Sunday, January 31, 2010

No One Expected This!

The Day After

Having survived yesterday's storm-of-totally-surprising-snow-depths, I was up this morning prepared to do battle with the trusty brooms and scrapers - there was no way I was going to attempt to shovel because of my hands and back problems. So, I swept my porch and steps, then did the same for the landlady. Suddenly I heard scrapings of a shovel and looked up to see her shoveling the driveway from the road back to the house.

The sky was clear, the sun bright, and the wind was far less than the gale force it had been the evening before.

Needing to get ready for work, I asked if she knew anyone with a snowplow offering to split the cost of a dig out. She didn't. I tried to find someone local when I got to work, without luck.

The primary road was passable, but slow going and slippery.  Top speeds were 20 - 25 mph.

Took 40 minutes to get into town, which was a disaster. Though plowed last night, nothing else was done to the roads - no salt or sand - to make them navigable today.  Parking lots were not plowed, nor were parking places on side streets and only a few on the main avenue.

I found a parking space and walked to work to find the bosses shoveling and salting  the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. A few minutes later as I began the pre-opening chores, I looked out to see them making a snow angel and photographing the results.

Loved it! Dos Locos?  Yep!

The day was surprisingly busy and I was thankful to have enough servers to handle the steady stream of diners suffering from cabin fever and the need to be out and about.  It was great fun.

I was supposed to meet with a few friends after work for a quick bite before they headed off to a choral concert, but a large party of 30+ had reserved the private dining room and I was asked to cover for an extra hour and a half. Two friends stopped by to give me a hug and chat a bit before they went on to meet the others and enjoy the concert.

Since the temps are again dropping into the teens tonight I wanted to get home before dark and not cope with black ice on the way back to the apartment. I made it, but only just.

Like so many others in the area the house lost power for some time today, but the sun kept the apartment warmer than it would have been, so while it wasn't exactly toasty, it was a saving grace to me.  Resetting clocks is better than coming home to a freezing apartment.

And we gets to do it all over again tomorrow, precious. What funs, eh?

* The photos were taken today from inside the restaurant and sum up what a mess the main drag is and the difficult parking situation. You can click them to embiggen.

And so it goes.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Winter Storm: The Bad and the Ugly!

 Nothing good.

Here we go again. Yesterday at work the forecast was up in the air for the expected snow storm - off again, on again, off again.  Conflicting weather reports; perhaps an inch or two; two to four...and on and on. Temps were to remain in the upper teens to low twenties, so whatever the event it would be powder.  All reports agreed that the snow would begin overnight.

All of that, with the exception of the low temps was WRONG!

I awoke this morning prepared to see the white stuff blowing and covering everything.  Didn't happen.

The 'event' began late morning - I was at work - and within an hour it was obvious to anyone with a brain that this was indeed a major event. We switched one of the big screens to TWC to check out the local forecast, then checked out the National Weather Service.  Finally, everyone was in agreement; between 8" and 12" of snow, so this thing was big, moving slow and coughing up 25 mph wind gusts to add to the already dangerous situation in which we suddenly found ourselves.

The temperature never reached 20' F here. We were one of a few restaurants open and that meant a very busy day. Usually not a bad thing, but a few servers live 10 to 15 miles away and the boss was concerned for their safety on the unplowed roadways and sent them home. I worked my full shift and had a great time.

To clean off the car I stepped into snow that was calf deep (about 10") and it was still coming down hard.  Driving back to the apartment it was nearly whiteout conditions on the highway and many vehicles had slid off the road, spunout, or hit another from behind, either by following too closely, or simply unable to bring their vehicle to a stop in time. Flashing lights were everywhere making the drive even more horrific because we had to attempt getting out of the way of the obstacles and continue to control our vehicles. 

Almost didn't make it up a hill because of the many vehicles strewn about. That's the place that claimed most victims and I was almost one of them. Thank G*d for front wheel drive. I eventually managed to navigate through the chaos to arrive at my road to find that it was untouched. Neither tire tracks nor plow had touched it all day.

I had me some virgin snow and made my way that last half-mile slowly and neatly.

The snow is not due to end until 1 am tomorrow morning.  If it continues to fall this heavily we could end up with much more than predicted.

Home and dry (it's so cold that my slacks, shoes and socks are totally dry) and the smells from the crockpot are welcoming. Now, where are those damned olives? I'll see about tomorrow, tomorrow.

And so it goes.

Hobbit Caturday

It's time to read the trilogy once again.

More later.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Biggest, Brightest Full Moon Friday

At least that's what they're reporting on TWC (The Weather Channel), and experiences at the restaurant today offer vivid proof.

First we noticed it was another National Tourist Day.  Folks arrived for lunch from Connecticut, Ohio, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, and North Carolina. How do I know? Their license plates and our conversations.

