Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Back to Work .... NOOOOOO!!!!!

Just mere days from my 35th birthday … ugh, I’m getting old. Truthfully, I don’t feel old, but I have noticed that during the few times that I’m actually performing some strenuous work for an extended period of time (which, of course eliminates sex from the conversation), that my recovery time is increasing. Whilst in San Francisco, we did a lot of walking … in case you weren’t aware, San Fran has a ton of frickin’ hills. I estimated that we probably walked more than 5 miles one day … which felt like close to a million with the hills factored in.

The really good news about this whole thing was that I neglected to pack my cross-training sneakers, and just wore a pair of new Converse sneaks that weren’t broken in. The pain that I experienced that night and the following day was not good … like when I had to go to the movies once with an ex-girlfriend to see the remake of “That Darn Cat.” My calves looked like Popeye’s arms for a few days, which is probably a good thing, I guess.

Anyway, today was my first day back at work, and let me tell ya, it wasn’t easy. I wasn’t used to getting up at a prescribed time, because of vacation. So, when that alarm clock sounded off at 6:00 a.m. this morning, I felt like crushing every atomic particle that made up that sum-bitch. As the day went on, I got more and more groggy. I felt like I could fall asleep at any minute on the ride home. Thankfully, it’s a short work week … and, did I mention my birthday is on Saturday? Good times!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

California, There I Was ...

I’m back from California, and man do I feel more sophisticated … but don’t worry, I’ll snap back into my normal self soon enough! It was a phenomenal trip – one that I highly recommend. I’ll give ya some highlights, because … well, because that’s the kind of guy I am.

San Fran
* Alcatraz … if you are going to San Francisco for the first time, this HAS to be on your to-do list. What a fantastic tour! The history surrounding this “rock” is amazing. Scenically, it is breath-taking, and you can get some great pictures of the city, as well as the Golden Gate Bridge.

* Chinatown – This one puts Philly’s Chinatown to shame. Great restaurants, fantastic shops, and really great photo-opportunities.

* Fisherman’s Wharf – I was actually a little disappointed in this area. It was WAY too commercial. It’s nice to see, I guess, but don’t spend too much time there.

* Japanese Tea Gardens – Much smaller than I expected, and NO friggin’ Koi – even though the brochure said so.

* At the Cathedral Hill Hotel bar, we met some semi-famous people, including a former foreign correspondent for Australia named Warrick Blood, and the director for that HBO show Cathouse … I forget her name, but I think it was either Jill or Julie.

* Everybody in San Fran is under the Barry Bonds spell – you can’t say anything bad about the guy without people jumping to his defense.

* Sour-dough bread – My god, this was fantastic. I couldn’t get enough of it. We need a good one of these stores in Philly!

Wine Country
* Sterling Winery – This is in Calestoga, the far north part of Napa. You take a gondola ride to the top, and the views are ridiculous. I highly suggest taking the ride to this one.

* Robert Modavi winery – Very classy winery. I recommend paying the $25 for the tour – I learned a lot.

* Gloria Fererra – They produce champagne here, and some really good and strong stuff. I think I drank to flutes of champagne in the 1.5 hours I was there, and I felt buzzed. Maybe it was the air, or the fact that I hadn’t eaten in about 7 hours – who knows, but this was some really good champagne.

* Brick’s – This isn’t a winery, but a restaurant. We sat outside. The view was awesome. The food was really good, and they had a great selection of wines to go along with it. The waiters were very helpful in choosing a good wine to go along with any of the entrees.

* Mumm’s - This was another “champagnery,” and was delightful as well. As with most of the winery’s, the view was great.

* Sutter Home – Yeah, we went there too, just because I’ve actually had this wine before (translation – very inexpensive). Outside of that, not much to talk about.

* So, I’ve gotten better with wine. I’ve learned that I like the white’s a lot better, however, I can handle some of the reds. I have also learned how to properly examine a wine, sniff the bouquet, and taste the wine. Still, I’m a bigger fan of beer, but at least I’ve gained an appreciation for wine.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

California, Here I Come ... Part 2

This will be my last post for at least a week … have I had enough of blogging? No – I’m going on vacation. Specifically, the wife and I will be traveling out to San Francisco, where we’ll spend two days enjoying the city and its splendor. We already have our trip to Alcatraz booked for Sunday, and we plan on seeing the Japanese Tea Garden, as well as that zig zag street.

