Saturday, September 28, 2013

It's Not Complicated, AT&T

Some companies seem to be great to work for. Exhibit A: AT&T. If you play your cards right, AT&T will hire you to interview kids about why bigger is better. The only really difficult part about it is that you have to wear a suit and tie, but as job issues go that's pretty minor.

Then again, this poor guy as been doing this for months. And based on some of the more recent spots, he seems to be getting a little tired of it.

I don't blame him. I think we've gotten the point. Faster is better than slower. Better is better than worse. Two things at once is better than one thing at once. Awesome is better than suck.

Seriously, AT&T. Give this poor guy a vacation. He deserves it.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

2013 NFL Playoff Picks

The hardest part about doing a three-blog series on my kooky NFL predictions is that I have to go back and figure out who I picked to go to the playoffs and then figure out the matchups by seed, which is a real pain in the ass.

But here goes:

(4) Giants 35, (5) Chicago 17. Sorry, Jay Cutler, the fun ends here. Prepare to have your jersey borrowed again.
(3) Atlanta 29, (6) Tampa Bay 18. Yes, I pick strange final scores too.
(4) Houston 20, (5) San Diego 13. I'm saying the Chargers win the tiebreaker over the Jets for the top wild-card seed, but that doesn't necessarily translate to victory.
(6) N.Y. Jets 13, (3) Cincinnati 10. Jets unveil the wishbone offense at halftime and confuse the Bengals to advance.

(1) Green Bay 38, (4) N.Y Giants 31. In an attempt to reverse his recent playoff fortunes, Aaron Rodgers drops the State Farm Discount Double-Check in favor of The Allstate Mayhem Guy.
(3) Atlanta 30, (2) Seattle 28. Essentially, they will replay last year's playoff game, except this time in Seattle.
(6) N.Y. Jets 3, (1) Denver 0. Jets become the first team in NFL history to have time of possession for the full 60 minutes and kick a field goal on the game's final play. This Mark Sanchez wishbone thing could really catch on.
(4) Houston 26, (2) New England 16. In the past year I've become more and more superstitious about picking my Patriots to win. So, I will pick them to lose and hope reverse psychology takes effect.

(3) Atlanta 27, (1) Green Bay 24. Now I'm just completely winging it....
(4) Houston 77, (6) N.Y. Jets 0. The wishbone comes back to bite Jets in the ass, as they become the first team in NFL history to lose a fumble on every play from scrimmage.

(3AFC) Atlanta 41, (4AFC) Houston 38. Matt Schaub's attempt to get revenge on his former team fails. (Seriously, I'm hoping the Patriots will win the Super Bowl so take this was a grain of salt.)

That's all folks. Let the debate begin.

Friday, September 6, 2013

2013 NFC Predictions

.....continuing on with the NFL season predictions (way to defend your crown, Ravens, you jerkbones).

1) NEW YORK GIANTS (8-8) -- Every year the Giants either go 8-8 or win the Super Bowl. I'm banking that they're going to achieve a happy medium this year.
2) Washington Redskins (8-8) -- I'm picking a three-way tie for the division lead, with the Giants winning some silly tiebreaker like net touchdowns in division games. Do any of the so-called experts predict that? Hell no. I'm nothing if not unique.
3) Dallas Cowboys (8-8) -- It wouldn't be the NFL unless Tony Romo lost the final game of the regular season with a playoff berth on the line.
4) Philadelphia Eagles (6-10) -- Also, I'm predicting Riley Cooper won't win the team's 12th man award.

1) GREEN BAY PACKERS (14-2) -- While they will miss the Madden exploits of Greg Jennings running 99 yards for a touchdown on a broken leg, I still think the Packers are the class of the division.
2) CHICAGO BEARS (11-5) -- This prediction only holds true if everyone stops stealing Jay Cutler's stuff. Otherwise, the Bears win 2 games.
3) Detroit Lions (8-8) -- On offense, Matthew Stafford will throw every play of the 2013 season to Calvin Johnson, complete 50% of them for TDs, and the other 50% will be intercepted.
4) Minnesota Vikings (7-9) -- Things will go well this season for the Vikes until teams come up with a new wrinkle -- the 11-man defensive line -- to stop Adrian Peterson in his tracks.

NFC SOUTH -- (I don't want to say anything inflammatory to provide bulletin board material for these teams, since this is the NFC division that plays the Pats this year, so this section will be commentary-less)
3) New Orleans Saints (7-9)
4) Carolina Panthers (6-10)

1) SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (11-5) -- Yep, Pete Carroll is pumped and jacked again.
2) San Francisco 49ers (8-8) -- Jim Harbaugh blows a gasket on the sidelines in a game this year and becomes the first coach in NFL history to be assessed a technical foul.
3) St. Louis Rams (7-9) -- The Rams are due to finally improve to slightly-below-average.
4) Arizona Cardinals (2-14) -- Remember when the replacement refs officiated year and the Cardinals started 4-0? Yeah, neither do I.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

2013 AFC Predictions

Every pro football prognosticator thinks he/she has a crystal ball. Well, I'm here to say I don't have one. I'm purposely picking some longshot teams to stir the pot. My goal here is to start arguments, entertain, and flat-out guess.

I'm starting with the AFC, because the Broncos and Ravens play tonight, because doing the entire NFL would make one whopper of a long blog, I don't have the energy to write a long blog and you don't have the energy to read my long blog. The NFC and playoff blogs will follow in the coming days.

Enjoy! (Playoff teams in all caps).

1) NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (12-4) -- Because I said so.
2) NEW YORK JETS (10-6) -- As comic as their 2012 was, I don't think the Jets are that bad. I think Rex Ryan is a pretty good coach when he keeps his mouth shut. Hey, every year somebody has to surprise their way into the postseason. Also, I really want to see the Jets run the Mark Sanchez ass-fumble play in the playoffs.
3) Miami Dolphins (7-9) -- Every three years or so the 'Phins land a few mid-grade free agents and get people excited. And ever third year they finish 7-9 anyway.
4) Buffalo Bills (4-12) -- Hiring ex-Syracuse coach Doug Marrone means the Bills are finally serious -- about making a run to the Pinstripe Bowl.

1) CINCINNATI BENGALS (10-6) -- It's rare to feel like the Bengals have the most talent in the division, which means they'll probably find a way to fuck it up and finish 4-12. Oh well.
2) Baltimore Ravens (9-7) -- Tough to pick a team to repeat when they lose so many starters. Also, when you lose a battle with the Baltimore Orioles to have the right to host your Opening Night Title Defense game, you deserve to miss the playoffs on principle.
3) Pittsburgh Steelers (7-9) -- Just because of Ben Roethlisberger's douchebaggery.
4) Cleveland Browns (6-10) -- I was seriously considering picking the Browns ahead of the Steelers, but that would render the Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video moot.

