Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last post of 2009...

Another year in the books in just a few more hours. Hard to believe it's almost 2010! I remember, as a kid, thinking we would have flying cars and all our meals would be in liquid form by now. I thought we would all have our own personal transportation device that would bring us from point A to point B in a split second. I pictured a much more futuristic, science fiction like world. Boy was I wrong! Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining at all, I like driving my Jetta through the snow and having to spend 30 plus minutes preparing a meal, oh, and that 35 minute commute each way too! Oh well...

With the new year brings those lovely resolutions. You know what I'm talking about, that thing you say you are going to do, and you never end up doing it, then the next year you swear you will do it this time, and you don't again. Yeah, new years resolutions are fun! Well, this year, I'm sticking to mine, come hell or high water! There are a handful of things I want to see happen in my life, and I'm going to see to it that they do, in fact, happen.

1. Get my lazy, lethargic, damn near whale like ass to the gym. I am going to frequent the Pineland YMCA so much they are going to give me my own locker and gym towel with my name embroidered on it. Having not played much soccer lately, oh, and having eaten my weight in Christmas treats over the past couple of weeks, I am in desperate need of some physical activity. I can't wait to get rid of this damn beer belly and see if I can actually possess those elusive six pack abs.

2. Get some projects done around the house. There are a handful of things that I want/need to get done around the homestead. We have enjoyed ourselves a good amount over the past couple of summers, and projects have been pushed aside. Well, I'm officially ready to get to work. There is talk of a mini Marcole in the not too distant future, so I would like to get a few things done in anticipation of that.

3. Move forward on a few business ventures we have been discussing internally at the ranch. We have a few ideas we have been toying with, and I would like to see us further pursue them, and maybe even see them come to fruition over the coming year. One of which is making more beer!

4. Get more involved in our local politics and town happenings. I love our little town of New Gloucester, and I would like nothing more than to become a bigger part of the community, whether it be as a town representative or something simple like being a part of the sports and recreation committee through the town.

I feel that all of my resolutions will make me a better man, father, husband and will move me closer to accomplishing some of my personal goals. 2010 is no longer the future, it's the here and now, and I will do what I can to make the most of it, even if we don't have flying cars! What about all of you? Any major changes you are contemplating taking on? Whatever you are planning, I wish you nothing but luck! Here's wishing you all a safe and Happy New Year! Thanks again for reading, reacting and responding, I freaking love doing this! I'm just saying...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What to do... What to do...

With New Years Eve coming at us tomorrow night, Nichole and I have been trying to determine what it is we are going to do this year. There are so many options out there, with many places doing something different in the surrounding areas. The following is a list of some of our thoughts, but what will we decide upon?

The Awesome at The Asylum - Our favorite 80's cover band will surely be rocking, one might even say "kicking it old school", at The Asylum tomorrow night, and there isn't any better way to usher in 2010 then with songs over 20 years old, right?!

NYE in NYC - What better way to usher in the new year than with about a million of our closest friends in the freezing cold to see a ball drop! I love going to Times Square, don't get me wrong, but I can rig a ball to drop in my living room at midnight where I could host 15 of my actual friends and we wouldn't have to poop in a freezing port-a-potty while freezing our tits off! Just a thought...

Clash of the Titans at Empire Dine and Dance - It's the 80's vs the 90's in a battle royale on music supremacy. George Michael, Michael Jackson, Michael Bolton and Stone Temple Pilots. Don't need nothing but a good time, and it don't get better than that, well, except for the whole Michael Bolton part I guess...

PT's Showplace (formerly Platinum Plus) - Couples night at the local titty bar. Is there a better way to enjoy the last night of 2009 then with your lady friend and some dancing strippers? I think not. Head on in, drop a couple benjamins, hit up the champagne room and get a few lap dances. Now your 2009 is complete!

