Friday, August 27, 2010

Would you like to come over for a drink?

    Before I write anything, doesn't Rob Bogoyevitch look like he should be sitting on a ventriloquist's knee? Anyhow as you can see by the title of the blog this entry involves alcohol. Now I am not averse to enjoying an adult beverage. I'm not a big drinker. It's mostly beer. If I buy a six pack, Sam Adams, not because it's brewed here but because I like it. It will usually take me six days to drink it. One beer when I get home from work. If it is the night before a day off I may go wild and have two. I was never a big drinker. In my youth I certainly, at times, had more than I could handle but for the most part I knew my limits. I had experimented with various forms and discovered that I don't care for mixed drinks especially sweet ones. One night on a blind date, with another couple, I checked out rum and cokes and discovered that when you don't notice the alcohol as much because of the sweet nature of the drink I tended to drink way more than I could handle. My date was as sloshed as I was and it wasn't love at first sight. It was more like, "When will this night be over!" I went through a scotch phase. By the way this was all back in the early 70's. At least with a shot of scotch there was no masking that you were drinking alcohol. That phase passed. Then in the 80's a friends wife introduced me to martinis. Her husband wasn't a drinker. Straight Coca Cola was as exotic as he got. One night the four of us, I was dating her sister, were out to dinner. I had a martini as did the ladies. Dave, who was driving was slugging down the Cokes. We went back to Dave' house and the ladies decided to mix some more "'tini's" as they called them. I thought, "Why not? I'm staying the night." Well the evening wore on and I was downing the "tini's" like an old pro. I was feeling pretty good and I thought, "These aren't so bad. I can handle 'em." Yup I could handle them until I decided to strand up. Fortunately the couch I was on was going to be my bed so there I stayed. That was about 1984 or so. That was my last experience with martini's. 

So you may be wondering what this background story is leading up to. About two weeks ago my neighbor, the same one who has invited me to dinner, invited me over for a martini. She was excited because she bought a martini shaker. "Why not?" I thought. A decision I would later regret.

One of my neighbors daughters was home. She was sitting on the couch watching the Red Sox game as I plunked myself down on a chair while my friend went into the kitchen to mix the drinks. I could hear the sound  "chicka chicka" of the shaker and shortly she entered the room with two of the biggest martini's glasses I have ever seen. My first sip brought back instant memories of the taste of gin. A taste I had not experienced in about 24 years. We all sat there and chatted watching the game. I finished my rather large drink and was asked if I wanted another. Again I thought, "Why not? I only have to walk next door." I do remember drinking my second drink but not much more. I do remember stating that I was getting a wee bit tipsy but that's about it. The next thing I remember was fumbling with my keys trying to get into my front door. I stumbled in and made a beeline for my bed draping myself across the bed with my head hanging over the side. I did have the presence of mind to set my alarm as I had to go to work. The alarm went off and I swung my legs over the side and stepped in something squishy. Yes we all know what happened to me. Ugh! I couldn't bring myself to clean things up as I had to deal with getting myself together for a day of work. The clean up would have to wait till later. I grant you this is gross but I first had to get my act together for the day. In the bathroom, as I took my tee shirt off I noticed a scrape on my right elbow. When did this happen? Then I looked in the mirror and noticed two small marks on my forehead. What the hell happened last night? I remember drinking my second drink and I remember getting home. Everything else was a mystery. What the hell happened the night before? I went to work and my day really wasn't that bad as I recovered well and felt fine for most of the day but I had to know what happened the night before. Arriving home I immediately called my neighbor for answers. Well I apparently finished my second drink then she made me a third. She said she asked me if I wanted a third drink to which I apparently yes. She then asked me if I wanted to go out on the porch as it was a pleasant evening. I apparently said yes again. After a couple of minutes she decided that the porch wasn't a good idea since I was nothing more than a bag of jello. We were on the third floor. She decided she would walk me home. She said I was a happy drunk and quite amusing and entertaining. Who knows what I said. She told me to get behind her and put my hands on her shoulders as she walked me down three flights of stairs. I guess the walk home was uneventful until we got to my brick stairs. My landlords cat was curled up on my mat waiting for me to let her in. Normally I let her in and she immediately goes to the cellar door down to her domain. Well she saw me coming she just bolted. She wanted no part of me. Well I apparently stumbled up the stairs which is where I scraped my elbow and bumped my head. 

