Sunday, December 31, 2006


I really, truly hope that this is the last pack of cigarettes I will ever smoke. Please wish me luck.

I'll update weekly (maybe daily if it's as tough as I think it's going to be.)

Cold turkey, baby. Cold turkey.

Glückliches Neues Jahr!

Happy New Year, friends.

I have to say that I'm not a huge fan of this "holiday". Changing of years is always a bit bitter sweet. I look back on the past year and fondly remember all of the good things, trying to forget all the bad things. Then I look into the future year with hope and trepidation. It's a mix of "auld lang syne" and "all it takes is a dollar and a dream".

I have fond memories of past New Year's Eves. I remember banging pots and pans at my Dad's house in Swoyersville, PA; I remember getting sick from eating too much lobster and chocolate covered peanut butter balls; I remember my first glass of champagne; I remember going to TGI Fridays with Jamie and both of us vowing to never eat at that awful restaurant ever again. But one of my most memorable NYE was at Edgy's parents' house:

For three or four years in a row, Katie and I would go to Grandma & Grandpa Sko's for New Year's Eve while Edgy and my Mom went out on the town. Grandma Sko was a hoot and a riot...I loved her and miss her very much. We would have champagne and wear silly hats; we would play games; we utilized the noise makers to their full effect; and we ate. I remember one specific celebration (I think she did this every year but I am not 100% positive) where she had shrimp cocktail and "Poor Man's Casserole" (again, I think that's what she called was a very similar title if not that one). She always said that it was lucky to eat sauerkraut on NYE. It consists of ground meat (I use beef and sausage) cooked with onions, topped with drained sauerkraut, topped with mashed potatoes and baked (she would dollup the potatoes in heaps atop the other ingredients, I like to evenly spread the potatoes...but I digress.) I remember eating the Poor Man's Casserole and thinking it was the best meal I've ever tasted. There really is nothing to it but even as I type this post I can taste it.

I have to honestly say that spending New Year's Eve with Grandma Sko was the highlight of the year and I am going to bring back her traditions this year. Jamie, Grandma Dem and I are going to celebrate with shrimp cocktail, champagne, and Grandma Sko's Poor Man Casserole.

I really, truly hope that 2007 is amongst the best of years for all of us. And for those of you who don't know the words and simply hum along (you know, da da da da da, da da dum)'s a gift of lyrics and sentiment from me to you:

Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
and days of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup!
And surely I’ll buy mine!
And we'll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.


We two have run about the hills,
and pulled the daisies fine ;
But we’ve wandered many a weary foot,
since auld lang syne.


We two have paddled in the stream,
from morning sun till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared
since auld lang syne.


And there’s a hand my trusty friend!
And give us a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll take a right good-will draught,
for auld lang syne.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

We must have been on his "good" list...

It was a very nice Christmas at the Joey/Jamie/Jesse/Dodger homestead. Santa was very thoughtful and we are very grateful.

It started on December 15th, to be exact (Christmas, that is.) Me, Jamie and Grandma Dem drove down to my Dad's house in Virginia. The weather was lovely: it was dry, no rain, no snow, no problem. While we were there we went Christmas shopping; we went to an enormous Christmas tree farm (can you believe that they only charged $3/foot for the trees?? I spent $35 on a shitty little 5 foot jobber); I had the pleasure of decorating their living room and their beautiful tree (I hope they took should be in a magazine); my Dad made us a delicious beef roast complete with potatoes, carrots, celery and my very special Orange Braised Fresh Green Beans with Buttered Cashews; we opened presents, had cocktails (many); had a wonderful, wonderful time. Here's what phenomenal gifts we got from my Dad, Marla, Bryanna and Matthew:

  • I got a Chaps sweater.
  • Jamie got a Starter (I think) thermal sweatshirt.
  • We got a limited edition Yankee Candle (I LOVE Yankee candles).
  • We got a beautiful hurricane candle holder (cranberry red, like our living room), we have 6 other cranberry vases and candle holders that it matches perfectly.
  • My sister and her husband gave us a lovely card with money and a Petsmart gift certificate...and a BEAUTIFUL cake plate and blender (almost forgot that!)
  • My Dad informed me the his loan (a few months ago) was a gift.
  • Grandma got lots of things too...most special was a scrap book of Katie's wedding (Bryanna made it.)
Grandma's birthday is on December 21st. She's celebrating her annual 39th birthday (I keep telling her that I'll hit 40 before she does!). Jamie and I made her the meal she requested: roasted pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes with butter and sour cream, California blend vegetables, a fresh garden salad, and a little cake. She loved it.

Wow-wee...not to forget...we hosted a Christmas party on the 23rd! We had a great time (although we went a bit broke too). We had roast beef with kimmelweck rolls and horseradish, fresh polish sausage with sauerkraut, cocktail meatballs, 2 lbs. of shrimp cocktail, devilled eggs, marble rye bread with dill dip, chips and salsa, nuts, a relish tray, candy, two cheese balls with mixed crackers, Christmas cookies, booze up the wazoo, beer, wine, name it. All sorts of family came over: my Mom's, my step-fathers, my Demerly family. I missed not having some people there but we had a wonderful time regardless.

Then came Christmas.

After watching the old fashioned animated Christmas stories and the traditional Christmas television fare, I wrapped a couple presents and went to bed. When we woke up we were very surprised at how nice Santa had been to us. Here's what we found under our tree on Christmas morning (fire ablaze and all):
  • A Farberware pots and pan set.
  • A Joyce Chen wok set.
  • A very expensive cooking knife (I think they call it a Sankto?)
  • A mandolin cutting thingy.
  • Four green glass plates (to match my collection).
  • A Wet-Jet Swiffer (complete with extra solution and pads)
  • Other Swiffer crap (we have two dogs and hard wood do the math.)
  • White dish pan, drainer and drying rack for the sink.
  • A spoon rest (yes, that sounds silly...but my Mother and Step-Father bought us a brand new stove and Santa must have known that we didn't want to dirty it up too fast.)
  • A KitchenAid utility set (spatula, kitchen shears, can opener and something else I forget.)
  • The doggies got lots of treats and toys.
  • Many other things from friends and family that I'm far too tired to type right now.
We both consider ourselves very fortunate and very lucky...but I'm taking the fucking Christmas decorations down tomorrow.

Ho ho ho and a bottle of rum. I hope you were as fortunate as we were.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Christmas Spirit

I think my mail man feels the same way.

Last year I gave him a Christmas card and a stocking ornament filled with Hershey kisses.

He parks right in front of my house.

I actually watched him through the kitchen window, thinking that he might crack a smile. I don't know how many people actually give their mailperson any gifts for the holidays.

As I was watching and waiting for him to smile, I became enraged. He took my lovely card and small gift and threw it on the floor of his mail truck. The candy spilled all over the floor. I was upset. I thought I was doing something nice.

Oh well. Whether you're a mail man or not...Merry Christmas. I hope you had a wonderful time and received lots of presents.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Home, home with a range...

My mother and stepfather bought us a new stove for Christmas. We have been using a very old electric stove since we moved in (it was actually the stove my Great Grandmother purchased about 50 years ago!) Although the stove technically "worked" it wasn't the most reliable of cooking appliances.

When Jamie and I lived in West Seneca we had a gas stove (another very, very old stove but it was gas, nonetheless.) If you're used to cooking on a gas stove - or if you've EVER cooked on a gas stove, even once - you immediately recognize the difference. The heat is immediate, the heat is consistent, the heat goes away when you shut off the burner. (Have you ever scrambled eggs on an electric stove top? You know... You make the best, fluffiest scrambled eggs, turn off the burner, walk away for 10 seconds to get plates and forks, come back and the eggs are now burnt? Although you shut off the burner, the electric coil thingy is still EXTREMELY hot. Hot enough to keep cooking whatever you have in the pan.) Well, gas stoves don't do that.

The only problem I ever encountered with a gas range is the oven. Often times the temperature fluctuates about 25 degrees, one way or the other. If you set the oven for 350, sometimes it will go up to 375. We've had to rely on an oven thermometer in the past, and keep checking the temp. The stove my mom and stepdad bought us has a digital oven thermostat. You just punch in your desired temperature and it beeps to let you know when it's reached that temp...AND it maintains a constant, perfect temperature throughout the cooking process. We put it to the test last night... I set the oven for 350, put in our thermometer, and waited. It digitally reads the current temp and when it reaches 350 it beeps. We kept the oven on about 15 minutes and the temperature was exactly 350 the whole time!!!

You may be wondering why I'm so excited about temperatures and ovens. I sometimes wonder that myself, to be completely honest. The truth is...we both love to cook. Our old stove only had 2 out of 4 burners working (one of them actually caught on fire a few months ago). The oven was NEVER accurate (even for an electric stove!)

