Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Weekly Assignment

Mama Kat, you've probably opened up a pandora's box with your latest list of questions. The one that intrigued me most is - Describe a typical day during your Jr. High years. Some of my greatest stories (at least funniest) come from my high school years, fromthe trials and tribulations I had with my girlfriend freshman year to the New Years Eve party where I threw up all over myself ... there's a ton of outrageous stories ... but a normal day for me? Hmmmm...

Every morning, I would wake up to the smell of coffee and eggs ... that's right, most normal kids probably ate cereal or pop tarts before going to school ... for some reason, my mom would cook me eggs and make me coffee EVERY ... SINGLE ... DAY! I guess there's something to be said about breakfast (isn't it the most important meal of the day?), but eggs every morning is kind of ridiculous, isn't it?

I would then get ready "hygenically" ... you know, showering, brushing teeth, deoderant ... pretending to shave, put on some of my "cool" school clothes ... Well, as cool as I could get at least ... remember, my mom would somehow find sneakers for me at the grocery store ... BROWN SNEAKERS! Even with this seeming disadvantage, I would find cool clothes to wear ... or at least semi-cool.

Remember, at this point I was trying to impress the ladies ... the truth of the matter is that going through adolescence, it was hard (no pun intended) to concentrate on school work ... I would sit through class after class trying to pay attention to the teacher ... when in all reality, I was more interested in the girl 3 rows over playing with her gum ... or the girl 5 rows up brushing her hair ... you get the idea.

Lunch time couldn't get here quick enough ... I was long past the age of packing my own lunch ... which meant I was stuck with cafeteria food ... Junior year, our school came up with a wonderful (not healthy) idea - a cafeteria line that served nothing but cheeseburgers, cheese-steaks, and french fries ... a dream come true for me. No longer did I have to settle with school pizza, or hot dogs and baked beans, or god forbid, meatloaf!

The afternoon went by much like the morning did - let's see if I can impress the ladies with my awful humor ... Of course, in the afternoon, I had one eye on the clock ... couldn't wait for class to end ... in the fall, I was playing soccer, which was a good stress relief for me. When I wasn't playing sports for my high school, I was probably playing sports at home with my goofy friends - whether it was street hockey, bounce ball, or tackle football, we were always outside.

After dinner, I would spend about 30-45 seconds doing homework, so that I could focus on more important tasks, like playing video games ... at the time, it was Commodore 64 ... god, I miss trading copy disks and games with the other nerds in high school ... I probably had about 3,000 games for my Commodore ... I couldn't get enough ... I swore that this was the apex of gaming ... of course I was wrong.

After all this was over, I'd lay down, watch some tv, and then fall asleep ... preparing myself to do it all over again the next day ... why do I miss those days?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


As many of you know, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays ... from the time I was a little tyke dressed in a cheap Fred Flinstone smock soliciting neighbors/strangers for candy, I've had a "connection." Unfortunately, last year, I was unable to attend a Halloween party - I was busy watching Penn State get crushed by Ohio State in State College.

I was hoping to make up for it this year - my idea was to dress and act like Dwight Schrute (of Office fame). I had the short sleeves shirts ready - my mom ended up trying to salvage some of my work shirts (they had holes in them at the elbows - apparently I either have sharp elbows or skin like sandpaper).

At one point, we were considering having the Halloween party, but because we wanted to redo our basement, we couldn't host. A couple of other friends considered having said party, but for one reason or other, those plans fell through ... so for the second straight year, I won't be going to a Halloween party ... sigh.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Odds and Ends

A little quiz for you:

1. Los has been far too busy doing which of the following this weekend?
A. Cleaning and priming his basement.
B. Cheering on his sports teams (Phillies, Flyers, Eagles, and Penn State).
C. Drinking too much whilst cheering on his sports teams.
D. All of the above.

If you guessed D, well, consider yourself (a) lucky, or (b) familiar with the man they call Los. Schue and I primed the basement Saturday, and after two coats of primer, it looks pretty darn good. We still have a little ways to go, but it's starting to come together. Next, up - painting, then framing - drywalling - spackling - sanding - priming - and painting the back area ... then, getting woodwork for the floors and ceiling, then building a bench/storage unit/entertainment "center" for the flatscreen (that we still haven't purchased) ... then, probably working on the ceiling and getting new lighting ... ugh - that's still a lot of work ... my head's starting to hurt again.