1) HOUSTON TEXANS (9-7) -- I feel like their window of opportunity has come and gone. Also, I feel like their uniforms most resemble those of a 1980s USFL team.
2) Indianapolis Colts (7-9) -- The Colts played over their heads last year, which means they'll probably give some of those wins back this year. That said, if there was a Super Bowl for crew-cut-wearing cheerleaders,  the Colts would be a dynasty.
3) Tennessee Titans (3-13) -- I've decided that Jake Locker is the Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video of quarterbacks.
4) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-15) -- Seriously? This team still exists?

1) DENVER BRONCOS (14-2) -- I like to say nice things about Peyton Manning in print in an attempt to jinx him.
2) SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (10-6) -- Clinching once and for all that Norv Turner was a suck-ass coach.
3) Kansas City Chiefs (5-11) -- Great news, Kansas City! I'm predicting that Alex Smith will do for Kansas City what Matt Cassel did for Kansas City.
4) Oakland Raiders (3-13) -- The Raiders are the L.A. Clippers of the NFL: every time you think their on the verge (i.e.. 2011 Raiders), they blow it up and find a way to suck again. Couldn't happen to a better team.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Beauty: Still In the Eye of the Beholder, Despite What Silly Memes Say

A new one of those random-fact memes is out, saying that studies show that we see ourselves as 5 times more attractive than we really are. Of course, it quotes no person or actual study, so immediately you should be skeptical (though I've seen it delivered as gospel on many people's social media of late).

Another website claims to debunk this "fact" and says we're actually 20% more attractive than we see ourselves.

While I like the second "study" better and tend to feel that we're always our own worst critics, I find myself wondering how someone can actually measure something that is 100% subjective. There's no unit of measurement called a Hottie that quantifies how attractive someone is, and if I feel like I'm a 1 on the Hottie scale, maybe I'm really a .2 or a 1.2 (based on the above studies), but someone else is just as likely to feel like I'm a 13.91 or a -2,472 on the scale. As the old Twilight Zone episode said, it's all in the eye of the beholder.

People should focus less on cutting and pasting memes and more on personal improvement (and that's not necessarily physical improvement).

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Saquie: The Newest Sea Monster

Many people think you can only find sea monsters in Loch Ness. Many people are wrong. Everywhere I go, I run into sea monsters.

For example, about a year-and-a-half ago I had an encounter with Mystie, the Enders Island Sea Monster. Also, in 1977 some poor girl in British Columbia named Erin had the dual terror of coming face-to-face with a monster called Ogopogo, immediately followed by some cheesy 1970s synthesizer music.

Today I had the pleasure of hanging at a company outing at Saquish Beach on the Plymouth/Duxbury line. It was a blast. It was even more exciting when the waves started rippling. Nobody could figure out why. I suggested that a sea monster was lurking, and sure enough, before we knew it we had a visitor.

Luckily, he went back into the sea and nobody was hurt.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Snark Tank

Every so often I collect my empty bottles and bring them to the supermarket for redemption in the bottle machines. When this happens, I always check first to see if the machines are unoccupied by other customer. I'm very impatient and I hate to wait.

I did this recently at Shaw's and got the all-clear, so I went back to my car and grabbed the bottles. When I got back, one of the supermarket workers had wheeled a mop and bucket into the bottle redemption room.

No problem, I thought. I'll just work around her.

Except that once I brushed by her, she turned and said, "Hey! You can't be here right now!"

This is total crap customer service, and it'd never fly at The Chopper. At The Chopper, if a customer wanted to redeem some bottles while we were mopping or otherwise doing work in the redemption cove, we'd let them and find a way to do our work without getting in their way.

"Well, I am here right now," I told her. "So you're gonna have to worm around me."

She grumbled something and left.

Shaw's could take a lesson from The Chopper. But that doesn't mean I can't meet snark with snark.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Five Canadian Football League Rules I Want To See In The NFL

Training camp has begun, which means the NFL regular season is just around the corner. And with the Canadian Football League already in full swing, I started to think, which is always a dangerous thing. A couple of years ago I pondered adopting a CFL team to root for, and with the end result, I picked the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who have pretty much sucked ever since then (although they are currently 4-0 on the young CFL season).

This time around, I thought it'd be fun to discuss five CFL rules I think the NFL should adopt. Unfortunately, someone else already wrote the exact same blog a couple of years ago. But I read his rule changes and I think 4 of the 5 would be lame additions to the NFL rule book.

So here are my proposed CFL adoptions:

5)  The wider field.

An NFL football field is 53 1/3 yards wide. That's such an arbitrary and silly width. Why not 50 yards? Apparently at one point in the 1800s football fields were 140 yards long by 70 feet wide, which makes some degree of sense -- the length is twice the width.

CFL field widths are somewhat arbitrary themselves -- 65 yards. So I'll meet in the middle and go or a 60 yard width, which would again return American football to having a field whose length is twice its width. I don't like the idea of the longer Canadian field (110 yards? Really? Why?), and few Americans stadiums could accommodate the length. But the new width is only adding the equivalent of the white restricting stripe that runs around the perimeter of NFL fields, which would fit in every stadium. It would bring the fans closer to the game. It's also been floated recently that a wider field could reduce head injuries, which may or may not be true. But it would definitely encourage more wide-open play-calling and strategy.

4) One foot inbounds for a completion

I've gone back and forth about this rule over the years, since high school and college football, like the CFL, require only one foot in bounds for a legal completion. Part of me likes the fact that the NFL requires both feet to be inbounds. It requires more athleticism.

And yet, you can catch the ball with one knee inbounds (or one elbow) and it's a legal catch. Why is one knee better than one foot? If you cross the plane of the goal line with the ball but only one foot is in the end zone, it's a touchdown. I like consistency, and the inconsistency of the NFL's rule bothers me.

(By the way, for the record this was the one rule change in the aforementioned article that I actually agreed with).

3) The 18-game schedule

OK, this is less of a game rule and more of the scheduling thing. But it's obnoxious that the NFL plays 4 preseason games and only 16 regular-season games.  You're excited for the first preseason game, because football is BACK, dammit! But by the fourth game you get to watch guys who are about to be cut play four quarters of football and it's dreadfully boring.

CFL teams play 2 preseason and 18 regular-season games. I know this won't fly anytime soon -- the players union is all hot and bothered about more games and more injuries (yet somehow they don't care as much about the backup quarterbacks, running backs and linebackers who play the majority of those games and are just as likely to get injured in a preseason as a regular-season game). Fine. Extend the season to 20 weeks and give each team two bye weeks. Fans pay good money to go see these games, season-ticket holders have to buy preseason games as part of the package and they deserve to be rewarded.

