Friday, July 29, 2011

Where have I been?


Where have I been? Here there. Different places. Actually I have been busy. Busier than usual. And I do feel a bit guilty about not visiting the blog universe for a week or so. I have been more tired than usual and when I do get online and reading a few blogs my eyes get heavy. I also am having some trouble sleeping on my new mattress. Why? I don't know. It's  more firm than my old mattress which I had for about 23 years. It seemed like the time to change. Perhaps I should have gone with a softer mattress. I guess I will eventually acclimate myself. That's enough whining. On my first day off in a week, Wednesday, I debated in the morning whether I would continue painting my kitchen, do some laundry and or housework or just nothing at all. It was to be and turned out to be a picture perfect day. sunny, warm with no humidity. I began thinking, Why stay in? How many chances do I get to get out and just enjoy a beautiful day? Long story short. I wanted to drive my car a bit more than just the 5 miles to and from work. Then I remembered that there was a Budweiser Brewery in New Hampshire. Now I am not a fan of Budweiser Beer. If somebody offers me one I'll drink it, but like most American beers. I find it watery and not very appealing. European beers, some of them, were not to my liking either for various reasons. That's why I like Sam Adams. It cuts the flavor down the middle. I also don't want to give the impression that I constantly drink beer, but I do enjoy a cold one now and then. I have digressed. I checked out the brewery online and found that they give complimentery tours. A nice drive of about 50 miles on a beautiful day and the first substantial drive in my new car. Well new to me. I phoned up my friend and invited her and her daughter. Fast forward. The brewery is nestled in the beautiful countryside. among the rolling hills of New Hampshire. The mountains were another 40 or 50 miles north. The tour itself was very interesting and the inside of the plant was spotless as you would expect. Noisy at times. The bottling and packaging plant was enormous. You could plop the supermarket I work in, which is large, inside of it with room to spare.  Outside it was beautifully landscaped and they let people roam around outside right down to the Clydesdale's "Hamlet" as they called it. Unfortunely the horses were all in their stalls but we still got to see them. I have two little movies of the plant tour and the Clydesdales. and below is a link to the photos I took. It's my old Spaces or skydrive photo albums. All the old albums are still there. Later on in my next blog, whenever that will be, I will post the link to all my Marthas Vineyard photos and I will upload and post a link to all the photos I took from atop the Prudential building a few weeks back.

Oh at the end of the tour we were taken to the hospitality lounge where we were offered two free glasses of beer. I was apparently not paying much attention when they explained what was being offered. I wasn't interested in any of the fruitier offereings. By fruitier I mean raspberry, lemon lime and so on. So I chose a regular Bud and a Michelob Ultra. To me the ultra adjective gave the impression of the premium version of their premium beer. Boy was I wrong. It turns out that the Ultra was a low calorie, low carb offering even more watered down than regular Bud. Just this side of water, Still it was free and the lounge was very nice, the tour was interesting and informative and the day was spectacular.
video

  
https://skydrive.live.com/?cid=f30b5cd64eb2dafe&sc=photos#!/?cid=f30b5cd64eb2dafe&sc=photos&id=F30B5CD64EB2DAFE%2119306

Okay I've decided not to do much today. Maybe a movie (dvd). Who knows? Who cares?
I'm outta here.
ps I don't know why one of the videos appeared twice. Once at the begining and once of the end. Gremlins?

Friday, July 22, 2011

HOT HOT HOT!

Yes it's hot enough to boil a monkeys bum! I'm beginning to wonder if the winter wasn't so bad. I don't totally believe that but this heat just bites the big one. The bedroom furniture arrived on Thursday. Well it;s just a bed with storage and an armiore. It turns out that I now have more storage space than I had with my old complete bedroom set.
So I spent most of Thursday putting my clothes away. I only went out once to run an errand and that was enough for me. I am so glad and grateful that I have air conditioning. You can keep this weather. I was watching the local news and they were asking kids, who were at beaches and pools, what they preferred. The winter or the summer and surprisingly they answered the winter. They like playing in the snow and making snowmen. Of course these days kids aren't even allowed to play. It's all pre arranged little events. Everyone has a helmet and knee pads. This is a rant for another time though.
As you can see my bedroom is pretty plain. At this
point I hadn't put the rugs back or the television. Yes that's right the television. I have been told that you shouldn't have a television in your bedroom because it hinders your sleep. I find the opposite to be true. If I plan to watch a program it is the perfect inducement for sleep. I would like to find some artwork or something to hang on the walls though but first things first. I still have to finish  painting my kitchen. I have had all these plans for this place over the nearly four years that I have been living here and I have chosen to tackle them all at once. Not the greatest idea but then  again it's the way I roll. I think about doing something for a long time and then suddenly decide it's time and I do everything at once. Or at least try. I bought the paint for the kitchen two years ago. I got curtains this passed winter. I am also eyeing the floor and the cabinets but I do realise that's still in the future.

