Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Underlings Guide to the ABC's - Hh

Another day, another new feature. I'm sorry my dear readers for putting all these features on you. I'm going to slow down eventually, make some of the features staples, some of them will fade out, maybe stick to a schedule. We'll see, but for now random acts of grumbling will continue. Onward!

We are calling it (queue Carl Kassel's voice) "The Underlings Guide to the ABC's". It is quite simple really, I pick a letter and tell you the definition. They will be short to start, they might get longer.

First up the Letter H!

The sideways I and the tall n. It seems like it does not have its own identity. Socially awkward? A difficult time holding his own with the rest of the crowd?
I myself do not have an h in my name, could have done with one though. A humble guy h is, no loner though, can be found hanging out with s and c and a vowel or two.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Stop the Presses!

Yes I realize it is 4:21 AM. Disregard that.

I hereby revoke my support for Governor Deval Patrick. I know this may come as a blow to some of you but I just can not support a man who is going to such barbaric ends to deal with the current economic crisis.

In such times as these is it prudent to tax something that is so dear to many? I can't afford a $0.08 increase on my Coke! Is this man crazy? You know how much that would cost me a year?!?!

All I'm saying is if Mr. Patrick happens to find a whole 2 liter of Coke spilled on his desk Monday morning, I may have had something to do with it.

We must stop this war. The War on Coke.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Of inner city lakes, beer and Eric Lindros

I have said it before and I will say it again, I should have gone to school in Florida.

I know you people in Alaska, Minnesota, Canada, and Siberia (Scandinavia your standard of living is too high to complain) experience terribly cold winters, and I am sorry for that but you have nothing on New England weather. We may not get many below zero days as you do but in all do respect 33 degrees and sleeting is the worst experience in the world.

Yesterday started out as a decent winter day, high 20s and snowing. I'm ok with that, because snow is not wet, unless you get it inside your clothing. Of course the day didn't stay that way, not in land of 75 degree days in January! Oh no, because when I emerged from Spanish it was sleeting! I'm fine with the sleet itself, so what if I get soaked to the bone but at the same time I'm turning blue with cold, it's really the lakes that develop along the sides of each street. Lakes varying from 1 inch to 1 foot deep and because of all the icebergs floating on the surface you have no idea how deep they are until your leg is halfway submerged.

Needless to say the Odyssey back home, back to NEU, and then back home again was fairly taxing. On the journey I went through two coats, a pair of gloves, countless socks, two sweatshirts, and a pair of pants. Terrible right? Couldn't possibly get worse right?


Because that is only half of why days like yesterday are terrible. Days like yesterday include above freezing temperatures and rain which leads to the washing away of all the salt laid down throughout the course of the day. Then, as night arrives, the temperatures drop below freezing and because of the non-existent salt every surface freezes over. Including the sidewalk in front of my apartment.

Well as all of you know I supervise Broomball most nights during the week. This requires me to leave my apartment at about 9:30 PM.

Leave at precisely 9:30 PM I did just that, and about 9:31 PM I found myself lying flat on my back staring up at some guy with a case of beer in his hand saying "are you all right?"

Now this has happened only once before in my life (staring up from my back into someones face wondering how I got myself into such a predicament), and that is when I was 6. What happened? Let's just say there is a reason why at the YMCA pool (and most pools for that matter) they have signs that say RUNNING IS NOT PERMITTED.

Of course this time I got right up, made a few jokes with the guy about the ice and how maybe I should go get a case of beer and call in. Then I walked (carefully) down to Marino and made light of what happening, worked and then went home to sleep.

I'm starting to think that that last part was probably not a smart idea, because ever since the fall my head has been hurting quite a bit and I don't distinctly remember falling last night (just the lying on my back). Which would lead me to believe that I have a concussion, albeit probably a very minor one (still you shouldn't sleep after a concussion). If that was indeed a concussion like I think it was that would bring my total concussion total up to 5 (that being said only one two were severe in my opinion and two, including the one last night, are suspect).

In order they are:

- Pool incident (severe)
- Falling off of a 6 foot wall and slamming my head against the side walk and left me puking all night
- Being hit so hard into the boards in hockey that I blacked out for a few seconds (severe)
- Passing out while going pee in my upstairs bathroom, which resulted in me waking up with a pulsating skull from my head striking the toilet. The fainting occurred because I was immobile for about 2 hours or so watching Man on Fire (great movie) and then suddenly standing up and running up the stairs to go the bathroom.
- Finally last nights fall.

I'm a regular Eric Lindros aren't I?

