Saturday, February 22, 2014

I Pity the Fool Who Wasted this Day

I did a lot more walking when Hershey was still around.

No matter what the weather, twice a day, at least, I was strolling with the mutt. On the weekends, up at the lake, I was motivated to hike around one of the lakes at least one day of the weekend. Then came the winter of 2013-14. And yes we all agree it sucks. Makes no difference what part of the country you are in, with very few exceptions, all we have done for the past 2 1/2 months is complain about the weather.

And why the hell not? It's been brutal. Last year I think I missed one weekend of walking at the lake, this year I think I walked once. But today was different. Today is a blue sky, breezy, temperature in the high 40s kind of day, and after the past month, it felt good to soak in the sun for an hour.

There's a lot of snow up here. A lot. even with the wide open spaces, you still run out of places to put it. Driveways, our included, are half the width they are normally. Homes with garages have front stairs covered with snow, as people take the easy route of entering their homes through the garage instead of front door. No one has the energy to clean it all, there's just too much.

The community is usually filled with wildlife. On the walk, I saw one herd of deer, all huddled together, a few squirrels and that was it. There is no food for these creatures, and it will be a long time before there is. It's a hard winter for them too.

The plan was to walk around the smaller lake being it's been a while, but I got caught up in the day and blew right past the street where I should have turned. Taking my time, the trek around the big lake wasn't too bad. A light breeze, sun on my face, and music in my ears.

I ended up the walk with Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes singing "I Played The Fool." Maybe Johnny, but not me though. The walk was joyous. Can't wait for spring to do it more often.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snow? NO.

It's snowing. Again.

Yes, we're all bitching about the weather. We are sick of it. After the the first snowfall, everyone goes out to shovel and there is a great camaraderie between the neighbors. Everyone smiles and talks as we take short breaks between moving another few shovelfuls of snow. You know, those breaks that you hope will keep your rapidly aging heart from exploding.

After a few storms, neighbors get a lot less neighborly. We're tired. We are not happy to be outside lifting another six, eight, ten inches of snow. And while the first couple of storms had nice light, fluffy snow, the last two have been wet, heavy snow. You know the kind... the snow that puts even more strain on your rapidly aging heart.

Now the neighbors barely grunt at each other as we push, plow and pile the snow higher and higher. If we were in the middle of a summer's heat wave, and the temperatures were in the 90's this much, people would be freaking out and beating the crap out of each other. We are at a breaking point, and if we weren't so damn exhausted, I'm sure there would be violence. But, who has the time or energy for that?

So now we wait for the lull in the storm to start cleaning up, because this one is a two-parter. Oh yeah, it's gonna come down all day, stop for a while, then start again sometime tonight, which means there has to be a plan. When do we start cleaning? Do we wait for it to be entirely done? Well, it might turn to rain for a brief period before turning back to snow, so that makes it even heavier. But, if it turns to ice after you clear the snow, well that's another can of worms. It always ends up to be an audible on the field. You go with your gut, there is an inner voice which yells out "hey, time to get your ass outside."

That's when you see all the neighbors digging out of their houses, all about to take on the same task as you. At this point, I doubt there will even be eye contact.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

I Love LA... Wait, What?

So I spent this past weekend in LA attending the Grammy Awards and pretty much having a shitload of fun. It was wonderful to get away from the Jersey cold and see the Pacific again. Had some great food, met some interesting people and yeah, went to the Grammy Awards.

LA is a totally different planet. It's winter and it's green. It also has a lot of cars. A lot of cars. And it takes forever to get from point A to point B. Staying downtown, close to the Nokia Theatre and Staples Center, we must have driven through Koreatown 657 times.. at least. During all this time in the car, I began to notice a few things.

The first thing that stuck out... literally, was there are too many women in too tight pants or too short skirts. And then there are the too tight and too short skirts. We were waiting for our table for dinner Saturday night when this couple walked in. The woman, mid-twenties, had hair longer than her skirt. She spent a good deal of time pulling the skirt down. She should have spent a little time looking in the mirror before she left home. She might have noticed the nasty runs she had in both legs of her pantyhose. Classy.

Then there is the sex shop district. Very interesting. There were fashions I had not ever seen before, nor could have imagined. And let's not forget the cars. Except for one car parked across the street from the Record Plant recording studio, I don't think I have ever seen as many pristine, new and expensive cars in my life. It was so nice to watch as a high maintenance middle-aged man picked his nose in his very expensive convertible. Again, classy.

