Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I want to give thanks for all the giving and thanks that I have been given and thanks for giving me the chance to give thanks back...

Thanksgiving is a great holiday. I mean, three football games on the television, more food than you would need for an entire week is sitting in front of you, spending time with family and friends, drinking beer and wine starting at noon time and a long weekend. How can you beat that? That's right, you can't. With all that in mind, I want to take time to pay homage to everything that I am thankful for.

1. I'm thankful for being employed. 2009 started out rather crappily on the job front, but it has turned out to be a great year for me in the working world. I'm doing what I love, and loving what I do. I'm also working on a couple of ideas to make 2010 even better!

2. I'm thankful for my wonderful wife and daughter. These two ladies are the reason I wake up with a smile on my face every day. I won the lottery with them, and can't tell you how lucky I am to be husband and father to them.

3. I'm thankful for my incredible parents, as well as my awesome in-laws. They are a great support system for me, always willing to give me a helping hand, whether it's over the phone or in person. They mean more to me than they will ever know.

4. I'm thankful for my wonderful sister and new brother in law down in Atlanta. I miss the hell out of them every day, and am super excited to see them very soon! I'm also thankful for my other brother in law and his new bride. We don't see you guys nearly often enough, but it's always great to get together.

5. I'm thankful for my grandparents up in The County. I know I don't get up to see you often (ever, I suck), but I cherish our visits when you come down. It's great to catch up on County gossip and look forward to seeing you again very soon.

6. I'm thankful for our wild and crazy dog. He may have way more energy than I wish sometimes, and I may be slightly allergic to him, but his excitement every time he sees us is priceless.

7. I'm thankful to have such amazing friends. Nichole and I are so lucky to have such a wonderful group of friends. Whether you are high school friends, college buddies, sports friends or friends through past and present jobs, we are so lucky to call you all friends. I've lost a couple of good friends over the years, but you will never be forgotten.

8. I'm thankful to be healthy. I love playing sports, doesn't matter what sport it is, I just want to be out there competing. I'm so lucky to be able to get out there and run around every week.

9. I'm thankful for 80's music. You have been the soundtrack to my life thus far, and you continue to make me smile. You may be ridiculous, you may even be kinda bad, but I still love ya!

10. I'm thankful for cheese sauce at the Great Lost Bear. You may be clogging my arteries with every french fry I eat, but damn you taste good! I also want to give bacon a shout out, you go so good with everything. You little rascal!

11. I'm thankful for beer. It's good. I mean really good. I might go get some shortly, and personally thank it for being so good.

12. I'm thankful for my iPhone. Seriously, you are amazing. You entertain me, you wake me up in the morning, you inform me when my fantasy teams score points. You even play my favorite songs for me. I hope we are together forever.

13. I'm thankful for Facebook. I'm able to stay up to date on all my friends and family, and they are able to see ridiculous pictures of me and hear about the mayhem and silly things we do.

14. I'm thankful for coffee and sugar free Red Bull. You have single handedly helped me through some long days after late nights in the home office. Sometimes burning the candle from both ends can be tiring, but you are always there to help me through. Keep up the good work so I can do the same!

15. I'm thankful for everyone that reads this. I love putting thoughts down, and you have given me an audience. I often ramble or rant, or talk about something you don't care about, but you keep reading, and I freaking love it. I am hoping to someday write for some sort of publication, but until then, thanks for all your support and comments. As long as I know you are reading I'll keep writing!

So, as you can see, I have much to be thankful for this holiday season. As I get ready to begin my long weekend, I ask that you all put you differences aside, be them family, friends, politics or sports, and be thankful for all the good in your life. Unless you like the Yankees, screw them! I'm just saying...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I can see clearly now, the pain is gone...

I'm blind, like really blind. I couldn't read what I am writing right now if I didn't have my contact lenses in. That being said, if I wear my contacts for too long, things start to break down and they become more of a pain than anything else. During my last visit to the eye doctor, about 2 years ago, I was ridiculed by my doctor for wearing my contacts too long. He prescribed me a new type of contact and asked that I start using a new type of solution, which should combine to help keep my eyes from drying out so quickly. See, not only am I blind, but I am also allergic to my own damn dog! Not just my dog, but long hair dogs in general. So not only does our poor dog give me a touch of what I have coined the "Yawkey Eye", but so do my sister's dog Charlie and my in-laws dog Brody. It's not that big of a deal, I just get a really dry, scratchy eyes. Anyways, when the doctor gave me the new contacts to use, he reminded me several times that they are intended to be used for two weeks only, anything after that is pushing it.

