Saturday, July 31, 2010

Alive and well

I'm here. I have been busy. I have attempted two blogs but they never went anywhere. I have poked my head into the blogging world to see what was going on. You know where I come up with ideas for a blog many times? At work or when I'm driving. I scribble them down when and if I have the chance. If I don't then the idea just disapears. If I sit down and try and force a blog I get nothing. Writers block. Sort of a constipation of the mind. There's a a lot of stuff in there but you can't get it out. If only there was a product like Bloglax to soften things up. Break the log jam. Then the words and ideas would come splashing down on the cyber page. So anyway I am presently in the middle of a third try to get this particular entry rolling.
A woman I work with has been transferred. Cathy was a very nice lady, but Cathy will be remembered for more than that. She said some of the most off the wall things. Very Gracie Allen-ish. I have mentioned her before and quoted some of here unforgettable statements. Here are a few examples.
"If you can't find me you'll know where I'll be."
"It's hard to hear with your head underneath."
A few weeks back she was doing some paperwork at one table. She stopped. Went into the back room. Came out. Stopped at different  table.After 10 or 15 seconds she said out loud, "Wait! I'm not here."
The very first one that I can remember was more local Boston area speak where we can cram an entire sentence into one, two or maybe three words. In this particular case one of the guys had taken apart one of the precooked turkey dinners that you buy at supermarkets and other places, to substitute a blueberry pie for an apple pie. Cathy came over and pointed at the frozen turkey and asked, "Zatapie?"
By the look on Chucks face I could tell he was thinking,"Is she pointing at the turkey and asking me if it's a pie?" Well to boil this down we must of missed some subtle nuance in her "Zatapie" question. What she meant was, "When you took that boxed dinner off the stack of dinners out back did you take it off the top of the stack. Was that up high?" 
Just two weeks ago Cathy and I were working the counter. Cathy gave a woman a sample. After the lady tasted the sample you could see the woman looking at here fingers. Cathy quickly figured out what the woman needed. She whirled around and asked, "Would you like a thing?"
The woman looked confused. I immediately turned around to suppress a chuckle. What was the woman thinking? A thing? Do I need a thing. Wait I think I have a thing. Are things on sale? Well what Cathy meant by "thing" was a paper towel. 
Good luck to you Cathy. We'll miss you and we'll miss the laughs.
I know that some people are classified as legally blind and I certainly understand the need for this classification. Is there such a classification as legally stupid? When you call the store, as with many businesses, you get an automated voice telling you "Press one for this, press two for that..etc. What possessed this moron to press three for the deli to ask if we sold money orders. I wanted to tell the guy, "Yes we do! We have our standard money orders that are made out on a slice of baloney for $2.00 or you can order our deluxe money orders made out on a slice our premiere imported ham for $3.00."
As I write this it is late Saturday afternoon. It is 74 degrees with beautiful skies and a cooling breeze. It's been a hot month. I couldn't tell you how many days in July were 90 and above but I'll bet it was over 10 but the worst of it was the humidity which was with us all month except for today. It is just picture book perfect.
OK I managed a blog. Now  I must manage to feed myself. Wait why don't I just ring for the butler?
I'm outta here

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Long story shor...well we'll see.

I googled my own blog and was mildly surprised at how many blogs and web sites were named Blogzilla. I did think of the name myself just like like a bunch of other people did. I made it up just to give the blog a name. I could still change it. Interesting huh!?
I have not traveled around this year like I did the last few years so I haven't taken many pictures. A few here, there. Here's one that I took a couple of weeks ago. I have been by this spot many times and taken the odd photo. I thought nothing about it. Then I looked at it a couple of days ago and I really like it.