I then asked her how she mixed the drink. How much dry vermouth she added  to the gin?
"I didn't add any vermouth. Do you know how much a small bottle of vermouth costs? I found the recipe online. It said to use 3 shots of gin in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour." 
 So in reality I wasn't drinking martinis I was drinking straight gin. Nine shots of gin. Granted there is not much difference between straight gin and a martini. You only add a drop or two of vermouth. And let's not forget the olives!

Now I have not been put off alcohol from this less than proud moment in my life. It did take me a few days before I could bring to have a simple beer. 

Now you may ask if I learned my lesson from this less than glorious moment in my life. We ll the answer is yes. It will not stop me from enjoying an adult beverage from time to time whether it be when I'm out to dinner or a simple beer after work. I like beer. I am not a lush and have gone weeks between having a drink. Still it was a reminder that alcohol has to be treated with respect. This won't happen to me again, at least not for a long time. I am not proud of this but hey it happened and at least I was a happy and entertaining drunk. 
Ok. On a different note one day last week as I was puttering around the house with the television on in the background. They were talking about President Obama vacationing on Martha's Vineyard. I stopped and thought for a minute. Hey this place is in my home state and I've never been there. So the upshot of this is I will be going to Martha's  Vineyard on September 27 for several days. I hope the weather cooperates as I already have hotel reservations. I am only one street away from the ocean. I will probably take hundreds of pictures. I am excited about this as I have not made one of my local trips this year. It's been tough to get away for even a day. It will be my first complete week off in two years. 

Alright I've gone on long enough. I have been absent from here for a bit. I will now visit around as I have been lax in my cyber duties.
I'm outta here. 

Thursday, August 19, 2010

8.18 2010 part deux

After leaving the castle we drove 2 miles up the road to Gloucester Harbor. Gloucester is the historic fishing town about 50 miles north of Boston. Remember the movie "The Perfect Storm"? The Andrea Gail left this harbor in 1991 never to return. Here's a little movie of Gloucester Harbor.
 Here are a few pictures from Gloucester Harbor. All the pictures from yesterday are posted over at Spaces. I'll see if I can put a link on this blog.

Well I've spent way too much time on all of this. I have been working on the pictures since last night. Making the little movies and writing all this stuff. It's time for lunch. Once again if you want to see all of the pictures they're over at Spaces. I'm done for now.
I'm definitely outta here.


