chose not to take seriously. maintain the C or better, you keep your aid as long as you qualify. There should also be additional requirements that limit the amount of courses that are at a D or below - this is common where people tack on a "bullshit" course just to maintain 12 credits and then skate by in that class...there should be no skating by on that dime...ever.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Locked

The Carnage

I was frantically running about this morning - I had to lure my cat into my kid's room to lock him up in there for safety while the contractor is in the house working; needless to say, we are enough days in that he has made the association that he's getting locked up and that makes it harder to do so.Then, of course once successful, he immediately begins his gut wrenching howling. The move is to have everything it its place so that once he gets locked in then you make a run for the car and off to work to minimize hearing said howls.

I locked him in, ran down only to realize I left my keys upstairs in my bedroom...which I keep locked while the contractor is on site. No problem, spare key to bedroom hidden in the office. Oh crap, the office is locked too. Oh yeah, spare car key is locked in bedroom with car key-car key...panic sets in, f-bombs flying so fast and furious I worry the FAA may intercede.

After a few minutes, I take a deep breath and realize I do have a fully charged cell phone with Internet access. I know if I call a locksmith, I'm probably in for $150 - so I google "How to Get into a Locked Interior Door" (brought to you courtesy of proud moments).

First solution involves the sentence, "How to fashion a lock pick from a large paperclip". At first I was game, then I realize that all of my paperclips are locked in my office. then, it hit me that even if I can perfectly "fashion' the necessary tools, lock picking takes practice, what are the odds I pick up on that skill right away? I was already getting close to being late for work...what's next.

I pass up on several other Macguyver like things that just seemed unrealistic to a very practical statement, "when all else fails, grab a hammer" - I have (or as you will soon see, had) one of those. The illustrated instructions indicated that one should "take several shots at the handle, not so much because it will do anything, but it will help you take out your aggression on it for being locked." The idea was to wack it good a few times then use the claw of the hammer to wedge against the door and yank the handle off the mechanism (I oft grab the opportunity to use the word mechanism....and the word oft).

After a number of good wacks (as you can see in the photo above), I go for the yank and like right out of a Wile E. Coyote cartoon, nothing happens to the door handle but the top of the hammer breaks right off, the wood handle itself split clear off - I just started to crack up while yelling WTF (and secretly looking for a camera crew).

Can't forget the desperate attempt to "hacksaw" the handle off...see ridiculous excuse for a hacksaw in the picture above). Anyway, it occurred to me that since I am mid bath remodel, maybe the contractor has a hammer in my house, so I rumble through his belongings and find one...hoping it's a better quality one than mine (imagine explaining that to him as I add the cost of a new hammer to his next payment), I get aggressive on the handle again and this time, make some progress...I get the handle to fall off leaving this odd protrusion that I have no idea what the heck to do with...so I return to that web site to see what comes next. While attempting to navigate phone with my left hand, I grab the mangled protrusion from the door and give a forceful twist and the door opens.

The rest is irrelevant but of course, the whole time since locking Oliver up in my daughter's room, he's yelling and then terrified, I suspect, at the loud whacking of the door handle....

Anyway, I made it to work on time (barely) and have already replaced the door handle.

How was your morning?

Monday, October 26, 2015

NFL Commissioner Me

Here's just a few of the things I would do were I named NFL commissioner:


  • Offensive pass interference would go away, it's a stupid penalty and makes no sense.
  • Pass interference, needs to be reviewed. For certain, the penalization would change, it's way too drastic.
  • The safety would go away.
  • The on-side kick would disappear - another stupid part of the game.
  • New rule: In the red zone, you can attempt a FG more than once, as long as you have enough downs.You can even attempt a field goal and if you miss, proceed with regular play (again, in the red zone).
  • No player can have hair sticking out of their helmet past the name on their jersey. Players with hair that long will not be allowed to play in the game - hair must either be gut or tucked into something. If hair comes out, they would incur a penalty.