I'm also excited because we installed it ourselves. Years and years ago, there was apparently a gas stove in the kitchen. Then, lo and behold, they installed an electric one...cutting off the gas to the kitchen. Well, it was fortunate that they didn't completely remove the pipe in the was still directly beneath the spot in the kitchen where the stove goes. So, here Jamie and I are, cutting holes in the floor, using pipe "dope", wrenches, flex tube, pipes, etc. Then we lit it. And it WORKED!

I'm very proud of us but even prouder of our NEW STOVE. What a great Christmas present.

Whatcha want for dinner? I'll definitely cook...

Oh the Joys of Christmas...

You may have noticed "Jason's Top Ten" in my friends list. I don't know this person but I think that most of his "Top Ten" postings are very funny. (Think David Letterman.)

Here are Jason's Top Ten Christmas Rap Songs

10. Violent Night

9. I'm Dreaming of a White Mistress

8. Chestnuts Roasting as I Open Fire

7. What Child is This? He Ain't Mine!

6. Deck the Ho's

5. Frosty the Dopeman

4. Police Navidad

3. Slay, Ride

2. We Three Martin Luther Kings

And the number one Christmas rap song...

1. I Saw Mama Dissing Santa Claus

Sunday, December 17, 2006

My Soundtrack...

OK, I've decided to jump on the bandwagon and perform this little task. It's my "personal soundtrack". Some of my friends have shared this on their blogs and myspaces so I thought I'd play along.

If you're a big musical theatre freak like me...that makes it more fun. Ideally, regardless of what song you play, this could work. I just think it's funny what came up for some of my songs.

Here's how it works:

1. Open your music library (iTunes, Winamp, Media Player, iPod, etc)
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For every question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool...

Opening Credits:
"Avarice" - Hannibal

Waking Up:
"Afraid" - Thrill Me

First Day of School:
"Friendship" - Anything Goes

Falling in Love:
"Everybody Ought to Have a Maid" - A Funny Thing...Forum (Hehe...)

Fight Song:
"Redemption Song" - Bob Marley

Breaking Up:
"I Saw Her Again" - The Mamas & the Papas

"All That I Need" - Boyzone

"Dancing Through Life" - Wicked (I swear to God!!!)

Mental Breakdown:
"Let's Pretend" - Nat King Cole

"Death March" - Star Wars (I'm a good driver, damnit.)

"Why Don't We Do it in the Road" - The Beatles (Nope, didn't happen.)

Getting Back Together:
"Twenty-Four Hours of Lovin'" - The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

"How Could I Ever Know" - The Secret Garden (HAHAHA.)

Birth of a Child:
"Only in the Movies" - Kiss of the Spider Woman (That makes me laugh, a lot!)

Final Battle:
"Prayer of the Refugee" - Rise Against

Death Scene:
"There'll Be Some Changes Made" - Fosse

Funeral Song:
"Curtain Calls" - Cabaret (This makes me smile...a lot.)

End Credits:
"Remember the Time" - Michael Jackson (I don't even really know this song...but it's suitable.)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Some pointless activity...

OK, this survey was taken off Jason's blog...and Jason took it off someone else's blog. I have been in a survey-ish mood lately. Take it or leave it.

1. Is there anybody you just wish would fall off the face of the earth?
Honestly? No.

2. How do you flush the toilet in public?
How do I...?!? This is a strange questions. Um...I flush it.

3. Do you wear your seatbelt in the car?
All the time...otherwise I hear this really annoying BEEP.

4. Do you have a crush on someone?
A crush? What are we, in 4th grade?

5. Name one thing that you start to get tense about if you are close to running out of it:

6. What famous person do you (or other people) think you resemble?
I've been told that I look like Matthew Broderick and Mr. Bean.

7. What is your favorite pizza topping?
Just cheese.

8. Do you crack your knuckles?
No, I don't. It makes me cringe.

9. What song do you hate the most when it gets stuck in your head?
"Java Jive" (You'd be surprised how often that happens.)

10. Did just mentioning that song make it get stuck in your head?
A little bit, yes.

11. What are your super powers?
Spending money when I don't have any.

12. Peppermint or spearmint?

13. Where are your car keys?
On my desk.

14. Whose answers to this questionnaire do you want to hear?
I really could care less. This is a stupid questionnaire.

15. What's your most annoying habit?
Other than filling our online surveys and posting them on my blog? Probably asking people if they're mad at me.

16. Where did you last go on vacation?
Nags Head, NC (Outer Banks)

17. If you could punch one person in the nose and get away with it, who would it be?
I don't like to punch people.

18. What is your best physical feature?
I prefer not to share that on my blog.

19. What CD is closest to you right now?
Clue The Musical, believe it or not! (It's awful.)

20. What 3 things can always be found in your refrigerator?
Milk, Seven Up (to go with my Seagram's 7), and mustard.

21. What superstition do you believe in/practice?
Black cats crossing my path. I'll literally back up and take a different route.

22. What color are your bed sheets?
Red flannel with lots of different dog breeds on them.

23. Would you rather be a fish or a bird?
A bird...definitely a bird.

24. Do you talk on your cell phone when you drive?
Yes, I do.

25. What are your favorite sayings?
"Say honest to God", "Stop it", and "Fuck!"

26. What song(s) do you sing most often in the shower?
I don't sing in my shower.

27. If you could go back or forward in time, would you and where would you go?
I would like to go forward about 30 years to see if I'm alive, how much money I have, and what I look like.

28. What is your favorite Harrison Ford movie?
I don't believe I've ever watched a Harrison Ford movie. I drive a Ford, does that count?

29. What CD is in your stereo?
A Crooner's Christmas...honest.

30. What CD will be in your stereo in a few minutes?
I don't change CDs that often. And I don't really have a's in my car.

31. How many kids do you plan on having?
One...hopefully. But I don't think I'll physically have it.

32. If you could kiss anyone who would it be?
My mother.

33. Would you really want to kiss someone you didn't know, even if they are famous?

34. If they made a movie about your life, what actor/actress would be the best for this job?
I don't know. What a stupid fucking question.

35. Would you rather die in a blaze of glory or peacefully in your sleep?
Peacefully in my sleep. (Does anybody want to die any other way?)

36. Ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?
Shut the fuck up.

37. Coffee or tea?
...and the Java in me. A cuppa cuppa cuppa cuppa cup.

38. Favorite musician(s)/bands you've seen in concert?
Morrissey and The Smiths.

39. Have you ever been in love?

40. Do you talk to yourself?

41. Have you ever started to fill out a survey and then thought "this is stupid" and stop without finishing it?
I wish.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Letter to Santa #1

Dear Santa...

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- It's a name that needs no address. Everyone knows Santa Claus lives at the North Pole.

So letters sent to the roly-poly icon find their way to the small town of North Pole deep in Alaska's interior, including those simply addressed to Santa. Last year, 120,000 letters arrived from 26 countries, not counting the thousands with no return address.

Those that do have return addresses usually get a reply and a North Pole postmark in a holiday effort that has delighted children all over the world for decades.

Letters trickle in year-round in the community of 1,600, where light poles are curved and striped like candy canes and streets have names such as Santa Claus Lane and Kris Kringle Drive. Around Thanksgiving, they start pouring in by the thousands each day as Christmas approaches. Even stampless letters get through, a rare exception for the U.S. Postal Service.

"This is special because it has Santa's name on it," said Debra Cornelius, a supervisor at the main post office in nearby Fairbanks, where the letters are processed during the holiday rush.

"It's what makes Christmas magic for children," Cornelius said. "Why not make that available for them?"

Gabby Gaborik is among several dozen volunteers who believe in the Santa cause, opening crates full of letters, as many as 12,000 a day come crunch time. With 6,000 now arriving daily, volunteers are hustling to send off preprinted replies to children who sent return addresses.

"We try to keep the big guy mystical, so we sign off as Santa's elves and helpers," Gaborik said.

In his 10 years as an elf, Gaborik has seen every kind of request. There are the children who want the latest toys and gizmos they see on TV. There are the children who ask for miracles, orphans wanting their mother back for Christmas or a father back from Iraq, even though he died there. Many letter writers point out how good they've been. Some enclose a dollar bill to cover postage.

Gaborik still marvels at a missive that arrived three years with a Michigan postmark and no postage stamp. It was addressed to Santa Claus and had no return address. Inside was a thousand-dollar money order and an anonymous note that said: "If you are who you say you are, you'll put this to good use."

Volunteers bought postage stamps for the effort.

"I believe Santa Claus has qualities that represent the good in everybody, and people reach out to that," Gaborik said. "Santa Claus represents their validation as a good person, when everything today is so quick, so hard, so bang, bang, bang."

