Tuesday, July 31, 2007

South Park Joey

Interviewed by Rion.

My new cyber friend, Rion, has a fun game on her blog. It's a sort of blog interview in which friends, family members or strangers can ask you questions. The rules (and her interview) can be found on her site HERE.

These are the questions Rion asked me to answer:

1. If you were asked to write a 10-item modern addendum to the Ten Commandments, what would you Command?
Ooh...this is a toughy. After some careful consideration, I hereby command: Thou shalt not do the following six things: judge, kill, steal, serve me mushrooms, intentionally hurt someone (physically or emotionally), force your beliefs/habits onto another. Thou shall do the following four things: be happy, love, mow your lawn, perform random acts of kindness.

2. Since Tammy is no longer on the air, what is your deepest, darkest television guilty pleasure?
I have always tried not to watch too much television but now, with the enormous variety of cooking/cooking themed television programming, I must admit to watching "Top Chef", "The Next Food Network Star", "Hell's Kitchen", and "Dinner: Impossible"...in addition to whatever looks appetizing on the Food Network. I also regularly watch Desperate Housewives and the occasional game show (especially "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?")

3. Sending your blog question back to you: do you knick knack? What is your favorite type of knick knack, and why?
Although "knick knacking" may not be the appropriate term for it, I do display green and cranberry glass, antiques I've purchased at Gently Used and garage sales, and lots and lots of books. I also like mirrors. I hope to one day have small framed mirrors throughout our living room (in place of photographs or paintings.) My favorite types of knick knacks are those that are tastefully displayed, i.e. Hummels on a symmetrically designed hanging shelving unit.

4. Okay, I'll bite Mr. English Major. What is the one book everyone should read but won't enjoy?
That's a really difficult question to answer! A book everyone should read but won't enjoy? That totally depends on their taste, I think. In addition...how do you define "enjoy"? OK, OK...let me just answer the question. I think the book that everyone should read but will likely not enjoy is either "The Joy of Cooking" or "The Bible".

5. Number 5 is a challenge. Video blog the simplest recipe you can think of, if you dare. If you choose Truth instead of Dare, tell us the celebrity you'd like to go to Tahiti with for magical calorie-free cocktails and etcetera.
OK, I'll totally do the video blog dare when I get home but I'll also answer the truth question. I would love to go to Tahiti and drink loads of calorie-free cocktails with Rosie O'Donnell. I think she would be tons of fun...not to mention she knows lots of Broadway show tunes.

Here are the rules...but click on the link to Rion's blog anyway.
1. Leave me a comment saying "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with a post containing your answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

I am going to "tag" and interview Michael.

How to put up a storm door.

After dropping off my Grandmother's car yesterday (and waiting for Jamie to come pick me up), I decided that I was going to rearrange her furniture. She wasn't home and I had nothing better to do.

I took her fish tank to the basement (it was empty but still sitting in the corner of her living room), moved her jewelry cabinet into the bathroom, dragged her rolltop desk from the dining room into the living room (yes, she had it in her breakfast room), strategically placed a lamp from the upstairs bedroom atop the desk, took all her pictures off the entertainment center, dusted, replaced the pictures that weren't over ten years old, positioned some floor plants, fluffed the pillows, and made myself a cocktail...all in about 25 minutes.

Just when I went outside to have a cigarette, Jamie pulled in the driveway to pick me up. He got out of the car and I asked him if he wanted to help me install the new screen/storm door that Uncle Brian and Aunt Helen just bought for Granny. I could tell he didn't want to but I also knew his hesitance was waning because he secretly wanted to prove to himself that he (we) could actually do it. I pushed him back into the car and sent him home to get some power tools and (just in case) super glue, thumb tacks, my steel-toed boots, and my overalls.

I was ready. I was prepared. I was buckling a tool belt around my waist when Jamie returned.