The Fallen

I'm sitting at a desk out in the lab today and I hear a student from the writing center yell out for help. I ran over to see one of the part time writing specialists on the floor. I think she's around 70 years of age, she took a fall on vacation less than a year ago that set her back a few weeks but recently she's seemed fine.

She mentioned that she's been nursing a bum knee - she used the arms on her chair to get up to take some pressure off her knee and one of the arms was a bit loose and that's how she lost her balance - or so it was assumed by her and the student.

We took out all of those chairs right after - did what I could to help her, she refused professional medical treatment and insisted she was fine. over the next few hours I checked in on her a few times, as did a few others, including a visit from her husband (they live in the same town).

When I left, all seemed fine. I got a text earlier by another colleague telling me that the woman had fallen a second time. I hope she is okay!

Post Concert Frivolity

After the Ringo Starr concert on Friday night, we went back to The Four Seasons hotel lounge to celebrate a friend's birthday. I wouldn't normally end up there, but I don't regret going...especially since we got to hang with some of the musicians from the band.

At first, Jimmy spotted Gregg Rollie, who most famously played with Santana and Journey. I went over to him and chatted very briefly, then asked if he would mind coming over to say happy birthday to my friend who was a fan - he was gracious enough to come over for a few minutes to offer good wishes and take a few photos.

Steve Lukather, most famously form Toto walked by, he was gracious enough to wave but it was obvious he just wanted some down time with his friends, so the wave was enough.

Greg Bissonette, who has played drums on lots of things and with lots of folks, including early David Lee Roth solo projects, was sitting with his friends. I went over and shook his hand, chatted very briefly then asked if he would consider coming over to say happy birthday to Jimmy, who is a drummer himself and a fan; he said, "sure thing, be over in a minute." A minute or so later, he had snuck around so we wouldn't see and he came from the other side of the area and him and his friends sang happy birthday and hung out with us for a chat and pictures. After he let, we ran into him later in the lobby as we were leaving and he spent more time with us...very nice guy.

Great night for sure!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Ringo Starr & His All Star Band

Months ago, after the John Mellencamp concert at the Wang Center in Boston, I wrote them to complain about a problem at the venue (I may have told this story)...long/short - I ended up with 2 free tickets to Ring & His All Star Band. I took my friend John, as big a Beatles fan as I've ever known.

Here was the band lineup:

Ringo
Gregg Rollie (Santana, Journey, etc.)
Richard aige (Mr. Mister)
Steve Lukather (Toto)
Todd Rundgren (Utopia, Solo, Nazz, etc.)
Gregg Bissonette (David Lee Roth, etc.)
I didn't get the name of the Sax Player

And the setlist:

Matchbox
Play
It Don't Come Easy
Island in the Sun
I Saw the Light
Evil Ways
Rosanna
Kyrie
Bang the Drum All Day
Boys
Don't Pass Me By
Yellow Submarine
Black Magic Woman / Gypsy Queen
You're Sixteen
I'm the Greatest
You Are Mine
Africa
Oye como va
I Wanna Be Your Man
Love Is the Answer
Broken Wings
Hold the Line
Photograph
Act Naturally
With a Little Help From My Friends
Give Peace a Chance

Fun show!

Busy - Update

Very busy weekend, I'll bullet a few events here and elaborate later:

Saw Ringo Starr & His All Star Band
Met Gregg Rolie (of Santana, Journey, etc. fame)
Met and spent a little time with Gregg Bissonette (Of many works including early David Lee Roth solo)
Participated in the Walk to End ALS - a very emotional day
Saw The Road Dawgs
Ate too much
Grading

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Walk to Defeat ALS...This Saturday

This Saturday is the Walk to Defeat ALS. WHile I did reach my modest fundraising goal of $210, in fact, I am at $240, you can still contribute - and I hope that you will consider it, every donations counts, even $1.