Next, there were many diners with at least 20 questions regarding the menu items and the limited selection for the kiddies.

After that there were the big parties of families with 2 to 4 kids in tow. Most were well behaved (another sign of the full moon?) and a few even courteous.

Then Happy Hour was more "Happy" than usual. Mostly newcomers who've never been to the restaurant.

All in all a fun and interesting day for all of us. I love my job.

Oh, and BTW, we're bracing for a snow event overnight and hanging around tomorrow so, bad drivers will likely be in greater numbers this weekend. Gee, can't wait.

Whether (weather?) we're busy at the restaurant tomorrow, or not, is anyone's guess. On Monday, a heavy thunderstorm with high winds and heavy rain didn't keep folks away. They sat in their cars waiting for us to open. It's a strange business that always offers surprises.

Turkey breast with asparagus and salad are up for supper as I enjoy a festive cocktail. Cheers!

And so it goes.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Your Computer is a Homo!

Who-da thunk it?

Tea-baggers get stoopider by the hour.

Jeez, read her sign boggles the mind. No, not hers - obviously.

I'm spent.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

NOLA TP: 'gotcha' Man Arrested Trying to Tamper With Landrieu Phones

This gets more and more bizarre. This skinny little wingnut twink thinks he's all that. Uh-huh. Why isn't he in Iraq or Afghanistan where his phone-tapping skills (such as they are) may come in handy?  From the NO Times Picayune:
An official close to the investigation said one of the four was arrested with a listening device in a car blocks from the senator's offices. He spoke on condition of anonymity because that information was not included in official arresting documents.

According to the FBI affidavit, Flanagan and Basel entered the federal building at 500 Poydras Street on Monday about 11 a.m., dressed as telephone company employees, wearing jeans, fluorescent green vests, tool belts and hard hats. When they arrived at Landrieu's 10th-floor office, O'Keefe was already in the office and had told a staffer he was waiting for someone to arrive.

When Flanagan and Basel entered the office, they told the staffer they were there to fix phone problems. At that time, the staffer, referred to only as Witness 1 in the affidavit, observed O'Keefe positioning his cell phone in his hand to videotape the operation. O'Keefe later admitted to agents that he recorded the event.

After being asked, the staffer gave Basel access to the main phone at the reception desk. The staffer told investigators that Basel manipulated the handset. He also tried to call the main office phone using his cell phone, and said the main line wasn't working. Flanagan did the same.

They then told the staffer they needed to perform repair work on the main phone system and asked where the telephone closet was located. The staffer showed the men to the main General Services Administration office on the 10th floor, and Flanagan and Basel went in. There, a GSA employee asked for the men's credentials. They said they left them in their vehicle.

The U.S. Marshal's Service apprehended all four men shortly thereafter.

The Stoopid, it burns. Forrest Gump was right.

Check out the pictures and the rest HERE.

And so it goes.

Scary Truth About Unsold Clothes

The following is rant on Wal*Mart and  H & M destroying unsold clothes made by comedian Lee Camp. I recently read about this happening in NYC via the NYT.
Protect the brand, indeed.

More later.

A Louisiana "Watergate"

When will the Rethugs ever learn? The same sleazy twink that harassed ACORN seems destined for not-so-great things. Even if it was the office of Mary Landrieu. I mean, really...

(CNN) -- A conservative activist who made undercover videos of the liberal community-organizing group ACORN was one of four men charged Tuesday with attempting to illegally access and manipulate the phone system in a district office of U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana.

Joseph Basel, 24; Robert Flanagan, 24; James O'Keefe, 25; and Stan Dai, 24, were charged with entering Landrieu's New Orleans office under "false pretenses for the purpose of committing a felony," according to a news release from the local U.S. attorney's office. The office is federal property.

The four posted a $10,000 unsecured bond and were released, said Kathy English of the Department of Justice. According to CNN affiliate WWL, the next court date in the case is set for February 12.
O'Keefe is the same activist who dressed up as a pimp last summer and visited ACORN offices to solicit advice on setting up a brothel, among other scenarios, law enforcement officials confirmed. He secretly recorded the visits on videotapes that were posted on the Internet, leading to a media firestorm.
Flanagan is the son of William Flanagan, the acting U.S. attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, his office said.
Articles on conservative Web sites connect O'Keefe to a man named Joe Basel, describing them as conservative student activists and filmmakers.

"This is a very unusual situation and somewhat unsettling for me and my staff," Landrieu said in a statement Tuesday night. "The individuals responsible have been charged with entering federal property under false pretenses for the purposes of committing a felony. I am as interested as everyone else about their motives and purpose, which I hope will become clear as the investigation moves forward."
Louisiana Democratic Party Chair Michael McHale, in a separate statement, called the case a "Louisiana Watergate."