We managed to successfully remove the old door without a hitch; we unfolded the instructions (printed in four languages...English being the most indiscernible); screwed some things in. Then, six hours later, came the hard part: we had to install the automatic closer. Sounds easy, no?

Needless to say, we were unsuccessful at our first seventeen attempts. A few too many holes drilled into the door later, we had what looked like a properly attached air-pump hingy thing. The door opened and... We adjusted the thing. The door opened and slammed closed. We adjusted the thing again. The door wouldn't open. We adjusted the thing again. The door opened and closed as per instructions. We put the tools away. We tested the door again and it opened but didn't close. Our nerves were wearing thin. I started yelling at Jamie (for no reason at all.) We tested the door again and...miraculously - it worked! It opened and closed. Again...it open and closed!!! We were happy (although still have the other air-pump hingy thingy to attach today after work.)

All in all, the door looks great! It is beautiful; it functions properly; we didn't break anything. The fact that it took us the better part of a day is beside the point.

Moral of the story: an interior decorator does not a small contractor make...even if you're wearing the right outfit.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Hank Williams: Lost Highway

A Toe-Tapping Musical by Randal Myler and Mark Harelik

September 14 – October 14, 2007

From the same creative team that brought you ALWAYS…PATSY CLINE, The Kavinoky Theatre is pleased to announce a spectacular musical biography of the legendary singer-songwriter frequently mentioned alongside Louis Armstrong, Robert Johnson, Duke Ellington, Elvis and Bob Dylan as one of the great innovators of American popular music. The play follows Williams’ rise from his beginnings on the Louisiana Hayride to his triumphs on the Grand Ole Opry to his eventual self-destruction at twenty-nine. Along the way, we are treated to indelible songs like “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” “Move It on Over” and “Hey, Good Lookin’,” which are given fresh and profound resonance set in the context of Williams’ life.

“The best example of a musician’s bio put on stage that I’ve ever seen. Wonderful…delightful…marvelous.” – NY Post.

Friday, July 27, 2007

I'm reading...

I AM NOT MYSELF THESE DAYS by Josh Kilmer-Purcell and I love it!

My friend, Michael, turned me on to the book and I am so glad that he did!! It is a great read. Here's what "they" have to say about it:

I Am Not Myself These Days is a darkly funny and brilliantly written noiresque memoir by a young New York City advertising art director by day/glittering nightclub drag queen and amateur beauty pageant contestant by night, who finds himself struggling to keep his high heels grounded during a doomed romance with his penthouse-living, crack-addicted, male escort boyfriend.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Burgerfest and Bicycling.

I woke up this morning happy knowing that I had nothing to do today. Jamie was taking my car down to his Dad's for the weekend, I got to sleep in, and the weather was gorgeous.

I decided that I wanted to go to Hamburg's Burgerfest 2007. I had never been and I wanted to see what it was all about. (Although I had a pretty good idea: food vendors, arts and crafts, lots of kids and a beer tent.)

I showered, changed and walked the mile to get to where the festivities were. I bought my tickets and decided to order...a burger. After some walking around (I watched some MC play "Simon Says" with a bunch of kids), I decided to order...another burger - this time however it was a "Buffalo Chicken Wing Burger" (which means it was a cheeseburger with a hot sauce/bleu cheese dressing mixture slathered on top.)

While browsing the different non-food vendors, I purchased two cookbooks and called it a day. I walked on down to Murphy's and had myself a Blue Moon beer while browsing through my newly purchased books. Then was the time that I also decided that I was going to walk to my Grandmother's (remember, I had no car.)

She lives about 3.5 miles from where I was and I trekked along like a trooper...until the last 1/4 mile. I was sore and tired and sweaty. Needless to say, I made it there and had a nice chat with Granny. In addition, I decided that I was going to take down an old bike she had, wash it up, and fill the tires with air. I said to myself, "You've been a good boy today. You've walked nearly 5 miles and visited your Grandmother. Keep it up, boy! Ride the bike home." Which I did.

