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Category: random

03/04/09 01:31- ID#47944

Breathe

It's been one of those discombobulated weeks.

I've actually escaped all the winter colds and maladies, despite the shrinkage inducing weather of late until last week. until last week. Work has been busy so I came home sort of wiped out and wimped out on class. The next day, it hit and that sucked.

Staggered through work and basically was a hermit over the weekend. I finally got rid of it with an old family recipe. When I was 17, and down with a bad case of brochitis, my dad got exasperated and regular meds and gave me a bourbon and seven up high ball, but filled in a root beer mug. Slept for 13 hours after that. Recreated that over the weekend and it worked like a charm. Only down side was that it made for a 9 day gap in yoga classes. So, I was dreading going back last night. You could feel regression coming, but I'm apparently tougher than I look. Only had to pause twice which was better than I anticipated.

So, there might hope yet.

Been listening to the new U2 album and am letting it grow on me. They've been a favorite for a long time and it was a kick watching them laugh a little to start their week long residency on Letterman
After shoveling the Manhattan snow, they did get down to work a little later.

Fun to see and all, but my mental jury is still out on the album. Should be fun live if they come this way.

Just got back from lunch after hiding from the many conservative republicans here. In their eyes, the economy didn't go into the dumper until January 20th, we didn't have a deficit until then, and the acceptable war bill suddenly became a bad stimulus bill we couldn't afford. Hindsight is not only 20/20, but apparently prone to myopia as well.

Hey, this is my 500th journal. This is my longest continuing dialogue with anything that I didn't have to give an allowance to. Hopefully there has been something worth reading along the way. Just noticed that.

Gonna go apologize to Rush Limbaugh because that seems to be the thing to do these days.

Happy hump day, peeps


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Permalink: http://estrip.org/articles/read/mrmike/47944/Breathe.html
Words: 372
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: work

02/26/09 10:09 - 36ºF - ID#47890

Baby Monkeys

Sometimes it's hard not to bring your work home with you. This is one of newest residents of the Rainforest and is disturbingly cute.
Say hi to Mochiba. He's a baby Howler Monkey.

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About three weeks old. This is a good gig. I saw the new polar bear yesterday. 1000 pounds of bear is a lot of bear. Picts to come.
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Permalink: http://estrip.org/articles/read/mrmike/47890/Baby_Monkeys.html
Words: 62
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: work

02/25/09 12:20 - 33ºF - ID#47885

Paczki dreams and other strange things.

For lent, this lapsed catholic is giving up mortal combat, being nice to stupid people and any pretense of saving the Mets bullpen. I don't take the lenten season like gospel (pun intended), but it does sort of feel like a nice karmic rewind, kind of like new year's resolutions with some actual gravitas.

My own contribution was to go to Wegman's early yesterday morning and load up on enough Paczkis for everybody in the office. For $10.00 I think I improved my office karma. There is a drop dead gorgeous woman who works in the accounting office, who never seems to be having the best of days, who appeared in my office doorway with as close to a delighted look on her face as I've ever seen her. (I know what you are thinking but remember the axiom of "Fishing off the company pier.")

Had a tough time keeping a straight face through a couple of meetings yesterday. I love the show Entourage on HBO and last season Martin Landau was on, playing an aging out of touch producer. His reoccuring phrase was always something along the lines of "If___________, would that be something you would be interested in?" One of our new ads reps is that guy. He spent the first 30 minutes of a meeting pontificating about wines and what scotches are best, eventually moving on to direct mail. As he is talking, I had already mentally cast in him Martin Landau's role. It was uncanny. The other person in the meeting is an Entourage fan and thinking the same thing. It was like watching a doppleganger in action. She handed me a note and I could feel my face forming a tell-tale stupid smirk. He was a very nice man, but then he said it: "if I can get that price, would that be something you would be interested in?" My colleague had to excuse herself. It was too on the money, and I took the deal. Moral of the story is that Mr. Landau does his homework. And that I kept it together as my silly grin went no further until he left. The guy brought me a bottle of wine, so I got to work with some respect.

