Saturday, March 28, 2009

Et Tu iTunes?

Yes you iTunes. iTunes, the world's biggest digital music pusher will introduce a new pricing structure come April. Prices will come in three tiers: 69 cents, 99 cents, and $1.29. Record prices will get to choose how their music is priced. Apple had previously had all tune available for just 99 cents.  Also, Apple gave record labels that flexibility on pricing as it got them to agree to sell all songs free of Digital Rights Management (DRM)a technology that limit's folk's ability to copy songs or move them to multiple computers. The big-head monster Apple had been offering a 'limited selection' (i.e. crap nobody else but you would want anyways) of songs without DRM, but by quarters end, they say, all 10 bazillion songs in it's library will be available that way. So Apple is going the route of "if you want a popular new song bad enough, maybe a new Beyonce or R.E.M tune, you'll pay the extra 30 cents." Kind of nasty, but well...people will pay it. 
I'm just hoping that the music I like is ahem, 'old enough' to fall into the 69 cents category.
Rock on.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I Drove 45 Minutes For This??

So the other day my friend calls and says there is a Job Fair in Edison, a town about 45 minutes north of here via the New Jersey Turnpike. I was excited and got some nice resume paper, copied my letter of recommendation, got some references together and go them all together.
I was up early, had a nice shower shaved, made myself presentable and hit the highway for the event. I wanted to get there early and beat the rush. It was held in the ballroom of a hotel and the parking lot was full when I arrived so I had to park next door in another hotel's parking lot. 
I dashed through the rain into the lobby and found a man set up at a table and a basket that said "Resumes" on it. I dropped in a resume and he told me to go down the hall to the left. I was excited, expecting to find companies like FedEx, Costco, Sams' Club and who knows what else. What I did find was a room filled with people. The people milling about were, of course, job seekers. They were milling about the tables of 6 or so companies that showed up for the so called 'job-fair'. The companies there were 4 or 5 financial firms, AFLAC was there as was DISH Network (looking for people to climb onto roofs and install dishes) and of course, Mary-Kay I even left the room and walked down the hall to see if there were more employers.  I then walked back to the man at the desk in the entry and asked "Is that it?" He shrugged and said "That's it." I wish it had been advertised as a 'professionals only' job-fair so I didn't have to waste my time and gas.
Now when they advertised this event, they listed 7 or so companies and the ad even said "Plus many more!!" Many more what? Tumbleweeds?
This is getting more and more frustrating. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Keith I'm Shocked! ....and a Little Impressed. Or, My Good Neighbors Far Outweigh the Bad Ones..

So last night I drove into town to the little Dunkin' Donuts/Baskin Robbins to get Mags some soft ice cream which she had been craving. I come home and tow of our neighbors are out in the street. This isn't unusual, we often gather and chat, but it was freakin' cold here last night. I walk into the house and give Mags her ice cream and she informs me Jarod, the young guy three houses down, has lost his house keys and is locked out. His wife and baby are sitting in the mini-van waiting for a locksmith. I bring the yellow pages down to him and find our next door neighbor Johnathan, the State Trooper standing with him. Jarod tells us they are just home from California and he has realised that the keys to his house and his new Subaru (which is in long-term parking at JFK) are in California. So from JFK I'm guessing the MIL picked them up and let them use her mini-van to drive home to Joisey
Anyways, the locksmith has been called and he says he's 15-25 minutes away. Well, we stand outside freezing for over an hour, Jarod calling and getting the ol' "I'm stuck in traffic" bit. It was 8pm and really there is nowhere this guy could be stuck. In the meantime, Keith rolls up. He asks us what we're up to and we give him the rundown. He says 'gimme a minute' and soon returns with a coat-hanger and a beer. He walks around to the patio door and sees that Jarod has placed a long round piece of wood in the track to prevent break-ins. Keith works the coat-hanger between the doors and manages to pop the piece of wood out onto the floor. We laugh at his creativity ( the State Trooper is also impressed) and he then tries to lift the door out of the lock and slide it open. He cannot. He is discouraged because "I thought I could get into any of these houses" he says .
So he goes home again to get a ladder. We are still waiting for the locksmith at this point. Keith comes back and climbs to every window, which are, of course, locked.
At this point the locksmith shows up. He is a dead ringer for Marty Feldman as 'Igor' in 'Young Frankenstein' except he is an Indian. He gets his kit and walks to the door. He sees it is a dead bolt and says "woooo....deadbolt...very hard to pick.." we all exchange glances and we know what is coming. He works the lock for maybe ten minutes and says "If I can't get it I will have to drill it out." Thankfully, he has a load of NEW locks in his mini-van. Nice coincidence huh? Jarod panics at the thought of the new lock being drilled out and, the Marty informs him, it will cost him $150 to perform this action. At this point, Jarod says "Mannn...I think there is a spare key in my Honda, but the keys to it are on my other key-ring (in CA.) Again Keith says, "wait right here..." and goes back home. He comes back with 4 things. A very large screwdriver, a long metal device with a rubber handle, what looks like the cuff of a blood-pressure tool, and a beer.
He pries the door open a tiny bit with the screwdriver, inserts the blood-pressure cuff thingy into the gap, pumps it up until the door is open enough to get the long metal thingy in there and unlocks the door.
There is indeed a spare key to the house in the center console and Jarod and his wife and their baby, are able to get into the house. Now the locksmith demands $85. Jarod tells him he didn't do anything and will not pay him $85. He does offer him $40 cash for coming out. In the end the guy did take the $40 but I'm afraid they will try and make Jarod pay for the whole deal. So if you're ever locked out of your house/car give Keith a call. I'm sure you'll be able to pay him with beer.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring Has Sprung??

