Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What happens on the Saco River stays on the Saco River...

This past weekend was the bachelor party of one Jacob Pierson. This is where I would typically go into details telling you all about our adventures. Today is going to be a little different. It's not that I don't want to bore you with tales of our (mis)adventures while lazily paddling down the Saco River, though, these tales are legendary. No, I have a new policy. From now on, when someone has a bachelor party, the stories are only told in person. These pages have been known to be misread, or better yet, misunderstood in the past. That is not what I want to do here. What I am willing to do though is give some observations...

Too much Irish Whiskey can cause a person to sleep face down in sand, in only shorts, right beside their sleeping pad.

Rope swings aren't meant for everyone. The bigger you are, the faster you fall.

When getting a beer for someone in a kayak, don't make them reach, kayaks flip.

When planning who is riding in a canoe, don't put the two tallest people in the same boat. They are bound to end up in the drink.

Apply sunscreen before drinking for 5 hours, not after. And apply it all over, not just where your open fingers hit your arm.

When you start drinking at 7:00 AM, hang out in the sun all day, and only eat chips, you tend to pass out early.

Make sure to consult with the rest of your party before going grocery shopping, everyone doesn't need to bring 3 bags of chips each. Which reminds me, I don't want chips for a while, but, you are welcome Frito Lay.

Always drink with your non-dominant hand. There is always an asshole sitting back watching you, and you will have to pound your beer, I promise. BUFFALO!

Dr. Aloysius Percival McGillicuddy is the supposed genius behind, that's right, Dr. McGillicudy's Peppermint Schnapps. That being said, it's not really meant for cleaning your mouth out the day after a full day drinking session. You should still use a toothbrush and toothpaste.

Again, just some observations from the past weekend. I assume by how exhausted we all were even yesterday that we had a good time. We didn't lose anyone down the river, nobody got (more) injured, and nothing burned to the ground, so I would say it was a pretty successful trip. Something tells me there will be many more observations this coming weekend at the wedding. I'm just saying...

Friday, July 23, 2010

This hits a little close to home...

With all the crap going on in the world, we forget about the craziness that is happening right in our backyard. Thankfully, you have me to swoop down and offer you up some tidbits of local news, with some commentary, of course. We may live in Maine, where not too much ever happens, but here are some recent headlines...

60 year old transient found floating in Portland Harbor, ruled a drowning. Well, I'm sure he did drown. But I ask this, did he decide he wanted to go for a midnight swim? Did he get into some altercation with someone and get shoved in? Did he get drunk and fall in? Guess what, we will never know. Instead of doing a proper autopsy the Portland PD are ruling it a drowning and closing the case. That's it folks, nothing to see here. Now, what if a well known local lawyer or businessman was found floating in the bay, would we just say he drowned and not dig any further? I understand the concept of it not really worth the money to dig too deep when it comes to the death of a homeless person, but what if there is more to this story. What if another person is found in the bay this weekend, and again next month? Is there more to this story that we are willing to ignore because the guy was homeless? I hope not.

Woman who cried sexual assault later admits she made it all up. A woman who was running Back Cove Monday night claims to have been sexually assaulted by a group of black men, until a passing motorist noticed and yelled and the men ran away. Turns out the woman is full of shit! Apparently she and her boyfriend had gotten into a fight and she decided to make this entire thing up, maybe to make him feel bad or something?! And nothing like blaming it on 1% of the Maine demographic lady, sheesh! I'm waiting for Jesse Jackson to have something to say about this!

The State Theatre is reopening! After being closed for 4 years, the State Theatre is opening it's doors to the public again, having announced its first four shows slated for this fall. My Morning Jacket, Josh Ritter & The Royal City Band with Low Anthem, Guster and Michael Franti with Spearhead will be hitting the stage in October. It's so exciting to have the State back. I moved to the area just before it closed, and have not yet been to a show there. I'm looking forward to seeing Guster, and perhaps My Morning Jacket. My hopes is that we see some jam bands come up to Portland to play this venue, as it is the perfect size for most of the bands on the jam scene.

