Sunday, January 30, 2011

All-Star Bore

This is the worst time of year.  Not because of all the snow.  It's because it's All-Star season.  Today both the NHL All-Star Game and Pro Bowl were held.  In a few weeks the NBA will follow with its All-Star Game.

I won't beat around the bush.  I think all-star games suck.  Sports leagues continue to try to reinvent them, but to me they're beyond redemption.

Today's games were a classic example.  In an effort to shake things up, the NHL made the baffling decision, rather than pit the Eastern and Western Conference like they usually do (or North America vs. World as has been done in some past Olympic years), the league voted Nicklas Lidstrom and Eric Stall as captains who then handpicked "fantasy" teams based on fan voting for the top six players and league selection for the remaining all-stars. Then the game is scheduled on the Vs. Network at 4pm.  The Bruins' Tim Thomas and Zdeno Chara played on opposite teams, which is also silly. Thus the all-star game pits Team Lidstrom and Team Stall.

What is this, Twilight? 

(For the record, I'm told Team Lidstrom won 11-10.)

The Pro Bowl is equally ridiculous. The league wants to set up a high-scoring shootout. The problem with football is that you have 45-man rosters (53 if you count the practice squad) and there are so many moving parts it's impossible to build a cohesive team in a week, let alone a smooth offense.  So they set up rules (no blitzing, zone defense only, etc.). But it just makes the game silly.  It certainly doesn't help that the NFC was up 42-0 with 5 minutes left in the first half.  It was actually pretty amazing that the AFC made the final score look competitive (NFC 55, AFC 41).

Even the baseball All-Star Game, while it has some venerable-ness to it, is silly.  Players get one at-bat, maybe two, starting and relief pitchers both get one inning on the mound.  And Bud Selig had the silly foresight to make the All-Star game determine home-field advantage, unlike every other league, which awards home-field to the team with the best record (the Super Bowl is a best-of-one, so I like that the NFL goes neutral-site). 

Anyway, I don't expect all-star games to be abolished.  I'm sure they make money for the league.  But they're not worth watching.  A total snoozer.

SyFy Pictures Original: Mega Python vs. Gatoroid

Curse you, SyFy Channel!  You always schedule your top-notch original monster movies on the Saturday nights when I actually have plans.  This means that when I get home, I have to stay awake from 1-3am to watch the rebroadcast of Mega Python vs. Gatoroid (which should be subtitled Debbie Gibson vs. Tiffany, as the two former teen pop divas star in it).

Thus, here I am, Coca-Cola in hand, trying to inject myself with caffeine.  What follows is a running commentary, for as long as I can keep myself awake.

1:01 a.m. – Here’s Debbie Gibson stealing a python.  (An aside: Debbie Gibson is still very cute.)

1:04 a.m. – Debbie G. just let the python loose.  Nothing bad can come of this, right?

1:06 a.m. – Tiffany shows up as the Everglades park ranger, telling some hicks the gator population is down and there will be no hunting permits issued this season.  (An aside: Tiffany is still very pretty.  That said, I’d say Debbie is more toned.  I think I’m solidly behind Team Debbie.)

1:16 a.m. – Debbie Gibson to Tiffany: “Oooh, somebody had bitch for breakfast.”  Tremendous line.

1:30 a.m. – OK, after nearly 15 minutes without Debbie or Tiffany, who must be in the trailer powdering their respective noses (big disappointment, I’m getting impatient), Tiffany finally shows up, walkie-talkie-ing to her fiancée as he becomes Python Chow.

1:33 a.m. – Now fiancée-less Tiffany to Debbie: “You crazy, cold-blooded, snake-loving bitch.”  Debbie to Tiffany: “I think you’re alone now.”  It’s only January, but that could be the Quote of the Year.

1:39 a.m. – Seriously?  There was a New York City premiere of this movie?
1:52 a.m. – Debbie Gibson is stalked by giant gator.  Fortunately, the gator got Debbie’s assistant instead.  (Things might’ve ended on a less tragic note if they hadn’t run right into the gator’s path.)

