Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Willie Sutton would laugh

So today 5 banks were robbed in NYC, prompting news articles and even a piece on NPR's All Things Considered. The media is pointing fingers to the economy and the lost jobs around the holidays. 5 banks is surely the sign of financial meltdown, or the sinister return of high crime numbers to plague Gotham.


There is a reason why people should not fear a return to lawlessness with an uptick in bank robberies nationwide (Up 54% in New York City this year.) Because my friends robbing a bank in the City of New York is easier than robbing a pizza place on the corner. I don't want to give away trade secrets, but here are the items needed to rob a bank in the early 1900's:
  • Revolver
  • Mask (Preferably Lone Ranger Style)
  • Dynamite for safe
  • Multiple accomplices to watch people/guards (Preferably dim witted family)
  • Horse
Items needed in 2008?
  • Ballpoint Pen
  • Something to write on with above pen
  • Baseball Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Metrocard
These are all "note jobs", which means perp walks into bank and scrawls "Give me UR $$, I hav a bumb" on a deposit envelope and a smiling woman behind counter hands him money. Sometimes it's not a lot (couple hundred) and sometimes it is (couple thousand). But how can the perp be angry. He just used a pen to defeat bulletproof glass. Because friends, the banks happily give up the cash as it's insured by the Feds. So to them, they would rather lose $1,000 than have their guard tackle the guy, sprain his ankle and have the perp sue for $1 million dollars.

But try doing this at your local pizza joint. Walk up to the counter and smile at Sal and give him a note that says "Give me al UR pizzas!" and see what happens. Either:

a) You get your ass beat
b) You get laughed at and then realizing you are serious, see above step

So this isn't another sign of financial armageddon. This is business. And the only people hurt by this is the Precinct C.O. who is being held accountable for an extra robbery in his/her precinct than no one else seems to care about.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Long December

To borrow from the Counting Crows, it has indeed been a long December. I had planned more blogging, but this happened. That storm brought 13 hour days on the night shift for about a week. Followed by damage assessments in communities that I had talked to on the phone but never been to.

Then I flew down to NYC to be with the family for the holidays. I also wanted a week off. This is my first week off this year, so it's nice. And so, I present some holiday thoughts from New York City.
  • My friend Sam made the observation that NYC has plenty of 2 groups of people. First there is incredibly hot women. Now women of Boston don't pout. I personally feel that the women in Boston are beautiful. However walking down Columbus Ave. yesterday I saw more model-like and statuesque women in ten blocks than I had all year prior. The second group is bat-shit crazy people. Like the guy smoking on the subway and talking to himself. You just don't see that in Boston. Totally insane people mixing with the general population so well.
  • I stood on line at the Borders in Columbus Circle yesterday for about an hour. The line winded around the store. No joke. This didn't tell me that our economy is back on track, but instead that New Yorkers are complete procrastinators. I don't think people waited that long to cross the Berlin Wall when it fell. Dumb long.
  • I also realized why people come to this city and flock to Applebee's and Olive Garden. I'll admit I used to see this place packed and think, "Are you people idiots? There's far better Italian food 3 blocks west. " But then I realized that NYC can be a hard place to be an outsider, even sometimes a visitor. Passing all of these small restaurants in the city, you can feel like this guy, standing outside the window. To tourists, even being in New York is the adventure. Meaning that after an exhausting day of jostling and seeing more police cars than exist in their entire state, they look for something a little more comfortable, safe and familiar. Enter the always packed Olive Garden in Times Square.
Merry Christmas to all of you. And sorry for the intermittent posting for this month.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Like a Needle in my Brain

So on the way to work every morning I listen to Morning Edition on NPR. It's got really good coverage. My friend Chuck thinks it's communist radio, and while I will agree that it might be a little left, you can't get more interesting stories in the morning. Also, they have the BBC News on at 9, which is great. They apparently believe in covering news, while our networks have scavenenged our news divisions in the name of entertainment.

However, every 5 months or so, comes an evil time on NPR. Pledge Week. It seems on WBUR that it's been going on for 2 weeks. NPR pledge week is the 6th circle of hell for two reasons. First it interupts the programming. Just when you get into a story, they break and start asking for $$ again. It's disruptive. Secondly, and most importantly, they are awful at it. They seem to guilt you into giving. They talk about how much it costs, but never about how much they want to raise. (I know this is against fundraising mantra.) Also, they banter in small talk, off script, and many of them aren't good at it. They end up saying the same things over and over, which means you have to change the station.

Here's the thing. I gave $100 last drive. I'm all set. So why force me to endure this brain melting tripe. What if they could unlock my radio if I gave, and return me to the programming? Think about it. If you give $50, you buy out of the current pledge week and back to normal NPR. You give $100, you buy out of it for a year. They would make so much money, they could sleep on it. Or use it to wallpaper the studios. I think I'm onto something. Maybe with HD Radio, they could do it. If they can put peanut butter and jelly in the same jar, why the hell we do this?

Monday, December 08, 2008

Looking for that special someone?

It's the holidays, as if the music and the smell of fear from the retailers didn't give it away. And I know many people are thinking of tightening the old purse strings and giving less gifts. I can understand that. However, some of you might be unable to do that because of psycho girlfriends or blood oaths sworn to extended family members by your ancestors on the top of a mountain in the 1300's.

For those of you looking to pick up a little gift, the Mass Turnpike has an idea:

This is a gift certificate to the Mass Pike. I, for the life of me, can't understand who would buy one of these. I saw them advertised on the variable message boards on the way home and thought, "What a terrible gift." I don't mean that people wouldn't like some toll relief, especially as this news breaks. But imagine the look on your loved one's face, when they tear open that envelope to find a MassPike gift certificate. Nothing says "I totally forgot about Christmas because I've been drinking for the past week, and so I pulled into the Natick travel plaza and bought this thing from the FastLane Office."

Remember, shopping is what civilians can do to save the economy and fight the terrorists.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I'm just doing the neutron dance

So I was in sunny Buffalo, NY this past Saturday for my good friend's wedding. If you are unfamiliar with the City of Buffalo, here is the highlight reel:
  • Second largest city in New York.
  • Had a population of around 580,000 people in 1950
  • Currently has a population of around 270,000.
  • The city got screwed when they routed the St. Lawrence Seaway around it, thus cutting it out of the commercial traffic.
Buffalo is like the Detroit of the Northeast. I am staying at the Hyatt, which is the largest hotel in the city. It's a little long in the tooth, and in their defense they are starting a guest room renovation campaign. But the hotel doesn't have to, nor does it, try that hard. The Pittsburgh Penguins stayed here last night. Fox Sports is here for the Bills game tomorrow. They basically have the market as no other major chain is going to build a new large hotel here with the amenities.

I'm currently paying 12 bucks for a sandwich at the hotel bar, which annoys me being that I'm frugal. On the upside, it's Beef on Weck, which is a Buffalo specialty. The bread is kimmelweck, a German bread that has salt on it and is quite tasty. So I take solace in the fact that's it is a good sandwich.

You might be asking yourself, "Why the hell are you eating in the hotel bar? Go out and help the local economy. I was an urban studies major in college, so I believe deeply in helping urban centers. However, when I walk outside the hotel this is what I see:This is Main St. They apparently closed it to vehicular traffic years ago and installed a light rail. This is a decent idea when you have a really bustling downtown and parking is an issue. In Buffalo however, parking is not an issue. And as the City of Poughkeepsie found out, when you have a pedestrian mall that is sparsely visited, people stay away. A lack of people on the streets doesn't seem safe to most people. There are studies done that show the greater proximity you are to other people, even if they're strangers, the safer you feel. As evidenced by the photo, it looks post-apocalyptic.

I will post more photos in a little bit

Thursday, November 27, 2008


So this Thanksgiving, I am giving thanks for two things.
  1. The internet Gods have seen fit to grace this very small town in upstate New York with high-speed internet. And my parents for having the strength and forethought to install it so that I might come up here more often.
  2. My friends and family. Edna Buchanan said "Friends are the family you choose." I have chosen very well if I do say so myself. If you can judge yourself by the company you keep, then this day I am truly thankful.
Hope everyone has a turkey coma.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Day of Community Service

So today I spent time with my Little, Carlton. I think I've talked about him before. In case not, I do Big Brothers. I've been matched with Carlton for about 2.5 years. Yeah I know. He's 11. He has Asperger's, which most people now seem to know something about. It's a high functioning autism. So he's really into certain things like the commuter rail or TV. He is a marketer's dream. I had to eat at Dunkin Donuts for three months straight due to their dumb ass flatbread sandwich promotion. He's also not the best with the social cues and he gets distracted easily. This led to problems early on in the match when we would drive an hour to get somewhere, and he'd want to leave 10 minutes into it. It's gotten a little better.