Saturday night was an interesting weather night. Severe thunder storms and tornado warnings with hail stones the size of Kate Smith were issued though no tornado's were reported. Two storm cells travelling from the north west made there way diagonally across the state. To my north was another storm cell in Manchester New Hampshire, about 40 or 50 miles away.The 4 major TV networks were on for about an hour and a half giving updates. We (me) didn't get much severe weather but we (me) did get some rain, lots of thunder and lightning. Me, I mean, my windows lit up a number of times with bright white flash of lightning. I stood outside in the very damp air and aimed my camera at an area of the sky and tried to capture lightning. I got one. It's not even as good as another I took some time ago. But I did get one. It's not a real good picture. This is it right out of the camera.

 
I tried to enhance it and balance the light and the contrast and so on but they aren't that much better than the raw shot. Here are other versions of the picture.


I don't know why I had a problem making the third picture larger but it really doesn't matter.
I have not been at my computer at all for about two days for various reasons. I suppose it's not a bad thing to pull away from the computer every now and then. Most of the time I was working odd ball hours. Hey I picked retail. I am off today but I have some things to do. This blog ended up being something totally different than I had intended and I don't feel like typing anymore. Gotta go.
I'm outta here.
  

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A couple of thoughts

Yes I do have a couple of thoughts. I know. Hard to believe. One thought concerns the word verification here on blogger. Don't get me wrong I don't have any complaints about this place it's a much more comfy place than that techno geek, all encompassing, confusing mess over at Spaces. One thing I do find a bit strange here though is the word verification needed to leave a comment. I guess it's a way of filtering out unwanted comments but who exactly does it filter out? It seems the only people who won't be able to comment with this system are people who can't see, can't read, or are really stupid. I don't get it. Now I have not explored this system and I suppose you can make it tougher to leave a comment in some way but on the surface it appears to be a silly way of trying to filter out unwanted comments. If you can read 6 or so letters and copy them in the allotted area you're in. Sure they make them squiggly and slightly difficult to read but how exactly does that stop someone from leaving something nasty on your blog?
It's just a thought.
Another thought,though I have to be careful. I don't want to run out of thoughts before I finish this blog is about medical referrals. Now in general there's nothing wrong with your doctor or dentist, which is the present case with me, referring you to somebody who specializes in a certain area. Four years ago I had a problem with a loose tooth. My dentist referred me  to a periodontist. He told me all kinds of doom and gloom stories about me loosing all my teeth and how I really needed gum surgery. Well what do I know so I had the surgery done. It cost me nearly $2000 with insurance. Of course the surgery was done on the right side upper teeth and my problem was on the lower right. So when all was said and done. I was $2000 poorer and I still had a loose tooth. I expressed my displeasure and the lady at the desk said. "Oh well then let's make another appointment." 
"No thanks." was my reply. I was suspicious of this guys motives.
I went back to my regular dentist and had a bridge installed. All has been fine. Flash forward 4 years. I have another problem with one of my lower teeth. It's the one right next to the canine tooth toward the front. It appears to be forced up and out. It's much taller than the surrounding teeth and is loose. I go back to my dentist and she tells me that I have a few options. A false tooth bonded to the surrounding teeth. A bridge. She also tells me that I should go back to the oral surgeon to get his opinion. I reluctantly go back. He takes what appears to be 100 x-rays of my mouth and in a nutshell tells me I should have all my lower teeth pulled and replaced with implants. Individual implants would cost me around $30,000 and one solid set of lower implants would cost only around $6000. Hey that's a savings of $24,000! This is with insurance. He then shows me pictures of one of his patients. He pulled all her lower teeth out installed these three snap looking things. This is where you would snap your teeth in or out. Pretty neat huh? I am not saying that in the future I won't loose all my lower teeth for all the reasons he told me. Bone loss, potential heart problems. Plenty of doom and gloom. What he said did make sense but though I am aging, hey who isn't, I still am going to hang on to all the natural teeth I have. It all just seemed so radical to me. I have made another appointment with my dentist and told her I want the first option she gave me. I also told her that unless there is some life or death issue in the future, I don't want to be referred out especially to that guy who seemed more interested in his financial heath by milking me and the insurance company out of some cash, not that I have any sympathies for insurance companies, than my dental health. I really have to wonder about the blurry line between a serious problem that needs a referral to a specialist and someone who is just throwing some extra business to a buddy for a quick and needless cash score. Just a thought.
At this point, which is a couple of days after I started this blog I have further investigated the word verification and I guess it's main purpose is to keep out spam. Since when has luncheon meat ever had access to the Internet? Alright that was a lame attempt at humor. Still it's good to know that stupid people will have a tough time leaving a comment.
I have 4 videos of the fireworks on the 4th of July. It's a little late I know but I just couldn't work them in sooner. They are shot off the television and they came out pretty well. I had to edit them down as there is a 100 megabyte limit to videos. I wish I had seen them in person with about a half a million of my close friends but opted for sitting on the couch.