"Louisiana families are shocked and outraged that these men would break the law to carry out their political agenda with this Watergate-like break-in and attempted wiretapping," McHale said in the statement, which also claimed Louisiana Republican Sen. David Vitter has "ties to some of the players involved" and called on Vitter to "immediately denounce" the suspects and anyone else involved.
 This story really smells funny, and not in the "ha-ha" kind of way. This should get interesting.

The rest is HERE.

More later.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Windows 7 - And Beyond!

Have spent the day getting to know my way around Windows 7 and so far, I am very pleased. The Wipe and Reload helped free up a lot of HD space.  Most was occupied by trial programs HP wanted to sell and which I'd never use.

Finally got the printer to work - had to call Canon Customer Support - found out the culprit was MS and it's damned 'default' settings. So much for their damned not-so-smart wizards. Problem solved in less than 15 minutes.  Please note that Canon Tech Support is here in the states, not India, or China, so that was an unexpected pleasure.  I am a happy camper this afternoon.

It's been a long 6 days awaiting the return of this machine. I did get two books read and watched a bit of TV, still,  I am amazed at the increased processing speed after 2 years under the spell of VISTA.

I toyed with the idea of going into debt for a new laptop already loaded with Windows 7, but all the attractive units required a mandatory subscription to Norton 360, which I refused to purchase for the additional $50.00. No matter where I shopped it was the same thing, even at Sony.  WTF?  So, I hope to get another year of two on this machine, then migrate to a laptop.

I detect the aroma of Olives, so it must be cocktail time.

And so it goes.

Back Again...Now with Windows 7!

The virus returned (was it ever totally deleted?) and finished the job. PC would not book and registry corrupted beyond imagining.  So, the tech performed a Wipe & Reload, but this time installing a brand-spanking new OS - Windows 7 Home Premium edition.

So 6 days later, I've got a virtually new PC.  Faster, better memory management and installed my programs.  However, (f**king Bill Gates!) there seems to be no support for my 8 month old printer. Exactly what happened when I was forced to purchase the PC with Vista - I was forced to get rid of my year old HP laser because neither HP or MS would support it.  I will check into Canon's site to see what I come up with.

Now the keyboard is acting strange.

What frustrating times these are. 

More later. Maybe...


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Perspective On MA Election: Kos Makes Good Sense

With all the pundits and stenographers in the press predicting doom and gloom, Kos offers hope:

Brown's Road Ahead.
by kos

So what will come first? Remember, Brown has to run for reelection in 2012, a presidential year, in one of the top 2-3 most liberal states in the nation.
Either Scott Brown alienates ideologically rigid Teabaggers by casting votes with Democrats in order to shore up his standing at home; or
He votes in lockstep with the rest of his party and becomes the nation's most unpopular senator.
One or the other is inevitable. Maybe both.

I feel better now and look forward to the craziness to come from the Repubs.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bloggers, Orphans, and the Haitian Internet

And they say bloggers are useless.  Yeah, right.

From Crooks and Liars:

My friend MB got a call Saturday night from one of her law school professors, whose about-to-be-adopted children were stranded in an orphanage in Haiti. (The paperwork was finalized, all that remained was the trip home to America.)
They were out of food and water, and some of the children's caretakers were killed in the quake. Apparently people had broken into their compound and taken their supplies, the situation was dire and the adoptees' mother was frantic. MB was trying to help. "I knew you'd have some ideas," she said.
First I forwarded the information about the orphanage to a state department official via Twitter. Then I thought about other options. "If that was me," I told MB, "I'd be contacting all my local TV stations to get them to do a story, hoping the national media picked it up."
"Good idea," she said, and got off the phone to call her professor.
After a Sunday afternoon conference call with U.S. officials working in Haiti, I called to tell her the U.S. State Department was aware of the 500 orphans who were in the process of adoption, they'd already evacuated 150 to the United States and five more were leaving Sunday afternoon. She said she'd pass the information along.
Yesterday morning, on my way to the dentist, I called MB to see whether she had any news. She'd called a friend who called a friend and yes, a Fox News crew went out to the orphanage and they got some food and water delivered to the orphans. Yay, Fox News! (You probably won't hear me say that again anytime soon.)
"But we still have to save the internet," she said, worriedly.
"MB, what are you talking about?" (She's a classic Cancer and just isn't happy unless she's worried about someone.)
Well, MB's husband Eric (one of the founders of the blogging Koufax awards) works for CORE, and used to work for ICANN, the international internet body. Seems that there are three people in Haiti capable of running the country's internet NOC (network operations center), and two of them died in the quake. The one remaining operator, Reynold Guerrier, told Eric the center was using a generator - and running out of fuel. Thugs were trying to break into the facility to steal what they could, but the NOC operator held them off. He was very worried about his wife and children, but told Eric he'd stay if someone would get his family out of the country.
MB was frantic. "I've called everyone I can think of, but everyone's closed for the holiday," she said. "I'm contacting people to try to get a number, just any kind of back-door contact. I wrote Joe Trippi to see if he can help."
"I'd try congressional staffers," I said. "What about Stoller? He works for Alan Grayson."
"I used to have his number. Who would have his new number? Would Natasha?"
"Yeah, either her or Chris," I said.
"Okay, I'll call her," she said.
When I came home from my lawyer's appointment, I called her again. She'd spoken to Darcy Burner, who told her either Sen. Patty Murray or Sen. Maria Cantwell would call her in 15 minutes. And Natasha had passed all the info onto Matt Stoller.
And somebody, somewhere had gotten through to someone and the State Department had at least delivered some fuel to keep the internet hub running. (Yay, again.)
"I thought the internet was set up so that if one part went down, another part patched in," I said, a little whiny. (I only got four hours' sleep the night before and after spending the morning in the dentist's chair, I was just plain cranky.)
MB explained that if the router wasn't up and running, there was nothing to patch into. "And a lot of utilities, like the electrical system, run off the internet," she said. "So they won't be able to get back up without it." Oh.
So anyway, a bunch of dedicated people have been working very, very hard (not me - I didn't work that hard at all, I'm an idea person) to save orphans and the Haitian internet, and they all deserve a round of applause. Nice work, people! Smoochies to MB and everyone who helped her save the world.

