Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Aftermath...

First of all I will start off with some more chuckles from Tom Doyle. This parody is based on the song "Here Comes Santa Claus" except the subject matter is a little different.
video
Well it's over. I will say that I had a very enjoyable Christmas eve and Christmas day. There was a lot of laughing and eating. On the eve we didn't have the traditional meal of seven fishes. This tradition started in southern Italy, which is where my family originated. The number 7 is the most repeated number in the bible so this tradition is rooted in the Roman Catholic Church. We never had seven fishes but we always had a few varieties. This year we had Baked haddock and sea scallops, shrimp along with a couple of varieties of pizza. Then there were the cookies and pizzelles, which is a wafer thin cookie. Below is an example. The pizzelles are quite delicate and all mine have broken but you'll get the idea.
Christmas day was pretty much the same. It was very Italian with lasagna, sausages and meatballs and various side dishes. I'll say right up front that I removed all restrictions on what I ate. Let's just say I ate well. I cannot continue at this pace though or I will pack on the 30 lbs. I lost almost 5 years ago. 
A special thanks to Nancy. She made a plaque for me to give to my sister. Her cat is having some health problems. She has added a deck to her house. She can let the cat out without having her waunder around. The deck is now known as Bella's Place.


Nancy she loved it! She teared up. This cat means a lot to her. Bella is a cutie pie. She's a sweet and affectionate cat and is doing ok.
My other sister did a bang up job with the food. Everything was top notch... except for the meatballs. Oops! I hadn't eaten a meatball in nearly 5 years and was looking forward to stuffing myself. Meatballs are one of those foods that I used to gorge on. Anyway as soon as the meatballs were placed on the table I went for one and noticed that they were a bit mushy. No. Real mushy. I cut into it and took a bite. My suspisions were confirmed. These meatballs were undercooked. My poor sister. She had worked so hard over the week preparing everything and it was all delicious...except for the meatballs. She took a lot of good natured kidding which she took quite well but the meatball jokes continued all day including references to a detectives solving a murder case. "It was the meatballs!"
At work we were taking a good amount catering and pre made dinner orders. One of my coworkers was talking to a customer. I paid little attention to the conversation until I heard, "You want to order a toilet?!"
This got my attention. We don't offer toilets as part of our holiday package. Well the customer didn't speak much english and he was trying to ask where the bathrooms were but there were enough people talking to us about catering orders that my coworker automatically assumed that's what the guy wanted. Well it gave us a good laugh amid all the hustle and bustle.

OK. I have squandered enough time this morning. It's time to get in gear, run an errand and do some much needed housework. Anybody want to help?

I'm outta here. 
  

   




Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Merry Christmas to all my blogging friends,

This will be a short entry. As the title says Merry Christmas to all my blogging friends. It's midnight as I write this. Work has been busy and which I guess is a good thing. I have to admit that I am worn out. I have listened to the same Christmas music since a little after Halloween. The really started it much too early. Sometimes you could hear three different versions of Holly Jolly Christmas in a row. Way to beat the holiday spirit out of you. Still you muddle through trying to keep in mind the true meaning of the season, family and friends. So tomorrow, or should I say today is Christmas eve. I work till four go home get changed, make a visit to deliver some presents then head over to my sisters for the traditional Christmas eve meal of the seven fishes minus 5. So Merry Christmas my friends. I have to hit the hay.

Here are some cute animals singing a song written in my hometown, about a mile from here, Jingle Bells.
  Merry Christmas everyone.
I'm outta here and going to bed.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

A Christmas Story

When four of Santa's elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the Pre-Christmas pressure.
Then Mrs. Claus told Santa her Mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more.
When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth and two others had jumped the fence and were out, Heaven knows where.
Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground and all the toys were scattered.
Frustrated, Santa went in the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum. When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had drunk all the cider and hidden the liquor.. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom.
Just then the doorbell rang, and an irritated Santa marched to the door, yanked it open, and there stood a little angel with a great big Christmas tree.
The angel said very cheerfully, 'Merry Christmas, Santa. Isn't this a lovely day? I have a beautiful tree for you. Where would you like me to stick it?'

And so began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree.


I did not write the above. I got it off an email. Still it's interesting to learn how traditions get started.

Speaking of interesting, well sort of interesting, it has been so unseasonably warm, except for today (20's), that some plants and trees have apparently been fooled into thinking we have had the shortest winter season ever because they are starting to bud. I wonder what will happen in the spring?

It's song parody time again. Back in the 70's Eric Clapton had a hit record "Cocaine". That's the music that is used here. I'm sure it's the same all over the country, but states that are close by will poke fun at each other. Here in New England I'm sure the surrounding state poke fun at Massachusetts. There's certainly plenty of material to work with. In this case Tom Doyle, the man who writes and performs these parodies, takes some shots at the state of Maine. He's done this several times. This one is titled "In Maine".
video

I'm getting over a little cold. It started 4 days ago and it's finally gone. This is the first cold I've had in 30 years. I have been quite lucky. I attribute this hardiness to having many colds when I was younger. I also had just about all the childhood diseases. Chicken pox, mumps, measles, scarlet fever. Then there was the eye operation and the ruptured appendix. And yet I would not consider myself a sickly child. I think we are sanitizing ourselves to death. I have no facts to base this on but I wouldn't be surprised if people have weaker immune systems now. Just a thought.