Click the image below to go to my page:


Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Another Year, Another Contractor

You may recall the frustration I dealt with a little over a year ago when my kitchen was remodeled. I had planned on doing the bathroom shortly after but needed a mental health break from contractors - but the time has come.

After months of searching and interviewing contractors, deciding what I wanted, getting the materials, the contractor began demo today.

I am anxious, but hopeful.

Monday, October 19, 2015

EVENT NOTICE: Designing for ALS - This Wednesday!

Designing for ALS
Wednesday, October 21st
12:00pm-2:00pm
Institute for Human Centered Design
200 Portland Street, Boston MA

Few people take on the construction of a new home. And it would seem especially daunting for someone who has just learned that they have ALS. But that is just what Stephen Winthrop, his wife Jane Williamson and daughters Casey and Hannah, decided to do.

ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by a progressive weakening of muscles in the body that can leave the patient unable to move, speak, eat, or even to move one's head. Some patients with advanced ALS communicate only by moving or blinking the eyes.

Jane and Stephen considered renovating their existing home but knew that its many levels and steep driveway would limit its renovation potential. Instead they chose to build a new "ALS-friendly" house elsewhere in their beloved Wayland and committed to use their experience to create a case study that they could share with others in similar circumstances.

They, with IHCD, assembled the necessarily large team. The Institute for Human Centered Design (IHCD) provided architectural design. The team included Keystone Development Corporation, Shepherd PMC, PEAC Automation Systems,Ergonomist and Physiotherapist Tucker O'Day, Priscilla Andersen Interiors, Dorma Doors, Toto USA. Steve Saling, a designer with ALS who assisted in the design of the award winning Leonard Florence Center for Living Green House® in Chelsea, and a partner in PEAC Automation, helped with design and technological solutions. Stephen and Jane and their two daughters recently moved into their new custom built Craftsman-style home.

Jane notes: "We are proud of what we are creating. This house is adaptive without looking institutional. It will extend not just the quantity of Stephen's life, but its quality, giving him as much independence as possible for as long as possible."

Stephen and Jane hope it will be a model home for not only ALS patients but also a far broader population of aging people living with mild to moderate functional issues.

Stephen and Jane, along with IHCD Architectural Designer Ruth Super, will share their knowledge and research gained during the process of creating their new home.

When: 12:00pm-2:00pm October 21,2015
Where: 1st Floor, 200 Portland st Boston MA 02114
To RSVP please contact Willa Crolius at wcrolius@ihcdesign.org or call 617-259-1655.

This event is FREE and open to the public, a light lunch will be served.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Haunted Happenings 2015

Haunted Happenings is an annual event that spans the entire month of October and turns the town of Salem, MA into a hotbed of activity - a 180 degree shift from the normal quiet New England suburban setting it enjoys the remaining 11 months of the year.

Coon's is a card and gift shop that has been a fixture in Salem for many years. I have been visiting Salem in October for more years than I have lived in New England, and Coon's is always a part of each visit.

I asked my kid to snap this photo of me beneath the Coon's sign and flag to send to some of my other friends who love Coon's.

This is a picture of my kid alongside one of the passersby, Lots of costumes, lots of fun.


 This cracked me up. There was a Bernie Sanders table with this paper mache recreation of current candidate Bernie Sanders. Like him or not, you gotta admit this is funny!
 The only reason this photo was snapped was because about a minute or two before, I had seen a pic of the fantastic Tori's dog dressed as Wonder Woman. My daughter noticed this lady right after showing her the picture so I snapped this and sent it along to Tori.
All in all it was a fun day,

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Special Delivery

I was expecting a delivery of the last of the materials I need for the contractor to get going on the bathroom remodel. I had been prepared for the delivery with strategically placed tip/bribe money in hopes I could get the delivery kids to bring the stuff all the way upstairs (when I requested delivery, the company only offers tailgate delivery).

Doorbell rings this morning and it's an older guy, didn't seem to have any help either. He asked, "you want the stuff in your garage I suppose?" I had to ask, though even my tone had to sound defeated, "You can't bring it in here?" At least hoping to get it in on the first floor. "No sir, tailgate delivery only."