Click on any of the links above to read more and do what you can to help out.

And so it goes.

I'm Back, Having Been De-Wormed

Yes, folks...Early Sunday morning while reading the papers online, read the Guardian and was reading Frank Rich in the Grey Lady when I was informed that the computer was under attack by a virus/worm/? whatever - which was followed by a warning screen containing the message that the virus scan .exe file had been corrupted. This was followed by multiple screens of Internet Explorer popping up every few seconds. I jumped into action, turning off the DSL modem and shutting down the computer. WTF, indeed!

What to do? It's Sunday of a holiday weekend, so no one would be available until Tuesday. Called a friend who suggested someone who takes care of the systems at his job. He got this guy's phone number and gave it to me.

As I headed to work Monday morning I took a chance and gave the tech a call figuring that I could at least leave a message if he was celebrating the holiday. To my great surprise and relief he answered; listened to my tale of woe while making appropriate grunts and asking important questions; finally telling me to call him after work so we could set up an appointment for today.

I did, we did, and I am back in business. He arrived at the appointed time and did his thing while peppering me with questions.  He was impressed with my routine of backing up files as well as my choice of anti-virus software. He also suggested I upgrade to Windows 7, which I will consider for the future. (I had no choice when my old PC died quite suddenly, but to get a new one ASAP as I was on deadline for a client and XP was no longer available at the time.)  He explained the memory management problems I experience (live with) in VISTA were common and which Microsoft never bothered to address in the Service Pack updates.

Anton (the tech's name) also suggested I check out a USB stick drive for back-ups over the CDs. A good idea, I think.

Fortunately I have good habits dumping cache, temp, and Internet temp files regularly, not only save space but keep the PC running well.  De-fragging the HD, which I do about every 6 weeks, also helps.

I have no idea why anyone would waste valuable time creating something designed up disrupt the lives of others. I just don't get it.

My data and programs are still intact and functioning well again. Of course, I could have done without the extra expense, but I'm not worrying about that right now. All was repaired and I'm back among the living.

Is it 5 o'clock yet?

More later.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Dear Pat Robertson, This is Satan...

Dear Pat Robertson,

I know that you know that all press is good press, so I appreciate the shout-out. And you make God look like a big mean bully who kicks people when they are down, so I'm all over that action. But when you say that Haiti has made a pact with me, it is totally humiliating. I may be evil incarnate, but I'm no welcher.

The way you put it, making a deal with me leaves folks desperate and impoverished. Sure, in the afterlife, but when I strike bargains with people, they first get something here on earth -- glamour, beauty, talent, wealth, fame, glory, a golden fiddle. Those Haitians have nothing, and I mean nothing. And that was before the earthquake.

Haven't you seen "Crossroads"? Or "Damn Yankees"? If I had a thing going with Haiti, there'd be lots of banks, skyscrapers, SUVs, exclusive night clubs, Botox -- that kind of thing. An 80 percent poverty rate is so not my style. Nothing against it -- I'm just saying: Not how I roll.

You're doing great work, Pat, and I don't want to clip your wings -- just, come on, you're making me look bad. And not the good kind of bad. Keep blaming God. That's working. But leave me out of it, please. Or we may need to renegotiate your own contract.

Best, Satan

I love the last sentence, don't you?

And so it goes.

It's Caturday!

I can so relate to that. Poor baby.