Dave Rowe, and others, playing at Bull Feeney's - We always enjoy Dave Rowe and his humorous sets when we check him out at Bull Feeney's. Now add that to a bar crammed full of 21 year olds home from college, drinking to the point of alcohol poisoning with noise makers and elevated levels of both testosterone and randiness, and you have a recipe fit to make Mark cut himself! Been there as both a patron and an employee, and let me tell you something (picture that said in full on Fire Marshall Bill voice), it ain't worth it. Love ya Dave, have fun, see you a different night!

Dinner at Gritty's in Auburn then home for sweatpants and couch time - Lame, yet rather exciting at the same time. Doesn't cost much cash, you don't wake up hungover, and you can wear elastic waistband pants all night! Plus, there is that whole waking up in your own bed next to your lover lover, as opposed to waking up on a friends floor, most likely under the dining room table, in the fetal position, right next to a random, just like last year. Do you really want to start the new year out next to another random you just slept with, trying to chew off your right arm so you can climb out from under the table and do the walk of shame back to your car?!

So, as you can see, we have a variety of options in front of us, all of which offer a good time, or at least a good story the next day. What is everyone else doing? I know what we are really doing, and despite Nichole's best efforts, it isn't a trip to the strip club... I'm just saying...

Monday, December 21, 2009

It's that time of year again, overeating time!

We always welcome lots of things this time of year. Family coming to visit, fluffy white snow and cold temperatures are a common thing around the holidays. The other thing we always find ourselves getting way into is indulging in sweets, treats and lots of good eats. We are out shopping, grabbing a quick bite on the go, or hitting up the holiday parties and checking out the snack spread. I thought I might share today a few of my favorite holiday treats, or some random snacks I'm digging recently, all of which you should definitely give a try...

Peanut Butter Balls - I have made these little balls of goodness for about 15 years now. Growing up, my mother would make them annually around the holidays, and I would pretty much hide the container in my room and eat them all. Once I got into high school she handed that torch down to me, and I started making them going forward at that point. They are awesome. Dude, chocolate and peanut butter, is there a better combination?

Chocolate Covered Bacon - OK, so maybe there is a better combination. I know what you may be thinking here, that sounds gross. Let me tell you something, you are mighty wrong! Tried my first strip of awesome, I mean bacon covered in chocolate, last week at Black Tie Bistro, a local eatery I frequent in Portland. The woman behind the counter could see a bit of the excitement in my face when I realized what it was I was looking at. I had one bite and now I am hooked! I'll be making some this evening if anyone wants to try some!

Lil' Smokies - These tiny hot dog like things are one of my absolute favorites, and my grandmother has prepared them for Christmas Eve for as long as I can remember. For some reason, I never think of making them any other time of the year, but I might have to start. Simple and tasty, what more can you ask for.

My mother's homemade cinnamon rolls - Holy crapstick these are good! She makes them a couple of times a year usually, but always around the holidays. These aren't the gooey, icing covered ones. These are the old school kind that are covered in cinnamon and sugar, and are so damn good it isn't even right. Can't wait to have some later this week!

Eggnog - In my opinion, nasty. Nichole would beg to differ though. This is a favorite of hers. I'm not sure why I have never liked it. Could be the heavy feeling when it sits in my stomach. Could be that I once drank some spoiled eggnog and threw up for two straight days. It could even be that I once drank it with a bunch of whiskey in it, didn't know that, and threw up for two straight days. I'm just not sure.

Tequila shots - What you ask?! Stevens family tradition is to celebrate holidays, birthday and togetherness with tequila shots. Not sure how this started, but we haven't missed a gathering in years. Sometimes it's only one shot, other times, depending on the crowd, it's more, possibly many more. For those in the family that refuse the tequila, I will have some of my homemade Kahlua on hand. Nothing screams family tradition like licking salt of your hand and the clanging of shot glasses!

What do you think of for treats around this time of year? Do you have traditional family foods you look forward to? Oh, and if anyone wants to hit the gym with me after all this imbibing, I'll be at the YMCA in New Gloucester starting January 1 until my body gets rid of the dickydo! I'm just saying...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Top newsworthy stories of 2009...

Another year filled with interesting news stories is coming to an end. We saw some history unfold before our eyes, and there was also a buttload of bad news along the way. Here is my rundown on some of the top newsworthy stories of the past year, both local and national, and in no particular order...