Wednesday started out a bit overcast but with the promise of sun later and the day. My friend and I started the day with a late breakfast at a local restaurant. It was only the second time in 3 years that I had real eggs. Specifically a western omelet. I haven't had ham since Easter and then I have only had it on Easter for the last 3 years. It's just that I have to watch what I eat to keep my weight in check and to watch my sodium, fat and cholesterol intake. But this is not a blog about my dietary habits but I thoroughly enjoyed the meal. Anyway we headed north to Gloucester Massachusetts, which is about 45 miles from my house, to the Hammond Castle. John Hays Hammond was an inventor. They only person who had more patents was Thomas Edison. He worked with the military on guided missiles, radio communications and who knows what else. So he built himself a castle on the ocean to house his vast collection of medieval, Renaissance and Roman artifacts. He also lived there. Unfortunately it was impossible for me to get a shot of the entire exterior of the castle as it faces the ocean. Here's a picture I found on web. It's not great but at least you can see it in it's entirety. 
Of course he was wealthy and he built this place in the 1920's for about $500,000. That's pretty big bucks in the 20's. The property, though large, wasn't as large as many of the properties I saw when I visited the Mansions of Newport Rhode Island. It is hidden from the road by trees.
  This is the view of the ocean from what is the front of the castle.
  You could never  get far enough away to get a full shot of the castle. I tried to take two or three shots so I could stitch them together but none of them worked out.
 The above is a wood carving from the 15th century.
I don't know why I can't get some of these pictures larger. They are all about the same size. In any event I have to say that there was a pervasive musty odor throughout the place. It was filled with all kinds of narrow passage ways and stairways. There was no air conditioning and it was stifling in places. There were tons of artifacts arranged in no particular order. As time passed the sun came out and there was a refreshing sea breeze that could be enjoyed if you were outdoors. There was limited access to the grounds but there was a nice view of the ocean and Gloucester Harbor which was to the left of the Castle. Though I like it here at Blog Spot or Blogger, whatever it's actually known as, It's not the greatest place for displaying pictures. I will post all of them on Windows Live. It's the one thing they do better than here. 
I will post part two of my visit to Gloucester on a second entry shortly after I publish this one. There is something therapeutic about being by water especially the ocean. The weather here for the last week has been beautiful and yesterday was no exception. It was about 80 degrees with a wonderful ocean breeze. After we left the castle we drove up the road about 2 miles and found ourselves at the Fishermans Monument that pays tribute to all the fishermen who lost their lives while performing a dangerous job. It's all part of the fabric and history of New England. More on that in the next entry.
John Hays Hammond was an eccentric, wealthy genius who contributed much to America. He built a castle because he could. I'm glad I got to go there on such a beautiful day. I don't want to think about what it would have been like inside if it was 95 and humid and it must be a bitch to heat in the winter. By the way it's closed during the winter. Now I have to get to work on part two of my little trip to Gloucester.
I'm outta here, for now.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hey did you hear about the flight attendant in New York that got into it with a passenger who was fiddling with the overhead compartment while the plane was still rolling to the terminal. that's a big no no. Now this guy did it in style. Anybody who works with the general public can relate to what happened. I have a  fantasy, no not the one involving an Indian war bonnet, a car battery and a can of Cheez Whiz but it involves me going off on a customer and quitting in grand style. Of course all of this hinges on me hitting the lottery and not telling anybody until after I create a scene and quit, as I said, in grand style. And speaking of customers a little old lady came to the counter and she suffers from what a lot of people suffer from. The inability to tell me what she wants. Simply looking at something I can't see is not the way to go about placing an order. Lady this ain't the psychic deli. After asking nicely if she could tell me what she wants she takes it to step two. This involves pointing at something I can't see. She says, "This one. What it is." This is where I wish I had the giant hammer I used to see on Monty Python. Inevitably it comes to me walking out on the sales floor and getting her to point once again so I can read the sign. If I hit the lottery this might have been a chance for me to act out my fantasy. The one about quitting. I am always amused at the hapless husbands who come in with a list written by their wives. On his little note this mans wife had written a half pound of D&W turkey breast. D&W stands for Dietz &Watson. The brand name of the item. He didn't know that so he gave it his best shot and asked for a half pound of dark and white turkey. 

I opened a Face book account in 2008 because an old friend from Spaces had opened one up and invited me to do the same. Well I never did anything with the account and basically forgot about it. Then I received and email notifying me that someone who I haven't seen since 1980 was trying to get in touch with me. I went to Face book and discovered a number of people had tried to connect with me. Several of my old Spaces friends were there as well. I'm not really sure if I want to get involved with it as I barely have enough time to maintain this place. But then again I may be singing a different tune in a couple of weeks.

Let's see what else is going on. There have been  a lot of shark seen off our coast here in Massachusetts. Many beaches have been closed at various times. I'm ashamed to say I haven't been to the ocean all summer. Fortunately there have been no attacks as the sharks are following the seals as they migrate. I would love to see a shark, from a boat of course not swiming towards me as I enjoy a refreshing dip in the ocean.

