Friday, December 31, 2010

2010: A Partial Reading List

As usual this list probably isn't "complete," but I'm sure it's fairly close. This year I've put my favorite books in red and added a few words about them.

  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
For some reason I read a great a bunch of books set in Spain (Barcelona in most cases) this year and they were good for the most part. This one was far and away the best - it was a book about books- how could it not be good?!
  • The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • Cathedral of the Sea: A Novel by Ildefonso Falcones
  • The Moving Target by Ross MacDonald
  • Money Shot by Christa Faust
  • A Touch of Death by Charles Williams
  • The Gutter and the Grave by Ed McBain
  • Little Girl Lost by Richard Aleas
  • Songs of Innocence by Richard Aleas
I don't know what my expectations where when I started the first of these two books, but I was really impressed by the end of it- great writing and a central character who was really compelling. I was pleasantly surprised when the second book featured the same character.
  • The Last Match by David Dodge
  • The Girl Hunters by Mickey Spillane
  • The Snake by Mickey Spillane
  • The Twisted Thing by Mickey Spillane
  • Some Danger Involved: A Novel by Will Thomas
A historical detective novel set in 19th century London and written by somebody whose a huge Sherlock Holmes fan? Yes, please! The writing is not on the level of David Liss or Caleb Carr, but the storytelling is engaging enough that I've already ordered three of his other books (see below).
  • 2666 by Roberto Bolano
I have two things to say about this book. First, I'm proud of myself for getting through it. Like some of Italo Calvino and Umberto Eco's books it was hard work. Rewarding, but hard work. Second, when a book-snobby acquaintance (certainly not a "friend") recommended it to me in her normal high-handed manner I was able to smile and say, overly politely, "Thanks, but I've already read it."
  • Heyday by Kurt Andersen
There's very little, book-wise, that's more rewarding than taking a flier on a $5.00 discounted book at Barnes & Noble and having it turn out to be a great read- which this was. Sadly, it appears that he's only written one other similar novel.
  • The Valley of Fear by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Art of Noir by Eddie Muller
  • A Touch of Death by Charles Williams
  • The Corpse Wore Pasties by Johnny Porkpie
  • Somebody Owes Me Money by Donald E. Westlake
  • Memory by Donald E. Westlake
A truly compelling read with an ending that was absolutely uncompromising. I was almost mad at the author for the ending, but once I calmed down I realized it really couldn't have ended any other way.
  • 361 by Donald E. Westlake
  • Nobody's Angel by Jack Clark
  • Murder is My Business by Brett Halliday
  • Baby Moll by John Farris
  • Fifty-to-One by Charles Ardai
  • Black Angel by Cornell Woolrich
  • Top of the Heap by Erle Stanley Gardner
  • Fade to Blonde by Max Phillips
  • No House Limit by Steve Fisher
  • Kill Now, Pay Later by Robert Terrall
  • Slide by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr
  • The Girl with the Long Green Heart by Lawrence Block
  • Lucky at Cards by Lawrence Block
  • Branded Woman by Wade Miller
  • Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook by Anthony Bourdain
I liked it. My brother in-law (the chef) liked it. And he likes the Stooges and the Ramones. 'nuff said.

I'm actively reading...

  • To Kingdom Come by Will Thomas
  • Meet Me at the Morgue by Ross MacDonald

I'm still pecking away at...

  • Europe by Norman Davies
  • The Island of the Day Before by Umberto Eco

Friday, December 10, 2010

An Epiphany

I've realized why nobody listens to me: there are no consequences.

That may have to change.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Once and for all.

I know this makes people think, I don't know- that I'm a robot, that I was raised by a Luddites*, or that I suffered some sort of trauma(s) as a youngster, but...

1. Despite being a very early reader (before I started kindergarten) I did not like children's books as a child (or now for that matter). Please stop asking me if I read "The Aventures of Honker and Pinball in the Land of Candy and Unicorns," or whatever- I didn't. Would you like know what I read? Here's an instructive anecdote..

The scene: The gift shop at historic Gettysburg Battlefield as my grandmother puts a book on the checkout counter c. 1975.

Clerk: "And who is this for?"

Gram: "It's for him." Pointing down to me (though not too far, she was only 5'0" tall)

Clerk: "Oh. You know this is not a children's book, don't you?"