10. New York Yankees win World Series - Not good news to me, but it was certainly the best team money could buy. Congrats NY on buying, I mean winning, your latest championship. Now if you could just sell those ridiculously high priced seats behind home plate. Then again, you need to pay for that team somehow, so I guess selling individual game tickets for $2000 or more makes perfect sense...

9. Bonny Eagle senior is denied his diploma during graduation - The principal at Bonny Eagle High School took her power a little too far when senior Justin Denney bowed and blew a kiss to his mother and flat out denied him his diploma, citing an agreement the senior class signed before graduation. She claims he was making a scene, I claim she was off her rocker. I would love to see her tarred and feathered in Monument Square during a busy Farmer's Market, sounds like justice to me!

8. Cash for Clunkers - The government decided to offer cash to people with "clunkers", or older, gas guzzling cars in an effort to ramp up new vehicle sales and help get companies like Ford and Chevy back on their feet. Well, it definitely helped Toyota sell the Prius, and it got a lot shitty cars off the road. Unfortunately for us, another program that didn't help us in any way, thus is life.

7. Airplane lands in the Hudson River - At takeoff the plane hit at least one bird, if not more, causing the plane to drop out of the sky and forced pilot Chesley B. "Sully" Sullenberger to save the full roster of 155 people on board. Sully instantly became a here, and rightfully so. He did a miraculous job landing an airplane in a river and ushered out the entire crew and all the passengers. I don't care who you are, that's pretty damned impressive!

6. Michael Jackson passes away - At first we were all wondering if it was some sort of odd publicity stunt. I mean, it is Wacko Jacko we are talking about here. He was famous for doing things nobody could understand. Then, when it was confirmed, I remember actually being sad. I have always been a huge fan of his music. The guy was an absolute talent behind the microphone, but a freaking whack job away from music. RIP Michael. We will keep the Thriller dance going in your absence!

5. Mainers vote against allowing same sex marriage - In a close vote, Mainers voted against a referendum that would have allowed same sex marriages in the state. Don't really want to go down this path again, as anyone that follows my blog knows how I feel about this. Still dumbfounded that this got overturned. Come on people...

4. H1N1 flu scares the poop out of everyone - Maybe not literally, but this has been, and continues to be a big scare. Its reach has been pretty spread out, including all over the state of Maine. At one point, my daughter's school had about 12% of the entire student population out sick. The spread seems to have slowed some recently.

3. Tiger Woods and his wandering penis - This story has more twists and turns then a roller coaster at Six Flags. The latest news is that Elin is filing for divorce and moving to Sweden. There is also word that there may be videos and pictures to go along with the text messages and voice mails. Oh Tiger, what the hell were you thinking?! You are the most high profile athlete in the entire world, did you not realize that dipping your manhood in every tramp across the globe would catch up with you?! And lets be honest, Elin beat him with a golf club. We all know it, and you know what, I can't say as though I blame her.

2. Recession, job losses and home foreclosures - It's been a pretty sucktastic year financially for the great US and A. Stock market plunged, housing industry fell into the crapper, jobs were lost at an alarming rate, vehicle sales dropped like a lead balloon and we all know somebody, possible even ourselves, that were affected by it. The unemployment rate is slowly decreasing, jobs are starting to open up, and the stock market has seen recent, albeit small, gains. Let's hope we are working our way out as they say we are.

1. Obama sworn in as first African American president of United States - Like him or not, heck, agree with him or not, this is still the top story of the year. Sadly, I wasn't sure our country was ready to accept an African American president. There is still a lot of racial tension in this country, for whatever reason, and I thought it would hurt Obama's chances. I was wrong, and I am proud to have been a part of such a historical moment in our great country's history. Now, don't jump ship now, he is just one year into trying to help one of the world's super powers get back in order, and that can't happen overnight. Black, white, old, young, Democrat or Republican, let us all work together to make our country a better place.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Your mom is so fat...