I haven't rode a bike in a LONG time! At first it was fun. Then it was work. Then I was in pain. Then I got home.

I don't know who out there reading this rides a bicycle on a regular basis but, if you're one of those people, answer me this: after riding a bike, do you suddenly lose your ability to walk down stairs? I know I did! I came into my house and had linguine legs. My walking looked like Bernie's in "Weekend at Bernie's" - honest to God!

Oh...and the bicycle seat. The most poorly executed invention of all time if you ask me. My ass is still numb.

I never realized how painful physical activity is. I'm going to rub some Tiga' Balm on my sore muscles and go to bed.

RIP Tammy Faye

Tammy Faye [Bakker] Messner died this evening after a long battle with inoperable cancer.

I used to watch her various television programs and teasingly make fun of her dark mascara but I want to say, honestly, that I learned some things from her. I don't want to elaborate but if you find yourself browsing the web...Google her and find out.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Pandora Online Radio

As my friend Michael posted on his blog, I too have discovered Pandora.

I don't listen to music at work on a regular basis because my tastes of music are not what you'd call commercially popular. What this amazing website does is pretty incredible.

Here's what they say about Pandora and the Music Genome Project on their website:

On January 6, 2000 a group of musicians and music-loving technologists came
together with the idea of creating the most comprehensive analysis of music

Together we set out to capture the essence of music at the most fundamental level. We ended up assembling literally hundreds of musical attributes or "genes" into a very large Music Genome. Taken together these genes capture the unique and magical musical identity of a song - everything from melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, and of course the rich world of singing and vocal harmony. It's not about what a band looks like, or what genre they supposedly belong to, or about who buys their records - it's about what each
individual song sounds like.

Since we started back in 2000, we've carefully listened to the songs of tens of thousands of different artists - ranging from popular to obscure - and analyzed the musical qualities of each song one attribute at a time. This work continues each and every day as we endeavor to include all the great new stuff coming out of studios, clubs and garages around the world.

It has been quite an adventure, you could say a little crazy - but now that we've created this extraordinary collection of music analysis, we think we can help be your
guide as you explore your favorite parts of the music universe.

We hope you enjoy the journey.

Check it out, type in your favorite artist and get a free, continuous, commericial free radio on your computer. (I think you can even use the service on cell phones and iPods.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

RE: God, Racism and Recipes

It's weird to me how everyday life really gets one thinking.

I was in Tops this evening (I despise Tops...I was only there because I had a hankering for ice cream and I didn't want to drive to Wegman's) and a man handed me a religion pamphlet. He was very polite about it and he actually took me off guard. We were simply walking into the store when he turned around, smiled and handed me the "brochure". I actually started reading it while walking to the frozen food section.

I am not a religious person. I am a SPIRITUAL person who refuses to be a part of a cult-like setting where people chant and submit to zombie-like kneeling, standing, shaking of hands, banging of chests, etc. (Please don't take this the wrong way. I used to be an altar boy. I am NOT suggesting that organized religion is bad...in any way whatsoever! I am simply sharing my views on what organized religion looks like to me.)

Although I don't attend church, I miss some of the things that go along with it: meeting new people, congregation picnics/holiday parties/fundraisers, bingo, the free wine.

I believe in God. I try to obey the Ten Commandments. I pray...but does the fact that I don't go to church make me a bad person? Does the fact that I disagree with many things the bible "preaches" make me bad?

Moving on...

You have to watch the new GSN (Game Show Network) program called "Without Prejudice?" - it is really interesting. A group of panelists sit and listen to five strangers and judge them based on: first impression, occupation, beliefs, etc. They then vote one of them "off" until only one remains. This person gets a check for $25K because they're the least hated. It's unbelievable! I first thought it was going to shed light on serious issues but I was wrong. What it essentially does is highlight the stupidity of many and the intelligence of few...with music. I know that I'll keep watching it. (Hey...I said it was INTERESTING not good.)