That being said if I end up being a vegetable thanks to all my concussions New England weather can be partially to blame and can expect a phone call from my lawyer.

Music of the Day: Red, Yellow & Blue - Born Ruffians

First of all I want to address a common misconception about this series of posts, it does not mean Music of the Day in the literal sense, I will not be posting daily. It means it in a figurative sense, more like "Music of the Moment".

Now in my last music post I mentioned how Red, Yellow & Blue by Born Ruffians

It is safe to say that I am slightly obsessed with this album almost as obsessed as I was a year ago when I was introduced to Vampire Weekend. And in a way like Vampire Weekend I just like the feel of the album, from song to song I just like it, no real reason to describe it. It puts me in a good mood and makes me want to sing along and bop to the beat (sorry for the visualization there, if you need medical attention please stop reading and go get some).

Now days after I started listening I checked to see when when and if they are coming to Boston. Much to my dismay it said that they came to Boston on October 29th (the day before my birthday and the Of Montreal Show! Damn it all!) so it appears as if they won't be coming back any time soon. Sad.

But not as sad as I was when Katy listened to them and told me that the lead singer sounded like the lead singer of Saves The Day. At first I thought this was just a dig at me, but she is right, he does, and I really don't like Saves the Day. I couldn't justify the difference in why I like one over the other, I thought I had finally been proven to like emo music, and ironically I felt like an emo kid at that moment (all I wanted was to look like a sad kitten!) Then I remembered the Born Ruffians sing happy songs and not depressing, I want to kill myself music like, their much less talented colleagues Saves The Day.

Plus they are Canadian, and I like Canadians (not to be mistaken with Canadiens, who I despise). They like hockey and I like hockey. Which means they aren't from New Jersey (take that!).

Hat Tip: John Strubing

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It's Easy (but probably not probable) Being Green: The Flash

And we are back with a new edition of (in my best Carl Kasell impersonation) "It's East (but probably not probable) Being Green!"

Again for all of you out there, I am not Kevin L Doyle the renowned Professor on Green Energy. I am just the guy you all mistakenly email.

After a brief hiatus do to the power change in our benevolent overlords we have returned. And returned with proof that Barack Obama or Rahm Emmanuel read my blog! Need proof? Here it is:

Case closed.

Welcome President Obama, we are glad to have you here. In your honor we are going to change this into a weekly briefing on how to make the US a greener place via slightly unorthodox means. It is up to you, sir, to make these ideas a reality.

Dear Mr. President

Sir, since it is well known that you hang out with Spiderman we were wondering if you could ask him to speak with The Flash (yes I am aware that Spiderman is Marvel and the Flash is DC but if anyone can bring the two groups together it is you sir) because we have a glorious idea for green energy that includes his super speed.

What we have envisioned sir is something that resembles a large hamster wheel attached to a giant turbine. And within that hamster wheel we place the Flash and he will, powered by his super strength and super speed, run straight ahead , spinning the wheel and generate electricity. Now of course we do not know how much electricty it will end up generating it may be just enough to power a light-bulb or it could be enough to light 1/3 of the country. We think it is worth the risk of the wheel breaking from its restraints and going crashing through the surrounding area potentially killing the Flash and the millions of people in an immediate 2,000 mile radius.

We believe Mr. President that if you can convince the Flash of this plan (as only you an, we tried with President Sarkozy of France but we neglected the detail that like any good American Superhero The Flash hates the French) that we may fix our energy problem.


The Underling, staff, and the American people.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Things I Find Odd: Clapping

I'm sorry but I can not help but give you new feature after new feature. So here is a new feature! These will vary in sizes, this one is particularly short.

Things I Find Odd!


Why do we clap? Why don't we stamp more? why don't we all whistle? What made clapping, or applauding, the popular way of showing appreciation?

When ever I am in a big group or audience and clapping starts up I am left wondering what an alien race, had they been there, would think. Would they take it as a sign of appreciation like we do? Or would they think we are fucking nuts and abandon are planet?

I mean when I clap in front of the cat she bolts off (to be fair she runs away from me pretty much after I do anything but that's neither here nor there) why is it universally known that when we clap we are saying "Good job you!"? Why isn't the first thing we think of "I am going to be slapped!!!!"? Humans are weird.

Oh and even if many of you try to refute you since Mumkin is on my side then I have all the animals of the world on my side. Well maybe not Apes, depends on how far back clapping goes.

What I Am Reading: Fixing Failed States

I have since finished this book, check out the review here.

