Archive for the ‘McGinty Monday’ Category

Spatial Subjectiveness

May 10, 2010

This is such a subjective business! I’m afraid that the voice just didn’t capture me as much as I had hoped. I’m sure another agent will be a better fit for the style. Thanks and all the best of luck, Andrea. That came in at 9:17 this past Friday night. So, that’s that. Andrea doesn’t want me. I just can’t wait to hear some one farted and wrote a book about it; I’m gonna throw something at someone.

No disrespect to those who were injured, but Ferry by Toyota was the first thought that came to my mind when I heard about the Staten Island Ferry crash on Saturday.

So, we had our weigh ins this weekend. How curious this reading is. Ariel’s weight increased by one pound (up to 202) and mine, even though I weighed in just after we got home from our trip (remember I was down another pound at 209?) I was up at 214. So, I figured there were two possible explanations.

One of them was possibly I was still on Central Time and whatever weight I put on while on vacation hadn’t caught up with me yet; it was still an hour behind. Or… it was strictly a matter of gravity. You see, here where I live, the elevation is, on average, 120.28 feet above sea level. Springfield, Illinois, where I spent some of my time is 600 feet above sea level and Girard, where I spent the other part of my time and where I pigged out the most, is even higher at 670. You wouldn’t think it, what with Illinois being such a flat state, but it is. So, obviously, in a higher elevation, I weighed less, kind of like an astronaut in space.

Bathroom pic update: I tore apart every conceivable area where I thought that video would be to no avail other than to reorganize several spaces including one closet. Now if I can convince myself to look for it in my other closets, they’ll all get straightened up. It’s probably sitting on some shelf watching me and laughing like that one elusive fly that refuses to allow itself to get swatted on a hot sticky summer afternoon all the while eyeing my ham and cheese sandwich. But I still have time before the bathroom is completed to keep on looking.

JL has a special message for all his readers this week on McGinty Chronicles.

PS. I got three points for Lena Horne in the dead celebrity game!

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Hittin’ The Comeback Trail

May 3, 2010

The trip to Illinois was a success. Everyone is fine. And we proved once again that fresh country air really does magnify one’s appetite. That, and a non-stop supply of food. To that end, much as I know it will pain me, I am going to weigh myself tomorrow morning to see how much damage I did over the last 5 days. I tried to behave, food-wise…. no, I didn’t, who am I kidding? It was all out for the taking and so I took advantage.

So, by the time you’re reading this, we just left from having breakfast at Bob Evans next door to our hotel in Cambridge, Ohio, and of course I had to cap off my vacation with biscuits and gravy and I don’t know what’s in store for lunch, but rest assured it won’t be a salad. It’s Ariel’s day to drive. I actually got to drive all the way from Springfield, Illinois to Cambridge, Ohio yesterday, to try to help him get over his fear of letting go of the wheel and being a passenger. Of course, toward the end of the trip, far into the increasinly monsoonal day, he almost ended up in my lap because I was trying to pass a tractor trailer truck (or semi, for those of you so inclined) that was spraying up waves of water and swaying back and forth in his lane, trapping me between him and the grassy median. I was nervous enough about it but in spite of the added anxiety, I got us out of there.

“Truth be told, these pages didn’t draw me in as much as I had hoped” was part of what that agent lady I recently submitted the first five pages of my manuscript to replied this past Friday while I unsuspectingly decided to clean out my email inbox. “I’m pressed for time these days,” continued Andrea, “and, what with my reservations about the project, I suspect I wouldn’t be the best fit.” That must be first things agents learn in How To Stomp On Someone’s Dream 101.

But that didn’t stop my streak of Einsteinian moves. Before we left for the weekend, I went to get some chocolate malt balls out of the container in my fridge at home only to find what I was pouring into my hand was half and half. Then, in Illinois, when Ariel and I drove to the store to pick up the chicken we were having at the big family shindig on Saturday, I reached up to put the truck in park, but with the windshield wiper handle, thinking it was the gear shift. True, I was driving a borrowed vehicle, but it’s been years, over 30 in fact, that I’ve been in a car with a gearshift on the column and that was my ‘65 Tempest I bought from my uncle when I first got my license in 1979.

So, anyway, tomorrow it’s back to real life and we both decided that Wednesday we’d start our morning walks again, so stay tuned for how that works out.

Until then, there’s a brand new McGinty today.

If You Keep Doing That….