I called him a few days ago and asked what he wanted to do. The conversation went something like this:
G: Hey Carlton, what do you want to do on Sunday? We could hit up the Museum of Science.
C: Umm. I don't know.
G: We could grab a movie also.
G: So...the museum? Or maybe bowling?
C: We've already gone bowling.
G: I know pal, but we've been together for two and a half years so there's a good chance we might be doing something more than once.
G: So we could do the museum? Maybe shoot pool?
C: Muuhfgdfgsdf
G: You want to shoot pool.
C: Yeah.
G: Great. See you at 1.

So I picked him up and asked where he wanted to go to eat. That's how I found myself at McDonald's in Somerville. We both got the #1, but he got the Large size. The Big Mac seemed to shrink as I got older. It wasn't that big in my hands. As a kid, that sandwich was huge. Now it seems like of small. There was a website on the side of the box where I found this gem. I like how the guy's not wearing gloves. Also, I'll trust Fast Food Nation over the website.

Following this, we went to play pool. There's the place in Somerville that's a throwback to the 50's. Sacco's Bowl Haven. Even the name is awesome. We strolled in there and started a game of pool. I brought my new Nikon to take photos. I was trying to show Carlton how to shoot pool. He was more interested in the camera. All I could think of was his french fried fingers all over the lens. As I predicted, he tired of pool about 8 minutes into the game. Good news is that the Bowl Haven will cut the hourly rate in half, if you happen to bring in a kid who can't concentrate on anything longer than a minute.

We grabbed a coffee and a hot chocolate. He put cream in his hot chocolate and I swear I could hear his arteries hardening. One day I have this fear that I'm going to be walking down the street and some guy is going to kick me in the groin. And as he's standing over me, rolling on the ground, he'll say "I'm Carlton's Primary Care Physician. What the hell were you thinking?" I'll just grimace and realize I deserved that.

Then we went to get my car washed. Not in the actual car wash where you put the vehicle in neutral and it automatically washes, waxes and dries. No, the kind with the bays and the high pressure hoses where you put the tokens in and do it yourself.

This seemed like a good idea.

It was about 28 degrees today. Carlton has this incredible ability to spray the water on me and not the car. And then he's yelling at me that we have 1 minute left and the car is still covered in soap. So I sprinted around the car trying to rinse it all off and the water cuts off just after I finish. I pry my frozen digits off the handle of the pressure washer and just sit in the car soaked, shivering and staring at my lifeless hands. He then wants to know where to next.

Then my friends we went to the library. I forgot how much I loved the library. Good books, quiet people reading, some smelly sleeping old people. But they have everything. I picked up 1776 and the Lonely Planet guide to Croatia. Libraries are indeed awesome places that are truly deserving of our tax dollars. It also enabled me to thaw out. Thank you Somerville Public Library.

And then I took Carlton home. 3.5 hours of concentrated mayhem. I love it. If you're interested at all, Big Brothers is always looking for Bigs. Check out this site. Big Brothers and Big Sisters

Monday, November 10, 2008

Just because you have the right....

Sweet Jesus.

Proving that while we all have the right to vote, perhaps some of us might want to read a damned pamphlet or something before heading down to the local polling place.

Not so bling

So on Friday I went to get some cash out of the machine and found that I only had around $205 dollars in my checking account, which when you add it to my savings means that I've got about $613. This means, that unlike the man pictured below, I am having some current liquidity issues.

My friends, I'm not broke. I am putting plenty of money away in the state's deferred comp plan which is good. Especially if you like flushing money down the drain. I swear that I'm going to open my statement from them one day soon and find a bill. I wonder if our fund manager has put all of our money into cash. Though knowing the state, it's probably in Zimbabwean Dollars, which the current rate is 1 USD to 22,410,101,039,302,100 ZWD. No joke. Look it up. Try and buy a candy bar there without an armored car. Impossible. How could you buy an armored car?
Wait for it....

I think I just blew your mind.

So I went to Costco this weekend to buy paper goods and razor blades and a Bond DVD. First of all, my shopping cart alone is probably 10 acres of rain forest. I felt really bad. But do you know how much razor blades cost? Yes, I have the Gillette Fusion. And yes, it's as good as the Mach 4, and yes that was just as fine as the Mach 3. But you try and find Mach 3 blades.

$40 for 16 blades? Are you kidding me? It's not like Heidi Klum is shaving me. Or as if each blade lasts for like 1 month. This my friends is known in business circles as "loss-leader" marketing. You sell the razor for cheap, knowing you're going to hose them on the blades. And it works like a charm. I also have come to loathe companies like HP who give away inkjet printers only to soak me on the ink. Some guy suggested buying razors on Ebay. And looking there, there do appear to be some deals, so maybe my cheap ass should check the internet more often.

Enjoy the holiday if you have it off tomorrow. Whether you do or don't, remember to thank a veteran, for doing what many of us are to chickenshit to do.

Friday, November 07, 2008

What President Obama will bring....

So with the election being over, and history being made, I found some videos that some of you may have seen. I saw the speech on Tuesday night and I will admit that there were some tears. I think the history of it, plus a speech that was poignant combined to make a powerful moment in history.

Now in this video, I'm sure the woman meant that with Obama in office, times will be better and and she will find it easier to pay her financial obligations. I'm sure however that conservatives, freshly stung from the McCain loss, might have a different view. I'm sure some of my friends are right now nodding and saying they knew it.

And this clip addresses that new outlook in a world with Obama, and the worst fears realized for the conservatives. Very well done. Enjoy the weekend people.
Get the latest news satire and funny videos at 236.com.

Monday, November 03, 2008

My Brain is Bleeding

I'm sitting in grad school class and I am secretly hoping someone bombs the building I'm in. This is the class where I get read to like a 5 year old. I find it easily worth 3 grand a class. On the upside, it's hot in here and I might fall asleep soon.

I like grad school. Or I did when I began 2.5 years ago. Full of vigor and energy. Wanted to shake my brain free of the cobwebs. (If I look up and stop typing every once in a while, the professor thinks I'm taking notes. HAAA!) It turns out there are probably more cobwebs in my brain now than there were.

Most of the people in this class are pretty good. However there are some who I think have no one to speak to all week long until they get to grad school. They just prattle on and on with little to nothing relevant to the class they are in. It's these kids that annoy me. Because they are mostly kids. Most adults here, and I'd put myself in that category, are paying for this course and as such have the decency to keep relevant comments on the table.

See there he is...the kid to the left of me keeps his hand raised for like 20 minutes. All social convention would tell you to lower your hand. But not this kid. Now he's prattling on about Republican government. And Congress. And Tom Delay. No one cares. SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP! I wish I could use my mind to make his head explode. Now he's quoting Farenheit 9/11. I think he probably talks to himself in the mirror a lot. Probably used to touch himself more than your average bear too.

I weep on the inside.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Lone Star Thoughts

So I recently returned from a week of training in College Station,Texas. It was really good training on incident management. I won't bore you with the details, but incident management is basically the system used since the 70's to control wildland fires in California. So when you visit Southern California and its not a pile of embers, you should thank the Incident Command System. If you want to bore the hell out of yourself, you can go here for more info.

