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.