New book here people. Not particularly interested in it but it's for class so I will have to at least try to read it. It's about just what the title implies Fixing Failed States. I'm sure it will have a bunch of great points about how and why we should fix these countries and then at the end it will have a point about how this is at the moment impossible because of the political environment in the west.

Ok now I'm going to go read White Tiger.

Monday, January 26, 2009

From The Archive: The Gloucester Man and The Sea

I was going through old documents again the other day in a quest to organize them (that's not going to happen) and I cam across yet another poem. I'm starting to think I may need to switch professions. Well here it is, for what it's worth.

There lived a man in Gloucester
A happy man was he
Happy as a clam was the man
With a love for the sea

His love for the sea was so strong
He worked with all his strength
To make a house out of a boat
One wide and of great length

Then one day came a wicked storm
With high seas and heavy rain
The old man knelt and prayed
But all his prayers were in vain

After a night of heavy high seas
The old man washed ashore
Finding himself pleading to God
“No more kind sir, no more”

So with his sea days behind him
He moved to the mountain
Where atop the highest of peaks
He built a great cabin

There the old man lives his days
Minding his many trees
He stays far from the vast oceans
For God keeps him from the sea

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Three Things I Learned Today

1. Paul McCartney needs to stop making music.

2. Bob Dylan needs to stop making music.

3. And Bruce Springsteen forgot how to write lyrics that make sense.

What I Am Reading: White Tiger

I have since finished this book, read the review here.

Rejoice my faithful readers! I have chosen White Tiger by Aravind Adiga! Chosen for no other reason that I could not get my hand on Women in time (actually if I hated waited on Women I would have been disappointed, there wasn't a copy at work today). Well that was part of it, I also read 30 pages so far, 30 pages of which I have so far enjoyed.

Winner of the Man Booker Prize the book is about an Indian national who tells his life story via letters to the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao which seems slightly prudent because of one o my recent reads dealt primarily with the futures of both India and China.

But that is not why I am reading White Tiger, to be honest I had no idea what hte Man Booker prize was until about an hour ago. I am reading White Tiger because I have caved to peer pressure, about 19568094540 people have recommend me the book so I must relent.

And yes I know there are not 19.5 billion people on the earth thank you very much. There are 6,756,267,658 as of this moment.

You know, I think I like it here.

Last Sunday was probably one of my more enjoyable Sundays at Borders. Thanks to a slowing economy and some poor weather conditions there was close to no one in the store. Fewer customers in the store lends itself to much more employee fraternization, and if you ever tool the time to admire the quality of your local Borders employees then you can imagine the types of conversations.

Thanks two a certain keyboardist playing in the Cafe last Sunday these conversations were never ending. The man was bad, I mean terrible, at playing the keyboard, something that was only surpassed in the awful realm by his inability to put a string of decent lyrics together.

He was this tall skinny guy with 18 inches or so of hair, who hailed from the UK and was touring the state side Borders. Did you catch that word, I said "touring", like flying around the states on his own dime to peddle his wares (homemade)and sing his (and Cold Play's) songs. The person in the Borders event scheduling office must have a sadistic sense of humor because if he sells 10 cds then he'll be lucky.

Now if my day from there on out had been boring I would have chalked it up as a win and moved on, well it was not boring.

Literally seconds after the keyboardist packed up his things a short middle aged woman came up to me and said; "Hi! I'm Jackie Kessler! The author! Can I sign my books?!"

My internal reaction:
First of all lady, take a deep breath and calm down because unfortunately I don't speak crazy talk. Second I don't know anyone by the name Jackie Kessler, so it's a good thing you pointed out that you are not just any Jackie Kessler but in fact the the author Jackie Kessler. And third. do I look a manager to you? Or do you just think we let crazy people who claim to be authors run around and sign books?

Well apparently we do, because my manager had no problem with it and after the crazy author signed all 7 of her books she handed me a heart shaped stress ball with her name and website on it.

Good day right? Not over!

Now at my particular Borders there is this type of bouncy ball that we sell that is basically a bouncing snow globe; a ball filled with liquid and snow like particles enveloped by a paper thin encasing. The fact that it does not break open is mind boggling, and we have done many things to see if it will break. Well on this particular day the back wall was completely bare, no shelving, no posters, nothing. So I decided that at the end of the shift I would play a little wall ball with one of my co-workers to see if the ball could withstand it. And lo and behold it did! We even were hitting the little metal pegs that stick out of the wall and nothing!

On top of that I bought Bukowski. Good day.