Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It's the North Star!

Well, actually, it's not. It's New Years Eve 2013 and I'm sitting here making a blog post. Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never thought upon, I am finishing my habit forming ritual and writing on the eve of a new year. Another hour and thirteen minutes, Americans will need to officially write 2014 on their paper work - checks, forms, etc. Me, I'm hoping I can just wake up tomorrow and make it through a dreary day of places being closed.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

If "love is the answer"...

...what was the question?

Past couple days I've been having John Lennon's Mind Games floating around my head. I can't explain it. Maybe it's the fact today is Christmas and I'm in Florida, and there's no snow. It's not even bloody cold out - it's a warm 70 something. Nice out to go walking at night and see the lights around the neighborhood, see who's playing in the street. Not dancing, but out with the dogs, the families, the whatevers. I think that this part of Florida is too old and stuck up to be out partying in the street. They're not Martha Reeves & The Vandellas or David Bowie & Mick Jagger. But, I do tend to start singing Happy Xmas (War Is Over) at some point in my night. Although, truth be told, I've been slightly buzzed.

Regardless, it's another year older and another year wiser. Another year gone in the blink of an eye, and I'm stuck holding on to some thought process of years past.

Here's to a healthy and prosperous 2014. May the next six days go out with a bang...


Monday, December 23, 2013

You're killing me, smalls!

There I am, at a red light the other morning, listening to a random hip hop station. It was the first thing that came on after 'scan' that didn't have Christmas music. Well, I found the tail end of Jay-Z's Tom Ford. Threw me through a raver's loop! I didn't know whether I wanted to go wild and dance at a drag bar, or go home and play Super Mario Bros for Nintendo.

I swear, my first knee jerk reaction was "I know I heard the bounce beat at a few drag shows... like it belongs in some rave scene". No offence to any readers who go out and participate - I used to frequent a lot of the bars up north with friends of mine. I miss it! The second knee jerk reaction was "is he sampling Mario? It sounds like the blip blip of Mario going down the green pipes in level one to get more coins...". Honestly - check out the Youtube link here. Tell me they're not similar, and I'll leave it alone. Thirdly, although I'm not a big Hova fan, my diamonds aren't up, but it sounds to me he's trying to show the young'uns a thing or two about their drug usage - "I don't do Molly but I rock my Tom Ford". I get Miley likes to do her Molly, but Mr. Carter, please enunciate your "Tom Ford" a little more. It sounds like you keep saying "Time For". I kept asking myself why does he keep saying 'time for'? Upon research, he's saying Tom Ford... oooooohhhh.

If anyone else can shed some light on the subject, let me know. What's the obsession with Tom Ford, and why should I be (or not be) taking Molly?


Sunday, December 8, 2013


As long as I keep the raccoon out of the bathroom, my tub can stay pretty clean. It's no longer as dirty as certain pop musician's careers.

Over a week of extended guests and their stay in my house, I finally have a free moment to scrub the hell out of my water closet. I'm not the most perfectly clean person, by any means, but after dealing with someone's wet wash cloths and over squeezing the tooth paste, I had itching tendencies to start clean bombing three days before they left (yes, I was cleaning in between the days they were here... it's just the whole place needed to be shifted).

I wish I had taken a before picture, but after using the Mr Clean Magic Eraser Handy-Grip Bath Kit
, my tubby sparkles! Not to be confused with the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Cleaning Pads, the one I used is for the bathtub. I'm sure you can use the latter, but the handy grip is sooo much easier than scrunching up the sponge. Plus, the refill kit is an additional bonus, since it's flat packed and can be stored separately under the sink. 


Thursday, December 5, 2013

It ain't over til it's over

Happy end of Hanukkah for all the good little Jewish boys and girls. The festival of lights have been dimmed, and now it's time to get on the naughty side of a jolly old man. Don't fret too hard, kinderlach. Saint Nicholas still has you in his sights for the eve of a resurrected young man. Should you decide to leave milk and cookies for the guy in red, he'd surely leave a peppermint stick among the crumbs.

It was definitely an interesting festivus this year. With the newly coined term "Thanksgivikkah", people were calling home, wishing loved ones a "Gobble Tov", due to Hanukkah falling on Thanksgiving in 2013. Webster must be rolling over in his grave... with all the acquired definitions one must now know! My, how times have changed. People do, too.