Then, on Monday, we travel to the Napa Valley. Now, I’m no wine drinker. In fact, I probably couldn’t distinguish between a cabernet and a merlot. But, that’s o.k. – I’m willing to learn. And what better place, than the Napa Valley! We have an idea of some of the wineries we will be visiting, and we can’t wait to eat at some scenic restaurants as well.

Here are just a few of the things I’d like to accomplish in California:

* Kick Barry Bonds repeatedly on his knees until they fall off.
* Ask somebody in Napa where the Chateau de Thunderbird is.
* Say hello to the Governator.
* Ask the trolley driver to take me to Rice-a-Roni.
* Mention to all the locals how much nicer San Diego is.

If you have any other suggestions, let me know! See y’all in a week!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


I just want to warn any of you Jerry Falwell lovers out there, you should probably not read on …. Hey, I warned you.

In case you didn’t hear the news, the “loveable” Jerry Falwell has passed on … to where, I’m not really sure … but the important thing is that he is outta our hair. For a man who was so “devoted” to Christianity, I’m not sure Christ would’ve gotten along with him too well. Jesus always preached forgiveness and understanding … so did Falwell, as long as the understanding you were doing was about his agenda.

If taken literally, Falwell basically considered more than 80% of the human population (sure, I’m making that number up, but not really) to be evil. Why? Well, most aren’t Christians. Yep, if you believe in God, but not Christianity, guess what? You were on Falwell’s hit list. If you ARE a Christian, but not his type of Christian … well, you get the idea.

Of course, his ridiculous remarks in the days, months and years following 9-11, helped to polarize people even more. I’m surprised Al Sharpton never went after the guy … although that would’ve been one heckuva battle, wouldn’t it? I’m just happy I don’t have to hear his ludicrous comments anymore … but I’m sure somebody will fill the vacuum soon enough .

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Since it's Mother's Day, I figure I'd share some "Inga-isms" with you. My mom has become sort of a legend to my friends. You see, she has been in this country (she was born in Germany) for more than 40 years, and she still hasn't gotten this English thing down.
My friends hope that she answers the phone so that they may be blessed with an Inga-ism. What is an Inga-ism, you ask? Well, an Inga-ism is any phrase that my mom says that would normally not make sense if anyone else said it. Enjoy, and remember .... you must read these in your best German accent!

1. "Kal's in the toilet." The grand-daddy of them all! My mom uses this phrase when I'm in the bathroom and can't get to the phone. She has ruined many a date for me in the past.
2. "Kal, do the jellybeans bite?" Mom used this one when we were in Myrtle Beach, in the ocean. My response was, "The red ones are a little spicy."
3. "Kal, would you like a beagle for breakfast?" Don't go to the trouble, just give me a basset hound.
4. "Kal, the smoke detector is empty." Well, fill it back up with smoke!
5. "I'll have prime rib, baked potato, and salad with french fry dressing." McDonalds, I think I have a new idea for you!
6. "Kal's in the basement, making exercise." This is what I'm doing when I should be working out.
7. "Kal, did Pete Samford win Wilmington?" Apparently a new tennis player has won a tournament in Delaware.
8. "Kal, enjoy the boys." This is what she tells me when I go to the bars.
9. "Kurt, go to Olidators to get film for your camera." Olidators is short for National Wholesale Liquidators.
10. "Look at all the big boys!" My mom enjoying my friends.
11. "Kal, would you like some warm chocolate milk?" Hot Chocolate never sounded so good!
12. "Kal, will there be any stripers at the bachelor party?" Mom wanting to know what kind of fish there will be.
13. "Kal, tuck your pants out!" Mom telling me to untuck my pants.
14. "Kal, close the light!" Apparently, the light was left open.
15. "No, I'm sorry. Kal's in Sue." My mom telling a friend I was over at Sue's house.
16. "I called Kal on the cellophone." 6/3/01 I love popping cellophone.
17. "This is girlfriend Sue." 6/3/01 Meet George Jetson.....Daughter Judy...
18. "I would like a strawberry dougherty." Er, I'm sorry, we don't make Dougherty's.
19. "Kal took the salami." But what did I do with it?
20. "Kal, Uncle Ernst won a DD player." Sounds kinky.
21. "Kal, is the ocean big?" Not so big this time of year.
22. "Kal, did you hear about the Amtrak scare?" No, but I did hear about the Anthrax scare.
23. "Kal, you should take your CD player to Circus City." Nah, I hear they hire a bunch of clowns!
24. "Kal, you should put silicone on your sunburn." That way I could increase it's size.
25. "I saw people putting down $100 on Jack Black." He is a pretty good actor, I guess.
26. "I like the socks with the holes in them (fishnet stockings)." I have plenty of those.
27. "I hope they don't put up another CVS or Greenwalls!" If there's one thing I can't stand, it's another one of those Greenwalls!
28. "I think Demon's has better ribs than Applebey's." They are devilishly good!
29. "I would like the fried chimps." Inga, ordering the fried shrimp at Red Lobster.
30. "Do you want an advertiser?" Inga, asking if anybody would like appetizers.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Holy Makeup, Batman!