Fast forward to today, almost two years to the day since I visited my old eye doctor down on Middle Street in Portland. I strolled into my new optometrists office in South Portland and informed them that my eyes have been really tired lately and that my contacts are "kinda old". How old they ask. Well, let's just say I bought a two months supply nearly two years ago, and leave it at that. Well, any potential sympathy for me went flying out the proverbial window (the office is in the middle of the Maine Mall), and I was instantly being ridiculed by a new doctor.

I went through the usual array of tests, including this thing they do where they shoot air into your eye as part of some glaucoma test. Talk about nearly jumping out of your seat, this scared the holy hell out of me! After about 10 minutes of looking in all directions and trying to read the fine print on a wall across the tiny office, the doctor popped a new pair of contacts into my eyes and like a miracle (think Moses parting the Red Sea or the 1980 US Olympic hockey team) I could see again, and it didn't hurt! It's so exciting to have a fresh pair of contacts in again!

After this was all done, Nichole and I went next door to pick out a pair of glasses. Now, those of you who know me pretty well know that I have a bit of a crooked head. It's not so much that my head is crooked, but more like my ears aren't level or something. Glasses don't look quite right on me. I have never liked the way glasses feel on me, or look on me. I don't even wear sunglasses. I have a big, hairy melon (hairy face, big melon), and I just can't seem to find a pair of spectacles that look good on me, in my opinion. Thus the reason my beautiful wife came along. I figure I should have a pair of glasses to wear around the house, give my contacts a break at night and on the weekends. Don't really intend to wear them out of the house, but they should at least be something Nichole isn't going to completely make fun of me for, therefore she helps by picking them out for me! Well, let's just say that we left LensCrafters empty handed, but did have one pair in mind that we may go back for after the holidays. Here's hoping Santa brings me a pair of level ears this year. I'm just saying...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Song lyrics. Art or just ridiculous phrases? Talk amongst yourselves...

I love music. I listen to it all day long at work, it's always playing in the car, and we typically have it playing at home. I like most anything too, with a few exceptions. That being said, I don't really listen to what the artists are saying most of the time, I will usually like a song for the sound of it, or how it makes me feel. For example, I need a little pick me up today, as I am not feeling too hot. I've got some rap bouncing in the background right now, mainly because I need something to keep me going, and some of my usual suspects might cause me to dive head first into my keyboard with a sudden case of narcolepsy. I'm noticing though, that Lil' Jon is just a tad crazy. I mean, have you ever really listened to some of the straight up poop he spits out of his mouth? I guess the worst part is that I, at some point, deemed it necessary to own, my bad.

Listening to "Get Low" by Lil' Jon and the Eastside Boyz this morning, and I realized that this guy wrote a song about "sweat dripping down his balls" while watching girls at a strip club. And we bought it. If you are bored, read the lyrics, what an illiterate piece of work that guy is. Wow. Clearly Atlanta didn't have a no child left behind policy in the late 80's, cuz dis foo waz left b-hind, fo sho!

Then there is my favorite line from a song (sarcasm for those of you not picking that up), from the song "Smack That" by Akon. "Maybe go to my place and just kick it like Tae Bo, and possibly bend you over, look back and watch me smack that". Really? I mean, first of all, using Tae Bo to get a rhyme in there is priceless, but to follow it up with "possibly bend you over", classy! You find me a girl that wouldn't have her pants charmed right off of her after a line like that. I know, you can't.

My favorite lyrics from a song right now are from the song "Toes" by the Zac Brown Band. This country ditty is kind of awesome (go ahead, make fun of me, but listen to it, and tell me that you wouldn't want to be the one singing the song)! The chorus includes the lines "I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand, not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand. Life is good today". Heck yeah, that is a sweet visual, and with winter coming here in Maine, sign me up!

I've been a big fan of Jack Johnson for a while. The smooth sounds are a great way to just chill out and relax. On one of the surfer flick soundtracks he contributes to, he does a cover of the Jimmy Buffett song "A Pirate Looks At 40". The line "Well, I've been drunk now for over two weeks, I've passed out and I've rallied and I've sprung a few leaks" is a favorite of mine. I think it the entire song is something we can all relate to in one way or another.

The new single from Theory of a Deadman, "Hate My Life", listen to it. You will smile, it's funny. Trust me. That is all.

Anyone else have any memorable lyrics they really like? I could go on all day about some of the lyrics out there, but I need to remind myself it is just entertainment. Because some of the crap out there doesn't entertain me, doesn't mean someone else doesn't totally get into it. Seriously though, Lil Jon, nobody cares if sweat is running down your balls, I'm just saying...

