Archive for July, 2010

Came, Saw, Had A Half A #5

July 29, 2010

I guess you had to be there among the throngs of people who were assembled to see President Obama yesterday in Edison to get the full impact. That’s not to say I had a secret little rush of my own, knowing he was going to be in a place that I, myself, frequent and have quite often over the course of my forty-nine years. But after all was said and done, it felt rather anti-climactic, actually. But maybe I can attribute that to watching it on the New Jersey News Channel, News12NJ, appropriately enough. They seem to have an annoying habit of running continuous loops of the same news for hours on end. I remember being glued to the set to learn the outcome of something in the recent past and had that channel on for several hours. How many times I saw the same footage of the traffic condition by the George Washington Bridge. After the first 3 or 4 times, it became apparent the sun was in the same position, making the same shadows across the vast dotted-lined asphalt span of sprawling toll lanes at 3pm as it was at 11am.

For a moment I had considered going, but I knew it would be virtually impossible to get around there, plus when I heard they were pushing people further and further away from the original barricades that had been set up, I figured I could see more on television.

I was watching the live stream on their website while I was finishing watching I Love Lucy on TV and then switched the TV to the news in case there would be anything worth recording, I’d have it for posterity. For the most part, from about noon when I began watching the stream, until he arrived at Tastee Sub Shop at around 2, there were only two new live video feeds on the news. And at one point, while a Budget rental truck and the huge Hummer limo were blocking most of the view of the store, the newscaster, who had been relocated further away than his original post, was uncertain whether Obama had actually entered the sub shop.

Among the pictures I was able to capture off the news website, is a picture of Obama about the leave the store. From what I can tell, it looks like he was standing facing away from in front of the cash register. Most of the coverage was very close tight shots, but as he moved away, they panned out and I was able to make out just where he was standing. And, by the way, I understand he had a half a #5, a super sub, the one I described in yesterday’s blog.

And not to leave any of you Nobama out, there was one joke during the newscast that might amuse you. Or it might amuse you anyhow. I kind of chuckled at it. “Do you know their naming a new sub after President Obama? It’s called The Presidential. It’s nothing but bologna.

The following are the pics I was able to get from the website. They might not be crystal clear when you open them; I had to rush to catch them as the newscast was live.

                

               

1: Air Force One landing taxiing at Newark Airport 2: President Obama emerging from Air Force One. Originally he was to be driven along the NJ Turnpike, but he traveled to Edison in Marine One instead 3: His speech at Tastee Sub Shop ended. 4: Outside the sub shop waiting for President Obama. Notice the huge rental truck blocking the view and if you look closely, you can see the front window of the store has been covered with a sheet of black plastic.

And of course, step 6 on the house. Today there is a foundation/slab inspection. So, let’s see if that passes without incident.

A Wednesday Smorgasbord

July 28, 2010

I’m sitting here, in  my less than one month old brand new office chair that no longer reclines thinking, (already) what, oh what, will I have for lunch today. Maybe some boiled ham and cheese.  Maybe some salami, some capicola ( I’ll never understand the gabigool pronunciation, or how manigawt means manicotti. I had some spirited debates with the people I used to work with, especially when it came time to order lunch) some proccuttini, lettuce, tomato, onion, heavy oil and vinegar. And if I’m feeling really rambunctious, a tiny smear of mayo. That sounds an awful lot like a #5 super sub from Tastee Sub Shop in Edison, the institution since 1963. I always marveled at how orders could be taken from as far as three people back in line (I might want to swear it could be more, but that might be my wild imagination, you know, when you’re talking something up to impress someone else). And it’s always fun to go during their busy hours when the line literally snakes around the close quarters of the small store, and even intersecting itself at times. But the result is worth it because you come away with one of the best sub sandwich experiences you’ll ever have. I used to go there quite often when I lived in Edison and even now, for a treat, I’ll take a drive every once in a while and pick up sandwiches for dinner.

Oh, but I can’t go there today. It’ll be too hectic a day. President Obama is going to be there, after having been invited by the mayor of Edison to head a roundtable discussion to promote the Small Business Jobs Act which he hopes the Senate will pass this week. Owners of three other small businesses in New Jersey will also attend.