For Nancy. I received the package yesterday. It looks great and my sister's going to love it. Thank you!

Well that's it for now.
I'm outta here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

If it's Tuesday then I gotta work 4 more days. Yay.

Before I actually write anything, and I haven't a clue as to what, here's another parody song by Tom Doyle. I have more of these. This one uses the Billy Joel song "She's always a woman" However the subject is quite different. It involves a medical procedure that a man might have. I can say no more.
video
This is the third time I have attempted to blog this week. I really couldn't think of anything to say.During the course of my day I do think of things to write. I hear, see or think of something but by the time I am settled in for the evening I stare at a computer screen as blank as my mind. I could tell you about my day but it wasn't much different than any other day except you could stir in some aggravation over a sick call and blah blah blah. There's no point to it.

I do have two more gifts to buy for Christmas with a trip to the post office thrown in for good measure. I did shop local this year. I went out to breakfast Sunday morning as we walked down the square in the center of town I was looking at the buildings across the street. To digress I happened to be googling around one day and somehow I ended up at a site about the song Jingle Bells. Now I knew it was written here but there was supposed to be a plaque on a building at the site of the tavern where it was composed. Anyway, as we walked we passed a store that I have walked or driven by my whole life yet, I never went in. My friend said to me, We should go into Wards after we eat. And so we did.

What a great place! Basically I would call it a gift shop. The selection was much more eclectic than you would find in some chain store. From jewelery, I Love Lucy figurines, music boxes, Fine China, crystal, religious items, and much more.  I went back on Monday and dropped some serious cash. One perk is that if you spend more than $100.00 they'll box and wrap everything. You can't beat that kind of service though you get a box anyway. They don't take care of you like that in a chain store. They always talk service but they don't deliver. If a retailer talks up it's service you can rest assured that they are bad at it and it's their own fault. But back to this family owned business. It was a pleasure to wonder around that place. How could I have missed this gem all these years. I may go back later this week.

To my friend Beth, In case you didn't check comments, I received your lovely card. Thank you very much.

Nancy I left a comment as well yesterday but as you would say just in case. I mailed it Monday. My sister's gonna love it!

OK. That's it for now.
I'm outta here.
  

Monday, December 5, 2011

Howdy!

I know I know. I've been m.i.a. lately. Once again everything is fine I've just been very busy. I have some catching up to do. Work has been...well work. There was one amusing incident. A Spanish speaking woman came up to me. She spoke little if any English. She smiled kind of sheepishly and asked me,
"The papers for the ladies?"
I had no clue. She repeated, "The papers for the ladies?"
What could she mean? Why is she asking me? We sell luncheon meat, potato salad and pizza. Then light slowly dawned on Marblehead. That's a local saying. I took a shot and took her to the health and beauty aids aisle. That's where they have all the items just for the ladies. If you know what I mean, and I think you do. She smiled and nodded a thank you.

Thanks to all of you for the birthday wishes. I had a bad day at work that day but after work I stopped by my sister's house for a bit of cake. Boy was that cake good! I haven't had a piece of cake for a year. One of the gifts I received was a cd by a local guy. He's been on the radio for maybe 30 years or so. He's quite funny but what he does best are song parodies. Most of the songs refer to local cities, places in New England.They are all quite funny but all the references are local and wouldn't mean much to anyone else. However there are 8 or 9 that are general in nature. You will recognise all the original songs as they were all big hits in their day. Billy Joel, Paul Simon, The Rolling Stones, country music, 50's through 90's, songs that are very recognisable. The subject matter of each song has nothing to do the original tune. Nothing vulgar, but we're adults so let's just say it's not as bad as what you find on television any given night. And besides It's very funny and laughing is good for you. Now hopefully I will be allowed to post a little movie I made. It's not really a movie it's just a picture of old 30's or 40's upright style radio. The idea was to be able to play the song. Speaking of those old radios when I went looking for a picture of a radio to make the little opening, I looked at a few and really liked the art deco style furniture the radio was put in. They were beautiful pieces of furniture, well made and beautifully finished. But, I have digressed. Here's one of Tom Doyle's (That's his name.) song parodies. The original is "Stand By Your Man" by Tammy Wynette. The recording is apparently taken right from the original broadcast. You hear the disc jockeys laughing.

video

So let's see. I just came back from the dentist. I know what you're thinking. "What an exciting, whirl wind, life he leads!" Another day at 60 degrees. Very weird for December. Just a beautiful day. I can't kid myself though. The cold weathers a comin'.

Supper looms in an hour or two and I have to finish a little project I started earlier. Back in a while to catch up.

I'm outta here.

Friday, November 25, 2011

The day after.

Since I have not taken much time off this year I have much vacation time left and not much time to spend it in. I have the potential for 8 weeks off a year but that never happens. Up until 5 years ago I would take advantage of this. This doesn't happened anymore.  As the year comes to an end whatever time off I can take is crammed into the last few weeks of the year. On the one hand I pretty much work straight through spring and summer with little time off on the other hand this time of year I can get a lot of time off because they want everybody to use up vacation time so you can't carry extra time over to the next year. The upshot of this long winded diatribe is that is that I have not and will not work very much this week as I did not last week. Last week I worked 3 days this week only 2. Today is shaping up to another complete do nothing day and I'm ok with that.