So, we Philadelphians usually don't have too much to cheer about when it comes to our sports teams, but that "could" possibly change ... well, maybe. The Phils have jumped out to a 2-1 lead in the World Series against the Rays, even though they really haven't played all that well. The last time the Phils were in the World Series, I was a senior in college ... and the last time they won a World Series, I was in 2nd grade ... yeah, it's been a while. I really have no idea how I'd react if they somehow found a way to win - I mean, I'm so used to sulking after watching my team(s) choke in a playoff or championship game ...

How 'bout them Nittany Lions? Big win last night against a really good Ohio State team in the big horseshoe ... JoePa's boys didn't quite show the offensive firepower that they displayed all seaons, but they did demonstrate a grittiness to overcome tremendous odds ... now, they're squarely in the title picture, and have to root for teams playing Texas and Alabama from week to week. I think if JoePa wins a national championship, he'll finally retire ... even if that "good-ol' boy" down in Florida State keeps coaching those Criminals ... er, I mean Seminoles.

Hey, even the Eagles won today ... sure, they looked as sloppy as they always do, but a win is a win ... and with all the other NFC East teams showing weaknesses, who knows what will happen.

The only downer at this point is that tomorrow is Monday ... sigh.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Weekly Assignment

Mama Kat got our assignment to us early ... isn't she great? Interesting set of choices this week - I decided to go with this one: 1.) Complete the sentence "I'd walk a mile for a ________." and continue writing about it.

I'd walk a mile for a $300 million dollar lottery ticket ... actually, I'd probably walk 100 miles for that one. It would seemingly make life so much easier, ESPECIALLY if no announcement was made that I actually won it. There are a lot of low lifes out there who prey on lottery winners ... it's sad, but true. Sure, they'll do some obvious and blatant things like stealing from you, or threatening your family for money ... but there are others who try to "sell" you on can't miss opportunities ... all of them missing like a Philadelphia team in a championship game (hey-yo). If I can avoid all of that, that would be sweet.

Obviously, I'd give some money to charity - probably the Leukemia Society (I worked there before), and maybe to Penn State (my alma mater), and of course my church ... I'd also share some of the money with friends and family ... after all, it wouldn't be much fun if those guys and gals weren't there to help me enjoy it.

I'd also make sure I'd invest the money so I could continue living the "extravagent" lifestyle ... you know, lots of video games and big screen tv's, maybe a virtual golf system ... you know, typical guy stuff! Again, I'd have to make sure the investment advice was smart.

One thing I'd make sure of - I would NOT spend uncontrollably like some of these other lottery winners you hear do - you know, the ones that find themselves broke 5 years after winning a big jackpot. Or, like those athletes who insist on having 7 Bentleys, and a Posse bigger than an NBA team ... ridiculous. I think I'm much more grounded than that.

Anyway, there I go daydreaming again ... sigh.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

New Fangled Thingy

In March 2006, the Associated Press reported that the plumbers union in Philadelphia had become upset because the developer of the city's newest skyscraper, Liberty Property Trust, has decided to use waterless urinals. Many in the union decided that because of the decision that this would lead to less work for them. The developer cited saving the city 1.6 million gallons (approx 6.06 million liters) of water per year as its deciding factor

Just this past week, my department moved into a new “green” building. This said building is supposed to save money on electricity, heat/air conditioning, waste, and water … a pretty nifty thing, methinks. Most of the structure (or at least the office cubes) was made out of recycled material … bigger windows are used to add more natural light in the building, and the roof has some sort of new insulation in it.

Additionally, the restrooms have controls on the faucets, as well, as some automatic controls on the toilets that help to conserve water. But, the thing that impressed/scared me the most was the waterless urinals that were installed in said restroom. I was amazed/concerned by this new (at least to me) technology, and how it works … after all, I really don’t want to smell somebody else’s urine while I’m releasing mine. Much to my surprise/relief, the urinal does do a terrific job of somehow eliminating/sucking down that pungent smell, and because I’m curious/nosey, I had to find out how this works … and where else can one find information on just about anything? You guessed it - I found it at Wikipedia.

