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Category: potpourri

11/16/08 11:26 - ID#46710

Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Part of my job is taking meetings, even when there really isn't much point. You know, the dreaded networking meeting to scope out potential business partners and sponsors. The conversation is usually dripping in false sincerity and takes me back to the disingenuousness of my my dinners at Adelphia. I'm getting to be pretty decent at getting through them. (e:uncutsanflush) and (e:leetee) caught me showing off Zoo property to a potential partner last week (he later parted with $5,000) (See, told you I was good).

Well, on thursday night, I was dispatched to an affair run by the Buffalo Partnership. Various companies were exhibiting services and the partnership invited companies involved with the partnership and ones they like. So, I got to take my life in my hands and take the 190 after dark to the Grand Island Bridge (not an easy fit) and meander back twenty years down Whitehaven road to the Holiday Inn resort & Hotel that is on the river. It wasn't promising. After you cross the main boulevard on the island, it is full of nothing, light, structures, which was made all the more eerie by the damp evening. I half expected a fog horn in the distance. You're driving and you get to the point where you are sure you took a wrong turn, only off in the distance is the strangely comforting holiday inn neon green light.

I park and schlep my to the conference room where this little party is encounced. After necogiating my way past the check in nazis (who rightly noted that I wasn't Dr. Donna, nothing slips past the partnership crew), I got a drink and set about meandering. The food looked like what if White Castle served beef on weck. Not a wonderful concept, but keeping myself on a coca cola diet seemed the prudent coarse. I saw a couple former colleagues from my Adelphia. One noted that I looked a little thinner. Stories I could have told. The other was a little too amped up about selling tires.

After chatting a little with one of the folks from a magazine I buy advertising in, I was pounced on by a printing salesman. The guy looked like somebody called central casting and said "give us the greasiest, most uncouth, poorly suited, hygenically impaired stereotype and we'll let him talk to the public." Now, in my work, I have perfected the insincere, I really am listening, smile. It looks like I'm there for you, but in reality, I'm mentally out back having a drink.
I had to call upon those skills while this putz complained about how his newspapers publish the zoo press releases, but we don't send him any printing business. While he's making this complaint, I'm mentally noting that I'm not sure if that was a moustache he's sporting or if the nose hair is running amuck, because you can't tell where one stops and the other begins.

I pretend to rifle through my swag bag looking for a card or something and blessedly an announcement breaks up his ethical complaint for me to slip to the bar. A conversation gets started up by a woman from the presenting organization who knows a little too much about my family. Turns out she is a Clarence resident who knows my folks. Turns out she also played a role in my Mom getting squeezed out of the town planning board. Turns out if she was on fire, my mom might write a note to the fire department about coming to put that out....when they had a minute. And so it goes...

By this point, I've filled two hours and done the deed. I even got a potential sponsor for something at the Zoo. The whole exercise makes me feel like I need a shower. I get to my car and place a call for good food from Mr. Pizza who fucks up the order but even with delay, my takeout and I are home for 30 Rock, along with a new collection of pens, flashlights, candies, folders and whatnot.

Had to laugh, because there was a company there who did nothing but sell promo crap that the other 19 booths were foisting on people.

First believable word I heard all night was from the Mr. Pizza guy who offered a pop for the messed up order.

Sometimes you just have those days...

Not good, not bad, just ripe for a scene in a workplace sitcom.
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Category: potpourri

11/09/08 09:36 - ID#46620

Radio Days

Perhaps out of spite since I still have my hair, my Dad sends the occasional photograph to keep me on my toes. The one that arrived in today's email wasn't so bad. I worked for St. Bonaventure Unversity Radio Station when I was in school in the Mezozoic era (the mid 80's). We were almost a big deal, had many leatherbound books on shelves of rich mahogany....mostly because the four commercial stations down there at the time played either country or "music of your life." The attached is a picture from a remote broadcast from the Olean Center Mall, so long ago that my hair was a uniform color of brown and the picture was only in black and white. Enjoy.

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Another questionable fashion choice. 1984 was a kidney stone for such things.

Oh yeah, My eldest needed a baby pic for her senior page in the City Honors yearbook, so this is what is going in, apparently. Brace yourselves for a window into my decay.

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She's the clean shaven one....
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Category: potpourri

09/29/08 02:32 - ID#45843

Cops is filmed on location.....

outside my apartment late on a Sunday night.

I was basically spent yesterday. I had an event at the Zoo that I was the big cheese Saturday afternoon and evening. It was basically 7 hours of running around the grounds that I knew was coming but didn't make it less painful trying to hang through the B-52s (but I made it).