April 19, 2010

…you’ll go blind. That’s an age-old warning most adolescent boys have heard ad nauseam and the response is usually that age-old favorite, “I’ll do it just till I need glasses”. Well, for those of you who have gone beyond the stage of needing magnifying readers, there is hope for you, thanks for photographer Lisa Murphy, who believes that blind people have been left out of the experience of living in a sexually charged society. So, she photographed friends who dressed in costumes and masks to keep them unidentifiable in various poses. She also photographed herself because, she reasoned, she couldn’t ask them to do something she wouldn’t do herself. She then transferred the images into fine sculptures into thermoform plastic pages, the same material that is used for Braille, along with explicit descriptions, and combined the pages into a spiral bound book that sells for about $220.00 Her blind proofreader helped her refine the intricacies of certain body parts… like an ankle or a wrist (get your mind out of the gutter!) The book, “Tactile Mind”, has actually been out for two years, but has recently attracted world-wide media attention.  Murphy, a former volunteer with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind has also done educational books for children with transformed images of animals. I’m kind of hoping this is a trial run.  You know what I’m saying, right?

While we’re on the topic of animals, a new measure has been put into place by the City Council to make life easier for the power behind the famed horse-drawn carriages. Each horse will be given five weeks off per year. FIVE WEEKS! Wages were also increased for the 220 carriage drivers who can now charge $50 dollars for the first 20 minutes of a ride. The old fare was $34 for the first half hour. The horses also will no longer be allowed south of 34th Street and nowhere in the city 3 and 7am. This bill ensures that people who come from all over the world planning on taking a romantic horse and buggy ride through Central Park can do so in an environment that treats the horse and driver fairly.

Bathroom update: the tiling is nearly completed. Kitchen faucet update: I took the entire thing apart this and found a build up of muck (I have no idea where it came from) that made the water start dribbling out again since I replaced that coupler a few weeks ago. Water in the basement update: Still seeping in, but under control. Weekend update: Went to Philly, sort of an impromptu decision on a sort of already set plan. Created havoc like we normally do, went to an after-hours club with alleged free passes but it cost us $10 to get in and then the place closed after only an hour. Had our weigh-ins; I’m down to 210 (lost 4–total 20) and Ariel is down to 200 (lost 5–total 13). And the finishing touches were put on this week’s McGinty Monday installment. Please enjoy!

 

By the way, I use a 1.25 magnifying reader.

Ten More Minutes

April 12, 2010

Here’s a novel/agent update: Saturday morning, I had an email from that agent and she wanted to see the first five pages of my manuscript, to see the style of my writing and to judge if it would fit her. That’s the first time in five years anyone has asked for additional material. I was ecstatic and am awaiting further communication from her.

Also Saturday morning we had our weigh ins and I put on 3 pounds and Ariel stayed the same: 214 and 205 respectively. It was probably that huge steak dinner I had the night before at Charlie Brown’s after we picked up the paint for the new bathroom. A Hint of Mint is what it’s called; tones of green, blue and gray, kind of like a Dusty Miller.

Saturday afternoon into the night we spent in Greenwich Village with some friends. We saw somewhat comedy somewhat music entertainment caberet type show in which two singers (I can’t even tell you their names) sang mashups of songs with similar themes such as cars, for example and they’d go from Pink Cadillac, to Little Red Corvette, to perhaps something that happened to mention driving in a car. Then another theme and another and in between they would interact with the audience and tell jokes.

We headed to a place for dinner where there was a situation similar to the “iced coffee” incident where our friend Jim wanted an unsweetened iced tea, eschewing any more alcohol so he could drive us all home, because after the flaming shot that tasted like burnt toasted marshmallows we all sucked up through straws, (Kaluha, Rum and Tequila) Patty was a little too heady to drive. The waiter said they didn’t have unsweetened iced tea. So, in the logical way he has, realizing there had to be a logical work around to this matter, Ariel asked the waiter for a cup of hot tea and a glass of ice. Well, that put the already agitated waiter’s back right up, but he brought it.

And yesterday, we went to meet up with an old friend of Ariel’s for brunch and then a round of bar hopping. Before long it was after 11 pm and we were pulling into the garage. Needless to say, I’m a bit comatose this morning, not hung over and don’t even have a headache, and that incessant ringing in my ears is quite normal, but I could use another 10 minutes of shuteye, but if I can get through the one last section of some very intense numbers posting I began on Friday and have the report balance out, then I’ll be in good shape for the rest of the day.

And of course, it’s McGinty Monday.