1:58 a.m. – We’re about halfway through now, and I gotta admit, while it’s fun to watch Debbie and Tiffany, the movie itself is kinda dragging.  Not sure how much longer I’ll be able to hang in there.

2:00 a.m. – Check that.  Things just got interesting again.  Debbie Gibson just got attacked in the water by one of the gatoroid, barely escaping with her T-shirt and short shorts.

2:14 a.m. – So, lemme get this straight.  We got us some Tyrannosaurus-sized pythons and gators and Tiffany refuses to call in the National Guard.

2:17 a.m. – Tiffany to Debbie: “What the hell are you doing in my VIP tent?  Only in your dreams.”  Are they fighting gators and pythons or jockeying for position at the Grammies?  And with that, the best fight scene in history begins, smearing cake and spilling wine all over each other’s nice dresses.  The fight spills over into the nearby pond, where gators and pythons await.

2:23 a.m. – Oddly enough, while Debbie and Tiffany are standing in the pond in drenched dressed, the killer reptiles have decided to join the festivities in the party tent.  “I think we’re alone now,” Debbie tells Tiffany.  The cheese factor has spiked to 27.

2:30 a.m. – Still soaked, out fearless duo are in a Jeep with a herpetologist, chasing after the reptiles, which are now running amok on the way to Miami.  They seem to have resolved whatever differences they had and join forces to kill all the reptiles.  This is progress.  Team Debbie/Python and Team Tiffany/Gator just weren’t cutting it.

2:34 a.m. – Whoops, I spoke too soon.  They’re bickering again.  By the way, Florida’s the flattest state in America, yet somehow Debbie has to go into a mountainous cave to kill all the python eggs.  Does anyone else find this odd?

2:43 a.m. – Someone has just Tweeted “I wanna supersize Debbie Gibson and Tiffany.” Tremendous.

2:46 a.m. – Climax: Debbie is in the cave, trying to light dynamite to kill the eggs.  Meanwhile, Tiffany has to lead the mama reptiles away from the nuclear reactor.  I’m hoping against hope they can pull through.

2:55 a.m. – Shit! (Spoiler alert!)  Tiffany just became lunch for one of the gators.  I really thought she was gonna pull through. Interestingly enough, my TV listings say this movie continues until 3:04 a.m.

2:58 a.m. -- Tiffany and Debbie, who have been giving running commentary coming out of every SyFy commercial break, chime in during the final break. "What! I'm dead?" Tiffany says.  "I thought I was the star."

3:01 a.m. -- Big explosion, and snake and gator body parts are all over the place.  Debbie has survived.  But no!  One lone python (spoiler alert!) snaps Debbie in two.  Holy shit this sucks!

3:03 a.m. -- Tiffany and Debbie get an estuary named after them.  The end.  Holy shit.  Tragic ending.  And with that, I'm off to bed.  Good night. 

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Snow Etiquette

It's been a snowy month.  But this isn't our first rodeo, people.  We've had snow before.

Therefore, I present handy rules of snow etiquette:

1) When one is in the midst of steering their vehicle around a 7-foot-high snowbank, out of a parking lot or side street and is halfway onto the main road, do not attempt to pull into said parking lot or side street while driving full speed, as if there were no snow out.  When the said person is already halfway out onto the main road, all you're doing is blocking their access onto the road, and when you sit there with that blank stare, as if you don't understand why they don't want to bang their car into reverse, back into the parking lot or side street, and just start over again, you just look like a total jackass.

2) When one is digging their car out of a parking spot, don't hover behind them in your car with your motor running, asking them to move the chair or other object out of a parking spot that you particularly like even though there are 17 other available spots.  It may be cold and heartless, but under those circumstances they're gonna say no.

Now back to regularly scheduled programming.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

American Idol Season 10

I wasn't sure what to make of all the changes this season on "American Idol."  I think it was good for Ellen DeGeneres to go -- DeGeneres is talented in many things but judging singers is not one of them.  I thought Kara DioGuardi was a great judge (as well as great eye candy) and was crushed when she decided not to return. 