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What does your car say about you? Apparently I'm a hot college chick!

What a person drives for a car can say a lot about them. A person's car is sort of a status symbol, a way to tell people who you are and what you believe in. Bumper stickers are a way of adding to the overall picture.

Political stickers tell you a decent amount right off the bat. A New York sports team sticker tells us you are a douche. "Baby on Board" or "My kid is on the honor roll at ______ School" let's us know you have kids, and let's be honest, nobody gives a rat's ass what your kids grades are. Your car climbed Mt Washington? Don't care, in fact, nobody does. Some people are into the stickers where some cartoonish character is urinating on a Ford logo, or a Chevy logo, or even a sports teams logo. Really? You want a pissing kid on your back window? I've even seen rubber testicles hanging from bumpers before. Wish I was kidding, that wasn't even right.

Anyways, back to the actual car. What kind of car do you drive? In my driveway we have a Honda CRV. Not really sure what that says about us. We also have a VW Jetta. I was told this morning that this car is what hot college chicks drive. Cool! I always thought hippies drove VW's, but apparently this particular VW is meant to be driven by barely legal hotties. Could be worse, I guess.

What do other cars say about a person?

Hummer - Dude with something to compensate for. Chances are he is short and / or lacking in the groin region. There is nothing wrong with that, it's just obvious that he is trying to make up for something by driving such a monstrous machine. Why else would anyone drive a car that only gets about 15 miles per gallon? You probably have a "McCain/Palin" sticker on your bumper.

Mini Van - Soccer/Hockey mom. Chances are you have multiple children, at least one of which you are driving all over the place for practices and games, carrying a fair amount of equipment for said sport. You probably have one of those damn "honor roll" stickers on the back, ugh.

Prius - Earth conscious hippy. Regardless of how long your commute is, you don't want to spend much on gas, and you would rather shop at Whole Foods than Wal-Mart. This will probably be our next car for those reasons and more. These people typically have "Obama/Biden" or "Buy Local" stickers on them.

Giant, American made pickup truck - These are usually driven by guys that own carpentry and other trade businesses. You see lots of them on the highway each morning, heading to the job site. Usually there are 2-3 big, burly dudes inside, ripping butts and drinking Mt Dew. Often times you will find stickers referring to testicles, farts or your mother on their bumpers.

What others am I missing? When you bought your car, you did so for a reason, let me know why. Also, if I'm wrong, well, let's be honest, I'm pretty spot on. Remember, we have a 35 minute commute each way, we see it all every day. I'm just saying...

Monday, November 16, 2009

You know that VH1 show "Best Week Ever"? This is kind of like the opposite of that...

As of about 4:00 on Friday afternoon, I had the best weekend in front of me. Nichole and I were going down to the TD Bank Garden to watch my beloved Celtics take on the Atlanta Hawks. Saturday was going to be a day of working from the home office and watching college football in my underwear, with a late, home cooked dinner for Nichole and I with some wine and a movie that evening. Sunday was going to be a day of home cooking. We had all the ingredients to make a few different kinds of homemade donuts, as well as the fixings for a BBQ chicken pizza, with our favorite football crew, the Patriots, taking on their arch rival, the Indianapolis Colts, that evening. What could be better, right?! Nothing! However...

Drove to Boston right after work on Friday, showing up at the Garden just in time for them to announce the Celtics. Now, if you haven't been to a game before, or even in a few years, you HAVE to get there for the beginning of the game. The call of the starting lineups is one of my favorite sports moments. Seeing the highlights on the jumbotron, and hearing Garnett and Pierce scream is unmatched. I get goosebumps every single time. The Celtics started out the game slow, but worked their way back into the lead at halftime. The second half was brutal. The Celtics couldn't toss the ball into the Atlantic Ocean, Atlanta was making everything, and the ticky tack fouls started to add up. Celtics end up losing by 9, getting our awesome weekend off to a downer of a start. Not to worry, still so much fun ahead of us!

Saturday morning saw me getting up fairly early to get some chores done before Nichole headed down to Scarborough for her Mary Kay open house. I got all the ingredients needed for my home cooking, picked up some necessities and made my way back home to pack up Nichole. Now, I had intended to do some work for a couple of my clients next, but they never got me the items I needed, so I was unable to get any of that done. Now I decided to attack the carpet on our stairs that smells like cat piss. Thought I would be able to quickly pull of the rug and get rid of the smell. Any of you ever tear out a rug? On stairs? What a bitch that was, with all the staples and tiny nails poking into my hands. Plus, the carpet wasn't one big long piece, it was a small section for each step. Oh, and the pissy section was at the very top. This took me about four hours to complete, and I'm certain that when I determine which cat it is, they are hitting the road.