2) Unlimited motion by offensive backfield players

In the early days, the rule was the same in American and Canadian football. But at some point in the 1920s, someone complained that Notre Dame's Four Horseman offense was too good, and the solution was to limit motion in American football after the ball is set, to one player, who can't be moving forward.

This is ridiculous. In 1926, the Frankford Yellow Jackets led the NFL in scoring at a whopping 13.88 points per game, an average that in today's NFL would be considered anemic at best and would have fans screaming for the backup QB and the firing of the offensive coordinator. The average NFL team in 1926 scored 7.6 points per contest. The 1924 Notre Dame national champions scored 28.5 points per game, effective but hardly unstoppable. If the balance of power was weighted in those days, it was in favor of the defense.

Unlimited motion puts more pressure on the defense, no doubt. But it's also more entertaining to watch players running around the line of scrimmage before the snap.

1) The single

CFL teams are awarded a point if they kick the ball into the end zone (via a kickoff, punt or missed field goal) and its not returned out. Basically, any kicking play that results in a touchback in the NFL would be worth 1 point in the CFL.

I like this rule, and not just because it's weird that you can't finish a football game with a score of 1-0. I doubt it would affect strategy much early in games -- I would guess that most teams would concede a single point to avoid having to run the ball out and end up pinned back on their 3-yard line. But in the fourth quarter of a tie game, the strategy becomes dramatically different. As you can probably tell by now, I like anything that increase the chess game that is play-calling and game-planning.

There it is. Feel free to disagree, for what it's worth. HAPPY FOOTBALLING.


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Hump Day

Recently more than one person has complained to me about this GEICO commercial for Hump Day. (As if this commercial is my fault.) Some have suggested that this camel needs to be dragged behind the company dumpster to deliver a severe beating to him.

I disagree. I think we should band together and reason with Mr. Camel.

We should explain to him that, while it may be exciting for, including himself, to make it to Hump Day, that loud and untimely expressions of such gratitude while most normal people are trying to be productive at work is distracting at best, and, at worst, downright obnoxious. Hopefully he'll get the clue and tone it down a few notches.

And, if that doesn't work, then we drag him behind the company dumpster for a severe beating.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

My Weekend Off

It's been more than a year since I had a full weekend off. (More specifically, April 2012, when I was jobless.) I've had two "weekends off" since then, but both times I had to work at my part-time spy job so they didn't really count.

This past weekend, though, I actually had both Saturday and Sunday off, with no espionage assignments.

A real, legit weekend off.

I wasn't sure what to do with myself. Here's what I ended up doing:


5pm -- Pulled into the driveway.

5:06pm -- Naptime.

7:12pm -- Wake up. Flip on Wheel of Fortune. Try to decide what to do with the rest of my Friday night.

7:47pm -- After a pathetically long time coming to a decision, I decide to forgo a rerun of Shark Tank to head over to Barnes & Noble to do some writing, something I've neglected for awhile now.

9:53pm -- After being the only person left at B&N, headed back home. My low fuel light goes on. I ignore it.

10:47pm -- Watching the end of a boring episode of Dateline: NBC. It's sad when you pine for the days of To Catch a Predator.

11:53pm -- After watching the opening monologue of Leno, it's off to bed.


5:26am -- Wake up in the middle of the night, frantically try to find my cellphone to make sure there were no emergencies at my store (the only way to reach me would be on my cell).

5:31am -- Find my phone, which was right next to my pillow. No crises.

8:06am -- Wake up again and can't get back to bed, defeating the whole purpose of the weekend off.

8:22am -- Laundry.

11am -- Back to Barnes & Noble. It's too hot to be in the house. Barnes & Noble has damn good AC. And I might be tempted to read a book or two while I'm there. (Also, more writing.) (Also also, I need to hit the gas station on the way since I ignored it last night.)

5:06pm -- Shower.

6pm -- Head out with friends, who curing the course of the night inform me that I should end every tweet with #boobs. (Lest you start sending hateful message to me, the curious part about this is that the friends in question are all female.)


12:07am -- On the way home, hit up my old convenience store for some snacks. Say hi to the crew. Say "I don't know" when they ask if I will ever be back or if my new store will be a permanent assignment.

8:23am -- Wake up again. This is getting annoying.

9:14am -- More laundry.

11:30am -- Try to design a devastating offense that will help the Patriots offset the loss of Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez.

12:13pm -- Focus on the Patriot defense instead.

1:37pm -- Complain about the heat some more.

2:11pm -- Back to B&N for more writing/cooling off.

6:53pm -- Home to watch Sunday night reruns on TV.

9:32pm -- Apologize to the world for totally blowing a weekend off with my general lameness. I'll try to do better in the future.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

On False-Alarm Cop Log Items

Even in the daytime, I generally like to keep the drapes closed and the blinds down. It's not that I'm doing anything shady or illegal, despite what some may think, and it's nothing personal. I just like my privacy. At night, then, it's a no-brainer -- drapes closed.

Recently I was sitting in the TV room, watching the 11pm news, when I saw the outside motion detector lights go on. I was unfazed. There's a black cat that's adopted our mudroom as its home, and frequently sets off the motion detector while wandering about the driveway, hunting for its next meal or waiting for me or one of my roommates to let it back into the mudroom.

Then I saw a shadow go by the window.

This clearly wasn't the cat, who is not the Shaq of felines. It was a human silhouette. It also wasn't my landlord/roommate, who was in her room, nor was it my other roommate, who works graveyard shift. As a general rule I feel safe in my surroundings, but you never know in Fitchburg (or anywhere, for that matter). The landlord/roommate says in the past she's been victimized by break-ins.

With one hand on my phone, ready to call the police, I went over to the driveway window and peered through the blinds. It was a woman who lives up the street, who occasionally brings the black cat back here when she sees it while walking her dog. She often opens the door and lets herself into the mudroom. I'm not a big fan of that -- as mentioned earlier, I like my privacy -- but the landlord/roommate doesn't seem to mind so I let it go.

I have to draw the line somewhere, though, and in this case that line gets drawn at 11:10pm. She scared the crap out of me. If someone was trying to break in through the TV room, I would be the first person they'd encounter.

Now that I know the situation is not cop log-worthy, I open the door to the mudroom, where she's now playing with the cat. [Blogger's note: the cat doesn't have a name, partially because there's a dispute as to whether it's male or female, and I have no interest in fact-checking its gender. Apologies for the ambiguous writing.]

"Hi, can I help you?" I ask her.

"Oh, I'm just bringing the cat back," she said.

