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Category: miscellany

03/30/09 09:27 - ID#48235

Monday Mental Crib Notes

Still rising to the tasks of being awake...

I took an slightly expanded version of a post from here and fleshed it out a little more on facebook, only to see the Buffalo News do two articles on the same topic in yesterday's "paper." Makes you wonder if a few of the minions there are following estrip for feature ideas. Theirs might have been better but mine was first.

The previously mentioned number one son was falling victim to the hype and was after me to go to Monsters vs Aliens once it opened. We decided to take the plunge Saturday afternoon and truly geek it up by going to the IMAX theater out on Transit Road. Anything worth doing is worth doing the excess, you know. But Regal, seriously, $26 for two tickets, seriously? Fandango now charges $2.00 per ticket for ordering online. That's $30 before I've even filled out my financial aid paperwork at the concession stand. That is officially the end of me booking ahead. I love the semantics of a convenience charge. Who exactly is that convenient for? certainly not this decaying customer. But the kid has been good, so I sucked it up--especially since I was rewarded with the Star Trek preview, which was pretty cool. Movie is silly fun if you are thinking about it.

My lovely middle child goes to the Tapestry High School, which for this year is in the back side of the St. Mary's School for the Deaf building. I say this because she was telling me about the strange looks that she and a friend were getting taking the Main St bus. Both of them had their IPODs on and the site of two girls with ear buds in place walking past the St. Mary's sign. "Shouldn't they be using their hands to talk?" from one bus rider. No argument with Depeche Mode: People are definitely people.

Six day work week beginning today -- no wonder it feels like I don't have a life. Next week our p.r. coordinator is being taken away to celebrate her 30th birthday so I get to wear two hats again.

Taking a little time away from Bikram Yoga -- finances got a little tight and the continuing change of seasons was screwing with my breathing ability. Once we can settle into spring for real (snow, this morning, really?) and all camp & college fees are finished, I'll hope back on board.

I think we are all gizmo junkies here in some fashion or another. The lovely daughter of two paragraphs ago came home from school on Friday upset. I was over at the house dropping off some zoo stuff and she said her Ipod got taken out of her locker. Sucks to start with, but she paid for the bulk of it, so the emotional investment is that much larger. Occasionally, you are powerless. That was one of those times, where all the ex and I could do was listen.

My church puts on a music sunday every spring and yesterday was the third straight year that I've said the hell with it. The music is beautiful, small orchestra and choir really showing its chops, but the crowd is staggeringly rude. One year, I went up to take number one son to his classroom only to come down to see some woman literally sitting on my belongings. Regularly about 300 people come to the services. but the music sundays double that with people from the neighborhood, people too cheap to go to Kleinhans for the 2:00 show, and just assorted assholes who want to hear the music with little regard for the surroundings. The last one I did go to is still burnt into my memory. This woman was sitting with her baby a couple rows ahead of me. The baby was cooing, enjoying her surroundings and charming the pants of all the immediate neighbors except for these two old biddies who thought they were at Radio City. These two crumudgeons (somewhere between 80 and 200) wouldn't shut the fuck up until the woman left in tears with the child. My biggest disappointment was in myself for not speaking to the witches the way they deserved. This was after some jerkass was trying to shush my son when he was asking some questions about the instruments before the service started.

So, the coffee and home made brunch were much more spiritually fulfilling.

Wished I could have made it to Merge last week, Tiny -- plate is a little full. I'm on three boards at the moment and I'm pretty sure one of em has to go.

Have a good Monday, ya'all.
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Permalink: Monday_Mental_Crib_Notes.html
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Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: random

03/24/09 09:08 - 39ºF - ID#48183

Deconstructing...

It's funny how something can be lionized even after falling dormat. You could mount a pretty easy argument how the city screwed up Memorial Auditorium after the Arena was built. It and the surrounding land has sat there for 12 years doing nothing, just another abandoned property not generating anything, not unlike our city leaders. But the sale of its insides and the removal of the property sparked romantic notions. The place was a dump on its best of days. The long darkened ramps introduced you to your neighbor rather closely whether you wanted you to or not. The steps leading down to the seats into the oranges were vertigo inducing and the hand rails were a metal fabricator's practical joke.

I was walking downtown the other night and saw the gaping hole where the desconstruction had opened the building. Like I said, the structure was nothing special, but what it could contain was sometimes amazing: bunches of Sabres games, a few Braves games (as I am old), seeing Bob Seger, Rush, The Kinks, the Who, U2, Springsteen and many more. Okay, I was curious to go back and have a look. I didn't want a seat from the place or anything, but seeing the joint fall back into itself for the Bass Pro store that is never going to come. I took a stroll tonight to look into the abyss and could see into where my Dad and I walked under the rink one night by taking the wrong turn after a playoff game or the night I was part of the post game press corps with Ch.2 (where I covered up my college radio logo from Scotty Bowman's prying eyes ( for a little guy, he scared the crap out of me)).