In a “sad” turn of events, Tammy Faye Messner has announced that she has inoperable cancer and is down to a puny 65 pounds. In case the name doesn’t sound familiar, she used to be known as Tammy Faye Bakker, part of the “diabolically” religious show, the PTL club. And though I never wish anything like this on anybody (except for Barry Bonds), I have a hard time feeling sorry for her … before you throw something at me, let me explain.

I remember when I was just a young Los, going through the channels and trying to find something on television in the mornings … this was before we had cable TV … even before we had a television with a remote control (seriously). I inevitably would pass by the PTL club, and had to sit back and watch a few minutes of this circus. Every time, it would be the same thing – Jim, the host, would be doing some sort of heavy praying … almost being brought to tears … concentrating so hard that I thought he was going to take a growler in his pants.

And, right on cue, the camera would pan over to Tammy, who looked like she was skull-f*cked by a gang of angry clowns. The tears were rolling off of her face, taking some of the astronomical amounts of makeup with them and leaving hideous blackish trails all over her face.

I was amazed that anybody in their right mind would call in to give money to this show, but apparently there were a few suck… er, Christians who were hypnotized enough by this car-wreck of a show that would actually call in and give large sums of money. Of course, after a few years, some Clouseau exposed a major scandal, and the PTL ended. Jim Bakker probably had that constipated look on his face, because he was hiding the big wads of cash where the sun don’t shine.

As luck would have it, Tammy wasn’t finished. She resurfaced most recently on the Surreal Life tv show, and befriended porn star Ron Jeremy, which makes about as much sense Superman befriending Lex Luther … or something like that.

As an aside, somebody told me that Tammy actually stopped using makeup, and had the “make-up” look tattooed onto her face permanently. As ludicrous as this sounds, I’m guessing this probably saved her a boat-load of money in the long run. I’m pretty sure Revlon, or whatever company she bought from, took a major financial hit when she did this. But I digress …

Anyway, I guess I should end this by saying something nice … but I’m drawing a blank. I just hope that the media do not give her the “Anna Nicole” treatment after she passes … or maybe I should hope that they do, because I’m sure there’ll be a lot of high comedy to come out of it.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Ra-Ra-Ra-Retard ...

I normally try to stay away from doing political-type stories, mostly because I have a hard time stomaching politics (yes, on both sides). However, a recent event occurred that I feel the need to discuss … and no, it doesn’t have anything to do with the Philadelphia Mayoral race (which is quite stomach-turning in its own right). No, this has to do with the governor of New Jersey, Jim Corzine.

As some of you may know, Corzine ultimately replaced Jim McGreevey, the governor who came out of the closet a few years ago, which is news in itself. But, Corzine decided, unintentionally, to try and one-up McGreevey … and, no, he didn’t attempt to videotape a three-some with circus midgets and post it on Youtube … at least, I don’t think he did.

