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Category: family

04/29/09 11:29 - 48ºF - ID#48539

Chelsea Sublet Available

The caller-id on tv from Time Warner can be a mixed blessing. I do most of my calling with my cell phone, but when the TW phone rang and displayed my older sister's number on Tuesday night, I couldn't help but cringe. Love her dearly, but she makes me nuts. It's a call I knew I had to deal with but I wasn't looking forward to it.

She is in epic streak of bad luck. She is in the graphic arts/printing industry in Manhattan. Her firm got sold and the new owners started running the business into the ground by bouncing her in late 07. The industry is both changing and rapidly deserting NYC. She hooked on with another firm for a while and booted around this time last year. Since she is by herself, that wasn't an immediate source of panic. This was before the economy took its current swan dive.

Unemployment and 401K draws later, so drastic steps have to be taken. She was busy holding out for the miracle offer and associating way too much with coming back to our parents house. It's for a few months and a chance to attack the job problem from another angle and a little more support, not to mention some relief from the pressure of looking for work around NYC while living in New York.

She had herself wrapped up that coming home meant the end, that she envisioned returning to Buffalo to take care of an ailing parent (which we don't have) or our disabled brother. He has a job and his own place. Somebody had to be an asshole and tell her to prioritize, that those past couple of sentences don't exist as issues, that our younger sister lives in Harlem and has all kinds of experiences in subletting, so she keeps the place, she had their place to stay for interviews as the economy improves and yields more chances. She just needs to accept the offers.

So, a little respect as I took one for the team. She got rolling today and enable my dad and younger sis to get the ball rolling with local storage of her stuff in NYC, getting going with a sublet, prioritizing what to bring to Buffalo for the summer, and more.

I'm still tired from the one man intervention, but if you need a short term sublet -- I know a 2 bed room in Chelsea that could be had for the summer for a comparitive steal.

Sometimes it pays to be the jerk.
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Permalink: Chelsea_Sublet_Available.html
Words: 422
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: work

04/29/09 04:17 - 60ºF - ID#48536

I LOVE MY JOB

I LOVE MY JOB

Rob is a commercial saturation diver for Global Divers in Louisiana. He performs underwater repairs on offshore drilling rigs. Below is an E-mail he sent to his sister. She then sent it to radio station 103.2 FM in Ft. Wayne , Indiana , who was sponsoring a worst job experience contest. Needless to say, she won.

Hi Sue,

Just another note from your bottom-dwelling brother. Last week I had a bad day at the office. I know you’ve been feeling down lately at work, so I thought I would share my dilemma with you to make you realize it’s not so bad after all.

Before I can tell you what happened to me, I first must bore you with a few technicalities of my job. As you know, my office lies at the bottom of the sea. I wear a suit to the office. It’s a wet suit. This time of year the water is quite cool. So what we do to keep warm is this: We have a diesel powered industrial water heater. This $20,000 piece of equipment sucks the water out of the sea. It heats it to a delightful temperature.. It then pumps it down to the diver through a garden hose, which is taped to the air hose. Now this sounds like a darn good plan, and I’ve used it several times with no complaints. What I do, when I get to the bottom and start working, is take the hose and stuff it down the back of my wet suit. This floods my whole suit with warm water.. It’s like working in a Jacuzzi. Everything was going well until all of a sudden, my butt started to itch.

So, of course, I scratched it. This only made things worse. With in a few seconds my butt started to burn. Â I pulled the hose out from my back, but the damage was done. In agony I realized what had happened. The hot water machine had sucked up a jellyfish and pumped it into my suit. Now, since I don’t have any hair on my back, the jellyfish couldn’t stick to it. However, the crack of my butt was not as fortunate. When I scratched what I thought was an itch, I was actually grinding the jellyfish into the crack of my butt.

I informed the dive supervisor of my dilemma over the communicator. His instructions were unclear due to the fact that he, along with five other divers, were all laughing hysterically.