video
video
Pay no attention to the third video. It wouldn't upload. It was right at 100 megabytes so I had to cut it down some more.

video
video
Well this was the longset time it has ever taken me to throw a blog together. I do like that you can upload videos straight from your computer but it takes forever.
Lets see. Any more thoughts? Let me look through the box where I keep them. Nah. I'm going to save them for another time. Time for me to get out of this chair and get on with the day.
I'm outta here.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Not just another rainy day

Well Saturday was a fun day. Though the heat wasn't as bad as it has been it was still 88 degrees and very humid. We were warned that there were severe thunderstorms approaching and sure enough are 2 in the afternoon the clouds burst and in about an hours time Cambridge Ma. received 3.3 inches of rain. The most in the area overwhelming drainage systems everywhere in several Boston area communities but Cambridge got smacked the worst. I was working and my store is a very old building. It dates back to at least 1860 when it was a large barn for horse drawn trolleys. Later it became a can barn for electrified trolley's Here's a shot of it in and around 1893 to 1897.
This is it today. (Not my photo. found on the web.)
Everything you see on the roof in the old picture is still there it's just behind the front facade. Anyway so much water came down in such a short time that all the drains and toilets in the front part of the store (which is facing right towards the parking lot) backed up a spilled onto the sales floor right at the registers. Water was rushing in the door(lower right hand corner of the building). Downstairs where the employee restrooms and lunchroom is located flooded with about 6 or 7 inches of water. The rest of the basement which is a labyrinth of corridors and large areas,presumably to store the trolleys was also flooded. By the way the the store basement extends under the street where there is a bricked up tunnel that led to the Mt. Auburn Cemetery across the street. This way they could descreetly take bodies to the cemetery without carrying them across the street. There was a concern that the water would hit the boilers and potentially explode. They debated evacuating the store. Outside a wire that powers the electric trolley buses in this area, was down.
This is not my photo. It just happens to be a photo of a trolley bus I found it on the web and it happened to be across the street from my store. You can see the contact poles on the roof of the bus. The fire department was out on the streets and traffic was snarled all over the area. One tunnel in neighboring Somerville was flooded with 10 feet of water. This all happened in an hour. That's why they call it a flash flood. Now I won't begin to compare this to some of the major floods that has devistated some areas of the country. The Charles River which is about a mile from the above photos didn't rise over it's banks because, I'm guessing here, it wasn't a very long storm. If the river did rise it would have flooded two main arteries on eother side of the river and that would have really caused a huge mess. As it was my drive home (5 miles) which usually takes 20 to 30 minutes at rush hour took about 75 minutes. I had to cut through Harvard Square which is normally full of hustle and bustle anyway. 
This part of Harvard Square (My picture from January 2008). I drive in this way every morning using the road in the center of the picture. Coming home Saturday I was on the road on the left. The place was packed with cars and a good portion of my time was spent here just sitting in gridlock.