Gram: "I do, but it's the one he wanted."

Clerk: "I think he's going to have a hard time with it..."

Gram: "I don't think so- why don't you ask him a few questions about Gettysburg- or the Civil War in general?"

I'll stop here and summarize by saying the clerk got "pwn3d." (That's what the kids say, right?)

(A very similar scene took place at the Museum of Science in Boston around the same time, but involving a book about dinosaurs that had more text than pictures.)

2. I don't like holiday TV specials- regardless of the holiday. The only reason I've seen any of them is because my younger siblings always wanted to watch them and we only had one television when we were young so I was left with no choice. What's that? "What about A Christmas Story, surely you liked that!?" Nope, not at all. You'd need a gun or a lot of money to watch it again.

Thanks for letting me clear that up. Now let's talk about something interesting!

*this could be partially true- Thanks, Dad! ;)

The worst "season" in New England

It's right now, that time after all the leaves have fallen, it's become bitterly cold, and there's no snow on the ground.

"Bleak" is the word that comes to mind.

I thought of this while driving this morning and seeing a few stray snowflakes in the air and that made me think that all it would take was a thick carpet of fresh snow to make this one of the best seasons of the year.

And the scales fell from my eyes...

I realized this morning that I work with one of the least sincere people I have ever met.

Friday, December 03, 2010

The Christmas Betting Line

That's right, it's the fourth annual Christmas List odds!

Last year was my best so far: 5 correct predictions, 2 incorrect predictions, and one "push."

One change this year: instead of doing proper "odds," I'm going to go with percentages- anything above 50% means I think I'll get it, anything lower than 50% means I don't think I'll get it.

So here's this year's list and my predictions:

Four books by Ross MacDonald, all will be available at Amazon starting on Dec. 7: “Blue City,” “Meet Me at the Morgue,” “The Three Roads,” and “The Ferguson Affair.”

100%: I won't get them all, but I'll get at least one.

Peerless 76950 2-in-1 Shower System (Chrome)

20%: There's always a chance, but it's a little pricey, non-essential, and frankly, who wants to be the person who buys somebody a shower head for Christmas?

Magic Chef .9 Cubic Foot Microwave Oven in Red (MCD990R)

50%: I'm hedging on this one. Mom's been good about stuff like this in the last few years (the George Foreman grill from last year being a good example.) so it's "possible," but perhaps not "probable."

Indoor/Outdoor Digital Thermometer

100%: Of all the things on the list this year, this is the lock. Not expensive, practical, and easy to "farm out" to a relative or friend who has no idea what to get me.

“Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood” for PS3

50%: This one is tough I've been right and wrong about PS3 games in the past. What I do know is that if I do get it my brother will be the one who buys it for me.

PlayStation “Move” Starter Bundle

65%: Two weeks ago I would have said maybe 30%, but my Mom asked me some questions about it at Thanksgiving, so I'm inclined to think she might make it happen.

Gift Certificates to any of the following: EMS, REI, Old Navy, Borders, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IKEA, Marshall's/TJMaxx, iTunes, or Target.

100%: I'll get at least one from Amazon and I WILL NOT get one from IKEA- Mom had a bad experience with them last year.

“The African Queen” BluRay Disc.

70%: I feel pretty good about this one- it's the only movie on my list and I always seem to get a movie from somebody.

Post-It notes in assorted colors/sizes.

100%: Lock.

Room credits for the cruise.

75%: I not only think I'll get these, I'm going to say that I'll get them from at least two people.

Roadpro 12V, 2 Outlet Platinum Series Fused Cigarette Lighter Adapter.

100%: Cheap and practical, another gift that is easily farmed out.

“Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul” (CD)

100%: My spies tell me it was already purchased.

Pure Komachi 2 Series 8” Bread Knife (Orange)

50%: I split the difference because I'm sure I'll get a bread knife but I'm not confident that I'll get this one- even though it's under $10!

Salomon XT S-Lab 3 Sneakers (size 10)

0%: Not a chance in hell- too expensive- but you've got to take a chance, right?

Iomega eGo 1TB USB 2.0 FireWire 800 Desktop External Hard Drive, Mac Edition - 34794

15%: This is another one that I probably won't get, but if I do, my brother will be responsible.