On a sadder note, my sister's cat,Bella, has been diagnosed with cancer. My sisters a wreck. In a way she belongs to all of us, my sisters and myself, as she has been a fixture in our family for twelve years. It's early in the going and she has a chance as it has been caught early. She shows not outward signs of being sick and she is being taken to a specialist this afternoon. Bella is a sweet little girl. Cute as a button.
All the cats in my family have lived long lives. Between 17 and 20 years. Bella is 12. I hope for Bella's sake and more importantly, my sister, that this is something that can be cured or controlled.  As I said    she  is very sweet, loving and lovable. I'm pulling for you Bella!

Alright it's back to the hell otherwise known as work for another late shift. Bigwigs from Minnesota are supposed to visit today. We are rolling out the red carpet. The kitchen is busy making them a royal lunch and the store mana...excuse me, store director is a wreck. I can't stand the woman and hope she falls  her ample derriere. Harsh words? You bet. In the one years she has been here she has turned a pleasant and happy place to work into a nightmare. I hope she fails. She has a bad track record from her previous stores and we inherited her from another store where she caused a department manager to quit. You don't quit a 60+ thousand dollar job these days without good reason. Sorry but that's the way I feel.
On that bitter note I am off to another vacation in hell.
I'm outta here.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Goodbye old friend and Boston is number 1 again!

This was my old car. I will miss it. Sniff sniff.
I can only hope my new, well newer car, is as reliable as my old Taurus. The picture on the left was taken about an hour before I drove it for the last time to the dealership. The only other time I got a bit emotional about a car was when I got rid of my 1984 Ford Thunderbird. I loved that car as well. It was much better looking than the Taurus and was quite reliable as well. I've had a few turkeys though. The worst? A little 1978 Fiat 128 back in the early '80s. When it worked it was a fun little car to drive. It ended up costing me more in repairs than I paid for it. That was one year of pure automotive hell. The running joke was That Fiat (An Italian car company who now owns the controlling interest in Chrysler. There's a match made in heaven.) stands for  "Fix it again Tony". The "new" car and is packed with more options than I know what to do with. I don't like the one touch  electric window. Touch the button once and the window goes down all the way. To get it to stop halfway or so you have to touch the button twice. Whats the point? Is it that much of a burden to hold the button down until you reach the desired opening or roll it all the way down? Very gimmicky. There is also a feature on the audio system which fortunately I have disabled. The volume of the radio or CD increases the faster you go. The car is very quiet and this is not a problem. Apart from that it is a fabulous audio system. It even has air condition or heated seats. Nice touch. It will take me a bit to learn how to operate everything Here are the first official photos of the car in my driveway when I took ownership. About an hour and a half after the photo above.
There's my upstairs neighbor inspecting the car. When I asked her what she thought she said and I quote, "Meow!"
 I do admit to feeling a bit self conscious driving a car like this. OK enough. It's still just a car.

I had this question asked to me once before at work. If I'm out on the sales floor at work, sometimes someone will come to me and ask, where's the milk, eggs, pasta etc. So I'm pricing and stocking packaged hot dogs and a lady approaches me and asks, "Excuse me. Where are your nuts?"
My initial answer, if I wanted to get suspended or fired was, "Lady at your age you should know."

Yippee! Boston is number one again! No it wasn't another sports team championship. Boston was named the worst dressed city in the United States by GQ Magazine. Way to go! They blamed most of it on the student population which is quite large, about 250,000, "with their hoodies and boot cut jeans". Here's a quote from the magazine.
"Boston is like America's bad taste storm sewer. All the worst fashion ideas from across the country flow there, stagnate and putrefy."
We're in good company though. Here are the top five.
  1. Boston
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Pittsburgh
  4. Chicago
  5. Manhattan
Well what are you going to do? We don't measure up to GQ Magazines high standards. It doesn't bother me. I'm no fashion plate either. Boot cut jeans and hoodies are part of my repertoire as well. As far as GQ is concerned. Their noses are so far in the air I'm surprised they can see anything at all.