There’s always Five Guys. My niece never heard of Five Guys so I told her I’d put a link on here so she can see what it’s all about. Like I told her, the juices from their burgers will drip down your arm if you let it and their fries have been classified as the most unhealthy in all the land, but their crispy greasy goodness, dusted with some Cajun goodness are intoxicating. I wonder if each

 

store charges its own prices because I go there sometimes for lunch, just up the road from Tastee Sub Shop and I don’t remember it costing as much as it did the other night when we stopped after the movie at a different store. Two bacon cheeseburgers (which is a double patty–a small is a single patty, toppings are free), a large fry and two medium sodas came to over $23 dollars. I gasped, but I paid it. I needed solace after that movie.

Funny how some areas around the country don’t have things others do. For instance my family in Illinois can’t get a Devil Dog. For Heaven’s sake, they don’t even know what a Ring Ding or a Yodel is out there. The natives, that is. Or Dunkin Donuts. What’s with that?  I saw a Dunkin Donuts in Chicago when I was there a few years ago, however. And it was a long time before my sister could get Ronzoni macaroni. Well, of all things, you would never think Wise potato chips would fall into oblivion, but somewhere between the east and west coast they are unattainable.

This shot is a slightly different angle otherwise that stack of cinder blocks would hide the left corner:

And I would remiss for a second time if I didn’t post a happy belated birthday wish to Bugs Bunny. It was his 70th birthday yesterday!

Dancing On Wet Cement

July 27, 2010

Okay, where was I? Oh, yeah, cowering under my sheets, hiding against the cool air blowing on me from the AC while the outside temperature was in the low to mid 50’s! I didn’t have a blog yesterday because I ran out of time trying to get my act together and I wanted to update you on the progress on the house and tell you what I thought of the movie we saw over the weekend. Well, no time like the present.

We saw the new Leonardo DiCaprio movie, “Inception” and, oh man, was it a chore to get through. The premise was quite interesting, infiltrating others’ dreams and putting ideas into their minds. That’s the basic thing. And since that particular premise, the ‘what if’ thing (like where do wrinkles go when they fall out of your clothes) is near and dear to my heart I thought it might be interesting to see, in spite of all the computer graphics today’s movies are so rife with. I understood everything that was going on, it’s not the plot got complicated, but it was just dragged out rather tediously to the point of distraction and several people leaving the theater. I actually thought about it and as it turns out, so did Ariel, but I chose to hang around to see how it all played out. The final analysis: I was unimpressed.  Afterwards, though, to make it up to ourselves, we stopped in at 5 Guys for burgers and it was pretty much close to closing time. 5 Guys ROCKS!

Saturday came and so did the Lou Crew, at 7:30 as promised and the digging began. And so did work on the front stoop. It was falling apart and we’re having it redone, refaced to match what will be the exterior on the addition.

Speaking of the addition, yesterday was the day the cement was to be poured once the inspector came to yay or nay the footing (and the roof, finally!). Lou had gone to pay the cement people and during that time, the inspector came. I got on the phone and was assured Lou was 5 minutes away. While I spoke to (and tried to stall) the inspector, he failed the footings because of what amounted to a smudge, a misplaced line on the plans. Kind of like when I got my Atlas tattoo and the artist followed the design exactly, right down to the mark from where something had been erased. He later fixed it and unless you’re looking, you’d never see it. But the inspector was in too much of a rush, in spite of my going over what he told me a couple of times just to buy some time for Lou to get back, and he wouldn’t talk to him over the phone, and the last saving grace was that he had to inspect the roof. That entire procedure was walking the length of the house in back, then in front and it passed. In the time span from when he left and Lou got back, the two could have passed each other in the driveway.

I met the lovely Mrs. Lou who brought the guys lunch. Lou didn’t want to risk not being around a second time. The inspector returned about 2 hours after he said he would (thankfully) and he got convinced the plans were correct, that figures from previous pages could not equal what he originally thought they should  and that errant line was just an errant line. The cement truck came, the cement was poured and then later, a load of cinder block and bags of cement was delivered.

   

And lastly, my query to my agent in waiting is ready to go the second I see she has updated her status on her webpage. I had this incredible idea of how to drastically change it up, to really pack a wallop from the get go. So, tick, tock, tick, tock…….