He fished a random letter out of a pile. This one ran the gamut. The writer, Ashley, wants only one thing, an iPod Nano, but then asks: "What list am I on, the naughty or nice list? If I'm on the naughty, what could I do to get of (sic)?" Then comes the hook: "And how many cookies do you think you can eat on Christmas night?"

No matter how cookies in the lure, Santa and his helpers never make any promises in writing.

Ideally, parents and other adults write their own Santa replies, put them in a stamped, self-addressed envelope and tuck them into a larger envelope addressed to the Fairbanks post office.

Either way, replies get a North Pole postal cancellation mark, complete with a half-moon drawing of Santa's face. The Fairbanks post office also stamps the postmark on thousands of Christmas cards and packages diverted through Alaska from outside the state each year.

Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks also runs a Santa letter project. Santa's Mailbag was started in 1954 by base weather forecasters.

Last year, more than 4,000 letters were received and followed up with replies from base volunteers. Many of the letters came from children of military families stationed in the lower 48 states and abroad, but civilian children also are welcome to write, said Staff Sgt. Melody Goode.

Even late letters get a reply, Goode said.

"It says something like 'Thanks for writing. Santa's been real busy,' anything the kiddies might want to hear," she said.

Bloggers: A Portrait of the Internet's New Storytellers

Taken from a July 2006 article from It's rather interesting, if you ask me...and even if you don't, I suppose:

A telephone survey of a nationally-representative sample of bloggers, conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, has found that blogging is inspiring a new group of writers and creators to share their voices with the world. Some 54 percent of bloggers say that they have never published their writing or media creations anywhere else; 44 percent say they have published elsewhere. While generally youthful, these writers otherwise represent a broad demographic spectrum of people who cite a variety of topics and motives for their blogging.

Eight percent of internet users, or about 12 million American adults, keep a blog. Thirty-nine percent of internet users, or about 57 million American adults, read blogs – a significant increase since the fall of 2005.

Capturing a current snapshot of an ever-changing blog universe

The Pew Internet & American Life Project deployed two strategies to interview bloggers.

First, as part of our standard random-digit dial tracking surveys about internet use among a nationally-representative sample of American adults, we asked respondents if they maintain a blog. Then, we called back these self-identified bloggers between July 2005 and February 2006. Seventy-one percent of those called back completed this second telephone survey, which focused exclusively on blogging. The remaining 29 percent said they were no longer keeping a blog or were not willing to take another survey, and we eliminated them from the callback interviews. This strategy yielded a relatively small number of respondents (n=233) but allowed us to ask in-depth questions of a nationally-representative sample of bloggers. Numbers cited in this report are based on the callback survey unless specifically noted.

Our second strategy for preparing this report involved fielding additional random-digit surveys between November 2005 and April 2006 to capture an up-to-date estimate of the percentage of internet users who are currently blogging. These large-scale telephone surveys yielded a sample of 7,012 adults, which included 4,753 internet users, 8 percent of whom are bloggers.
Bloggers cover a variety of topics

While many well-publicized blogs focus on politics, the most popular topic among bloggers is their life and experiences. The Pew Internet Project blogger survey finds that the American blogosphere is dominated by those who use their blogs as personal journals. Most bloggers do not think of what they do as journalism.

Most bloggers say they cover a lot of different topics, but when asked to choose one main topic, 37 percent of bloggers cite “my life and experiences” as a primary topic of their blog. Politics and government ran a very distant second with 11 percent of bloggers citing those issues of public life as the main subject of their blog. Entertainment-related topics were the next most popular blog-type, with 7 percent of bloggers, followed by sports (6 percent), general news and current events (5 percent), business (5 percent), technology (4 percent), religion, spirituality or faith (2 percent), a specific hobby or a health problem or illness (each comprising 1 percent of bloggers). Other topics mentioned include opinions, volunteering, education, photography, causes and passions, and organizations.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Only 151 pages to go...

Well, I officially started reading "Hannibal Rising" this afternoon.

173 pages in and I'm going to definitely finish it tonight. It's sort of detective story meets childhood memories meets know, a children's story without the pictures.

It's a GREAT book...I just needed to take a breather.

Read the damn thing (only if you've read "Hannibal" first, that is.)

Full review very soon...but there will be spoilers. And not for the timid.

Back to page 174... Aww, poor Hannibal.

Here, Grandpa...try this.

BRASILIA, Brazil (Reuters) -- The mayor of a small Brazilian town has begun handing out free Viagra, spicing up the sex lives of dozens of elderly men and their partners.

"Since we started the free distribution of sexual stimulants, our elderly population changed. They're much happier," said Joao de Souza Luz, the mayor of Novo Santo Antonio, a small town in the central state of Mato Grosso.

Souza Luz said 68 men over the age of 60 already had signed up for the program, which was approved by the town's legislature and has been dubbed "Happy Penis," or "Pinto Alegre" in Portuguese.

But the program also has had the unforeseen consequence of encouraging some extramarital affairs, Souza Luz said.

"Some of the old men aren't seeking out their wives. They've got romances on the side," he said.

Maybe I shouldn't feel so bad...

BEIJING, China (Reuters) -- An overweight Chinese gas station attendant has become an unexpected celebrity after a picture of his portly face was posted on the Internet -- and then started appearing on movie posters and in other unlikely places.

Nicknamed "Little Fatty," 19-year-old Qian Zhijun's picture was loaded on to the Internet four years ago by a teacher.

His face -- round, ruddy-cheeked, with a drooping mouth and topped by a mop of black hair -- has since replaced Tom Hanks' on a poster for the movie "The Da Vinci Code" and Johnny Depp's for "Pirates of the Caribbean," to name just two.

Although famous now and having appeared extensively in Chinese media, Qian says he was rather upset when he first saw his photo being made fun of on the Web.

"Now my feeling has changed. If you always feel depressed, then you feel uncomfortable. Now I can view this event with a calm mind, and I feel released," said Qian.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Laughing like I've never laughed before...

My sister makes me laugh SO hard. She has a blog that has been teetering on the brink of tedium lately. I mean, it has been SO boring. Well, now she's upping the ante.
She posted the most HORRIBLE picture of me and titled the post "WOAH!". You look at this picture and want to close your eyes...that's how awful it is, right? It's embarrassingly awful...but please, before you judge, let me explain:

This photo was taken the night before her wedding. She stayed at our house that night (you know, the bride can't see the groom before the wedding...or is it the other way get the picture). All week, and I mean ALL week, we partied. We would go to parties, we hosted parties, we drank in the morning, we drank in the was like Vegas, only better. Well...most of these parties took place outside. By the pools, in the sun decks, on the beach...and it was VERY hot and sunny (she got married on July 7th and we were at the Outer Banks.) I got very sunburned. I was so burned that my body literally looked like crispy turkey skin. Anyway, getting back to the awful photo... We were being very silly, both me and Katie. We were both drinking and there was a lot of family in the living room...we were like little kids again, showing off. What you CAN'T see in the picture is that Katie is making the same face. We were making puckering kissy faces, sucking in our cheeks. (We said to each other, "OK...let's do the skinny face so we don't look fat in the picture.") She looks EXACTLY like me...but of course she cut herself out of the photo.

So, here I am...drunk, sunburned, making a silly face for the camera WITH my sister...but she doesn't tell you that, does she?


Thursday, December 07, 2006

What's that, Hannibal?

From The Silence of the Lambs

  • "A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver, with some fava beans and a nice chianti."
  • "Oh, and senator, just one more thing: Love your suit!"
  • "Brave Clarice. You will let me know when those lambs stop screaming, won't you?"
  • "I've no plans to call on you, Clarice. The world is more interesting with you in it."
  • "Closer, please. Clo-ser..."
  • "I do wish we could chat longer, but... I'm having an old friend for dinner."
From Hannibal
  • "On a similar note I must confess to you, I'm giving very serious thought... to eating your wife."
  • "Is this coincidence, or are you back on the case? If so, goody-goody."
  • "People don't always tell you what they are thinking. They just see to it that you don't advance in life."
  • "Bowels in or bowels out?"
  • "Mason Verger doesn't want to kill me any more than I want to kill him. He just wants to see me suffer in some unimaginable way. He is rather twisted, you know."
  • "Could he daily feel a stab of hunger for her and find nourishment in the very sight of her? I think so. But would she see through the bars of his plight and ache for him?"
  • "As your mother tells you, and my mother certainly told me, it is important, she always used to say, always to try new things."
From Red Dragon
  • [In a letter to Will] "What a collection of scars you have. Never forget who gave you the best of them, and be grateful, our scars have the power to remind us that the past was real. We live in a primitive time, don't we, Will? Neither savage nor wise. Half measures of the curse of it, any rational society will either kill me or put me to some use. Do you dream much Will? I think of you often. Your old friend, Hannibal Lector."
  • "Remarkable boy. I do admire your courage. I think I'll eat your heart."
  • "You will not persuade me with appeals to my intellectual vanity."
  • "A robin red-breast in a cage, puts all of Heaven in a rage. Think to yourself that every day is your last. The hour to which you do not look forward will come as a welcome surprise. As for me, when you want a good laugh, you will find me in fine state... fat and sleek, a true hog of Epicurus's herd."
  • "Have you seen blood in the moonlight? It appears quite black."
  • "Ah yes. Dr. Chillton. Gruesome isn't he? Fumbles at your head like a freshman pulling at a panty girdle."
  • "Do you like my little exercise cage, Will? My so-called lawyer is always nagging Dr. Chilton for better accommodations. I don't know which is the greater fool."
  • "Tell me, Will. Did you enjoy it? Your first murder? Of course you did. And why shouldn't it feel good? It does to God. Why only last week in Texas, he dropped a church roof on the heads of 34 of his worshippers, just as they were groveling for him. He wouldn't begrudge you for one journalist."

