Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Peace Lily Likes it Here

Bloom 1 - 4/2012

Bloom 2 - 5/2012

 About a month ago I wrote as part of another happy post, that the Spathiphyllum purchased as the first plant for this apartment was about to offer up a flower in celebration.  The plant arrived here in a tiny 4 inch pot and has been re-potted 3 times; is about ready for another in the near future.  Well, that 2 inch bud turned into a 4 inch flower and last week another bud made it's presence known.

As I said before, I have had many of these plants over the years, in all shapes and sizes, but this is the first that has ever flowered for me - now TWICE.

And so it goes.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fab Friday, Sing-along Saturday, Shouting Sunday, & Mellow Monday

The sum total of my Memorial Weekend. No social activities; only long, long work days and little food. Rest & quiet are in order for this day off. Not a single fuck shall be given.

Friday:  a beautiful day, perfect top-down, at-the-beach, weather. The stream of visitors to the restaurant increased as the day worn on. All were joyful and ready to begin the summer - especially with margaritas.  Happy Hours are now 12 to 5 PM - the bar/lounge remained full throughout the afternoon.

Saturday: Setting the tone for the day, the Locos-guys tuned the Sirius network to 1960s American Rock and Roll.  As people left the beach for refreshments (hint, hint.  We offered $15. Pitchers of Sangria.) whether liquid or solid, those of a certain age began singing along with the music of The Beach Boys, and everyone else associated with that ancient time I remember oh-so-well.  It was surprising to note that those of later generations took part in the sing-along, claiming they grew up with the music being played by their parents. Made my heart happy, at least.

Had a 30 minute wait for a lunch table, and the entire weekend evening hours were totally booked.  I didn't get off until 5:30 PM. I had been there since 7:30 AM, so you do the math. Walked home under my own steam, but almost completely drained of energy. 

Sunday: 9 AM Brunch began well, with folks desiring a hardy breakfast before hitting the beach. At 9:30 three gals came in "starving" and having only just arrived, chose to have brunch at the bar, before heading to the sun and sand.  That last bit never happened. They were contacted by 2 friends, invited them to join in the brunch scenario, and those 2 contacted others; before you knew it the bar was full of guys and gals enjoying brunch, Bloody Marys, Mimosas and discovering our new satellite trivia game from a company called "Buzzline" or "Buzztime", or some such. You can tell how interested in all this I am, right?

They began to challenge one another, inevitably the shots began to flow; the cheering, shouting encouragement grew louder with each new game.  By 3 PM, (thanks to their many efforts) Dos Locos was among the top 20 venues in the US at that time. I had a splitting headache, diners up to my gonads, could barely see straight, and had not eaten all day.  Even with all the noise from the bar, diners remained jovial and enjoyed their own big parties, upwards of 8 to 14, by the time I left at 4:45. 

As the headache throbbed, I walked home in delicious silence, closed the door behind me, turned on the AC & fans (it was 90' outside & 82' inside), reached for a glass, ice cubes, gin, olives as the place cooled down, and turned on Pandora radio as I shed the work drag for shorts and a tee.   I enjoyed another cocktail as the headache subsided and I started creating supper.  Don't know where the energy came from. I. Was. Famished.  Then, still smelling like Fajitas, I took a long, hot shower and got into bed to read.

Monday: Regular hours meant arriving at 10 AM, though we knew it would be another big day.  Drunks recovering from the previous 2 days of partying, families grabbing a lunch before the long drive home, and those who would be staying the entire week all joined us for lunch.

There were many reservations for large parties in the afternoon & evening, but nothing like the previous 2, so I was able to waddle home at 4:30, having (again) had nothing to eat since breakfast of Oatmeal and cantaloupe, ( more than the day before) I chose leftovers, a salad, and a glass of Merlot for supper. Never tasted so good. 

It was a good weekend all round - at least every one of the drunks was a happy one - and now that it's over, there is a week of breathing space before the kids get out of school and the July 4th holiday is upon us.

Aside from a short trip to replenish the Bombay Sapphire, this post is all there is to show for today, the most activity I can muster up. I must be getting old.