OK, another list. Not like the past couple, but a very important year end list. The past couple I put together were meant to be funny, showing a bit of my humorous side. Now, to get a little more serious...

10. Your mom is so fat, when she goes to the zoo, the elephants throw her peanuts

9. Your mom is so fat, when she ran away a few years back, they had to use all four sides of the milk carton

8. Your mom is so fat, her belly button doesn't have lint, it has full sweaters

7. Your mom is so fat, when the doctor diagnosed her with a flesh eating disease, she was told she had 13 years left to live

6. Your mom is so fat, she could sell shade in the summer

5. Your mom is so fat, she was born with a silver shovel in her hand

4. Your mom is so fat, when she walks in high heels she strikes oil

3. Your mom is so fat, when I climbed on top of her my ears popped

2. Your mom is so fat, when she fell over, she rocked herself to sleep trying to get back up

1. Your mom is so fat, she eats Wheat Thicks

Man I love these jokes, they never get old! What will tomorrow bring us for a list? Stay tuned... I'm just saying...

Monday, December 14, 2009

Another day, another top 10 list... Top 10 Scandals of the last 10 years...

Ah, scandals. Everyone loves them. Think about it, we are glued to the television, radio or Internet whenever something negative happens to somebody, especially celebrities. It's like some sort of validation that they are human, just like us. It's that whole "car accident effect", where you want to look away, but you just can't get enough of it. Anyone care to take a trip down celebrity scandal lane with me?

10. Martha Stewart goes to jail - Everyones favorite home maker got herself all caught up in some insider trading, as she dumped some stocks just before they crashed. Coincidence? I think so, and here is why. Martha Stewart could kick my ass, so if she were to ever read this, I don't want to give her a reason to dislike me!

9. Michael Phelps Pot Smoking Video - The United States swimmer extraordinaire got himself all stoned at a party, ripping bong hits with some randoms, only to have someone snap some pics of him in the act. Maybe next time he should be a little more careful, like, just smoke a joint, less obvious?!

8. AIG's post bailout spa retreat - Just plain dumb. What more can be said. We are a sinking financial institution, oh, thanks for the money, now let's get some company paid retreat time in, we have earned it! Good call morons.

7. Spygate - The Patriots were accused of video taping their opponents practice, which was said to give them an unfair advantage over the opposition. First of all, everyone is/was doing it. Second of all, it's not like they didn't know everything from watching film from previous games anyways. This was a huge deal because former Patriots coach Mangina (who was coaching the Jets at the time) was trying to get back at his former boss, and his team was horrible, so this was all he had.

6. Michael Richards, "The Racist" - Turns out our beloved Kramer is a touch racist. Not exactly his best stand up attempt, and he pretty much killed what little possibility he ever had of getting back into show business that night. At least Seinfeld was a good run for him.

5. Don Imus - "Nappy Headed Hos" - Speaking of racists, here comes dunderhead Don Imus. On his radio show, which, let's be honest, nobody listens to, he was talking about the Rutgers women's basketball team and referred to them as "nappy headed hos". The old man was never funny, and apparently not very smart either. In a world of hyper sensitivity towards everything race related, why would he do something so stupid. Apparently his cowboy hat is a bit too tight.

4. Michael Jackson's death - I'll never forget where I was when I heard about this. I was sipping a Red Stripe on the deck at the Port Hole. Still can't believe he passed away. His death isn't so much a scandal, but the manner in which he died may just be. His personal doctor is in the middle of everything, and there is a laundry list of prescription drugs involved. He may have been a mess, but I still love his music.

3. Michael Vick has no love for his dogs - Mr. Vick got himself all caught up in a dog fighting circle, contributing cash and dogs to the outfit. The fallout was pretty bad for him, spending time in jail, getting cut from the Atlanta Falcons, even trying to file for bankruptcy. As a dog owner, and someone with a brain in my head, I realize how bad an idea this sort of thing is. Guess this is what happens when you take a thug, with a rough bunch of buddies, and give him millions.