Christmas Party Hijinx.

Yesterday was our Christmas party at work. Every year, the president of the college invites employees to a wonderful party...complete with food, desserts, wine, beer, etc. It's a lot of fun. Employees get dressed up in their holiday finery, have a few drinks, and chat. This year, however, there was no Santa Claus (I don't really think there was ever a Santa Claus.)

Well, since there was no Santa Claus, I decided that it would be fun for ME to represent him. (You know how children get their photos taken with Santa in the mall? Well, employees got to have their picture taken with me...albeit under protest.)

Cher and I went up to people and asked them to pose for a picture. Most of them did (except for this one guy who looks like Side Show Bob from The Simpsons...he was wacky.) I felt very special...if not very annoying. I'm in about 30 pictures - with people in housekeeping all the way up to the president herself. I told Cher that, on the "employee candids" page, she should post all 30 photos...we'll see if that happens.

Anyway...Cher works in an office with Deanna. I love them both and everytime I find myself in their offices I end up staying for an hour or so. Well, Deanna has a buxom bosom. Cher took a photo of it. (The bosom is what I'm sitting on in the picture above.)

With all that cleavage (and me sitting right in there), I want this post to officially serve as my very first, very DEEP thought.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Vending Machines.

My Chinese friend, Jen, is always running to the vending machines to get a snack. She'll buy Cheetos, Lays Potato Chips, soda pop, cookies, Swedish Fish. You name it, she'll buy it.

I suppose vending machines are really a good idea. It's not just convenient but it's a great marketing ploy for the snack companies.

How many times do you see a soda machine glaring "Coca Cola" or "Pepsi"? I bet, if you paid attention and actually counted each soda machine you pass on any given day, you would see two dozen. Try to imagine what a Hershey candy bar looks like, or a bag of M&Ms, or Lays can totally do it, can't you? I mean, you can visualize exactly what each wrapper looks like.

Then there's the whole money thing. Have you ever been standing at a vending machine that takes only coins? (I know they make machines that accept bills but I know there are still some around.) You have 6 nickels and 3 dimes and you really want something that costs 75 cents...if you're anything like me (or my Chinese friend, Jen) you will ask everybody you know if they have 15 cents...but you'll say it like this: "Do you have any change? All I need is fifteen cents...but no pennies, I don't think the machine takes pennies." You might not even WANT those Vienna Cookies but you just HAVE to have the money...and the exact change is always a plus.

Ugh...then you have to push the buttons. G2, D1, K7, F10. I can't tell you how many times I have mistakenly pushed the right letter but the wrong numbers. I could be craving Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, put in my exact change (without pennies), punch in C6, and watch something disgusting, like creme-filled caramels, pops out instead. And then you're pissed. Yep, I'm sure it's happened to you.

Oh, wait! There's something even worse than that! Imagine: perfect change, right buttons, the lever spins, and then the snack GETS STUCK and doesn't come out at all!!! Ahh! You look around to make sure nobody's looking and then you wrestle with the machine. You try to shake it, you nudge it, you tap on the glass...then somebody walks by, notices that you're molesting this machine for a 75 cent snack, and walks away thinking you're a cheap bastard. (That's what I think every time somebody catches me doing that.)

Vending machines...God's gift or a nasty little joke on humanity? You decide.

Dear Darling Hannibal.

Well, I've decided not to write about RENT after all. It was a wonderful production and we had a great time.

I just purchased "Hannibal Rising" and I can't wait to start reading it. This book will likely be finished in a day or two.

I will definitely write about it...but enough fooling around right now - it's time for a nice chianti, some fava beans and chapter one.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Not a mortgage but...

Jamie's brother, Brandon, and I are going to see RENT tonight at Shea's.

I have never seen it (movie included) but I love the music, always have.

I'm excited...although I'm probably the very last theatre person to see the damn thing.

I'll write about it when I get back home.

The F-word.

This is a real, honest to God sign in a real, honest to God town in Austria.

My friend Eileen just e-mailed me a very funny article about this town. I thought it was all a joke and decided to google it. Wikipedia has this to say about Fucking:

Fucking (IPA: /ˈfʊkɪŋ/—the "u" is pronounced like the "u" in English "put") is a small settlement (population c. 150), part of the municipality of Tarsdorf, in the Innviertel region of western Upper Austria, located at 48°02′59″N, 12°50′59″E, bordering Bavaria. It is near the city of Salzburg. The village is known to have existed as “Fucking” since at least 1070 and is named after a man from the 6th century called Focko. “Ing” is an old Germanic suffix meaning “people”; thus Fucking, in this case, means “place of Focko’s people”. The settlement’s most famous feature is a traffic sign with its name on it beside which English-speaking tourists often stop to have their photograph taken. The sign is the most commonly stolen street sign in Austria. Significant amounts of public funds are spent on replacing the stolen signs. In August 2005 the road signs were replaced with theft-proof signs welded to steel and secured in concrete to make the signs harder to take. In 2004, owing to the stolen signs and embarrassment over the name, a vote was held on changing the name, but the town's residents voted against doing so. Coincidentally there are two small municipalities just over the border in Bavaria, Germany called Petting and Kissing.

Pretty fucking funny, huh?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

No hablo espanol, asshole.

Much to my stomach's dismay, I decided to go to Burger King (that's Hamburguesa Rey for you non-English speaking readers) for lunch today. Although I'm not really a huge fan of fast food, every once in a while I get a hankering for a Whopper with cheese.

I normally crave this delicacy in the late evening when my body needs a saturated fat boost. There's a Burger King not far from my house so it's easy to go through the drive-thru and pick one up. Well, needless to say, I'm not at home right now. I work in the West Side of Buffalo...a largely "comunidad hispánica", Spanish-speaking area.

I really don't care what languages families speak in their homes. I don't care what languages friends speak with each other. What bothers me is when I walk into a huge chain fast food restaurant and can't get the cashier to properly take my order because I don't speak Spanish. That irks me big time.

There I was...standing patiently in line, trying to decide whether I wanted french fries or onion rings with my #1 meal. I hear Spanish...OK. I figure, "Hey that's nice. It's very nice that the cashier is bilingual." I even think that it's a nice gesture on Burger King's part...hiring bilingual cashiers for those in the community who have a difficult time speaking English. Ha! I was mistaken.

It is now my turn. I go to the register and say, verbatim, "I would like a number one with cheese, medium sized, for here." She looks at her friend, then back at me and says something like, "Estoy apesadumbrado que no hablo inglés. ¿Podrías soportar tus dedos para decirme qué comida del valor quisieras pedir?" I'm assuming she said something like that...I don't know...I DON'T SPEAK SPANISH.

So, I tell the girl, "I don't speak Spanish". I say this with a smile on my face, thinking she's just playing a joke on me. She giggled...I thought the game was over. Nuh-uh. "Can I help you?", she says in a Spanish accent. Good, thought I, she speaks a little English. "Number one, for here." (I tried to make it simpler.) She punches some buttons and says "Cinco dieciocho." I knew that cinco meant five and the smallest bill I had was a ten. I handed it to her, she gave me change, I waited for my food.

I see them put a 9 piece chicken nugget something-or-other on the tray with some fries and a cup. I just assumed it was for somebody else. So I wait. Nobody comes up to get the food. I wait still. Finally, the cashier looks at me and said, and I kid you not, she said it just like this: "Yo wantcho food?" I swear to God I started laughing...out loud. I told her I didn't order it.