"The cat will be fine," I said. "It's a cat. It's used to being outside."

"I know, but--"

"Do you think it's appropriate to walk into someone else's house uninvited at 11:10 at night?"

She squirmed and look down at the floor. "Well, I, umm--"

"I almost called the police on you because I thought you were a burglar. Please don't walk in here this late at night again."

"I'm sorry," she said, dashing out.

The next thing I did was talk to the landlord/roommate, who agreed that 11:10pm was a little late for a cat shuttle service. She said she would talk to the neighbor. I don't know if that talk ever happened. But since then the neighbor has kept her cat-depositing duties to normal daylight hours. Sometimes common sense prevails.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Decline and Fall of James

I see some interesting things in my part-time spy gig. Tonight, I'm trying to be stealthy when I hear someone over the loudspeaker:

"James, to the office, please. James to the office."

I think nothing of it and go back to my espionage. A few minutes go by. Then, the loudspeaker lives up to its name.



Seconds later, someone wearing a sour-puss look on his face and a name tag that reads "JAMES" trudges inside and heads for the office. I wait for awhile. He never resurfaces.

You see a lot of things as a spy -- like retail executions.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

On Being Dubious

The Wikipedia article for the obscure dinosaur Pterospondylus begins thusly:

"Pterospondylus (meaning "winged vertebra") is a dubious genus of theropod dinosaur from the Late Triassic."

I understand what they mean by dubious -- i.e., it's known from such poor, sketchy material that it can't be defintively proven to be a valid type of dinosaur. Still, as someone who himself has been called "dubious" in the past, I think it's a lousy word to describe a fossil. Which led to this conversation between myself and my friend Linsey:


 me: i think it's a little presumptive and disrespectful to call a dinosaur who's been dead for 216 million years dubious
how does wikipedia know?
did wikipedia lend pterospondylus money and then get stiffed?
did they see pterospondylus at a seedy bar?
Sent at 9:09 PM on Tuesday
Linsey: oh man that's true
what do they know about pterospondylus?
as a soul
he could have been a beautiful soul
me: it's bullshit man
Linsey: TOTAL bullshit
i don't like their crap
THEY are the dubious ones
me: I KNOW
Sent at 9:12 PM on Tuesday

me: maybe pterospondylus just fell on hard times
Sent at 9:14 PM on Tuesday
Linsey: yeah, they're so quick to judge a man
whose claws they have not clawed in
me: i hope wikipedia has learned a valuable lesson from this
never assume
There ya go Wikipedia. Linsey and Pterospondylus just showed you. Maybe next time you won't be so quick to judge.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Menial Labor

The assignment: Walk 8 minutes to the nearest mailbox, dump two letters in the chute, go back home. Bills paid, some degree of exercise attained.

Then there was the walk home. Suddenly I hear "Yoohoo?!"

I turn to see an elderly woman waving me over to her. My first instinct, as it is with most strangers who try to approach me, is: "Walk away. Who knows what this cold lead to?" This is how violent scenes in spy novels and movies like Ironman3 start. Then I notice that she looks like a stiff breeze could knock her over. Maybe it's a good risk.

She asks me to fold up a rug that is too big and heavy for her and put it in the back seat of her car. I really don't want to do this. But there's no legitimate excuse for me: I have nowhere to be for a few hours, it's a nice day and she clearly can't do this by herself. To say no would be to be a jerk.

So I do it. Then she points to another rug. And another. And another. Pretty soon I've moved four rugs into her back seat, four more into her garage, and thrown one welcome mat in the trash. It's been 10 minutes -- certainly not an eternity by any stretch, but it's more than I bargained for, and at some point I'd like to eat lunch.

Finally after all that, she asks: "Would you like something for that?"


"Just a minute." She walks inside, and emerges a couple of minutes later with $1. "Go buy yourself a can of soda with this."

For 10 minutes of work, at Massachusetts minimum wage ($8/hr.), I really shouldn't accept less than $1.33 for this. Also, a can of soda at most places (with $0.05 deposit attached) is $1.04, so I would still need the pennies. But whatevs. This was my good deed for the day. And I made it home alive.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Electoral/Musical College

It's come to this. There's an article in Time that suggests Justin Timberlake would top a list of musicians in a presidential preference, according to polling data. He beats out Justin Bieber 34%-8%.

Here's what I think:

* While theoretically possible, 34% is such a low plurality that I highly doubt it would be enough to carry the 270 electoral votes necessary to be elected president. So I suspect the election would be thrown into the House of Representatives, and who knows how those shady characters would vote.

* At 32, Justin Timberlake is constitutionally ineligible to be president (though, to be fair, he will have reached the minimum presidential age of 35 by the next election in 2016).

* Justin Bieber is permanently barred from holding the office of U.S. President, having been born in London, Ontario (though the Constitution could always be amended).

* Personally, given a choice of musicians, I'd vote for Beyonce for president.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

EZPass History

There are many crappy things about living in Fitchburg (hills, lots of shady characters, I could go on), But one nice things about it is that it's a straight shot to Boston on Route 2 -- thus I can avoid the Mass Pike.

Still, I didn't realize how well I've avoided the Mass Pike until I got my EZPass statement emailed to me. The last time I was on the Pike was last September. That's one car ago. That's two jobs ago.

In fact, I was trying to remember what I was doing on the Pike that day. I think I was coming back a friend's house in Connecticut, watching the first Patriots game of last season.

Hopefully I can keep the streak going. Any time you can avoid a toll road, you take advantage of it.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Smile, Boston

Last week I was doing some work for the part-time job where I pretend I'm a spy. In the process of cleaning up, I noticed there were still a couple of these, which have been on since the holidays last year and which I had to remove:

This seemed poignant, given the events of last month. So I'm scanning it in here. We all could use a smile these days.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Goals 2013: An Update On My Progress Since I Set My Goals 24 Hours Ago

Yesterday's blog seems to have struck a chord with people. Some were excited to hear me vowing to get back to work on my novel. Some were pleased to hear me putting my goals out there for accountability.

Others had a different reaction, something along the lines of:

"ANOTHER goals blog? Yes! YES!!! JUST what I wanted to read! Oh, please, PLEASE update me on your progress AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE! Because I CAN'T WAIT TO READ ABOUT IT!!!"

I somehow suspect that species of comment was lobbed with a heaping pile of sarcasm. But for what it's worth:

* Buy a table and a comfortable chair: NOT SUCCESSFUL. Since last night's blog I've spend 90% of my time either sleeping or working. I just haven't had the time to look for a table and chair yet. Seriously folks, it's been less than 24 hours. Cut me some slack.