I'll be back in three weeks with the results!


Avatar

I finally got around to getting it from Netflix and I have two things to say about it:

1. I honestly can't remember the last time I saw a movie this bad.
2. I can't remember the last time a movie was so bad that I didn't bother to finish it.

I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

You're killing me people, KILLING ME!

I am trying to sell a few items on Craigslist and doing well- I've sold two of the four items and gotten what I feel to be a fair price for them. There is, however, a slight problem...

On two different occasions I've been contacted by interested parties who, after I suggested places to meet and make the exchange, sent me an email that went something like this-

"Oh, you live in Shelbyville, Connecticut? I thought you lived in Shelbyville, Rhode Island!"

Okay, here's how it works on Craigslist: When you search for an item in the "classifieds" section it returns the results for your local Craigslist, then below that- and CLEARLY LABLED- it shows you similar items from bordering/nearby Craigslist localities.

In short, learn to READ!

Monday, November 29, 2010

I'll probably do this at some point.

Longer ago than I'd care to remember at this point I made a cross-country drive (CT to AZ and back) by myself and I really enjoyed it and I'd like to do it again.

The next time, though, I'd like to do as much of the driving as possible at night.*

America just looks different at night and I'd love to see things like the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains by moonlight and small towns and big cities by streetlight.

That looks much more sappy in print than it sounds in my head, but I think it would be really interesting and maybe even a little bit dangerous.

*not the PA Turnpike, though, that was hellish.

Seriously?

Vegan Smoking Woman was wearing leather today.

Were I not so busy having a horrible work day today I might have engaged her in conversation about this.

She got lucky.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Quoth the Vegan...

"If you cared at all about your body or the environment you'd stop eating meat."

I'm not inclined in this "direction" to begin with, so it should come as any surprise to the person who said this to me that I have no plans to heed her words.

It probably didn't help that she was smoking a cigarette while she was saying this to me.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Well, THAT was uncalled for!!

...nothing like finding out only a few days in advance that you're going to be running in a 5K on Thanksgiving morning!

It's bad enough that I hadn't trained- at all!- for the race, but I was also nursing two injuries left over from soccer this summer/fall.

I didn't stop during the race and I did finish, but my time was a joke.

I guess the saving grace is that it made my family and friends happy that I took part, and I'll try to remember that as I limp around for the next few days...or weeks.

Hopefully I'll be healed up in time from my surgery (shooting for midwinter) that I'll actually be ready for next year's race.

We'll see.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Question

Okay, so I really don't like talking on the phone. I'm not sure why. Other than my family there is exactly one person that I will talk to at length on the phone- one. I talk to that person maybe three or four times a year. I'd rather talk to somebody in person, send an email, or- gasp!- write somebody a letter!

Clearly, however, all of these things put me in a very, very small minority and that's just fine with me, but it leaves me with a question.

When I see all of these people out in public on their cellphones all the time, who are they talking to and what the hell are they talking about!?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Quote of the Day

Today's quote comes from former Scottish international footballer Gordon Strachan:

Reporter: "Gordon, can we have a quick word please?"

Strachan: "Velocity" [walks off]

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I know your secret identity!

Dear Anonymous Commenter,

It took me a little while, but once I figured out how you found my blog I knew it was you!

So, Abby, let me be perfectly clear about a few things:

1. You are a horrible person. Maybe now that your "inside" and "outside" match you will learn that you have to be nice to people. Guess what? No matter how beautiful you are (were!) it doesn't really help when people can't stand being in the same room with you.

2. Your sunglasses are ugly, but what made you look like a jackass was the fact that when I ran into you the other day it was raining!

3. Am I bitter? Sure. Mainly because I ignored what everyone told me about you and entered into a relationship with you anyway (see, no "s"). So, sure, I'll take some of the blame.

Have fun in Austin, I won't be visiting.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I would prefer not to.

I think Bartleby the Scrivener may be my hero.

Is it wrong?

To become giddily happy upon learning that an ex who treated you badly has gained a prodigious amount of weight? I mean, dozens and dozens of pounds?

Well, if that's wrong I don't want to be right.