Okay so the other day I sat out on my little patio. The sun was shining, the temps were in the mid 60's, there was a nice breeze and a 'high' wind. By high wind I mean the strongest part of said breeze was just cruising the tree-tops. It made for interesting viewing, watching the tops of the trees sway back and forth and their branches clicked together like natures own windchimes. It creates a pretty neat sound effect too. 
So anyways, I'm sitting in the sun, listening to our small brass wind chimes clinking softly in the background, kicking CrazyDog's ball across the yard for him, enjoying the warmth of the sun on my back and decided I'd write a blog entry. No I don't have a laptop, I did it the old fashioned guys remember pens and paper, right?? So there I sat, basking in the warmth, enjoying the day..and today..the first day of is freakin' snowing! 
So I sat and wrote with all intentions of posting this on that day, Wednesday, when all those good things happened at 'the Rock' I felt I needd to pay tribute to Marty and Patty and yesterday, well..not so into the blog.

Mags has been down and out with a bad dose of something. her diagnosis can't really be pinned down to one thing but it is nasty. When something knocks my wife off her feet it is bad. For the last week she has been coughing like a three-pack a day smoker and her fever has at points, peaked out at 101.8 She has been given three new meds and we're still waiting for them to start kicking in. The worse part is that my wife is slightly, well...neurotic about new meds. It's kinda like getting Woody Allen to sip down his cough syrup. I mean, it has codein and that crap is strong stuff, combined with all the other meds she must take, I understand her reluctance. 
Her lungs are full of phlegm and she's been hacking for days trying to clear it. Unfortunately not a lot is coming out. Good thing nurse Connor is on the case. No I'm not wearing  the white skirt...pervs...
I went to our local Wegmans for some chicken soup and when she took a look at it, she almost hurled. No soup for you! No, it is good soup but that was another side-effect of her illness, nothing looks good and food makes her tummy tumble. So hopefully she'll be back to good health soon.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Happy St. Marty's Day or Patrick Who?? or 552 and couting...