Yesterday was a pleasant day spent with my family. I think back to the past when this holiday was spent with my family and my extended family. All Thanksgivings were spent at my parents house and Christmas was spent at my aunt and uncles house. These are all very pleasant memories. Until last year my uncle Sam would spend Thanksgiving with my sisters and myself instead of his own daughters. Granted one now lives in England. I really don't know why he wouldn't want to be with his own children and spend it with his nieces and nephew but that's what he did the last 5 years. Uncle Sam passed last spring and we missed him this year. He was a lot of fun and he was the last of my parents generation in this country at least. I still have an aunt in Italy and one in Australia.

Yesterday was a pretty nice day weather wise. I went to the local turkey day high school football game. It is the 3rd oldest school rivalry in the country dating back to 1889. We lost. I only stayed till halftime as we were getting beaten 28 to 0 at that point.
My team in blue. We got squashed 36 to 0.
As for "Black Friday" you can count me out. The term alone seems contrary to the holiday season. It just has such a negative connotation. I sure we will all be watching some trampling videos on the news. You know the doors of a store being opened and like some human cattle stampede they will run over each other to get some deal on a television or some transient toy fad. How easily people can be manipulated. Check your local news.

Well that's it for now. I must get back to doing some important nothing. I'll catch you all on the flip flop.

I'm outta here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A quickie

This will be a quickie. I just want to wish all the wonderful people I have met on Spaces and here on Blogger.
Then again because it is Thanksgiving maybe nobody will see this but that's ok.

Enjoy your family, friends and of course the meal.
Happy Thanksgiving my friends.

Paul

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A day of nothing.

After two hectic weeks I have had a few days off. Nothing bad happened just a lot happened. Well today, Sunday, I have done absolutely nothing and it's been great. I do have to clean up and go out in the general public tomorrow unless of course I don't finish this blog tonight then I will be going out in the general public today. Make sense? It doesn't matter.

Rhapsody asked in her comment on my previous blog,
"What's with you and the cemeteries?"
It's not that I have a thing for cemeteries. It's just this particular cemetery. It's 175 acres with trees from all over the world. It's landscaped with hills, valleys and ponds. It borders a residential area and downtown Boston and there's wildlife in there. It's historic and beautiful. I'm drawn to this place. I guess it's an oasis in the middle of a crowded area.

On Saturday I went to a model train and toy show presented by The Shriner's. I don't know anything about the Shriner's but the show was held at one of their auditoriums. There were even a few of them about and yes they were wearing the fez. Anyway it was a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon. There were many elaborate model train set ups. Little towns, train stations, model buildings etc. I also noticed that aside from the little kids, a majority of the people were in my age group. Aging Baby Boomers.
  
So to sum up, Saturday, model train show, Sunday, nothing, Monday dentist for a cleaning a few errands and then home for the last of my nothing before I head back to work on Tuesday. All pretty mundane stuff.
OK time to put this one to bed.
I'm outta here.   

Friday, November 18, 2011

Where have I been?

I'm right here! See me waving. No, to your right. Well I've had a week off a week ago. The only way to improve on a week off is to have to go back to work during your week off. That was quite enjoyable. That truncated vacation quickly morphed into this past week. I now have three days in a row off starting on Saturday, which will either be tomorrow or today depending on when I end up publishing this.

I haven't been around Blogger for about two weeks. I used my computer less than usual the last couple of weeks. I went to a wedding. I went to another "Show and Sell" meeting. The closer I get to retirement the more I have had to get involved with some of this nonsense. I have now been in this store for about three months and it is a different world from the store I was at the last 11 years. I keep saying to myself, "Two more years." That's the earliest I can retire. I also have to remind myself that I still have a job. Others aren't so lucky. 
I also broke a tooth. An upper molar. I was eating an orange Tic Tac. I bit down, not recommended. They're very hard at first. Anyway the tooth has been repaired and I have a few days to unwind.
This past Sunday I took another ride to Mt. Auburn. It's been an off kilter Fall around here. Some trees change color a month ago. Others just started changing last weeks. Many trees are bare. Still there was still a bit of color at the cemetery. The sun broke through a milky sky just after I got there.
    I made a slide show with all the pictures I took. I have adding little openings to my videos recently. This one is no exception. I just found a bunch of stock footage and it's fun to fool around with the different clips. OK Here's the video, well a bunch of pictures.

I'll be  back on a more regular basis. I have to get back into the swing of things around here. That's it for now. Maybe I'll just turn my brain off and watch some mindless television.

I'm outta here.    

Monday, October 31, 2011

Little snow here but 2' in other spots.