Yes, gone are the days when humans sat around after eating their turkey dinner, and reclaimed a sort of spiritual awakening ("Oh, God, I ate too much!", "Dear Jesus... that was a lot of stuffing!"), they now eat early to shop all night long (for some reason Lionel Richie's 'All Night Long (All Night)' popped in my head as I wrote that). All the more reason to spend your new gelt on that item you've always wanted. I know a cousin was working at a local mall Thursday night, and she had stopped in to a big box electronic store around midnight. No lines, no waiting. What did she walk out with, for cheap? Kindle Fire HDX 7", that's what. When she told us what she paid, I was like, "dammmmnn....". It was literally a steal. Since then, she's been loading it up with books and loves it. Can't see herself with out it now. I can relate - I bought my mother the Barnes and Noble reader, and she is loving the fact she can sit, read, and now worry about schlepping to the store to purchase a large font book. Personally, I still like my hand held books.

Like now, I'm reading Bob Dylan's Chronicles. Because work has got me tied up through my lunch, I can't read while eating. However, the couple pages I've gone through, have turned out pretty decent. Dylan starts off by introducing the reader to his first meeting with an agent, and ends up rewinding a little bit to explain how he got there. Thus far, I'm learning a lot of the folk history in New York. Who was who, where they went, why they went. I hope to finish the book before the month is out.

Staying on the Hanukkah theme,

Thursday, November 28, 2013

What are you thankful for?

As I sit here drinking a freshly brewed Green Mountain Coffee - Island Coconut and wearing my Nick & Nora Sock Monkey Slippers (with long pants and a long sleeved shirt so stop perving. It got to 40 degrees last night in Florida), I have a slight ear to the oven. Starting to cook early today, preparing for the ever mighty American Feast (aka Thanksgiving). I am reminded of holidays past and wish to know holidays future.

Frost and condensation on the window!

Sock Monkeys: Yay!

I've spent many years making routines (like watching Absolutely Fabulous and Carnivale), making plans (driving by myself to someone's house in another state), and all get blown away by some form of happy accidents... surprise visits from friends, drunken family sing a longs around a piano, NFL games on a small screen... the list goes on. The older I get, the less quality time people are giving each other. Every one has their own families now, branching out to make their own memories. Less time is spent around a television (even thought it's as big as a wall) and there is more time sitting around wondering where to stop first as stores open early tonight. Those stores will stay open for the next 24 hours and continue to be maintained and lit until there are no more products.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Of all the times in the world, today!

Of all the times in the world, I get an email this morning from half.com. They were telling me I sold Mary's Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace. Maybe the person just wants the post date, as today marks 50 years since JFK was shot down at 411 Elm Street (aka Dealey Plaza), Dallas, Texas. At the time I write this, "it hasn't happened yet" - it's only 7:10 in the morning in Texas. Can't go big or go home yet, Mr. Oswald. But wake up anyway - you are late for work. Five hours and 20 minutes from now, Dallas is expected to have a moment of silence in the area, as the (American, most likely) world will be at a theoretical standstill.

It's funny, in the sense that a book I read and subsequently sold, has transpired on a day where some people don't want to remember. It's a moment in people's lives that you just want to forget. Although it's an important part of the American zeitgeist,  the people must remember how the communities and cultures for formed - for better or worse.

No matter who you are, where you were, what you do, this event in history has affected the general population. Conspiracy theorists alike think one thing, scientists claim another, and history won't lie.


See Also:

Friday, November 15, 2013

If the price is right...

Lately, I've been on a transfer kick. I've been transferring all my old home movies on VHS to DVD. It's one of those moments in history, where I'm going through all the old recordings I did for the clubs I belonged to in college, all the family tapes from eons ago, and I just don't have room for them anymore. The clunky video tapes are just too cumbersome in a tiny entertainment center.

Therefore, I had invested in the Sony RDR-GX257 Recordable DVD Player with HDMI Upscaling. ()

Sunday, November 3, 2013

One more review

In the "rush" to write the numerous camera swag reviews from last week, I failed to mention one of the most used pieces in my arsenal: My telephoto zoom lens.