Long story even longer... A manager comes over and, although in a Spanish accent, asks me in English, "What's wrong, sir?" I told her that I ordered a Whopper value meal. She (the manager) apparently asks Lolita (the cashier with the fake name I just made up) some questions in Spanish. I have a translator on my computer...let me pretend that this is how the conversation went:

Manager: "Este muchacho blanco piensa que su orden es incorrecta."

Lolita: "Por supuesto es incorrecto. No podría entender una palabra que él dijo."

Manager: "Él me dijo que él pidiera una comida de Whopper."

Lolita: "No sé lo que deseas de mí, encargado. Apenas decirte que él sea un mentiroso y que él pidió las nueve ofertas del pollo del pedazo. Voy en rotura."

The manager then looked at me and said, "She said you ordered the chicken nuggets. If you want to change your order you can wait in line again." Then she walked away.

I stood there dumbfounded. Eventually I took my tray, ate the chicken things, and came back to work.

I've had Great-Grandparents come off the boat from all sorts of foreign speaking countries...every one of whom came here and learned how to speak English. They would have been embarrassed if they couldn't order off a menu, for instance. Why then, do I feel embarrassed that I couldn't speak Spanish at a Burger King in Buffalo, New York?

Next time I'm going to ORDER the chicken nugget meal and see if I get the Whopper instead...damnit.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Angels in Buffalo...

I want to take this opportunity to let you all know about a very special benefit performance of ANGELS IN AMERICA.

Today is World AIDS Day, the international day of action on HIV and AIDS which takes place every year December 1st. To benefit AIDS Community Service of WNY, Buffalo United Artists is pleased to present a staged reading of Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Prize winning drama, ANGELS IN AMERICA.

This very special staged reading is directed by Louis Colaiacovo and features local actors Kelly Meg Brennan, Steve Cooper, Chris Critelli, Joseph Demerly, Kurt Guba, Ellen Horst, Chris Kelly, Bethany Moore, and Lee Siegl. It is being presented at Alleyway Theatre's Main Street Cabaret at 687 Main Street in Buffalo. Performances will take place tonight (12/1) and tomorrow (12/2) at 8:00PM and all tickets are $25 (all proceeds will benefit AIDS Community Service of WNY).

Please help me spread the word (I know this is last minute) and try to get out tonight or tomorrow to support this great charity for a very important cause.

For more information, please call 716-886-9239.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

An Introduction to My Deep Thoughts...

My friend Cher is a very funny girl. She works in at our Publications Department here at work. Every month...or maybe it's quarterly, I don't know...her department creates an employee newsletter called "Coffee Break". I call it "Cawfee Tawlk". (I'm still waiting for her to rename the newsletter, at least once, to "Cawfee "Tawlk"...but I won't hold my breath.) But I digress...

I told her that I wanted to have a column called "Deep Thoughts by Joey Demerly". I will write some really deep, meaningful quip and it will become very popular. People will flip through the "Coffee Break" just to read my Deep Thoughts. She agrees that it will be a highlight to the newsletter and she created this photographic logo for me.

Needless to say, I am going to start practicing on you faithful readers. Every week I will post a "Deep Thought" and you can, in turn, reply and let me know if you found it inspiring. I'm certain that it will be.

God bless...and don't let the bedbugs bite.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

It's 5 o'clock somewhere...

"Sometimes when I reflect back on all the wine I drink I feel shame. Then I look into the glass and think about the workers in the vineyards and all of their hopes and dreams. If I didn't drink this wine, they might be out of work and their dreams would be shattered. Then I say "It is better that I drink this wine and let their dreams come true than be selfish and worry about my liver." Jack Handy

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may leave you wondering what the hell happened to your bra and panties.

"I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day." Frank Sinatra

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter, faster and better looking than most people.

"When I read about the evils of drinking, I gave up reading." Henny Youngman

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may lead you to think people are laughing WITH you.

"24 hours in a day, 24 beers in a case. Coincidence? I think not." Stephen Wright

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may cause you to think you can sing. "When we drink, we get drunk. When we get drunk, we fall asleep. When we fall asleep, we commit no sin. When we commit no sin, we go to heaven. So, let's all get drunk and go to heaven!" Brian O'Rourke

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may cause pregnancy.

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." Benjamin Franklin

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol is a major factor in dancing like a retard.

"Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza." Dave Barry

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may cause you to tell your friends over and over again that you love them.

"To some it's a six-pack, to me it's a Support Group. Salvation in a can!" Dave Howell

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may make you think you can logically converse with members of the opposite sex without spitting.

One afternoon at Cheers, Cliff Clavin was explaining the Buffalo Theory to his buddy Norm. Here's how it went: "Well ya see, Norm, it's like this... A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of the weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. Excessive intake of alcohol, as we know, kills brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first. In this way, regular consumption of beer eliminates the weaker brain cells, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That's why you always feel smarter after a few beers."

WARNING: The consumption of alcohol may make you think you are whispering when you are not.

Who needs a drink?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Our living room.

OK, you can kinda see the Christmas tree (you can't see the piano) but this is our living room. We just recently purchased the gas can read that post here.

I'm posting this photo because hardly anyone (including our family) has been to our house since we painted, bought the logs, got new furniture, etc. I'm hoping they'll look at the photo, see all the "good" we've done, and give us more money to do more "good".

We're very proud and want to share it with you. Come over for a cocktail...we'll give you a tour!

Making Memories.

I know that I posted yesterday that I don't like crowds and it could have been misconstrued that I was bitching about the holidays and the Christmas music that's playing already. While the crowd thing really does bother me, the holidays and the music do not. I love Christmas. I love the music. I love everything about this holiday. (It's funny that the things I love most about Christmas aren't the things that I Jesus and stuff. I like the decorations and the food and the silly songs like "Grandma Got Ran Over By a Reindeer"...stuff like that.)

Yesterday, when I was preparing to leave work, I decided that it might be fun to have my Aunts and Uncles over for cocktails. My Aunt Rebecca and Uncle Ken live in Kentucky and they haven't seen our house since last Christmas...we've done a LOT. Painting, new furniture, etc. I called Jamie and warned him that we would be having guests and then I made some phone calls. I called Aunt Nini and Uncle Tom and left a message for Aunt Rebecca and Uncle Ken. It turned out that only Aunt Nini and Uncle Tom came over but we had a wonderful time regardless.

Moving on...

I told Jamie that I would be running to the store and that he should work on straightening up the basement (we have a bar in the basement...but we haven't entertained in a very long needed some tidying-up.) I ran over to the liquor store and to Rite Aid to buy some booze and chips and stuff. Then I went home and started Martha Stewart-izing the house. Jamie was busy in the basement so it was the perfect time for me to make the house all Christmasy.

Last year, when putting the decorations away, I decided that it would be simpler not to dismantle the Christmas trees. I made sure all the ornaments were secured to the branches and we took the trees upstairs to the attic. It turned out to be a good idea. In less than 15 minutes, I had "put up" two trees, strung garland over the piano and buffet, and threw a few holiday pillows on the sofa. Voila! Christmas!

(Note on the trees: I LOVE to decorate Christmas trees. I love it. I have spent more money on tree decorations than I care to remember. We have a 5 foot "slim" tree in our living room that I have decorated with white, green and red lights...but not just any lights. The red and green lights are special because each bulb is 1/2 red and 1/2 green. I also bought larger, crystal-like red and white lights. There is also a string of just red lights. It looks lovely. There are over 100 ornaments on it (in the white, green, red theme) and a silvery ribbon for garland. It took me a few hours to decorate it last year and it looked perfect. That's the reason I didn't disassemble it. The other tree is a smaller 3-4 foot tree that I bought at Sears about 5 years ago. It is one of those pre-lit trees (with white lights already strung into the branches.) It has seen many holidays and many different locations. I had originally purchased it when we lived in West Seneca. Then I set it up for my Mother when she was living in Pittsburgh. Now it's in our dining room in Hamburg. It looks brand new still... It has about 250 ornaments on it...honest to God. I strung blue lights in addition to the white lights. It is decorated with multi-sized ornaments and bells...all blue, light blue, and silver...with a few white bulbs for good measure. It's finished with silver beaded garland and an blue, antique glass topper. I love it. This is why I didn't want to take off the decorations...they already look perfect. OK, enough of this.)

With the trees set in place, the garland hung and lit, and some Yankee Candles (Christmas scents) burning...all we really needed to do was put some snacks in bowls. But, you see...I was in my Martha Stewart mode, I didn't want to use just any bowls...I wanted to use my "fancy" bowls. OK...detour time again:

(Note on "fancy" dishes: We painted our house (the living room, dining room, kitchen and bathroom so far) in "historic" colors. Noble Cranberry for the living room, Christmas Cactus for the dining room, Dark Celery for the kitchen, and we're finishing the Rusty Pumpkin in the bathroom. I like the colors and I like their timelessness (is that a word?). The dining room is decorated with Duncan Phyfe furniture. I like antique things. We have a curio cabinet and a china cabinet...I wanted them to have green glass. I purchased an emerald green glass collection at a garage sale for $20...they're in the curio cabinet. I purchased a much larger olive green glass collection at an antique store for $100...they're in the china cabinet. Some of the individual pieces exceed $100 - I got a phenomenal deal. I have some depression glass, some vaseline glass (look it up), some carnival glass. It is a nice glass collection and I haven't really had a chance to use it yet. Until last night...)