More later.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Interesting Horoscope Today

I say "interesting" because I detected a kind of shift in attitude regarding my work and decision-making today, not previously experienced .  Here it is:

Some authors regard the position of the Eclipse relative to your sign as being unfavorable, but you can expect to see yourself vaulted into the "inner circle" at work, Leo. You'll likely find that you're enjoying your work more than you have in a long time. It is very good for gaining new employment or raises and such as well. As long as you can avoid a "shipboard romance" this will turn out to be a fine time for you. Mercury's change of direction supports these indications, and makes signing contracts and documents favorable.

What the Hell does "shipboard romance" mean?  Anybody?

All in all a good day; warm temperatures brought folks out, we were very busy at work, and with a holiday weekend ahead it should be a fun time.  

And so it goes.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Give up the Complicated Life

The original was by the Kinks, but this cover and video is near and dear to my heart featuring my beloved New Orleans and covered by the Preservation Hall Jazz Band featuring Clint Maedgen on vocals.

For no reason, I just find it appropriate at this moment in time.  Enjoy.

Watching him cycle around the streets of the Quarter did my heart good tonight. Tomorrow evening the plan is to whip up the shrimp and chicken etouffe and this will get me in the right frame of mind.

And so it goes.

Pat Robertson? Really?

Let’s see.

9/11 was G*d’s wrath for multiple transgressions, - women, gays, Jews, liberals, surreys with fringe on top, and blah blah. (No mention of phony values politicians anywhere in the lot.)

Katrina was most definitely the fault of the Gays – again. Southern Decadence in particular.

Haiti made a pact with the devil, so it’s all their fault.

Robertson squints so hard when he “prays” it makes one wonder if he’s really just having a bowel movement. Does Robertson take responsibility for anything he’s said? No! Thousands of dead thanks to Pat’s hot-line to the Lord.

And the money keeps rolling in from everywhere.

The press, such as it is, needs to get back to the business of reporting facts and how the world can help, and leave this depraved, delusional old fraud to his TV network and followers who believe anything he says.

Haiti crumbles, thousands are dead or dying, and the lede story on nightly news is a baseball player who took steroids and lied about it. Disgusting, but true.

Now I remember why I turned off the news weeks ago.

And so it goes.

A Playoff Prayer for the NO Saints

From a friend down south. Only in New Orleans:
January 12, 2010, 8:41AM
Good and gracious God, just as the nation of Israel stood on the banks of the river Jordan, we the Who Dat Nation now stand on the banks of the Mississippi, filled with joyful anticipation. We stand on these banks looking back from whence we came. Although we do not share a history of slavery in Egypt, we do share a common history of pain and heartache.
We remember the National Football League Season of 1980 and our downtrodden days of 1-and-15.
We repent for our shameful past of wearing bags on our heads, forgetting that you were on our side. We recall the days when instead of looking forward to the playoffs, we could only look at each other and tearfully say, "Wait 'til next year."
Indeed, we have been through a long journey through the desert of athletic despair. But as we stand on these banks today, we know that our days in the desert are over.
Just like the Hebrew children, our 40 years of wandering in the desert have come to an end. With eyes of faith, we can see the promised land! We can taste the Super Bowl! And, yes Lord, we believe.
Lord, it is our time to claim the blessings that you promised our ancestors. In the name of Hap Glaudi, Jim Finks and Buddy Diliberto we now claim our rightful place among the elite teams in the NFL.
Through the prayers and guidance of our elders Tom and Gayle Benson, and the leadership of Rita Benson LeBlanc, we have become the strong nation that you, our God, have always intended us to be.
We, the Who Dat Nation, are ready to do what was often considered impossible. We are ready to march around the city of New Orleans, as Joshua marched around Jericho. We are ready to band together in a spirited dance, as David did in Jerusalem. We are ready to walk together united, as the Israelites walked across the dry bed of the river Jordan. But, we need you to hold back the waters of doubt, just as you held back the waters of the Jordan.
Endowed with Your amazing grace, we formally begin our march to the Super Bowl!
With the faith of our ancestors, we call down the power of God to strengthen our players and coaches.
With the courage of our elders, we call down the protection of the angels to guard them from major injuries.
With four decades of hope, we call down the presence of the heavenly saints to lead the New Orleans Saints onto the battlefield of the gridiron.
We thank you for giving us a taste of what is to come. But, now we are ready for the banquet. We have proven ourselves worthy of your grace.Now, through your providence, may we, the Who Dat Nation, finally reach the Promised Land.
The Rev. R. Tony Ricard
Pastor, Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish

You just can't make this stuff up.
h/t Margaret

More later.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pumped, Positive, Pickles, Productive Day

The first day off of the new 5-day shift at the restaurant and I made a list. Uh-oh! I would get an early start and hit all the spots as they opened.  An overnight snowfall took me aback reminding me of that old saying "if you want to make G*d laugh, just make plans."