Defeated, I went to open the garage door and began chatting with the delivery guy, who revealed that her was 80 years old. Unbelievable, this guy delivered a bath tub, a vanity, a granite counter with a sink and a few other things - some big and heavy stuff. he did know exactly how to move the stuff properly so it would take minimal effort and he did have a lift gate on his truck and a hand truck but still, made me feel like shit at 7:45 am watching an 80 year old move that stuff and not only not complaining, but clearly happy and awfully nice.

I guess the contractor is going to have to deal with the heavy lifting.

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Big Eff U to the MA Dept. of Conservation and Recreation

I hated it when I first learned there was a $5 charge to use most of the state parks in MA. In particular, I love to go to Walden Pond but at $5, I almost only go if I could borrow a parking pass from the library.

This year, they raised the rates to $8!

I think it's unfair and just plain wrong to charge a fee to taxpayers at state parks. I'll go one further, I don't think there should be a fee as National Parks either.

Just what the fuck do they do with our tax money?

Saturday, October 10, 2015

This is Something I Would Do

NOTE: Yesterday, when I posted this, I did copy the source but it seems to have gotten edited out in the whole HTML mystery...anyway, this is where the story came from:
http://www.tickld.com/x/af/man-makes-the-staff-at-walmart-lose-their-minds-this-is-genius


I came across this story tonight (or this morning if you want to get technical). It reminded me of something similar I did at a Mobil station in Toms River, NJ a few decades ago when I used to drive out to visit my folks. In NJ, all gas stations are full serve, so I would hand off my credit card and the get handed back to me a clipboard with a receipt to sign. I often would sign the names of famous people or random friends of mine - if you dig around this blog, I've posted a few over the years, Madonna, Frank Sinatra, Elvis...

You'll get a laugh out of this guys story, that is, if you have a sense of humor :)

Man Makes The Staff At Walmart Lose Their Minds. This Is Genius.

Over the past 6 months, I have been playing a fun game with my credit card company. The game finally backfired on me today and led me through the most hilarious moment of my life. Most people would have been embarrassed, but me, I'm a little twisted, so I laughed all the way through it like an a**hole.

With any story, there is a setup process. Here is the setup to this story. About 6 months ago, I was making a purchase with my credit card and when I went to sign the electronic signature machine, it was broken. By broken, I mean that when I touched the pen to the machine, it went crazy and didn't look anything like my signature. It looked like a drunk 4 year old signed my name for me. It accepted the signature without any problems. So this really made me wonder what I could do to give my credit card company something to laugh about. I mean, they obviously don't review the signatures since they never called me or declined a purchase. It could have been a stolen card.

I started out modest by signing with a line or an "X". Occasionally I would do last name first. After a couple of months, I became bolder. I wrote goofy ****, drew pictures, etc. Here's a list of some of my favorite signatures over the past few months:

I AM NOT KINGPIN
I STOLE THIS
**** OFF
**** YOU
WALMART SUCKS
CALL ME
CROTCHY CROTCHINGTON
MY BALLS ITCH
911
I'M A CRIMINAL
THANKS FOR THE STUFF

Today at Walmart I went the extra mile. When it came time to sign my name, a thought popped in my head. I should draw a picture. But what picture should I draw? I smirked as something completely juvenile came to me. This is a rough drawing of the signature that I provided:


Yes, I know, it's not my best artwork, but I didn't have the time to be elaborate with the drawing. I had to look like I was providing a signature. Right after I hit "OK", there was a pause. The register then said "COMPARE SIGNATURE ON SLIP TO CARD." One thought popped in my head: "OH *!"

It then printed the receipt and there in black and white was my drawing of a johnson and balls. The lady at the register didn't immediately look at it. She asked for the card. I handed her the card and she flipped it over. Then she brought up the receipt and she smirked, but then took a stern tone and said "These signatures don't match."