Last night history was made at 'the Rock'. Again. 35 minutes or so after Patrik Elias' bit of history.
Marty Brodeur has set the NHL record of wins by a goaltender, surpassing Patrick Roy. Patrick Roy was an awesome goaltender right up until he hung up the skates a few years ago and was in attendance Saturday night in Montreal when Marty tied his record. Ever the classy and knowledgeable fans, the Habs fans gave home-town boy Marty a standing ovation after his record tying performance. Emotional. Tuesday night in Newark, the fans were ready for the record to fall and to be claimed by our own Martin Brodeur. Mike 'Doc' Emrick claims that fans greeted him with chants of 'Marty!Marty!' as early as 5 pm in the parking lot. We love our team and Marty is the cornerstone. He survived a late goal by the Hawks late in the third and when the Hawks pulled their goalie, held tight the fort to collect win # 552. The winningest goalie in NHL history. The great thing is Marty still has three years left on his contract and who knows how many more wins he can pile on in that time? This year he can also eclipse the all time shut-out record currently at 103, held by a Mr. Terry Sawchuck. Marty is at 100 so 104 is a very good probability his season. 
Here are some of Marty's achievements:
Most regular season wins (achieved in 2008-09 season)(552). Broduer passedPatrick Roy' record of 551
  • 2nd place, Most shutouts (96)
  • Most combined shutouts (122, both regular season and playoffs)
  • Most overtime wins (45)
  • Most consecutive 30-win seasons (12)
  • Most consecutive 35-win seasons (11)
  • Most 40-win seasons (7)
  • Only NHL goalie to score a game-winning goal
  • One of two NHL goalies (Ron Hextall) to score a goal in both the regular season and the playoffs

Regular season

  • Most wins in a single season (48, in 2006–07)
  • Most minutes played in a single season (4697, in 2006–07)


  • Most shutouts in a playoff (7, in 2002–03)
  • 2nd place: 22 Shutouts
  • Most shutouts in a Stanley Cup final (3, in 2002–03)
Tied with Toronto Maple LeafsFrank McCool.
  • 2nd place: 94 Wins
  • 3rd goaltender to win the Stanley Cup with a Game-7 shutout in 2002–03.
  • 1st goaltender in history to have 3 shutouts in two different playoff series. (1995 against Boston in the Conference Quarterfinals, 2003 against Anaheim in the Stanley Cup final.)


Happy St. Patrik's Day or 702 and counting

Last night at 'the Rock' history was made twice. The man you see here was credited with a sweeet assist on Brian Gionta's second period goal making him the New Jersey Devils all-time points scorer, surpassing Mr. John MacLean (no slouch himself on the ice).
He now has 702 points in his career which has spanned 15 years in the NHL all with the Devils.
Patrik is a class act on and off the ice and even though he was presented with opportunity's to go elsewhere he chose his loyalty to the Devs. And are Devils fans glad he did. Patrik continues to be a solid performer and this Devils fan hopes he continues to do so for a long time to come.
Here's a few record Patrik holds...
  • Most Overtime Goals in a season, 4.
  • Most Overtime Winners, 15 (tied with Mats Sundin and Jaromír Jágr)
  • New Jersey Devils record for most points in one season, 96.
  • New Jersey Devils record for most points in a playoff season, 23.
  • New Jersey Devils all-time leader in playoff goals (39), assists (71), and points (110).
  • New Jersey Devils record for hat tricks, 6 (tied with John MacLean).
  • New Jersey Devils record for all time assists, 365.
  • New Jersey Devils record for all-time scoring in goals (293) and total points (702), ahead of John MacLean
  • New Jersey Devils record for game winning goals (60).
Pretty awesome, right?
Thanks Patrik and congratulations!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Shed Spring Cleaning

Thanks to my lovely wife, I was allowed to sleep in this morning. This is a good thing. I got up & had my tea and sat in my 'just-got-up' fog twenty or so minutes until the caffeine made it's way through my system. I then had my second cup and after said cup, decided I was feeling ambitious and said to Mags "Today I'll clean the shed." Her reply was one of concern. "Sure you wanna tackle that today Tiger?"
"Of course," says Me.
The weather has been damp and that makes my always hurting back hurt more, but I layered up and went out. Our shed is pretty small but we've got a lot of stuff in it and it, for the most part, neatly arranged. It does however, get out of control when someone (me)  gets lazy about looking after it. So today I decide to fix that. 
I pulled mostly everything out onto the lawn and swept the floor. The floor would not need sweeping if the little bastard field mice would move out. I do, unwittingly, feed them in the form of the bird-seed I spill when filling the bird feeder and that keeps them fat and happy. And they won't leave. I tried traps but honestly, I am an animal lover and can't stand the thought of hurting any animal, even though they have destroyed a perfectly good pair of work gloves, a pair of soccer shorts, and chewed the hell out of a great Guinness golf towel, gotten into my bird seed (one ate himself to death and I found him very fat and very much dead in the top of the container)  I have killed a few, unintentionally of course, over the last two years and I felt like crap. The worse was the two that were in the top of the lawn mower and got scared when I started it and tried to escape down through the bottom of the mower. It wasn't pretty.  A few still live in the top of the motor but I've since moved on to a reel-mower so they're safe. Even more are in the bottom of my golf bag....but I digress.
After sweeping the floor I had to rearrange all our tools and bags of seed and fertilizer. I then reworked our shelves and finally, after just abut two hours, had success. Now to keep it looking that good, right?
We, when I say we I mean mostly Mags, is on a mission to clean up the garage. We have been on a cleaning spree and have put our Brother Label maker to good use, labeling everything in the garage. It took awhile but it's done and we now know where (mostly) everything is.
I then trimmed CrazyDogs little paws, washed the kitchen floor and had me a long hot shower. The hot shower is really just as much about getting clean as it is about loosening up my back. So now I sit and surf. Relaxing listening to some tunes. 