But I feared the biggest loss was Simon Cowell.  I don't blame him for leaving.  I mean, he had to sit through thousands of hours of horrible interviews -- we only saw the highlights.  But I wondered if the show would be the same with Randy Jackson as the only remaining original judge.

We're only two weeks in, so it's still early, but I've been pleasantly surprised with Season 10.  The two new judges are great.  Jennifer Lopez is tough but honest.  She also fulfills the eye candy role vacated by DioGuardi.  Steven Tyler is most definitely not eye candy, but he's also a smart judge who has a surprising range considering he's been a rocker his whole career.  And he's also kinda creepy when the younger women audition, which is entertaining.

I think what I like the most is that the three of them are all more of less equals.  Nobody is the Simon Cowell dickhead or the Paula Abdul softie (Tyler is probably the closest to being too lenient).  They all have their moments.

And what really clinches it for me is that, at the end of the day, the entertaining part of the show is the singers.  Not the good singers, because I don't care about them, but the bad singers, and most of all the bad singers who don't understand how bad they are and have hissy fits when they can't understand why they just got three "No's."  For that alone, I'll keep watching.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Super Bowl XX Rematch at Shaw's Supermarket

In this years’ playoffs, The Patriots and Bears failed to make good on the possibility of the rematch of Super Bowl XX.  But yesterday, 25 years to the day of that fateful game, there was an epic battle between a Patriots fan (me) and a Bears fan.

I was at Shaw’s supermarket yesterday morning, stocking up for the coming storm.  I went to the deli and the meat department and was rounding my way to the produce aisle when I heard wheels creaking next to me.  Seconds later, a carriage hip-checked me.  I look up and saw the operator of the carriage was a guy in a Chicago Bears winter jacket, radio buds in his ears and face-down rummaging through his groceries.

The guy clearly wasn’t paying attention – were I not in the way to stop him, he would’ve been on a collision course with a cooler of Van de Kamp’s fish sticks.  I didn’t think much of it and continued toward the produce department, until, second later, I heard behind me….


I turned and saw Bears Guy head around the corner.  I followed him around the corner and said, “Excuse me?”

“Thanks for bumping into me and not saying you’re sorry, asshole,” Bears Guy said.

“No, ya got it all wrong, pal,” I said, “You bumped into me.  Maybe if you’d look up, pull the radio out of your ear and your head out of your ass, you’d have seen me.”

At this, Bears Guy freezes, as if he a) didn’t realize how loud his “asshole” comment was with the radio in his ear, b) thought I wouldn’t confront him about it, or c) all of the above.  He turns and quickly runs away with his carriage to the next aisle, with all the wussiness of Jay Cutler or Tony Eason.

The 2011 NFL Playoffs were disappointing for Patriots fans everywhere, no doubt.  But yesterday was a great moment of redemption.  It took 25 years, but I was able to avenge the Patriots’ loss in Super Bowl XX to the Bears.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ficton -- It's All Subjective

Everyone has different tastes in writing.  I've read commercially and critically successful novels that I thought really sucked. 
This brings me to an interesting moment from earlier this month at my residency in the Fairfield University MFA program.  The topic meandered to current Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "Tinkers."  Despite the awards and fanfare, our program director is not a fan of this novel.

Which is fine.  I've read "Tinkers."  While I enjoyed it, I'll admit it's not an easy book to get into.  It takes a full commitment.  And it's certainly not the type of novel I would write.

Here's the irony.  "Tinkers" is written by Paul Harding, who at the time of its publication taught a couple of  fiction classes I took at Harvard Extension School before I enrolled in Fairfield's MFA.   When I told him I was applying to MFA programs, he generously agreed to write a recommendation for me.