Needless to say I aborted the dive. I was instructed to make three agonizing in-water decompression stops totaling thirty-five minutes before I could reach the surface to begin my chamber dry decompression. When I arrived at the surface, I was wearing nothing but my brass helmet. As I climbed out of the water, the medic, with tears of laughter running down his face, handed me a tube of cream and told me to rub it on my butt as soon as I got in the chamber. The cream put the fire out, but I couldn’t poop for two days because my butt was swollen shut.

So, next time you’re having a bad day at work, think about how much worse it would be if you had a jellyfish shoved up your butt.

Now repeat to yourself, ‘I love my job, I love my job, I love my job.’ Now whenever you have a bad day, ask yourself, is this a jellyfish bad day?

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Permalink: I_LOVE_MY_JOB.html
Words: 588
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: sports

04/27/09 10:44 - 66ºF - ID#48523

Take me out to the Ballgame

I get the feeling the Bisons just don't care. It used to be that you didn't have to be a baseball fan to enjoy a game at SodaBeverage Field. They used to sell the place out. I went to a game last year with my Dad and we couldn't help but wonder what happened. Limited open gates, desolate corridors, oh, where have you gone Mike Billoni? It just seemed fairly lifeless.

The Bisons changed major league affiliations over the winter and I thought that might inject a little more life. They are hooked up with the Mets and you'd thinking the prospect of sucking in HD on SNY might liven the place up a bit. Nope. As part of my reward for being a marketing judge at UB's departmental presentation, I was given a ticket to tonight's game by one of their teachers, a good guy who helps the Zoo out from time to time. Access to beer and burgers, I'm a happy guy, especially when the students are to scared to touch food that is still covered. Risking the wratch of the concessions workers and generally not giving a damn in the first place, I got things going at the grill.

Properly satiated, I settled in to watch a little ball and there is nothing so desolate as a sparse ballpark. I've always been intrigued with baseball architecture a little bit (as I am quite the dork) and the game wasted my interest, so this is what happened. I set off looking for dessert and found the following along the way. Enjoy

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Permalink: Take_me_out_to_the_Ballgame.html
Words: 303
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: random

04/26/09 02:45 - 68ºF - ID#48512

Swiss Rolls to improve the mood.

Thought I broke my connection before. I was downloading some music and things just stopped. Reset everything only to find out it was Time Warner's fault. As a former reboot monkey, I am glad I was not on those phones for a couple of hours. I remember a few nights when thing broke that the list of waiting calls toppled 500. Gallows humor gets you through those situations.

Just dropped my son off at a birthday party where the main celebrant and his folks are strict vegans. I wonder if it is any consequence that I came home for lunch and immediately downed a double steak-um sandwich.

Got to get to the grocery store, but the bulk of North Buffalo is at Wegman's at the moment so it will wait until the eldest is retrieved when the dust settles.

Thought about the hullaballoo about the Buffalo Bills and yesterday and discovered that I am devoid of opinion. There are those that for whom the NFL draft is one of the high holy days. I am not that guy.

Been cheating on (e:strip) a little with wordpress.

I suppose that at age 45, you need to cut out a few things, but the occasional Swiss Roll can do wonders for a disposition, especially when there are no cookies in the house.

Happened to see (e:Janelle) running the other day. It doesn't look fun. I see enough folks flailing their way around ring road in Delaware Park. Nobody looks like they enjoy it at all. Everybody looks like they are heading for a spinal consult soon.

The lovely mother of my lovely children gave me props today. One of our church friends/acquaintances confided that her teenage daughter is afraid of their dad. Apparently my girls even gave voice to it being cooler if I lived a little closer. Yay for me. I think the friend's problem is that the Dad is on his second family is late 60's/early 70's. Some age divides are too large to traverse. Guess I'm on the right track.

Got to get my paperwork in order to be able to go to Canada soon. It might be a time for a new picture as my current photo dates from the first Clinton administration. Liked the picture, but I think I'm aging decently and look better now.

Was in Barnes and Noble yesterday searching for the new book by Tom Robbins (It was a hoot hearing number one son mutter "B is for Beer" as we walked the aisles. Saw the new offering from ABC News' Cokie Roberts. Cokie is looking an awful lot like David Bowie from the "Modern Love" era. Separated at Birth??