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Errands Run, Home Enjoying Tunes and Tea

Yes. All my errands have been run. it is only 12:30 and I've actually been home for over an hour.
This morning I ran (well, I took the car) to the Post Office to get stamps and mail a wedding gift for my cousin Erin who is taking the plunge later this month. Plunging literally. Her and her groom to be will jump from a '53 Grumman Goose, priest in tow and by the time the ceremony is done they should float safely down to their landing site, which is the deck of one of the Kennedys yachts that is docked in Newport. From there, they will pogo-stick to the reception hall where guests will dine on Kobe beef-burgers and Alpaca tacos. Okay, there won't be Alpaca. And really, they aren't pogo-sticking. Actually, it's all a lie. Except for the wedding part. That they are doing. And really, there may be a pogo-stick or two at the reception. There will certainly be a kazoo. Sorry, I'm bored. And digressing.
So yesterday a friend and former co-worker tells me her husband tattooed a guy who is working for a business that is in the building I used to work in.  And they are looking for help. So I head in that direction and pop into the Post Office in that town. I get incredibly luck and I have paid for a package to be sent and purchased a book of stamps in less than ten minutes. I drive over to my former place of employment and to my chagrin, notice my company's logo still on the door. I get out of the car and peer into the windows. Crap. The place is completely empty. So I drive back in the opposite direction and head for our local PetSmart. Once there I run in for a bag of food for CrazyDog and speak briefly with the young lass who grooms said beasty. Then I pop into AC Moore and have a look around. I grab a sketching pencil or two to replace worn down pencils and head home. Mags is not feeling so hot so hopefully we'll have a relaxing day today. We, well I will anyways, end the day by watching the main man in Jersey Martin Brodeur try for win 551. This will tie him for first in wins ever by a goaltender. Tying the great Patrick Roy. If you're into hockey, even if you're not a Devils fan, you should try and check it out. History baby, history.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Nothing is Amusing at 430 am.

So we're up early. Once we stir, our animals think it is time to start the day. This is true especially of the cat, who wants to be fed every three hours. I let the dog out at 4:30 and gave the cat a few bits of dry food to hold him until breakfast at 7 am.  
So here we sit. Me on my 'puter, Mags on hers...she sent me an email with some cartoons in it and I looked at them. Not too funny. Maybe, however in four or five hours they will be. I'm funny like that. My wife opens her eyes at no-matter-what-time and is instantly wide awake. I, however need much more prodding. This usually includes several strong cups of Irish tea and a hot shower. Not always in that order. I am, generally, not a morning person. I am told I am slightly wel...cranky when I first wake. Especially if it is before 6 am and for no good reason. ( example: See last entry on neighbors truck)
So anyways, I was checkingon my favorite blogs and every now and then I click the little 'next blog' button on the Blogger toolbar. You know, just to see what's out there. Can I say this without sounding like a dick? (*remember I've been awake since 430) are there any blogs written in English out there? I clicked 'next blog' more than twenty times and got one written in English and it's last entry showed a kid dressed as a BLT sandwich. 
I'm not predjudice, the bloggin community is a worldwide thing and maybe soem of them are really entertaining but is there something in our Blogger settings that will bring up only blogs written in English? Someone please help. It's too early and I'm starting to get cranky..