Cruising around the city, sometimes on a bicycle, most times in the car, you find certain things you typically aren't used to.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Time to do some reviews

This summer, I purchased some interesting swag for my camera. I figured it's time to write up a review of them, since I've been printing out a few pictures that have come pretty cool. In no way, do I want this post to sound spammy. I just have a few minutes to kill and wanted to post something.

After months of debate, I picked up a new table top tripod, macro kit and remote cable release. Since I'm still new to my digital camera, I'm slowly trying things out.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

I have a fresh cup; I think you need it

Again, I'm trolling my ever favorite newspaper, and I find a questionable mistake.

The Brockton Enterprise is reporting that Boston school bus drivers are going on strike. This made the paper yesterday, and today, they have a little more detail. Only problem is: How in the hell do one "walk of the job"? The article itself, is not immune to wrong use of words. Or misspells. If the writer can use a 'big word' like "intimations", why can't the sentence "Tuesday's strike in Boston caught officials there off guard [...]"?
I would have dropped the 'there' or at least put it somewhere else.

Front Page online

Title on page

Honestly - there's a reason why this paper is constantly looking for editors and reporters, then decides it wants to file bankruptcy. The workers can't do their work.

I feel like I'm at my current job, when I read things like this. The problem with the store I'm in, is the person doing the marketing isn't catching the mistakes, nor is the assistant. To further frustrate things, the owners allow this to happen. But I digress, as it's a one off store and there's no real threat to an entire chain.

However, shame on you, GateHouse Media, for hiring people that constantly make mistakes. Only good thing about this, is the fact they are consistent. Instead of a Christmas bonus this year, should the employees still be there, may I suggest a few books?

Number one in the suggestion is part of the great "For Dummies" series - English Grammar For Dummies. Not only is the purchase price great, but the reader will learn how to dot their i's and cross their t's... and make sure those letters have the correct punctuation. This book is as stripped down as you can get, as it is laughing at you, not with you. You're not the dummy, you're just a little confused in how to show the correct use of there, they're and their.

Numero dos, like the previous book, is not laughing at you when the title calls you out on your mistake. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Well, sounds off putting, but the examples in each chapter truly make you think. They are not there to guilt the reader into shame, but to allow a "oh, so that's where I've been going wrong..." thought. As with all paper backs, it's easy to travel with.... just for that chance the reporter needs to travel out of state for a piece about jaywalking.

Thirdly, I feel like Writing Copy For Dummies can help the person I work with, a little more than it can help the paper staff. Yes, it's another For Dummies book, but the more you can dive in to this series, the better. It's not like they one off you and you're left still scratching your head. They give prime examples of why mistakes are made and how to fix them.

There are so many books out there to help formulate thoughts and get them on paper (or computers). Hopefully one of the suggested books will be purchased for the employees...


See also:
Amazon page: Write here!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Rise, flood water, arise!

It's a rainy day here in Florida. There's not much to do while the cloud hose beats down on us. Considering it's new movie Tuesday, as well as my day off, I rented The Great Gatsby from a local Redbox.

Of course, this is the latest (of many) film adaptions of F. Scott Fitzgerald's 180 page novel, The Great Gatsby. The film, directed by Baz Luhrman, was long. It spans 2 hours and 23 minutes, and left me wondering why I rented it. I love Fitzgerald's work, but I don't appreciate the cheap flash that Luhrman did to this story.

Yes, I said it's cheap.

As with all Baz's story modifications, Gatsby didn't keep my interest. It relied too heavily on the computer graphics and typical quick speed the director is known for. I don't know how else to explain the "quick speed" (besides saying "quick cuts"). It's like that point in Moulin Rouge where everything seems like a hyper kinetic, chaotic bad dream and everyone is running on a case of Red Bull. Same thing with this current movie. I kept waiting for the cast to break out in some rave song and dance. The party scenes, for example, when the camera slowly pans out to show the crowd, all of a sudden you're snapping back in to the game, dancing to Shawn Carter's remixes.