Trash problems have closed down Raymond Beach on Sebago Lake. Trash problems are one thing, but this is something extremely different. We are talking hypodermic needles, animal waste, dirty diapers, empty beer and liquor bottles as well as human excrement! Apparently this isn't a new problem, it's been going on for a while. Just this week workers filled three 32 gallon garbage bags with a variety of nastiness, including 15 dirty diapers as well as human poop! Who the hell does this sort of thing? I mean, they have port-o-potties on site, not to mention garbage cans. Are we that lazy and, well, stupid? It's not my yard, who cares, is that the attitude? People, that is freaking nasty! If people can't toss their kids crap catcher in the garbage at a public beach, can you imagine what their house looks like? SHIVER!

Again, just a hint of some of the local news that came out this week. It appears, that despite a smaller population than other states, we still have to deal with the same crap as everyone else (no pun intended Raymond Beach!). I'm hopeful for a day when the news isn't all bad, but I'm realistic enough to know that it will never happen. Here's hoping we don't make the news this weekend while enjoying a weekend on the Saco River, because you know it wouldn't be good! I'm just saying...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Little bit of this, little bit of that...

I realize I said I would be telling stories about the time I had dinner with Oprah Winfrey and Magic Johnson at the Texas Roadhouse in Bangor, but I may have gotten a little carried away. What actually happened was I had lunch at Joe's New York Slice Bar on Fore Street and saw Oprah Winfrey on a commercial and a story about Magic Johnson on Sportscenter. Not exactly the same, but since you are here, you might as well continue on...

So, let's see. I was out of work on Monday, did something to my leg playing softball on Sunday. Felt fine during and after the game. Cleaned it up, and went to bed as if nothing ever happened. Slept about 2 hours all night Sunday night, couldn't get comfy. Woke up Monday morning and almost fell on my face. My leg was not working at all, and it hurt REALLY bad. Well, it wasn't any better on Tuesday or Wednesday, in fact, it may have been getting worse. At this rate, I was fearful that I was gonna be just like LT. Dan from Forest Gump in about a week! Fortunately, I went to the doctor yesterday and I was told I just pulled some muscles and ligaments a little more than they are used to, so I've got some bruising and swelling, but no major damage. I'm on the DL for a couple of weeks, but that is much better than I was fearing!

Plans for a Muslim Cultural Center, housing a 500-seat performing arts center, a lecture hall, an exhibition space, a swimming pool, a gym, a culinary school, a restaurant and a prayer space for Muslims, located 2 blocks from Ground Zero, has gone from just a local New York City issue to one that even my favorite Alaskan feels she needs to comment on. Not only did she comment on something that has absolutely nothing to do with her (shocker), she also made up a couple of new words in the process. Then, to make matters worse for the one time VP hopeful, she tweets this gem, “‘Refudiate,’ ‘misunderestimate,’ ‘wee-wee’d up.’ English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!” Wait, did she just compare herself to William freaking Shakespeare? Holy hell, I've heard it all now!

We are now over 90 days into this BP oil spill disaster, and we still have a mess on our hands. I don't see how anyone other than BP is responsible for this. You can blame the government all you want, but who has lied all along the way about action plans in case of disasters, or how much oil was actually coming out of this freaking hole, or even photoshopped pictures so things would look better than they actually are? That's right, BP needs to make this all right. They need to clean up every beach, every animal, everything. They need to reimburse all the hard working fishermen that has been out of work. They need to make this right. Then, after they have cleaned, fixed and repaired everything and everyone, then the fun starts. We find every person responsible at BP and cover them in oil. We give them a chance to clean themselves, but all we give them is scouring pads and rubbing alcohol. Then we give them a wedgie and steal their lunch money. Jerks! I'm so upset that this is still going on and so many people and animals are suffering because of it.

