Saturday, June 30, 2007

I'm an idiot.

I have an elliptical machine in my car right now. And it's heavy. Yesterday I went out for a beer with some colleagues and one of them mentioned that their mother was trying to get rid of her elliptical machine and was anyone interested. So the two other guys already have one which they use to hang clothes, and I had thought of buying one previously, so I said sure. The price was right, I just needed to go pick it up at their place.

I've used these machines at the gym, and I'm not sure what I was thinking, but this thing is big, and heavy. And so we muscled it into my Explorer and then bungieed the gate, as it stuck out. And as we're loading this thing in, I'm thinking, "I have no idea if this will fit in my place, and how the hell am I going to get this out of my car." But that did not stop me from paying for it. (His parents are really nice.) I'm now sitting on my porch, drinking a beer, not really sure where to go from here.

I've considered....

  1. Leaving it in the Explorer and waiting until my brother sobers up tomorrow to help me.
  2. Taking it out and leaving it outside, thus helping the homeless in their concerted efforts to stay fit.
  3. Leaving it in the car, and driving to the Salvation Army/Goodwill tomorrow and getting the tax write-off, while forgetting this whole incident ever happened.
I'm not really sure at this point. Maybe another beer would help.

Update: I had to take it out of the car, or else the battery would have died. So it's leaning up against the side of the house. It's too heavy for someone to steal. So now we'll have to see if the homeless take me up on my offer.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Now's your chance

As a kid, did you ever want to own your own railroad? Well, now thanks to the incompetence of one Amtrak crew, the family of this guy just might be able to.

Thanks to Fark for the find.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Wow it's hot.

So it's not really that hot. After all, I've been outside in Kevlar for hotter days than this, but it was one of the first muggy, hot days up here in Boston. I usually like to drive with the windows down and no a/c, but when it gets to a certain temperature it's just like having hot air blown on you. Reminds me of when I used to be a tour guide for this wretched company and it was like a mobile sauna. Oh and they wouldn't give you the free gallon of water until it was 100 degrees. Not 95, or 98. 100. They had this big friggin thermometer outside the office and would point to it as you asked for water, the 99 degrees mocking me.

But I went for a run today, which was pretty masochistic of me, but was a good thing. It was a run however to the beer store, because it was time for the new.....

Beer Of the Week

This week, I was determined to get a summery beer. Maybe not an an actual summer seasonal, but a light beer. Too hot for a porter or a stout. So I ran to my local spot, and there all sweaty and slightly wheezing stumbled upon Flying Dog's In-Heat Wheat Hefeweizen. I bought two six-packs at the BOtW is expanding in popularity and came home. I had the first one out of the freezer, which might be beer sacrilege, but it was damned tasty. It is a great wheat beer. I even got the nod from the guy who worked at the store. The "While these other popped-collar chumps buy cases of Amstel, I recognize you sir as a ruggedly handsome man who knows what good beer tastes like" look, which made me feel good.

Polished off two of them and then got some wings for dinner. It might undo the run, but the run is really my gift to the ladies of Cambridge and Somerville. Christmas comes around three times a week, in the form of pale ass legs and a t-shirt that undoubtedly has some reference to the NYPD on it.

Remember this is a game you can play at home, so find that great beer store and buy a 6 of this stuff, and lemme know what you think. I liked it.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Happy Sunday

My apologies for being off the grid for the past few days.

I spent a wonderfully random two nights on the front stoop and back stoop of my house with the lovely ladies of Apartment #1. They took part in the Beer of the Week (BOtW) Club on Tuesday and then we had an impromptu grilling evening on Thursday. First grill of the season. And this from a city kid, who never had a grill growing up. I also enjoy medium rare burgers, but somehow have more confidence when they're pink and I'm not cooking them.

This weekend brought great weather, and a trip to the library to pick up my latest book. I finished Brave New World, by Huxley. This seems like a book everyone else has read, but me. So I knocked that one off the list. It was at the library that I realized that they loaned CDs, which is a perfect way to build my collection. (Not that I would ever burn and keep music that wasn't mine, RIAA goons who no doubt troll the web for 13 year olds ripping Hillary Duff tracks)

On tap for this week, a new BOtW, a trip out to Western Mass that includes a hotel stay, and I'm sure some more grilling if the weather is nice.