Some thoughts:
  • As I was driving to Logan Airport, I drove passed a billboard that I couldn't understand. WHOCANISUE? I didn't quite get it. Until I went to the website. WhoCanISue.com. How repelling is this concept? The website will allow you to plug in things that have happened and will then allow lawyers to call you who will offer to sue the crap out of anyone. Because remember, nothing is your fault. It's all the responsibility of someone else. And you can get money from them.
  • The flight down was pretty uneventful. Except for the fact that I got to ride in one of these. This my friends is a Continental Saab 340. A 2 turboprop beauty that seats around 40 people. Quite uncomfortable and super loud.
  • My first night down there I ate dinner at a place called Cheddar's. They had a chicken alfredo dish that was the size of my head for $5 bucks. Texas might be the only place where my salary is actually a living wage.
  • As usual, the people I got meet down there were the best part of the trip. A fire chief from suburban Chicago, some awesome firefighters from Burbank, CA and a sheriff's deputy from a county in Ohio. Good times and good laughs, and a bunch of stand-up guys.
  • We went out our final night to a bar called Dixie Chicken for food. Pitchers of beer were $5 and bottles were $2. It was the kind of place that had a sign proclaiming that fighting was punishable by a $300 fine. Oh yeah. We followed that with a trip to Hurricane Harry's, a country bar/club. This is where I saw the 2-step in full force. Hundreds of couples, in costume, dancing the 2-step. It was very different. Much slower than I'm used to.
  • I met a woman whose leanings were so far right that she was almost left. Her husband was dressed as Obama Hood (Stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.) I enjoyed that were were different and could talk. Until she mentioned that she hated Fox News because it was too liberal. She wished it was 100% conservative as opposed to 97.5% I guess. I was pretty sure we had nothing to talk about after those words left her lips.
And now I'm back home in Beantown. Currently watching an awful movie called P2, which apparently exclusively takes place on the second level of a NYC office building parking garage. It immediately opened up with more plot holes than Howard the Duck. It pains me even to keep watching. This movie is awful.

Monday, October 20, 2008

It's like a Ukranian fighting cartoon

So I'm going to bed shortly, as I am tired and was feeling a little under the weather today. Though thanks to a colleague's grandson's 2nd birthday this past weekend there was a bunch of leftover food she brought in. Allow me to explain that free food or anything free to a state worker means we must have it. You could seriously leave a flaming bag of dog crap on the reception desk with a sign that said "FREE" and someone would take it home, burning all the way, and then step on it outside their door.

I was trolling Fark and came across this video gem. I'm sure this guy actually could kick my ass in a street fight. But something about his sound effects while doing the moves made me laugh so hard I was crying. Enjoy or don't, you humorless bastards.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Dear Colleague

I have learned over the few years I've been doing this that having a blog can be a dangerous thing. On the one hand, I want people to read it and enjoy it and feed the attention whore complex that all bloggers have. On the other, I don't want too many people to read it, as I never really take it seriously and enjoy the freedom to say things without the world and my employer going over it with a fine tooth comb. So I shy away from politics. Except for today.

If you don't live in Massachusetts, feel free to skip ahead to another blog or post on mine

On the ballot next month, in addition to choosing the next President, there will be 3 ballot questions. One of them deals with legalizing small amounts of marijuana. The other deals with banning greyhound racing, The third one would repeal the state income tax. I don't care if you want to smoke weed while sitting on a greyhound, but you can't vote to repeal the income tax.

A folk singer has championed this cause saying that not only will there be less government waste if this passes, but you will get around 1600 bucks. This was later proven to be around 800 bucks or possibly less if you're not a millionaire.

The state income tax currently makes up about 40% of the state's budget. And in that 40% is some stuff we can't not pay, like debt obligations and medicaid/medicare and pensions. So then you have a much smaller amount of money that you'd be able to cut totally. In return for 3 dollars a day in your pocket, you would get the privilege of standing in line at the Registry of Motor Vehicles for 5 hours because they're now only open 1 day a week. Or you could watch as your property tax goes through the roof to make up for the loss in income.

Let's be honest. If this passes, the Legislature is not just going to swallow it and not find cash elsewhere. The sales tax will go up, property tax will go up. Fees will increase, and services will decrease. I'll just come out and say it. If you vote to repeal the income tax in MA, you're a moron. And I'm not saying this as a state worker fearing for his job. I'm saying this as a guy who has a base understanding of public finance and is getting his MPA. It doesn't make sense.

I'm getting high with the greyhounds if this thing passes. And if you think it won't, just read the comments section in the Herald. These people think this is a good idea to clean up waste. I weep for the future. Vote No on 1.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Joys of Cooking

So this past weekend, I got to sample some of my Mom's cooking for Columbus Day Weekend which inspired me to cook some more in the kitchen. I would have taken video, but the camera kind of died, so no bueno.

Tonight I went to the grocery store and got the ingredients for Smoky Chipotle and Cheddar Mac. The recipe is from here. It seemed easy and so I made it, even though it was on Rachel Ray's show.

Verdict: Christ it took a long time. I had three separate pots going. I was shredding cheese and chopping onion and watching pasta and chorizo. It was exhausting. In the end, I have a crap load of pasta. The sauce is a little watery. I don't have enough cooking knowledge to know how that happened. I think it should have been thicker. Maybe I needed to use more hips when I was making it. No clue.

I'll be eating this for the next 4 days. Which is good as my routine 30K service at the Toyota dealer cost around 600 beans. No wonder Toyotas never need work done. None of the owners bring them in. Just when I think I'm saving a little...they pull me back in.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

This is what breaks your heart

So last Wednesday in New York City, an EDP, job parlance for an Emotionally Disturbed Person, was out on the second floor of a building in Brooklyn, naked and swinging a florescent light tube at cops. Before you start getting funny about how harmless a light bulb can be, those guys aren't paid to get hit with light bulbs. The decision was made to hit him with the Taser, which shoots small barbs that can transmit electricity. The guy fell 10 feet, landed on his head, and died. A fluke.

The city came out immediately against the situation and the Lt. in charge was stripped of his gun and shield, which is perhaps the lowest point you can get to as a cop. And so it brought me incredible sadness to read this.

Police Lieutenant in Taser Case Commits Suicide

Just so you know there will be no department funeral for this man. He could have saved hundreds of lives over his 20 plus years on the job, but the city looks the other way with suicides. They're dirty and not to be spoken of. He wrote a note that said that he wanted his kids to be proud of him and not see him in handcuffs. We had an officer kill himself with his firearm in my precinct. There was no procession of motorcycles or thousands of cops to send him off. We had the 130 guys we worked with, his family, and one helicopter that our boss was able to get because he was head of the Emerald Society.

This is a huge issue. It hit a head in the NYPD in 1995, when 2 officers were killed in the line of duty and 15 committed suicide. I'll get off my soap box. I'll just say tonight to the family of Lieutenant Mike Pigott, I extend my sympathies and condolences. Your kids should be very proud of you, and a city should be thankful and sorrowful. Rest easy.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sprinting by Little Roundtop

If you only have 4 minutes to learn about the battles of the Civil War, you are so damned lucky I found this.

Thank me later.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Nice knockers. Why sank you, Doctor!

I went this morning to Mass General to get checked out and I got my mammogram. Well, both sides so I'm not sure if that counts for two. At any rate, there's no cancer. Or anything troubling. That's good. And even though this blog is rarely serious, it was sobering sitting in a living room filled with women, some of whom were there to get treatments for the breast cancer they currently had.

The mammogram: Brothers, if you ever have one of these, just know one thing. It hurts more than it does for women. I know you're thinking "But they have bigger breasts, most times!" And this is true. The machine squeezes your breast to get the image and that isn't comfortable. But what's downright painful is the chest hair issue. I don't have to shave my back or anything, but I have chest hair, and apparently hair is the enemy of clean images. So the tech kept moving it out of the way of the glass to perfect the image. This took a little while and she was wearing latex gloves and it felt like she was ripping them out one at a time. But it was done soon enough and I was off to see the doctor.

The consult: The resident came in to see me and told me it was probably gynocomastia, which is apparently the default diagnosis if you don't have anything but can sometimes feel things. This can be caused by a lot of things and isn't bad, unless you get a severe case and then you grow breasts like Bob in Fight Club. Rest assured my devoted audience, I'm not growing breasts. Though the pamphlet the doctor gave me is titled Gynecomastia: When Breasts form in Males, which I thought was probably the funniest title for a health pamphlet I'd ever heard of. You can read that thrilling article here. She also said it could be caused by gonadal injury and asked if in the last year I'd had severe trauma to my testicles. I had to answer no to that one also.

So feel free to e-mail if you have any questions. It turns out most of my female friends hadn't had a mammogram yet either. So I'm really a cross-gender pioneer.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

This life will be a long 15 minutes it seems.