Woke up yesterday feeling like somebody beat me up, but muddled through. Went to one meeting, Wegman's and stumbled home. Alternately watched & dozed in front of the Bills game. After Brothers & Sisters, I put my carcass into bed. Just as I'm settling into that nice feeling of sleep getting ready to overtake, my intercom goes off. I stagger into the living room thinking who the hell would be calling at 11:45 on a Sunday night. Turned out to be one of the more "colorful" residents of the neighborhood who, aside from being three sheets to the wind, was ringing doorbells asking (I kid you not) for help "Getting back to Lancaster." Sure, I'll open the door and give you money.....NOT. I politely declined the offer, but she went to the next door and rang a bell, promptly picking a fight with the next respondant, screaming "What's Wrong with you?" into the intercom. I'm thinking the bastard didn't want some fool ringing his doorball late at night but I'd just be guessing.

She stomps off and within seconds I hear cops arriving. With lights flashing on the Delaware side of my building, a metro cop car and a regular buffalo cop had pulled up and were questioning her. Don't mess with my building mates. It must have been a slow night because while this was going on, FOUR more Buffalo cars showed up. I suspect largely for the entertainment value, but you can't help but think ugly thoughts. Yeah, the woman was disruptive, but there was no way 5 to 7 Buffalo guys needed to be standing around. Scenes like that can make your sleep deprived imagination run truly amuck. One guy talked her down and sent her on her way without incident. Thankfully.
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Category: potpourri

03/24/08 10:00 - ID#43777

Hi-def rumblings

I'm a little worried about my level of shallowness, but this impending arrival has me a little childishly excited.

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The long overdue tax return showed up on saturday and this order was placed a little bit ago. My current set had something go catty wompus with the G in the RGB of the display so for a every few minutes of actual color, you get the sepia toned version of the Simpsons.

It does beg an interesting question. Can you throw out a TV these days? It's a happy dilemna, just not one I expected to have to answer.

Downside of having to work during Spring Break: Kids and their Mom are off for some sun to a relatives Condo in Ocean City, MD and the same relatives house in Rappahanock, VA. Darling eldest child gave me the "Geez, Dad, If you didn't have to earn a living and stuff, you could come." She almost sounded sincere when she wished I could tag along.

Finishing off the final bouts of whatever brochnial nonsense felled me the past week, I enjoyed the free HBO and considerable napping. Drove out for easter dinner with the rents and presented the youngins with Easter Itunes Cards. Number one son got one for game stop since I stepped in there once or twice resently.

Provided the "tension" addled work day doesn't knock me for too much of a loop today, I may head over to the Central Terminal Party and watch the shenanigans, after I get the new TV stand built. Yay!

I'm so shallow
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Category: potpourri

01/07/08 10:19 - ID#42777

Mental McNuggets

Some mental leftovers from an uneventful weekend.

Watched the Canadian broadcast (well parts of it) on Sunday of the Winter Classic. I was curious to see what the shenanigans looked like on tv. The broadcasters didn't say "Shitty" although I've heard worse on Canadian TV. They were actually saying "Shinny". It's an old hockey term, essentially meaning no set plays, no fancy business, just when we get the puck everybody go that way. Essentially, what happens when you just choose up sides and hope for the best.

I discovered one of the downsides of getting older. My allergies have tranmogrified to when the weather changes, sinus headaches of ass-kicking potential get you and get you good. Hence, a late Sunday afternoon of watching the pretty colors of a five day old sporting event while making sure my couch didn't spontaneously levitate. Messed me up bad enough that I went to bed for good at 9:30. Hadn't done that in eons, but I'm a better person for it.

Never too old to sponge off the rents though. My Dad has always had a weakness for the Spaghetti Parm at Chef's. I was out at the folks for a time on Saturday when they confessed to heading down sometime this week to satisfy his pasta jonesing. I offered to save him from any wayward Chicken Parm that might get in his way. I wouldn't go out of my way for Chefs, but if somebody else is picking up the tab, all the better. And if they didn't want me to put in an appearance, they wouldn't have said anything right? That's what I thought.

Number one son got invited to test for his black belt in Tae Kwon Do, so don't mess me now. I can sick old Hands of Stone "Son of MrMike" on ya. I was intrigued by his teacher is suffering from the same disease as many Elmwood landlords, put a surcharge on everything. Hell, I didn't need that tax refund anywhoo. Was only going to go on vacation. Got to admit it was pretty cool watching him smash boards on saturday.