At this point I was in tears from trying to hold back my laughter. I tried to explain to her why I had done it, but it didn't matter. I probably didn't make sense as I laughed hysterically through the explanation. She then paged the manager and I erupted in laughter. The guy behind me in line got a glimpse of my signature on the receipt and began laughing. The manager comes up and the woman from the register begins whispering to him. I then hear a few words "he drew a penis..." as she holds up the receipt. The manager blurts out a short laugh and then controls it. He turns to me and I'm out of breath from laughing and I'm still giggling like a schoolgirl.

Manager: Sir, your signature...heh...umm...doesn't match the signature on your card.
Me: I know and there is a good reason for that.
Manager: (quietly) You drew a penis on my credit card machine.
**The guy behind me bursts into laughter.**
Me: Yeah, I didn't think this would happen. I've been trying to see how far I could go with my signature before the credit card company did something about it.
Manager: I guess you learned your lesson.
Me: Yeah, the credit card doesn't accept penis.
**The guy behind me now can't stop laughing.**
Manager: OK, I'm going to decline the signature and have you sign it again.
Me: Fair enough.
Manager: This time, really sign it.

So I had to sign it again and they wouldn't let me keep my artwork. Those bastards. I had single handedly broken up the monotony of their daily routine and given them something that they will be talking about for years to come and they wouldn't let me keep it. They will tell their grandchildren about the guy that drew a johnson and balls as his credit card signature. So I have a plan now. I'm going to get a new credit card and sign the back with my johnson and balls drawing. Then I will consistently use that as the signature. That way, if I ever get caught in the same situation, the signatures will match. That will really mess with them.

In My Ears 2015 Vol. 14

Here's the most recent batch of music I've been listening to:

Warren Zevon - Sentimental Hygiene
Warren Zevon - Transverse City
Month back I set out to relisten to the the entire Zevon catalog, I got about halfway through...picking it back up; love him.

Genesis - ...And Then There Were Three
Genesis - Duke
Genesis - Abacab
Seems I am on a catalog frenzy - this is some of the remainder, with still one or two to go...you may recall some dude on Craigslist giving a way a bunch of Genesis CD's free, at which time I set out to listen to all that I had, including those I got free. It's interesting here to detect the transition from prog to pop as a group (though I don't think it was a total transition), it'll be more evident in their last records.

Vertical Horizon - Everything You Want
The record that made all the difference for the phenomenal Matt Scannell. This is a great record!

Kacey Musgraves - Pageant Material
Sophomore release, as brilliant as her debut...did I mention that it's a brilliant record?

Rush - Power Windows
Rush - Hold Your Fire
Rush - Roll the Bones
More of me working through catalogs, I began listening to the Rush stuff after seeing them live for the first time on their 40th anniversary tour. "Hold Your Fire" may be my personal favorite of their albums.

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Creative Retention: Changing Lives

One of the toughest parts of my job is seeing students who your gut tells you have the ability to succeed and then somehow life gets in the way or circumstances change and make success seem impossible - whether it be in the short term, for a course, or long term.

I had a student in my 8 week accelerated online course come visit me today to discuss their situation, it was grim. In order for them to just pass by the skin of their teeth they would need to score an 86.15 or better on every assignment and the final exam - not impossible, but not an easy task. Further, their hope is to transfer the class and to do so most often requires a C or better, an impossibility even if they were to score a perfect grade on each assignment.

In running through the possibilities and discussing the accelerated course versus the full semester course that I am teaching and amidst the discussion, the student asked if it were at all possible for them to transfer out of the 8 week accelerated section and into the 15 week full semester course.

I had to stop and think for a good few seconds to process this idea, I verbalized out loud how it would completely change this student's possibilities for success and then mentioned that it relies mostly on whether or not in week 5 of the semester the registrar would allow this and since it is way past add/the drop period, they may charge the student for another course. the student was willing to pay this high price - their reaction to this spoke volumes as to their commitment and desire to do better and I went to bat...