Back to my story... I bought some Christmas M&Ms, some pretzels, some Chex mix, and peanuts. Then (yes, this is how bizarre I really am) I made devilled eggs and asked Jamie to cut up some cheese and pepperoni. We put all of these things in my "fancy" dishes (I even have a green glass devilled egg plate) and arranged them just so on the dining room table. Everything looked beautiful! We had the fireplace going, the trees lit, the house was sparkling clean, the dogs were behaving...I even had Christmas music playing in surround sound! Jamie and I got changed and waited for Aunt Nini and Uncle Tom to come.

They came in and thought everything looked beautiful. They were amazed at the difference. We told them that it's amazing what a little paint and elbow grease can actually accomplish. (It really does look nice...I'm very proud of us.) Then we enjoyed a wonderful evening at our bar. Telling stories, laughing, making memories.

That's what the holidays mean to me. Making memories. It didn't take too much work, it didn't cost too much money, it was a last minute get-together. But we sat down, had a few cocktails, told a few stories and made memories. Nothing fancy.

We often tell our family members "oh, we have to get together over the holidays"...then we get "too busy" and we "forget". Well...just as paint and elbow grease can transform a room, snacks and conversation can really make memories. Sappy or not...I really mean it.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Oh, the people outside are frightful!

I do not do the whole "start shopping at 5AM thing" the morning after Thanksgiving. I'm surprised anybody does. The last thing I would want to do after a night of eating and drinking way too much would be wake up BEFORE dawn and drive to the mall only to stand in line with 1000 strangers waiting for the doors to open so I can find out that what I wanted really, really bad was already SOLD OUT! I mean...c'mon.

I am actually working today. Today is just a normal day for me. It always has been. I do not remember EVER having "black Friday" off since I started working. I drove to work this morning and passed about 300 minivans all crammed with middle-aged women clucking like chickens. I even though I could hear them...that's how much they annoyed me. The backs of their minivans were piled to the roof with bags upon bags of presents. I just really get annoyed.

I know that this shouldn't bother me. I mean...people can do whatever they want. I just don't understand it. Crowds. I don't like crowds EVER. I get all jittery. Just the thought of being surrounded by people...ugh...makes me shudder. I have been in lines before and literally walked out because I start to have a panic attack. Maybe that's the reason these people bother me so much...because all I have to do is imagine it and I get sick.

Ugh... The holidays are now officially upon us. We'll be hearing Christmas songs from now until New Year's eve... Yippie.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Happy Thanksgiving to my friends and family.

It's been a good day so far. I got to sleep in, my stepfather fixed my gas line (for my gas logs...more on that later), I made my Orange-Braised Fresh Green Beans with Buttered Cashews, went to the Kelley's, went to pick up Grandma Dem and went over to Aunt Helen's and Uncle Brian's, now I'm sitting at Uncle Gary's eating crab dip and chips...then we're going to be off to my cousin Danielle's to eat some traditional Thanksgiving fare with some more family...

It's not the normal Turkey Day by any means but I'm very thankful for what it is... I love the family I'm with and I love the family I'm not with...I'm thankful that I have a wonderful, loving family wherever they are...

I hope you find something to be thankful for and that your holiday is/was a great one.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Giving Thanks.

The holiday of family, friends and food is fast approaching. To say that I'm not entirely excited about it this year would be an understatement. Not that I'm not excited...don't misunderstand me. I'm just not as excited as I normally am.

It's funny...the older we get the more things tend to disappoint us. (Maybe it's the fact that we've lived longer therefore we have more things on which to base our disappointment...that's probably closer to the truth.) Hmm...interesting.

When I was younger, my Mother used to ask me and my sister to get all dressed up and then we would start the traditional "let's drive all over the place" holiday. I loved it...and so did Katie. We would leave the house in the morning and venture over to Grandma Kelley's for an early Thanksgiving dinner. Then we would drive back to North Tonawanda and have another Thanksgiving dinner with the Skovenski family. Then Katie and I would drive over to Grandma Demerly's and have another Thanksgiving dinner. On rarer occasions, we would then drive to my Dad's house in Pennsylvania or Virginia and have another Thanksgiving dinner (normally the following day.) We got to see most of our family and we would gain about 15 pounds each. It was a hassle and we couldn't really spend enough time with enough people but at least we got to see everyone. It was very nice and I remember it fondly.

Now, as we get older, things change. Not for the better, not for the worse. Just change. Some people move and some people die; Couples divorce and couples marry. Things just change.

This year, more than others I think, my family is realizing a large amount of change. My sister recently got married and she and her husband purchased their very first, brand new house in Virginia; my Aunt and Uncle are getting divorced; another Aunt moved across the country; some of my cousins had babies this past year and will either be spending Thanksgiving as a family or elsewhere (I'm sure it's hard enough getting a baby to one location, let alone multiple.) Change, change, change.

I don't consider any of these changes to be bad or good. It's inevitable. It's just a bit hard to accept certain changes. This Thanksgiving, however, I am going to try my best to be thankful for won't be easy but I can't ignore it. I can't wallow in it. Change is makes us who we are. And I can truly say that I am thankful for what I have, when I have it.

I am thankful for my family and friends whether they're with me or not. I am thankful that I have a job I love in a profession I adore. I am thankful for the roof over my head. I am thankful for those I see every day and, no matter what mood I may be in, they make me smile. I am thankful for the things that I endure which make me stronger. I am thankful for advice.

I am thankful...period. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


My friend Steve just opened a new store in Allentown called Krudmart. He's been selling all sorts of things on his online website for a long time. Visit for more information.

I haven't seen Steve in a long time but I know that he is going to be super successful with this. He has a great personality, a real drive to do well, and a good attitude in general. I'm very excited for him.

To be completely honest, I didn't even know that he was going to be opening a retail store. I was driving home one day and I passed a storefront on Elmwood Avenue. The sign, as you can see from this picture, said "Krudmart". I had remembered that this was his online store's name and that it must be his place. Just driving past the store made me smile. I came home and checked out his website. He's really doing well.

Check out the site and go to his store. Although I haven't been there yet I bet it's a neat place. From the pictures on his site it reminds me of a hip LA retail store. I'm excited to check it out. I think he specializes in t-shirts. I know that he sells a whole bunch of things but graphic Ts are definitely his thing.

How cool?! Very cool. And his store address is 125 Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo (just north of Allen Street). I may even check it out should too.

I've posted a link to his site and the store's blog on here. Check it out...and tell Stevie that Joey says hi!

Blog Security.

My friend Michael recently had something very frightening happen. You can read his post here. In a nutshell, his apartment had been burglarized...and the person who did it took only one thing...his computer. Strange? Yes... Read his post, you'll understand.

This immediately got me thinking about how "safe" we are. I know that I go about my day pretty calmly. I don't really worry about walking to my car at night; leaving my office door open while I run to the bathroom; keeping the garage door open for the 5 minutes I'll be gone. I tend to be a relatively trusting person. I think we all are to an extent.

Those of you reading this blog, most of you I would imagine, know me. At least I think you do. How certain can I be? To be completely honest, not very certain. This is the WORLD wide web, for heaven's sake. Anybody could really be reading this. I know that people as far away as Malaysia have taken a gander. Why am I comparing Michael's recent burglary with the Internet? Here's why:

We post things on our blogs that we intend for our friends and family to read. Things about work; things about family; things about our personal lives. I know that I've read the stories about "keeping children safe from Internet predators"...we all have read those stories. But do we really try to keep ourselves safe? I'm not suggesting that we're looking for trouble...I just know that I've never really thought about it before. We need to keep ourselves safe from Internet predators too...just a different kind of predator, I imagine.

Perhaps we shouldn't post personal stories online. Maybe we can't tell a funny story about what happened to us at work. If people are out to get you, they'll find a way. Why should we make it easier for them by posting where we work (I know I've done that) or who our friends are or what our family member's names are?

I am a bit paranoid now. It's not a safe place. I just told my Mother to look at my blog...she's probably going to see this and get equally paranoid for me. But I can't blame her. In a way I'm surprised that I hadn't thought about this before.