Oh, and pictures from the Pitt trip should be up on the Flickr bar to the right.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Beer of the Week

I've decided to introduce a feature called Beer of the Week. Basically, each week I'm going to buy a six-pack of a microbrew and try it out. You are free to follow along at home. I'd offer you a beer from my house, but I have two left and I bought the six-pack at 6:30. The store is awesome, and close by. So this week, my beer is:

Clipper City's Heavy Seas Peg Leg Stout

Were this a normal beer review, I probably would have gone with a summer ale variation or a hefeweisen. However, I'm not normal. Just ask my shrink. So I went with a stout. Which for the non-beer like a Guinness. A little darker and meatier than a porter, which I also like. This beer was good. Smooth, and light. A little chocolaty. But very drinkable. Read the part above where it says we have 4 beers left.

Graham gives it a 87. Beer Advocate isn't entirely as kind.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Steel City, U.S.A.

Good Morning from Pittsburgh, PA. I'm here for the weekend staying with my step-brother, who I really think of as my brother. However I didn't want to confuse people into thinking that Ross had moved. So all of the brothers are out here except for Ross. Some lame excuse.
We've got a Pirates game tonight and plenty of good beer to drink. I'm here to help them plan their wedding. I'm officiating, which is an honor. If any of you out there are looking to answer the higher call, go my brother, go.
More reports from the field later....the photos will have to wait until Monday sadly. Off to breakfast....

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Kind of pissed

So does anyone remember Harper's Index? You probably had a teacher in high school cut it out and read it in social studies or history. It was basically a collection of stats that they paired to make a point, like so:

  • Percentage of American adults held in either prisons or mental institutions
    in 1953 and today, respectively: 0.67, 0.68
  • Percentage ofthese adults in 1953 who were in mental institutions: 75
  • Percentage today who are in prisons: 97
Anyway, I used to be able to read these online when I remembered they existed, which was once a year usually. Well, no longer. Now I have to subscribe. Great idea Harpers. You already have an incredibly low subscriber base, I'm sure charging teachers and geeks like me to read the only interesting thing in your worthless magazine seems like a good idea. Well, I'm sad now, and certainly not going to subscribe. And I really don't care that it's the second oldest contiuously published monthly magazine in the U.S.

Guesses on the first?

Holy Faak

Waka is up with another edition of LunchBox. I'd like to boast that this video blog is now one of the "Featured Political Blogs" on Youtube. So proud. My little guy is all grown up. Good shoutout to Massholes in this episode.

Monday, June 11, 2007

The alter-site

So some of you know this site from my other address,, which is the mirror site. You can either put in the odd number followed by blogspot, or dategraham. I own I do not own That is owned by some kid who probably doesn't even know what a web page is. It's designed by his parents no doubt thinking about their future child's intellectual property rights, never dreaming of the day when he's in high school and using his namesake site to sell some primo hydroponic shit. No, I'm sure no parents think of the marketing possibilities that way. And that's why the Chinese are taking over the world.

Anyway, I need to dress up dategraham and make it it's own site. I'm thinking some testimonials and perhaps even videos. I am using the below video for my inspiration.

But then I decided that given my recent luck with the ladies, that I should create a site for them and not for me. It was to be called "The Guy Before The Guy." I have realized that many of the women I have dated, some for less than three months, have fallen in love and moved in shortly after we broke up. Now, I'll admit that it's usually me who ends it. But imagine a service where I date you for on average no more than 4 months. We go out, take some trips, have sex, all the things you would want in a relationship. Then it goes sour. But no fear, because at some unknown time following our parting ways (but usually not longer than 6 weeks) you will find your future husband.

And then I found out that two guy already have The Guy Before The Guy. But it's pretty dormant, and it looks like a spoof. I really want to make it live. Help nice women all over the country. I have a gift. An odd and somewhat tormented gift, but a gift nonetheless. Doesn't everyone deserve a shot at happiness?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Weekend Recap

Greetings Sports Fans,

A weekend recap for you. The weekend consisted of two movies and a bonus. I started a good book and attended a baby shower. Let's get to it, shall we?

Movie #1: King Kong

This movie should have been called King Long. Get it? I'll wait..... (Tugs at collar)
It was over three hours, which probably qualifies as a short for Peter Jackson. I wonder if that guy only had access to Gandhi: Uncut and The Ten Commandments: The Directors Cut. Anyway, it starred Jack Black and Naomi Watts, who I currently have a crush on. The movie was fine. Visually stunning, blah blah blah. It was loooong. And I didn't really buy the whole "her loving the gorilla more than Adrien Brody" thing. It was cool with the surround sound, but did I mention it was over three hours? B -

Movie #2: This Film is Not Yet Rated

Now, this was a documentary produced by Red Envelope Entertainment, which is wholly owned by Netflix. This is cool, as I'm not sure the major studios would have paid for this film. The film discussed the MPAA rating system and how there is a panel of parents that select the rating for each film. The biggest issues is usually between NC-17 and R. The film shows that sex scenes involving a guy and a girl generally get an R, while gay scenes depicting the exact same acts get an NC-17 rating.