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My little sister's first contact high, skipping the Senior prom with a van load of friends to see Eric Clapton, having Gil Perreault sign my jersey, getting a seat in the press box for part of a hockey game.

When the place was full and the asbestos was hiding quietly in the ceiling, it really didn't look much better or dramatically different, but what could happen inside fueled the imagination. I can still remember the peanut vendor/huckster who worked the events. He would sit outside and bark "Before you go in the door! Stop at the Peanut Store!!

It was a dump, but it was our dump
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Permalink: Deconstructing_.html
Words: 422
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: random

03/23/09 09:08 - 29ºF - ID#48171

Wanderlust

Indulged in a little localized pointless travel on Saturday. The famous number one son and I schlepped up to Niagara Falls to play tourist before the tourists come back. Great day for a wander. There is a spot on Three Sisters Island where some maintainence has made another island for water pressure relief. That's resulted in some great, finely buffed skipping stones, but if you hit it right, a well skipped rock goes quite a ways thanks to the velocity of the water putting potential back spins. A nice day capped off by boston coolers (ginger ale over ice cream) at a ice cream place in the falls.

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My ace traveling companion after a well skipped rock.
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Permalink: Wanderlust.html
Words: 131
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: music

03/19/09 04:55 - ID#48125

It's a song by song world now.

This is floating around facebook, and it dates me a little, like I need help in that department. Well, dear reader, there used to be a thing called record stores, not just the music department at Target, sometimes two to three per mall. You could really lose yourself in the realm of album covers and what not. I still pile up lots of tunes, I or otherwise, but it isn't the same. This little exercise came through a friend of mine from our mutual days in college radio. He has a couple of years on me, but it is funny about shared experiences. There were certain albums that everybody had. The Cd era eroded this a little.

Think of 25 albums that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life or the way you looked at it. They sucked you in and took you over for days, weeks, months, years. These are the albums that you can use to identify time, places, people, emotions. These are the albums that no matter what they were thought of musically shaped your world. It's funny because these are a few that transcend the medium, meaning I'm a sap and bought em on cd.

1) Rumours - Everybody we knew had it. It was like it got slipped through everybody's mail slot, standard suburban issue

2) Tattoo You- another one that everybody had. It was the last Stones album to matter, despite the fact they keep churning them out.

3) Tommy (first the movie, then the original album) - Elton John's version of Pinball led me to the Who, and my life-long mania began.

4) Who's Next - the album that started me working backwards through the Who's career.

5) Quadrophenia - I promise I'll stop at three Who albums. This one took me the longest to get into, but it became the deepest listen.

6) Born to Run - the title song defines that period of my life, giving rise to life-long Bruce fanaticism. Yeah, I got a ticket for his show in Toronto

7) The Wild the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle - again, I came to this one late but it became the deepest Boss listen.

8) Sgt. Pepper's - probably the first album I listened to end-to-end, when I was a child, reading along with the lyrics on the back. Come back to it periodically ever since.

9) Abbey Road - I remember tracking this in its entirety on a WSBU overnight shift.

10) Dark Side of the Moon - Almost an afterthought now, but another one everybody had and it is just great enough that periodic revisits can be a revelation.

11) All the Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes - makes me wish Pete Townshend would record more.

12) My Ever Changing Moods - The Style Council: defines a college period for me. Under-rated, and made me a big fan of everything Paul Weller (the Jam) attempts.

13) The Joshua Tree - my first great album on CD.

14) Achtung Baby - The follow-up is probably the last album I absorbed from beginning to end.

15) Avalon - Roxy Music made the most evocative rock ever. Honorable mention to "The Atlantic Years" compilation.

16) Hotel California: Title song made me want to learn how to play guitar

17) Moondance: Van Morrison, I'm not a fan of the title song, but the record as a whole grabs your soul like everything matters. It helps that Van gives a damn through the whole thing.

18) The Last Waltz: The Band did more than just back up Bob Dylan, they could play a little bit of anything from Blues to Country to Rock and do it with enough panache that you had to be impressed..

19) Tusk: much weirder and ultimately more satisfying than any of Fleetwood Mac's more famous, more commercial releases.

20) Kiss Alive I: as Dave Marsh once said, "It's great, f**k you!"

21) Physical Graffiti - nothing like listening to Led Zep on a cheap hi-fi at age 14.

22) Led Zeppelin IV - Still don't know what a "bushel in the hedgerow" means, still don't care. It's a great record.

23) Tug of War - McCartney's work after John died had a poignancy that matched his best Beatles stuff.

24) Scenes from the Southside - hard to choose one Hornsby album, there are three or four I love.

25) Live at Leeds - OK, I lied.

No clash or ramones, because I'd find out about those later. Looking at the list, I guess I'm an audio dork, but there was something liberating about putting the big old KOSS headphones and dreaming.

Old fart rant over.