And so it goes.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Homecoming: Spo Shirt Ends World Tour

This shirt has been on an amazing adventure since the fall of 2010; visiting bloggers and raising money for various charities.  It has finally found its way home to its rightful owner, Cubby over at Patently Queer, who had the idea in the first place and  Dr. Spo (the dear) jumped at it. Yes, that's me - with beard - in the famous shirt before sending it on.

I received the shirt and journal on 12/26/10 and a disastrous snowstorm brought everything around here to a halt for the following 3 days, meaning the shirt/journal couldn't get off to the next destination until January 3, 2011 when the post office re-opened.

I am grateful to have been included in this adventure. Ur-spo's post on the end of an epic tale.

Here's a teaser:
 The Shirt of Shirts went out on 9/9/2010; it finished it travels on 5/26/12 – 1.5 years later!  Who knew?  It visited 37 people (and a few dogs). It raised $370 for The Humane Society, Test Positive of Chicago, Doctors without Borders, and The Prostate Foundation.
While Cubby has the shirt, Dr. Spo will keep the journal written by those the shirt visited which includes their reflections on anything and everything.  Pure joy all round. 

And so it goes.

Memorial Weekend

No, this is not what I've been up to these past 3 days.  Seems the holiday has grown from a three-day to a four-day event and I hope I can last through this final day at work. It promises to be another long, stressful one.

Lots of stories, solemn moments, and craziness all round me.

More later.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Captain Kitteh Caturday

Departing from Gate 10:

Well, it's better than the usual gibberish coming over the speakers...

And so it goes.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Interesting Reading Last Night.

Kind of sums up the last 6 years of this crazy life.  Thought I'd share.  "IF":
"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And - which is more - you’ll be a Man my son!"

Rudyard Kipling, 1895

And so it goes.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Shop Local

This message should be taken to heart and cheap Chinese s**t and big box stores ought to be ignored. It really costs us much more in the long run. Think about it. This small resort town depends on locals and tourists to keep the whole thing thriving and humming nicely.  I know these people and all they do to keep this community thriving and moving forward. 

Malls and Outlet Stores can't begin to offer what local merchants can.   Yes, Think about supporting local businesses. It could save your town as it has mine.

And so it goes.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tourist Tsunami on The Horizon

This is it.

Personally:  Spent most of the day off yesterday, tying up loose ends and praying that I didn't forget anything important. Fueled the car and parked it, stockpiled supplies that will be hard to find soon, washed, ironed, and prepped all summer shirts for the surge, er, month of June. Stopped at the liquor store for Bombay Sapphire and a few bottles of wine. Thought about buying beer, but the weather isn't warm enough and 3 bottles remain from last year.

At work: The new menus and Happy Hour Specials are ready to go; new cocktail concoctions have been approved and included on the Cocktail Menus. (Please don't ask. Many of these abominations can cause one to throw up a little in their mouth - just sayin') There are 2 new daily special menus (yes, the locos like to offer lots of choices) for Lunch and an Early Bird 'Dinner for Two' option.

The boss-loco took me on a dry run-through in the event that the Health Department makes an appearance.  This will be my responsibility if it happens.  But, since the restaurant is diligent about cleanliness, preparing and serving food in safe conditions, I hope the inspector will cut this novice some slack, since I have never had to accompany one on a tour.  My Serv-Safe certification may help a bit, but I am not sure what this 'tour' entails. I will find out in the near future.

One nice bonus is that I was able to make a pasta sauce yesterday, the 10-hour recipe, a small part of which will be consumed tonight with turkey-spinach-provolone sausage, Italian bread, and wine.  Nice!

And so it goes.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Pity Party of 12, Policy, & a Surprise Ending

A party of 12 rolls into the restaurant - 8 young boys (all under 10 years old) and 4 adults. The adults wanted to sit together away from the lads, but I explained that policy at this restaurant was that one adult must be seated with children under 18.   I guessed that they were part of a Little League baseball team;  who do not have a positive history with Dos Locos.

One guy stood up, puffed out his chest, all indignant and said he'd like to speak to the manager.  "That would be me," I said. And began to explain policy, but he would have none of it.  He ignored every word. Other diners were taking notice.