But the snow was light powder, easily removed, and I was on my way in less than 10 minutes.

Gallon jug of Dill Pickles - don't ask - explanation(?)  maybe later.
Fuel car - $0.20 cents off per gallon. Works for me.
Bank - papers to safe box and open new guarenteed low-interest VISA
Kitchen store - check prices on needed items
Clothing store - check prices on winter items on sale for 60% off.
Post Office
Grocery store for specials
Financial Consultant - learn what can be squeezed out of what little remains. Nothing earth-shattering, but better than the old bank and a bit better than the new local one.
Thrift Shop - drop off boxes of household items and books from storage unit.

And it's back to the apartment by 3 p.m. All missions accomplished and feeling good, especially now that the sun has come out. The only casualty is the car, again coated with road salt and whatever they spray on these roads.  I had the car washed Sunday before work, and it looks like I will again tomorrow. This buggy will have to last a while so taking care of it is a priority. It's 5 years old and been driven less than 20k miles.  Well, Where do I go? 

There are a few dress shirts to iron before cocktail time, so I will get that out of the way along with light vacuuming of the living space.

My second day off tomorrow is totally free to do whatever strikes my fancy, and my fancy isn't struck often enough anymore. A luxury and more so because the forecast calls for sun and warmer temps - into the low 40s F. A veritable heat wave!!!

There are two new recipes I'm eager to try so cooking may take up part of the end of the day. With fresh cilantro scarse this time of year, I may not do the recipe I'd prefer to try first. A nice winter stew.

Hey, it is what it is, right?

More later.

Monday, January 11, 2010

"Ten Films" Post Still Draws Visitors

In January, 2008, I posted - with links - "Ten Films Every Gay Man Should See" adding to a list posted the day before by bloggernista who seems to have left blogging a few days later.

In any event, I've noticed the Ten Films post continues to bring people in.  At least 4 hits weekly. Now I know that's not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it's where those hits come from that intrigues me. More than the usual places like Europe, Australia, Canada, and South America.

No, these folks (checking weekly sitemeter reports) are in very repressed places where being gay can get you tortured, thrown into prison, even killed. Among them, places like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Iran, China, Turkey, Cambodia, Poland, Lebannon, Romania, Egypt, Russia, Jordan, and others. Some are return visitors (the same ISP and location) who've visited more than once. This week's report boasted 11 such visits and the reason for this post.

Personally, I find it fascinating and courageous on their part and hope they are not found out and suffer whatever the consequences of their country. I only wish one or two would leave a comment regarding the availability of the various films and if they enjoyed them, or not.  So far that has not happened. However, I have added a 'note' to the original post asking for visitor input, so we'll see what happens now.

And so it goes.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Of Faith, Hope, and Charity

Let me begin by boasting a bit.  Not about myself, but the guys I work for and with, the owners of the restaurant. Since I've been a customer of theirs for about 15 years I have been aware of their generosity and many of the charities and community projects they have supported over the years.

Today, as a member of staff  I got to see that spirit in great detail and I couldn't have been more amazed and humbled. You see, today the restaurant hosted a luncheon for 50 volunteers who spearheaded the 2009 Alzheimers Walk - which is also sponsored to a great degree by the restaurant, already. We had 5 of the best servers taking care of the guests, I wandered around visiting tables and joking with the diners (many of whom had never been to the restaurant), making them feel comfortable and welcome.

The event went like clockwork and the staff charmed everyone in the dining room. 

Why do I write about this, you ask?  Well, because the entire event was compliments of the two owners, that's why. I felt pride in the great effort that went into every detail of the lunch.

Mind you as this was going on in the main dining room, we had another party going on in the private dining room, while still serving from our regular menus for the lunch customers.

Today's happenings will remain in memory for a long time. It was a blessing to be of service and present to watch these various events take place; handled so well and professionally.

A side note: 4 regular lunchtimers - who prefer a specific booth - saw the completely filled dining room, smiled and said, "seat us anywhere, it looks like another charity party."  They instinctively knew what was going on and gave their blessing.

Due to the busy-ness of the day I didn't get a shift meal, which didn't matter because it was unlikely that I would have had time to enjoy it, but by the end of the shift a headache was making its presence known.

 I didn't want a shift cocktail on an empty stomach so when my relief arrived I headed back to the apartment, but not before I was approached by the boss (who has seen my many mistakes and miscalculations in the recent weeks) and who had a few words with me. He assured me that I was doing a good job, that the personality was right for the position, that customers liked me, that while there was much more to learn about the business (and their unique way of operating) I was fitting in well. Then he gave me a hug.  This validation and encouragement more than made up for a missed lunch.