So, while I don't write like Paul Harding, and our program director may not like his novel, there's a good chance I wouldn't be enrolled at Fairfield's MFA program without Paul's recommendation.  Maybe that's bad for Fairfield's reputation as a program, but it just goes to show that fiction writing is all subjective.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wishing Good Thoughts

My cousin Elena and I have a lot in common.  We're a year-and-a-half apart.  We're both only children, so we were basically the siblings each other never had. 

And we took that seriously.  We fought like siblings throughout childhood.  She generally got the worst of it -- she likes to talk about the time I swung her around by her hair, though I maintain I swung her by her ears.  I had a lot of trouble getting along with classmates when I was in grade school and I think subliminally I took some of that out on her.  Certainly a lousy excuse.  I proved I was the less mature of the two of us.

Simply put, Elena hasn't always had the easiest life and yet she's always been a trooper.  Yesterday she underwent surgery.  I haven't talked to her, so I'm hearing this second-hand, but they're watching her carefully.  Hopefully in a few hours they'll move her to a room, and that she's well on her way to recovery.  She deserves it.


Sunday, January 23, 2011


I'm right-handed.  But I always wanted to be left-handed. Despite all the warnings from my left-handed acquaintances of the difficulties of being a southpaw (people tying to convert you to right-handedness as if lefties are "evil," horrible penmanship, having to adjust to scissors, doorknobs, etc.), I always thought it came with some great advantages.  For example, if you walk into any major league team's spring training and announce "I'm left-handed," you're guaranteed a job as a relief pitcher.

But I recently came across an article about the challenges of workshopping novels.  It's tough to workshop a novel when you can only do so in 15-20 page chunks, particularly when you're workshopping anything other than Chapter 1.  There will be things the readers need to know that won't be covered by the excerpt. So most folks won't bother to submit anything other than the first chapter, and don't get workshopped in a big-picture way.

The article uses the metaphor of left-handed and right-handed.  For example, novelists are told in workshop to "write right-handed," -- i.e., write short stories -- because short stories are easier to workshop.  So many novelists become right-handed, short-story writers, even though it feels awkward and uncomfortable.  But some novelists rebel and continue to workshop novel excerpts -- i.e., write "left-handed" -- and the hypothesis is that these folks should continue to write left-handed, no matter what the workshop instructor tells them to do.

I've written short stories, and I've had three short stories published in the past year.   But to be honest, I write short stories under protest.  It's a matter of personal taste, but I prefer novels.

So maybe I really am left-handed after all.



During last night's party (happy birthday Colin), I have a vague recollection of getting the crowd all riled up during a game of Balderdash because I knew what the movie Skeeter was about.  Like, I somehow remember being accused of cheating or sabotaging the game.

Not sure if I was just hallucinating this (it was pretty late in the night and lots of beverages had been consumed), overembellishing it, or incorrectly retelling it.

I don't think it factored in the outcome of the game, but hopefully someone can refresh my memory.   

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hartford Courant Reunion

Recently I was switched to the new Facebook format.  I'm not crazy about being converted to new formats against my will, or about how all my photos are posted in such a way that I look like I had been decapitated just before they were taken.  On the other hand, it's not something I'll lose sleep over.

One thing that seems to have an odd correlation with the new format is a dramatic increase in the number of suggestions Facebook gives me to friend Hartford Courant folks (I was a reporter at the Courant from 1997 to 2002).  I don't know if the Courant sent out an edict for the newsroom staff to get on Facebook, but 95% of the new friend suggestions I get have ties somehow to the Courant, either current of former newsroom staff.  The other five percent is made up of writers and Russians.

This is certainly not meant to be a complaint.  We all complain about Facebook for one reason or another, but of the things Facebook does right is allow us to reconnect with people we lost touch with, whether it's high school classmates or former coworkers from four jobs ago.  It does require a lot of work on my part, trying to remember how well I knew someone.  But the Courant constituted five important years of my life, and I've wondered how a lot of those folks are doing.  It's probably worth it. 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

What I Posted Yesterday, Part Two

So, in my continuing experiment with Facebook envelope-pushing, today I will not say anything inflammatory.  (Thanks for everybody's interest, by the way.  I got a record number of hits over the past 24 hours.) 