After that moment of high comedy, I got dragged into a presentation from an ad agency who is trolling for business and offered to do something for free. Never mind that we have an agency for media stuff and for creative things we have well, me. Good soldier that I am, I went along with the uberboss and my boss to listen to the high shenanigans. The agency creative director was already in my dog house. It is our second meeting and both times he has crapped all over concepts whose biggest sins were that he didn't think of them. They worked so there. The uberboss brings her dog to the office which is cool because the dog is a border collie and say hello to everybody, but spends her time behind a gate in the boss's office. That's where we met with these guys. Woman's best friend wanders the table during the meeting. I'm doing my best to be polite as the bosses ask some questions of the presentation. The creative director says something unkind toward our campaign from last fall (which worked). I hear something sounding like growling. It was coming from the dog. Turned out she was playing with a toy and trying to free it from the table, but she was snarling right under the director type, which scared the pompous right out of him. I couldn't help it, I laughed. Seeing a guy taller than me jump rather,well girlishly, from a dog that was paying him no mind at all, was comedy.

Finally, one last little vignette for you. In the aftermath of cleaning up the convention center from last week's benefit, one of the restaurants was headed out with one of the signs we printed up for them. To keep costs down, we recycle. The benefit in theory is put on by this board. The board men complain about the board women (who work) and none would do anything without the actual staff leading the way. Anyway this board member comes running up to me saying this restaurant was taking their sign. Keep in mind, this same dithering soul was stuffing his face all night long. I simply told him, ask for it back. Their staff wasn't anything to be afraid of. That didn't stop him from sounding alarmingly like Barney Fife at the prospect of actually talking to people. Annoyed, I went over and recovered the sign. Flash to last night and the review of the event. I earned more laughs, but probably his anger when talking about vendors, I took out the two stainless steel balls that (e:Ladycroft) bought for me two christmases ago and told the nebbish "You might need these more than I do for talking to vendors."

Reactions in the room were the perfect cherry on the cake that was my day.
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Permalink: http://estrip.org/articles/read/mrmike/47885/Paczki_dreams_and_other_strange_things_.html
Words: 847
Location: Buffalo, NY


02/20/09 04:23- ID#47826

"Feeling about half-past Dead."

Getting too old for this shit. We had one of our big fundraising events last night at the Convention Center. Staging those things is an exhausting process.

After all the cajoling, bemoaning, planning comes the time when you have to come out behind your desk and get er done. That is the serious work and largely why my knees aren't speaking to me today. We had 45 restaurants, wineries, and breweries set and spread over the main two rooms of the Convention Center. Whenever something like that happens, the six of us in the marketing and development offices turn into roadies. Watching the spectacle build always intrigues me. With a group of volunteer board members we invaded the center on Wednesday night and arranged tables and set things in place. Yesterday during the day was spent getting water, pop and whatnot setup. We got some necessary things arranged. Then it was watching the parade of vendors.

Zoo staff tries to sample a little, but it is hard because you have to do a lot of glad handing. In my case, talking to the new vendors and gauging their interest and making sure things are working okay, dealing with account reps from our media partners, answering questions from event guests and just generally putting out fires before they turn into a thing.

At 5:00, the below was covered with tiny Chocolate Penguins shapes filled with Peanut Butter. Had to have a second to make sure the tastyness of the first wasn't a fluke.

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It's a lot of running around, so it probably wasn't the best idea to head to the Wine Thief after the event, or to Faherty's after that. I would have figured after a decent amount of alcohol, being on my feet for 13 hours, sleep would have come a little easier. When you are running around a lot, most of the time you get passing glances at stuff, all of which llooked good and a few actual nibbles. I did take a second pass at the animal cracker themed creme brulee. The chocolate whipped cream was a little sloppy in terms of presentation, but after two days at the convention center, I was just glad for its inclusion.