So, here’s what I found out - these urinals (or advanced urinal technology) utilize a trap insert filled with a sealant liquid instead of water. The lighter-than-water sealant floats on top of the urine collected in the U-bend, preventing odors from being released into the air. Although the cartridge and sealant must be periodically replaced, the system saves anywhere between 15,000 and 45,000 gallons (approx. between 56,800 and 170,000 liters) of water per urinal per year.

Folks, that’s a lot of water … and if the technology works well (and is affordable), then I totally encourage it. This reminded me of a story about waterless urinals and the city of Philadelphia. And, of course, I have Wikipedia once again to back me up with this. According to Wikipedia, in March 2006, the Associated Press reported that the plumbers union in Philadelphia had become upset because the developer of the city's newest skyscraper, Liberty Property Trust, had decided to use waterless urinals. Many in the union decided that because of the decision that this would lead to less work for them. The developer cited saving the city 1.6 million gallons (approx 6.06 million liters) of water per year as its deciding factor.

Wikipedia stopped here, but from what I remember, the union required the building contractor to put in pipes, even though the building did not require them for the urinals … this is where unions step way beyond their intended purposes and cause problems … yes, I’m also speaking to you, Detroit. Seriously, if the owner of the building wants waterless urinals, AND it’s going to help with efficiency, GET THE HELL OUT OF THE WAY OF PROGRESS!

But, I digress … hey, here’s the link to Wikipedia , and a picture of the urinal in case you are interested.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Yep ... I'm sore.

Saturday was the day we began the excruciating process of putting drywall up in our basement.

* It is of vital importance to have friends who are handy.
* I am not one of those handy people.
* Drywall cutting creates a lot of dust.
* Putting drywall up is only one part of the project.
* I can't thank my friends enough for all their help this weekend.

When we complete the basement, I'll take some pictures - give you a before and after view of it.

Since I'm exhausted, I'll share this pic that my friend Yon sent me:

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Wednesday Homework ....

It's time for Mama Kat's weekly homework assignment ... I chose to blog about a time when I did something to get noticed ... this is actually a difficult one, because I'm always trying to do something to get noticed ... usually to no avail. With that said ...

This one time in high school (no, not band camp ... and no, not with a flute) ... actually, it was New Years Eve my senior year. I went to a New Year's Eve party at a friend's house ... well, more like an acquaintance ... but there were plenty of my friends there. I had drank on a couple of occasions previously, but never had a chance to drink on New Years Eve .... this was my opportunity ... and I wanted to make the most of it ... unfortunately, I got my wish.

I started off the night drinking some beer ... so far, so good ... but as luck would have it, the beer quickly ran out ... and we were stuck with vodka ... at this point in my life, I had pretty much stuck to beer ... and even more unfortunate ... I had never heard the "beer before liquor" phrase.

I started off by drinking vodka and orange juice ... heck, it's my mom's favorite drink ... then I switched to vodka and iced tea when the orange juice ran out ... and finally, I was tempted to drink vodka and milk, until some good samaritan stopped me.

I remember midnight, and I remember going downstairs to play pool ... I don't actually remember shooting pool ... which we apparently did for close to an hour ... and I certainly don't remember having a friend call my mom telling her I wouldn't be making it home that night ... and I REALLY don't remember throwing up all over myself, and the couch (probably a good thing).

Apparently, some people dragged me upstairs, threw me in the bathtub, and turned the water on ... some people at the party actually thought I might be dead ... thankfully, not the case. I learned a few valuable lessons that night ... first - beer before liquor, never sicker (check). Second, one must pace ones-self when one drinks liquor (check). Third, if you go out with the intention of getting drunk, you will succeed (oh hell yes).

Anyway, I guess I succeeded at getting noticed, as the stories spread through high school pretty quickly.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Man, I'm getting old ... recently a couple of my closer friends turned 40.