* Eat broccoli at least twice a week: DONE, AT LEAST FOR ONE WEEK. I've eaten three times since last night, and on two of those occasions my main course was augmented with a side of broccoli. Granted, there's about 30 more weeks left in the year and so I have to be consistent. But take that, bitches.

* Get back to the gym: NOT SUCCESSFUL. I'm thinking of joining a new gym. But I need to go there, fill out a membership form, etc. etc. So, no success yet, but I'm confident this will get done by month's end.

* Pay off two credit cards: NOT SUCCESSFUL. Neither of the two credit cards I have designs on paying off has its bill due today. I could say screw it and pay one off today, but then I'd be eating ramen noodles for the rest of the month and wouldn't be able to make my scheduled payment for the other bill (as well as some other bills). So that seems counterproductive.

* FINISH MY NOVEL: NOT SUCCESSFUL; however, I did write three sentences in it tonight. If my novel was three sentences away from being publisher-ready, then I'd be done now. It's not, unfortunately. But it's a start.

So there it is. Be careful what you wish for, or you may get another update tomorrow night.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Goals 2013

I probably should've written this blog four months ago, but the year started a little crazy for me and I had to put the blog down for a little while.

Alas, the year's a good one-third of the way done now. Still, I need some goals to aspire to as I move through 2013.

* Buy a table and a comfortable chair: When I moved last October, I had to get rid of mine. I'm a little overdue. I can't underestimate how important comfort is, at least to me. I need to do some shopping around, but this will be an important decision for me.

* Eat broccoli at least twice a week: True to my contrarian nature, I have different thoughts on vegetables. Here's how a typical conversation goes with me and a vegetable-lover:

Vegetable Lover: "Here, have some [insert vegetable here]."
Me: "No thanks, I hate vegetables."
Vegetable Lover: "How can you hate vegetables? They're good for you. I love all vegetables except broccoli."
Me: "Actually, broccoli's about the only vegetable I like."
Vegetable Lover: "Yuk! How can you like broccoli?"

I used to eat tons of broccoli, actually. But after my life got a little crazy I sort of forgot about broccoli. I need to get back into it.

* Get back to the gym: This dovetails into the above. It's time to get healthier.

* Pay off two credit cards: I have four, and paying off all four is unrealistic. But two, while still maybe a bit of a reach, is something to strive for.

And last, but far from least:

* FINISH MY NOVEL: Another thing that time constraints has prevented me from working on nearly as much as I would like. I have a first draft done, but it needs work. I would like to spend the next eight months really putting some polish on this.

So that's it. For what it's worth. I'll be back in December to talk about how miserably I failed at achieving these goals.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Today I vowed to get rid of my old PT Cruiser for good. It's been almost a month now since it died, and every time I pull my new car into the driveway, it's a nagging reminder that I need to do something about this.

I made a call to a junkyard. It went surprisingly well.

"Yes! We'll be over in 20 minutes," they said.

Things never go that easily. As some of you may know, I live on a wicked hill. The driveway slopes, too, and while it doesn't look that bad from street view it's deceptively steep. This is a problem when your old car's transmission is shot.

So we pushed. And pushed. Shifting the car in neutral helped, but there's an incline right where my driveway meets the road, and we couldn't get it over that hump. We needed one more person, and so one of my roommates came out to give us the extra push we needed.

Done. The car is gone. Two thoughts go through my mind.

1) I'm happy this is over.

2) I can't believe I couldn't push this car out of the driveway. I really need to hit the gym.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Someone Else's New Car

Yesterday I was at the Hannaford parking lot and I start hitting my remote unlock button on my key. And nothing happens.

Seriously? I've only had it for three weeks. Did the batteries die already?

I look down and I'm standing in from of a Hyundai Elantra -- not my car. Only the color is the same.

I'm enjoying my new car. That said, there was something distinctive about my old PT Cruiser. I could always pick it out in any parking lot.

Friday, April 26, 2013

I Am Not Spam

Occasionally I try to access my blog from Facebook. The other day I did so and Facebook redirected me to a warning page, informing me it suspected "the page you are trying to access may be spam."

OK, fine. Maybe I'm not the world's best writer. My blogs are quirky. Some of them impart life advice. Some of them are fictional. Some of them are simply slice of life.

But what the hell, man? Spam? Have I ever blogged about my Nigerian royal roots, urging the masses to forward me their bank account numbers so I can wire them the funds? Have I ever blogged about the wonders of a new body part enlargement pill? This is total bullshit.

Today I tried to access it again and my annoyance seems to have subliminally worked. I was able to access my blog through my Wall without any spam warnings.

Let that be a lesson to you, Facebook. I may be a lot of awful things, but I am not spam.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


As you may know, I've been wearing glasses for the past week-and-a-half. And I've hated it. When I ordered my new contact lenses, my eye doctor said I'd get them in a week. It's felt like months. I find glasses incredibly uncomfortable. Also, my glasses are a slightly different (i.e., older) prescription than my contacts, so my vision isn't quite as good with glasses as it is with contacts.

I did, however, have to sort out the two boxes -- they didn't ID which box was for my left eye and which was for my right (I also have different vision in both eyes). And I needed a microscope to be able to see the prescription, which kind of defeats the purpose of corrective lenses.

Still, it's nice. I feel like I can read anything now. I just have to remember not to sleep in them.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Ready For Love

For three weeks I've been trying to articulate what I dislike about NBC's Ready For Love, the newest foray into reality dating shows. Tonight is my last chance. On the strength (weakness?) of three episodes, the show has apparently been canceled.

Here goes:

1) There's a mindless fun to The Bachelor. It's clearly not reality, but the fakeness is entertaining. Conversely, Ready For Love tries to be everything, and fails. It tries to be a REAL reality dating show, yet it's inevitable that you end up with the same cattiness. Like it or not some people play mind games when they're dating, others are shallow, and still others are melodramatic. Yet they want you to believe that these are real people. They're not. One of the band members a band member from the Plain White T's, the others are various movers and shakers, or people from the bachelors' past. Thus it becomes even more fake.

2) RFL tried to be different by having the female contestants coached by professional matchmakers -- the credentials of the matchmakers apparently being that they're semi-famous and (in one case) that they have a British accent. But all they really do is state the obvious ("Maybe you shouldn't have been so catty and manipulative") and balance that out with vague proclamations about dating ("Romance is really a dance").

3) Instead of one bachelor, there are three. It makes for such rapid-fire scenes and dates and confessional, you feel disconnected from everyone. They blow through an elimination scene in 30 seconds, when it's obvious that the conversation went much longer than that. So we feel like we're missing everything.

4) The hosts -- Giuliana and Bill Rancic -- occasionally pepper the show will silly comments about their own dating life. And it's awkward. And, despite its awkwardness, nobody cares.