Nothing from yesterday will be repeated.  I'm going in the other direction.  I will only say nice things. Things like: flowers, chocolate chip cookies, cake, penguins, etc.

In fact, this wil be pretty much the blog for today.  Here comes the big test.  Can I post my blog?

We shall find out soon enough.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Abusive Or Spammy

So, you may have noticed I posted yesterday's blog as an attachment to my Facebook status update rather than the normal link.  I had to.  Facebook tagged the blog as "abusive or spammy" and wouldn't let me post it the normal way.

Perhaps this is because Facebook's computer tags have no sense of humor.  In tongue-in-cheek fashion, I has suggested that a guy walking in the road during the snowstorm the other day may have been attempting suicide by car, and recommended that he should've headed in the opposite direction to the Lake Quinsigamond bridge.

I thought it was pretty obvious that this was not a serious suggestion.  I would never seriously recommend anyone commit suicide.

This made me wonder, perhaps this blog will get flagged too.  Facebook could tag the second paragraph as just as abusive as yesterday's blog.  We shall see.

In order to test my hypothesis, I will now type in several words that could be flagged as abusive.  I don't endorse any of these words -- they all pertain to concepts or actions that I disapprove of and/or make me uncomfortable. 

Gang-related Violence

We'll see if I can post this blog the normal way.  You'll be able to tell by how it appears on Facebook.  Wish me luck.   

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Walking In the Road In a Snowstorm

To the guy who was walking in the road on Route 9 yesterday afternoon during the snowstorm:

Great idea!  I live around the corner from where you were walking, and I applaud you for taking the initiative and getting out there, as I myself did by digging my car out of 7.4 inches of snow and making a break for Shaw's to stock up on some groceries.

Of course, there's a difference between me and you.  I drove.  You walked.  If I had lost control of my car, which was entirely possible based on the shitty condition Route 9 was in around 1:30pm (no thanks to you, Worcester DPW plows), you'd have been dead to rights.  It was almost a moot point, as the pickup truck in front of me nearly took you out instead, and you caused it to swerve into a snowbank, where it got stuck.

Since I didn't hit you, we never had the chance to have a conversation and I was unable to figure out why you were walking in the road.  This has intrigued me all day.

Perhaps you were trying to get hit on purpose, so you could turn around and sue the person who hit you.  If so, you should've walked in the other direction and crossed the bridge into Shrewsbury -- there's a lot more money in Shrewsbury than Worcester.

Or, perhaps you were suicidal.  If this is the case, then I imagine you were drawn to Worcester by the city slogan "Worcester: Where Jilted Lovers Go To Die."  Well there are better ways to kill yourself.  Again, may I point you to the bridge over Lake Quinsigamond, which separates Worcester and Shrewsbury.  It's probably a lot less painful to jump over the bridge than to get hit by a car.  And it'll look a lot more like a suicide, so your former significant other will be more likely feel bad about it and need therapy.

I don't know why I'm talking to you.  You probably got hit by the next car that came along and are now dead anyway.  But if not, I'll say this: while I applaud your goal-setting, next time think before you walk out in the road the next time we get a snowstorm and the plows don't come out in a timely manner.  There are better ways to accomplish your goals.  

Monday, January 17, 2011

Hawaii Five-O

During my high school years (and early college when I was home from school), Channel 4 aired reruns of the old Hawaii Five-O television series at 3am.  I'd come home from a party and be entranced -- I don't know if it was because I had a few in me or because I've always been a night owl, but I loved it.  It was great television, and of course, the theme song can't be beat.

So you can imagine how excited and nervous I was when CBS announced they were rebooting Hawaii Five-O as part of their new fall lineup.  Great potential, but they could totally screw it up.  Because of Monday Night Football, my grad school residency and various bowl games, I hadn't had a chance to check it out until earlier tonight.