A good portion of New England was clobbered with as much as 2' of snow in an unprcidented early storm. Here along the coast the forecast was right on. About an inch or two. That;s what we got. Still it didn't stop people from buying up a storm, so to speak, on Saturday. It was a crappy day to be sure. Sun in the morning. Rain in the afternoon and wet snow in the evening. When I went out yesterday morning there was about an inch or so of slushy snow on my car and a bit on the ground but that was it. I had menetioned previously that I was going to the Mt. Auburn Cemetery for som fall shots. I did in fact go Sunday morning. It was a beautiful day but as it is on my street there still much green on the trees. It was very disapointing. Don't get me wrong it's still a beautiful place and there were splashes of color here and there but we seem to be behind schedule in the color department and way ahead of schedule in the winter weather department. I ended up pulling into the cemetery and as I drove around a bit I decided to come back next week hoping for a better color showing. It's a big cemetery. 175 acres. I took a wrong turn and found myself driving around a maze of little roads. I knew I would eventually find my way out but I ended up doing a bit more driving than I expected. So I plopped the camera on the dash and starte video taping (although no tape was involved) my meandering drive. My plan was to make my way to the outer edge and drive until I got back to the gates. The gates close at sundown and I wouldn't want to be trapped in there for the night. OK it was only 10:30 in the morning. The place is encased with a rod iron fence about 8 or 10 feet high. The top of the fence has these spikey things so trying to climb it in the dark wouldn't be advised. As far as I know nobody has escaped at night. My friend Chuck who lives in the area tells of a night he was walking down the street at night, (The cemetery is on a main road.) and he heard someone calling for help. I guess it's quite easy to get lost in the dark on 175 acres. As I write this I am uploading the video I made yesterday. At the end of the video I included pictures that I ahave taken in the past during the fall at the cemetery. Those of you from the old days of Spaces will have seen them before but I still love these photos.

Back to the snow. We dodged a bullit along the coast. Others were not so lucky. Just last Sunday I was at Mt. Greylock near the upper left hand corner of the state. It was a nice day. The temperature was about 60 degrees. Now it's under two feet of snow. As the old saying goes, If you don't like the weather,wait a minute. I can understand people wanting to stock up on food with a big storm coming. As I write this there are still about a half a million people in the state without power. What I do wonder about is the rush on snow shovels. What happened to the shovels you had last year. It did snow last year. Quite a lot really. There was a rush on them last year and the year before that... Did they all break? Are there breakthroughs in shovel technology every year? Ive had the same shovel for ten years. The places have lived in in the past I didn't need a shovel because the lots were plowed and everything was shoveled for you save for cleaning you car. Then there are all the people locally who stocked up on food to weather the inch of snow. It's great for business. I guess most people just hunkered down on Sunday and stuffed there faces.

As I said I am uploading a video to YouTube. You do get a better quality by making your video in high def. Well as high a def as my camera will allow. And you can make them substantially longer than Blogger will allow but it takes forever. I have been uploading for over an hour and I'm only at about 45% there. It's 12:45 Monday and it will be another hour plus before I can publish this. The video will be directly below. Time to do some work around here.



I'm outta here.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

I was asked a question that I have asked Nancy several times concerning the opening of my video on my last blog. "Where do you get these things?" I put it all together by collecting all the bits and pieces from the Internet. The theater picture came from just using the google image search. I then did the same with the curtain that went up. That came out rather crudely. I did that by using my photo program and the movie maker that comes with Windows 7. Actually if I had used the older movie maker with Windows XP it would have come out smoother. Though the newer Movie Maker has more features, they removed some features. I won't go into it because it will put you and me to sleep. The MGM logo and the picture of the turkey and the trumpeters came from an image search. The opening "Feature Presentation" clip came from a website called "Internet Archive Data Base". It's a collection of thousands of clips, commercials, television shows and so on in the public domain. In other words free. You can find sound effects for free on many sites. That's where I got, the gobble, drum roll, and opening fanfare. The music came from another site that had royalty free music. I've used this site many times. There's actually a lot of great music on it, It ranges from classical, hip hop, blues, mood music and just about any genre you can think of. All of it free.  It was then a matter of putting it all together with my photo program and movie maker. It took longer to make that 40 second opening than it did the rest of the 8 minutes of video but I had fun doing it.
I have a night shift hanging over my head tonight. It looks like I may not be going to the Mt. Auburn Cemetery tomorrow. It appears we around here are in line for a snow storm. I don't think we will get much but it will be slushy, cold and windy. Too bad because I think the foliage there is at it's peak. There are still a lot of leaves on the trees and about 25-30 miles west of Boston they could receive up to a foot of snow. So they are predicting power outages because of the heavy wet snow on the power lines. They are also predicting trees being toppled over because the ground is soaked with water from all the rainfall we have had. So I guess I'll just hunker down on Sunday. Make a nice breakfast, maybe make a slide show from my pictures of the Mt. Auburn Cemetery in the fall. I really can't tell you how beautiful this place is and why it is so special. Here's a link.
  
http://www.mountauburn.org/national_landmark/history.cfm

OK. It's time for me to brood for about 2 hours waiting to leave for work. When I return tonight it will be rainy and windy. The snow will happen overnight around here. At least that's what the weather people are saying at this moment.

I'm outta here.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My first YouTube video and not much more.

 
On the left is a video/slide show offering of Mt. Greylock. I uploaded it to YouTube. It's of a much better quality. It's also much longer than anything I have ever posted. It took me longer to put together the opening than it took to put together the rest of the video. It's over 9 minutes long. If you click on it and go to YouTube you can watch in the full screen mode.

   What a rotten day today is weather wise. I had to go to a show and sell program for my company. This involved highway driving in a driving rain. The best part was it was over by 2 o'clock. So my day ended two hours early. The was the best part of the day. Last night I finally turned the heat on. The temperature tickled the high 30's. There is also an outside chance that some parts of this area might receive (four letter word coming up here) snow. Not a lot but still it's just a sign of things to come.