The Easter Parade

April 5, 2010

What a weekend it was, lots to talk about, including news of my kitchen sink, the review on “Looped”, about Tallulah Bankhead starring Valerie Harper we saw yesterday, some more bizarre dreams and my usual brand of ranting, but today’s McGinty is a jam-packed treasure trove of information JL has to share with you so I don’t want to bog you down with a long blog today; I’ve got the entire week to cover all that.

But, before I let you go I have a weigh-in update for you. Ariel is up 2 pounds, bringing him to 205 and I took off 4 and was delighted to see 211 pounds on the dial. That’s a total of 19 for me since we began back at the end of January and 8 total for Ariel.

And these pictures are a bonus from yesterday. We sailed right into the city; we left the house at 11 and the show wasn’t until 3:00 and we had a bit of time left over after brunch at our favorite Irish Pub, Playwrights II (8th between 45th and 46th) and we walked up to the Easter Parade. We were surprised to see it’s not so much a parade, like the Macy’s Parade, but more like a street fair with Easter hats. We weren’t prepared so we both used our phones to take these pictures so the quality may fluctuate throughout the 16 pictures, but the main thing is I wanted to try this cool new feature of a slide show on the blog. It’ll come in handy when it’s time to show the progress of the work being done on the bathroom.

 

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Creepy And Kooky…

March 29, 2010

…and just plain fun. We saw the Addams Family on Saturday at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. I was never really a super fan of the TV show, I was more a Munsters watcher, but that’s not to say I don’t know enough of the Addams Family to make a fair assessment of the show. Also, to go on record I’m not a huge Nathan Lane fan, I kind of put him into the same category as Jim Carrey, obnoxious and unentertaining, but if I had to choose on over the other, I’d pick Nathan Lane. So, I wasn’t sure how this show was going to go for me, since I know I can also be overly critical.

From the moment the curtain opened, I had a such a good feeling about the show, I gave it my customary initial score, which in this particular instance was an 8. Even I was surprised by that.  But sometimes you just get a feeling, or at least I do, as soon as the curtain opens or the stage lights up. It’s all part of my rating system. To recount for those of you new to my blog, I never give anything a score of 1 (I have to at least acknowledge the gumption and effort of putting on even the least entertaining show) and I very rarely ever score anything a 10 (unless the show is another “Wicked” or “Sunset Boulevard”). Maybe I’m jaded, or just stubborn, but I know what entertains me so my basic rating scale is from 2-9.

To be critical, Nathan Lane was a bit over the top with Gomez’ Spanish accent, which seemed uneven at times and Carolee Carmello played her Alice Beineke with overt shades of Carol Burnett, and I can’t seem to recall any of the musical numbers in my head. I can see them in my mind’s eye, being performed, but I can’t “hear” them. Bebe Neuwirth’s Morticia was excellent and the show stealer was Jackie Hoffman’s Grandma. The show was just quirky good fun, the storyline adequate, a happy bright story of Wednesday’s desire to marry Lucas Beineke, which contrasted the customary and familiar darker side of the Addams’ existence. In the end, I gave the show an 8.

Ariel had activated the camera on his cell phone and instantly and usher came swooping over like a vulture warning him not to do so. I thought, Damn it, shouldn’t she be off texting someone rather than doing her job? I had thought of trying to sneak a shot of the cast during final curtain, but was too spooked that the same would happen to me so I nixed the thought.

Sandwiched in between Carnegie Hall and The Addams Family, we saw my friend Janet’s daughter in her high school production of Cabaret, in which she starred as Sally Bowles. I can only hope bigger and better things for Kelly in her future because she is such an unaffected (I have to use the word) professional and a darn good singer.  Her mic was out during her first number, but she was undaunted. Without so much as flinching, she just raised her voice enough so that the back row could still hear her. If I can be critical of just one thing… I wanted more Sally Bowles that night, but unfortunately, she’s not in every scene.

And then there was the weekly weigh-in. Whoops. Ariel put on 2 pounds last week, so he’s now up to 203 and I sadly added a pesky 3 bringing me back to 215. BUT!!!, I did manage to get into a pair of 34 waist jeans the other night and sat comfortably in them through Cabaret.

Alright, enough of me, let’s see what’s happening in McGinty Chronicles.