I'm basing this on only one episode, but it's pretty good. Different enough that you feel like your watching a different show -- it's like Gen-Y Hawaii Five-O. Everyone has the same name (McGarrett, Dan-O, Chin Ho and Kono), but they're all young.  Oh, and Kono, instead of a big, burly Hawaiian guy, is a svelte, surfing babe. Still, they fight the dregs of Hawaiian society in an entertaining format -- unlike the original, which was a little stiff, McGarrett and Dan-O do a lot of joking around while they fight crime, like when they argue about which CHiPs character they would be.

Of course, the most important aspect is the theme song, which CBS has kept for the new version, albeit slightly updated.  Any version without the new theme song, no matter how well written, just wouldn't be complete.  They don't play the theme song as the end credits roll, which is disappointing, but networks don't seem to do that with any shows anymore.

All in all, between The Bachelor and Hawaii Five-O, there's some good TV on Monday night to last until Monday Night Football comes around again.


It's All My Fault

I could point the missed opportunities to jump out to an early lead, the failure to make adjustments and getting sucked into the trash-talking.

But know this: it's all my fault. This is the third time I've gone to my friend Dianne's house to watch the Patriots get eliminated from the playoffs. Clearly that's the key.

I'm sorry. I've let six states down. I should know better by now. Never again.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

NFL Playoff Snoozer and SciFi Original Movie Review: Behemoth

At first I thought: the NFL and SciFi Channel need to get on the same page. The NFL Playoffs continued Saturday night with the Atlanta-Green Bay game, at the same time as the long-awaited (by me) SciFi Original Movie "Behemoth," which premiered Saturday at 9.

I debated what to do.  I decided to watch the playoff game live on Saturday, then stay up to watch the rebroadcast of "Behemoth" at 1am.

Ultimately, this night was a serious lose-lose.

The playoff game got off to a promising start.  At 9pm, when "Behemoth" started, Atlanta and Green Bay were tied, 14-14, in a game that featured offensive fireworks, a kickoff return for a touchdown, and all the makings of an epic matchup (which made sense, since the same two teams battled in the regular season to a last-second, 20-17 contest, won by an Atlanta field goal on the final play).

Two hours, later, I was disappointed as Green Bay dominated the rest of the game and beat Atlanta 48-21.  Oh well, I thought, at least I can stay up and watch "Behemoth" at 1am.

Bad move.

I continue to struggle through "Behemoth" as I write this blog.  It's a real snoozer.  Supposedly a monster lurks in a mountain near a small rural town.  I say supposedly because I just got my first hints that the monster exists and we're more than halfway through the movie.  All I know is that the monster has a giant eye and tentacles.  So basically, all signs point to a giant squid living in the mountain, which is just silly.  It also had a young couple (of whom the boyfriend just proposed) dead to rights, trapped on the mountain right in front of it, and somehow our boy Squidley couldn't close the deal.

We also have the usual suspects -- the clueless sheriff who refuses to react to all evidence pointing to a monster, the mysterious government conspiracy, the daughter dating the ne'er-do-well punk against her father's wishes, and the crunchy earthy type who warns of imminent doom but can't get anyone to listen to him.  Oh, and here comes the 10 minutes of exposition from the government conspiracy guy who puts us to sleep while explaining just what the hell is going on.  (Memo to monster movie screenplay writers: just once, write a screenplay without explaining anything about the monster or what it's doing here.  Not only will it be less stupid, but it'll be a scarier movie.)

There are only 45 minutes left; a giant tentacle just showed up and killed the government conspiracy guy (couldn't he have killed the dude before his terminally boring exposition scene?), and now we're back to boredom.  Hopefully the monster will make more than a token appearance before this is all over and I will be able to stay awake. 

But I'm not optimistic. I highly doubt I'll make it to 3am awake.

Friday, January 14, 2011


If you haven’t heard, some community-college professor in Minnesota who’s trying to make a name for himself says we need to readjust the dates on the zodiac.  

Pay no attention to this man.  He’s an idiot.