Oh, and the sunglasses make you look like a preppy jackass.

Wait, that was redundant.

Monday, September 06, 2010

A Brief Reminder

Folks, if I may borrow a line from George Constanza, "We're living in a society!!"

What does that mean? It means that while we don't have to like each other, if our society is going to continue to exist, we at least have to control ourselves just a wee bit. For example:
  • There is no reason for you to stand so close to me in the checkout at the grocery store that I can feel you breathing on the back of my neck. Seriously, no hyperbole here at all, I could feel the woman's breath. Did I mention that I was at the self-checkout line?
  • Speaking of the checkout line, who still writes a check at the grocery store?! Seriously, it's 2010, you can get an ATM card which deducts funds directly from your checking account! I'm sure if you send your bank a telegram they will dispatch one of these magical cards to you by the next available mail coach.
  • You can ride my back bumper as much as you want, it won't make the car in front of me go any faster.
  • Your two-footed, studs-up tackle that took out both of my legs and drew blood from one of my ankles was uncalled for in any game, but especially a pick-up soccer game. Please note that, when I was eventually able to stand up, I shook your hand and told you "don't worry about it." Just because you think you live in "Thunderdome" doesn't mean I have to join you there.
  • Earlier this week I went to see George Clooney's new movie, "The American." I quite enjoyed it. The consensus of those exiting the theater with me, however, included comments like, "All the good stuff was in the trailer..." and "There was barely any action!" I guess I was mistaken in thinking that it was a well-crafted, thoughtful film, that raised a lot of interesting questions that are usually lost amid the car chases and explosions.
  • Sitting in your beat-up van by yourself with the dome light on at 4:30am is creepy under any circumstances. Doing it in a van that is full of all of your "hoarding" materiel in the parking lot of the building from which you were evicted because of what your hoarding did to your apartment? SUPER-creepy.
  • The way to return from six weeks on paid administrative leave because of your bi-polar disorder is not to work a day, call-in sick the next day, then leave after half a day on your third day. Furthermore, upon returning from your time away it's pretty bad form to spend that third day talking about how excited you are to take a vacation before the end of the month. I may be taking a vacation next spring- in case you were wondering.
Again, I'm not even saying you have to be nice, just civil and, frankly, reasonably normal.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ha!

Roger Clemens has been indicted for perjury.

Serves you right you sanctimonious...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

FYI

Working with a genuinely mentally ill person is exhausting.

I wish her only the best in getting the help she needs, but I hope she is gone soon. And "real" help, not the kind where your psychiatrist tells you something you don't want to hear and then you "fire" her, or, when your new doctor changes your medication, deciding you don't like the change and going back to your old medication- without telling the doctor.

Going to work- always a challenge for a person as lazy as I am- has become almost unbearable.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Did This Really Have To Happen?

Let me preface this by saying that I have no animosity towards any of the people below and that all of this happened after I had discovered at my first destination that I had left my wallet at home, requiring a 40 minute round trip that I hadn't planned on making. So, I might not have been in the best mood.

Today was my only day off this week and not much of one as I had numerous unavoidable tasks that I had to complete. The first of which was to fill my car with gas for a lengthy drive I have to make tomorrow afternoon.

I pulled into my usual gas station and as I was exiting the car a co-worker pulled in next to me. Luckily, he was preoccupied with his own business and, let's just say, I don't look anything like my "work self" when I am out in the real world. As we were pumping our gas a third car pulled in next to him- another co-worker. They engaged each other in conversation as I was finishing up and I escaped unscathed. Well, not really, or I wouldn't be writing about it!

Wallet now on my person, I returned to the task at hand: getting my car inspected and an oil change. While waiting for this to be done I went to a near by movie theater and caught a matinee (Inception...meh.). After the movie I walked back to retrieve my car. I hadn't even put both feet through the door before I saw another co-worker. Pleasantries were exchanged, etc..

Again, nothing against any of these people- one of them is actually very nice- but I just didn't need to be reminded about what is waiting for me tomorrow!

Monday, July 05, 2010

I'm not dead!

Just busy.

I'll be back.

Whether you like it or not.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Should this happen?

Almost seven hours have passed since I played soccer tonight.