Trying to decide whether it is cooler to run up my charge bill on "The Soloist" tonight. Good excuse for popcorn.

If you ever needed an excuse.

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Permalink: Swiss_Rolls_to_improve_the_mood_.html
Words: 475
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: work

04/24/09 02:15 - 79ºF - ID#48489

Checking Dignity at the Door

I went to one of the insufferable networking events last night. It's my fourth one and it's like being party scenes in the Ice Storm without the nookie afterwards. The same dull gathering played over and over. The same jerkass printer's rep who hassled me about the non-existent jobs I refuse to send him. The rep from the party organizers whose last sober thought was to order another drink. She sold my folks their last car so she thinks we're buds by association. There is also the one really hot rep from the same organization, but she is actually concerned with doing a good job at the gathering so shenanigans aren't happening.

They set up tables from about 20 firms, most of which don't change from the previous gathering. You load up on your swag, fake a little sincerity, have a nosh, and be on your way. Early on, I ran into a kindred spirit who had the same attitude about the gathering, so it was nice to have somebody to partner in the making of the other attendees.

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This progressive dinner changes venues and last night's was at Lasertron. The gathering took over one area with the schmoozing, used an anteroom for suprisingly decent food, wings and whatnot. Driving out there, I was seized with visions of account execs in the Laser tag vests shooting each other. I forgot about the other large scale game they play called cyber sport.

You ride the little carts around and use the sawed off lacrosse thingys to shoot on the goals. Once you sit in the little carts, you do indeed feel stupid. It was actually a pretty good time. Learning to drive the cart and checking your dignity at the door made up for a interesting time. I can only imagine what the two actual birthday parties in the place thought of the knuckleheaded adults shooting each other in one room and doing the above in the other. Good thing my innner child doesn't have an inside voice.

Never drank celebratory beers over two cyber sport wins before.



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Permalink: Checking_Dignity_at_the_Door.html
Words: 348
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: sports

04/20/09 09:25 - 47ºF - ID#48458

Pointless Sports Post

Can we all just agree that Lindy is a good coach and that if given the right reign, Darcy is a good GM? C'mon, Larry, remove the handcuffs, give em a budget and let'em alone. Darcy didn't suddenly get stupid. Left to his own devices, he's found Doug Gilmour, J.P. Dumont, Briere and Drury and many others. If it was up to him, Drury would still be here.

My only concern about John Madden's retiring has more to do with the future of his video game than NBC's broadcasts, which have about six too many guys on it anyway.

The hullabaloo over the schedules being out. I don't understand it. People are peeved about a division game being moved to Toronto. Personally I think the NFL did us a favor by moving the Jets up north, eh. I'm sure the NFL Network will find a local outlet to resale.

I think the Bills did themselves a favor in regards to Jason Peters. Other stars who actually showed up and are either doing new contracts or just completing them weren't commanding those numbers. With his vacancy, the Bills have an issue, but not nearly the problem another hold out could have been.

That whole thing with contracts is still a wonder. Why have one if you are prone to whinning for a new one. What is up with that? What made this okay? Shouldn't you honor the contract, then see about the next one?

Bisons are at least looking good in their new threads while they suck. Given the parent club, they might suck on SNY before too long.

The stadium count is rendering Major League Baseball into the NFL stratosphere. With the hooha about the new Yankee Stadium, I did get a chuckle out of the Yankees getting pasted by three touchdowns on national tv.

Evil, like that.
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Permalink: Pointless_Sports_Post.html
Words: 309
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: theism

04/20/09 01:33 - ID#48453

Show a little faith...

Largely for the sake of setting down some roots, my exsuggested we start going to a nearby church. This is somewhere around 1999. We dove in, thinking it would give the kids a foothold on exposure to various faiths and work on building their understanding and tolerance. And it has largely done that. When we separated, many of the folk we met there were helpful in getting through the inevitable rough patches.