Actually saw a promo for the return of American Gladiators last night. Reminded me of one of the few comical stories from working the Bills games. Hulk Hogan hosts the new show. There was a guy in one of my sections who came to the bulk of the Bills games outfitted as the mid 80's Hulkster, hulkamania t-shirt, feather boa, whole thing, phony fu-manchu mustache, the whole deal. During the sunday night Patriots game, this otherwise amiable gent needed my middle-aged self to rescue him from a verbal assault, from you guessed it, another Hulk Hogan wannabe. The second Hulk was in costume for Hulk during a match and was drunkenly assaulting the first for idea stealing.

How can I not want to be a part of that again?

And how was your weekend

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Category: potpourri

10/16/07 08:10 - ID#41679

Day 2 and other strange things

Still settling into my new professional digs, I think it's going to work okay. I like the fact that an issue came up and my boss made the effort to include me in the consensus being taken. Her boss didn't so it was nice to see a polite message sent. She immediately followed that up with a "Now that Michael is here,...." email which was nice. It's an interesting time to be joining in. The year is essentially over and there is much plotting to do but that can't start until the calendar is set. While we get past the Halloween promotion, I've been doing a lot of research. It's interesting to see how things work and how they've been done previously, it's been decidely low key.

Part of me wants to run around like the little brother on The Christmas Story proclaiming what is mine, but that will come in time. Right now, I'm slowing filling in a void that has been empty for two months. So, it's that new guy period of adjustment for all parties, which has always driven me crazy when I've started somewhere, but it will pass. Made me feel good that two folks sought me out for a lunch time walk around the park ring road. I think that alone qualifies it for the coolest park yard of any employer I may have had previously.

So far, so good.

A souvenir from my sister's wedding at the Garrison Spa


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I was going to make it a user pic, but cropped like that it looks like it I'm running for something. But a good suit photo for fans of such things.The newlyweds must have sold their souls at some point, given how autumnal the weather suddenly became. They got a sunny day around 85, nice clouds as highlights for the mountains for backdrops of pictures. Ceremony was good and original (as well as short). The reception, well, wedding receptions are about as much fun as a pre-scripted party can be. The food was eclectic, reflecting the ethic groups of the happy couple. Might be the only time Guinness and Pierogi intentionally debuted near each other. I had never been to that part of the state. My kids and I packed into a rented Camry the day before and barrelled down the highway till we saw signs for NYC within 50 miles before be routed up I84 to where we were camped in Fishkill, NY.

The Rehearsal Dinner was in the Riverview Restaurant in Cold Spring where I swear the wait staff was made up of low talkers (remember that Seinfeld episode?). I thought I was going deaf, turned out the waiter was a mumbler. Only time I ever ordered anything by asking for the last thing he said. Fortunately, the scallops were good.

My folks threw a rather bloated party for relatives and friends at what I swear was TGIFridays with a railroad theme. It got too big and I think they realize that. It wasn't that it wasn't fun. The restaurant just did a craptastic job of seating a large party. As a result, talking to the people I knew and the all too infrequently seen relatives was a chore. The latter kind of stunk because I was trying to introduce my kids to a few great aunt and uncles that they previously never met or just flat out didn't remember.

Made it back here in six hours and rested up for the previously journaled experience of Monday Night Football.

Had to laugh when in an informal meeting today, we hit one of those moments where the conversation stopped. A few moments of quiet were then punctuated with a decisive moan from a sea lion having a bad day.

Cable could never top that.
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Category: potpourri

09/20/07 01:49 - ID#41215

Sad Macs and other strange things

Hope it isn't an omen, but on the way to work, I made a stop and got back in the car and my Ipod greeted me with the sad mac face. I got applecare on it, but that can color the rest of the journey. I'm not a big John Mayer fan but he was writing (ghostwriting) a column for Esquire about how Ipods are truly sentient beings.

I thought there was some truth to that as on Monday, the ipod filled the car with some gloomy stuff and how yesterday it was cranking anthems on the way to Zoo interview number 2. Today, a little Wilco on the way to Weggies. As soon as I got out, it swirled the digital drain pipe. Guess I get to go see the "Geniuses" tomorrow before work.

Terrible to have to rely on those Silvery circle like thingys for musical entertainment.