Only now did I discover that at some point while playing tonight somebody stepped on my foot (I assume- I don't actually remember it happening), causing the nail on my big toe to crack almost halfway across.

Luckily, this is not the first time that something similar has happened and it only too a few minutes with my "foot injury triage kit" to fashion a binding that, while it won't save the part of the nail that was damaged, will at least keep the crack/tear from getting worse before it falls off of its own accord.

And now you know that.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

No, no, no...

I already loathe the Proactive commercials that pop up on television every, oh, four or five minutes, and now one of their ads features the beautiful and talented Jenna Fischer from The Office.

Sadness.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Make of this what you will...

You know how sometimes when you navigate to a page that has a search box on it the box will sometimes display a few of the most recent terms that you searched? Well, that just happened to me and here are the terms that it displayed-
  • Humphrey Bogart
  • Boston
  • Europa League
  • Scotland
  • Johnny Cash
I don't want to read too much into this list, but I wonder how much you could learn about somebody by seeing what they search for. I know that, if you showed this list to somebody as representative of me, I'd be just fine with it.

I don't get it.

Why are otherwise rational adults obsessed with crown molding?

This small strip of contoured wood seems to make people blind to almost anything else.

"Sure, the house has termites, is in a high crime neighborhood, and is built on the site of an ancient graveyard, but look- crown molding!!"

Saturday, April 24, 2010

If at first you don't succeed...

I live, more or less, at an intersection.

Today and ice cream shop opened up in the storefront diagonally across the intersection from me.

I wish the owners the best of luck, but there's something they should know-

While this may seem like an ideal location (at a busy intersection and within about a 90 second walk of the town's waterpark/Little League park/soccer fields, here is what has preceded the ice cream shop at the same location- at least the ones that I can remember off the top of my head: a tattoo/body piercing parlor, a seasonal tax preparation service, a nail salon, a storefront church (maybe two of them, I'm not sure), a day spa (not the same as the nail salon), and a temporary staffing agency.

I'm not saying the ice cream shop is doomed to failure- I hope it isn't, actually!- but I'm not going to get too attached to it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Feeling Powerless?

Alone?

Don't.

You are neither.

"A Pict Song"

Rome never looks where she treads.
Always her heavy hooves fall,
On our stomachs, our hearts or our heads;
And Rome never heeds when we bawl.
Her sentries pass on—that is all,
And we gather behind them in hordes,
And plot to reconquer the Wall,
With only our tongues for our swords.
We are the Little Folk—we!
Too little to love or to hate.
Leave us alone and you’ll see
How we can drag down the State!
We are the worm in the wood!
We are the rot at the root!
We are the taint in the blood!
We are the thorn in the foot!

Mistletoe killing an oak—
Rats gnawing cables in two—
Moths making holes in a cloak—
How they must love what they do!
Yes—and we Little Folk too,
We are busy as they—
Working our works out of view—
Watch, and you’ll see it some day!

No indeed! We are not strong,
But we know Peoples that are.
Yes, and we’ll guide them along,
To smash and destroy you in War!
We shall be slaves just the same?
Yes, we have always been slaves,
But you—you will die of the shame,
And then we shall dance on your graves!

We are the Little Folk—we!
Too little to love or to hate.
Leave us alone and you’ll see
How we can drag down the State!
We are the worm in the wood!
We are the rot at the root!
We are the taint in the blood!
We are the thorn in the foot!

-Rudyard Kipling

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Huh.

I don't know if this is an epiphany, a realization, or what you want to call it, but here's something:

-There is nothing I could ever do that would disappoint my father. He might be disappointed in my "deed," but not in "me."

-There is nothing I could ever do that would not disappoint my mother. Her expectations of me are so high that I'm not sure I could ever live up to them.

So there

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Dear Laundromat People.

Allow me to quote the great philosopher George Constanza:

"WE'RE LIVING IN A SOCIETY!!"

Please learn about the concept of "personal space." If I am standing still and two of you manage to come into violent contact with me it just might not be my fault.

If however, you cannot help but to flail into me, you could at least apologize for doing it.

Normally, I'd be really peeved about this, but you know what? As soon as my landlord finishes the new, free, laundry room in my building I will be rid of you and your kind.

Thank you for your time.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

A Serious Question

Does anyone actually drink orange soda?