It looks as though the millions of people that have been without their unemployment benefits may finally get the help they need, despite the Republicans resisting to extend the benefits. The argument is that we have no money to pay for it, which is absolutely true, you can't argue that. However, taking away what little income people have while they struggle to find new work isn't helping anybody, if anything, it will only be another thing to keep this recession going. The very same Republican party voted 4 times during GW Bush's term to extend unemployment benefits, also during a time when we were face to face with a budget deficit. At this point there is no way one side will agree with the other, no matter what the issue is. If the right wants it, the left will say no, and if the left thinks it is a good thing, you can bet your sweet ass the right will completely disagree. How the hell, as a nation, the greatest nation in the world, are we ever going to accomplish anything if we go about it with a god damn 8 year old's mentality. I think it is time for some new blood (not crazy blood, we don't need any Tea Partiers in there, that's just scary)! If that isn't the answer, then I think we need to head into the chambers next time they are in full session and whip out some tazers and get everyone to get their shit together real quick. We are the best nation in the world and it is about damn time we start acting like it. We have become a joke to everyone else, and that needs to stop, today!

These are just a few of the things on my mind today. Being home on Monday gave me the chance to watch some new tv, and it got me all fired up! Perhaps I should watch soap operas next time I'm home, or get the hell out of the house! I'm just saying...

Friday, July 16, 2010

So much to do, I choose nothing...

Summer in Maine means many things. Having BBQ's with friends, seafood by the water, heading to camp, fairs and festivals. There is so much going on in this area every weekend, it's impossible to do everything. I try to always make it to at least one of the Alive at Five performances in Monument Square, though, this year it's just local acts that we have all seen a dozen times already. Freeport's Outdoor Concert Series always has some great bands, with this year being no exception. I saw Trombone Shorty, an extremely talented musician out of New Orleans, last weekend, and am really looking forward to Mike Doughty in a few weeks. With so much going on, how do you decide what to do? My choice for this weekend, none of the above.

As you all know, I grew up in the quiet northern Maine town of Fort Fairfield. There isn't much there, that much is certain. We have one set of traffic lights, a grocery store and a few gas stations. The one big thing my hometown has is the Maine Potato Blossom Festival. It's the one time of year that anything happens in town. The town literally turns from about 3000 people to nearly 2-3 times that during this big weekend. Events such as high school reunions, the street dance, mashed potato wrestling and the giant parade attract people from all over. It's the one time of year that you can be sure to see someone you haven't seen in a while.

Now, I still have a good number of friends and my grandparents up there. I have millions of fond memories of growing up in The County. I loved the small town feel, the close knit community was great. I knew everyone, and everyone knew me. After college, I decided to try something else on for size. I moved to southern Maine, looking for a change of pace. I was looking for more opportunities and options, and I found all that and more. Moving to the Greater Portland area has been the best thing in the world for me. I have my wonderful daughter a town away (when she isn't with me), my parents and sister just down the road, and I met my wonderful wife down here. We have a great home and jobs that we love. Things couldn't be better. In fact, I often completely forget about what life was like growing up in Fort Fairfield. Then comes July and the annual Maine Potato Blossom Festival.

This is the one time of year, without fail, that I find myself feeling a bit nostalgic. I miss drinking on Main Street during the parade (out of red Solo cups, of course). I miss seeing all the great people I went to school with, in fact, I even miss those schoolmates I never really talked to or hung out with. It's the familiar faces you miss after you move away. I miss the old adult dance, and now the street dance. Someone was always having a party, and half the town would show up. Mashed potato wrestling is something one simply can't explain, it needs to be seen to be appreciated. Back in the day when we had the "Anything That Floats" race down the river. I just remember seeing people absolutely wasted floating under the bridge in their rickety floats they put together, and thinking that I couldn't wait to be able to do that too. Just so many fun memories of this time of year. It's hard not to look back and smile.