I could go on with other reasons, but I'm tired, the show is almost over, and so I won't. The bottom line is, since this apparently is the final episode, I won't get to see who ends up winning. And I can't really say that I care.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Boston Strong

I'm not even sure I have the words right now. But I feel a tremendous sense of relief.

I really thought it would take months, if not longer, to find the cowards behind The Boston Marathon Bombings. Sure, it was the Marathon and it's one of the most photographed events of the year. But that also means there's volumes of footage, so you're looking for a needle in a haystack. Like all other professions, there are good cops and bad cops and it's great to see the good in the Boston, Watertown, Massachusetts State police and the FBI, ATF and everyone else who had a role in this, people much braver than me, who work 24, 30 hours or more at a time. Great police work all the way around.

I never like to talk about miracles when fatalities are involved. But, given the carnage at the Finish Line and what ensued, it's amazing that only four people have died. It's a tribute to Boston, which has some of the best health care in the world.

I'm glad my local friends and family are all safe. I thank everyone from elsewhere in the country who checked on my well-being. It was deeply touching and meant a lot.

I especially tip my cap to my New York brothers and sisters, who were among the most forthcoming in checking up on my own emotional state. They are lifelong sports enemies of mine, but they went through this on a much larger scale on Sept. 11, 2001, and while 9/11 affected all of us, I now have a better sense of the deeper pain New Yorkers went through. We will continue to battle on the field and in social media, but this week Boston and New York were one badass team.

Speaking of sports, this feels like winning a championship. I'm half-expecting a Duck Boat Parade.

I haven't lost a loved one, or a limb, or really much of anything. But my sense of humanity was shaken and I am glad to have regained that. Bostonians can be douchebags. But for one week, I'm glad we acquitted ourselves well, and I have even more pride in the city I grew up around than before. Boston Strong!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Express Lane

A couple of weeks ago, I was at the supermarket to grab a few quick items. I saw an express lane with its light on so I began to put my groceries on the belt.

At that exact second, the cashier shut her light off and said, "Sorry, I'm closed."

There were no other express lanes open.

I was pissed. It was 6pm on the dot. I imagine she's supposed to leave at 6, but that's horrible customer service (and it's not like I had 300 items). If I still worked at The Chopper, that cashier would've received an earful. This happened periodically when I was front-end supervisor at The Chopper, and there's an easy solution -- you shut off the lane light, put a CLOSED sign on the belt and stand in the lane or chain it off, so customers will know in no uncertain terms that the lane isn't open. I really wanted to complain to the Customer Service Manager, but I was also in a hurry to get somewhere so I chalked it up as, "You know what? She sucks," and moved on with life.

Last night I was at the same supermarket to grab a few more quick items. I looked for an express lane, and to my horror found that same girl was working the lane I had just pulled into. I tried backing out and looking for another lane, but it was too late -- someone else had pulled in behind me.

It was a completely different experience. She smiled at me. She did all the over-and-above things cashiers are supposed to do (asking if I found everything, paper or plastic, making real conversation with me instead of sounding like a robot as she pushed everything across the belt). She did a really good job.

I don't know. Maybe we've all been motivated by The Boston Marathon Bombings to be a little kinder. Maybe she was a lousy cashier to someone else in the intervening weeks, someone else who did complain, and she's on notice to get her shit in gear. Maybe she recognized me from the first time and either felt bad or thought maybe she was lucky she got away with one and didn't want to tempt fate.

Everybody can have a bad day. I'm glad both of us had a better day this time around.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston Marathon Bombings

I've never actually run or been to the Boston Marathon, instead opting to watch it on TV. But I've been along the Marathon Route countless times in my life. I've been to several Red Sox games, which are held nearby. I think about how fortunate I am that I wasn't in the wrong place in the wrong time.

I don't understand what kind of coward would do this. What are you trying to prove? There are many people in the world that I don't like. But what does detonating explosives and killing innocent people do to solve that?

It's always tragic when there are casualties, so part of me feels awful saying that I feel like it's a miracle that only three people this far have died (particularly when one of the victims is 8 years old, so awful). This certainly doesn't compare to Sept. 11, when thousands of people died and American history was forever changed. But because it happened in Massachusetts, this hits me hard.

This hasn't been my greatest blog, if for no other reason than I'm still in a state of shock and am more compiling random thoughts than trying to write something cohesive. And when my friend Rebecca called me and asked if I wanted to head out to Buffalo Wild Wings tonight to grab some wings and watch sports, I needed to take her up on it. I needed an escape. I needed to stop watching the news reports, which I'd been doing for five hours straight. President Obama said, "Boston is a tough and resilient town, so are it's people." And I had to throw on my Boston Bruins jersey, even though the Bruins game was canceled tonight, to wear to Buffalo Wild Wings as a tribute to a wounded city.

Boston, you're my home.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


I wore glasses today. I need to order new contact lenses, so for a little while I'll be bespectacled.

This happens periodically, and it always leads to a variety of comments.

"I didn't know you wear glasses...."

"Hey! You got a haircut."

"Is that a new shirt?"

The one that crops up the most is, "You look nice with glasses. You should wear glasses all the time." It's the most frustrating one. Because it's a very flattering comment. And yet, I hate wearing glasses. I had to start wearing glasses in the fourth grade. Nobody liked me in fourth grade, and so I was subjected to taunts of "Four-Eyes" and "Geek" throughout the year. And glasses press on your nose and they become very uncomfortable after awhile.

So maybe my own personal vanity has gotten the best of me and I'm being a shallow jerk. But I hope I can get a new supply of contact lenses soon.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Proposal: The 2012-13 Winter Storm Names

We had a dusting of snow Friday, very possibly the last snow of the winter. After an average start, we had a pretty wild winter snow-wise, highlighted in the mist of things by Winter Storm Nemo. There was a lot of flak about the naming of Nemo. People felt it was corny to name winter storms.

Being the contrarian that I am, I disagree. It's no more corny than naming hurricanes. But there's a reason we name hurricanes -- it's easier to identify them for historical purposes. And it's just as legitimate to do so for blizzards and nor'easters. It's a pain in the ass to look up Northeastern Blizzard of 2009 on Wikipedia and find yourself redirected to a storm that primarily affected the mid-Atlantic states.

My issue with the naming of Nemo was in the name. Nemo? Really? What a wuss. When I think of Nemo I think of a cartoon clownfish. If you're going to name winter storms, give them badass names.

Therefore, I've gone through the trouble of coming up with an alphabet of winter storm names, so that we don't have to be subjected to horrible naming decisions next winter. So here we go

Winter storm:

Freddy Krueger
Jersey Devil
Vlad the Impaler

You're welcome. See you next winter.