Which brings me to my next question: Why the hell did Jay-Z produce this soundtrack? Please, correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think there was rap in the 1920s. Especially the kind of rap Hova spews out. Dude has game, yes, but I don't think people were listening to his wife's "Crazy In Love" during 1922-25 bootlegging season. I know the director wanted to spice things up with this version of the American Dream, but the music just added to the disjointedness. The songs did not make me feel like this was supposed to be a depiction of the early 20s. I seriously felt like every tried to hard to bring 2013 into 1922 and update that generation of life.

Hell, even the title cards and the opening credits were too spacey and newly dated to give such an old feeling of wealth and time. This was supposed to be a story of two separate lives (new money versus old money) in New York, trying to live as one, and survive the ever changing status structure of society and the world.

Would I really want to watch this again? No, not really. Do I want to pull out my beat up paperback and re-read the original? Hell yes.

I bid this review an adieu, whilst it's still raining, to find out why a neurotic and morbid alcoholic chose to write such extravagantly about his version of how life should have been when you mix business with pleasure.


See Also:

F. Scott Fitzgerald Amazon Page

Baz Luhrman Amazon Page

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Someone didn't have their coffee....

... And if they did, it hasn't kicked in yet. They need to add an energy drink to the mix, because apparently, no one checked the captions under the photos.

Trolling The Enterprise again, I came across an interesting blog post about a local Massachusetts resident. Matthew Salloway was a pivotal behind the scenes person in "Lee Daniel's 'The Butler'". Salloway hails from Braintree, Mass, but works in Hollywood. According to the article, he's starred in a handful of movies before going behind the camera... well... away from the camera, as he was an executive producer on this film.

Daniel's 'Butler' is based on a true story about a (black) White House butler who served under 8 presidencies. It was a good movie, but all I kept saying is "15 more years, X amount of presidents...". Well shot and well acted; the nominated cast deserves the awards if they get it.

However, the writer of the article, only deserves the "I didn't check my spelling" award.

Case in point: The story is fine, but the captions read "Lee Daniels' The Buter". Lee Daniels made another movie, and this one is called 'The Buter'? It would have been completely different if one photo Salloway provided was misnamed, but to have four, that's a shame on you. Considering the main photo says "Butler", why all of a sudden lose the L?

'The Butler's' Braintree connection

Who's to say what went through the person's head when they wrapped up the interview and the story, but as the blog section states, "It's only entertainment"!


Friday, September 6, 2013

..And this is news, because...?

Trolling the Emptyprise, like usual, I came across a video today in the gallery. This particular clip tells me nothing about why it is news. It's a video of a man who purchased 251 pizzas from one of the local pizza places, to then take back to the state he currently resides in (Madison, MS). 

Problem is, the almost 3 minute video is all cuts and very little talk. It is as if someone were practicing their video editing skills, and as an April Fools joke, put it on the website. But wait, this isn't April first. 

Seriously, with no information about the video, how is this news? Because someone was shocked an out of stater bought so many pizzas? The only thing the page says for an article is "Dave Schuler, of Madison, MS, picks up 251 pizza's at Town Spa in Stoughton, and makes the 1400 mile trip back home". The pizza owns something? An apostrophe 's' is after that word..... 

If you're going to half ass something, at least push it to the back of the class...

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Monthly fly by

Wow, almost the end of August and I don't make a post. I was actually thinking about it last night, when there's nothing to do, nothing to watch, and you don't feel like reading. Although I've started Mary's Mosaic: The CIA Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace, I haven't had time to finish it. I've got about 50 or so pages in (it's a thick book), but this week has been all about work. When the bosses are away, the 3 mice can't play. Therefore, all reading gets put on hold. Thus far, insightful look into another death during the JFK years. Can't completely divulge a lot, as I'm not nearly into the middle of the story. But, from what I have turned in pages, it's worth picking up


see also:

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Fact checkers un unite!

Good thing I left Brockton. Apparently the local news paper can't spell. Or better yet, don't explain what a new sport is.

Has anyone heard of a "blowling league"? I had to ask my mother, and she had no idea. I told her to "go to the Enterprise site and click on the 6 tab". She did and didn't know either. Upon clicking on the image, it went to a photo gallery. Headline still reads "blowling" however the next paragraph says "bowling".