So the panel is totally kept secret, which many filmmakers think is unfair because they want to know who stands in judgement of their film. But Jack Valenti refused. (On a side note, this guy seemed like a total power-hungry fruitcake. God rest his nutjob soul.) So the director of TFINYR decides to hire a private investigator to "out" the reviewers. Delicious. Go see this movie. It should make you mad. Unless you're this guy, who is also a fruitcake. A-

Bonus Movie: Ice Spiders

If someone asked you what this movie, SS Doomtrooper, Chupacabra: Dark Seas, and Dead and Deader all had in common, what would you say? If you guessed they were all Sci-Fi Channel Original Movies, you would be right and also an insomniac. This movie starred the guy from Stormship Troopers as a washed up skier, and Vanessa Williams as a spider scientist. No, not that Vanessa Williams. This Vanessa Williams, apparently from Soul Food. So, I'd give this movie a C+, but it was indeed awful. But I'm a sucker for these films.

Baby Shower

So my brother and his lovely and pregnant wife flew in from Hong Kong for a baby shower. I drove down to the incredibly wealthy town of Pound Ridge, NY for the afternoon. It was nice. I didn't bring anything, and there was a bunch of kids there perhaps to teach my brother what it's going to be like. I wonder if they rented any of them for extra effect. I met a neat couple who are moving in together. Good luck kids. I pitched my " idea." I seriously think is has legs. They promised to check out the page, which should bring my hit count up to 3.

That was the weekend. Anything exciting happen to anybody else?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Debate for '08

If you missed the debates for 2008 held at St. Anselm College this week, here is the recap...




My apologies for being absent for a few days. The Paraguayans are in town and it's been very long days since Monday. So today, I'm sitting on my couch after a nice long day spent across two states and Red Dawn is on.

This is my friend's Chuck's favorite movie. If you know Chuck at all, you can imagine a little boy that really likes meat sitting in his 6th grade classroom looking outside the windows of Greenfield, MA scanning the skies for Soviet paratroopers. Ahh, he must be the only guy sad he missed the Cold War. Though, he did get driven to school in a stretch limo, in some bizarre private school busing agreement.

A Western Mass example of "Separate but Equal."

Sunday, June 03, 2007

First time in the paper not for racketeering

Good Morning Boys and Girls,

I hope everyone is having a great Sunday. The editorial came out today, and so I'm copying it here. The few corrections I have are:

1) The Academy is in Manhattan, not Queens

2) My friends from high school came up with "Most likely to be a Civil Servant." Trinity, not Buckley. If Buckley had known my career path, I would have be expelled and then shot, and then asked to cater for my former classmates parties.

Without further ado.....

At your service

Meet Graham Campbell, a top 10 kind of guy

So I'm sitting in Fenway with a friend a few weeks ago watching Wakefield get lit up by Detroit. I overhear the big red-headed guy next to me tell someone he's going to Paraguay.

I can't resist: Wasn't that home to General Stroessner, one of Latin America's hall of fame baddies? The hide-out of Joseph Mengele and all those crazy, zany Nazis after the war? And, help me out here, is Asuncion its capital or Montevideo?

Yes, yes, and Asuncion, the man tells me. His name is Graham Campbell, and it turns out he's traveling there in his capacity as training manager at the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.

Paraguay is the sister state of the Massachusetts National Guard. Who knew? The Guard lends it expertise to help train the military and civilians in Paraguay how to handle floods and droughts and things. Part of that expertise includes Campbell. They're coming up here this week; Campbell goes down there next month.

(The plot thickens. Every state National Guard in America has a partner country: Connecticut has Uruguay; New Hampshire, El Salvador; Vermont, Macedonia; and Maine, Montenegro. Rhode Island laughs all the way to the Coppertone with the Bahamas. )

Anyway, by the time Sox reliever Brendan Donnelly gets the ball in relief, Campbell and I are deep into his emergency training work based at the MEMA bunker in Framingham. He also talks about an earlier job helping to run training exercises for the bioterrorism program at the Department of Public Health before coming to MEMA last fall.

He followed a woman here from Manhattan in 2004. (It's always a woman.) He's all of 30 now, and I ask him what in his background qualified him to do any of this stuff. "Some first-responder experience," he says. Where?