This Sunday, after going out for breakfast, I plan to take a ride to the Mt. Auburn Cemetery. It looks to be a nice day. It can be spectacular in the fall. I might take the tour so I can find the graves of some of the famous people buried there.
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes-Studied medicine in France and wrote articles on how disease spreads and that health care workers should regularly wash their hands. It was considered extreme at the time. Imagine that.
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow-poet
  • Fannie Farmer
  • Edwin Land-Polaroid
  • John Bartlett-"Bartletts Quotations
  • Edwin Booth-Actor,Brother of John Wilkes Booth
  • Charles Bullfinch-Architect. Re-designed Boston after the revolution including the statehouse. Later on he desiGned the U.S. Capital Building.
  • Mary Baker Eddy-Founder of the Christin Science Church.
  • Curt Gowdy-Sportscaster
  • Homer Winslow-painter
  • Anne Revere-Actress. Not a household name but she was nominated for best supporting actress in "The Song Of Bernadette" The next year she was cast as Elizabeth Taylor's mother in National Velvet, Taylor's first film. I never heard of her.
So those are my plans for Sunday as long as the weather holds out. It looks to be sunny.

OK. I'm in the process of making chicken soup. I'll be back to visit after I eat.
  •      

Monday, October 24, 2011

Road Trip/Mt. Greylock

Sunday was looking to be a nice day and overall it was. I took the opportunity to make my way west. The foliage around here is beginning to turn, but the western part of the state is very hilly, and it seemed that they had passed peak color.

The entire drive out took about 3 hrs including a pit stop. The complexion of the terrain changes and so does the lifestyle and vibe. Many small towns in valleys. Mt. Greylock is near the upper west corner of the state. The drive out was essentially a two road drive. The Mass. Turnpike takes you in a southwest direction then Rt. 20 takes you back in a northern direction. Apart from passing some population centers like Worcester (pronounced "wissta or "wussta"), Chicopee (derived from a Native American name), Springfield, that has a metropolitan area population of 680,000+ which surprised me and Pittsfield.
Outside of the population centers the landscape is dotted with little towns and farms. A whole different world from where I live. The last city you come across is Pittsfield.  Named after a British Nobleman and politician William Pitt. Whoever he was. 48,000 people live here. Less than my city and yet they had a very impressive downtown. Put my local one to shame.

Mt Greylock is the highest point in the state at 3400+ ft. Not much when compared to real mountains. It's just the biggest of all the hills in western Ma. Still It's a beautiful part of the state.

Though the weather was fine. One in the afternoon is not the best time to take pictures due to the position of the sun, a need of a better camera for shots of a big scope, better knowledge of photography and better timing. The pictures are what they are.
The Visitors Centers at the base of the road to the summit. This is taken late in the afternoon as we were leaving.
A stop at a scenic overlook on the way up the summit road. This is composed of 3 pictures stitched together. The colors were muted and the sun was bright.
A shot from the top.
Though I was less than thrilled with some of the pictures there was one that came out surprisingly well. At least it's my favorite.
 Most of these shots were taken the very limit of my zoom. Still it is a record of my trip there. Below is a slide show with most of the pictures I took. It's a small file. I am working on a video that will include larger version of the photo's dispersed between video clips. It will be an extravaganza by my standards. I even have a new opening for the video. I hope I can pull it off before I pull out my hair. I'm talking strictly amateur here. So here's  the little slideshow.
video
 Overall it was a very nice day. I got to see a different part of my state. Indeed a different way of life, from the one I am accustomed. The drive home took almost an hour longer because of a seemingly inexplicable traffic slowdown. A large traffic jam 50 miles from Boston. Then we have the tolls. I don't know if I could be a tol taker. Talk about monotony. On the other hand we had a local TV news station do an expose' on the the highway dept. and found that many toll takers were earning $60,000+ a year for basically making change. Still hundreds of car a day. Taking money and tickets a giving back change. I celebrated arriving home by stopping off at a local regional restaurant. The "99" and and have one of their very good cheeseburgers.

I got home at around 8:30. after almost 7 hours of driving. Apart from the traffic slowdown on the way home, it was easy and uneventful day of driving. The car performed well.

So that's that. I be back in a bit.
I'm outta here.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Arghhh! Passwords and more passwords.

Today I installed a wireless router. Another user name and yet another password. I hooked up my aging desktop and soon realised that it was not wireless capable. I was going to leave it up anyway but I couldn't log into msn because I couldn't remember my password. That's the one password I couldn't find. So I click on "forgot your password" phrase to reset it and then they ask me the answer to my secret question. Well it's is a secret question and it's still a secret because if I wrote it down I can't find it. I know the answers to my secret questions I only have a few but if it's not worded exactly and in the proper case then it's tuff tomatoes for you. I chose tomatoes instead of what I was really thinking. Your only other alternative is to call a help line or purge everything from msn, including email addresses, and start all over again. No thanks buddy boy! I was in no mood to call somebody in India and try to understand english through a thick Indian accent. I called customer service about six months ago to cancel a particular anti virus service that had automatically re-billed me when I didn't want to use that service anymore. The rebilling was my fault as I didn't check the little box that would have prevented it. You gotta watch out for things like that. A very nice woman answered. She had the accent but she was understanable. What made me laugh was when she answered the phone she said, "Hello. My name is Arlene. How can I help you?"
Yeah right! You're Arlene and I'm Bhadrak. It means handsome, good and virtuous. Pretty good I must say if you're Indian. That's what companies do. They give their overseas help desk people western names perhaps to put westerners more at ease. But they really aren't fooling anybody. Now I'm not complaining about this woman because she did what she was supposed to do and was very nice about it.