"Well, come-on guys", He shouted, "this isn't the place for us." The dining room was quite full and it had been a major effort to accommodate such a large group, but this was lost on the blowhard. (There isn't a restaurant in this town where this troop would be welcome, so they probably ended up with take-out from McDonald's out on the coastal highway.)

He offered a parting shot as they filed out the door; "You are one poor manager." To which I replied, "and you are a poor parental example."  The diners nearby laughed at the comeback and with that, Mr. Indignant left the building.

He tried once more by yelling through the open doors, "Hope you have a great summer."  And before I could reply, a customer seated close to the doors (our version of al fresco dining) said, "Oh, I am sure we ALL will now that you are not coming back. Please say you're not coming back."  The entire front of the house laughed, and hooted. I just stood there with my mouth wide open, staring at the jerk as his face turned bright red - and it wasn't a sunburn.

Sometimes, our customers surprise even me.

Over all, a delightful day with happy people enjoying a rather gloomy Sunday with friends and family, good food and drink.  It doesn't get any better than that, now does it?

Another long 9-hour shift and I am glad to be home. Supper is cooking, I am about to shower and have a cocktail before-hand.

One more day, then a precious Tuesday off. 

And so it goes.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Friday, May 18, 2012

Cuisinart: Best Investment of the Year!

A while back I posted a surprise find while checking out a relatively new store called "Home Goods". It was a high-sided 5.5 Qt. Saute Pan (with helper handle) and glass lid, for $10.00. Although I promised only look-don't-buy, I am happy I didn't take my own advice.

 This is the best large pan I have ever owned and cleans up like new, thanks to the old stand-by cleaner known as "Bar Keepers Friend" which I had not be able to find here, until this store opened. No matter what I cook in this pan, not only does the food turn out well, but cleanup is a breeze. The pan looks as new as the day it came home with me. (The picture shown is the same pan with a steel lid rather than the glass vented one that I have.)

Last night I prepared a recipe of curry pork chops with apricots and onions. The meal was delicious, chops tender, and the pan cleaned up as usual. Tumeric is usually a killer and stains everything easily. Not so this time. Just thought an update was in order. I can't rave enough about this pan...or maybe I just did. Sorry.

And so it goes.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Donna Summer R.I.P.

Love to Love You Baby broke new ground, sent the Catholic League into a tizzy and had evangelicals writhing in pseudo-horror, but it was Donna's Love Trilogy released in the US 2 years later, (played mostly in gay clubs - well that was the target audience, after all) that really made her a star.

I'm thinking 1977 - 12West - last mix of the night. Crank up your speakers, grab a glass of something and offer up a toast to Donna and this incredibly well-mixed first side of the album.
It just didn't get any better than this - an astonishing 35 years ago. Amazing. And so it goes. *

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mothers, Kindle, and Visit to a Surgeon.

Having survived Mothers Day - a very busy one in which we catered to all kinds of 'mothers' - with a small special menu and a complimentary glass of house wine. Their choice, white, red, or pink; our house wines are usually from small companies and tend to be quite good to the average palate.  Needless to say, that alone, was a big hit.

I love the Kindle Fire, after supper and a shower, crawled under the covers and read before sleep.  Nice feeling, truly. Pretty much the same scenario on Monday after work. But I practiced downloading a few apps (?) including Pandora Radio (I've been a fan since their early days), setup email access and Facebook, as well.

Friend Peter, (Amsterdam) @ Tippin' the Scales, transferred some books to me and I spent a considerable amount of time learning how to download and save them. 

All this excitement kept me awake beyond my bedtime (yes, again) and with only one day off, my list was very long for Tuesday. And so what happened?  Thunderstorms!!! The wild and blustery kind where an umbrella or even raincoat couldn't protect anyone from the waist down.

Among items on the list was an appt. with the surgeon regarding the hernia surgery - whether it was in my immediate future or if it could wait til Fall.  It can wait til Fall, providing I do no lifting, straining or crunch exercises in the meantime. The doctor has a sharp wit, great personality, beautiful eyes, large hands, and an accent I can't place, just now. It's subtle, but there.

(An aside here: when the surgeon's nurse took my vitals, blood pressure was an astonishing 118 over 72.  This has been unheard-of for the past 25 years.  I made her take it again. During our interview, the surgeon asked why I was taking high BP meds at all.  Hmmm!)