It's 10:15 Monday evening as I write this. I've been home from work a little more than an hour. I go back at 7 a.m. tomorrow. I've got to clean out my drawers, as in bedroom drawers tomorrow after work because they, the junk people, are coming on Wednesday to take my old bedroom set away. The new one arrives on Thursday. I am also in the middle of painting my kitchen. Oh for one day when I don't have to do anything. Maybe next week sometime.

Time to get ready for bed. I'm tired and...
I'm outta here.
   

Friday, July 15, 2011

I got it today!

Well today was the day. I was nervous as I went to the bank to get the money. The space on the withdrawal form wasn't big enough for me to write the amount in, and my handwriting is pretty awful to begin with. It look like you dipped a chickens feet in ink and had it walk across the slip. Yup I picked up my new car today. Well it's new to me. It's a used car, oh wait I'm sorry. It's pre-owned. Doesn't that sound better. I'm about to digress. I have noticed, and it's not hard to notice how the language is changing. They either soften the word or phrase or make it sound much more important and impressive than it is. The classic example would be garbage or trash man (Person. Don't want to insult the ladies.) has become "sanitation engineer". Do you now have to get a degree to pick up a trash barrel and dump in the back of a truck? We should make garbage, "Disposable human or animal items or food stuffs that are no longer usable or are spent beyond their usefulness".

This is a true story. I went to an ATM machine and it was out of order.  Was there a notice stating this?  It would have been annoying but at least it was direct and to the point. Well there was a notice but it said, "Closed for your convenience". They were thanking me for coming to their outlet by telling me how convenient it is for me that it's not working. Is this supposed to make me happy? Are they doing me a favor by having me go somewhere else? Maybe they should make it part of their slogan. Big Ass Bank. The convenience of inconvenience!

As most of you know I work in a supermarket. We used to have a store manager. Now they're Store Directors. I used to be an employee, now I'm an associate. What's next? Changing the parking lot to the Vehicle Storage System Facility?  What a bunch of crap!

Speaking of work. I had a lady ask for, "a half pound of tuna fish sandwhich." She chuckled about it. I am not immune to this sort of misspeaking (sorry about that). I was explaining the various turkey breasts to a customer and I called the homestyle turkey as "homeless turkey" and that's not the first time that has been said.

I have digressed mightily! I will visit around later in the evening after work. Hopefully I will have the energy. I am so busy these days. I will be working straight through till next Tuesday. Nights and days. It can really screw you up.

I'm outta here. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Last Saturday. Just an average day.

The title of this blog is 180 degrees opposite of what Saturday really was. I had mentioned that I was going car shopping and shopping for a new bedroom set. I am here to say that I purchased both in the same day. It's not what I had planned. Looking around, shopping and walking in and buying a car within 40 minutes are two different things. I had scoured the local car dealers via the Internet and there was very little around of what I was looking for in my price range. I was interested in a new or year old Ford Fusion or base or year old Ford Taurus which by the way is a car I'm in love with. All of these vehicles  are in my price range. My present car. 1998 Taurus has been a comfortable, reliable car. Repairs have been few. A header pipe that comes off the engine that connects to the exhaust pipe system, a water pump and two sets of tires. That's it. In fact It has been the most reliable car I have ever owned. It still runs like a top. It's quiet and comfortable. I really hate to see it go but it has suffered the slings and arrows of many parking lots and bits of rust have appeared over the rear wheel wells and at the edge of the hood. It was also not one of the more handsome designs around. Ford styling got a bit weird in the mid '90s. They went nuts with an oval theme. From the front it looks like a cross between a Jaguar and a flounder. So I came to the conclusion about a year ago that it was time to start thinking and researching something new or newer. As I said there was very little around that interested me. Until the salesman said, "Well I do have a pre-owned Ford factory certified Lincoln MKZ. A 2008." I was looking for a a 2010 or 2011 car. I wasn't thinking about anything older but I was there so I thought it can't hurt to look at it. The style of the car styling hasn't changed since then so it looked new and the body was in excellent shape. Scratch and ding free. The interior as well was in excellent shape. I have to admit I wasn't thrilled with the dashboard design. Very blocky. Typical Ford design for Lincolns of a few years ago though I did very much like the Cartier analog clock in the center of the dash. An actual clock not some stupid digital readout that can't be read when the sun is out without blocking out the sunshine with your hand while you're driving. Below are a few  pictures of it from the dealers website. It's black which gives it a classy air! It's the bottom rung of the Lincoln ladder and all it really is is a gussied up Ford Fusion. A very good car in it's own right.
All I was really looking for as far as options was air conditioning and possibly a moon roof/sun roof, whatever the difference in terminology is. An item my last two cars have had This one is very well equipped with some items that I couldn't care less about. 
I test drove it and found it quiet, good handling and quite capable of getting out of it's own way. The kicker for me was that it is all wheel drive. Great for the winter though there is a mileage penalty but it is no worse than my present car with an extra 63 horsepower to boot. I did the consumer report research, albeit after I put a deposit on it just to reassure myself that I wasn't purchasing a problem car. It wasn't the highest rated car in it's field but it was recommended. I also did other research when I got home just to make sure that there was a consensus amongst all of the reviews. Granted this was an ass backwards approach to buying a car but I was never shopping for a Lincoln in the first place, but it cost about $4000 less than I was willing to spend and it is a tarted up version of a Ford Fusion which I had researched. Average mileage, comfortable and quiet. I never thought I would ever buy an entry level luxury car but that's what happened.