Finally...my recipes. You'll notice (if you're observant) that I've added a link to my "Diversions and Delights" section: My NEW Recipe Blog. I have copied the recipes I previously posted on this site onto it and I plan on adding more. I hope it's interesting reading...if not, at least I have a virtual recipe box.

(I'm sitting here trying to think of something witty to say. I have nothing. The end.)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Regular Joe vs. Diet Joe

I think I'm about to go on a diet. The sort of diet that makes one lose only belly fat. I sure hope there's a diet that can do that!

I know that I'm not fat and I know that there are lots of people reading this who think I don't need to lose any weight. (I don't really think I need to lose weight - I just want to lose my belly.)

Now...I already know what my problem is: in addition to my messed up intestines due to an over zealous doctor who prescribed horse tranquilizers following a very routine and simple surgery over two years ago, I've come to the healthy realization that I indulge in liquid libations far too frequently. I like Seagram's 7 and Seven-Up. I like it to a fault. I named my blog in honor of it. Need I say more?

I'm not suggesting that an occasional cocktail is verboten. I'm saying that I can't single-handedly keep the Seagram's people in business anymore. (Not to mention I don't even get stock options or complementary bottles for my support.)

Folks have told me that the trick is to reduce my caloric intake while increasing my calorie burning activities. I thought that was easily doable. However...they didn't mean for me only to drink (thus reducing my food calories) and walk to the liquor store twice a day (thereby increasing my exercise.) So I have to go back to the drawing board.

I have two very close friends who, after not touching alcohol for only one month, have lost over 10 lbs. each! They eat the same amount and maintain their normal level of physical activity.

I hope to follow in their footsteps. In the meantime, I'm drinking freshly brewed iced tea sweetened with Splenda and crossing my fingers in hopes that I'm on my way to a healthier lifestyle. Wish me luck!

Perpetual Kid Website.

I recently came across a website called Perpetual Kid and I am totally enamored by it. It is a store that sells really nifty gifts, housewares and novelty items.

Have you ever walked into someone's house and seen something ingeniously clever? It happens to me all the time! And I get jealous that my friends have cool things and I don't. Well... Now I know where to get some and I wanna spread the word.

Check it out and if there's a way to tell them I sent you (so I can get lots of free stuff) let them know. Otherwise...buy me something cute so that when you visit my house you can be jealous.


I am kind of sneaky.

I have, for months, been under the impression that I couldn't post to this blog from work. At one point I could and then (apparently they found out how much time we mere workers are spending on personal stuff) <poof> firewall. I was at a standstill because break-time (lunch break, coffee break, smoke break, breaks from break) is when I was most blog-productive. Now, all of the sudden: no more.

Rest assured, dear reader, for I am once again able to be witty in the workplace...simply from e-mailing my posts directly to this site (in a cryptic DaVinci code sort of way!) It's brilliant! I am literally (I shit you not) doing a happy dance in my swivel chair!

Although I am staring the danger of this situation directly in its ugly face, I have come to the realization that this is something I must do. To sneakify my blogging practices is what I was undoubtedly destined to accomplish.

I wish I had the Pink Panther theme song. I'd totally be rocking it right this second.

Paddywack, give your dog a bone.

Jamie's Grandmother was visiting us this afternoon and told me that she really likes our house but that we need knick knacks. "This place would be much more beautiful," she said, "if it only had some knick knacks."

This got me thinking. I looked around (after giggling a little bit to myself) and realized that she's sorta right. Now...don't get me wrong. We have strategically placed "pieces" but nothing that really constitutes an honest to goodness "knick knack".

After glancing around the living room I asked her, "What kind of knick knacks do you recommend?" (I was not placating her - I was really curious.) She replied, "Oh, any kind! You know, I used to collect owl figurines and wall ornaments. Owls are really beautiful and quite mysterious. You should collect something like owls."