In recent years, I find myself drifting away. It isn’t doing it for me. There have been plenty of times I have sat in services and while there physically, I’ve gone out for a walk mentally. We’ve made some good friends and it is largely a positive involvement. I have been involved in varying degrees from being a nursery parent to teaching, to serving on a R E Committee to now serving on the Board. I have served on committees before, but I especially hate this one. I was afraid of knowing too much. That fear has come to pass.

For a liberal place that supposedly welcomes all faiths and perspectives, it seems like the Bush adminstration is in charge. We are for freedom of speech until somebody uses it. My daughter had to give a senior address at the youth service yesterday, that had to get approved by the minister. Apparently, three years ago, a senior gave her opinions about some aspects of the church. She was right about pretty much everything, but the resulting hullabaloo has the poor Rev auditing to make sure the kids don’t say anything too disturbing.

That is disturbing. Again, it’s home, but it is a flawed home. The senior members of the congregation can be guilty of being lousy role models at times, rolling eyes at the appearance of an electric guitar & while wondering why the kids fidget at the orchestra appearance. That level of hypocrisy wouldn’t be a big deal, except for the whole church was founded on the idea of being open to all ideas.

Of late, I’ve found Sunday brunch to be a little more spiritually fulfilling. The infighting among committees amazes me. There are turf battles that rage with intensity of groups fighting for the cool tables in the cafeteria. The decisions of the board should be entrenched in the actual business of the church, but instead are swamping in jr. high level gossip. Interesting to be a part of a group that is all about freedom of speech and the exchange of ideas until somebody wants to actually use those freedoms. Like I said, it's a flawed place, but I don't envision that as a problem, it's the pretending we are perfect that bothers me. The flaws just mean we're human.

One recent example that has been on my mind a lot is a recent discussion of personalities, that a change might be required because “It doesn’t look good.”

Why should we care how it looks if we truly are who we say we are?

Faith shouldn’t feel so hypocritical.

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Permalink: Show_a_little_faith_.html
Words: 513
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: current events

04/14/09 04:02 - ID#48382

Artistic blood from nearly empty stones

There was an article in this past Sunday’s Buffalo News outlining Erie County Executive Chris Collins’ desire for greater representation from the executive branch on the boards of the eight largest cultural institutions in exchange for the regular county funding that is regularly awarded.

The request seems a little heavy handed as most already have county representation, but the explanation being given is to give tax payers a greater seat at the table of organizations that receive county money. That, in and of itself, is hard to argue against.

What I’m not sure about is why the culturals are being singled out. It feels a little like token reform. The amount of money being spent on the 8 largest cultural organizations is roughly 3.5 million dollars give or take. Erie County offers the Buffalo Bills roughly that same amount with absolutely no strings attached. The Bills are not exactly starving as any passing glance at a tv contract will bear out. The culturals were told to consider the county money “the last funds in the door.” that these funds shouldn’t be used to keep the lights on, that they should be used to instead enhance programming and increase multilingual marketing, even translate signage and website advertisments into spanish, french, german, japanese and chinese. Which of the many chinese languages was never actually specified.

While that isn’t terribly practical, the whole thing seems a little petty & petulant. I watch the Bills toy with WNY’s emotions every fall, and they play a decreasing amount of games in the area, yet pocket their county funding without stipulation. It’s an existing agreement and I say let that pass, but the culturals stretch through the entire calendar year and proactively contribute to the quality of life in Western New York. All operate very lean and mean when it comes to funds. Ironically enough, people come to the area to see the BPO, tour the Botanical Gardens, see the Burchfield and so on. And the extra bonus is that the money that gets spent at these places stays here. In an era where corporate support is dwindling and capital improvements have been dealt a body blow, it seems when you got a few things working and comparitively thriving, you count your blessings and work on the bigger problems.

We all need to work together and I don’t think anybody is looking for separation or anything, but the way it was reported in the news made it sound like the county was acting like Deniro in “The Untouchables,” pacing the dining room lecturing his subordinates about Team and brandishing a baseball bat.