So, another year has come, and another year will pass without me heading up north for my hometowns big weekend. I swear every year that I am going up, and for the last 3 years I have been right where I am today, feeling nostalgic and smiling about the great times I've had in the past. So, to those of you spending any time in Fort Fairfield over the next few days, enjoy yourselves. Oh, and if you want to send me down a fried dough, I would be alright with that! I'm just saying...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Some stories just write themselves...

I've been blogging now for a few years. I started back in the days of MySpace, back when people other than child molesters and aspiring porn actors were known to log on and see what everyone was up to. Well, it's been about 3 years now, and I have to be honest, it's not always easy to come up with a topic you think people might give a crap about. I try hard not to talk about one topic too much, more so because I don't want to be known as a sports blogger, or political blogger (though I thoroughly enjoy talking about both subjects), but I have always felt that it's easier to be enjoyed by a larger audience if your subject matter touches on a little bit of everything. Some days I can't think of a damn thing to talk about, and some days, someone will serve up a nice fastball, right down the middle, and you have to hit it out of the ballpark. Case in point...

Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston are engaged! You remember this mess, right? Sarah Palin's daughter Bristol got knocked up by Levi Johnston around the same time Palin is dubbed McCain's running mate. Momma Palin is not impressed by Levi at all, and he runs to the media and airs some dirty laundry about how Sarah and Todd Palin call their son Trig (who has Downs Syndrome) a "retard". Levi later posed for Playgirl, a move Sarah had plenty to say about, none of which was good. Now, almost as a slap in Sarah's pretty little face (sarcasm...), Levi has asked for her daughter's hand in marriage.

This made me crack right up at first, but then I thought about it a little. Bristol and Levi made a boat load of cash for this story and the pictures. It is sounding like a new reality show is going to come out of all this, which will bring them more money. PLUS, it puts Sarah's name back out there, which she LOVES! Something about this stinks to me. I feel like this WHOLE situation has been orchestrated by the attention seeking Sarah Palin in an effort to make her look forgiving and understanding. People, listen up, this woman is crazy! She has nothing positive to offer, has no real experience in anything worthwhile and is only doing all this to make money. She is a product of the media, especially Fox News. Whether you like Obama or not, she and cry baby McCain were option B. YIKES! I'm just saying...

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Decision - Ugh!

Over the past month or so, you were bound to have heard about the free agency of Lebron "King" James. He was been anointed the "Next Michael Jordan" back when he was playing ball back in high school. He was selected by his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers back in 2003, has been completely surrounded by hype since his high school days in Akron, and this summer has been no different. Last Thursday night at 9:00 PM EST, on ESPN, he made "The Decision" of where he would be playing next year.

I'm going to be honest with you, I don't like this guy. I will admit that he is a great basketball talent. He has skills that most people can only dream of. He is tall, jacked, can jump out of the gym, has unlimited shooting range and is fast as a cheetah. What I don't like is his complete disregard for everyone around him and his high level of doucheyness. He is one of those guys who feels as though the world revolves around him because he can shoot a basketball.

Lebron spent the past month or so meeting with teams, listening to their pitch to get him to come play for their team. Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Cleveland, Miami and the L.A. Clippers all did what they could to try to woo him to come play for them. So many options, what is a guy to do. Do you go to the media capital of the world in NYC to play for a team that has spent the better part of the last three years clearing space to get him and other big name free agents? What about New Jersey, playing for the new billionaire owner from Russia and Jay-Z, knowing they are moving to Brooklyn in the next few years? How about Chicago, no better way of becoming the next Jordan than taking his team to some championships, right? Then there is playing in L.A., no, just kidding, nobody wants to do that. He could go to Miami in hopes that Dwyane Wade sticks around, making a dynamic duo, or better, considering how much money Miami has. Or, there is the option to stay home, play for the only team he has known, the team and fans that have loved and adored him for so many years. What would you do?