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hooked on Adobe

So as you can see, I've added a new header to my blog. Around Valentine's Day Mags was wishing we had a good photo-shop type program. We popped into our local Kohls (which we both love) and there in that same plaza is a Staples. Mags loves Staples. She has this thing with office supplies...but again I digress.
We went in and found Adobe Elements 7. It was pretty reasonable so we grabbed it. Well lately I have been really tinkering with it. If you click on Mags Simpson-type character it will bring you to her blog and you can see more of my Handy-work there. The more you use this program, the more you realise you can do with it...for example...the pic above of my niece Cassandra and Ms. Montana. I even found a pic of the microphone online and edited it to be the right size to fit Cassie's tiny little hand. Neato speedo right? She got a huge kick out of it but Miley Cyrus is now out and the Jonas Bros are in so I'm working on another similar photo except with Nick Jonas...
My new header was just something I did the other night. I was sick of the 'flatness' of my old one and went online to find free alphabets. They are actually for digital scrap booking but you can do with them as you wish. So I downloaded a bunch and dug around online and found a pic of my favorite brew in what seemed like a comfortable pub. As for the chicks, well I was doing an 'Easter' header for Mags and for some crazy reason felt the need to add these cute little guys to my blog. I was originally going to have the chicks lifting each other into the glass but found a bunch of chicks doing a ladder-type thing to the top of the pint to be much more entertaining...well to me anyways...hey and if I only amuse myself, that's okay. Often I'm the only one I do amuse. And again, that's okay.

The weather here is nasty. It's damp and rainy which means bad news for my back. I can have a hot bath and that helps..until I get out of the hot water. I'll be spending the evening sitting on the heating pad.

I've got a couple more watercolors to scan. 

I'm trying to get back into art again. When I was younger I drew all the time, filling sketchbook after sketchbook. I doodled and cartooned my coworkers now and then (most of them got a kick out of them..again, amusing myself) but for the most part gave it up. But then I see site like this and it makes me want to draw again. I'm tinkering with colored pencil , watercolor and just plain ol' graphite sketching pencils. Pencils are the most forgiving but I'm liking the results of watercolors....we'll see.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I'm So Good I Got A Raise and I'm Not Even Working!

Yest it's true. Yesterday in the mail I received one of those 'official' letters from the State. You know, 'tear tab one, remove tab two, tear tab 3, open inwards' deals. Thanks to a certain plan by the man in the White House, since I am on the dole I will receive an additional 25 bucks a week! Sweet right?
On a more serious note, the job market blows. There really is nothing out there. I check four sources every day and unless I decide to do landscaping or work in a factory for 9 bucks an hour, it's pretty grim. But I plod on. I'm sending in about 4-5 online apps a week. The worse part is, nobody even calls. Two jobs were online scams I think. They reply immediately and then I clicked through 6 pages of work-at-home offers and adverts for colleges in far-flung places such as Calcutta Ohio and  Wilmington and Northern Georgia University (WANG U) and still can't figure out how to get any info on the 'job' they advertised. Humph. So that's where I'm at.  What's up witchoo?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Weird Quandry is 'Love Thy Neighbor'