Should I be as generic as possible on this blog? Should we all become faceless people on the Internet? In the world of MySpace and Facebook and Instant Messaging...should we all just become invisible? No. I don't think so. I do think we should consider this. I do think we should "watch our backs". I do think we SHOULD live in a world where we don't have to worry about the bad people. But we don't. Am I going to stop blogging? No. Am I going to stop telling stories about myself, my friends, my family? No. Am I going to be more selective in the stories I tell...yes.

Just some food for thought...

I'm going to make sure my car doors are locked...right now.

Friday, November 17, 2006


I am so happy.

We have a beautiful fireplace that we can't use. It is really a nice fireplace. The hearth is built right into the wall...kinda adobo style. Is that a word? Adobo? Oh well. It can't be used it to burn wood because it hasn't been used in over 40 years. So, what did I do? Why am I writing this post? Why am I happy? Because I just purchased vent-free fire logs.

They're from Monessen. I love them. The picture on this post is what they're going to look like...or what they DO look like.

They'll heat our whole house! They're 99% efficient. They'll make me very happy. I'll take pictures and post them as soon as I get them delivered.


My Sister's Blog.

Katie, my sister, has a blog. She had to jump on the fucking bandwagon. She posted three times already today. She thinks she's me.

Click here and tell me what you think. Leave her comments telling her that my blog is will make her happy...she loves me.

Katie, Katie, Katie...

Brownie Bake-Off.

My stomach hurts because I was one of the judges for a brownie bake-off here at work today. Five ladies from our publications and human resources offices baked brownies and decided that they were going to have a contest to see who bakes the best. Seven lucky guys were asked to be a guest judge...I was "lucky" enough to be one of them.

It was fun, I must admit. And it's amazing how different each lady's brownies were. There were brownies with nuts, brownies with chocolate chunks, brownies with was a brownie lover's dream.

It's strange, though. I used to LOVE sweets. I used to love desserts. I dont' really love them anymore. I don't particularly even like them. I can take them or leave them. To be completely honest, I usually leave them. I just get a "gut ache" when I eat desserts. I shouldn't have gone to this bake-off contest but I did.

Not that you probably care but it was almost unanimous. I felt bad about telling the ladies who won. You work hard and you really want to win. I would have been disappointed too. But they were all good sports.

I don't want to eat another brownie for a very long time.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Yesterday, I had the pleasure of spending some time with my cousin, Danielle, and her beautiful baby, Skyler. I drove them to the Shriner's Hospital in Erie, PA.

I have to tell you that this place made me very happy. Skyler, you see, was born with a medical condition where her feet were "pointed in". There is obviously a medical term for her condition, I just don't know what it is. She needed to have surgery and Danielle and her husband, Chris, arranged for Skyler to be taken care of by the Shriner Hospital.

I didn't know very much about the Shriners. All I remembered about them is that they were the silly people that were those silly hats and drove around in silly motorcycles in parades. I didn't know that they were actually very caring, charitable individuals.

Apparently the Shriners, around the world, collect donations for children's hospitals...and children with mild to severe medical conditions get medical care...for FREE. Yes, for FREE. Children with severe burns; children with broken bones; children with disfigurements; children with anything wrong with them...all can go to a Shriner's Hospital and be taken care of for free.

When I walked into the place I was amazed at how clean it was. I know that it's a hospital and all but I've never seen one as clean as this. And, since they cater to children, there were tons and tons of toys in the waiting room. Toys for babies, toddlers, and bigger kids. It made me smile.

I just wanted to let everyone know about these great people and what they do. I will think twice when I see the silly hats from now on.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Da Vinci Code DVD

Finally. Finally this DVD has been! I have been looking forward to this for a long time. I did not see the movie in the theatres but I have read the books. (Yes, I jumped on the bandwagon and read the books due to the hoopla...but I still read them.) I bought it right after work.

In a way I'm bittersweet about watching the movie. As with any books-turned-movie, I normally have a lot of trepidation...I don't want the book to be soured due to an overly-Hollywood movie version. But I won't dwell on that right now.

I am going to slip into something comfortable (get your mind out of the gutter), make myself a cup of tea, curl up on the couch and watch the movie. I'm sure I'll enjoy it...even though Tom Hanks is playing Robert Langdon.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


I've blogged quite a bit today...although I'm very tired.

As you'll notice, should you read any further, we opened our new show at the theatre last night. It's great. We had a reception and I got home late. Then I went to my Grandmother's and had a couple of Seagram's 7s...they were great. Then I went home and had a bratwurst and a Baby Ruth candy bar. Then I went to bed. I was tired then too.

I had to wake up early today because I had a TV interview. It was kinda strange...but in a good way, I guess. David Lamb of God was supposed to do it this morning but his plans changed. I went to Channel 4 and taped a segment called "4 the People" of all things. Gina Browning was the host. I know that she's the director of the SPCA...I don't know why she's doing a morning show. She was lovely though. She actually subscribes to The Kav. What was strange however was the fact that it was a 14 minute segment...without commercial breaks. When I first heard this I thought that I'd never have enough to say to fill 14 minutes. I was wrong. She was very easy to talk to... I just hope that I didn't sound stupid. But that's probably a fruitless hope because I always sound stupid on TV. There were 3 cameras and I didn't know which one to look at. I'm sure I looked stupid as well as sounded stupid.

So, now I'm at work and I've been answering the phone and blogging all day. I get to leave at 4ish. I wanted to rake my leaves but it's raining. I also wanted to make a soup but I don't know what kind of soup I should make. By the time I get home and decide what soup I want to make I'll still be tired and I won't feel like going to the grocery store. I'll probably eat another candy bar and then take a nap.

Then I'll wake up from my nap, have another couple of Seagram's 7s and then go to bed. Maybe I'll blog later. Oh, I know! Maybe I can make my corn chowder. That would be a lovely idea. It is raining and I can't rake and I am tired and I love Seagram's 7 and Corn Chowder.

But I'll probably be too tired.


You know what I just noticed? I shouldn't really say "just" or "noticed" for that matter - I've known this since day one. Why do these blogs post newest to oldest? What if somebody happens across my blog, likes it, and starts reading it backwards? Isn't that like reading a book in reverse? I don't mean to suggest that these rants and raves are even remotely close to being as interesting as a book but, don't you understand? I'm sure you do. You're a very smart person, I would imagine. But...doesn't that boggle your mind? I mean...if you visit this blog on a regular basis you wouldn't want to read "old" blogs first but, then again, what if I posted something this morning and then responded to that post this response would precede the original post and then you'll all be in a quandary as to what the hell I'm talking about. Oh well, I guess that's not my problem.

I just noticed that there's a bottle of French's 100% Natural Classic Yellow Mustard sitting on my desk. I wonder how that got there and why.


Speaking of mustard... Why do they put ingredients like "natural flavor" in the ingredients list? Have you ever wondered that? I about being in a quandary. What the hell is natural flavor? Is "flavor" even an ingredient? Isn't that what you get when you taste a specific ingredient? "Natural flavor." That's a bit misleading I think. It's like when they say "artificial vanilla"... Isn't it? If it's artificial and if these nutrition facts are supposed to be remotely useful to an inquiring mind...don't you think they'd tell us what's IN the fucking artificial vanilla? Or what the point of putting "natural flavor" as an ingredient list is? Jesus.

Here's another question that just popped into my mind. Maybe it's not strange but it makes me chuckle a little but: We had to buy breakaway glasses for the current show. You know, like a wine glass. They were very expensive...just to break. Anyway, we found some local guy who makes breakaway glass and he thinks he can do it cheaper. He just came in the office to take one of the fake glasses so he can make a mold of the fake glass to make more fake glasses. I don't know...just sounds strange to me. If you were making fake glasses, wouldn't you want to use a real glass from which to model the fake glasses? Instead of making a fake glass from a fake glass?

I'm really getting a headache now. But I took my last Bayer aspirin yesterday. I've been having a headache almost daily...and heartburn. Maybe it's from all of the Seagram's 7s and Baby Ruths? Doubt it. I've only eaten one Baby Ruth. And I haven't had Seagram's 7s on a daily basis. Maybe it's a tumor.

"Iz nadda tooma."

Hehe... I'm still tired.

I'd tell her to wear a fucking hat...

Family Cookbook?

Well, I've wanted to do this for a long time and I thought that now is as good a time as any. I composed the following letter and sent it off to my family...I want to compile a family cookbook.

I love to cook. I always have. My family has conditioned me to cook, I suppose. That's why I want their recipes. I have a huge extended family: my mom's, my dad's, my stepfather's, my stepmother's, my sister's inlaws, cousins, friends, etc. I've only received one recipe so far...from my stepfather. You can read it at after you read the letter I sent:

Dear Family,

Please accept my apologies for the form-letter-feeling this letter will undoubtedly have. I hope you're all doing well and I love you all very much…and I am writing to ask a favor. Don't worry, it's nothing big. Just a recipe or two will do.