2. Wardrobe Malfunction - Nipplegate. TV Tit shot. Another Jackson, another big story. Did Justin Timberlake rip Janet Jackson's shirt on purpose, or did her booby just pop out of her top? Either way, millions saw Jackson's titty on national television, during halftime of the Super Bowl. Oops, tit, mistake...

1. Tiger Woods and the 12 mistresses - Who knew Tiger Woods was a dirty little freak. He has lady friends all over the place apparently. He will get down to business anywhere too, like the back of a car in a church parking lot. He has pretty low standards too, with a couple of ladies being strippers (sorry to all my stripper friends out there). Oh, and by the way, his wife is drop dead gorgeous! I'm sorry Tiger, but you done screwed up, big time!

There are lots of others I could have included on the list, but these are my favorites. Agree? Disagree? Let me know. Oh, and I want to thank all of the above people for making me look like an angel in comparison! I'm just saying...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Everyone else is doing it, why can't I?!

The end of a year typically finds us reading lots of top 10 lists. Music, sports, news stories, influential people. They are all over the place this time of year. Add to that the end of the "double 0's", my name for the last decade, and you can't visit a website without some sort of list. Well, here is the first of several I will put together. I'll try to touch on a variety of subjects over the next week or so, try to tickle everyone's fancy, so to speak, covering both the past year, as well as the last 10 years.

Top 10 Most Annoying People of 2009

10. Richard Heene - That balloon making douchebag that did his best to trick us all into believing his son was inside it, when he was really hiding in the garage. Publicity stunt making dumbass. Jail time and fines in his future...

9. Brett Favre - New quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings. Having a damn good season, but for Christ's sake Favre, make a decision and stick with it, this flip flopping every year is played out already.

8. Tim McCarver and Joe Buck (tie) - This duo would climb into bed with pretty much every New York Yankee if given the chance. Don't even get me started on how annoying their collective man crush on Derek Jeter is. I'd rather listen to "I Believe" by Cher on repeat than listen to another Yankee game broadcast by these two fools on Fox.

7. Republican Congressman Joe Wilson - This dimwit shouts out "LIAR" during a presidential address to Congress. Democrat, Republican, man or woman, that shit ain't right. I don't care if you whole heartedly disagree with what the president is saying to you, have some god damned respect for the commander in chief. I would have bitch slapped that jackass pretty darn quick!

6. The Geico cavemen - We get it, you don't like be likened to a caveman. Well, here's a thought, shave your damn face Captain Caveman! Get rid of the unibrow and chop through that beard. Besides, we aren't mocking you, everyone loves primitive dudes that spear their dinner with sharp sticks and cooks on an open flame. It's cool, trust me...

5. Sarah Palin / Levi Johnston - Levi is trying to make a buck off Palin's VP run. Palin is trying to make money off her VP run. Nobody wants to see Levi naked. Not sure why Playgirl thought that was a good idea. Nobody wants to read Palin's book. I'm not even sure she can read her book. And she is charging to get your picture taken with her during her book tour. What a train wreck that whole thing is.

4. Miley Cyrus - My daughter loves you. She told me the other day that if she could cook dinner for one famous person in the world it would be you. You are cute, talented and making cash hand over fist (unlike your daddy). My problem is this, I don't want "Party in the USA" in my freaking head anymore!

3. Jon and Kate Gosselin - The world was a much better place before TLC put you two idiots on television. You ruined your marriage. You may have screwed your kids up for life. And for what, and why?! You aren't funny. You aren't pretty. You aren't even cool. Thank you TLC for finally pulling this crap off the air!

2. Glenn Beck - GO AWAY! The Fox News wingnut needs to be put on timeout. You want to sell books. Cool. Now go hide somewhere. We will come find you when we care about you again...

1. Kanye West - Two words... Whack Job. Even before he took center stage away from Taylor Swift he would have been number one. That just cemented his place as King Douchebag for years to come. I wish we could send you, Glenn Beck and the Gosselins to the Island of Misfit Toys and rename it to the Island of Unwanted Numb Nuts. Santa, can you hook me up? I'm just saying...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Recent random happenings...