You'd think sleep would be easy, but I got into bed a little after 1 and was a little too awake. And pretty soon the alarm clock sang a little too loudly this morning and the hours on the convention floor, wine thief and Faherty helped me to realize that I'm not getting younger.

Despite the aches, it was cool -- a good party and lots of suprising treats.
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Words: 436
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: work

02/17/09 05:00 - 32ºF - ID#47784

Got to be a Ghost Town

There was a short lived British pop/ska group in the early 80s called The Specials. They had a couple songs on MTV and went the way most of those bands did shortly thereafter. One of the songs was "Ghost Town," the chorus of which was suddenly playing in my head as I went to a morning meeting in Niagara Falls.

The actual town has its own issues, but the tourist side looks especially forlorn without the tourists. With all the stuff being built across the border just reinforces the growing inferiority complex. My meeting was at the Conference Center, a very nice facility surrounded by the saddest Starbucks I ever passed, and an alley of closed windows. You look to the right and can look through the broken windows of the old Wintergarden and see the gleaming towers from the Canadian side. The place looks like the setting for a Tom Waits album cover shoot. I'm going to this thing around 9 and it made downtown Buffalo look populace for morning rush hour. Right across the way, is the casino with nothing in progress around that.

Interesting, half expected to hear tumbleweeds walking from my car.
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Permalink: http://estrip.org/articles/read/mrmike/47784/Got_to_be_a_Ghost_Town.html
Words: 196
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: current events

02/13/09 09:22 - 24ºF - ID#47741

The Crash

For once that doesn't refer to anything economic.

It's a strange feeling that I don't know if I can adequately articulate right. Aside from the shock of the plane crash and the sadness over the deaths, I'm feeling a strange sensation to see something so horrific happen in a place I know too well.

It's interesting. My folks house isn't far off one of the flight paths in Clarence. Usually if you are flying in from the east, you are out over where all the calamity occurs. Usually you get to peacefullly glide over Eastern Hills and Transitown before touching down, having done it a hundred times myself. My mom told me that her dad once said something about eventually a plane is going to land at Transitown.

I'm sad for the victims but relieved at the same time. A bigger, faster plane might have taken out more than just one house and one person on the ground. That type of plane doesn't go as quick so when it stops, it stops. A bigger jet might have been much bigger issue.

The town safety guy is the younger brother of a guy I went to high school with. He used to do battle with my Mom in her role on the town planning board. We didn't really get along, but I applaud him today. He's keeping a cooler head than many of the television folk are. Did Don Postles really need to berate somebody at Kaleida into coming on? Really? Did Ch.2 need to send somebody out with a laptop and a skype camera to show us nothing? When there is nothing to say, perhaps shutting the fuck up might be a viable option. Local media might want to start drilling like the emergency crews do as they should be embarassed.

Heard from my out of town siblings this morning both of whom were trying to remember where Long Road was in proximity to the rents (both of whom were safely oblivious till much later).

Strange days...
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Permalink: http://estrip.org/articles/read/mrmike/47741/The_Crash.html
Words: 337
Location: Buffalo, NY


02/12/09 09:10 - 35ºF - ID#47728

Inner Peace

If you can start the day without caffeine,

If you can get going without pep pills,

If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,

If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,

If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,

If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,

If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,

If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,

If you can conquer tension without medical help,

If you can relax without liquor,

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If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,

...Then You Are Probably The Family Dog!