Still I was ticked off about msn. Also not the word I really wanted to use. Why must they make it so difficult. When I lost my google password it was simple to reset it. I typed in my email address. They sent me a link to reset and it was done. It's been the same with other services. Very simple to do.

Apart for all that I got the wireless set up done without any problems on my laptop and my little Eee computer. That's what it's called. It's a little machine 10"x7". It won't take a disk but you can email and surf the web. Perfect for travelling. I took it to Martha's Vineyard. It's much lighter than my laptop.
I aparently need a wireless card for my desktop which is getting a bit long in the tooth. It's from 2006 but it still works well enough for my needs and besides it has Windows XP which is not as fussy as Windows 7. I am not a computer whiz. I just want it to work when I turn it on and do what I know how to do.

My other complaints about Monday. The phone rang all day. Most were people I know. It's not that I didn't want to talk to them. I didn't want to talk to anybody. I have had the last 3 days off and the first two were filled with things to do and places to go. I wanted Monday to be just for me. I didn't want to go anywhere or do anything outside the home. Don't get me wrong I am grateful to have friends and family who want to call me but they all decided to do it on the same day. I am not counting the 800 number calls because I don't bother to answer them. Bless their little automated hearts. I did get stuff accomplished like finally clearing and cleaning up my computer room. That's the place where everything gets stashed until I decide what to do with it or where to put it. In the closet or in the trash. A sort of staging area. I did get that done.

My trip to Mt. Greylock is all set for next Sunday. The weather looks to be good and the foliage should be at peak. They turn earlier in the western part of the state because of the elevation. At least that's my very unscientific reason. The leaves around here are begining to turn. They're about a week late because of all the rain we had this passed summer.

Alright that's enough bitching for now and that is the word I wanted to use and did.
It's approching 10 pm Monday and I have to get back to work tomorrow. Ah nuts (not the word) back to dealing with the great unwashed masses.
Over and out.
I'm outta here.   

Monday, October 10, 2011

My friend Beth/Contemplating things

Before I say anything else I want to send my best wishes to Beth. I have not met a sweeter, nicer person since I began blogging back in late 2007. She calls me her little bro and I call her my big sis. A speedy recovery Beth!

As the title of this blog says I am contemplating things. Not only in my personal life but here on blogger. I am wondering if I should continue. I can't muster a blog everyday. At this point I can barely manage one a week. Truthfully I have watched the comments drop down to essentially two per blog. To these people I say thank you. You know who you are. I'm not mad or upset. If those are the only people that are interested in what I have to write I have to face the fact and quote the New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, "It is what it is." This does not mean I'm quitting. At least not at this point. I also admit this does sound a bit whiny. I guess I do miss the old days at Spaces. It was a lot of fun for about two years and I really liked how it operated until they "improved" it out of existence.  I had a lot of personal contact with people. People from all over the country. I had phone conversations. I miss many of them though some came over to Blogger for which I am thankful. I'll say no more about this though it is on my mind.

I am trying to work on setting up a little trip across the state to Mt. Greylock. It's the highest point in the state. As mountains go it's not all that impressive at 3400 plus feet in elevation but it's all we got. Western Ma. is a beautiful part of the state. Very rural, very hilly. The remains of an ancient mountain range scrubbed down by glaciers. Of the roughly 6.5 million people who live in Ma. 4.5 million live in the greater Boston area so the western part of the state is a different world. I am hoping to catch the foliage at peek. Around here the experts say we  are a week behind concerning the leaves changing due to all rain we have had. So I hope this all works out.

It's another gorgeous day as it was yesterday when we hit 87 degrees. It's not a warm as yesterday but it still will hit around 80. Truly the last gasp of summer.

Here's a little video I made of some vintage television commercials featuring some stars before they were stars. In fact I have found a ton of old commercials and television shows. Where I won't say except that it's online. In fact there are a lot of old shows and movies all of which are public domain. It's a lot of fun to hang around a view this vintage footage. I had to make the clip small because of the limited space they give you for video uploads.
video
 
So that's it for now kiddies. I've got to run a few errands and I will check back later to check for any updates that I've missed.
I'm outta here.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

I got nothin' to write about really.

So here it is Saturday morning. I've got a late shift hanging over my head (Here's where you feel sorry for me). It has been a relatively uneventful week save for the fact that I ran out of checks for my checking account. Oh yeah. Our hometown baseball team, the Red Sox reverted back to the Sox of old by giving us their best choking performance yet. Prior to 2004 this was the norm. Very competitive until it really counted. A beautiful swan dive out of contention. Before the season started this team was touted as possibly one of the best teams ever and in the middle of the season they sure looked like it. But when it counted in September, down they went in flames. Still if you're a sports fan around here you really have nothing to complain about. We here in the Boston\New England area have lived through the most successful decade in sports with seven sports championships in ten years. All our teams have won. Yup, we got spoiled. Still it's only sports. A diversion. Entertainment. Nothing more. The Atlanta Braves performed a similar el foldo. I can't imagine what it would be like around here if the Braves were still a Boston team. I will root for all the underdogs.