So yesterday, unbeknownst to most of my normal readers, my post about the mammogram was picked up by UniversalHub, which is a Boston site that trolls blogs looking for interesting stuff. They apparently liked my line about bringing a toolbelt to the doctor's office. So I went up on their site. Then Boston.com, the homepage of the Boston Globe picked it up from them and my excerpt was at the bottom right of the homepage.

My hitcount looks like this:
Sunday: 15
Monday: 445
Tuesday: 37

I had a minor heart attack when I saw that there were all these random people reading the blog as I wondered just what I've talked about the last year or two. That's the strange thing about this blog I guess. So for those of you who came back looking for insightful humor, move along. Nothing to see here. I will post an update after my boob gets squished on Friday.

Have a good night party peoples.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I'm a breast man

So I went to my doctor for the annual/every so often physical We're talking and doing the normal exam, and then she starts touching my chest. I'm used to this from the ladies. She says she feels it feels ropey. I have no idea how I spell that word. I was shocked she didn't say it felt like cottage cheese and peanut butter. I'll take ropey anyday. I should mention that my doctor works in a womens health practice. Which means that there are all women doctors, but there's only 15% male patients. So the waiting room magazines suck.

So she want to refer me to a breast specialist and she tells me that I will be the only guy in that waiting room. I'm thinking of wearing a toolbelt and pretending to fix one of the heat ducts until I'm called. So I got called and on Friday I have a mammogram. I should tell those concerned readers that my doctor is super cautious and I figure if it's only another $15 dollar copay, why not. The stories alone will be worth it. And male breast cancer is really rare. Almost as rare as the Patriots going to the Super Bowl behind Matt Cassel.

So apparently they squeeze your boobs for the x-ray. Dear reader, I am not Michael Phelps, but I'm not like the guy in the photo up top either. There's not a whole lot of boobs to squeeze. I have no idea how they're going to do it. Stay tuned for the updates. My family has been kind enough to give me some awesome stuff, like shelter, food, and a history of cancer, so I have to be a little careful.

Hope everyone had a great weekend. Have I told people not to go to grad school? If not, then don't. At least not part-time.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Lessons for the Kids in the Sticks

So I'm watching TV and there's a commercial for a Pizza Hut product called the P'zone. The website for this awfulness is located here. They also have this video of the P'Zone eating contest. My favorite parts of the video are the announcing by International Federation of Competitive Eating (IFOCE) President Richard Shea who always wears a straw boater, and the moron from Pizza Hut trying to explain what a P'Zone is.

Listen up and listen good. If you're buying this, it means you aren't in a city nor do you live anywhere near a pizza place. If you did, then you would buy a calzone. Not only would you be getting something homemade, but you'd be helping out local business. Never mind the fact that any decent Italian would never be caught dead ordering anything called a P'Zone. Or bringing Momma from the old country to Olive Garden. Or be caught saying that Godfather Part 3 should ever have been made. Don't encourage these people.

Personally I prefer a good stromboli, but that's just me.

Friday, September 12, 2008

All Gave Some. Some Gave Soup.

Quite touching. I hope Montu had nothing to do with this.

Thanks to the Consumerist for this find.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The cold has arrived

Yes superfans,

I have a cold which means that I am spending waaay too much money at CVS on cold remedies that don't work. My cholesterol test came back and I'm looking good there. This seems like it can't be right. But I'm not going to jinx it.

I took the day sick today thinking I'd rest up and get some grad school work done. But then I slept for 12 hours and shot that plan in the foot. So I should be back to work tomorrow. The terrorists will no doubt have noticed I wasn't at my desk today and feel that we are weak. I will foil them.

And to the people to Boston, I'm sorry for spitting. I know it's filthy, but I can't help it.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Friday, September 05, 2008

Massachusetts is safe once more

So yesterday at 10AM, having gotten 2 hours of sleep, I was woken up and told that we were being pulled back to MA for then Hurricane Hanna. She's since gotten remarried and changed her name. So I got packed and back on a flight. Got into Boston around 9:30PM and went home. Took a long hot shower and then went to bed.

Don't really know if I'm going to be needed this weekend for tropical storm duty. Stay tuned. I'm going to post some photos from my time down in Baton Rouge for people. Give me a sec. I've got laundry and a lot of sleep still on my plate.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Not sure what day it is...

So I'm on my 11th cup of coffee tonight and I'm pretty sure I'm hitting that wall. It's happens around 4AM, no matter what you do. This coffee isn't very good. But it's coffee. These days all seem to blend together, which makes it somewhat easier. It doesn't feel like I've been here that long as I've only been working and sleeping .

The motel room has cable TV which is down except for Channel 2, which comes in fuzzy. Don't ask me how I get one channel on a cable system and not others. I think Channel 2 must have paid extra to Cox Cable to insure they stayed on after a hurricane. Some businesses are slowly opening up. I saw the Jack In the Box open near where I'm working. Might have to stop by there at some point.

I was so looking forward to breakfast yesterday morning. All they had was some undercooked bacon, sausage patties and bananas and strawberries. It was odd, but at least we have food and power so I'm not complaining too much. I need to walk down the hall and get some more coffee shortly.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Rental Cars are not my thing

So some good news:

There doesn't appear to be much loss of life. The power outages and trees down and street flooding are the major issues. Most parishes (Louisiana's version of a county) are allowing people back tomorrow. New Orleans is allowing residents back on Thursday. The power came back on at my motel, which is a good thing. I might even have cable soon, but as long as there is a/c I'm not pushy. I'm hot bunking with my friend Sam who's in from California and working days.

Bad news:

Handed off the keys for the rental to my colleague from MA and he proceeded to hydroplane into a teammate of ours from Delaware, thus rendering the Kia Spectra undriveable. And thus leaving us strapped for a rental. He's fine though which is all that really matters.

Work goes along. I feel out of the loop in this corner of the world, my little EMAC office. I had to hear from a friend that Sarah Palin was the VP candidate for McCain. I hope to be home soon. Maybe the end of the week? Not quite sure. I'm happy to see that midnights are agreeing with me. Nothing to do here during the time off anyway.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

All is well. Remain calm

So the storm blew in and out with a vengance. I've taken some photos but not that many. Mostly because I've been either working or sleeping. And I'm working in a cube which looks a lot like your cube and so it's not that exciting methinks.

So today I parked the car and walked into work, handed the keys to the guy I was relieving and he left an hour later. He came back in to tell me I had to come look at the car. It turns out this thing had been blown from it's parking space into the back of the rental car.

This is a file photo. I hope that some of the photos that my colleague took came out. This is a rollover simulator. Police put a dummy in the seat and then the car spins around with and without a seatbelt to illustrate the dangers of not buckling up. This trailer had pinned my rental car into it's spot while taking some paint off the bumper. I normally would find this very amusing that a trailer promoting driving safety had hit my car, but I remembered this exchange.

Smiley Guy at Enterprise counter: You want insurance on the car, Chief?*
Dumb Yankee: No. I have it on my credit card I think.

The one time. Bastards. I'll call Enterprise today after I get some more sleep. The hotel I'm in is probably still without power. Shaving in the dark can be a little challenging. I'm warning Hanna to back off and stay in the ocean where she belongs.

* For some reason here, a number of guys here have called me "Chief", "Boss", "Captain", and other terms. It's really odd. But not as odd as the habit of people calling women here "Miss" followed by their first name. As in "Oh, you need to talk to Miss Debbie." Strange I tell you.

Monday, September 01, 2008

This is some impressive wind.

So the storm has made landfall and as I arrived back at the motel, the clouds were moving fast. I am going to sleep. Not that I'm not curious, but more I'm really tired. Besides, I'm sure this Days Inn wasn't built by the lowest bidder and can stand the wind speeds of a Cat 3 hurricane.

Maybe I'll sleep under the bed.

In honor of Labor Day, I've decided to work 14 hours straight today.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

That was some good sleep

So party peoples,

I realized I didn't bring the usb cable for the camera which means that you all need to wait until I get back to get any decent photos. Here's what I can tell you....