Anyone hear about this Tiger Woods guy? Rumor has it he is regretful for a few "transgressions" that have surfaced recently. The thing is, more and more stories are coming out every day, everyone from porn stars to Waffle House waitresses. I think we are looking at more than a few transgressions at this point! Turns out he isn't the quiet, stay at home guy we all thought he was. It also turns out that I'm one of the few people he hasn't slept with at this point.

Got our first "major" snowstorm yesterday. Mother Nature dropped a pretty, white turd on us. At home we got about 6 inches, while closer to the coast they got mostly rain. It was a fun commute home, and even more fun shoveling heavy, wet snow last night in the dark. I would like to thank the plow guy that cleaned out our driveway while I was sleeping. You saved me a decent amount of outside time this evening!

Tom Brady and his supermodel wifey Gisele Bundchen had a baby boy recently. Turns out they don't have a name for the little dude yet. I'm not sure how you don't have names already picked out, even if you are unsure of the babies sex, but what do I know. Nichole's name for him was Togi. I'm thinking something more like Maximilliano. It's distinct and sounds really important, plus it's kinda strange, which is kind of right on par with other celebrity baby names (think Apple, Pilot Inspektor or Kyd, look them up, I'm serious).

Blue Christmas lights really freak me out. I know I recently mentioned that, but I had a couple of nightmares last night about them. Can someone explain the blue to me?

It's Hot Stove time for baseball, with the Winter Meetings in full swing. The Yankees have already made some good moves, trading for Curtis Granderson and resigning Andy Pettitte. The Red Sox, on the other hand, have been kind of quiet. Sounds like they are looking to trade Mike Lowell to Texas for a prospect. That is sad, based on the fact that Mike Lowell has been great, but the business side of baseball tells me that he has been slowed down by injuries, so getting something for him at this point is a good move. Sox also just signed Boof Bonser to add some pitching depth. Not a significant move, but it will be fun saying Boof all season. Now lets see the Red Sox make some serious moves to make this team better. Spend money or trade prospects, please Theo!!

The Patriots are in trouble. I may be in full panic mode regarding their play lately. They are going in the wrong direction, now only one game up on the Dolphins and Jets. Am I alone here? Is something wrong in Hoodieville? Has Belichick lost a little of his luster? Time for Tom, Randy and company to get things in order and carry this team!

Nichole and I are putting together applications and a video for the CBS show "The Amazing Race". For those of you who haven't seen it, it is reality show that sets up about a dozen duos to race around the world, with the last duo reaching each pit stop being eliminated. What better way to see the world then on someone else's dime! Fingers crossed we make the cut!

So much going on lately, including auditors at the office. Busy week, and weekends are pretty much booked already through the new year. Gearing up for our 5 or so holiday parties over the next couple of weeks. Working hard to keep the yard cleaned up after all this damn snow. No such thing as down time for us, but if we did have some, we wouldn't know what to do with it! I'm just saying...

Friday, December 4, 2009

A little more of this, a whole lot less of that...

We are balls deep in the middle of the holiday season. With Thanksgiving in our rear view mirror, we are full speed ahead for Christmas and Hanukkah. With the holidays also comes decorating. There are so many different decorations out there, some stores solely dedicated to decorating for the holiday season. It's almost overwhelming actually. Speaking of overwhelming, there are some things that people do to decorate that are a little over the top. In my opinion, some people need to tone it down a bit. The following is a list of decorations that you will never see at our house. Please note, I don't care what you do for decorations, you do whatever you want, just don't expect to see these things littering our home or front lawn...

Inflatable anything. I realize they are the new craze. I also understand that my daughter thinks they are cool. But there is absolutely not a snowballs chance in hell I will ever have some inflatable snowman or that one where Santa is going up and down in the chimney. Not gonna happen. Our electricity bill goes up enough from adding some lights, I don't need to take out a second mortgage so that Frosty can hang out on my front lawn waving to the three cars that pass by.

Four different nativity scenes. I'm pretty sure one would do, two is unnecessary, and four, that's just down right uncalled for. We get it. I'm not opposed to displaying the actual meaning behind Christmas, but I don't need an army of tiny people and camels hanging out front, staring at the road.