Monday, March 15, 2010

Update: Humanity's Greatest Inventions

It has been almost five years since I have had cause to update this post, but the time has come.

As I sat here on the couch this evening thinking about how scandalously comfortable I was I realized that the main factor was my hooded sweatshirt- the hood of which is currently cozied up to my enormous heid. Lest you think that I am a recent convert to hoddies, I can produce multiple family members who can attest to the fact that I spent most of late elementary school and early middle school wearing the same navy blue, zip-front hoodie. I wore it so often that it was referred to as my "skin." Eventually, when I simply could not squeeze my adolescent body into it any longer, it was repurposed by my mother. She sewed hundreds of yellow napkins onto it and made my little brother a Big Bird costume for Halloween. Side note: I have a great mom.

Any-who, as far as I can determined from the vast resources of the internet, the hoodie as we know it was created by Champion in the 1930s (yes, that company) for workers in refrigerated warehouses. Whatever the case, it was invented and I own at least three that I can think of off the top of my- very warm and relaxed- head.

Humanity's Greatest Inventions


1. Air Conditioning
2. Pulled Pork (all varieties)
3. Fleece
4. Flannel Sheets
5. Velcro
6. Remote controls of all kinds
7.The computer
8. The internet
9. Gore-Tex
10. Soccer
11. Baseball
12. Stereo
13. The fountain pen
14. The printing press
15. The hooded sweatshirt

Update: Me and My Shoes

Normally I'd wait for a full year to pass before updating this list, but there's been quite a lot of "movement" in both directions, so I thought I'd get it up here and let you see what's been going on. As always, I'll include an obituary for those that are no longer with us.

Sneakers

Asics Gel Hyper-Speed 2 (white, lime green, and black): Only 6.6ozs each!
Asics Top Seven (navy and yellow): pretty understated for me.
Asics Top Seven (white, black reptile print, and orange): you wish you owned them.
Royal Elastics "??" (brown and green): hip, slip-on brown leather.
Converse All-Star Low Tops (Red): money.
Converse All-Star High Tops (Black): word.
Converse All-Star High Tops (Brown/Tan Leather): faux retro and lovin' it.
Converse One-Star 3/4's (Black suede): do/did I skate? BMX? Nope, I just rock.
Vans Slip-On (red, white, and blue): "Mod" symbol on the forefoot (vamp).
Zoot Ultra Tempo+: see earlier post.
Merrell Full Aproach: still waterproof but a little run down after two weeks in Scotland.
Salomon XA Pro 3D XCR (green, gray, black): As technical as they sound.
Puma Match (Red leather): with perforated Puma logo. Um, yeah.
Puma Kew (brown, orange, and gray): Cool exterior support system, almost a little "dressy."
Adidas Daroga (Grey mesh with red): sweeeeet.

Hiking

Montrail Vercors Hiking Boots: serious, serious equipment.
Nike ACG Hiking Boots: they won't die! And I mean that in a good way!
Adidas Zuperlimbs: lime green, black and safety orange...uh huh.

Soccer

Adidas AdiPure Turf: Replaced the turf shoes below.
Adidas Copa Indoors: classic.
Adidas Soccer Sandals (blue, silver, orange): comfy and convenient.
Adidas Dakkano Soccer sandals (black and tan): my dressy sandals
Valsport Furoclasses FG: silver and black.

Too beat-up to be seen in anymore, especially when...

Adidas Predator Absolion Control FG: Sure they are last year's model, but I can live with that when they are marked down by $75!


Kelme Embrujos FG: I think it translates to "magician" or "witch," either way...
Asics "Gel Duke" SG: never seen another pair in the U.S.A.
Nike Tiempo Premier SG: reliable transportation on rainy days.

Puma Aqua Cat Soccer sandals (red): the blue Adidas ones above aren't good enough to wear “out” anymore...