Ran all other errands and returned home as the rain was ending.  Well, of course it was! All packages, grocery bags, and self were soaking wet; a cue for the sun to make an appearance.  Ta-de-fuckin-da!

After all was put away or otherwise secured, I thought about the BP reading.  At my first appt with the new PCP the BP was 157 over 93 and he asked about my diet.  I chalked up the spike in BP to the stress of meeting a new doctor, but he asked if I ate nuts (not salted or coated) and did I like Oatmeal (cooked, not instant.) and suggested that I include a breakfast of oatmeal twice weekly, and that I consume just a hand-full of walnuts, almonds, cashews, etc, every other day. I have included these changes to my diet and I hope the new BP numbers are because of those changes.  I would love nothing more than to scratch one more drug from my list of dailies.

Slept well and dreamed happy dreams last night.  Work today was a breeze and a real gift in many ways that are difficult to describe.  Probably because of the new things and that light at the end of the tunnel gets ever brighter as the days pass. May that continue to be so.

And so it goes.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Kahlil Gibran's "The Prophet" Examined Anew.

When I was a young man it was said that The Prophet must only be received as  a gift, not purchased; that it was a sign of love and friendship - neither of which could be bought or sold. I am not boasting when I say that at one point (from the 60s - early 70s) I was gifted with 4 copies; all personally inscribed and treasured until they disappeared when my previous life disintegrated. I was able to salvage only a single copy.

This is an interesting piece and since the book has never been out of print, I thought it was worth sharing.  Whatever your thoughts or feelings may be about the work, many verses have been comforting in times of pain or fear, and used by songwriters in the LGBT community for years and I am sure will continue to be so in years to come as each generation finds something new in the text. From the BBC:
Kahlil Gibran is said to be one of the world's bestselling poets, and his life has inspired a play touring the UK and the Middle East. But many critics have been lukewarm about his merits. Why, then, has his seminal work, The Prophet, struck such a chord with generations of readers?
Since it was published in 1923, The Prophet has never been out of print. The perennial classic has been translated into more than 50 languages and is a staple on international best-seller lists. It is thought to have sold tens of millions of copies.
Although practically ignored by the literary establishment in the West, lines from the book have inspired song lyrics, political speeches and have been read out at weddings and funerals all around the world.
"It serves various occasions or big moments in one's life so it tends to be a book that is often gifted to a lover, or for a birth, or death. That is why it has spread so widely, and by word of mouth," says Dr Mohamed Salah Omri, lecturer in Modern Arabic literature at Oxford University.
The Beatles, John F Kennedy and Indira Gandhi are among those who have been influenced by its words.
"This book has a way of speaking to people at different stages in their lives. It has this magical quality, the more you read it the more you come to understand the words," says Reverend Laurie Sue, an interfaith minister in New York who has conducted hundreds of weddings with readings from The Prophet.
"But it is not filled with any kind of dogma, it is available to anyone whether they are Jewish or Christian or Muslim."
The book is made up of 26 prose poems, delivered as sermons by a wise man called Al Mustapha. He is about to set sail for his homeland after 12 years in exile on a fictional island when the people of the island ask him to share his wisdom on the big questions of life: love, family, work and death.
Its popularity peaked in the 1930s and again in the 1960s when it became the bible of the counter culture.
"Many people turned away from the establishment of the Church to Gibran," says Professor Juan Cole, historian of the Middle East at the University of Michigan who has translated several of Gibran's works from Arabic.
"He offered a dogma-free universal spiritualism as opposed to orthodox religion, and his vision of the spiritual was not moralistic. In fact, he urged people to be non-judgmental." 
Way ahead of his time for the masses, but timely for those searching for meaning outside of traditional, rigid church dogma.

The rest is HERE.

And so it goes.

Caturday Imitates Art

Well, these may not be in the Louvre, but they're here! And that's what counts.  Enjoy the wine and cheese while you're here.

More later

Friday, May 11, 2012

Tweet from Delaware's Progressive Senator

I donated a little bit to his campaign and so happy I did. I am proud of my President, and equally proud of my Senator in Washington.  It's been too long since I have been able to write or verbalize that sentence.