My Aching Back

March 22, 2010

Busy, tiring weekend. I was finally able to get outside on Friday afternoon after work and clear the lawn of all the fallen branches from that Noreaster we had the weekend before, plus I cut down two huge ones that were leaning on the ground on two separate trees. Had I not moved as quickly as I did, one of them would have fallen on me. I was standing at a bad angle with my pole saw, my “saw on a stick” and the branch fell toward me instead of straight down. I had to stand on a ladder with regular saw to cut the branch off the second tree that was tangled up in another larger one. All the branches are way too large to be moved.  I got my chainsaw restrung and started (I thought I’d butch it up and hack them into firewood, or at least more manageable pieces)but  it wouldn’t cut and now the chain is falling off again.  So, undaunted, I put the dilapidated tool away and  the fallen tree-sized branches are now permanently residing on the ground until I can either take care of it myself or have someone do it. I then proceeded to rake up at least 8 huge barrels full of smaller branches from the front lawn. I started off bending and stooping and almost immediately the pinching pain in my lower back directed to me to the rake. Actually, it was a much more efficient method of cleaning the lawn. Ariel got home from work as I was finishing the front and together we spent an addition two plus hours in the backyard.

Most of the morning and into the afternoon on Saturday was spent sprucing up the house (dusting, vacuuming, washing floors) ridding the house of the dust and crud that had gathered in the corners the Lou Crew has been kicking up from the construction upstairs, and preparing food for company we were having. I still had to get outside to finish branch duty in a spot I had neglected the day before. That took about an hour, but I got it done and felt rather accomplished in spite of the fact I was decidedly unable to stand upright any longer and am, at this writing, still somewhere between a 75  amd 80 degree angle.

As we were setting up the table I noticed a bulb was out in the light fixture and that fascinated me. I was thinking how many light bulbs have possibly been changed over the course of the 11 years we’ve been in the house. It intrigues me because there are some light bulbs we have not yet replaced and are still burning. It just seems that the ones we’ve replaced, are the ones that are consistantly not lasting. So what does that say for the quality of today’s products? I’ve probably just jinxed the whole thing and they’ll all go “poof” and plunge us into darkness next time we flip their switches.

I almost forgot. We had our weigh-ins on Saturday morning. Ariel dropped 4 pounds bringing him down to 201 (a total loss of 12 from when we began) and I am now down to 212, having dropped three pounds, a total of 18.

Speaking of trees and limbs, the Sigleys of Illinois continue, not with a jinx, but with more good fortune as McGinty Chronicles continues.

The Lost Weekend

March 15, 2010

Or rather, it might considered the weekend that floated away. True was the claim that we were under a flood watch and even though we weren’t hit as severely as our neighbor, Bound Brook whose streets are still under water as of this writing, we had our share of troubles to deal with.

Let me briefly recap the weekend. Friday night, we found the new cabinet and vanity for the new bathroom as well as a new toilet and faucets and shower heads. The beginning of the “flood watch” was upon us Saturday morning, as promised as we trudged out looking for tile. We have a certain coloration in mind; a stone style tile in a sort of mossy, sagey green mixed with browns and golds. We found one similar but it was gray and was in the exact vein we were looking for, but decided it was better to not settle. We’ll keep looking and we have time, because the room isn’t ready for it.

Tileless, yet undaunted, went to the Sands in Pennsylvania later in the afternoon gambled for quite a while playing penny machines. It’s incredible how long money lasts when you’re gambling away pennies. Actually, I more than doubled a twenty dollar bill at one point and cashed it out. All in all, when all was said and done, I came home with twenty dollars less than I started with.

Then Sunday hit. It was my mother’s birthday and the plan was to have breakfast, then clean out the garage while the construction dumpster was still in the driveway, prepare St. Patty’s day dinner and hang out. Well, that all happened, but so did my suffering from some stomach bug that had me on the throne. It hit my mother as well and at first we thought it was something we had eaten the night before, but we learned that both Ariel’s father, who is visiting in Florida, and Melissa’s hubby, Bob, in Illinois were similarly afflicted, I felt a little better knowing I wasn’t alone.

And as if that wasn’t enough, the basement was flooded, but not in the usual place we get water. The situation could have been much worse, but between the two of us we got it cleaned up as best we could in a little under 2 hours. And it was a true testament to my muscle control, because bending and squatting are not the optimal activities to partake in when one’s stomach is deteriorating.

The garage was cleaned out under the same precarious conditions during that time, Sue called looking for alternate directions to the house because traffic was diverted off the roads due to flood. It was only then did I realized no traffic had been passing on my street because it was closed off on two ends because the river crested over its banks in those spots.

Naturally, enough, when it nearing time to go to bed, I was feeling better and my color was returning to my ashen face. I couldn’t even pig out on corned beef and cabbage…voluntarily.