In the meantime, the rain starts. I recently capped the chimney in an effort to reduce the amount of water our basement takes on. Every time it rains a decent amount our basement gets wet. I was hoping the chimney cap would be the solution. I was wrong. I went downstairs at around 6 PM to check on things and had to hop in the kayak at the bottom of the stairs just to make it around the corner. We had enough water, already, to fill a small pool. To make matters worse, it rained that hard for much longer, and our basement got more wet than it ever has before. I would spend the next two hours moving things, laying down towels to block the water and vacuuming water by the gallon. So far, I have removed about 100 gallons of water, and I, easily, have over 100 left. Needless to say, I am feeling a little defeated. Oh, and the Celtics lost again.

Sunday morning I woke up at 11:00 AM. Holy crap, haven't slept that late in years. Feeling rested, I head back to the basement to vacuum some more. After doing this for longing than I ever care to again, I head upstairs to start making some donuts. Nichole and I spend the better part of the afternoon trying some different recipes and have a great time deep frying dough and adding fillings and layers of sugar. We made some donut holes, an apple jelly filled one, and a peanut butter frosting and grape jelly filled one. They came out really good! We may start making them more often, so hopefully you guys like donuts!

Later in the day, I cook up some chicken and bacon, and lay out the wheat crust on the pizza pan. I put down a thin layer of cheese, cover the crust in a spicy barbecue sauce, add another layer of cheese and top with the cooked chicken, bacon and some chopped onions. I add red pepper flakes and bake it to absolute perfection! Just writing about it makes me wish I had some right now. It came out so good! We hit the couch for pizza, beer and the Patriots. Two out of the three weren't bad, and I'll let you guess which one didn't turn out good (I'm not ready to talk about the game yet).

Weekend wasn't at all what I had hoped for, but we survived it, so I guess I can't complain too much. Next weekend will be filled with digging and sealing before the ground freezes, I don't want to ever have to vacuum our basement again. If anyone wants to donate to the "Fix Chateau Marcole" fund, feel free to make the checks out to either Nichole or I, or if you want to help dig a big hole with me this weekend, I'll have homemade donuts and coffee ready for 11:00 AM on Saturday. I'm just saying...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

So many questions, so little time...

A Minneapolis man has been charged with child abuse after allegedly beating his son with an extension cord, burning him with an iron and turning on an oven that the little boy was trying to hide in. The father, 23, according to the criminal complaint, was all huffy at his son, 10, for being in his mother's bedroom.

The boy said he hid under his bed, but his father threatened to kill him if he didn't come out. The boy told police his dad burned him on the leg and arm with a hot iron. When he tried to escape the apartment, the boy's mother allegedly pulled him back inside, where his father whipped him with an extension cord.

The boy said he tried to hide in the family's oven, but climbed out after his father turned the oven on and it warmed up.

The father was arrested by Minneapolis police after admitting he "whooped" the boy and said he had another beating coming and threatened to beat him in front of the officers.

OK, hold on a tic, really?! The father, at 23 years of age, has a 10 year old son! I wonder how old the baby mama is?! If I were the father, I would be teaching my boy not to knock up the nearest neighbor or cousin, since he is almost the right age to procreate apparently. And all this over the little boy hiding in his mother's room. What's going on in there that is so secret? More baby making going on? Mom and dad firing up the crack pipe? I'm a father, I get being frustrated, but turning on the oven? Burning him with a hot iron? What happened to the good old days when dad smacked your ass with a belt or gave you a good spanking? When did branding your kid become the cool form of punishment?

Ah, another fine example of a great role model for kids today. I'm just saying...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Need a cure for the soon to be winter time blues?

Woke up this morning to snow. Threw up. Cleaned up, regrouped and carried on with my day. Winter is, by far, my least favorite season. Why do I still live in Maine you ask? I'm starting to question that myself. Let's just say, thank god I have family and friends here, otherwise we would be setting up shop in either the west or the south.

Anyways, winter is clearly on its way, whether we like it or not. With that comes a change in activities. Backyard BBQ's turn into ski trips and hanging out at the beach becomes nights at the movies. For a winter enthusiast, Maine offers tons of snowmobile trails, skiing and ice skating. For those of us who don't participate in these activities, it's a bit of a slower season. Fortunately, I have found a great couples activity that you can share regardless of your love for the fluffy white snow. Couples night at PT's Showplace (formerly Platinum Plus and Mark's Showplace) is coming to Saturday nights! Now me and the wifey can get on stage and dance together, get a couple's lap dance and toss dollar bills at Lil' Bitsy and Tiny Tina together! I can't think of anything better to do as a couple. I mean, where else can you find that kind of good, wholesome entertainment on a Saturday night? Anybody know when the new Boondock Saints movie comes out? I'm just saying...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Did I go to sleep in 2009 and wake up in 1960?!