Construction: Day 1 Eve

July 23, 2010

Tomorrow is the big day. Groundbreaking. The Lou Crew will begin construction on the addition. They were here a few days during this past week in preparation, marking the area and having to find the level of the existing floors where the new one will join by taking out, as he said, “brick”. It’s funny how you think (okay, maybe it’s just me) with the suggestion of a single word.

It was later in the afternoon earlier this week, after the landscapers had gone, having completed the job of mowing over the crunchy brown timothy I sadly refer to lately as my lawn, when I finally had come to a comfortable spot in my work day when I could break and get started on my sauce for that night’s dinner.I gathered up my ingredients and began to cook when I suddenly heard a muffled banging that sounded like it was coming from the basement. I had just been down there on an unscheduled peek at the “leak” and wondered for a moment how anyone could have been down there. Finally, I looked out the window and saw the Lou and half crew on the side of the house marking the dig area and banging out that brick he spoke of. Well, the banging kept going and going and I thought that was one stubborn brick. I checked it out later when they had gone and saw an entire section beneath my kitchen window was removed. Then it made sense. He’d have to be a pretty good guesser to pick just the right spot to take just one brick. It takes me a while, but I eventually get there.

That sawing and hammering repeated yesterday while they worked underneath the other window which will also become and entryway into the new room. It was so intense, the bric-a-brac in my office was chattering against the walls.

At the end of the day, long after they’d gone and I was about to get dinner started (my sauce from the night before was a masterpiece, if I do say so myself) when I noticed chinks of light near the floor. He had made such a space that I could see outside while I was laying on the floor. I guess that’s what Gus (a crew member) meant when he said he could see tile.  I wasn’t having that. Bugs could get in….and spiders! I appreciate the work my exterminators do but I also don’t want to single-handedly catapult them to the top of the Fortune 500 list. I took some foam padding and blocked off the area to keep the insect invasion to a minimum.

Well, on this, National Vanilla Ice Cream Day, the day before construction, I offer these two fairly self explanatory shots:

   

Keep your wits about you tomorrow, it’s Amelia Earhart Day.

Stop The Presses

July 22, 2010

Remember the story about Contsance McMillen, the teenage lesbian from Mississippi that was banned from attending her prom with her girlfriend? Well, she just won a lawsuit against the school district to the tune of $35,000. She was relieved when she learned about the settlement and said it’s “Not for the money, but the policies”, but nowhere in the article I’m reading does it say anything about her not keeping the money. So, maybe it was a little for the money and the fifteen minutes of fame that it brought her. Do I hear book deal?

Lonnie Irvin Pinnix probably would feel sorry for her, but he’s got his own stuff to worry about. The 38-year-old was charged with loading a black powder pistol with toilet paper. But, wait, there’s more. He fired it and was subsequently charged with assault with a deadly weapon and was held on a thousand dollar bond. Yeah, 38- year-old Lonnie was really sore when his wife, 55-year -old Mrs. P. came home after midnight Tuesday. She crawled into bed but agitated Lonnie insisted she get up. She didn’t and he took a shot at her, hitting her in the back and she lay in bed crying until police arrived at around 1:50 am. She was taken to a hospital and treated for powder burns. Now THAT was a sh!tty thing to do. Kind of like that Angel Soft toilet paper commercial when a roll of paper goes whizzing by the husband’s head and razes a racing stripe through  his hair.

Talking about Bonomo Turkish Taffy the other day made me a little nostalgic for another childhood treat, but then, who wouldn’t remember running down the street with their friends after the ice cream truck, yelling STOP at the top of their lungs? If you happen to live in London, you might still be running after the truck for a treat, and it might just be your dog leading the way, especially if the familiar jingling bells have been replaced by the theme to Scooby Doo.

The vehicle, The K99, debuted at this year’s Boomerang Pets Party. Sall Bezant, event spokesperson thought it was time that man’s best friend had something more than a bowl of water to cool off and now Fido has a choice between “Dog Eat Hog World” which is a ham and chicken sorbet topped with a biscuit and served in a cone, or “Canine Crunch”, dog biscuits and ice cream, a sort of cookies and cream. I hope there’s a lower door for the poor little Chihuahua that might otherwise get trampled on or ignored.