Fire update. I have yet to hear what caused the fire a few days ago but I did find out that 13 people escaped unharmed. Several of the structures on that block are 100 years old. That area used to zoned for commercial use and a train used to stop just across the street. Some of the train tracks are still there. The particular place that burned down had a pharmacy and a cleaner as late as the 1970's. Then they building was converted to apartments. Here are some pictures of the rubble the next day.
The brick apartment building one the right used to be another old wooden house that was destroyed by fire fire 40 years ago. The building on the left was also a commercial structure converted to apartments. It is about as old as old as the one that burned.
Here's a shot from my driveway. The brick apartment building is a bit left of center in the shot on the corner of my street and the street perpendicular to it.
Sunday was a rather uneventful day thankfully though I did watch a very good movie called Shutter Island with Leonardo DiCapario. A great twist ending. Monday I worked till 3:30 then I went back at midnight for an overnight inventory out at 6 a.m. Pretty much a lost day.
So here I sit on tuesday finishing up a blog that I started on Saturday. It's still hot and humid. At least it's not 100 degrees. At 7:55 I sit here drinking coffee when I should be sleeping. I had to work till almost 7. I made a slight $15,000 mistake. It actually wasn't my mistake per se. The scanning gun read 4-6 oz. containers of parmesian cheese as 4 pallets of apples. My mistake was not looking at the little screen on the scanning gun and catching it. Fortunately it can be corrected when you look at a print out. Before I left I happened to look at our daily departmental mail. The pickle barrel we have on the sales floor is no longer allowed. It's been there for as many years as I can remember. No reason was given but you can rest assured there was some disastrous pickle tragedy somewhere.  
Alright this has gone on long enough. Ive been awake for 25 of the last 27 hours.
I'm outta he....zzzzzzzzzz

Thursday, July 8, 2010

I've got  video I took during the fire. I made a little movie. I added some music so it's a tad dramatic but then a house fire is dramatic. On last little bit of the video I tried out some of the effects in the movie maker I got as far as the second effect and it revealed flames that you wouldn't see otherwise. The effect seemed to emphasize the hot spots. I will post all the photos over at Spaces. That's the one thing that I like about Spaces and was the real reason I started there in the first place. Blogging came a bit later.
video
OK
I'm outta here.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hot time in the old town tonight.

My sister called me up and asked if I wanted to come over for supper. She wasn't going to be home till 7 pm. So over I went. I mean it was a free meal. I could wait. I was there for about 2 hours and 45 minutes. On the way home as I approached the center of town I decided to stop for some gas though the meal I had just eaten could fill the bill. It's still fairly warm at 10pm and quite humid. As I pulled in to the station I could smell burning wood through the open roof and windows. Long story short there was a fire. It was in the direction of my home. As I was two quick turns away from home the road was blocked. It appeared the smoke was definitely billowing from a location near my house. It got a little scary as this was not the first time I was involved in a fire where I was living. All roads to my street were blocked off. I asked a police officer directing traffic near the fire where the fire was. It turns out it was near the intersection of my street and another. Roughly 6 or 7 houses from mine. I had to park on a different street and I walked a short distance home. Let me say right now that everybody got out ok. Nobody hurt. The house that burned was a fairly large wooden apartment house. Basically a big box with a flat roof. About 40 years a similar structure right next door burnt to the ground. The lot is now occupied by a small brick apartment building. You will see it in some of the pictures I took.

This and the next few shot were taken from my next door neighbors third floor porch. 












I later walked down for some closer shots.




This was not the blog I was originally going to do but at least I have one on the back burner. I also have some video but but I haven't looked at it yet and I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it. I'm writing this 12:55 am. Maybe tomorrow I get some shots of the building. I'm going to watch Craig Fergeson then go to sleep.
I'm outta here.