Friday, April 12, 2013


I did it. I jinxed myself.

Last month I made the final car payment on my PT Cruiser, and posted my happiness about that on Facebook, with a sarcastic expectation that "it'll probably die on me now."

A week later, the title arrived in the mail.

Two weeks after that, I was coming home from staff meeting and about 10 minutes from home I heard a "THUNK" from the engine of my car, followed by some sputtering. I was able to drive it home (bypassing a gas station, even though the low fuel light had just come on, because I had a bad vibe). But when I tried to start it up again a couple of hours later, it wouldn't shift into gear.

My fears were confirmed a couple of days later -- it needed a new transmission.

To me, it just wasn't worth it to sink that kind of money on a transmission, for the miles my car had on it. Nobody wants to shell out a lot of money and then have somethng else go wrong in thier car. So as much as it pained me, I went out car-shopping again.

I really wanted to go awhile (like maybe a year or two) without making car payments. But here we are again. I have a new car. Hopefully, it'll be a hassle-free experience.

I'll try not to jinx myself again.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013


In recent weeks, people have gotten in my face.

(So to speak.)

First, it was Z (not her real name), who took the direct approach:

10:34 AM z: ummmm, you havent blogged in a while....

11 minutes
10:46 AM me: i know

Truth is, I've been pretty slammed lately with one thing after another. It's not like I haven't had ideas for blogs. But every time I felt like I had some free time, something else would come up (more on this in the near future).

A couple of weeks have gone by since my conversation with Z. This morning, though, I was targeted by Q (not her real name, either).
10:01 AM [topic of a forthcoming blog] HORSE
So I figure. It's time.

Anyway, I don't wanna jinx myself (more on that soon). But things are finally slowing down for me, if only a little bit. So I will try to blog. And this is the start. I have had some good ideas I've been sitting on of late, and I will try to expose them to the world.

Now I will get shit from everyone who hates my blog. "SCREW YOU PHIL. WE WERE SICK OF YOUR BLOG, WHY DO YOU HAVE TO SUBJECT US TO THIS SHIT AGAIN?!?!"

Oh well. You can't please everybody.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Snowzilla vs. The Blog Monster

I'm prepared.

I'm scheduled to be off today and tomorrow from my full-time job, and a rare extension from my part-time box/spy job. So I'm inside.

I did a load of laundry this morning.

I've able to avoid the bedlam at local supermarkets, where fistfights are breaking out over in the express lane. In my fridge I have:

* 13 bottles of water

* 3 bottles of Coca-Cola

* Turkey cold cuts, American and cheddar cheese.

* An extra Burger King Chicken Sandwich (they are currently buy one get one free at The King right now).

I also have cereal, Tostitos, Triscuits, ramen noodles, and Reese's Peanut Butter Hearts and Eggs in the cabinet.

I went out to Wal-Mart and bought new snow boots. The ones I have currently have lasted me for three years, through Halloween and April Fool's Day blizzards, Tropical Storm Irene  and Stormzilla Sandy. That's three years of diverse storms and my boots have finally bowed to the crazy New England weather. They were a great value for $34.87 and I bought the same brand this morning.

I am watching the news on TV and, on the Internet, one of my childhood favorite movies, Gamera vs. Monster X.

There may be power outages, call-ins to work, cars skidding into the house, or some other blizzard craziness. But I'm ready, Snowzilla. Bring the noise.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Super Bowl 47 Predictions

Because of my irritation that the Patriots lost, and life getting in the way, I haven't been paying attention to the endless, two-week buildup to Super Bowl 47. What I do know is that the 49ers and Ravens are both very good teams. I can see this either going either way, with Ray Lewis going out as a champion or with Colin Kapernick putting on a display of excellence and causing a sea change in the way teams try to move the football on offense.

There are, however, a number of great prop bets, over-unders on things that really have nothing to do with the game. I am not in Las Vegas right now, but I'll offer my own book of predictions:

First touchdown: I'm going way outside the box here, even though it probably won't happen, because it's more fun that way, 49ers G Mike Iupati, on a recovery of a Frank Gore fumble in the end zone.  

Number of mentions on CBS about how two brothers are coaching against each other in the Super Bowl:  374

Number of camera shots of 49ers backup quarterback Alex Smith looking moody and disgruntled on the sidelines: 23

Number of tweets about how "The #PuppyBowl is better than the #SuperBowl": 54,312

Number of Super Bowl commercials worth the cost of advertising: 1

Number of Super Bowl commercials that fall flat: 136

Number of consecutive hours Ray Lewis and deer antlers trend on Twitter: 13

Number of times CBS' Jim Nantz utters the phrase "Ray Lewis, playing in his final NFL game": 17

And, oh yeah, before I forget:

49ers 34, Ravens 24.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Me, Sexism, and the California Raisins

My current GMail status update is "books, check 'em out!" after a friend and I reminisced about an old California Raisins commercial from when I was younger.

This is a recent development (i.e., within the past 24 hours) and it wasn't long before someone saw my GMail status and accused me of being sexist, apparently in a fit of dyslexia from substituting a different letter of the alphabet in place of the "k" in books.

I have several thoughts about this.

1) I am not sexist.

2) While there are always exceptions to the rule, books are generally not sexist.

3) In fact, this person is probably more sexist than me.

3) This person has a filthy mind.

4) This person needs to pay more attention when creeping on people's social media statuses.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My Cousin Eric

One of my earliest memories of my cousin Eric was when he was 3. My aunt and uncle were over, and Eric spent the day following me around the house. Everything I did, he wanted to do. Everything I touched, he put his hands on. Because of a laundry list of issues, he barely survived childbirth, and as a result early in life had trouble speaking, so when he called my name, “Cousin Phillip” came out as something like “Cousin Quiquop.”

I was much more socially awkward as a kid than I am now, and while I don’t remember exactly how I said it, after an hour or two of having an extra shadow who couldn’t pronounce my name right (or simply call me Phil) I turned to him and said something like, “Will you leave me alone?”

Out of the corner of my eye I saw my mom, who made a beeline to me and pulled me aside.

“Stop being mean,” she said. “He’s following you around because he looks up to you. You’re the oldest cousin. You need to set a good example for him.”

At that moment I felt like the world’s worst cousin.