I ran after an ice cream truck once and slipped in my driveway and scraped my knee. It hurt like an SOB. My mother heard me scream and brought me in to clean it up and the ice cream man waited. Just a little side story for your amusement.

And for those of you who only wanted the latest copy to read the articles, you can now say that with conviction. Playboy magazine has introduced a safe-for-work online version that still contains salacious written content, but no graphic images, though images of scantily clad women barely (ha, I said barely) revealing anything are available. Playboy is hoping to boost it’s sagging revenues from a decline in magazine sales since the internet is the place to go for free to see the same thing, if not more.

All Systems Go

July 21, 2010

Just a short note today because I’m running a bit late. I spent most of my free time this morning polishing up that query letter. I’ve been checking daily on the agent’s website and she is still not accepting submissions yet but I know if I don’t get on the ball I won’t be ready when she does open it up again.

My contractor was here yesterday afternoon discussing the work he’ll be doing and figuring out the best way to get the cement truck into position; whether to come diagonally across the front lawn or to drive directly in front of the house. Either way trees will have to be trimmed. The township apparently doesn’t like curb jumping otherwise it could be a direct line from the street to the side of the house, but the contractor will talk to the truck guy and see how he feels about it. Ground breaking is set for this Saturday. Oh…joy? No, it’s really exciting, but now that it’s this close, it feels overwhelming and intrusive, but there’s really no other way to get the job done. Is there?

I took this shot this past weekend. I zoomed in as far as I could and was as quiet as I could be but he spotted me. He stopped and stood still just long enough for me to get this shot. I know it’s just another picture of a deer in my yard, but not since the baby feeding off its mother, I haven’t seen a more regal specimen.

The Green Light

July 20, 2010

Yesterday started off like any other day. I got up, had my coffee, customarily mopped up the trail of water in my basement, decided to work out later in the day after I was sufficiently awake, sat down at my computer and dug into the pile of work that suddenly appeared. Then I answered the phone and was told, “There is a building permit ready for pick-up”. I was nearing the end of one of the projects I was working on so I closed up shop and headed over to town hall with my check, then got myself a sandwich at the deli and called my contractor.

He swung by last night while I was listening to an episode of “My Favorite Husband” on my Droid, through an app (free) called Old Time Radio. They have several genres; mystery, drama, comedy, etc. from the golden days of radio (even the Mercury Theater presentation of War of the Worlds). I chose “Liz Changes Her Mind” which, on television transformed into “Lucy Changes Her Mind”. But many, if not all, of Liz and George Cooper’s antics were rewritten for Lucy and Ricky Ricardo.

Right, so, Lou swung by with the contract to sign and to get his initial deposit and as he looked over the inspection papers; plumbing, electric, etc. he discovered that by ordinance, because of the addition we’re putting on, we now have to have hard-wired smoke detectors in specific spots throughout the main house and the total we came up with is seven and we’re talking around another grand for that alone.

Today started off a little different than any other day and general consensus has it that it might have been from the landing I made jumping off the ledge in the back of the house while we were attending to the other gutter over the weekend. Well, the pain, far up in the groinal area, began last night when I went to get up for a banana flavored bar of Bonomo Turkish Taffy (which tastes like those circus peanut marshmallowy things, which I also enjoy) and I could barely stand on my right leg and had to basically crawl up the stairs to bed. This morning, it feels as though my sciatica is beginning to stir on the other side and so far, during this short time of writing this blog, I’m squirming around to find a comfortable sitting position. But once I’m up and moving about, I’m fine and I got outside to take picture number 1 of the area that’s being worked on so I can keep a better photographic journal of the addition’s progress unlike the upstairs bathroom and I’m still trying to locate some before pics.

Give Me An e. Give Me An i

July 16, 2010

It’s Friday, hooray, but that’s not the only reason to be happy. I made yet another discovery about my Droid that kind of blew my mind. Well, for one thing, thanks to my friend Maria, who also has a Droid, told me that there was an app that made it possible to play my iTunes library on my phone. I downloaded it, registered online and lo and behold, there was my iTunes library. Or what little there was of it. I don’t keep very much stored in the computer because it just uses up memory, but I moved a mess of songs from my eBook into iTunes and I have those songs now. (I need something with an “a”, an “o” and a “u”). The beauty of that is I can change my line up of songs every now and then. But that’s just one of the incredible things I discovered.