And so it goes.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Netgear, Network, & New Toy

The Netgear router was on the porch when I arrived last evening, and though I was apprehensive about my skills to set it up, I took off the work drag and wrestled it to the floor, trying not to injure the back crawling around.  This means I got it connected to the Intertubes on the third try. Actually, it makes browsing much faster than before.  How that happens I haven't a clue.

Pleased with myself - for not burning the house down or causing an electrical fire - I sat down with a couple of olives. Then on the spur of the moment, I knew what I had to do.  I had to give it a test run with a real, honest-to-G*d, wireless device.  An excuse, maybe, but I did it. Blame Staples or my co-workers who insisted this was the one for me. I think they were right.

I am the proud owner of the Kindle Fire you see here. Setting up was a little bit of a challenge with my fat fingers on the small keypad, but I got it done and downloaded 3 free books.  It is a Birthday gift, so there is no 'buyer's remorse' here.  I deserve a gift.

By the time I came up for air it was almost an hour past my bedtime and I hadn't taken the evening meds yet. Letting the Kindle charge, I went to bed. Sleep was illusive. I picked up the Kindle and just played around for a while longer.

Needless to say, I am paying the price this morning.  Hell, I'll live!  Besides, those books won't read themselves, somebody has to do it.

Happy Birthday (2 months early) to Me!

More later.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

LAN & WiFi. Who, Me?

What?  Yes, really.  What?

I will soon find out since I just ordered a wireless router this afternoon (to be delivered in a day or 2) and will attempt, before your very eyes (maybe not) to install and create my very own local network. LAN stands for Local Area Network.  Am I smart, or what? I will need it to use the Kindle and, if I can ever afford one, a laptop.

I was going to purchase the router locally, but the local salesfolks  (ahem!) seemed clueless about specific details. That's why I went online and glad I did.  The router being pushed by local stores, a D-Link had few, and pretty bad reviews (I don't like complications) so I found a Netgear (well known from my previous life) that had over 900 reviews; over 800 were happy customers and the cost was $30. less, with free shipping.  What could I lose?  Don't tell me, I know...$50.00!  That I don't have right now.

And I wonder if my DSL connection will be fast enough to handle a network.  I'll find out soon enough.

A friend was supposed to do the deed, but with the season upon us, we are being pressed into service and our scheduled days off are not compatible.  He told me what I needed and what had to be done,  and if I cannot finish the install myself, (or you smell smoke!) I will give him a key and he promised to fix whatever I may f**kup.

Now I can focus on the Kindle model I want and order it by the end of May. The charge won't appear on the credit card statement until the June billing date, so I ought to be home free on that one.

I am very excited about all of this - setting up the network, exploring the wonders of the Kindle - stretching my knowledge of scary technology that I have been unable to afford and thereby not interested in understanding it's advantages.  Why bother to learn about a technology if you can't afford to use and enjoy it?

We are creatures of repetition and the more we use a technology the more we learn from it and can move forward to the next new change. I am so far behind right now.

When there is some new thing to be learned, I love change!

And so it goes.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Post Cinco de Mayo, Aches - Pains, & 2 Olives.

Woke this morning at regular time feeling rested - until I tried to move - then the old body screamed in pain.  It was only then I realized that I woke in the same position as I fell asleep. Everywhere hurt.  Everything hurt (no, not there!) Back, legs, hands rebelled when I tried getting out of bed. Finally made it to an up-right position. 

Gathered up my nerve and made a path to the shower. I felt like a hunchback walking those few feet from one room to the other.  It seemed to take forever as I climbed into the bath and turned on the water; when it reached proper temperature I simply stood under the spray and soaked.  Eventually, everything seemed to loosen up and I felt better as I brushed teeth and even better than that as I enjoyed not one, but two coffees.

Hobbled to work and prepared for another brunch, same as yesterday but it was NOT Cinco de Mayo (praising whatever G*ds you care to invoke) and as we were busy for both brunch and lunch - again, nothing like yesterday - eventually all the kinks and soreness left me.