Blue icicle lights. I'm fine with icicle lights. I mean, I don't think they look like icicles, but I'm fine with them. But the blue ones don't really remind me of Christmas, and to be honest, they kind of creep me out a little bit. Give me white, or even a variety of colors strung together. Just don't give me straight up dark blue. Shiver...

A yard FULL of stuff, no matter what it is. We get it, you like Christmas. We can also see that you are all for supporting Wal-Mart. We also realize you are using as much electricity as a small town to light all that crap. Answer me this, why do you spend an entire Saturday in November putting all that crap out there and then leave it until the snow melts? I just don't understand.

White Christmas trees. Yikes! Just wrong. Do your fake tree, that's cool, but at least make it look like a tree. If you can find me an albino pine tree in the woods, then maybe you can change my thoughts. Until then, trees are green.

Again, I love the holiday season. I enjoy the lights and the decorations. Somethings just aren't really my taste, therefore they will never see the light of day at 9 Miecaskyl Drive. There are other things I could poke fun at, like the way the town of Mars Hill, up in The County, leaves up strings of colored lights over their Main Street year round. Individuals doing that is one thing, but a town doing that seems odd to me. Whatever your taste is, however you decide to decorate this holiday season, do it and do it well. Just don't expect to see the above items at our house. I'm just saying...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Is that a thousand barefoot children outside, dancing on my lawn?

Phish. Not to be confused with fish, like the slimy little creatures you catch in lakes, rivers and the ocean. No, Phish is a jam band from Vermont that have been attracting a large following for the better part of 20 years. I have been a big fans of them since the mid nineties, shortly before they made a few trips to Northern Maine for the Great Went and Lemonwheel in Limestone. I love the no-nonsense approach to some of the lyrics, the melodic jams and the extreme devotion by "the glide" (one of many terms for a follower of the band).

I remember being really excited to have them come to The County back in 1997 for the Great Went. My buddies Matt and Dustin and I packed up Matt's little Honda Civic and we partied and danced for 3 straight days. It was an experience unlike anything I have ever been a part of. I remember the sheer joy of hearing the news that they were coming back in 1998 to play Lemonwheel. Again, I was one of the 60,000 or so fans in attendance. 2003 saw Phish come to Limestone one last time for the "It" festival. No longer living in The County, and having a little one at home, I packed the VW up and drove up alone for one last weekend of late night disco, grilled cheese sandwiches and patchouli.

Outdoor festivals are an amazing experience, and one I could never begin to explain to someone who has never been. The party never stops. I remember dancing at all night disco tents with a backpack full of beer. I remember the sea of tents lining the outside of the runway on the former Air Force Base. I remember overflowing port-a-potties and the massive amounts of stuff people left behind when leaving town. Pictures and words can't describe the craziness that surrounds one of these festivals.

Sunday night marked the second time I saw Phish at an indoor venue, having seen them ten years ago, also at the Cumberland County Civic Center. I remember it being chaotic at and around the Civic Center, but it all came rushing back to me as we got closer to the venue Sunday night. There are people all over, selling grilled cheese sandwiches, burritos, bottled water, beer, stickers, shirts and any drug you would ever need or want. The police presence is all around, but these people have been doing this for a while, and most know how to be discreet. That being said, there were also 43 arrests this time around, some of which took place on the highway in and out of town. As usual, we had ourselves a good time without the assistance of the mind altering stuff that was being peddled that night, but if you want it, no matter what it is, you could find it.

We had seats right behind the open stage, and were able to be within 10 feet of the band as they entered and exited the stage, which was a really cool experience. We obviously couldn't see all the facial expressions and movements made by the band, but everyone was up and dancing around us, and we had an absolute blast. The band appears to be back from a brief hiatus, and they are on top of their game. If you know one song or a hundred, I absolutely recommend getting to a show. It is something you HAVE to experience to understand, and I promise you, it is so worth it. Whether you are a music fan or just a people watcher, you will go home happy, especially if you eat the brownies. I'm just saying...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wow... Yup, that's all I've got for ya...