You like to think the demand for more board seats truly is for greater representation not for places to hide folk. That office is represented on a number of boards including my employers. I fully applaud the Exec for looking to reform and spend smart.

Given that the arts outlets help broaden the quality of life for all in the area, I hope the powers that be pay due diligence to all agencies where they have an interest.

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Permalink: Artistic_blood_from_nearly_empty_stones.html
Words: 519
Location: Buffalo, NY


Category: holiday

04/12/09 07:20 - 42ºF - ID#48368

Sunday in the Parks

Having taken care of my easter duties, I was a free agent today. If cleanliness is next to godliness, the doing of laundry was as spiritually fulfilling as any experience was going to be this morning. So available washers trumped a church service that I wasn't into. In three or four places today, I've seen the old joke about on the third day, Jesus rose, saw his shadow.....

Anyway, before repairing to a late afternoon showing of Adventureland, my camera and I went out for a stroll and the following is what I reeled in. Nothing terribly original, just nice places to catch a little sun, despite the cold. Enjoy


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Permalink: Sunday_in_the_Parks.html
Words: 138
Location: Buffalo, NY


04/10/09 12:12 - 48ºF - ID#48341

Screwed with our pants on....

Wow, if you believe we get the leadership we deserve, we must really stink. There is an old political axiom about how decisions are made by those who show up. There is no disclaimer about how that is a physical or a spiritual appearance. The state budget process has been broke for as long as I can remember. When my kids were younger, angry letters to the editor used to be a rite of Spring when the Pataki administration regularly waffled on funding pre-kindergarden classes that were not mandated.

They have never been on time, never spent within their means and despite the overall economy being seriously broken, our heroes are still spending like drunken state senators. The fact that the budget was decided by 3 guys who, if pushed couldn't spell reform, was bad enough. But they seem oblivious to the big picture.

We are all doing with less. In our jobs, we do more with less, stretching dollars and abilities to get more done. Our fearless leaders apparently don't subscribe to that. Instead of even pretending to watch spending and not buy what they can't afford, they are searching for more revenue. New York State is becoming the General Motors of the US. Our business model is busted and the guys at the top are looking for more money to fuel their private jets. Tje squeezing of blood from the proverbial stone doesn't apply when it comes to pet projects, committee work stipends and a slew of double dippers. Although I do applaud Raymond Gallagher for getting a conscious and quitting his state post of part time work when a potential raise got revealed. The idea of the state applying download fees is ridiculous. The state is threatening to layoff 8900 union employees if concessions cannot be reached. The less mentioned portion of that is that 8000 people have been hired around the state since our economic picture "got dire." Got news, it's been dire.

I suppose in one respect they do have something. Not only does all this bad news keep people out, it makes it difficult to leave to, so things should stablize. Our representatives have to get away from screwing the constituents at every turn. The latest sin is that there will be no Woodlawn or Bennett Beach available this summer. It's a revolting state of affairs when pork barrelled crap makes a disaster day budget, but things that might actually improve quality of life do not. I know Woodlawn is not exactly paradise, but in a region where the state senators get five figure stipends for going to a small handful of extra meetings but neither has the kahones to speak up for their region? What the hell. Positively gutless.

When the budget here was in a state of flux, the whole department participated in an exchange of ideas, not just 3 shifty guys and a highlighter.

The beach thing especially blows. Since apparently some chucklehead decided that Fort Erie is on the other side of the Rio Grande, casual trips to the Canadian beaches are almost a thing of the past. Seasonal customs help apparently believes they are Dirty Harry, you have to look inward. We used to go to the Holiday Inn on Delaware to partake of their pool club. Since the hotel decided they didn't want money (?), they in a fit of Albany-like pique, did away with that program.

Any wonder Patterson got booed at the Ballpark yesterday. I know I'm oversimplifying, but holy crap, the state priorities are so unbelivably fubar (and let's face it, have been).

Yep, we're getting screwed, and Albany will not respect us in the morning.

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Permalink: Screwed_with_our_pants_on_.html
Words: 606
Location: Buffalo, NY


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