A while back, I painstakingly transferred enough 12″ club mix vinyl records from the post-Disco era (mid to late 80’s and some into the early 90’s) to fit onto 36 CD’s, not including the special Donna Summer disc(the 17 minute “Love To Love You, Baby” is a must!) . From there, I imported them onto my iPod. I would do the same with my treasure trove of  (disco) 45’s if only I could find them. I still say the team that installed my central air took them from my attic. Brian, what are records doing in the attic?

Back to my Droid. I was listening to my iTunes playlist the other day when I decided to explore what the “L” in a little box in the top corner of the album art icon that accompanies each song. Would you believe it opens the lyrics to those songs that display the “L”? Even to the 12″ vinyl transfers I made, records from 20 + years ago? I was, and am, well, quite frankly…amazed! There, I said it. Oh, I almost forgot. The name of that app is mSpot.

I got a little nervous last night when I read an article that  my soap opera, One Life To Live was rumored to be on the chopping block once again, like it was last fall. However, according to the article, Brian Frons, head of ABC daytime television said the network was committed to keeping all three of its soaps–All My Children, OLTL and General Hospital–on the air.

From the “I’m still getting water in my basement” department”: There is one more aveune I will try this weekend to see if it might be the cause of the leak. Another downspout, which also empties to the channel beneath the driveway seems to be clogged. I discovered that the other day when the sky opened up. Water was shooting out of every conceivable connection from the gutter down to the ground and water was even bubbling up from where the downspout connects to the underground channel. I’m kind of hoping that somehow the drainage system is clogged (or otherwise deteriorated) and somehow backing up on itself and the water, as water does, is finding it’s own path and that path is a direct line into the basement. Even my contractor guy said it was a very good possibility.

And, finally, this is for your viewing pleasure….you’re welcome! Just get past the first minute or so before things really kick into gear. I have thank Ken for sending this video to me.

I take no responsibility if you end up trying this at home and hurt yourself! Have a great weekend!

A Burning Question

July 15, 2010

Are we where we are because of where we’ve been, or are we where we are because of where we’re going?

I’ve always pondered that question, but in a more technological sense. But more and more I’m thinking of it in a more sociological sense. I’m not sure when it started, but somewhere along the lines, hot coffee was involved. Somewhere along the way, there was a bad word someone said on television that someone else heard and raised hell because ‘how dare that type of behavior take place?’. And all throughout, it seems like everyone has lost the sense of responsibility for his own actions.

Take, for instance the drunk driving case from 2007 that suddenly is making the news. Spanish-speaking German Marquez was accused of being under the influence when he rear-ended another car at an intersection. His lawyer is claiming Marquez, who speaks only Spanish, did not understand the police officer’s  instructions in English to take a breathalyzer test and subsequently was wrongly cited for non-compliance to that as well as the DWI charge. The non-compliance charge carries a seven month license suspension which is concurrent with the three-month for the drunk driving charge. The lawyer argues he should not have been punished for something he didn’t understand. Now the consent statement (for the breath test) has been recorded in 10 languages for the police to play for a suspect.

Okay, so, how did he get his license in the first place? He obviously had to have studied a manual, and I’m sure the manual he studied from was written in Spanish. Is the point about consenting to a breathalyzer in there? I have to admit, I don’t know because when I was learning how to drive there was no such technology to worry about. It was the ability to walk a straight line and touch your nose while balancing on one foot and a theoretical equation to determine your blood/alcohol level. Is Marquez alone in the world? Doesn’t he have any friends or family or co-workers in his life who might tell him? And the biggest point, since when is ignorance above the law? I was taught that ignorance of the law is no excuse. So how does Señor Marquez figure he’s special?

Ah,  f**k it. You can’t say that on TV. Or can you? Maybe. On Tuesday, the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the FCC’s broadcast indecency policy because the standards the commission use to monitor offensive language are ‘unconstitutionally vague’ and that the policy did not give broadcasters fair warning what is allowed and what isn’t.