First, Babs (check out her blog here) met her through my wife Schue, and even though she started off as Schue's close friend, she's now my close friend too. She's probably one of the funniest people I know, and can usually put me in a good move with one of her wild and wacky South Philly stories. She knows how to throw a great party, complete with fantastic food, and she's pretty darn good at walking on coals. She's also a rabid Philly sports fan (which of course will gtet you on my good side every time).

Second, Jeff, a good Penn State friend of mine recently turned the big 4-0 too. This guy has a good sports mind, and usually is able to help me see the glass as half full - especially with the Phillies and Penn State (I often have very critical things to say about both these franchises - he shows me the positive side). Of course, he's also been a very good drinking buddy - as was evidenced by the fantastic bus trip to the PSU vs. USC game in the Meadowlands a few years ago (let's just say we didn't make too many friends), or one of the many Penn State nights at the local bars (I'm so busy, I don't even have time to ...). Thanks inviting me to your get-together - I had a great time!

Thankfully, I still have "quite" a few years 'til I turn 40 ... well, at least a few years...

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Commercial Campaigns that get on my Nerves

Some of you younger bloggers probably won't know what I'm blogging about in this post, so I apologize ahead of time. With that said, you should be able to get the gist.

In the 1980's, Bud Light had a series of commercials - basically, they all centered around somebody at a bar asking for a light beer. However, these people never specified on what kind of light beer. In fact, all they said was, "Gimme a light," which prompted the bartender to give the patron a variety of "lights." Here is an example of this (from Youtube).

Now, the first few commercials they did were rather amusing. Unfortunately, they went to the well far too often, and the commercials eventually became annoying. Budweiser has been guilty of squeezing these ad campaigns dry ever since - the annoying lizards is a great example.

Interestingly enough, other beer companies have been going to the well too often recently. Of course, they run these commercials during sporting events, so they grate at my nerves even more. Miller Lite is doing the "More Taste League" commercials for a second year, and every time I see them, I want to bang my head against a wall repeatedly to numb the pain. Seriously, when did beer drinking become part of a league? On second thought, don't answer that.

Coors Light is on board with this pain-inducing trend as well. However, those commercials with the NFL coaches in the press conferences weren't funny to begin with. They've done them so many times that I'm starting to wonder if they even want me to drink their beer.

Budweiser came up with a funny commercial right around the time of the Super Bowl in which a guy opens a beer bottle, and his dog all of the sudden talks ... but all he says is "sausages" over and over again, in a hysterical British accent. Of course, Budweiser got a lot of positive feedback on this, so they decided to overdo it (predictably), and unfortunately, the commercials have gotten progressively worse.

I'm not sure the point of this particular post - I guess it's just meant to diffuse my frustration with these commercials. The real question is, when do these companies decide on retiring these campaigns? Is there a way to speed this process up?

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Weekly Assignment

As many of you know, I've been doing Mama Kat's weekly homework assignment - this week, I chose to do a top 10 list of my biggest fears. So without further adieu ...

10. I'll be at a restaurant that only serves ham and split pea soup.
9. What life will be like when my parents die (sorry, had to throw a serious one in).
8. The drugs will wear off on my wife ...
7. TV sports will be fully replaced by reality television.
6. Country music will replace rock music on the radio.
5. My Philly sports teams will never win another championship in my lifetime.
4. Bees ... yes, bees.
3. That idiots (on both sides) will be running our countr ... oh wait, nevermind.
2. My local bar will run out of beer ...
1. Obviously, losing my job ... that would really suck.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

What's the matter Colonel Sanders ... chicken?

I usually don't bother forwarding e-mails, because I've probably seen or heard of most of the "jokes" and "funny" topics going around. I hadn't seen this one before, so I figured I'd pass it along to you - thanks to my cousin, Drew, by the way for passing it along:

Why did the chicken cross the road?

BARACK OBAMA: The chicken crossed the road because it was time for change! The chicken wanted change!

JOHN McCAIN: My friends - that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.

SARAH PALIN: The chicken had to cross the road because he was not able to find a bridge. Alaskans do not build bridges to nowhere. If he wanted a bridge, he'd have to build it himself.