Owls frighten me. Seriously. My Aunt Rebecca's mother-in-law used to collect owls and I never liked to visit her house. Regardless of where I walked, it seemed like the owls were always looking directly at me...following my every move.

Needless to say, owls were out. But I was still intrigued. I mean...she is a very smart woman! She knows what she's talking about. If an almost 90 year old woman thinks I need knick knacks, who am I to argue? Even now, hours after she left, I'm still contemplating what we will adorn our uncluttered walls and tables with.

What constitutes a knick knack though? A collection of something? Does this collection have to be displayed? If displayed, does it have to be on shelving reserved exclusively for knick knacks? (If that's the case, I'm not only going to have to buy said knick knacks but shelving to boot...this sounds like a very expensive endeavor.)

OK, after looking in my Merriam-Webster dictionary I've learned that a knick knack is "a small trivial article usually intended for ornament." The plural (knick knacks) suggests a "collection of small trivial articles usually intended for ornamental display."

Upon further investigation and observation, I determined that I do indeed have a collection. I have two very specific collections: green glass and books. But does green glass a proper knick knack collection make? In addition, I've always been told never to judge a book by its cover. So it is my understanding that a book, in and of itself, cannot accurately be deemed to have artistic merit unless it is read. I am in a quandary.

Here's my question: Do you have knick knacks and if so what are they and how do you display them? I look forward to reading your answers and thank you in advance for your intelligent responses.

Back to blogging.

This is an open letter to those of you who routinely visit my blog:

I have been slacking and I apologize. There's no real excuse...other than pure laziness. Although I'm no longer physically or technically allowed to post from work, there's no real explanation. I'm sorry.

Now that both of you have read that statement, I'd like you to look at some of the minor changes I've made to this site. I have removed my photograph, my book list, my word of the day, weather links, and a few other things. I have also reduced the number of posts that show on this main page. (If you'd like to look at older posts, simply click on the link to your right called "past posts.") I also changed my background color. (Tangent: Have any of you ever said "backaround" or "backround"? I have - and I was an English major!!) Anyway, I made these changes because...well, there's no real reason. I just did.

OK, that's enough of an apology and explanation of changes made. I'm going to make myself a cocktail and find something utterly uninteresting to post next. (I have to make up for lost time.)


Sunday, July 15, 2007

I'm not dead...honest.

I haven't posted a blog in ALMOST two months! Can you freekin' believe it? I blame it on laziness and an overall sense of "nothing to report". (I shouldn't actually say that - lots of good and comfort have surrounded me lately. I'm just lazy. OK, I admit it. I do blame it primarily on laziness.)

I have to make this a short blog because I have to shower and head on over to the casino where Jamie is having lunch with his Dad, Grandmother, sister and youngest brother. (Jamie's Grandmother is a riot and she LOVES the casino. She had never even stepped foot into a casino until we took her a few months back. She was so excited and, every time she talked to Jamie, asked when she would be taken there again.) His family is really great!

I went to the BUA 15th anniversary fun(d) raising party for a brief time last night and I had a wonderful time. I saw people I haven't seen in a long time and had lots of pleasant conversation (albeit for some people who think I'm fat.)

Here's how the fat thing panned out: someone noticed how I (and I quote) "look like [I] haven't missed any meals"; another person took be off guard by saying "you look great" and then following it up with "you've really filled out"; finally...a really nice, older couple with whom I've been acquainted for nearly ten years noticed how I'm "not skinny anymore". I shit you not, people!

I also had a really nice conversation with my beefy cat angus friend, Michael. He's going to be my friend! (I don't really have many friends and to potentially count Michael as my friend will be a really nice thing.) In addition, Weezie said that she wanted to come over our house for a cook-out! I guess my new friends and a future cook-out outweigh the fat comments!

OK, time to shower and then gamble. Maybe I'll do another post/video later...for the two or three people who still look at my blog.