I’m the furthest thing from being a prude, and every now and then hearing a slip up on a live TV show gives me a sort of rebellious thrill, but honestly, I don’t want to hear the F word said on One Life to Live on a daily basis. It’s enough that the word ‘bitch’ has gotten past the censors and there are days when it’s said almost as much as the word ‘amazing’. And after the first few dozen times of hearing it, it truly gets monotonous. Switching on the way back machine for a second, I remember watching the original run of Dark Shadows as a kid back in the ‘60’s and hearing Barnabas say ‘Hell’ and I thought it almost heroic, if not something I should hope my mother wouldn’t hear for fear she’d make me stop watching the show.

But in these days when everyone is up in arms about everything, it begs the question, are we regressing or advancing? Has everything gotten that complex that it’s impossible to keep up and so we’ve given up?  Yes, it’s the land of the free and all that, but shouldn’t this land be shown a little more respect than trying to tear it further down, limb by judicial limb? Is it really fair to kowtow to those who have a sense of entitlement because certain situations don’t fit their idyllic picture? It could be just about anything these days, from certain religious factions not wanting to conform to regulation policeman’s uniforms because of their headdress, to not letting kids “win” in  games so nobody gets their feelings hurt, to looking the other way in cases such as Marquez’?   Does it make sense to allow more profanity on television when parents are already rallying against its usage? Of course they expect the government to take care of everything so parents don’t have to come off as the bad guy and now the rest of us have to have huge TV ratings signs flash across the screen, as if seeing an “S” or an “L” will signal the kids that they must instantly turn off the show with too much sexual content  or harsh language? Is it too much to ask to let me say Merry Christmas, even though the next person might celebrate Hanukkah and he could simply say, “I’m Jewish” (or whatever) instead of getting all militant and stripping away my holiday spirit?  Damn it!

Oh well, here’s who was wearing this week’s bathing suit.

And, look who’s happy!

They’re here!

It’s Fun To Stay At The….

July 14, 2010

Hey, wait a second. Where? At the “Y”? That’s right, The Young Men’s Christian Association, The YMCA after 166 years will be henceforth known as the Y, adopting the nickname it has been known as for generations.

They’re making this change in an attempt to be warmer, more genuine and more welcoming and according to Neil Nicoll, president and chief executive of the organization, it’s a simpler way to tell the story of what they do. But not everyone is happy with this change. For instance, The Village People. The group is disappointed and “deeply dismayed” that the non-profit group made this decision. So, in lieu of having to rechoreograph the wildly iconic wedding staple, they vow…VOW, mind you, they will continue to perform the song using all four letters in their concerts.

  

You know, Ariel and I partied with the Village People once. True. And it cost Ariel an unwitting whopping four hundred dollars. Way back when we both had hair, they were performing at a club in Hoboken that is probably closed now. It started to attract a bad crowd and the once fun place became a chore to endure for a few hours of dancing and drinking pleasure. Ah, what the hell, even unsavory people need a place to go. So there they were, the entire “original” group of Village People up on the stage; David Hodo (the construction worker), Glenn Hughes (the leatherman), Felipe Rose (the indian), Alex Briley (the army guy), Randy Jones (the cowboy) and Ray Simpson (the lead singer cop…okay, not original–Victor Willis was the original) and we edged our way right up to the front of the crowd and were moshing around with the best of ‘em. When the show ended, they each thanked us for our energy.  Of course, it being the early ’90’s, we were among a probable handful who remembered the Village People from the beginning and knew the words to all their songs.

It was the end of the night and we were in the Jeep, ready to leave when Felipe came running up to us inviting us back to his Jersey City apartment for a party he was throwing. We went and it was just him and his circle of friends, none of the other ‘people’ were there.

Framed gold records rested on the floor against the brick wall of his living room and we parked ourselves with drinks on the sofa. We introduced ourselves to many nameless people and made small talk as best we could with people we really had no business being with. After about an hour, we slipped out the door with an unheard thank you (it’s always good to be polite) and we went home.

Ariel discovered his wallet was missing. However it happened, whether someone pickpocketed him at the party, or it slipped out of his pocket on the overstuffed sofa, but someone racked up over $400 in flowers from some florist and a few other sundry items and he had the card canceled, but also had to get new everything that was in there. And that was our short-lived foray into groupiedom.

I got no guesses on yesterday’s bathing suit so I’ll wait and reveal who it was tomorrow. Oh, and by the way, my Bonomo order from Amazon has shipped!