Apart from that I really don't have much to say although that may change as I continue writing. One week removed from my trip to Martha's Vineyard and I still smile at the lovely relaxing time I had. Just three more photos of the place and I will put the Vineyard in my rear view mirror for this year.
The beach across from the hotel in Oak Bluffs.
Looking back from the beach at dawn at some of the inns and hotels that line the road along the beach.
The beautiful beach and cliffs in Aquinnah at the opposite end of the island.
 Well that's about it for now. I must get ready for work in about an hour. At least I will have Sunday and Monday off. See you all in a day or two.
I'm outta here.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Happy Birthday Beth! Back home.

Well first things first. Happy Birthday to my friend Beth! I hope you have a wonderful day! I hope all your days are wonderful but this one especially!

OK. As you can assume by me actually writing this that my traveling companion Arlene and I got home safe and sound driving up from Cape Cod at the right time to avoid the nonesense that is traveling across Boston at rush hour. Big Dig or no Big Dig it's still one congested mess. Yes we have a nice new tunnel under the city which replaced the old and ugly elevated roadway above the city. A road way which cut a majority of the city off from the seashore. And I do admit to liking the new bridge. It does give the city a nicer skyline especially at night when it is bathed in a blue light.

Let me just say I had a wonderful relaxing time on Martha's Vineyard. I am so grateful for having such a charming getaway about 100 miles from my door. For the most part the weather cooperated. Any real rain happened at night. The first and third days were sunny and beautiful. The other days were overcast at times with a couple of brief rain showers. We stayed at the same hotel but had our room upgraded when we arrived there. And guess what? The lady at the desk, Dierdre is from the very town I live in. Not only that, her sister was visiting so we had some conversation about the old hometown. And it is old. Founded in 1630. Anyway, apart from waundering around Oak Bluffs, which by the way is where much of Jaws was filmed, We wanted to explore some different places as well as re-visit Aquinnah and the clay cliffs on the other side of the island. The last time it was shrouded in fog and you really couldn't appreciate the beauty of the place. This time it was picture perfect. We also visited Edgartown, some of Jaws was filmed there as well. We were going to go to Chappaquiddick Island, which is a two minute ferry ride, but there's not a whole lot going on there though there are a few things to see. There is only one paved road on the island and a couple of destinations but that's it. Maybe next time though it's $12 to get there. It's cheaper to go from the mainland to the Vineyard. We checked out Edgartown which is also quite charming. The old whaling sea captains homes and historic places. It's a beautifully maintained city and I sure it would take mega bucks to live there. Of course it's quite touristy as is the whole Island. That's the only source of income. The entire economy is based on tourism. At one time it may have been the whaling capital of America but that was a long time ago. I give two thumbs up to the bus system on the island. You can buy a three day pass for $15 and go anywhere. So much cheaper than a cab though they are reasonable as well, at least in the off season. I've been there in May and I've been there in September and September is definitely the best time. I have about 300 photos of which about 100 are usable. I decided to make photo album videos instead of posting the pictures though they will appear someplace eventually. The first one below is just Oak Bluffs of which I already have plenty of pictures of but if you have a camera around your neck you just can't resist
video
The next two are of Edgartown taken on two separate days. It was overcast on both days with a shower on day one though the sun did eventually come out.

video


video
And finally we come to the Clay Cliffs in Aquinnah, formally known as Gay Head. Who knows where that name came from? Aquinnah is the original name given to the place by the native Wompanog people. A much better name as far as I'm concerned. It was a gorgeous day and I finally got a chance to take some clear shots of this magical place.
video
So I must leave now. The football game is about to start. I will be back after the game to catch up with what's going on out there in Blogger land.

Go Pats! I'm outta here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Edgartown, The Clay Cliffs iv Aquinna

Hello again. First of all I apologise for not doing any visiting. I have been on the go, albiet at a leisurely pace. On the down side I haven't been sleeping well. I do much better in my own bed. Of course I am refering strictly to sleeping here. On the upside and there are a couple of upsides. Our room has upgraded. Why? I don't know. Maybe because This is our third time down here in the span of a year and things are slow as summer is at an end and all the crowds are gone. We went from a single bed in a tiny room. As the old joke goes, the room was so small that when you shut the door the door knob got in bed with me! The room was so small, all the mice were hunchback! The room was so small when I put the key in I broke the window! The room was so small I had to go out in the hall to change my mind!
Anyway this time we were upgraded to a large room with two double beds. (Hey you gotta sleep.) A living room area and a fire place. It's not functional but it's great for effect. I've got a bunch of pictures but I will have to sort through them when I get home which will be sometimes early Friday evening. Eventually I will post a picture of the room and the area and places that I have been. The pictures I will post here are raw images from my camera. I do have a photo program on this little computer that I have with me but I don't know how to use it completely and besides I don't want to waste time on my vacation editing and sorting hundreds of photo's. I do have a couple of samples though.
The weather has be overcast the first two days but comfortable. Today was a picture book day. Temperature is about 72 right now (5 p.m.) Below is a map of the island with 3 stars.
The red star next to Oak Bluffs is where we're staying. The ferries also go to Vineyard Haven just to the left. Apart from that the only other way to get here is by plane. The blue star is next to Edgartown. We went there on Tuesday. It's a beautiful town with a rich whaling history. There are whaling captain's homes. I would say you would have to be well heeled to live here but it is beautiful.
Today (Wednesday) we went to the Clay Cliffs in Aquinnah. I went there last year at this time but it was all fogged in. This year it was just gorgeous. I have a bunch of pictures not to mention videos. I got to get pretty close to them this time. The beach was gorgeous, the cliffs were gorgeous and the day was gorgeous.
  Alright there are plenty more photo's and videos but that's for later. Now it's time for supper so guess what?
I'm outta here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Good Morning from Martha's Vineyard

Good morning. This is the sunrise this morning, about an hour before this writing. We had an uneventful drive down and ferry ride. Yesterday was a beautiful and I don't have much time this morning as I have to shower and go out for for breakfast. I will report back later when we get back from where ever we are going to go.