According to the REAL zodiac, I’m a Scorpio.  Under the new zodiac, Scorpio only lasts one week, from Nov. 23-29.  (The only mildly intriguing thing about this guy’s suggestion is that my birthday, Oct. 30, is on the cusp of Virgo and Libra, so theoretically I could say I have two signs.)

I went online today and looked up personality traits of the Scorpio.  This I what I came up with:

Mysterious, independent-minded, deep thinker, rebellious, sharp-tongued, passionate, loyal, tenacious, volatile, demanding, secretive, humorous, energetic, self-reliant, resourceful. 

I mean, come on, I ask those of you who know me – if I’m not a Scorpio, who is?

Correction -- 21.1 Inches

This is what happens when we get 21.1 inches of snow (not 18 inches as originally reported).

PART 1: I go outside an my car is buried in snow and ice.  I try to open the door, and there's so much snow around the car that it won't open.  I pull the door with all the strength I have and get it cracked open enough that I can slip inside. 

PART 2: I turn on the ignition.  Often times I can just turn on the windshield wipers and that'll suffice to rid the snow, but clearly this time that's not an option.  I grab my snow brush and begin going to town on the front and top of my car.

My hands are starting to get cold.  I realize I probably should have my heavy-duty gloves on, not my little dinky gloves that are made of yarn and more comfortable for driving.  I go back inside and grab the real gloves.

I brush off the back of the car with little effort.  The top and front are a bigger deal.  I can't reach every area on the top of my car, and the front of my car is frozen into the snowbank that's formed between my car and the fence.

The woman who's parked across from me offers me her brush, which is the Tyrannosaurus rex of snowbrushes.  This is a major windfall.  With this brush, I rid my car of snow in about 15 seconds. 

PART 3:  Now I have to move the car out of the snowbank it's caught in.  Usually I try the lazy way, alternating in reverse and drive until it finally escapes.  I'm not optimistic it'll work this time.  I have a sinking feeling my car will be stuck until the snow melts, which will take days.  But I try anyway, and after going back and forth five or six times (all the while listening to Katy Perry's "California Gurls", kind of ironic if you ask me), the car actually extricates itself from the snowbank.  I'm home free, and now have use of my car again.

See, that wasn't so bad.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

18 Inches

Just looking at the 18 inches of snow we got in Worcester is exhausting.
I think it'll be OK.  I looked outside and somebody plowed the parking lot of my apartment complex, and my car isn't buried under as much snow as I expected.  It sounds like everybody did the smart thing and stayed home.  And Channel 7 News had seven reporters on the scene tonight, reporting on our Snow-pocalypse.

That said, I'm pretty beat, I'm tired from thinking about shoveling tomorrow.  So I'm gonna call it an early night.  Talk to ya tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Feeling Awkward

I hate it when somebody I know, like and respect does something inappropriate.  It's awkward.  Especially when it involves somebody else I know, like and respect, because then I feel caught in the middle.  And because somehow, I feel personally responsible, even though I have nothing to do with it.

Monday, January 10, 2011


While I still prefer a playoff, the college football bowl system is getting better.  It's difficult to argue with the results (unless you're TCU), and there was a great National Championship game.  Auburn 22, Oregon 19, in a game decided on a field goal on the last play of the game. 

It was such a good game, I even missed much of the rose ceremony on "The Bachelor" last night -- though I did catch a glimpse of three jilted bachelorettes having meltdowns after they weren't given a rose.  I was hoping halftime of the game would coincide with the rose ceremony, but the first half dragged on a little, so I had to do some channel-surfing back and forth.

Look for the Sticker

I'm not the world's most observant person.  But apparently I'm more observant than some. 

This morning at Shaw's I bought a golden delicious apple.  As the cashier rang it up she asked, "What kind of apple is this."

I look down and see the sticker that says "Golden Delicious" staring her right in the face.

Luckily, she was able to find the cash register to give me my change.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Biggest Upset in Six Days

I understand that NBC is really into overhyping anything that happens on its NFL package. 