Shoes/Boots

Two-Tone Doc Martens (black/white): oh yes I DID!
Burgundy Wingtip Doc Martens: can be worn to work w/o losing my street cred.
Brown Nubuck Doc Martens: Work shoes that cleaned up well and will be used for “casual wear.”
Black, greasy, steel toe Doc Martens: Replaced the above as work shoes.
Buffalino Two-Tone suede (red/white): leave me speechless.
Dexter Two-Tone (black/white): dressy version...
Dexter Brown Pebble-Grain Wingtips: wore them to my HS graduation in 1987...
Dexter Cordova Wingtips: interview shoes.
Izod Generic Black Shoes: the white stitching saves them.
Black Cap-Toe Oxfords: every man needs a pair.

Other

Adidas Desmans: still wear 'em almost every damn day.

Tecnica Pac Mocs: very comfy, a steal at Sierra Designs!

L.L. Bean Main Hunting Boots: bought for function, not fashion.
Diadora Mountain Biking Shoes: not gathering quite as much dust.

A brief, crabby note.

The Latin phrase is et cetera, and it means, "and other things."

It is not "ek cetra," ex cetera," or even, "et cetra."

Also, learn what per se means before you start throwing it around in my presence.

Books completed thus far in 2010

Last year I read about three books a month, which was not bad considering a great many of them were 500+ pages, but so far this year I'm running a bit behind. Nevertheless, here's what I've finished off, not counting books that I began in 2009-
  • The Vikings: A History by Robert Ferguson
  • The Art of Noir by Eddie Muller
  • 2066 by Roberto Bolano
  • Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power by Robert Dallek
  • Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold Story of English by John H. McWhorter
  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
So, that's six books in about eight weeks- not great. Then again, there are two books here that are almost 1,000 pages long, so I'll cut myself a little slack. I'll also cut myself a little slack because since the beginning of the year there has been a lot going on in "real life" that has prevented me from reading as much as I might like (and from posting here, for that matter), the best of which is that my car was vandalized.

One note on the list so far: I bought the Zafon book because it looked "interesting enough for a plane ride" and it was cheap. Little did I suspect that it would be the best book I've read in a long time- or at least since I finished the Larsson books last year. He's written at least on other novel, and I hope many more than that!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Things I'd rather not know...

...I got the news today that one of my high school classmates passed away this past weekend after a year-long battle with brain cancer, leaving behind his wife and two kids.

Like I needed any more reasons to have to confront my own mortality.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

1990: Music

I'm not saying that 1990 was the greatest year ever in music- 1958 probably was- but consider the following:
  • Repeater- Fugazi
  • Momma Said Knock You Out- L.L. Cool J
  • Flood- They Might Be Giants
  • Social Distortion- Social Distortion
  • Sex Packets- Digital Underground
  • I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got- SinĂ©ad O'Connor
  • Blue Sky Mining- Midnight Oil
  • Bossanova- Pixies
  • Hell's Ditch- The Pogues
  • Fear of a Black Planet- Public Enemy
  • Black Sheets of Rain- Bob Mould
  • Bona Drag- Morrissey
Not bad at all.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Really?

One of the next superheroes to be featured in a "major motion picture" will be the Norse god of thunder, Thor, in 2011.

The only Scandinavian in the cast (which also includes Natalie Portmon, Rene Russo, Anthony Hopkins, and Samuel L. Jackson), Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgard will play...an American.

I have no words.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

C'mon people!

I'm only making an issue out of this because I've come across it multiple times in the last few days:

That beautiful island nation in the South Pacific that gave us, among others, Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka is called Fiji. Once again, F-I-J-I.

There may actually be somewhere called "Figi" and it may indeed be inhabited by "Figians," but I suspect that it's actually a fictitious place created by the good people at Nabisco.

Seriously, you might not own a dictionary, but if you're reading this you own a computer that's connected to the interwebs.

Try harder.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

February 14th

Dear Gram,

It's been four years.

I don't miss you any less.

Love,

Your Grandson

Friday, February 12, 2010

An Olympic Thought

As the games open today, keep this in mind about the Olympics and about elite level sports in general. I'll use an easy example:

When the games are over, look at the statistics for the US Men's Hockey team. See that guy who played the least minutes? The "worst" guy on the team? Think about this-
  • He was the best player on his local youth team.
  • He was the best player on his high school team.
  • He was the best player on his college/minor league team.
  • He was- at least- the best American player on his professional team.
  • Just by making the Olympic team he is one of the best two dozen our so players in the country.
So, before you dismiss "him" as the weakest link or the bench warmer, remember that he's a better player than you, me, or anyone else we know.