I still have a bunch of things to coordinate around my work schedule. Calling my insurance company, getting to the bank, arranging to have my old furniture to be taken away and arranging for my new furniture to be delivered. This will probably all happen over a two week span. At this point everything is up in the air.
  
  Final note. I went to dealership with my friend Arlene. She was there because she is my friend and to make sure that I spend as much money as possible today. As I sat down at the salesman's desk working out the final details he said,

"I'm sure you and your wife will be very happy with the car."
To which I replied, "Oh no. SHE'S not my wife. She's the woman I fool around with."
Arlene laughed and he looked a little perplexed.

I'm outta here. 

Saturday, July 9, 2011

It was something to do.

I will be off through Sunday so last week I made plans to head into town with my friend Dave. We took the train in and headed to the 52 story Prudential Building or tower as it is sometimes referred to. It was Bostons first real tall building. Boston had been in decline for the first half of the 20th century. Still stuck in the 19th century. Beginning in the late '50s urban renewal began. They demolished the entire west end, which at the time was a neighborhood, displacing many people. It ended up becoming the financial district. I personally think it's not an attractive building at all especially with it's stupid little flat, square head. That is not my picture below as I didn't bring my jet pack.   
It's located in the Back Bay section of town. So named because at the time of Boston founding this was all water, part of the harbor. A major chunk of the city is landfill. Originally Boston was a blob of land at the end of a peninsula. Practically a small island. In any event the city has made quite a comeback in the last 60 or so years.

I would have liked to have gone into town earlier but I had to wait for a tech from DishTv for an equipment upgrade but that's another story for another time, maybe. 
The "Pru". I took this in the courtyard before we entered the building. If I was alone I would have done abit more walking about as there were nice photos to be had but my friend has a heart condition and so I wanted to keep any physical activities to a minimum. A flight of stairs can be very taxing for him, not that we took the stairs to the 50th floor observation deck.
  The rest of the photos are mine. We have had some beautiful weather but yesterday was overcast until, of course, we had to leave.
The neighboring 60 story John Hancock building.
Right next to the Pru, as we call it, is a 36 story building completed in 2002 simply called 111 Huntington Ave. A much more attractive building. Also known as the R2D2 building.
The Christian Science Mother Church right center.
Fenway Park
The Charles River. Right of center the Hatch Shell where the Pops performed on The 4th.
The R2D2 building
video
So that was my Friday. Today I will be out looking at cars and later looking for a new bedroom set. You would think I was rich. I'm not. It's just time to upgrade things. I've waited long enough.

I'm outta here.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Work and fireworks.

I hope everyone had a happy and safe 4th. I unfortunately had to work until 10 last night but it did afford me the chance to see most of the fireworks associated with the Boston Pops 4th of July concert. I work on the other side of the river from  where the fireworks barges and the Hatch Shell are situated. As I drove down Mt. Auburn St. I found a parking space much to my surprise. I sat in my car and listened on the radio to a bit of the national broadcast on CBS waiting for my cue as to when the fireworks would begin as enjoying a fireworks display on the radio is not the way to go. I waited for them to begin hoping I could see them from where I was parked. No such luck, so I began walking along the river until I found a spot where I had a decent view.
  All the locations I marked are aproximate especially the locations of the barges and the Pops. I guess I saw about 6 or 7 minutes of the display.
The amber and red streaks you see in a couple of the photos are from cars and trucks going by. I also made a little movie complete with the tail end of the 1812 Overature.
video
 It was a particularly busy evening last night. After listening to the usual management babbling, "It should be dead after 7 o'clock so you can probably leave early blah blah blah..." the store in fact quieted down except for the deli. Cold cuts apparently are such an essential staple in this part of Cambridge. The days leading up to the holiday provided us with some strnge questions.
"Do you have a turkey that doesn't smell like meat?" and "Do you have a turkey that tastes like turkey?"