Arriving at the apartment I downed a few aspirin, threw off the work drag, started cooking a bit of chicken, made a salad, and am now enjoying a festive cocktail.

Tomorrow will be my first working Sunday at the restaurant since last Easter and with the even colder weather forecast for tonight, we may be extremely busy for lunch tomorrow. I'll sleep on that.

So now it's suppertime.  Cheers!

And so it goes.

Frigid Caturday

And it is to get colder today and overnight. Again, with those damned high winds!

More later.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

There's Good News and Bad News: Part 3

I got some good news at the restaurant yesterday.  They're really doing their best to help me out. Tomorrow I begin working 5 lunch shifts weekly - with two weekdays off - for the first quarter of the year. That's fine with me. I can get more errands run on weekdays than on weekends when everyone else is trying to do the same. Working Saturday and Sunday will be another challenge and hopefully will boost my skills at running the front of the house more smoothly.

The not-so-good news is that this new schedule offers only about 30 hours a week (each shift is around 6 hours), not enough to pay the rent. So I've got to figure out something else to make the extra cash for things like, oh you know, food, bills, fuel for the car, laundry and such. I can't run a deficit for more than a month or two.

I've been spreading the word, though in the present economy the pickings are slim, indeed.

There's not much else to cut from my budget and as prices increase on practically everything, especially in the grocery markets, the old imagination is kicking in big time nowadays.

It's hard to believe the twists and turns, ups and downs my life has gone through in the last 4 years. I used to view my life as more of a Ferris Wheel or Carousel ride - steady going, predictable, familiar - but these past years have been more of a Roller Coaster ride. Unpredictable, scary, sometimes thrilling, other times upsetting.

Well, something will turn up and as long as my health holds up, I'll get through this phase, too. Eventually.

And so it goes.

Too Much Spam

I've noticed a few others with the same problem. 

Although I have comment moderation turned on and have for quite a long time, there is so much spam coming to the inbox that I am turning on word verification in an attempt to slow the flow.

I wonder if those using wordpress and livejournal have the same problem, or have other ways to block these annoying intrusions. Most are from bots, but far too many arrive from India and leave a note regarding DISH TV, since I wrote about my experiences about a year ago.

Sorry in advance for any inconvenience. I hope you will still visit and leave comments, as well.


More later.

Monday, January 4, 2010


I haven't made New Year Resolutions in years, not that I ever made huge lists, anyway.  But as I checked out blog rolls on some of my favourite bloggers I found this and it struck me as plain, simple - not easy, mind you - and something to look forward to working on for the year. I've left a comment telling the blogger that I planned to copy it, print, and tape it in every place in the apartment I can see it.

It's now on display on the bathroom mirror, next to my monitor, and on the side of the refrigerator. And I hope he doesn't mind, but I thought I'd post it here, as well.

Eat a little less, move a little more
Spend a little less, save a little more
Cry a little less, laugh a little more
Complain a little less, act a little more
Dislike a little less, love a little more

Tell those you are close to how much they mean to you
Do whatever it takes
Make an extra special effort to actually have "that dinner" you have been talking about for so long
Wash away toxicities in relationships
Lay on the couch with your partner, husband, wife, lover a little more often
Look up from the iPhone or computer screens just a little more often
Play your favorite music
Burn candles
Have hope
Keep the faith!

Simple stuff here...

Many thanks, Blair. I have work ahead to occupy me for the entire year.

And so it goes.

Three Days Off...

And little to show for it.

I haven't had three consecutive days off in about a year - since last April I've had one day off every two weeks, thanks to the two-job situation - and now that the first job has ended having three days off was a real luxury.

So what did I do?

Nothing! Saturday was brutally cold with winds up to 40 mph. I couldn't get the apartment warmer than 65'. I thought about going to the movies, but decided against it because of the $$$ situation. So I spent some time surfing the web, read fave blogs, then cooked pork ribs smothered with onions, garlic, and sweet potatoes.

Sunday was a duplicate weather wise, but I needed a few things from the market, so I bundled up and dragged my butt to the car. Did the shopping and while I wanted to be out and about, I didn't feel good enough to brave the wind and frigid temps, (the head cold seems to want to stay with me forever) so thought it best to return to the apartment. Also, it takes a bit of money to go out somewhere and there isn't enough right now, until I get another PT job, or more hours at the restaurant.

Fortunately, there was a "Life After People" marathon on History Channel, so I got to catch up on the episodes I'd missed. Very interesting show and I learned alot I didn't know before. The new season starts tomorrow evening, I just hope I can stay awake to view it.

Was up this morning before dawn, noted that the wind had died down and decided it would be a good day to do the laundry and take things to the recycle center - cabin fever must have set in. So I loaded up the car and headed out. The laundromat was empty, not even the hunky owner was about, so I did the laundry in relative peace, then dropped off the recyclables on the way back.