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Permalink: It_s_a_song_by_song_world_now_.html
Words: 756
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: work

03/14/09 03:01 - 40ºF - ID#48051

It's sometimes good to be the client

A large part of my job is taking meetings, more often or not, you take them for the sake of taking them, little consequence during the meeting. It's having the meeting that is actually worthwhile, largely because it can facilitate actual more notable get togethers.

One of the periodicals that I buy advertising from has a suite down at the Arena and invited me down for Thursday night's Sabres game. Of course, I said yes. A chance to eat, drink, watch the game from privileged areas, what's not to love? It is a whole nother world from the regular stands. If you get the chance, even if you aren't a sport fan, I recommend it. At the arena, you transverse some secluded stairs to a private elevator to the suite floor, where it's carpeted and smells like somebody cares about it not being gross.

My domicle for the night had it's own coat check, opposite its own "Private" bathroom. As you walked in to the living room, the taco bar and adjoining wing/finger/popper chafing dish was full to the brim. It was basically thanksgiving with pub food. Across the room on the opposite counter were the pizza, cookies, and nacho chips with appropriate fixings (I mean who doesn't love fixins') I should point out that all these are done infinitesimally better than the overpriced slop at the concession stands. The hostess took great pains to point out that the fridge was stocked already and I should feel free to help myself. I gazed upon all the Molson Canadian, lined up like lil' volunteers, and felt that freedom.

I have seen sporting events poor, wealthy, and from across the hall, and Thursday night's wealthy was best. Between periods, a very serious looking intern brought us stats from what we just witnessed. I could step out on the veranda and gaze upon the great unwashed at the concession stands below. That is the beautiful thing. You don't need to be hockey fan at that level. It is a festival of people watching. I helped myself to one of the leather backed seats and enjoyed the view.


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Nice view, huh? Sometimes it is good to be the client. A few moments of business that mercifully stopped once the game got rolling.

Nice way to segue into a long weekend. The halfway point of which finds me not doing a whole lot. Number one son turned 11 yesterday so all extraneous stuff is centered around him, as it should be. Let there be cake.
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Permalink: It_s_sometimes_good_to_be_the_client.html
Words: 427
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: health

03/10/09 05:00 - 41ºF - ID#48008

Insurance grief

I'm beginning to think that Human Resources people and Insurance customer service people are in cahoots, to make actual healthcare providers look bad and drive policy holders out of their gourds with unnecessary angst.

Witness this little incident: The former spouse ("Splif" if you will) took our youngins to the dentist only to be told that GHI won't pay their part because I still have Met Life for a provider as well. I haven't had Met Life for anything since October of 200andfreaking7"!!!! I, incorrectly think, that it would make sense to go to source, Met Life and advise them of their error. Their pointless customer service line (that name must be a joke) kicks me to the agent on duty. I tell Jimmy Olsen my story and that thanks to privacy laws I need one company to tell the other that the first company no longer has an affliation with me. He supposedly goes to work on this, but I think he resumes working on his xbox. A series of phone calls and voice mail messages and a week go by. I call his scrawny little self (you tell from the voice) and he admits that he cannot get further access, because of the policy group. The policy group can't find me. (You think it's because I left a year and half ago?!??!?!?). I hang up (impolite I know) and call GHI, verify all my information, the splif's information, etc.

You would think that would be enough to get the Met Life crap off the files so we can get the dental costs taken care of once more. Oh, gentle reader, you'd be sadly mistaken. I have to fill out one more form and get it into the mail to finally get this shit over with. Said form is already in transit attesting to my lack of insurance in the mail.

The hoops you have to fucking leap through. If the president wants to bring down health cares costs, I know where he can start. Leave the medical pros alone and attach where it is really running amuck like bloating H.R. departments in cable companies that will not be named and semi-informed customer care people who aren't attuned to what is happening off the web page they are staring at while they should be working.

Had I known the cable pig screwed up my insurance, my Bell's Palsy battle might have been a little cheaper. Watch them all, because the billing people need to know they are being watched
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Permalink: Insurance_grief.html
Words: 421
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: work

03/08/09 12:52 - 38ºF - ID#47984

Grin and "Bearing" It

Sunday, sunday, in the office -- Yee ha!

We've got a big cat themed day going on here at the house of fun so I had to be here to oversee some grad students who working on that but also I project I gave them to help marketing to older potential customers.

The newest attraction isn't officially out yet. I think he will make his media debut tomorrow, so you get a sneak peek. He is a big boy and the resident bear is practically throwing herself at him. Like a typical guy, it is taking him some time to get the hint. About an hour before these pictures were taken, I think he is getting the idea. I can only imagine what parents might have had to say to young inquiring minds had the place been opened.

Check out the post-coital bliss.

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The things you see on the way to getting a Friday off.
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Permalink: Grin_and_quot_Bearing_quot_It.html
Words: 173
Location: Buffalo, NY


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: Breathe.html
Words: 372
Location: Buffalo, NY


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