What I really liked was all the art. Walls of buildings, covered in art. Banners hanging off the street lamps. Posters. Colors everywhere. From the stark winter colors of the northeast, the vibrancy of the streets of Los Angeles are a delight to the eyes.

All in all, I enjoyed my time in LA, could I live there... don't think so. But for Grammy weekend, it suited me just fine.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The 2nd Annual Edition of "They Stuck What Up Where?"

Last year around this time, I wrote a blog about some of the reasons people end up in emergency rooms over the course of the year. Now we're not talking heart attacks, appendicitis, or even slicing off one's finger with an electric saw. No, these reasons are a little more... let's just say, exotic.

The list is compiled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and same as last year, the people at Deadspin have put it in a most interesting order. So what have some of you wild and crazy people been up to this year? Honestly, I don't want to know.

Here is a partial list of what people (and let's not judge here) have inserted in various body orifices, only to realize, it ain't going out the same way it went in.

While fairly mundane, one does need to ask... why are these things in your EAR?
Make-up Brush
"CLASSMATE PUT A ROCK IN EAR, HAS PIECE OF PAPER IN OTHER EAR"... We will not ask where the scissors ended up.

Plastic eyeball...
Ear Plug... clearly these two people need a course in anatomy
2 Erasers... because one wasn't enough

Detergent Pack
Ball of String
Engagement Ring... aren't you curious if it was a man or woman who was trying to swallow the engagement ring?

And now here's where the real fun begins.
Sewing Needle... no matter how hard I try, I can't figure this one out
Plastic Pipe, Dental Floss with Beads... this has party written all over it

Pencil eraser... I had no idea erasers had such a tawdry other life
Glue Stick... really?

And as always, the perennial fun zone.
Shampoo Bottle
Cologne Bottle
Lotion Jar
Soda Can... soda can?
Flashlight... what the hell are they looking for?
Pool Ball... the eight ball perhaps?
Bathtub Stopper
Ice Pack
Toy Submarine.... I can't even go there

People, yes the body can be a pleasure machine, but let the big brain do some thinking before you insert foreign objects into the little brain, or other orifices.

It's New Year's Eve, don't drink and drive, and don't drive man-made materials into body cavities, unless they were specifically made for that purpose. This is not what they mean when they say "Use Your Imagination."

Party On.


Monday, December 23, 2013

How Difficult Is It To Deliver Christmas Cookies?

Well, let me tell you.

The weekend was full of cookie baking. It went rather well, and so far there have been no complaints or reports of trips to the emergency room. Delivered a few cookie care packages yesterday, and today I planned on visiting my only living aunt to drop off a tin. She only lives two towns over and I pass a Shop Rite on the way, so the plan is to drop in for around fifteen minutes, then hit Shop Rite for a couple of things.

I pass Shop Rite and drive another couple of blocks before you get to the bridge that leads to her town. Well, the bridge is closed. And when does the DPW let you know this? Ten feet in front of the now-closed bridge. So, everyone needs to turn around in the middle of the street and go all the way around town. Is it really too much to ask that they put a "Bridge is Closed" sign at the last intersection, so we wouldn't have to end up like something out of a cartoon? Apparently, it is.

I drive back over the first bridge I crossed and take the alternate route to my aunt's house. I walk in and she's in a state. Very stressed, very frantic. It seems she fell for an online scam where someone read her some of her ID information, mentioned Social Security and Medicare, and my aunt filled in the blanks. She's usually smarter than that, but they had enough of her info to make it sound legit. After the call, she got nervous and called to verify. It was a scam. So she had been on the phone for the past three hours trying to get things in order. Luckily I walked in, was able to calm her a bit and take her immediately to her bank.

The bank was very helpful; transfer funds, close accounts, open new ones, set up fraud alerts. I was able to write down for my aunt the next steps to take, who to call, how to deal with all of it... one step at a time. She called me later in the afternoon, all calls were made and she was busy eating cookies. Yes, my work is done.

So I guess the point of this post is to just remind the senior citizens in our lives just how low these pieces of crap will go to get your personal information. They are professional, your elderly relatives are not. Keep on eye out for those you love.

Back to the cookies.
Merry Christmas everyone.