Okay so I've spoken before about the cuckoo next door with the ducks and rooster, the kids who wander the streets after 11pm bouncing basketballs and yelling around the block to one another and of course about the good neighbors, the one's you enjoying seeing, spending time with, etc. 
When the good Lord laid down the Big Laws he spoke of many things, all rather bad, depending on whether or not you were interested in a peaceful and happy afterlife and not spending it on Satan's BBQ spit.
One of these here, 'laws', Golden Rules if you will, was 'Love thy Neighbor'. Now if you are indeed a Supreme Being this is quite easy. Especially if said Supreme Being did not know my neighbors. Well, he 'knows' them but he doesn't have to live near them. Here are a couple of examples of why I'm vexed on this....
~~We had quite a snowstorm the other day and when there was about a foot on the ground I decided to shovel at least the sidewalk, because by law, you must. Since it was still snowing I wasn't going to attempt the driveway. So I shoveled and cleared my part of the sidewalk and went in. Mags had made us some soup for lunch and I got up for a drink and noticed a young lad shoveling the end of my driveway. I squinted to see out and it was Steven, our neighbors son. He is about ten, I think, and I turned to Mags and told her what he was up to. I bundled up and went out there. When I arrived his mother was walking towards me with a shovel of her own. I insisted that they need not do this, whilst I was very grateful. She said to me "You nor your wife are in any condition to do this. " I started to protest but she continued "We're neighbors, we're helping you out." Great right? Before I move on from this incident I must say her husband Kenny is a Plumber/HVAC guy and on more than one occasion has helped us with our heating/ac problems for next to nothing. Usually for free.
~~The wing-nut next door with her yard full of barnyard animals. She had a rooster at one point and this little bastard would crow at the first hint of daylight, usually before 6am. Her kids are another story. They are now in the 'Lacrosse' stage and are often standing in the road flinging that rock-hard ball around by the cars. The very worse thing is if you say anything to her, she'll cry discrimination or harassment because she is not an American.
~~When the motor in our A/C unit blew, Jeff around the bend, who owns a store for such things told us he could get us a motor. He told us next day he had to order it from out of state. When it arrived he told us we only owed him what it cost him. He even paid for the shipping. The aforementioned Kenny installed it for nothing. 
~~A neighbor, who I actually really like, starts his truck up every morning at 6am. What's wrong with that say you? Well, the truck is one of those massive 2 tons with the extenda-cab. You know the big construction site kinda things. Although it is brand new. Now here's the thing. He for some reason had a ahem 'High-performance' exhaust system put on. It is LOUD. It shakes the windows in our house and wakes up everyone within in a four or five house radius. He then lets it run for up to 40 minutes. (good thing gas is so cheap.) 
~~Any time our neighbors across the way are going to sit out back they invite us over. they are in a pretty bad financial state but they always offer us a drink/snack and when our birthdays come around we always get a card from them. Last year I was ailing form something, down and out really, and they came over with a get-well gift. A Guinness hat/tshirt combo pack. Nice right?
~~The kids here are usually okay but on occasion they will gather in the road and blast their car stereos and when I say blast, I mean blast. The car was once thirty feet away and the pictures on my wall were shaking. They will stand in the road talking and yelling until after midnight sometimes. This is okay with their parents because at least 'they know where their kids are.'
So as you can see, 'Love thy Neighbor' is a precarious thing. 

Monday, March 2, 2009

My Good Deed For The Day

We are right at this very moment in the middle of a heavy duty snowstorm. We have almost 8 inches on the ground and it's still flyin'. Cold nasty and very, very windy. A perfect day for being indoors. Anyways, last night I says to Mags "I must fill the bird feeder in the morning." I scored a really nice bird-feeder from work a few years ago and ever since I hung it my yard has been the hip dining place in the local area for those cute little song birds, and sadly, one little bastard squirrel. It is the place to be if you have feathers. And a long scraggly tail. Okay squirrels are cute and all but the birds need the seed. There I go again, digressing...
Anyways, I walked out the the shed where I keep the feed, which some field mice have been enjoying too, and then out to the little clearing in the woods to take down the feeder so I can fill it. Well I get to the feeder and to my shock, there is a tiny little bird stuck inside the feeder! Don't ask me how he (she) got himself (herself) in there but it was clear, my little feathered friend was very unhappy and very scared. I gently brought the feeder of the hook and placed it on the ground. I spun the lid form the top so he (she) could fly out. Well the little guy (girl) just flapped like crazy, bouncing around in the bottom of the feeder. I then tipped the feeder on its side and waited. The bird stopped, looked forward, twisted his (her) little neck to look up at me and then hopped forward. He (she) stepped out into the snow, had a quick look 'round and then flew into the brush a few feet away. I told Mags and she says "Good thing you went out when you did." Sure is..
Anyways. I found this guys blog, A Free Man, and he was doing this experiment with bloggers. An interview experiment. He's hooking up bloggers and having them interview one another. I wrote and interview for Sharala.  I'm still waiting to see who will be 'interviewing' me. If you're interested I think he's still doing it so visit his site and leave a comment on this entry.
That's all for now.
Stay warm

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Here's a painting I did yesterday. Trying my hand at watercolors.