I'm into the shower and outta of here.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Off to the Vineyard

Off one more time to Martha's Vineyard on September 19. I have to say it's really nice to have this island getaway only about 100 miles away. It's about a 90 mile drive to the parking lot where I leave my car ( well duh! ), about a 3 mile bus ride to the dock and a 7 mile ferry ride to the island. All the summer yahoos are gone. Anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 people invade the place over the summer months. The actual population is about 15,000. The weather looks to be good. I plan to explore a bit more of the island this time including the notorious Chappaquiddick Island. Remember Ted Kennedy driving off the bridge into the shallow water, escaping but leaving Mary Jo Kopechne in the car to drown. He claimed he was disoriented. Maybe he was but we will never know the true story. Be that as it may I want to go there only because it is so notorious. I want to go back to the clay cliffs. It was quite foggy the last time. Too bad because there was spectacular scenery and color. 

I will bring my little baby computer with me to report on whatever I have to report on. Right now it is 6:20 in the morning and I am leaving for work. Two more days of work. A day to prepare then I'm off for a nine days stretch. I can't wait.

For now,
I'm outta here.     

Monday, September 12, 2011

I was going to blog on Sunday but I was out and pretty busy. It was, as everybody knows, a solemn day in the United States. It was also a solemn day in Massachusetts as 206 of our citizens perished on that day. The two planes that hit the towers took off from Boston. Funny it was a beautiful day weatherwise, just like it was ten years ago. I know everyone knows where they were when it happened. I imagine it was similar to the Pearl Harbor attack 70 years ago. As I said I was going to write yesterday but I just couldn't get it together.

I also had pictures and clips that I had taken on Friday when my friend Dave and I went to the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kenebunkport Maine. I always like to take the time to sort through the the pictures and clips. Some pictures might need to be strightened or maybe enhanced a bit due to lighting conditions. It's never good to shoot into the light. The light is behind the subject and it appears darkened because the light is shining on the back of the subject and it appears darkened. Sometimes you have no choice if you want a picture of something and the sun is behind it. Anyway the museum is about 90 miles north of here. It was interesting as they had trolleys and buses from all over the country and different parts of the world. Some where restored to their original shape. Others were in the process of being restored and others were just wrecks either waiting for future restoration or being canabalized for parts.

These are all the extra wheels, if thats what they call them, and axles that have been collected.
The actual grounds of the museum were nothing to write home about. So I didn't. We did take a trolley ride around the grounds but it was really nothing more than a half an hour ride through the woods. There are a lot of woods in Maine. They stopped the trolley car twice and a man dressed as a period conductor gave a couple of talks on the history of trolleys in the area and on the very trolley car we were riding in itself. At one point in it's life it was taken out of service and purchased by a doctor who turned it into his office. After he died it fell into disrepair and was purchased by the museun in 1957 and fully restored.
Built in 1924, in service in Ohio, it was retired from service in 1947.
Since the closest big city to the museum is Boston there are a lot of trains and buses from the local transportation system. Buses, trolleys and trains that I remember from growing up. Who knows I could have even ridden in some of these vehicles. They even left the destination scrolls on the front of the buses and trains and trolleys in place showing locations that I am very familiar with. Other vehicles came from other parts of the country and other countries like Australia, Germany and England. Later year vehicles from this area had a T in a circle as an identifying marker. For short we call the rail and bus system the T, The MBTA (Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority) Later buses were and still are, yellow and white. The older ones were various colors depending on the line on which they ran. The Orange Line, Blue Line and Green line etc. The lines are still called the same but the buses are now the same color. There were a few buses  up there that are still in service down here. I don't know why they're on exhibit as they are still current.

OK I'm getting really long winded here. To wind things up I ended up making a little movie of our ride and a picture book sort of movie out of the pictures because here unlike Spaces, there is no no free photo album feature. You only get so much free photo space on Blogger then you have to pay for extra space on Picasa. Besides some of my old friends from Spaces that I miss I also miss the seemingly endless photo album space they provided. That was the best thing they provided. Though I will say the photo album section is still running but what's the point if nobody looks at them. I have done next to nothing over there since the blogs were shut down. I do miss it. It was fun. However I do like the simplicity of Blogger. Well I am really blathering on now. As Groucho Marx once said, " You haven't stopped talking since I got here. You must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle." Yup I'm showing my age.

So first we have the video of the ride on they trolley then the video/picture album of the photos. Not as good as looking at big pictures but it saves time and space on the freebie space Blogger provides. I spent a good chunk of time putting these together. Finding music that fits both the content and the time and making the video file small enough to fit the 100 megabit limit isn't always easy,  and is time consuming but I have fun doing it. One cool thing on the first video is that the whistle on the trolley is in the same key as the music. It's the key of E in case you're interested.
video
video

Man this blog took a long time! I guess I'm just overcompensating for not blogging or commenting for a week. Alright I'm done.
I'm outta here.