A 24 year-old server complained about being tired after serving almost 1600 dinners last night and when I chastised her in a fun way, she put hands on hips and said, "well, with all the extra money you're making, that Kindle will be on your doorstep in no time." And we all laughed.  She's probably right.  Maybe by mid-June, and that isn't far away. Birthday isn't until July, so there's lots of time.

Note:  Almost everyone on staff now owns a Kindle and use it for school, language, entertainment. News travels fast among the Latinos and Europeans here and they are quick to jump on something new. I love them for that.

 Walked home tonight feeling better, no aches and pains detected. I hope that remains the case when I wake in the morning.

Sipping on a couple of well-deserved olives as I get supper cooked.  It's going to be another early night, but at least I don't have to be at the restaurant until 10 am.  Yay, for me!!!

(Oh, there is laundry to be done...(sigh!)

And so it goes...eventually.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cinco de Mayo; Oh That's Right

At work at 7:30 am this morning.  Did the prep for the wait and kitchen staff and got coffee brewing for their arrival. Everyone - kitchen and wait staff - was on time and got down to the business of opening the place.
Between 9 am and noon: Served 36 Mexican Brunch dishes.

By comparison, from 12 to 4 pm:  549 meals were served  from regular menus. A real madhouse! While it was crazy-making, it was also instructional and enlightening; giving me insights for dealing with large parties on a busy day.

After clocking out,  I ran from the place and into the quiet peace of my home-street.  I didn't want an AS  cocktail; only peace and quiet. Made supper listening to music and sipping on a cocktail. One has to do what one has to do, right?

ibuprofen is in my immediate future; as is a nice hot shower to help me sleep soundly tonight.  I have to be at work again in the morning at 7:30 am.

And so it goes.

Social Network Caturday

It could be worse.

More later.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Happy Birthday Keith Haring

Google celebrates what would have been his 54th birthday today.  A nice remembrance.

Not forgotten, and that's a good thing.

And so it goes.

Non-Stop Week & Cinco de Mayo

There's not been much time for a personal post lately, mostly due to that annoying thing called "work" which seems to get in the way of life in general, (not that I have one) blogging in particular. I've gotten to read a few faves, but haven't gotten my fix of all.

Aside from proof-reading lunch, take-out, and full menu changes for days and days (seems like months!) the restaurant has been gearing up for Cinco de Mayo - as well as the upcoming Memorial Day weekend and the kick off of the Summer here, and around the country.

All the menu changes have been corrected, edited, and hit the tables this week. The Cinco de Mayo preparations have taken up the past 3 days - decorations, drink and food specials, extra staffing, etc. - and it all came together today. Thanks to the gods, goddesses, and all shiny things throughout the universe.

Though there were calls for reservations for today and tomorrow (yes, our celebration starts today!) all week, the steady flow became a flood this afternoon.  The end result is the restaurant is totally booked for the weekend - yes, even lunch - and I was forced to cope with a few very nasty callers who were outraged (outraged, I tell you!) because there is no room at the inn.  Not until Sunday, which was not acceptable.  Pity.  Wait til the last minute, why don'tcha!

Oh, I almost forgot, we begin serving weekend brunch tomorrow morning at 9 am.  The final menu was approved today. It's a lovely brunch and I hope everyone enjoys it.  However...This means I have to be on site by 7:30 am both days.  Yes, I am an early-to-rise person, but this means an extra 2.5 hours on my feet each day, and with my back issues, well, we'll see how it plays out.

When I finally came up for air it was a half hour past my shift time and I had a splitting headache (reading tiny print and listening to screaming, irate people can do that to you) so I slipped out quietly without an AS cocktail and took the quiet walk home.  Both apartments (in front and behind) are empty this evening, and that means all is quiet on this side of the building. Only the sound of birds in trees nearby intrude on the quiet. Heaven.

Supper is in the oven and a cocktail awaits.  Cheers!

And so it goes.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Humpback Whale Rescue: Amazing!

There isn't much to add that isn't included in the narration and video proper. Just seeing one of these giants in the ocean is breathtaking, but to actually have a close encounter and know that they understand that you're trying to help them, is a life-changing experience. This video took my breath away and brought tears of joy to my eyes.

If only humans were so giving and grateful.  Nah! That's too much to ask.
Be sure to view the entire video as suggested at the link.