Zoo went pretty well yesterday. Talked for an hour and half. Just have to wait for the interviewers to compare notes to see on who they prefer. I looked sharp and unlike my estrip party appearances was good and quickwitted. So, we'll see. Interesting that TW had a interview for me this morning and I'm apparently not good enough to help run a call center. Not that I was terribly interested in that anyway. With Chang's burning down, another good Chinese takeout place went down in this plaza and we are chock full of people who buy stuff, without any insight into what they are buying. Wish I could go into a place and ask "got any deals?" The only thing more amazing than the uninformed purchasing is the amount of people who pound on the door after hours wanting to get issues addressed. That makes me wonder if these same chuckleheads pound on the mall door after 9 when Auntie Anne's has stopped cranking out pretzels.

In other news, I'm playing bus stop dad again for my younger two kids. A friend of mine brings her two kids down the same bus stop and I think she is getting taken advantage of by her neighbors. The school the kids all go to is over on Minnesota and the kids start at age 3. Two of this woman's neighbors send their three year olds down with her instead of stepping up and acting as adults. It's an adjustment for all parties involved, but because of the disruption of the other kids, she's wondering about how well her own child is coping with the new school experience. I tried to tell her that it looks like her daughter is adjusting okay, but that is tough for her to see since somebody else's problem kid is dumped on her door. I'm not sure what to do about that, but I think that if you are getting a kid through the educational system, it's on you, not a well-meaning neighbor to see to the kid's introduction to school. I hurt myself professionally for a few years on my guys behalf and would make that choice again in a heartbeat. I know what career goals can mean, but shit you got a kid to think about in all respects ya'know?

I'm looking forward to seeing if my Buffalo Bills Moonlighting translates into admission to the outdoor hockey game. Good Football seats won't necessarily translate into decent hockey viewing, but the event itself seems like a fun spectacle to be a part of, especially with no risk of football being played after the Bills regular season ends.

Got a ticket for Neil Young in Toronto so I guess that makes me happy.

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Category: potpourri

09/13/07 03:17 - ID#41079

Round 3

Zoo just called. I've made it to the next round. Might have to bust out the Paisley Mickey Mouse tie.

Gonna go home and listen to "Animals" by Pink Floyd and maybe watch the real Dr. Doolittle.
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Category: potpourri

09/10/07 12:48 - ID#41033

Attending Football makes folks strange

There is something bizarre about the atmosphere at Bills games akin to Lord of the Flies. There is a strange willingness among people to part with $6.50 for a papercup full of semi-cold Labatt's. It's enough to make this working stiff look forward to the second half when the beer stops.

Rain was nicely intermittent until the precise moment I got to clock out and walk to my car. White, wet t-shirts are not a good look for me. Anyway, during the game I got to break up a spat between two guys basically giving each other the finger from a few rows away, two guys way too old enough to now better. One drunken sot stomped passed me dozens of times during the day, only to go off on a rant at the end of the game. Both the sheriff's deputy and I told him, if you had an issue, probably would have been better to speak up when the trouble was happening, but whatever....

Interesting hush over the stadium when the Bills' Kevin Everett had his accident. The stadium scoreboard showed non-descript ads and about 2/3s of the stadium couldn't tell anything except that it was it was something bad, confirmed when the ambulance drove on to the field. Never saw 80,000 people hush like that. Once the ambulance left the field, it was surreal as eventually it turned back into a football game again.

Busted a few folks who smuggled beer in and eventually had to remind myself why I do this again. Then I remembered, had to buy a 90.00 graphic calculator for my lovely middle child's algebra studies as well as a few dollars more toward my high schoolers wants/needs. After swimming to my car, I was thankful for the fact that I prograstinate. My beach bag was sitting in the trunk complete with a sorely needed towel. Driving home, I was reminded that my omelette at Spot was a long time ago, so I left the cooking to Mr. Pizza -- always a wise choice.

Got tickets for Springsteen in Toronto so that capped the weekend appropriately.
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Category: potpourri

09/03/07 10:21 - ID#40903

"We're going to try jogging"

and I believe the J is silent.

I've never seen anybody have a good time on the 5K's, 3K's, the Por que's that seem to be prevalent around here. Bullfeathers had their ode to spinal surgery on Friday night and the only thing is succeeded in doing was making it impossible to cross Elmwood at one of the busier times of the day. I'm enjoying morning coffee and another Labor Day "Fun Run" is twaddling up Delaware beneath my porch.

The irony of the title is that the only fun is being had by the Buffalo Motorcycle cops enjoying a morning of cushy duty. Runners are running up my side of the street and by Timon Towers, a biker cop actually found a car to pull over.

Too much work for Labor Day in my eye. Think I'll get another damn fine cup of joe.

Enjoy the day off, peeps
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