Question still remains as who the hell checks this stuff before posting (number one), and did I really try to apply there a few times to be a news reporter (number 2)? Maybe the Enterprise and it's parent company GateHouse Media won't hire me because I can have good sentence structure (college education / degree). Either that, or we're gonna start putting some other cards in the ring, giving the population of the city...

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Not so recommended!

Everyone has their allegiance to specific brands. Each brand meets a certain need. When some people think of vacuums, they immediately say "Dirt Devil", "Electrolux", "Hoover", and "Dyson". Given the generation, you get a different "omg! I love my [enter name]!!! It's a MUST for my daily lifestyle". Unfortunately for me, I'm finding the cheapy name brand suctioners, are you get what you pay for.

My room is the only room in the house that has carpet. It's not a huge room that needs an industrial dirt sucker. I need something simple that can hide in a closet and I can pull out, plug in, and go, for when I need it.

I first bought the BISSELL Featherweight Stick Vacuum. I had used it up north before we moved. The more I think about it, the more I want to say I bought it in college to suck away nasties in my single dorm room. At any rate, it worked for all of a minute. The better part of the machine is the crevice adapter, so you can get corners better. Otherwise, I have found this Bissell really doesn't serve the purpose. It pushes and pulls dirt  / every day life, rather than suck it in its (bagless) internal tubing. It's light as all hell, can be dismantled into a hand vacuum, but when you've got a room to clean, you're not going to want to be on your hands and knees. Based on the crevice adapter and entire lightness being the only pieces that's great, I rate the entire sucker a 2.5 out of 5 stars. And that's being nice.

When I moved down to Florida, I knew I had to get motivated and get a "better" vacuum. I started working at a big box retail, so one of the first purchases I made was the Dirt Devil Swift Stick. Great! New vacuum and a reliable name! Nope. Worked for half my room and stopped grabbing shmutz. Unlike the Bissell, The only thing this does extra, is have the crevice adapter. No hand use. But it too is light and tiny. Again, like the one before, it moves everything around. Sure, you can see some things cycloning in the (bagless) inside (which is a cool feature), but there shouldn't be more dirt and grime on the floor than in the vacuum. 2.5 out of 5 stars, for the cyclone feature.

In all, both are good vacuums, only if you need to do a small patch of room. A shakeable rug or quick cleanup. I have to do a dust before I vacuum, use both dirt picker uppers, and then get on my hands and knees to pick up all the nasties that didn't end up in my trash can. Considering I picked up more dirt, hair, rocks and such in my hands, I find it's easier to just do that, than to waste energy plugging machines in. Either that, or I need to buy something more expensive that can actually work.


** disclaimer: I'm not giving these brands a bad reputation or a bad game. I feel these two vacuums could be better used if they weren't in a medium sized room. Great on door mats and all right on hard wood floors. Not so good on carpets.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

That... was interesting

Just finished City of the Snakes, and I must say, it came together nicely, however, it was surprising. One of the most surprising parts: when Shan brought together his two pivotal characters (Raimi from book one, and Jeery from the second), each man had his own narrative towards the end. To distinguish between the two, Shan used different fonts. I can't tell which type it was, but it was noticeable. At first, the change in letters was confusing, but once I read on, I figured out who was saying what. My only real concern was the fact it revolved a little heavy on the Jeery character, rather wrap the first two books together, nicely. True, this one did elaborate a lot more in to Jeery's history and why the people he's known to trust, seem to have screwed him over, but like the second book, they kept Raimi a lot out of the picture. It seemed rushed in places, to make the two stories mesh in the third, but beggars can't be choosers. Each character's history did end up being explained... rather hastily in some points, but done in taste in others.

In all, this series was great. It kept you interested in reading about "history" and what corrupted power can do to you. I compare it to what we fictitiously know about some big mob figure head, straight out of New York, ruling the state and taking no prisoners. There are talks in the series where this Raimi needs to talk over the rest of the world, so attribute the New Yorker to take over Jersey, all of New England and then the rest of the United States. Stupid comparison, I know. But like I've said before, Darren Shan has written a trilogy that keeps you second guessing and wanting to delve deeper into some gangster's underbelly world, praying you come out alive.

If you make it out of New York, aim for Vegas. Make it out of Vegas and you rule the world.

I'm excited to read more of Mr. Shan's work!


Further reading:

Darren Shan on Amazon