Campbell, it turns out, was a cop on the beat there for five years straight out of college. Asked for Harlem while in the police academy out in Queens. It is then that he mentions he grew up on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Campbell had buried his lead, as we say in the news biz.

He was, in fact, an uber- preppy who followed the path of Upper East Side cubs beginning with posh private schools (Buckley and Trinity ). He zagged slightly to Vassar and then hard to the NYPD, shocking friends and family. His father was a banker. His brother's in investments. He was the black Merino.

("Banker" was Campbell's nickname up at the 28th Precinct -- "The Two Eight" between 122 d and 123 d streets and Eighth Avenue. When he and his colleagues were filing out their 401(k) forms, he recalls, "There were 19 guys around my desk asking, 'Aggressive growth?' ")

Campbell wanted to be an officer, not a white-shoe lawyer, from the time he was 5. Loved the sirens. At Buckley, voted "Most Likely to be a Civil Servant." Became a volunteer firefighter at Vassar. Took the police test before his senior year and went to the academy after graduation.

Later, a funny thing happened. Kith and kin decided what he had done was very cool. He became a rock star among friends. He met a terrific group of guys on the force. What mattered to him most was that they not dismiss him as a dilettante. "I wanted them to say, 'I'll go through a door for you.' " They did.

He and his partner saw a lot. They answered a call from a woman who screamed that her boyfriend had hit her. They found the guy and he admitted he had. Then Campbell noticed a knife sticking out of his back. He had hit her after she had stabbed him.

Campbell did drone work like prisoner transport. He was shot at. Did duty at protests. "You don't stay a bleeding heart liberal for long in the NYPD," he says.

His first day at police academy, he recalls, an officer told the recruits, "Ten percent of you are born to be cops, 80 percent will do a good job. The other 10 percent should never be cops."

Within a year, Campbell realized he belonged in the 80 percent. "I was good, not great," he says. " I wanted to be in that 10 percent in whatever I do. Here, I feel I do top 10 percent work."

I go see him at the MEMA bunker. I descend a Dead Man Walking concrete ramp with a series of turns. (Radiation apparently can't do corners.) The bunker is a square thing, built in the early 1960s 40 feet below ground, lacking all distinction.

Graham Campbell, I conclude, is more interesting than his job, however important. But those little snots at Buckley were right. The man was meant to be a civil servant. Could be a fine one.

He hasn't caved for law school and big bucks. He's getting a master's in public administration at Suffolk. Could have done it at Harvard but, again, he's a zagger.

He makes me think of Harry Spence, whom Governor Deval Patrick just fired as commissioner of the Department of Social Services. Spence was one of a vanishing breed of public servants who made a career taking on for peanuts one thankless job after another.

I'm a big fan of Harry Spence. I'll be a big fan of Graham Campbell, too, if he stays public.

Sam Allis can be reached at

Saturday, June 02, 2007

A tale of two movies

Last night, went to see Pirates 3. I have walked out of less than 5 movies in my life, now counting this one. My friend and I just sort of looked at each other about an hour into it and I was like "Wanna go?" She nodded vigorously. I've seen worse movies. But even that one, I hated viscerally. This movie simply bored me. It also tried to combine all these different plot elements that were far too confusing. Add to that the guy next to me who thought that the guy with the fake eyeball was the funniest thing he'd ever seen, and I was done. No thanks. I envision a world in 2076 where we are all forced to watch Bruckheimer movies and fed paste to sustain basic life functions. D

Then I came home and finished Click. This movie is basically a combination of It's a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol, but set in the present not around the holidays. It also continues the average looking guy marries a super hot wife. See to the right for confirmation of said hotness. And Christoper Walken was in it, who I always love. So this movie, which while rehashed and done before, was nice in a happy story kind of way. My grade is a B for content and an A- for Beckinsale's hotness.

Friday, June 01, 2007

So I might be in the paper....

There exists the possibility that if you are reading the Sunday Boston Globe this weekend and happen to turn to page 3, you'll see a column written by Sam Allis called "The Observer." There further exists that this week's column is about me somehow.

I'll rewind to a Red Sox game, where I found myself sitting next to a guy who turned out to be Sam Allis. We talked about where I grew up, and what I did for a living. He got very excited about the whole "cop who went to Vassar" concept. He kept saying what a great column I'd make.

So he talked to me this week for a little over an hour, and now here we are. Not promising that I'm in there or how much of it is about me. I'm just saying to keep an eye out on Sunday.

Stay tuned sports fans.