And so it goes. *

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Stopped Me In My Tracks

WOW! This sure gave me pause.


Kindle, The Lightness of Being Me, & Transfer of Funds

Spent last evening investigating Kindle E-readers, prices, and features.  I've narrowed the field to 2 models - Kindle Fire w/ colour screen with WiFi only (@$199.) or the Kindle Keyboard 3G with standard e-ink text and pearl screen with both WiFi and 3G (@$139.) - which means it can be used without a WiFi hotspot.

If I choose the Fire, I will need to install a wireless network on my computer and that means the purchase of a router - an additional $100. (give or take a few), and I'd have to pay to have it set up and installed because I don't know how to do that stuff. A friend said, "go with the FIRE, you'll love it for the movies alone." Well, let me just say that the screen of our first television set when I was a boy was the size of the Fire's screen and I don't see any sense in going "back to the future" when I can view movies on my large screen (36") TV in their original format.  So, that's not a selling point.

From what I can tell, if I go with the Kindle Keyboard 3G I will have the best of both worlds, could download to, and use the reader right out of the box. Both offer access to the Net and Email.  Both are quite tempting. Both offer free shipping.

Before my tiny brain exploded, I checked out availability of authors in the Kindle format (or whatever it's called) and was amazed by my findings. There are  hundreds of thousands of titles that are free or less than $5. to download. C. S Lewis, Anne McCaffrey, Charles Williams, Robert Heinlein, Melville, Twain, Tolkien, and on and on.  Very exciting, since I would like to read many of them again, but have no room for a huge library of books.  My mind became quite numb and I finally shutdown the computer and went to bed with way too much information sloshing around in my skull. 

 Slept like a stone and woke refreshed, skipped a coffee but had an oatmeal while cranking up the computer. Transferred the SSA monies into the savings account this morning; afterward, I felt relieved and a little sad. Their tiny screw up could become a real SNAFU if I'm not careful for the next few months.  I know, I'm paranoid.  But that doesn't mean they're not out to get me!

The heavy rain pounded on the skylights as I dressed to make a dash for the supermarket.  I didn't want to leave at all, but items on the list couldn't wait another week.  Of course, the rain was a drizzle as I carted it all back to the apartment, everything soaking wet - me included. The rain came down again a few minutes later and I felt relieved that it got done early; the rain has been a steady downpour ever since. As the Pet Shop Boys song goes, "Home and Dry!"

So...If you're an avid reader and have experience with a Kindle, I'd appreciate any feedback you care to offer. I know friend Peter has the Kindle DX with the larger screen, but that one is way beyond my budget.  Who am I kidding?  They are all beyond my budget until June or July.

I am off to iron shirts and slacks for the work week ahead while listening to light jazz on the Victrola Sony.

And so it goes.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Social Security is a Mess

This has been one of the most ridiculous experiences of my long life.

Since registering for SSA benefits just before my birthday last July, I have received mostly form letters informing me that I make too much money at the current job to receive checks from them. The maximum one may earn is $14,620.00 gross income. This boils down to about $300.00 weekly (also gross income) and I can't find anyone who could live on that unless they live in their parent's basement and eat Cheetos every day.

About 2 weeks ago, another letter arrived to remind me that I still make too much money (a rich bastard, I am!) to receive benefits. So, can you guess what arrived in today's mail? Yes, letter reminding me that I chose direct deposit for benefit checks and that a check had been deposited in the account (not the full amount) without explanation. But wait, here's the kicker. There was another letter from the SSA similar to the one received 2 weeks ago, again informing me that I make waaaay too much to qualify for benefits.

Just to be safe, I am going to follow the advice given by the Credit Union and just transfer that money into savings, in case the left hand at the SSA suddenly finds out what the right hand is doing, and I have to return the cash. I will take no chances. No, no. Not with my luck in dealings with the gub-mint.

Hopefully, this will be cleared up after my birthday this summer when I reach the required age to receive full benefits. That is, if that required age isn't bumped up another year or 2, which wouldn't surprise me at all. Meanwhile, I will continue to live as I do, in absolute amazement of the incompetence of bureaucrats.

 Hell, it's 5 o'clock somewhere! Cheers.

 And so it goes. *
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