Got on a plane in Boston yesterday at 1:15PM, got to Baton Rouge through Houston around 7PM. Was told to report to the Louisiana Emergency Operations Center for a briefing before we went to the hotel. Was then assigned the night shift, no briefing, and worked until 6:30 AM today.

Wait, it gets better. Came to the lovely Days Inn. Which has been rated 43 out of 51 hotels in Baton Rouge. Their computers got fried last night and so they couldn't access any reservations which means they couldn't give me a room because they didn't know which ones were vacant. At this point, I was so tired I contemplated either sleeping in the lobby on the floor or walking up and down Airline Highway singing Ethel Merman songs. I ended up sleeping in my co-worker's room who was on the opposite shift I was.

Woke up an hour ago. The manager gave me a room and was very nice. I was actually impressed at the system of hand-written papers and notes she had. This hotel is completely full. Mostly of evacuees, but also responders.

The scene down here isn't really chaotic, yet. More of a controlled urgency. However, we haven't had landfall yet. I'll write more when I can. I haven't done the late shift for this long since 2004 as a cop. The sleep patterns come back. A cold, dark room is all I need.

My eyes hurt.

It's 5 AM. We landed at 7PM last night, came to the Louisiana State EOC for a quick briefing, and then I've been working here since then. My fleabag hotel will feel like the Ritz. I need a bed badly.

At least the Globe thinks I'm an official.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

What do you pack for a deployment?

So I'm leaving for Baton Rouge in a few hours. Surprisingly there's no direct flight from Boston. I'm trying to keep 13 days of stuff into one suitcase as I have two carry-ons. I really have no idea what I'm walking into. I also am not sure of the dress code, so I packed a bunch of slacks and polo shirts. You can never go wrong with those.

My agency asked if we wanted a satellite phone. I said sure, picturing this:

What I got was a bag so large I could use it for human trafficking. It's huge and has an antenna like this:There's no way I'm not getting stopped by the TSA and strip-searched. I wore cologne today to keep my dignity.

A lot of people are asking what I'm going to be doing down there. Well, I'd like to say that Louisiana is putting me on an oil platform and having me yell at the storm so it gets scared and changes course. However, I'll be working in their State Emergency Operations Center as part of the EMAC A-Team. (Insert B.A. Baracus joke here) From the website:

The Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC), established in 1996, has weathered the storm when tested and stands today as the cornerstone of mutual aid. The EMAC mutual aid agreement and partnership between member states exist because from hurricanes to earthquakes, wildfires to toxic waste spills, and terrorist attacks to biological and chemical incidents, all states share a common enemy: the threat of disaster.

Since being ratified by Congress and signed into law, in 1996, (Public Law 104-321), 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the US Virgin Islands have enacted legislation to become members of EMAC. EMAC is the first national disaster-relief compact since the Civil Defense and Disaster Compact of 1950 to be ratified by Congress.

The strength of EMAC and the quality that distinguishes it from other plans and compacts lies in its governance structure, its relationship with federal organizations, states, counties, territories, & regions, and the ability to move just about any resource one state has to assist another state, including medical resources.

EMAC offers the following benefits:

  • EMAC assistance may be more readily available than other resources.
  • EMAC allows for a quick response to disasters using the unique human resources and expertise possessed by member states.
  • EMAC offers state-to-state assistance during Governor declared state of emergencies: EMAC offers a responsive and straightforward system for states to send personnel and equipment to help disaster relief efforts in other states. When resources are overwhelmed, EMAC helps to fill the shortfalls.
  • EMAC establishes a firm legal foundation: Once the conditions for providing assistance to a requesting state have been set, the terms constitute a legally binding contractual agreement that make affected states responsible for reimbursement. Responding states can rest assured that sending aid will not be a financial or legal burden and personnel sent are protected under workers compensation and liability provisions. The EMAC legislation solves the problems of liability and responsibilities of cost and allows for credentials to be honored across state lines.
  • EMAC provides fast and flexible assistance: EMAC allows states to ask for whatever assistance they need for any type of emergency, from earthquakes to acts of terrorism. EMAC's simple procedures help states dispense with bureaucratic wrangling.
  • EMAC can move resources other compacts can't - like medical resources.

So all of this requires a lot of paperwork and I'm going down there to assist with that. I'm not sure what the internet situation will be down there, but I'll try and provide updates. Hope everyone is enjoying a wonderful Labor Day weekend.

Friday, August 29, 2008

I wanted a real Po Boy

Just found out I'm being sent down to Louisiana for maybe up to 14 days.

Stand by.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bells are Ringing

I was just called by my old partner Will with good news. Tonight he proposed to his girlfriend of 7 years, Andreyina (Nina). She said yes and he called me first to let me know .

Will and I were partners for about 3 and a half years. It doesn't sound like a lot of time, but that time was spent in a car for 8 hours a day about 6 inches from each other. That kind of situation either works really well or really poorly. Fortunately in our case, it worked perfectly. I always tell people that my life in the NYPD was nothing like TV depicts it, except my relationship with my partner. He was across between a brother and a best friend. He is like family to my family and I am to his. It's a relationship I cherish very deeply. So it made it all the more special when he said I was going to be his best man.

For the ladies and curious guys, the Frosty in this post is the vehicle he used to propose. He apparently stuck the ring on the top of the Frosty. This made me laugh as I thought maybe it was going to be at the bottom of a White Castle carton. I'll never forget when I first got a ride home from Will when we carpooled from work. We stopped by McDonalds and proceeded to eat it on an overpass over the BQE. When we got done, he asked "You finished?" and then took my trash and opened the window and flung it out onto the street. "Welcome the the 9-0*", he said, and then put the car in gear and drove me home. Something told me then, this would be the start of something really special.

Congrats Will and Nina. Your kids will be super short.

* The 90 is the 90th Precinct, that covers Williamsburg. All Precincts higher than the 19th are called by their individual numbers. For example, 2-8, and not 28th. Trust me on this.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Oh My God

The Amish guy just said the ravens were sick because of as he said in Amish-accented English(?), "The Mad Cow Disease."

I'm watching this mostly because I've seen the SVU episode already. Nurse sister kills her brother who ran the home nursing aide business. Sister ends up being the serial killer.

TV moments

So I was going to be productive today. Had plans to maybe buy some new sunglasses or go out to dinner with a friend. Instead, three letters stopped my plans dead in their tracks.


7 hour marathon.

It's really an incredible show and mostly realistic. The real SVU actually spends most of their time talking to kids who claim one of their parents touched them as a way to get back at them for not letting them borrow the car, or grounds them for a weekend. Also, they don't work through the night. A little known fact is that the Detective Squads in the precincts go home at 1AM. Then Nightwatch takes over. Nightwatch you say? Why isn't there a show about these nocturnal investigators? It's because they only take the cases until 8AM when the Precinct Squads come back in. It's because you lose leads if you wait hours before working the case, so these guys essentially collect info and the drop the case back on the desks of the other Squad Guys.

Currently on Sci-Fi is the made for TV movie Kaw, about evil ravens who terrorize a school bus holding a sports team. It's like The Birds but with a better title and Amish people for some bizarre reason. By the way, this Amish guy has the worst accent and beard I've ever seen.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Better or Worse....Better or Worse

So I went to the eye doctor this morning for my biennial checkup. I have amblyopia and an astigmatism in my right eye, which in english means I can't get laser surgery. It also means my parents are horrible people who didn't get me checked out when I was a baby. But let bygones be bygones I say. So this means that once every few years, or whenever I want new glasses, I have to get them checked.

There are two games the eye doctor plays with you. The first one is when they put the drops of yellow stuff in your eye to dilate them. This renders you completely incapable of seeing anything close to you. Or as I call this game, "Race to finish the Newsweek before it all becomes blurry." I always lose this game. And my work e-mails suffer as well. Another byproduct of this is that you become like a vampire when you go outside because your eyes take in every bit of bright sunlight there is. They do offer to give you these disposable sunglasses which go over the regular glasses. However once you see them in the mirror, you are inclined to kick your own ass.

The second game they call involves this medieval device.I can't believe that in 2008, we still do exams with something that looks like it came out of Dr. Emmet Brown's laboratory. (Points if you name the movie) So you end up squinting at letters that are terribly fuzzy and the doctor moves these lenses around and asks, "Better or worse?" And he does this about 50 times. Halfway through, you're squinting and trying to read and also trying to wonder if there's any difference at all between these damned lenses, so you just start making things up. I mean it's obvious that there's not this one lens which makes my vision perfect so if I screw up a little bit then my eyes will only be a little bit worse.