For years I have been thinking about compiling a cookbook. I have had different ideas about what kind of a cookbook to compile. I've considered collecting recipes from local actors and selling the book as a fundraiser for the theatre I work for…but actors apparently don't cook that well. I've considered collecting recipes from co-workers at D'Youville College and donating the proceeds to their scholarship fund…but apparently teachers don't have time to cook. Finally, I thought about collecting recipes from my family. These are the recipes I grew up with and love! I don't know how to make Grandma Kelley's pigachi…and I want to.

Sound like a good idea? I agree. Think this is a silly idea? Too bad…send me a recipe anyway.

This idea was born from my addiction to buying books. Books of all kinds: autobiographies, plays, fiction, non-fiction, true crime, and cookbooks. I recently started cataloging all of my books and I found that I have 3 dozen cookbooks. I do use them but not nearly as much as I had anticipated. Of each cookbook I own however, none of them tells a story. I think it would be great to have a little story to go along with each recipe. (When did you have this meal for the very first time? For what special occasions would this dish be prepared?)

So, dear family, I am asking for your help. Would you please look through your recipe boxes and send me a few of your favorite dishes? Think appetizers, salads, entrees, desserts, side dishes, soups, beverages, etc. I'd like for this cookbook to be as comprehensive as possible. Could you ask your aunts & uncles, brothers & sisters, mothers & fathers, sons & daughters to contribute as well? Many of us have enjoyed Edgy's homemade Thanksgiving Stuffing; possibly he can share his secret recipe with us. I used to love his mother's cucumber salad; I could share that recipe with you. Grandma Demerly makes the best sauerkraut in the world (it was actually her mother's recipe); perhaps I can persuade her to contribute as well.

I really think that this would be a great way for our very extended family to come together and I'd hate to put this off much longer. Now is the time. As much as we'd all hate to think about it, our Grandmothers will not be around for ever. Wouldn't it be a comfort to know that their recipes for the foods we grew up with will be?

If you'd like to help me in this endeavor (and I sincerely hope you will), please e-mail or drop your complete recipes to me via snail mail (addresses below). A complete recipe should include: your name, the name of your recipe, ingredient list, preparation list (please include temperatures and duration), servings (if you know this), and a personal story to go along with your recipe. If you have some heirloom recipes (Great-Great Grandma's Vanilla Pudding, for example) please send those to me as well. The more recipes we compile the better. In addition, please don't hesitate to send me some "basic" recipes. I don't really know how to make a good macaroni salad, for example.

Oh, I really hope this works out! I'm certain it will with everyone's collaboration. And I thank you all very much in advance for taking the time.

With love,

OK, here's the recipe I told you I got:

Easy Turkey Recipe from Edgy:

Here is a turkey recipe that also includes the use of popcorn as a stuffing - imagine that. When I found this recipe, I thought it was perfect for people like me, who just are not sure how to tell when poultry is thoroughly cooked, but not dried out. Give this a try.

10-15 lb. Turkey
1 cup melted butter
1 cup dried stuffing mix (Pepperidge Farm is good.)
1 cup uncooked popcorn (ORVILLE REDENBACHER'S)
pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brush turkey well with melted butter, salt, and pepper. Fill cavity with stuffing and popcorn. Place in baking pan with the neck end toward the back of the oven. Listen for the popping sounds. When the turkey's ass blows the oven door open and the turkey flies across the room, it's done.

The Glass Menagerie

Last night was the opening of The Kavinoky's production of Tennessee Williams' THE GLASS MENAGERIE. He is one of my favorite playwrights and it is one of my favorite plays. To say that I've been looking forward to this production would be an understatement. Although I'm always excited for a show to open at "my" theatre (I should say almost always...I could have done without a few of them), I really think that this production GLASS is the best one I've ever seen.

Let me just tell you that Paul Todaro is the perfect Tom. When he was first cast I have to say I didn't "see" it...not that I would ever doubt Paul's acting abilities, I just mean that I didn't visualize him in the role. (I don't know why...there isn't really a Tom-type. I just picture Tennessee Williams playing the role, I guess.) Paul is wonderful! He gets the play. He knows that Tom is telling a story and that he's remembering things...he's not, necessarily, "living them" for the first time. I've seen other Toms playing two separate characters, I see Paul playing Tom the storyteller who happens to fill in for Tom the son (Did that make any sense to you? Have you ever read the play? Should I elaborate as best I can? OK...let me try:)

THE GLASS MENAGERIE is a play in the truest sense. In Tom's opening monologue, he tells us exactly what we're going to see...similar to watching a magician. He says, "[A magician] gives your illusion that has the appearance of truth. I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion." Tennessee Williams sets the tone immediately: this is a play. Tom is "setting the stage" most literally...then he eventually meanders into the memory-action. He is always aware though. Not that the things he's doing on stage are false, that's not what I'm trying to say. What I'm trying to say is, I have a perfect example:

You're sitting at a bar with a friend of yours and you're trying to tell a story about what happened to you yesterday. Although you're not travelling back in time and reliving those events, you can't help but get a bit caught up in them. That's kind of what happens with Tom in GLASS: he is telling a story and, in doing so, he gets caught up in what he remembers.

I have never seen this more accurately portrayed than by Paul (I've seen the play 5 times.) Throughout the course of the play you remember that he is telling a story even when he's "reliving" his memories. Granted, the playwright has a lot to do with does the set and the director. But even with the words written in stone, with the same set and the same director, I wonder if I'd like the play as much were it not for Paul.

You see...sometimes the "actor playing the Tom who is telling the story" doesn't play the same Tom when he's reliving it. He plays an ak-tour...who then plays a realistic scene. I don't doubt for a moment that the narrator of the play is the same Tom we see in the scenes. That's my point.

OK, this was totally not meant to be an ode to Paul Todaro. I just wanted to explain what I meant about him being the best Tom I've seen so far...I don't want any of you to think that I'm kissing up...I had to justify my remarks (or at least I thought I did.)

As for the rest of the cast, I can tell you that they're all top-notch. Anne Gayley plays Amanda. At first I thought (and I'm being completely honest with you) that she was a bit too old. I love Anne, don't mistake me. She is one of my most favorite people. I just thought that this role was a bit young for her. I was pleasantly mistaken. The Amanda we see in Act One is the perfect Amanda. (By the way, who said that Amanda has to be younger than Anne? Nobody. I was wrong.) The Act Two Amanda is most appropriately pathetic. (Again, I don't want to tell the story...I'm assuming that if you've read this far you know the play. I'm just commenting. If you don't know what I'm talking about, read the play and then re-read this post.) Anne is wonderful.

Katie White was born to play this role. I saw her do it nearly 10 years ago at Buffalo State with Oasis Theatre Company. I remember loving her then too...but not as much as I did last night. This production is much fresher in my head, mind you. There is such a possibility that the actress playing Laura will over-do-it. That she'll exaggerate her limp, or play stupid, or be shy around her family. Most shy people are only shy around people they don't know well. Most of the shy people I know well aren't even shy towards me. Katie plays Laura perfectly. You don't really even feel too sorry for her...until you're supposed to. I've seen Lauras who are pathetic for pathetic's sake...Katie is smack-dab right on. We understand where her Laura is coming from. Lovely.

Now. Joe Wiens. Since I'm being completely honest right now I have to tell you that I did not think I was going to like him in this. Although I thought he gave a great audition, I didn't think he had the "chops". (I'm not a theatre expert nor do I profess that I would ever have "chops"...I just call 'em as I see 'em.) Again, I was wrong. And I am so happy to say that I was wrong. I have seen Joe Wiens in musicals and I saw him in Celadine (he was a mute). I didn't have much to base my acting opinion on. Gentleman Caller. His Jim is the perfect Jim. You know his Jim. You went to high school with his Jim. You can totally relate to his Jim. We've all seen productions of this play where a hunky, dim-wit is cast as the Gentleman Caller. In a way, we all think: he's just pretending to be nice to Laura; he just kissed Laura to make her feel good; maybe he's lying about Betty just so he can get out of the house. I don't think any of these things are true and neither will you when you see Joe's Jim. When he says "I shouldn't have done that" you can hear that, although he's right, he's kinda glad that he did.

Loved the play. Loved the actors. I didn't even mention Bob Waterhouse's direction...directors always get short-handed. have to see it. You must. I know..."I've seen THE GLASS MENAGERIE so many times." Well, first off - I don't believe you. Many people think they've seen it just because they read it in high school. Secondly, even if you have "seen it so many times" you've never seen it done as well as this. Honestly.

"Blow out your candles" and get your ass over to the Kav before December 10th.