Well, Lebron opted to go play in South Beach, cough, I mean, Miami, with Wade and All Star big man Chris Bosh, forming what has been dubbed "Miami Thrice" after the old 80's television series Miami Vice. I have no problem with him going to Miami, that isn't my problem with all this crap. My problem is this. He's a phony. A fraud. He has every right to leave town, and good for him. My problem is all the hoopla surrounding it. Maybe I should be more angry with ESPN and their glorifying all this bullshit. But still, I feel that Lebron went about the entire thing the wrong way. He grew up in Akron, has played for Cleveland for seven years, and totally turned his back on them. He didn't even give Cleveland management a phone call to let them know what he was going to do. To me, that would just be common courtesy. Cleveland has been the armpit of the sporting community for a LONG time, and this only makes it worse.

Here is my prediction. Miami will be a great regular season team. Their three all stars alone can carry them during the regular season. When it comes to the playoffs, I don't see this working out too well. They are going to have a very limited bench due to financial contraints. As of right now, they only have 4 guys under contract, and little to no money to spend. I'm expecting a phone call very soon to come down to South Beach, at the NBA minimum salary, to come off the bench. I think Lebron's best option was to go to Chicago and play with Rose, Boozer, Noah and the rest of the Bulls. They would be a dominant team for years to come. Oh well, GO CELTICS! I'm just saying...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Big music festivals, camping and temps pushing 100, just another weekend in Maine - Take 3

After tearing down camp and sweating worse than a fox in a forest fire, I hit the showers and we head on down the road to the Laskey family reunion. Tons of food, wiffleball, a cribbage tournament, corn hole and more food. A good time was had by all, as usual. We spent the better part of the day visiting with everyone, both younger and older than us. Kerrigan made herself some new friends and had a hell of a time selling rocks (gotta love the business sense the kid has).

As it gets closer to leaving time, I ask Kerrigan if she would rather attempt some kayaking or go to the ropes course we saw on our way up, Monkey C Monkey Do, in Wiscasset. Duh, ropes course, obviously! Well, guess what, it closed 15 minutes before we got there. UGH! No big deal, right? Kerrigan has an absolute breakdown! She is mad because, and I quote, we didn't do anything fun to end out weekend, and we always do. Do you think she is a little spoiled? NO! One of the employees is nice enough to walk us around and show us the place. It looks pretty darn cool, complete with a zip cord, sweet! Monkey finally calms down and the world is OK again. We convince her that going to The Cabin for pizza in Bath is a good runner up plan, and we all come out of this unscathed.

Pizza and beer never tasted so good, god I love that place. My parents end up meeting us there, and we decide to go check out the fireworks in Bath. We found a great spot, and enjoyed the light and sound show in the night sky. What a great weekend. I love it when I'm absolutely exhausted following a weekend and then have to head into work the next morning. I'm just saying...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Big music festivals, camping and temps pushing 100, just another weekend in Maine

Last weekend started out like any other weekend. There I was, sitting at work, trying to finish some things up before the whistle blew for quitting time at 1:00 (gotta love a little early release before holiday weekends), when I see a Facebook post from my favorite radio station, WCLZ, about them giving away a few more pairs of Nateva tickets. Just sign up on their page and they will call you it says. Um, duh! I quickly log on to their page and attempt to get a pair of Saturday tickets. In the meantime, I go back to their Facebook page and they have offered the first two responders a pair of Friday tickets as well. Well, guess who got free pairs of tickets to both Friday and Saturday? That's right folks, my good luck continued and Nichole and I were on our way to the biggest hippie fest in Maine this summer.

We rolled into Oxford right around dark, just as Ghostland Observatory are kicking their set into full gear. For those of you who have never seen them, they are basically are the illegitimate love child of the electronic, funk, rock and new wave genres of music. They are a hodge podge of all things great, with a light show thrown in for good measure. Oh, and let's be honest, they are perfect for a hippy show, what with all those crazy kids eating those magic mushrooms and running around with their neon colored glowsticks. I had never listened to any of their music, but I must admit, even without the magic mushrooms in my system, I enjoyed the music. Next up was moe., who I was most excited to see (since we would be unable to see George Clinton or Further on Sunday). I've been listening to these guys for a while, but this was my first time seeing them live, and I have to admit, I got into it. They put on a great show, even bringing Keller Williams up on stage with them at one point. Great night of music, and even got to hang with some good friends while we were there.