Last week was an interesting week. Interesting, I think that word works. Let's see, we left Thursday morning for Thanksgiving in the woods of central Maine with family. We had a great time. Food was great, company was excellent, and we even got a little entertainment from the lady with the wandering eye and her little dog "Underbite". Friday found us doing a little shopping (why again did I want to do that?!) and Thanksgiving dinner number two with friends in Old Town. Had a great evening, but probably could have done without the Jager shots. Woke up feeling good on Saturday and spent some time with the Mitchell crew for brother in law Mike's birthday before heading down to Waterville to hit the town with the McCullough crew. Late night Rock Band and Tequila shots (just to help me sleep, I swear) followed by a "good nights rest" in a recliner capped the night off. Sunday afternoon found us back on the highway heading to the homestead to ready the house for company before the Phish concert that evening and to check if we took on any water while we were gone (WE DIDN'T, WOOHOO!)

This is where things start to go from happy and fun to a whole new place. See, we put the cats in the basement while we were gone. We have had a little issue with a cat pissing in random places in the house and thought this would help alleviate the problem. Well, we open the cellar door and Tamazi climbs over the baby gate we had set up at the bottom of the stairs and comes rushing up past us, heads for the bathroom and urinates blood in the shower. What?! I head downstairs to survey the damage and there is bloody piss all over. Now, that was not me using an English accent, it was really piss, filled with blood, and it was all over. Under the piano, behind the bar, on my bookshelf with pint glasses on it. All over. What the crap?! We load him up in the cat carrier and rush him over to the Emergency Vet in Lewiston and introduce him to the doctor.

Now, for those of you that know Tamazi, he has never been the friendliest of cats. He had tried, on many occasions, to tear you apart (especially Adam M and Chris L, but I'm pretty sure they LOVED to get him going). Well, he has never liked the vet either, and he showed the vet what he thought of him. After several attempts to check his vitals, all of which were unsuccessful, the vet decides to employ a tactic called "The Burrito". This is where they drop a towel over the cat and attempt to wrap them up quickly so as to do what you need to do without losing a limb. This may work on most cats, but Tamazi don't play that. He flipped around, tore into the doctor's hand, pissed blood all over the table and ripped a poster off the wall, all in one quick motion! It was a little horrifying, but Nichole and I couldn't help but laugh a little for some reason. The doctor, with about two dozen puncture wounds didn't find it nearly as funny as we did, but took it in stride.

Now, Tamazi has had a Urinary Tract Infection in the recent past, and clearly wasn't doing any better. We have changed his diet, given him meds, and have even put him on kitty prozac to try to help with some of his issues. At this point, there isn't much they can do but try the whole process over and hope that it works. We are torn, we don't know what to do. Clearly he isn't doing well. Do we open the door and tell him to run and wish him luck? Do we attempt to do a little procedure and change his diet again and administer meds in hopes that it helps better this time? The last option, and the one we didn't want to do, but felt it was the best choice considering the situation, was to put him down and remember all the loving moments we had with him (I'll share a few to close out). This wasn't an easy decision, and we are still struggling with it, but he was clearly suffering, and with the costs associated with procedures, meds, replacing carpets and cleaning products, we just didn't know how much longer we could carry on that way. We gave him a good life, better than most I think, considering his hatred to most people.

Some of my fondest memories of the "Black Devil" are having him chase me from across the room every time I climbed into the shower as he tried to slash my Achilles tendon. I would toss a shirt or my underwear over him to distract him and he would shake out and come at me. Not sure what this was all about, but he kept me on my toes, that's for sure. Another memory I have is the time I tried to scare him by quickly poking him just above the tail with my hand and he turned, bit and scratched my hand so quickly I couldn't even move away before he ripped my hand apart and left it all bloody! Thought twice before I ever did that again. These sorts of stories are what most people will remember him by, but despite his craziness and hatred of company at the house, he was a great cat when he wanted to be, and we will miss the little devil. I'm just saying...