It's not even noon yet and I haven't any idea what I want to do with the rest of the day. Of course, I'd rather be at work, and around people, but, oh well...

One thing is certain, I am not going to meet new people if I don't get out more. Hmm. Rock meet hard place.

More Later.

Bono: Ten for the Next Ten

Of all the "Ten Best" lists I've read or heard, I like this one the best.

Ten for the Next Ten


IF we have overindulged in anything these past several days, it is neither holiday ham nor American football; it is Top 10 lists. We have been stuffed full of them. Even in these self-restrained pages, it has been impossible to avoid the end-of-the-decade accountings of the 10 best such-and-suches and the 10 worst fill-in-the-blanks.

And so, in the spirit of rock star excess, I offer yet another.

The main difference, if it matters, is that this list looks forward, not backward. So here, then, are 10 ideas that might make the next 10 years more interesting, healthy or civil. Some are trivial, some fundamental. They have little in common with one another except that I am seized by each, and moved by its potential to change our world.

Return of the Automobile as a Sexual Object

Peter Arkle

How is it that the country that made us all fall in love with the automobile has failed, with only a few exceptions, to produce a single family sedan with the style and humor and grace of the cars produced in the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s? Put aside the question of whether those models were male (as in longer, lower and wider, Dr. Freud) or female (as in fender skirts, curvy belt lines and, of course, headlights). Either way, they all had sex appeal. (In Ireland in the ’70s, it was the E-Type Jag that made sense of puberty.) Today, however, we have the mundanity of our marriage to the minivan and the S.U.V. and long-term relationships with midsize cars that are, forgive me, a little heavy in the rear cargo hold.

Are aerodynamics to blame? Economics? Or that most American of inventions, design by committee? It hurts me to say this about democracy (and I know because my band is one), but rarely does majority rule produce something of beauty.

That’s why the Obama administration — while it still holds the keys to the big automakers — ought to put some style fascists into the mix: the genius of Marc Newson ... Steve Jobs and Jonny Ive from Apple ... Frank Gehry, the architect, and Jeff Koons, the artist. Put the great industrial designers in the front seat, right along with sound financial stewardship ... the greener, the cleaner, the meaner on fossil fuels, the sexier for me. Check out the Tesla or the Fisker Karma car, designed by the same team that gave the world the Aston Martin.

Intellectual Property Developers

Peter Arkle

Caution! The only thing protecting the movie and TV industries from the fate that has befallen music and indeed the newspaper business is the size of the files. The immutable laws of bandwidth tell us we’re just a few years away from being able to download an entire season of “24” in 24 seconds. Many will expect to get it free.

A decade’s worth of music file-sharing and swiping has made clear that the people it hurts are the creators — in this case, the young, fledgling songwriters who can’t live off ticket and T-shirt sales like the least sympathetic among us — and the people this reverse Robin Hooding benefits are rich service providers, whose swollen profits perfectly mirror the lost receipts of the music business.

Read the rest at the Gray Lady for yourself.

More later.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Extreme Cold Caturday

Wish I had one of them there heating things. It's 18' here but with wind chill factor it feels like 0'.
Stay warm, people.

More later.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Video: Top 10 Gay Moments of 2009

I have a few entries of my own, but this is all about popular culture, or whatever.
Granted, there were lots to celebrate, but there were also many political setbacks, so we ain't there yet. There is so much more to accomplish,then educate others, and pass along to the next generation.

They need to know what went down bef0re they arrived on the scene.
May it be so.

And so it goes.

New Year: Off Like a Herd of Turtles.

Turns out the co-workers decided not to have a drink after closing last night, so I stayed in, had a quiet supper and hit the bed by 9:30. No tequila flights, no Champagne toast - just a smooth Sazerac sipped after dinner. Not unusual for me, the going out for a drink part, now that would have been unusual.

Fortunately for all, 2010 arrived without my help and this morning looks exactly like the last days of '09 - fog, rain, wind, dark clouds. I was hoping for a sunny first day; there is the possibility of the sun making an appearance later this afternoon and if that happens I will take my traditional walk on the beach after work. The restaurant will be crowded for lunch, probably later than usual, since most would have been out til the wee hours celebrating, or something like it. I look forward to the busy-ness of the day.

A thick blanket of fog covers the marshes making it very quiet and peaceful, until the gunshots of duck hunters breaks the silence. I thought about playing some music, but the peace and quiet won out and I'd hate to shatter that for myself. The guns do that quite well by themselves.

The reality of being unemployed set in yesterday afternoon as I prepared to meet the others for a final cocktail. When that didn't come to be I was left the choice of mulling it over - and over, or putting it aside as there is nothing within my control that can change anything right now. It is what it is.

Here's to a better world in Twenty-Ten. Cheers!

More later.
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