So I got the new prescription and will probably get sunglasses, but actual sunglasses and not these God awful things. Or this nerd paradise either.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


So I'm back and I have to post other thoughts on my trip to Ireland, but thought I'd share a slideshow of some selected photos from my time there. Chew on this while I get over the jet lag and get back to the commentary.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Thoughts from Ireland

I'm over here for the week, taking some great photos and enjoying Guiness's home court advantage. Here are some thoughts:

  • I keep looking the wrong way when I'm crossing the street. It won't be long before I'm hit by one of those double decker buses.
  • Black and White pudding isn't pudding. I'm not sure what it is, and if you know don't tell me. I have a feeling it's like Lamb Fries from Funny Farm.
  • The women here are beautiful. Maybe it's the lilting accent or the pale complexion with the raven dark hair. I think they're just being nice to the dumb American.
  • Watching the Olympics from a Great Britain point of view is weird. I've never seen Badminton on in primetime before.
  • The train crossings here stay down for a long time before a train goes by. I mean like at least 5-7 minutes. This wouldn't stand in America as we're impatient bastards.
  • Something about seeing an Oscar Wilde play in Ireland is cool.

Off to the Horseshoe bar and to meet a bloke for an interview.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

I'll miss that sum-uma-bitch

So interspersed in the news about Edwards having an affair with a fairly unattractive woman, Georgia and Russia starting a war, and a tourist getting killed in China was this sad story.

Bernie Mac died this morning. He was 50 years old. His hometown paper has a write-up.

I found this clip from the Kings of Comedy tour. He was by far the best one of the four. "I took a hammer and I slapped the fuck out of him." Best line ever.

Rest in peace Bernie.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Good move

Guess what ad campaign Greyhound Canada had to pull today?

In case, you don't know why they had to pull it, a public safety reminder not to fall asleep on the midnight bus through Manitoba. Unless you have a headache.

Monday, August 04, 2008

They should be ashamed

There was a movie made in 2006 with Donald Faison and Jamie-Lynn Sigler about a black guy who was raised by an Italian family his whole life. Then he meets his real parents and has to learn how to be "black." Now as if this train wreck wasn't enough, the title is perhaps one of the most wonderfully awful things I've heard in a long, long time.

I give you the trailer for Homie Spumoni.

No, I'm not kidding.

I have been shamed

So this morning I went to the dentist for the 6 month check-up. I go to Gentle Dental which is a chain up in Boston. This is fine except everytime I come in I get "Last time you were here, you were seen by Dr. Glebman. He's now in charge of our Braintree office/He was locked up for that thing with the kids you may have seen in the papers. I'm Dr. WhocaresbecauseI'mblowingthispopstandsoon."

So after the guy stuck his fingers in my mouth and told me I had no cavities I got my cleaning. This is where I noticed the hygienist using more gauze than usual and the suctiony thing too. I was apparently bleeding like a Tarrantino movie. Why? Not enough flossing. And as she explained last time, when you don't floss your gums recede and then your teeth fall out of your head. So make sure you floss out there. Very important.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Real Laughter, Real Pizza and Real Thunderstorms

Greetings from Gotham, 

I arrived in New York late last night for a weekend wedding of one of my high school circle of friends.  Got in just late enough to have a glass of sangria with the boys and their significant others.  I'd like to give a shout-out to the Wendy's in Rocky Hill, CT.  Yes Wendy's, you decided to hire a guy for the front register who was either severely brain damaged or had his body ravaged by years of drug and alcohol abuse.  This basically meant that he moved at slow motion.  Which normally I wouldn't mind, but I was racing the old GPS estimate of when I'd get in and I could just see that clock ticking upwards as he looked for lids for some lady's chili.  

But I've been ensconced in my parent's place mostly due to the torrential rain, need to iron before the wedding, and some infomercials that were pretty choice.  I heard from a reader last night that I don't blog too often.  And she has two kids, so I guess there's no excuse.  Sorry Aloha.  I'll do better I promise.  

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Careful on the GIS

So tonight I screened the classic "Boys from Brazil" with Gregory Peck and Lawrence Olivier. If you don't know this book or movie, the skinny is that Mengele who was alive and on the lam when the movie came out cloned Hitler 94 times. And there were little Adolphs around the world who were growing up. The movie has everything: fine actors, Nazis, and Steve Guttenberg.

Check it out if you haven't seen it. Worth a look see. However when I was using the Google Image Search to find the poster art you see above, that's not all it came up with. You might imagine that if you search for Boys from Brazil, that perhaps in the internet land that other people might have different needs. Like this photo for example.Stay classy San Diego.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Manundrum #2

So my apologies for the infrequent blogging, grad school started back up for a summer semester and while there's been tons of stuff to write about, I didn't get to it.

This is the second in the Manundrum series, which basically are conundrums for the male species. My last one was on choosing jams or jellies. This one concerns...Shampoo. I stopped in to the local Walgreens to grab some deodorant and shampoo and was once again paralyzed in an aisle.

First, I'm a guy and therefore I don't buy conditioner separate. I appreciate the helpful properties of conditioner, but I don't like how it works. When I use stand alone conditioner it feels like it's not out of my hair after 10 rinses, so my showers take longer. This means either I want just shampoo or a 2 in 1 product. Sadly, that market was started by these guys, and I'm tired of this shampoo. The smell makes me sick given my years of Pert use. And don't I deserve a shampoo that smells of guava and elderberries?

Second, how many damn problems do people have with their hair. I'm looking at these bottles and I see:
  • Dry hair: I don't get this. Isn't this why you shower? Take more showers.
  • Oily hair: It should say for Hippies and Persons Driving their Camaros to the Jersey Shore.
  • Damaged Hair: This confuses me? Was your hair in a tragic industrial accident? Did you fall asleep in the sun for 3 days while vacationing in the Mojave?
  • Anti-Frizz: I get this. Not for me, but if you have any Jewish friends, you might need to tame the Jewfro at some point.
  • Volumizer: How does this work? Is this like steroids for your hair? And what happens when your stylist rats on you in front of Congress?
WHERE IS THE GODDAMN SHAMPOO THAT CLEANS MY HAIR AND MAKES IT SMELL NICE? I don't have any of these problems above, and if I did I'd never know.

I settled on some Herbal Essences thing that magically combines shampoo and conditioner and doesn't smell like industrial cleaner. So I'm a happy man. This is proof once again that being a girl is much tougher.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

It is true, Ithaca is Gorges

So this weekend was a busy one.

My high school friends were gathered in Charlottesville, VA to drink and be merry and celebrate the engagement of my friend Waka. He's the guy who does Lunch Box. Or used to do it once paying acting gigs came in. I missed them truly.

However, I had a higher purpose this weekend as I was off with some college friends to Ithaca, NY to gather at a lake house and remember our friend Erin who died in Ithaca 4 years ago. We drank a lot of beer and had some good conversations, which I think is what Erin would have wanted. The drive is about 6 hours from my place and my friend Steve and I started in Marshfield to see my friend Montu's baby, Kieran. Montu took a photo, and I'll caption it before I post it and you tell me if you think I'm dead on."

Steve from Quincy and Graham from Somerville have waited 6 years for this day. Their marriage was the first step on a journey to fatherhood with the adoption of their son Kieran.Christ. The funny thing was that Montu's wife was like girls love photos of guys with babies. However, I'm pretty sure this photo won't help on that front. And for the record, I'm holding Kieran's hand.

So Ithaca was great and got to see a 5 college friends who I don't get to see often enough. And we got to have dinner with Erin's parents. They were as happy that we were there as we were to be there, so it worked out well.

I decided I want a digital SLR camera. My friends Kate and Nick had an awesome Nikon and I felt like photographer even though the $700 camera was doing all the work.

That is a terrible photo.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Tale of Two Buses

So this post will have me comparing and contrasting two bus lines. I had occasion to take the on a quick jaunt down to NYC recently and here is the update.