I told the student that if the registrar would agree and you agreed to the registrar's decisions, I would allow them to switch sections. I had the student come downstairs to me and the registrar employees on my campus were not able to make a decision on this situation, but I told the student to hang on, went in the back, and called the registrar to explain the situation - to my joy, he agreed to allow the swap with no financial penalty to the student.

We had to fill out a little paperwork but it got done. The student came in feeling defeated and off course, they left smiling, with a renewed sense of purpose and hope and grateful.

These are the moments at work that fill the soul.

Idea - Nap Drills

We go out of our way to have fire drills, preparing for an event that may never happen. I do think it's very important to have fire drills but they kind of suck in the winter! Also, again, the odds of a fire happening are super small.

Let's talk about a nap drill...at some random point, an alarm sounds, everyone gets a power nap I'd be willing to bet that anywhere in the world if you polled any 5 people at random, no less than 1 would welcome a power nap - that's way better odds than a fire breaking out.

Who's on board?

Dumb Ass!

I got an email from a colleague today, not the first I've received from them and it was also someone who I've emailed several times (this is relevant). My work emails include an image of a business card, which clearly has my name on it.

Today, I received an email from this person addressed, "Dear Dan" (my name is Chris). This is not the first time they've addressed me as Dan and not the first time I've corrected them...clearly their head is to far up their ass or they completely lack the intellect required to calculate the difference between a first and last name.

Quite frankly, someone with an MBA should have the intelligence to not make this mistake, certainly not more than once and certainly not after having been corrected.

It's just stupid at its finest.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Fed Up with the Cell Phone Assholes!

I was so burned up at lunch today that some time later, I posted this to Facebook: "Time we get serious, how about this as a law - you talk on your cell phone while your car is not in park, you lose your right to drive in the US for life. I know, sounds extreme, right? Look at the death toll and tell me what's more extreme. I saw a jackass driving today with the phone in front of his face. What the hell is it going to take to prove that this kills people? Holy FUCKNUTS!!!!!"

It is mind numbing to me how many people I see locked into their devices while behind the wheel in traffic, I just don't understand the incredible lack of intelligence of these people; how it is they don't realize that they are putting their life and worse, the life of others in serious jeopardy?

I am not exaggerating here, as wild as it sounds, the extreme nature of my suggested fix above may be the only way to start making a difference - heck, we can resolve the traffic issues at the same time.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

The Big E

Spent yesterday at the Big E...many highlights, the one I can't stop thinking about is a donut filled with soft serve ice cream, then topped with marshmallow and Oreo cookie crumbs (the booth lets you choose ice cream flavor and toppings).

What is The Big E you ask? Well, at its root, it's and agricultural exposition but it has over the years expanded to be, well, for all intents and purposes, a state fair.

Last time I went to The Big E, my daughter was still in the young bratty stage and didn't really capture all of it. At 17, she really got to appreciate it from a very different perspective and she had a great time.

It was great that our friend Rebecca joined us as well - Rebecca moved to Boston only a month ago for school, and she has been working super hard on her studies so it was nice to get her out of the city for the day and super nice to have her with us for the day!

Saturday, October 03, 2015

In My Ears 2015 Vol. 13.50: "NYC"

Recently listened to a playlist I called NYC, named for a road trip I took to NYC with my pal Nancy all for the purpose of visiting a storefront in Times Square called "Pop Tart World". I know, and you wondered how I manage this slender MMA type figure :)

Here are a few pics from inside the place:



Back to the music...I put together a playlist of 39 songs that made sense for this trip for a number of reasons. In this post, I will list the songs and if I am feeling like it, and remember to do so, perhaps in later post(s), I'll get deeper into the songs.