HILLARY CLINTON: When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure right from Day One that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me.

GEORGE W. BUSH: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

DICK CHENEY: Where's my gun?

COLIN POWELL: Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.

BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with that chicken. What is your definition of chicken?

AL GORE: I invented the chicken.

JOHN KERRY: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.

AL SHARPTON: Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.
DR. PHIL: The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on this side of the road before it goes after the problem on the other side of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his current problems before adding new problems.

OPRAH: Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

NANCY GRACE: That chicken crossed the road because he's guilty! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.

PAT BUCHANAN: To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

MARTHA STEWART: No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.

DR SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die in the rain, alone.

GRANDPA: In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

BARBARA WALTERS: Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its lifelong dream of crossing the road.

ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

JOHN LENNON: Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.

BILL GATES: I have just released eChicken2008, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your checkbook. Internet Explorer is an integral part of eChicken2008. This new platform is much more stable and will never reboot.

ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

COLONEL SANDERS: Did I miss one?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Congrats - Ray and Christa

The Man of the Hour ...

Just wanted to give a shout-out to my close friend Ray-Ray and his new wife, Christa. Truthfully, I never thought you'd ever get hitched, but Christa was somehow able to look past all of your flaws ... either that, or the drugs haven't worn off yet (just kidding, of course!). You couldn't ask for a better day for a wedding, and if that's a sign, then your marriage should be VERY successful and happy!

The reception was an absolute blast ... but, what else would you expect? The dinner was excellent, the reception hall was elegant, and of course the alcohol was plentiful ... probably not the best decision to switch from beer to Captain and Cokes (and quite a few of them), as was evidenced by my dance on the dance floor during It's Raining Men ... but I digress ...

In all seriousness, Ray-Ray, I've known you since I was 1 (I would've known you longer, but I was born a year ahead of you). My mom babysat you for those first 4 years, so you were (and still are) like a brother to me. Sure, we hit some bumpy patches in high school, but even two stubborn jerks like us were able to put all that nonsense behind us and become close friends again. Being part of your wedding was a real honor for me.

I'm sure I don't have to tell you this, but your new wife Christa is beautiful, both inside and out, and there's no way you could've ever done better than her. You two begin your journey together today - and I sincerely hope that you two love each other a little more with every passing day.


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Before the Internet???

Homework assignment I chose from Mamas Losing It - a rather intriguing one. What did I do before I had the internet ... At first, I had a tough time remembering what I did before this moment ... I mean, I didn't even have the internet (well, at least not to a great extent) in college, and actually had to WALK INTO A LIBRARY AND FIND BOOKS TO DO RESEARCH FOR PROJECTS! Yes, I know, that makes me about as old as Methuselah ...

But in thinking more about this, there was indeed a time before the internet, and I actually was able to keep myself occupied ... but, how? Well, one for one, I read a lot more books ... now, I still read books, but much less frequently ... and, for the record, I do a lot of reading on websites, but this type of reading is quite different than reading a novel ... at least, I think it is, right?

I also, believe it or not, played more video games. Whether it was playing on the Atari 2600, Commodore 64, Nintendo Entertainment System, Super NES, Sega Genesis, or other systems, I was a true early gamer. I still play some video games, but I'm by no means a gamer anymore. I can't invest the 4-8 hours a day required to be a true gamer of the 21st century. I don't have the time, nor the patience anymore. I need to be able to pick up a game, play it for 1/2 an hour or less nowadays. Maybe this is partly due to the internet, but probably more likely because I have a job, a house, and a life.

I used to also play sports a lot back in the day - whether it was through club leagues, or just fooling around with a few friends. I played soccer, hockey, baseball, basketball, tennis, and even golf. I still watch a lot of these sports, but rarely do I get to play them anymore (and it sucks!). I also spent more time at bars back in the day - that's what guys in their early 20's did ... I think.

That being said, I'm not at all disappointed that I have the internet. Think about it, we have all of this great information at our fingertips. Plus, we can stay in touch with a lot more friends a lot easier (espeically with blogging and facebook). Count me as one who loves the internet!