Ride Down:

Bolt Bus
Trip Cost: 18.00
Trip Duration: 5 hours

This is the new bus service that has been started by Greyhound. Shhhh. They don't want you to know it's them. And it promises new buses, fun drivers, free internet and extra room. Well, one out of 4 ain't bad.

The trip began at South Station, the bus terminal for Boston. And this is a bus terminal, filled with people who take the bus, which are the elderly, students, impoverished and mentally ill. The line for the bus queued up and I got my confirmation number which said I was to wait on line A. There was a Greyhound service booth right next to the gate and when people asked the guy wearing the "Ask me about Seat Upgrades!" button on his hat, he went into this whole "I only work here one day a week and no one tells me anything and Bolt Bus is controlled by the driver." Nice work Greyhound. Way to help out.

Get onto the bus and noticed the seats with extra room (for wheelchair passengers) had no power outlets, and I was planning on using the onboard wi-fi. So I sat in a normal seat. The outlet is in the seatback of the aisle seat. I had no seatmate, which is good as I imagine it's odd to have someone else's power adapter right in front of your nose. And let me speak on footrests for a second. You know when I want a footrest? When there's 2 feet of space in front of my feet, not 2 inches. When you don't have a lot of leg room, a foot rest is an obstruction and not a perk. I suppose those 4' asian ladies enjoy it, but me no likey.

The wi-fi didn't work, which didn't please the hipsters with their Iphones. Not at all. The driver said that she didn't know how to work the system. I'm sure that's not in the driver handbook. So here I am sitting in a normal seat, with no internet, and this bus is going slow. I think that Bolt is looking for drivers. And mine must have started a week ago. She didn't quite handle the accelerator with skill, preferring instead to speed up and then hit the brakes when she got going too fast. Everyone passed us. All the other bus companies laughing at us.

Oh! And then we stopped for a food/bathroom break. 20 miles down the goddamn Pike from Boston! What the? I mean if you want to use the toilet, go on the bus. And if you're hungry, then get food in Boston like I did.

Best part of the trip was when she made an announcement halfway through. "Attention passengers. We are going slowly when making left turns because something is wrong with the bus. Right turns are fine but I have to slow down making left turns because I don't want the bus to tip over." That's an exact quote. I was okay with this as I figure that the only thing slower than her driving would be her driving the bus on it's side.

So Bolt, I'll try MegaBus next time. But if that's no good, I'll stick with the bus I took on the way back. I did watch Glengarry on my laptop, which was the highlight of the trip. "What's my name? Fuck you, that's my name."

Ride Back:

Duration: 4 hours
Cost: $89.00

So yes, I'm aware that this is $89.00. Which is a lot of money for a bus. It's 5 times more than the BoltBus. But let's look at the differences.
  • The bus attendant served me a turkey sandwich and then an apple later in the trip. On Bolt I had tuna sandwich that I bought at Cosi. And then it squirted out the bottom and landed all over my shirt. So I looked like a mentally ill bus patron.
  • The driver seeing traffic on the Deegan, got off and took the service road which made me so happy I wanted to hug him. There's a sign against that though.
  • I watched an awful movie called Invasion, which is the remake of Body Snatchers with Nicole Kidman. Blech. Not Limoliner's fault, but they changed the ending and I was not happy. Bolt wins here only because I made the call on the flick. And hearing Jack Lemmon use the words "cocksucker" just makes me smile.
  • And finally, there was functioning internet which means mobile blog posting and Johnny Cash listening.
  • There are footrests that I can use as there is plenty of legroom.
So while it's expensive, they know their business and it's super comfy. Amtrak costs at least $85 one way with no internet or food and plenty of delays. It's $200 r/t if you want to take the Acela. The plane is around $240 r/t. And a tank of gas is around $85 for me right now. So this is less expensive than all those options and I get to relax and do work or not.

As a civil servant, the only first class options I get are the bus. It's a sad statement really.

Where'd he go?

So I was a faithful blogger my whole time down in Paraguay and then I sort of fell off. This happens when things life and laundry get in the way. But how do I not sum up the end of the trip.

So flew business class from Buenos Aires to Miami for a total of 9 hours in heaven. AA is very proud of their new business class. You can see their gushing publicity for it here. Now, the entertainment was broken for a few hours and my reading light didn't work. I find that nowadays when things like this happen, they don't fix them. They instead "reset" the system over and over until it works or not. I don't call this a solution as it seems like something I could do.

However, my biggest distress was that they ran out of the pumpkin risotto. I opted for the lamb with a glass of Malbec. Now mind you that this is a red-eye, so I really just wanted to sleep. At 6'4" the whole extra room thing is a premium. So, here I am pushing the button making the seat lie-flat. Here's what the seat looks like. So now I'm lying flat and it turns out I end up tossing and turning as much as I did in the exit row on the way down. It felt like sleeping in a coffin. I also don't sleep on my back which I think is the way to sleep. So it was not the 8 hours of good sleep I had hoped for, but it was worth it for the service. I have to work on that when traveling to Hong Kong to visit the brother.

So I made it to Miami and my luggage went to Chicago. Though it's not AA's fault, but Tam. Tam is perhaps the worst airline in the Americas. The AA luggage guy was all "Maybe it made the connection and just got put somewhere" and then he saw the Tam baggage claim and actually laughed. I have a thought with lost luggage. I think you should get frequent flier miles for wherever your bag goes. I bet that would stop my bag being sent all over creation.

While at Miami, hung out at the Admirals Club, waiting for the connection. If you fly at least 6 times a year, these clubs are awesome. They offer a haven from the screaming masses. I took a shower at the Miami Admirals Club. That was better than sex.

So I'm back and catching up on all sorts of stuff. Hope all is well with my 4 readers out there.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sweet Baby Jesus

If I have one more piece of meat I might explode.

Bonus points for hearing Neil Diamond telling me that Love on the Rocks ain´t no big surprise this morning as I´m eating breakfast in the hotel lobby.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Buenos Dias

Today, I was on Paraguayan TV. I´m not sure what I said, though I was mindful of international incidents. We were in a city to discuss their preparations for a religious walk in December. And as the leader of this band of raggamuffins, I was chosen to speak.

I have no photos as my camera sucks and therefore I´m waiting for the pictures from my friend´s camera. I´d have no way to download them anyway. Paraguay lost to Bolivia in soccer tonight 4-2, which was heartbreaking for me as a true Paraguayan. They just didn´t have it tonight.

Tomorrow night our interpreter is playing salsa music with his band and we´re going to check it out. Buenos suenos.

I´m sure I screwed that up.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I love this place

So I´m here and well. We had a productive day at work with my counterparts from Paraguay. Yesterday afternoon was the big soccer game between Paraguay and Brazil. So we found ourselves yesterday at a shopping mall across the street from our hotel to watch the game. We made it to the food court on the second floor and it was packed with people waiting for the game to start. Fast forward an hour after some beers and screaming for Paraguay along with hundreds of fans and it was kind of surreal.

But awesome. The people here are very nice and I can sort of speak their language. Sort of. I get into trouble by myself, though they encourage me to give it a shot. And it is the only way I´ll learn.

I´ve eaten more meat in the last 2 days than the previous 2 months. Mucho carne. Off to bed as there´s an early morning tomorrow.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

God Bless the Admiral's Club

So I'm in Buenos Aires, and let me tell you one thing. This airport takes the Sao Paulo Airport out into the street, kicks it's ass and then humiliates it in front of a woman. This was a much better idea to come through here. And I'm lucky enough to be in the Admiral's Club, which is the American Airlines lounge, and so I scored again.

Didn't sleep much on the flight. My neck is killing me and I'm already practicing my spanish. Now if I can survive the next flight, I'll be on the ground in Paraguay. Though with Tam, you never know.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bon Voyage

Aiight. I'm blowing this pop stand. I'm flying out of Boston at around 2 for my trip down to Paraguay. As usual, I was frantically packing this morning. I couldn't find my camera, so I'm bringing my older one. And I have no one to blame but myself.

I'll see about writing quick things from down there. I'm excited.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I'm legit

So it's been hot up in Boston, and in an effort to push my toned body to the limit, I went running yesterday. It was uncomfortable to say the least, but it was good to clear the head and hear the loud super-fast beeping of my heart monitor. I learned a valuable lesson yesterday:

Serious runners don't run in boxer shorts.