  1. Big Yellow Taxi - Amy Grant
  2. Changes - David Bowie
  3. New York Skyline - Garland Jeffreys
  4. Breathe - Alexi Murdoch
  5. Amarillo by Morning - George Strait
  6. I Melt With You - Bowling for Soup
  7. This is Me Missing You - James House
  8. Moments - Emerson Drive
  9. Every Light in the House is Blown - Cledus T. Judd
  10. Somewhere Only We Know - Keane
  11. Santeria - Sublime
  12. Personality Crisis - New York Dolls
  13. Rockaway Beach - Ramones
  14. You've Got to Hide Your Love Away - Eddie Vedder
  15. I Love Bosco (Bosco) - TV Commericials Vol. 1
  16. You've Got to Hid Your Love Away - Elvis Costello
  17. The Weakness in Me - Joan Armatrading
  18. Whatever it Is - Zac Brown Band
  19. This is God - Phil Vassar
  20. Why Didn't I Think of That - Doug Stone
  21. Cinnamon Girl - Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs
  22. Rockin' Around in NYC - Marshall Crenshaw
  23. The Only Living Boy in New York - Simon & Garfunkel
  24. New York State of Mind - Tony Bennett with Billy Joel
  25. What Goes Around Comes Around - Justin Timberlake
  26. Closing Time - Semisonic
  27. Welcome to the Future - Brad Paisley
  28. I've Been Loved by the Best - Don Williams
  29. Upside Down - Jack Johnson
  30. New York - U2
  31. People Are Crazy - Billy Currington
  32. Outbound Plane - Suzy Boggus
  33. The Reason - Hoobastank
  34. New York City Serenade - Bruce Springsteer & E Street Band
  35. I've Cried My Last Tear for You - Ricky Van Shelton
  36. Cape Canaveral - Conor Oberst
  37. Old Hippie - Bellamy Brothers
  38. Join the Book Club - George Carlin
  39. Leaving New York - R.E.M.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

An Odd Way to Learn of the Death of Someone You Knew

A colleague of mine came back from summer break to announce she had gotten married - surprise! At a local event this past Saturday, I ran into them and met her husband for the first time and it struck me how he had this familiar look to me, he reminded me of an old friend of mine named Gene.

I often credit Gene with saving me from further destruction, one day I was walking down Avenue U in Brooklyn and Gene was walking in the opposite direction, when we noticed each other, we stopped for a quick "Hey, what's up?" when before I had the chance to say anything, gene said, "Hey, I know that look, hang on a second." He then fumbled through the various pockets of his leather jacket and pulled out a business card, handed it to me, and said, 'call this guy, right after you call their office, you'll feel the weight begin to lift form your shoulders and it will all be alright - I just went through it myself."

The card was for a man named Lance Roger Spodek, an attorney specializing in personal bankruptcy. How did Gene know? What the hell did I look like walking down that street? I can tell you, that I was about 27 years old and in debt for a ridiculous amount of money and that it was eating at me every minute of every day.

gene was right, I called Spodek's office the next day, within a week the harassing and threatening calls from the credit card companies I owed money to came to a complete stop. It wasn't long after that all the papers were drawn up and I had a court date; the judge made me feel really bad about the poor financial decisions I had made to that point but soon after, he dismissed all of my debt, and let me keep my car.

A big part of my life changed forever the moment I walked out of that courtroom, I have not owed any money to anyone with the exception of my mortgage and an occasional car load since, my credit rating is as perfect as one can be. More than two decades have passed since I went through that experience. I take that experience with me each and every day of my life and use it as much as I could to teach others of my mistakes in hope that they won't make the same ones that I did. To this day, I remain grateful to Gene for someone seeing what he did and giving me that card.

I hadn't seen or heard from Gene in many years, life just moved on. Yesterday, at work we shared a cake to help my colleague celebrate her marriage and it reminded me again of Gene, so I decided to hit up the old Google monster.

After a lifelong battle with alcoholism, Gene's liver failed, and at the age of 55, Gene passed away back in 2011. Almost ironic that he once played in a band with his previously deceased brother called "The Medicine Men".

Rest in peace Gene.