That said, Bob Costas, Tony Dungy et al calling last night's Seattle Seahawks 41-36 win over the New Orleans Saints the biggest playoff upset in history is pretty ridiculous.  OK, the Seahwaks at 7-9, had the worst record ever of a playoff team, and the Saints were the defending Super Bowl champs.  Still, there have been many upsets that were much bigger -- Joe Namath and the New York Jets beating the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III, the Patriots beating the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI, the Giants beating the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII (man it hurts writing that one).

But let's boil it down further.  This was a wild-card game between a bad division champion and a team that couldn't win its own division.  The Saints, though still a good team, had problems running the ball this year and were banged up on defense.  Sure, I expected New Orleans to win, especially since they beat the Seahawks in the regular season, but that game was in New Orleans.  But in this Any Given Sunday league, to say Seattle was a prohibitive underdog is, well, obviously untrue.

I can safely say, however, that the Seattle victory was the biggest upset in six days.

Club D'Elf

Last night I went with one of my MFA buddies and her husband to see Club D'Elf, a band that plays frequently at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge. They're a very interesting band -- you should check them out sometime.

Most notably, I think I witnessed a personal first last night.  They emerged onto the stage at 10:16 p.m., played one Moroccan-funk-psychedelic-jazz song, and, at when we left at 12:06 a.m., were still playing the same song.  Holy shit.  That's almost a two-hour song.

I'm sure somebody else has done that before, but wow.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Things I Learned At Residency

1) Always pack an extra floss dispenser.  On my first day, I pulled an inch of floss from the dispenser and discovered that was all it had left.

2) Come to terms with not being able to blog regularly.  Even when you bring your laptop, or have friends who generously offer to let you borrow their laptop, there are only 24 hours in the day.  When your schedule is jam-packed with breakfast, graduate student seminars, workshop, lunch, faculty seminars, graduate student readings, undergraduate student readings, dinner, faculty readings, book signings, talent shows and socializing in The Drinking Room, there isn't a lot of time to blog.  I was lucky to be able to update my Facebook status four times and blog twice.  I apologize to my readers, and I hope you understand.

3) Pace yourself.  It's a marathon, not a sprint.  If you drink too fast you'll feel it the next morning.  Nobody's keeping track of how many Vodka & Cokes you're drinking -- they're drinking just as much and after 17 adult beverages, they're too drunk to count to double-digits.

4) Keep your faculty intros short.  If you introduce a faculty member, and your intro is 60 seconds or less and features one moderately funny joke, the folks who are stuck sitting in the uncomfortable pews during faculty reading hour will love you for it.

5) There is life off-island.  The Harp and Hound in Mystic is a great place to have a pint of Guinness and watch English Premier League soccer.

6) Saying good-bye sucks.  The break between the winter and summer residencies (6 1/2 months) is considerably longer than the one between summer and winter (5 months).  Everyone is an emotional zombie on the last day of residency.  I'm trying to get involved in two more writer's groups (which would double the number of writer's groups I'm in).  It'd be worth it, not just to force myself to write more, but to see everybody more often.   


I'm Home

As I unsuccessfully fight the urge to nap after a grueling, 11-day residency (well, eight full days, one free day and two half-days -- but still), it dawns on me that this is a good forum to let people know I'm home safe and sound.

More to come later.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

This Is the Year

I'm only writing this today (Jan. 1) because I've had little time at residency to blog.  This is not a New Year's resolution.  I don't do New Year's resolutions.  Several years ago I made a New Year's resolution to stop making New Year's resolutions, and it's the only one I've ever kept.

This is the year I finish my novel.  I mean, it HAS to be.  It's my thesis.  If I don't finish it this year, I don't get my master's degree.  I started dabbling with my novel at the beginning of 2009.  It was a guilty pleasure.  By doing this, I'm exposing it to the potential of rejection at the hands of agents.  Or, even if an agent does like it, rejection at the hands of publishers.  Or, even if publishers like it, I expose it to the potential of poor sales and bad reviews.

This is the year I finish my novel. 

And it's scary.