I figured this out as I've always run in boxer shorts. If you saw me running, given my outfit, you probably wouldn't even think I was out for a run. You might think I was being chased by one of those early model zombies that walked stiffly. I wear a t-shirt, cotton shorts, sneakers and crew socks. (Thank God I learned not to wear the athletic socks) But the boxer shorts are not conducive to running as most of you probably know.

So, I walked to City Sports, which is a great local chain around here. I told the clerk that I realized that boxers were not the way to go, and she suggested compression shorts. Which are these:

Now obviously, I wouldn't be caught dead in those. I explained perhaps there was something that wouldn't require me to stuff a baked potato into before I go out. She then showed me the running shorts section. These have mesh underwear built inside them. Ahhh....clever. I get it.
However the first pair I looked at were this length:

What the hell is wrong with you people? I'm only trying to stay in shape, not audition for back-up dancer for the Pet Shop Boys. She asked what color I preferred. I told her the way I l looked when I ran it really didn't matter. It's not like any color is going to clash with a wheezing sweaty giant careening from one side of the street to the next. No hot women are going to pass by that guy and think first, "The green was a great color. Brought out his eyes."

So I found a longer length, and got black and blue pairs for a total of $60.

I spent $60 on running shorts. The world is clearly coming to an end. I'm going to try them out tomorrow as today was beyond hot.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Shazbot it's hot.

I actually found myself saying that and then laughing out loud in public. Points to those who know where that first word comes from.

So, this weekend saw me visiting old friends. The oldest was my high school friend Sam and his wife Lizzie. Lizzie is now a Doctor, but hopefully means she won't insist on being called "Tha Doc" like Nichols. So good seeing them. Finally watched The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. The movie is almost as long as the title, but good soundtrack and a nice job from Casey Affleck which shows where the talent went in that family.

Saturday saw me down in Poughkeepsie, NY to celebrate the nuptials of one Brian Couse. It basically consisted of seeing all the guys from the firehouse, swimming in the pool and drinking a lot of domestic light beer. Oh, and making fun of Dave Roberts Jr. I was a volunteer firefighter in college for two years. Two long grueling years where they called me gay and forced me to play drinking games. But I gained their trust and became a man in the process. And got fat off beer and wings from this place. Walking into that place was like a time capsule. The owner who I haven't seen in 9 years still knew my name. I think that's a sign that there's not a lot of turnover there.

This morning I was up and out by 7AM to get to the MA National Guard HQ for my Yellow Fever vaccine. I leave for Paraguay next Saturday, and apparently the yellow fever went urban there, which isn't so hot. But I got a shot, which is good. However it takes 10 days to become effective and I leave in 6. I've eaten White Castle hamburgers at 4AM, my system can handle anything a mosquito dishes out.

I gotta tell you, this air conditioning thing is awesome. I know I'm killing the earth and polar bears are being stranded, but hot damn this is the only way to live. If polar bears were the dominant species, I think I'd be reasonable about this.

Two random movie notes:
1) Don't go see Golden Compass. Chuck made me watch it and it has no ending.

2) How does Marvel just get to re-issue the Hulk movie after 5 years. That's like releasing Finding Nemo again and hoping people won't remember. Though half the audience was probably 4 when the first one came out and don't.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Hair Cut

So I've been a little remiss in blogging recently. A bunch of stuff happened...

  • I've got Athlete's Foot. Which figures, the first time I've been associated with anything athletic and it involves a fungus. Good news is that they make an ointment for it. Bad news is it's the same ointment that you apply for jock itch. Meaning that when I was at CVS, it was a little embarassing evaluating the efficacy of the ointment vs. the spray while women walk by and no doubt think awful things.
  • Harvey Korman died last week. He's been in a bunch of movies, but I'll always remember him from Blazing Saddles. He played Hedley Lamarr. God he was funny. That movie was funny.
  • Oh, and this awesome lobster spot burned to the ground in Downtown Boston. James Hook and Company. A funky ramshackle building bookended by the new Intercontinental Hotel and the Coast Guard Boston offices. They had great lobster rolls. Good news is that they've vowed to rebuild. My friend Tom turned me on to them.
So I'm waiting for a haircut at this place. It's pretty cool and they have internet which allows me to blog while I wait. I'm either the coolest guy you know or a Level 9 Dungeon Master. I need to get my summer cut. Hopefully I don't turn out like this guy.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Thank God Tomorrow is Friday

Today was a little tough at work. Tomorrow will be tougher, but then the weekend will come. There's a dog in my apartment. My roommate's Dad apparently needed him to dog sit a french poodle for the weekend. I'm going to spend the next 4 days trying to teach this regal beast to grab a beer from the fridge and bring it to me.

So, in other news, meet this guy....

He apparently posted a classified of himself on the NYC Craigslist site with these words, "Mr. Right Iz Here Waitin on U." He then included a bunch of photos, one of which is above. This guy apparently thought the 4 million women in the Naked City would swoon. The site Gawker found it and shared it with the peoples. He then called the Gawker offices to complain that those "photos was mines." Enter Fark.

For those that have never been to Fark.com, it's basically a site that has odd news stories on the left of the page, with a funny caption, and then the comments. The comments are generally some of the funniest you will ever see. Feel free to peruse the site above, but I've linked the comments about this story here. Enjoy.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

This speaks to the Harlem in me

If you're from NYC or know it well, these two guys do a good job breaking down the ubiquitous check cashing empire.

Favorite line: "What were you going to do with those 9 cents anyway?"

Monday, May 19, 2008

Hey there

I'm sure many of you have fallen asleep waiting for an update. Some of you perhaps were concerned I was kidnapped by radical Mormons, while others might have thought I joined Erik Estrada in Arkansas.

The actual sequence of events was:
30th Reunion of college a cappella group
FEMA conference in Emmitsburg, MD
Wedding for good friend in CT.

It was all a good time, though when someone asked what I thought of the FEMA week I remarked that old line about feeling like a mushroom. They kept us in the dark and fed us a lot of shit. But the good parts were had in the interaction between the states. A really nice bunch of people.

In my day or two at home between these activities I found out that my heart rate monitor arrived from Woot. This will allow me to maximize my workouts, or allow me to predict my impending death in a more accurate way. The set up looks like this:
Except for the fact mine has a watch with a readout for your heart rate and this guy is totally a sex offender. (Thanks Rowsport.com for the image.) So I went running and the idea is to stay in the target heart rate. So I hear the thing beeping for the whole 3 mile or so run and it's flashing. I think this means that I'm below my target heart rate so I push on harder.

It's important at this time to point out that I have mistaken the target heart rate for the maximum heart rate, so basically I'm willing my ventricles to explode. I come back and the watch tells me dutifully that I spent 28 minutes of the 30 minute run above my target, and the beeping is apparently an alarm to let you know to dial it down a notch. Good to know. I looked like I was being chased I'm sure. By slow zombies. I have lost close to 20 pounds in the past year though.

Hope everyone else had a nice weekend.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Irony thy name is family

So I come home today and I find an Amazon box. It wasn't my Heart Monitor I had ordered for running as that just shipped, so I knew it was either a mistake or a gift. Well, it was a gift either way. It was a gift. A book. From my Dad and step-mother, Susan. The book is called Walking on Eggshells: Navigating the Delicate Relationship between Adult Children and Parents. That's fine. Parents send their kids books all the time. The book apparently has gotten good reviews.

It was the note that they wrote in the text box that came written on the packing slip. (Clears throat)

Susan met Isay yesterday
(the author) and thought she was so good that we are giving this to some of our friends who have real issues, but thought we could all learn something. Love, J&S

Okay, so it's obvious that this book was sent as a gift to more than just me. I don't know much about this whole family psychology thing, but something tells me that if you're sending a book like this to your adult children you probably don't want to tell them you're doing it because they have "real issues." But that's just me.

It did make for a good laugh. And yes, I'll read the book. Hope everyone's Wednesday is going swimmingly.

Sunday, May 04, 2008


I just want to point out that if you google "Civil Servant" that this site is on the first page. The bottom, but still the first page.

Soon the ads will start and then I'm going to retire filthy rich. Or I'll just keep writing this so my family and 7 friends can find out what is going on in my life.