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Permalink: http://estrip.org/articles/read/mrmike/47728/Inner_Peace.html
Words: 123
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: random

02/11/09 04:40- ID#47715

They Call it "Hump Day" for a reason

I've never been a fan of automatic deduction from your bank account, despite all the many groups that love it. You never exactly when something is going to drop. You have religiously watch when things fall and register. Tracking netflix payments alone make my rapidly aging head hurt. You forget something you can be screwed. I completely forgot about my New York Flash pass--when you go over, it helps itself to reload, but never tells you when this happens. All the trips on the Penn Turnpike for the Inaugural came home to roost, yesterday, when I thought I had just barely enough room for things to post. Turns out I had no room. In essence, some bon mots from my folks went to bank charges which is not what you want to spend birthday money on. So, the tax return is going to be fun to compensate to make up for it. Aargh.....
Another commercial shoot at work yesterday. They don't require much out of me, but are exhausting anyway. This one featured my boss and by the fourth setup, she was getting full for the process, but sold the place like a trooper. Took them an hour to pack up, which was about 90 minutes past when my morning cereal gave out. My stomach was speaking yiddish by the time the six hour shoot was done. All hail, Joe's Deli (for the cookies alone) for being open when they were.
It's part of my job to take meetings largely for the sake of taking the meeting. Being a shameless bastard, when a quality lunch is offered, I'll go for the free food and hear the pitch for my ad dollars killing two birds with one stone. All the area account reps are thinking in similarly arranged areas. One of the tv folk took me to Merge which was really good last week. I'm rooting for the restaurant as everything seemed to be of great quality, right on down to the strawberry chocolate cheesecake. They have a slew of vegan, and gluten free options which should give them a chance. Today, I got taken to Chris's Deli which has always been really good. They make a really good turkey wrap which would have been better had I had better company, but he paid the tab, so I did a passable job of listening about what advertising with him could help my business. "Really, Bob, (chew, chew) That's fascinating, tell me more (Bite, chew, chew)." He did, Tool. It was like having lunch with Henry Blake. I wanted to smack him upside the head, but he was so botoxed I thought a prize might fall out.
It's a little scary who you can "bump" into via Facebook. My Dad launched a page this week and is filling his status with such observations like "just spotted a pot hole so large that there was an Indian Casino behind built at the bottom." Ain't technology grand? I told him to "friend" the daughters -- that will spook em good. I'm quietly very evil.
Thanks for all the birthday wishes. You guys are the best peeps in all of explored space. It was pretty low profile, a little cake, sleepin in, a little brunch, even went to class on Sunday to exercise since as (e:drew) pointed out I'm looking my age.
Don't feel it though, so I guess that is good. It was nice that for once it wasn't colder than whaleshite on my birthday. Seems only appropriate since it has been for most of the past month. Busting one of my free airline tickets loose in April for a long Florida weekend. I won't be drinking anything with umbrellas floating in them, but it will be nice to know that they are nearby.

Let's be careful out there.


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Permalink: http://estrip.org/articles/read/mrmike/47715/They_Call_it_quot_Hump_Day_quot_for_a_reason.html
Words: 635
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: random

02/06/09 01:44 - 23ºF - ID#47660

Friday hilarity

From an email marked "Fail?" came these jocularity laden images

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That's comedy, have a good weekend, ya'all
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Permalink: http://estrip.org/articles/read/mrmike/47660/Friday_hilarity.html
Words: 59
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: work

02/04/09 08:52 - 11ºF - ID#47644

One more Zoo picture for awhile

What can I say? I work in a decent place for cute pictures. I found this one still in my camera from last week and thought I'd share. My offering estrip a nice warm fuzzy.

This is a cool gig to have a little extra access. Check it out.


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Considering it was 5 degrees out when I took it, you can safely say she was just chillin'.

There I said it, and I don't regret it. Well, maybe a little.
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Permalink: http://estrip.org/articles/read/mrmike/47644/One_more_Zoo_picture_for_awhile.html
Words: 81
Location: Buffalo, NY


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ExBuffalonian said to matthew
Um, ever think of opening a restaurant?...

tinypliny said to paul
It was probably all the wine. :P...

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ouch....

tinypliny said to joe
Are the plants in the trash garden plastic?

I remember a few years back in the evening before the G...