Since then I’ve tried to set a better example. And though I haven’t always succeeded, I’ve had a lot of fun with Eric over the years. We played street football in front of my grandfather’s house, where it was his mission to beat me deep on a post pattern, and eventually, when he finally got the better of his older cousin, it set the stage for the leveling of the playing field and some epic one-on-one battles that would’ve made a matchup between Randy Moss and Darrelle Revis look like a game of patty-cake. We argued about our respective house rules for the game of Asshole. We went out to bars and partied and took turns designated-driving each other home. Once he helped me move a sofa into my apartment. It was a difficult to negotiate the angles of that particular apartment, and we decided we couldn’t celebrate any other way than with beer and vodka. He gave the red Solo cup its due long before Toby Keith. We celebrated and complained about the opposite sex. We cheered when the Boston sports teams won championships and threw stuff at the TV when they lost. This past Thanksgiving we watched the Patriots pummel the Jets, and when New England scored 21 points in a span of less than a minute I turned to Eric and said, “This could get ugly.” And he responded, “You mean it isn’t already ugly?” And I laughed and had to post his comment to the Twittersphere.

His difficulties at childbirth meant he had his bouts with illness throughout his life, but time after time always pulled through. A couple of weeks ago I was scrolling through Facebook and noticed he was sick again. And I didn’t think twice about it, because he’s always been a warrior and always pulled through.  

Last Monday I’m running the store I work at because the manager is on vacation. My cousin Elena calls me. She’s a texter, not a caller, so I know something’s up. But I can’t take the call because I’m in the middle of work and I have 11 other things to do, so I bounce it to voice mail.

Two minutes later she calls again. And that’s when I get the sinking feeling in my stomach.

I call her back on my way home and my intuition is right – he’s probably not going to make it. I want to drive out to Brigham & Women’s to see him. I’m not a doctor and there’s really nothing I can do to help. But I’m an only child so the cousins are as close as I’ll ever get to having siblings of my own. Factoring in traffic and the bad weather and trying to find parking and/or waiting for the T, it’d take me at least a couple of hours to get there and that’s probably being generous. I get home and I can’t move. It’s snowing out, and I’m battling a nasty flu bug, and I’m exhausted.

A couple of hours later, Elena calls back and it’s the call I don’t want to take. Eric’s passed on. Again, I feel like the world’s worst cousin, because I’m at home instead of the hospital.

It’s taken me a week to write this, even though I knew exactly what I was going to say from the beginning. I think part of it is because deep down inside, I feel like if I write this, then it’s final and irreversible, even though I know that’s a silly way to think. It never truly hits me that someone has passed away until after the funeral, because there are always pictures of the person all around you and after the funeral is when you realize this person is never coming back.

Today I found the inner strength to finish it. I like to think it was Eric telling me it’s OK. Because that’s the kind of guy he is. He'll be missed, and yet he'll always be around.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Walking the Walk

Apparently I have a distinctive walk.

I am not announcing this without evidence. I say this because recently I walked into a room and someone shouted from the next room, "Phil!"

"How did you know it was me?" I asked.

"I can tell it's you from the sound of your walk."

Having a walk that people recognize on sight is enough to make you paranoid. You become self-conscious and start thinking about the way you walk, which makes your walk that much more distinctive, for the wrong reasons.

It's another thing to have someone say they can tell your walk because they can hear it. Are my boots wicked loud?

It's a good thing I'm not a spy. I'd be a lousy one.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Twitter & Me

I have a dysfunctional, love-hate relationship with Twitter.

I love it because I have random thoughts while watching TV and it allows me to express these thoughts. I've become a serial livetweeter of NFL football and reality dating shows.

I hate it because random people will follow me, and then I follow them back, and I get subjected to relentless tweets about their business/agenda at the rate of 100 tweets per second ("Maximize Income From Your Tweets! Would Earning $1,000 a Week from Tweeting Be Enough For You? Find Out How You Can Get 75,000 Followers On Twitter!")

I bring this up now because I just crossed the 100-follower plateau on Twitter. One of the things I'd like to get back into this year is building a platform for myself. It seems like increasing my Twitter followers would be consistent with that.

In the past, the people who mass-tweet about getting 75,000 followers a week on Twitter would get on my nerves, and I would stop following them, and they would stop following me. I'm sure I annoy people with my livetweeting "#Seahawks 24, #Redskins 14" or something similar. (In fact, one of my best followers tonight called my chronic livetweeting of The Bachelor "appalling." And he's right. It is appalling. I am appalling.)

I'm going to be more patient with Twitter. Bring on the overtweeters. I wish I could unsubscribe to someone's Twitter overposts, the way you can unsubscribe to someone's Facebook news feed when they chronically post narcissistic pictures of themselves or political statements.

But in Twitter, like in everything else in life, I have to take the good with the bad.

On Behalf of All the Massholes, I Apologize

At my part-time job, in between running around like a spy with boxes, I observe a lot. It's a good job for people-watching.

For example, I'm doing my thing with the shopping carriages when I hear a car horn honking madly. I turn around because I feel like I just missed a road rage incident, and I see some guy in he road, who apparently nearly got hit by a pickup truck. He's pissed. He's also, I can gather from the accent, from the South. He sees me, and I can't remember what he said verbatim, but it was something about how people here in Massachusetts aren't much for hospitality, which is true.

I shook my head and said, "I'm sorry."

"Don't be. It wasn't you."

"I know, I'm apologizing on behalf of my state."

The thing that makes this all the more bizarre is the guy in the pickup truck in question is also cranking this song at full volume.

Two things have become clear to me thanks to this incident.

1) I frequently need to apologize on behalf of the state of Massachusetts

2) If you're cranking soul ballads while involved in a road-rage incident, you deserve to be sentenced to death. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

It's Not For Women...Maybe?

There's this series of commercials for Dr. Pepper 10, which declares that the diet soft drink is "not for women."

Well, today I saw a woman purchasing a 20-ounce bottle of Dr. Pepper 10.

I hope the police didn't drag her into an alley and beat her to death, because I strongly support a woman's right to acquire Dr. Pepper 10.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

On Making Last-MInute New Year's Plans

It dawned on me Dec. 28 that I hadn't made any plans for New Year's Eve.

Big problem. Some nights I'm perfectly comfortable relaxing at home in front of the TV or the laptop. New Year's Eve is not one of them. New Year's Eve is a lousy holiday to spend at home twiddling your thumbs. I don't necessarily have to party or go to FirstNight or Times Square. But I want to do something social.

Part of my falling asleep at the switch was because the past three years, I've had ready-made plans for New Year's Eve, as my MFA program always has a big bash to ring in the new year. It's the New Year's party that has everything -- champagne, music, debutantes, sea monsters. Not to be missed.

But that was not an option for me this year. Suddenly I was in scramble mode. I made a few calls.

And luckily, I was able to secure some plans.

It was a wild time. Much liquor was imbibed. A pair of tongs were thrown and opened a nice-sixed chunk in the wall. The police were called twice.

No sea monsters, unfortunately. But another successful New Year's Eve accomplished.