By the time we got home Friday night, it was actually creeping up on sunrise Saturday morning. We left Oxford around 2:00 AM and climbed into bed around 3:15, knowing we were getting a short nights sleep, as we were having brunch at my parental units abode for my sister's birthday at 9:00. Well, we took a quick nap and made it to Brunswick on time (which is shocking, I know). We had a great breakfast and were planning on heading back to Oxford, this time with Miss Kerrigan, but my better half had herself a bit too much fun the night before and was running on empty, and had to bartend at Buck's that night, so we opted out and gave our tickets away instead.

What happened next? Check back tomorrow, I've got work to do! I'm just saying...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Big music festivals, camping and temps pushing 100, just another weekend in Maine - Take 2

After enjoying a great night at Nateva, we were just too tired to even attempt to head back to Oxford for another day of fun in the sun. Instead, Nichole took a cat nap before heading into Buck's for the evening while Kerrigan and I cleaned the car and got ready for our camping trip to Camden on Sunday. After dropping Nichole off at work, monkey and I head home and crash fairly early, knowing we had a couple of fun days still in front of us. We climb out of bed, get ready, and head up the coast for Camden Hills State Park.

For those of you who have never been to Camden before, it's a beautiful little town. It's located right on the water, has an old time feel to it, and is full of cute little eateries and shops. We made a reservation on just the other side of town at the Camden Hills State Park, a nice little camp ground nestled in between the ocean and a handful of trails leading to and around some picturesque mountains and lakes. After checking in, we get camp set up and decided to go for a little hike down to the water. Since it was pushing 100 degrees, we felt a little sea breeze might help cool us down, and Yawkey loves jumping in the water!

While on our walk along the jagged rocks down near the crashing waves, Nichole, who was wearing less than stellar footwear for such an adventure, lost her balance and went crashing into a sharp rock, catching herself with her wrist, cutting it fairly deep, just missing causing some serious damage. I was prepared to tightly wrap my favorite beer t-shirt around it and carry both her and Kerrigan out of there, but it wasn't that bad, thank god! We did, however, decide to cut the hike short and went back to camp so Nurse Better (Kerrigan) could make Nichole all better. This little smarty pants actually packed the band aids and Neosporin, just in case something like this happened. Smart kid!

After getting all cleaned up, we went into town to check out some of the local haunts. Cappy's Chowder House, Peter Otts and the Camden Deli were all great spots. We grabbed a quick snack and a beverage at the Camden Deli, and enjoyed the view of the harbor before heading to Hannaford for band aids, beer and bug spray, a typical threesome of grocery selections, I'm sure. Not hungry, and unsure what we felt like doing next, we took Kerrigan down to the water for some rock skipping and splashing around, just down the road from where we were spending Monday, at a family reunion with Nichole's extended family. On our way back to the campground, we saw a handful of relatives outside, so we stopped in and hung out until almost 10 PM, when we realized we had to run to get firewood for the s'mores we promised Kerrigan!

Now, the temps usually drop in the evening, you know, after the sun goes down. Well, last Sunday was the exception to that rule. It was hot sleeping weather in the old tent. It was almost as if our sleeping bags just came out of the dryer and we were laying under a heat lamp. No better way to wake up then with a touch of the swamp ass, good times. I climbed out of bed, and made a big breakfast for us before tearing down camp while the ladies got cleaned up. I'm already in a full sweat and it isn't even noon yet. Good!

Final day of our camping trip coming up tomorrow. I just love keeping you all on the edge of your seats (at least in my mind you are)! I'm just saying...