Monday, July 5, 2010

A hot but enjoyable 4th

It hit about 95 degrees yesterday. It was somewhat humid. As we passed 6 o'clock the temperature dropped a bit. I have to say that I have become a bit more tolerant of the heat as I've become older. Still as I write this I am sitting in air conditioned comfort and that's just fine with me. I had a very nice day and I let loose in the eating and drinking department. My brother in law did a terrific job manning the grill. I had the best barbecued chicken breast I have ever had. Though I like beer I'm not a big drinker. 1 or 2 and that's it. Yesterday I drank a 6 pack. Samuel Adams natch! Granted that was spaced over 6 hours. They tasted great. The food was wonderful and my other sister made up with my brother in law after a year and a half. Let me tell you that wasn't a great Christmas.
Anyway I briefly thought about going over to Cambridge to watch the fireworks across the river from Boston but quickly talked myself out of that. I could have watched from several locations in my town but who wants to see them from 5 miles away. So I watched them on television. I know the fireworks were broadcast nationally but locally the TV broadcast ran 2 hours earlier. I decided to try something. I set my camera on my crappy tripod in front of the television and in the movie mode I recorded most of the concert. I had my dvr record it as well but I have no way of getting any of that footage on to my computer and posted here. I have watched some of the recording and it came out ok so I made a much shortened version of the 1812 overture with the movie maker. The performance was about twelve minutes long but since you can only post at best, 4 minutes or 100 megabytes. I paired it down to about 3:45. Actually it's the last 3:45. When I get the chance I will try to throw something together with the fireworks display. The sound quality isn't the greatest and the video quality is ok considering it's a camera recording of a tv screen.

video

All in all I had pleasant day. I have no squawks to mention. Well I do have squawks but I'm not going to mention them. It's another hot day though it is sunny with a cloudless blue skies. For the rest of the day I will be chillin'. Maybe I'll crack open one more Sam.

I'm outta here.

Friday, July 2, 2010

I'll try this again

I wrote a post yesterday then I saved it to finish later. When I went back to the draft I couldn't add anything to the post. Something else I just discovered as I am writing this is you can add a question mark to your label but you can't add an exclamation mark. More than likely what happened to yesterdays post was something about this place that I'm not aware of. I'm still learning. I tried to go to Spaces yesterday but I couldn't get around and since I have an MSN email I couldn't get to my mail box. To me it's another nail in the coffin to blogging over there. It's so sad what they've done over there. They've buried the blogging updates so all you get on your update page photo updates and on liners. Spaces claims that blogging is on the wane. I say crapolla! I say they are slowly killing off the blogs, whether purposely or not, by making it needlessly confusing so people will stop blogging. Well congratulations Spaces you are succeeding. I am less and less inclined to blog over there. I am grateful that I have a good chunk of my Spaces friends over here. I know I said I would stop bitching about Spaces but yesterday just just aggravated me to no end.

Al Gore! Al Gore sex maniac! Oh excuse me I mean "crazed sex poodle" Man oh man if I were Al I wouldn't want to be known as a poodle. A Great Dane, a German Sheppard, A Bulldog or perhaps in Al's case a St. Bernard but not a poodle. Of course looking at Al these days I think 'The Pillsbury Dough Boy of Love" is quite appropriate.

Today is the anniversary of Amelia Erhard's disappearance. Here's a little factoid. She lived in my very city, which is actually 5 miles north of Boston, and her sister, who she lived with, was a teacher at my high school and a member of our school committee. We even have a dam named after Amelia. I am going to hunt down the house and take a picture. I have seen it in the past but that was years ago. I do remember seeing a plaque.

I have to admit that it's a kick to having our local 4th celebration on national television. I made a little photo album of pictures that I have taken around Boston. Some of you Spaces Refugees have seen these pictures before but it was something to do yesterday morning as I fumed over Spaces and procrastinated on doing some much needed housework. The music I set it to might also be familiar to some Spacers as I have used it before. It's an original by me. Actually it was three different snippets of the same tune that I grafted together with a program I used to use. I can't use it anymore because it only works with Windows XP, which by the way, I like much better than Windows 7. I never finished the tune but it worked ok and it fit almost perfectly.

video

Ok kiddies that's it for now. I have a late shift today.

I'm outta here.