I actually understood the second question. She wanted the most authentic tasting turkey. The black angus roast beef took a beating as well.

"I'll have a half pound of the black agnes roast beef." and the delectible, "black anus roast beef ".

One lady in particular called four times to inquire about a party tray. Three times before she actually ordered and once after. I cannot report what she said to the other two people she spoke to but I spoke to her once before she ordered and the day after she took it home.
My first encounter had her asking me question about what we offered and how many people it would feed. All legit questions. She said the last time she ordered one there was a lot left over. I asked her how many people she was serving. She answered 8. I ran down the trays that would serve 8 people. She then asked about a particular she had ordered in the past that had a particular companies name associated with it.
"Oh do you mean the Dietz and Watson super platter?"
"Yes that's the one. It was very good."
"It is," I said, "but that serves 20 to 25 people. You'll probably have a lot left over again.
"Well that's OK. Some of the people are fat!" she said laughing. She also sounded like she had started her celebration of the 4th a tad early if ya know what I mean.
She called again yesterday with more question about the platter she had at this point ordered, picked up and consumed.
"Did the platter have tongue on it?" I mean what what festive occasion is not complete without a serving of beef tongue!

"No ma'am there wasn't any tongue on the tray. It could have been the roast beef!"

"No." she said, "And the beef was devine!"

The platter was pretty basic. Roast beef, turkey, ham and swiss cheese. Her next question concerned the swiss cheese.

"Are you sure that was swiss cheese because some of the slices didn't have holes in them. I think it was provolone"

Yeah right lady. We snuck slices of provolone in between the slices of swiss. That always gives us big yucks. Not to mention that swiss is oblong in shape and provolone is round. Next question.
"What was the flat thing? My friends and I are discussing this right now."

Let me get this straight lady. You have a Monday afternoon cold cut discussion group? Is this Harvard or M.I.T. calling?

"I'm not quite sure what you are are referring to ma'am as all cold cut slices are flat." Unless some of your fat friends ate the plastic party tray.

 I will say that throughout this whole insane conversation she was never rude or belligerent and it sounded like she was still in celebration mode, if you know what I mean. Talk about high maintanence! She sounded like the typical person from this part of Cambridge, near the various universities, who are quite well off and really have never done anything for themselves. I'm surprised that she and her friends (some of which are fat) managed to make a sandwich on there own, unless of course they had the maid or butler make it for them. Perhaps they even prechewed the food for them saving them that tedious task. Unfortunately they would have to swallow on there own. Don't forget we are going through tough times.

So that was my "holiday". On the plus side my reward for working on the 4th is having this upcoming Friday, Saturday and Sunday off.

Martha's Vineyard is calling me again. I am in love with the place. I will be going back during the week of September 18th after all the crazies are gone and the weather is still quite nice. I understand the President will be going back in a few weeks though I'm guessing where he and his family are staying will be a bit nicer than where I stay. Not to say where I stay isn't nice because it is.

This blog has taken me a good portion of the morning, uhh I see it is now the afternoon. Well I do have things to do. It's another hot and sticky one today. That's all, over and out.

I'm outta here. 
 
 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Happy early 4th

Happy early 4th! I'm not sure when I will be able to get back here. I am working tonight, then a full day on Sunday and until 10 p.m. on Monday so there won't be much celebrating on my part. At least Sunday and Monday are all overtime. On the plus side, I work very close to the Charles River where the fireworks barges are so I will be getting out just before they begin and should be able to view them from the parking lot of my store. I could also walk about a half mile up the street to the river bank and join about 500,000 of my closest friends for an even better view. There are trees in the way in the Mt. Auburn Cemetery across the street but I am close enough that they should be clearly visible. I won't be close enough to hear the Boston Pops but they are usually done by the time the fireworks begin at around 10:15. I did go once back in 1976 when Arthur Fiedler was still around but I'm not good with huge crowds though they are well behaved now compared to then. If I were home I could walk down to the Mystic River (There's nothing mystical about it, it's just the English pronunciation of old Native American names.) and have pretty good view but at work I will be just across the Charles River about a 2 miles from the festivities. Maybe I'll take some pictures or better yet a video. Both the Charles and Mystic River meet and flow into Boston Harbor.

Time to get ready for work. Happy 4th everyone!