Friday, February 05, 2010

IKEA!

Today I finally got around to using the IKEA gift card I received for Christmas.

Needless to say, it was a pretty good day- I got everything I intended to get and a few other things as well. Here's what I cam home with-
  • 1 Kvart clip lamp and bulb

  • 5 Grundtal pot hooks

  • 2 Dralla flexible cutting boards

  • 1 Aspekt knife sharpener

  • 1 Leksvik wall-mounted coat rack

  • 1 Magasin folding dish rack

  • 2 Gosa Slan pillows

  • 1 Myskmalva duvet cover/pillow case set

  • 1 Vila fitted sheet

  • 1 Malou duvet cover/pillow case set

Not bad at all.

I'm not going to say that any of this "transformed" my apartment, but I filled in a lot of holes and it certainly gives me a lot of different bedding options as well as some new toys in the kitchen.

If only I had room for more furniture...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My life in capsule form

Today I finally bought the two ink cartridges I need for my printer/copier/scanner. By "finally" I mean after close to a year without being able to print anything!

So, I took them out of the package, put them in, and pushed the "test" button to make sure it was working correctly after sitting idle for so long.

Out of paper.

Naturally.

Monday, January 18, 2010

An Update

One of my loyal followers has asked for a brief update on my family, so here it is!

  • Mom: Hanging in there and holding everything together as usual. She could probably retire any time she wanted to, but for reasons that are well-understood, "work" is has been her refuge for quite a while and I don't think she's ready to let go of it- even if it means being retired.
  • Dad: More often than not, he's doing well. And by "well," I mean that thanks to some changes in his treatment, we've been able to turn back the clock a bit. The situation is still extremely difficult for me to deal with. But, I've been really clear about what I can and cannot "handle" and everyone has been great about it.
  • Brother: Well, he's been a dad for almost two years now and he couldn't be a better one. Not that I ever had any doubt about that, but his daughter is a very, very lucky little girl.
  • Sister: She and her husband continue to try to get their house the way they want it- that process will never end, but with each improvement, it looks even better. The restaurant and all its associated businesses (two cruise boats, catering, etc.) are doing well, especially considering the economy.
  • "Down Under" things are busy- babies being born, houses being purchased, etc. I think my sister is going there next summer for a visit.
In other news...
  • For practical and financial reasons, Camp is now jointly owned by "the kids." Basically, if Dad can live at home for another five years, it can never be seized as an asset to help pay for his care. A permanent foundation is in the near future and there is some talk of putting in at least enough electricity to make it easier for Dad to be there. A new dock, and what form it will take, is under discussion.
  • I drove by Gram's house on the way into Boston last fall and it was really odd to think of somebody else living there after 50 (60?) years, seeing their stuff on the porch and in the yard, etc.. Nicky's, on the other hand, is still the same and still DELICIOUS!
As for me: I'm here. More good days than bad- far more good ones if I'm honest about it. Work is fine, keeping the soccer website running is a lot of work but worth every minute of it, other than wishing I had somebody special to share all of this with, I can't complain.

I really hope this didn't sound like one of those typed out and photocopied "Year End" letters people send to their friends- I hate those!

Questions?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

How did I not know this?

It turns out that for four years of my life I lived with in a twenty minute drive of the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Now I live two hours away.

Damn.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Seriously?!

If you know me at all, you know that in certain ways I can be completely oblivious to what is going on around me while, at the same time, not missing anything in other ways.

Okay, that was horribly worded, but I hope it made sense nevertheless.

Anyway, I know the following things about my blog.

1. I know there is one person who checks it regularly.
2. I know there is one person who checks it occasionally...or at least used to.
3. I know there is another person who used check it occasionally...and may still.

What these people have in common is that I have had some kind of relationship with them in the past/present.

What I did not know is that I have two "followers" of my blog! That's right, people I don't know who have chosen to follow my blog. Perhaps this will be enough of a boost to me to post here more frequently!

Oh, and to those two people- "HELLO!"

Dreams 2.0

What's even odder- to me at least- about having dreams about the same person over and over again is that even when said person isn't in my dreams, the dreams take place in the same setting.

I have no idea what to make of that. None at all.