Then my mother had to come back after she drove all the way home because there was no electricity in her area.

It’s a new day, and they’re saying we might be getting more rain today….

But it’s a perfect time for another installment of McGinty Chronicles.

Dead Tired Monday

March 8, 2010

Dead tired this morning. We watched the Oscars last night and it didn’t end until after midnight. That show is always so much longer than it needs to be. There are just so many categories. I must have dozed off when they gave away the “Best Floor Sweeper” award. And darn it, I should have kept a tally of “amazings”. Everything was amazing. The best part of the night, though, for me, was the utterance of “…and the winner is” instead of the feeble, allegedly political correct “…and the award goes to….”. I was glad also that “Avatar’ didn’t win best Oscar, only because I’m not a fan of so much hype around anything.

The weekend got changed around a bit, but as is usually the case, it was for the better. Our original Friday night plans went south and as it turns out Friday night was better for our friends from work we were supposed to get together with on Saturday, so we went into the city Friday night and didn’t get home until after 4 in the morning. Saturday, of course was the delivery date for the new computer, which came and after a few hours of doing some other work around the house, we got down to installing the computer, which took us until nearly 9 or so. 

Saturday was our weigh ins. I put on two pounds, bringing me up to 215 and Ariel put on the one he took off last week so he’s back at 202. Oh, and I also finally got my toilet bowl to fill completely.  You know it’s been weeks since I replaced the innards and the bowl was filling about 1/4 the way. I installed the  replacement part they sent and now it’s working.

Yesterday my mother came over. As I said last week, I was going to be grilling her about her side of the family. Her arrival was perfect because I had just come in from finally having some time to tend to those broken branches that were either laying on the ground or still hanging precariously from the trees. Plus I cut down four other trees. Granted they were only about 4″ thick at the base, but I wanted them gone and since I was already a sweaty and apparently tick ridden mess (as I discovered later..alright, it was one tick, but one is all you really need…) I figured what the heck, how long could that take? Sue came over a little while later and we had dinner; stuffed shells with another batch of my sauce. I even made meatballs, which, as you know, I don’t like. I think meatballs are stupid. I ate one, but wasn’t impressed.

 

And today, McGinty forges on with another communication from New Jersey.

Lots Of Sugar

March 1, 2010

Okay, so we dug our way out of the cataclysmic snowfall from the end of last week. The best I can tell, from the most level area of snow, away from the drifts and from underneath the canopy of the giant evergreen, we had about seven inches of snow. But it was heavy because at times all during the storm it was mixed with rain. We got started cleaning just as it was beginning to get dark and during the second half of the driveway, the left hand side auger of the snowblower came detached from the axle. A few years ago I had to replace the broken shear pins with a certain size machine bolt and nut; I have packs of all different sizes and the one shopping bag we found was full of the wrong size…naturally. It took nearly a half hour to find the bag with the right size packs and we were off and running.

Saturday morning, of course was our weigh ins. Ariel dropped another pound, taking him to 201, a total of 12 pounds in 7 weeks. I dropped 5 and am down to 213. That’s a total of 17 pounds. That’s 3 and almost a half bags of sugar, if you want a comparison. How’d you like to carry around all that sugar all day long? It’s not easy, or fun. And I’m not done yet!

I heard this story over the weekend, that New Jersey’s pension system which covers benefits for approximately 700,000 current and retired state and local workers; firefighters, police, judges and teachers, is underfunded by nearly $46 billion dollars. They’re probably totally different entities, but the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey had just approved a new toll collection system–cashless tolling–(I blogged about that kind of recently, that cameras would photograph your license plate and your bill would arrive in the mail) that will cost $175 million dollars to complete. It might just be me, but maybe the money that’s being spent to constantly upgrade ways to make us spend money to get to work (some of whom might be able to benefit from the $46 billion dollar deficit) could actually go to benefit them. Like I said, the agencies probably have no bearing on each other except, probably, the taxpayer, who ultimately will end up covering the cost of both.

Yesterday was a right lazy day after a stay over down the shore. We went to catch up with a friend of ours who we’d hope to get together with during or whirlwind New Year’s celebration, but he was under the weather. So we made a trip down, met up with him after he was done with work, had a pizza sent to our room, drank a few beers and before we all fell asleep, he called it a night and left. 

   The view from our room at the Berkeley. Click it.

 Well, it’s McGinty Monday and JL makes a slight departure to keep you abreast of other goings on within the family.