I wasn't alive for the Civil Rights Movement back in the late 1950's and early 60's, but Question 1 was our version here in Maine. Yesterday, Maine voted to repeal a law that would have made the state one of a handful that allow same-sex couples to marry. This isn't to say that this is the same thing as forcing African Americans to the back of the bus, but it as close to the same thing that my generation will ever see. Much like the fight to allow minorities the same rights as white people, question 1 was offering same sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples. We aren't talking special rights, or preferential treatment here folks, the issue here is equal rights.

Now I have heard both sides of the story, and understand that marriage is defined as : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law. I have heard people argue that it is a religious issue and that marriage equals one man and one woman as defined by the bible. I have also heard people state that children will be hurt by this, particularly as the public schools begin the process of indoctrinating them on the subject of homosexual marriage.

REALLY?! Come on people. This is all such a load of garbage. I would like to point out that Merriam Webster actually defines the word marriage as the following as well : the state of being united to a person of the same sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage . Huh, how about that. As for the religious argument, what about people, much like myself, that have had children out of wedlock, or have lived with someone they are not married to? Does that eliminate me from the train to heaven and put me on the highway to hell? What about the Britney Spears of the world that marry for 15 minutes in a drunken haze in Las Vegas only to wake up and immediately get an annulment? Is that "supporting and enhancing marriage"? And what about the divorce rates? Currently half of all marriages end in divorce. How exactly does that "strengthen society, encourage monogamous and loving marriages and provide an environment to nurture the well being of children"?

Then there is the whole issue with teaching children about same sex marriage in schools. I have a 7 year old, and she is in second grade. A Yes on 1 commercial came on the radio the other day and she asked me what it was all about. I was honest with her and asked her if they ever talk about marriage in school. She said, and I quote, "we aren't allowed to talk about religious things in school". So, despite what the Stand For Marriage Maine crew was telling you, this is directly from the mouth of a second grader. Even if they don't talk about it in school, it is going to come up at some point either way. She will come home some day and ask why Susie has two moms. I'm alright with her having a grasp of the concept, even if she doesn't fully understand it yet.

Now, I'm extremely happily married to a beautiful woman, and have no vested interest in this debate. That being said, I still feel as though something was taken away from me today. I have a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I have been so proud to say that I am from Maine. That is, up until today. I feel that 53% of my state can't see past scare tactics, religion or an old school way of thinking to realize that this issue is about one thing, equality. We all have a friend, a family member or a co-worker that is affected by this. Do they not deserve the same basic rights as you or I? The answer is simple. They deserve exactly the same rights. Though, I guess we shouldn't be surprised by this, in Maine, you can marry your cousin! I'm just saying...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Like the great Bone-Thugs-N-Harmony once said, see you at tha crossroads...

So there comes a time in every man's life where he needs to decide if it is time to get rid of his wife's cat that pisses all over the house or not. I mean, this is a completely common situation, right? All of my friends have cats that piss all over, don't they? What's that, no, we are the only people that have a cat that can't control his damn bladder?! Oh, that's right, our cat, you know, the one that nobody likes, has decided that a litter box is something he has no time for. I mean, just this morning he pissed all over the hallway floor, right in front of our bedroom door.

Now, I know what most of you are thinking, open the door and let him go. I wish it were that easy, believe me! The black devil cat is one of our pets, despite his desire to make the house smell horrible, he is a part of our home. Well then, you say, why don't you bring him to a shelter for somebody to adopt. Ok then, you tell me how that would work out. For any of you that have been to our house before, you know how that little bastard acts! He would just scream and swing at people, never get adopted, and most likely get put down, assuming anyone could get close enough to him. Truth be told, they would probably have to stick him with a blow dart from across the room to knock him out. I don't know how I feel about that, despite the fact that I want to punt him out the front door right now.

We have an appointment with the vet tonight, to give them a sample of his urine (which he conveniently splashed all over the floor for us this morning) and discuss what we can do with Tamazi. Nichole and I are really at a loss as to what we should do. Our frustration level is through the roof, and we are unsure what to do next. Any thoughts? I feel bad saying this, but I am pretty sure he wouldn't be missed too bad by anybody really. I'm just saying...