To give you a little background on the state of New Jersey (and no, not the background of it being the armpit of the U.S.), the state was one of the first in the nation to put together tough seat-belt laws. These laws basically make it unaffordable to take the chance of driving your car around without a seatbelt on.

Corzine, being the governor, probably decided that laws don’t apply to him … much like most politicians. He decided not to wear his seatbelt … so far, not that big of a story. However, he was being driven by a state police officer … o.k. getting a little more interesting. The state police officer was driving over 90 miles per hour … wow, getting juicy. And Corzine’s vehicle ended up being involved in a rather serious car wreck.

Corzine had many broken ribs, in addition to a broken leg, and several other injuries … the state trooper, who was wearing his seat-belt, ended up being o.k. A few lessons here – first, seat-belts are pretty important when you think about it. Second, sometimes people have it coming to them … it’s called karma.

As of right now, Corzine hasn’t been charged with anything. But, if it were anybody else, would they have been charged? Is there a double standard here? What would be acceptable for Corzine to do at this point? Is an apology all he really needs to give? If he needs to do more, any suggestions?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Save Music!

I know quite a few people wrote about this already, but I’m a huge fan of internet radio. With terrestrial radio for the most part ruined thanks to some big corporations that have limited the “landscape” of variety on this medium, internet radio was an oasis of vibrance. My site of choice is Live 365.com, and it has more than 10,000 radio stations, ranging from Hawaiian music, to old school rap, to garage bands, to mainstream pop … just about any and all forms of music can be found here.

I bought a Roku, which is basically a bridge that goes from your stereo to a router, and brings internet radio to said stereo. It is really awesome, and we listen to it just about every weekend. I’ve discovered such great bands as The Arctic Monkeys (before they became wildly popular), and Electric Six through listening to internet radio. I would’ve never have gotten an appreciation for these bands without it.

Now, congress passed some sort of law that would make internet radio stations pay royalty rates that are about 300% to 1200% higher than they currently are. It would basically cripple the market … with the exception of the large corporations that can afford this … meaning the loss of creativity in music once again. The thought of this makes me vomit in my mouth repeatedly.

Don’t you just hate it when something that is going so well is ruined by big business and politics? This reeks of collusion. If you are interested in finding out more, please go to this story: http://www.ecommercetimes.com/rsstory/57121.html.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

What Now?

A normally peaceful Monday night was ruined, thanks to my father-in-law, and his dinosaur of a computer. I received the call from my wife on the way home from work, and as soon as she mentioned that he called, I knew my evening was shot. The man has had the same computer for close to 10 years now, and when he purchased it, it was bottom of the line. The Commodore 64 thinks this computer is slow.

Anyway, the computer has caused him several problems over the past 5 years or so … or should I say that it has caused me those problems. He bought a printer for it a few years ago, and of course, it was a pain in the ass to find drivers that would work with his computer … somehow we figured it out. Then, he somehow “reconfigured” the internet page so that one could no longer type in web addresses (don’t ask). Then, he somehow reset his password to start up the computer, and had no idea what he reset the password to. I’ve been able to remedy all of these “situations,” until this latest issue.

This time, he decided he wanted to switch internet carriers to Verizon … which offers a much faster DSL service. Of course, my wife volunteered me to help install this. I knew this would be no easy task, but since I’m one helluva guy, I agreed to help (like I had a choice).

So, I went over there around 6:30 p.m. The task of installing the dsl modem originally seemed like it would be easy – plug in the modem to the computer, and plug in the phone line into the modem … however, since the computer is older than dirt, there is no Ethernet connection. I figured this wouldn’t be a problem, as I can connect the modem to the computer via the USB connection … and normally this would be fine, but since the father-in-law still has Windows 98, the USB connection did not work … believe me, I tried everything. I even called the Verizon help line, which was even less helpful.

Finally, after a few hours, I proclaimed that I was unable to finish the task. He mentioned that it might be time for him to buy a new computer … however, he later decided that he would just keep the dial-up service … which of course means that I should be getting another call from him at some time in the near future to put out some other fire … I immediately suggested to my wife that she and her brother and sister get together and buy him a new computer .. I’ll keep my fingers crossed.