Well that's about it for the moment. This week I have three days off in a row and I am looking forward to that. I plan to make a trip to a place called Hammond Castle up in the town of Gloucester. John Hays Hammond was an inventor. The only person who had more patents was Edison. He is know as the father of the remote control. Back in the 1920's he built himself a medieval style castle on the ocean. He filled it with artifacts from the Roman Empire, Medieval times and the Renissance. It looks to be a nice day on Wednesday so I should get some nice shots. If I do go I will post some pictures here and all of them in an album on Spaces. Ok it's time for me to attend an inpromptu jam session. I cleaned  and restrung my guitar. It's time to make some noise. I will be back to visit around later this evning.
I'm outta here  

Sunday, August 8, 2010

When will it stop?

I'm still around. I haven't gone anywhere. I have been occupied with one thing or another the last couple of weeks so I apologize for not visiting around. Here it is Sunday morning and I don't have to work except for the ever present laundry, but apart from that I have no pressing engagements. Particularly in the laundry department. When I arrived home from work yesterday I saw I had 3 messages. Judging by the people who called the return phone calls will take any where from 1 hour to 2 plus hours. Long story short, my day actually ended at 9:30 last night. Poof! That was Saturday. A lot of my days have been like this. Off days can easily be filled up with the things to be done that you can't do on days you're working. I'll admit to all this sounding a bit like whining but hey it's my bloggy and I'll whine if I want to.

It has also been difficult to take the little local and New England trips I took the last two years. Friday evening was a lovely night and I was invited to go to a "feast" that was being held in a neighboring city. A "feast" is something that is held in the "little Italy" neighborhood of many large cities. Boston is no different as there are many of them in the months of July and August. For instance one of the bigger ones is the Feast of St. Anthony. Here are a couple of shots I got from the web. Boston's North End, home to Paul Revere and Prince Spaghetti.

Well the feast that I went to turned out to be be of a lesser scale as it was on a quiet side street in a nice but typically crowded Boston area neighborhood. A bit of the street had been blocked off and the sidewalks on either side where lined with mostly food vendors of one kind or another. Fresh oysters and clams (no thank you), fried dough, eggplant Parmesan, sausage, pepper and onion or steak sandwiches, pastries,beer, wine and so on. Wait how could I forget pizza! It was not on the scale it would have been if it was being held in the North End in Boston. These feasts are always centered around some saint. I was raised Roman Catholic and being Italian, saints are a big deal. I can't say I know my saints, but maybe this was one of the lesser saints. It almost sounds made up. It's not. This was the Feast of St. Rocco. I've no idea what he is the patron saint of but my first thought was "brass knuckles". In reality I have subsequently found out that he is the patron saint of the sick. 
Generally speaking the big moment comes when they take the statue of the saint and parade up the street followed by a marching band. For such a small event there was quite a police presence both in the crowd and as the marching band as well. Here are a few pictures I took.
This is at one end of the closed off street.

This is where they get the statue of the saint from. It looks like his dressing room. "5 minutes St. Rocco!"
"I'm not ready yet! And I said no green M&M's!" 

Here they are parading down the street with the statue of St. Rocco. St. Rocco is not holding a satellite dish. That's a tuba. I'm not sure what the deal is with the guys in the colorful outfits. Maybe they're retired musketeers. 

Special guest appearance by Santa. Things are slow in the summer and he supplements his income with these summer gigs. Those are his regular cloths. He looks a bit pompous if you ask me. No wait I'm sorry he was a vendor. Along with the usual array of carnival like vendors, like the places you can buy those stupid plastic horns that all the kids want or stuffed animals, play games, there was this guy. For 5 bucks you could slap him.

Still the weather was perfect we all had a glass of wine as we walked the street and saw all that there was. There was a stage set up at one end of the street where a rock band was going to play. Hey St. Rocco could have been the patron saint of rock bands. We decided to forgo the food on the street and went to a restaurant where I had a truly Delicious meal of veal Marsala. 
Well that has been the highlight of my off time the last few weeks. I'm still itching to go someplace but coordinating everything this year has been difficult. This afternoon I'm off to play some rock and roll or some semblance to something they call music with a friend of mine and his two sons. It could be fun. At least it will be loud. Hopefully it won't be as long before I make my next report. Time for some breakfast.
I'm outta here.