Posts Tagged ‘McGinty Monday’

A Real Einstein

April 26, 2010

The power of suggestion is a curious thing. One yawn can invoke a chain reaction. One sneeze and all of a sudden there’s a chorus of  gesundheiting each other  filling the room. WET PAINT: don’t touch!

Wait, that’s not what I wanted to say. It was more along the lines about absentmindedness. Or maybe it’s just a case of not paying attention. Not listening to the voices in my head. Or just plain stupidity.

The Lou Crew was working like bees upstairs on Friday (with the promise of completion by Tuesday–except for the glass shower enclosure) and he wanted to turn off the water so he could attach the water lines to the sink, the shower and hook up the new toilet. I was busy myself, working on stuff that had to be cleared away so that I can work on something else today and tomorrow before I take a couple of days off.

It was later in the afternoon and not only had I realized I needed food, but I really needed a cup of coffee. I saw the reservoir was low in the Keurig, but it was enough for the one cup I needed and I would just fill the it later when the water was back on. Robotically, I put my desired amount of half and half in my cup, put my cup in place, lowered the lid, pressed the button and watched in dismay as clear hot liquid filled my cup. I didn’t put a coffee pod in the holder.

Cute, right? But not at cute as this other Einstein story. Einstein the miniature minature pinto stallion was born last Friday at a miniature horse farm in Barnstead, New Hampshire. He was just 6 pounds and measured 14 inches, about the size of human baby, but with a larger head…of course.

 

 Just busy looking cute!

On the weight loss front, I remained the same as last week, an even 210 pounds, holding my total loss at 20 lbs (that’s 4 bags of sugar) and Ariel put on 1, bringing him back up to 201, taking his loss total to 12.

Anybody else counting down the painful last weeks of “Lost” until it’s finished? I gave up on that show a few seasons ago and can’t really explain why I continued watching except for the fact it’s a preset program in my DVR and every season it just records all by itself. Are they on the island? Are they off it? Are they in the past? Who are all these other people, who change every year? Is there a submarine? Is there a plane? Where did the hatch go? The polar bear? How about Vincent the dog? As a little aside, why couldn’t the crew just patch the hole of the Minnow? They too could have spared us all that nonsense. I just hope at the end of Lost, there is a reasonable explanation of why we spent the past six years in front of our television sets.

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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.

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.

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.

Jack Bustle Terror

February 22, 2010

We had our weigh-ins on Saturday and it wasn’t as glorious a reading as the past few weeks. I put on 2 pounds, so now I’m up to 218, and Ariel took off on 1, which brings him down to 202. But we didn’t let it get us down, no, we still went out cavorting in the city.

We went to see The Miracle Worker with Purdy and Brent and we were pleasantly surprised also with the company of Purdy’s cousin, Chantal. Luckily she was able to get a ticket but unfortunately it was on the other side of the theater. Theater in the round, I found, is not the optimal way to see a dramatic piece, as the actors are alternately positioned to favor one section of the audience at a time; case in point, when Helen Keller finally realized what water was at the pump in the yard, she was facing away from where we were sitting. So any look of wonderment and jubilation she may have had went unseen by us. But we did get more than our share of glimpses of the fancy bustles of the women’s period costumes.

The show is still in previews and aside from inconvenience of theater in the round, there is still some tweaking to do. For instance, in the dining room scene, when Anne Sullivan was teaching Helen proper table manners, some of the scenery obstructed our view. The piece of scenery in question was the door frame that came up from the floor to represent the door of the dining room. From my own personal vantage point, each side of the frame perfectly blocked my view of both Anne and Helen as they battled at the table. The majority of the set was on wires that lowered and rose the pieces into the ceiling and the hanging wires were a bit of a distraction. At times, the acting momentarily lost a little steam, but for the most part the pace was even and the production smooth. What lost it for me was a too prolonged final scene after Helen discovered “water”, hugs and smiles of joy among the family were exaggerated and silent and it diminished the manic mood of Helen’s sudden need to know more.

Alison Pill’s Anne Sullivan could use just a quick, ever so slight buffing swipe to clear the last bit of cobwebs and the part will be as polished as it needs to be. Breslin needs a little more savage animal instinct and Helen’s own untamed behavior will shine. Matthew Modine could tone down his angry bitter Captain Keller role to a lesser roar and Jennifer Morrison’s Kate needs to be a little more downtrodden and desperately hopeful; she smiled too much. Tobias Segal accomplished the role of Helen’s misunderstood and rebuffed half-brother James convincingly. After all was said and done, I gave it a 7 and I left the theater wiping away satisfied tears.

We headed back for a bite to eat and watched some curling on the TV over our heads at the diner then went back to Purdy’s to attempt to kill a bottle of Jack Daniels and the five of us competed in round after round of various board games.

There was more to the weekend but it can keep until tomorrow but for now, I’ll send you over for the next chapter of McGinty Chronicles with an updated link button.

Ultra-Lazy Weekend

February 15, 2010

What a great relaxing weekend, just what I needed. Actually, I think we were both due a quiet do nothing weekend. We ended up not going to the movies on Friday; it looked like Anthony Hopkins had an 8th place listing in the credits, and really, with a movie that’s only semi-appealing to begin with, why go see it when the one actor whose name you recognize may or may not be in it all that much? But we did take my mother (Mommie Dearest, affectionately–it used to be Sybil until she ran herself over with her car and my sister and I figured that was torture enough) out for a Happy Valentine’s dinner nonetheless to an Italian place by her. Café Calore. There was a small patch of ice near where she was getting into the truck afterwards and the conversation went like this:

Ariel: Be careful. Brian: Otherwise we’ll change the name of this place to Café Mommie Dearest. (Laughter, laughter, laughter) Sure, then we could hang wire hangers like chandeliers, hang pictures of Joan all over the place and serve meat that makes juice when you push on it. (Laughter, laughter, laughter)

So, Saturday we did laundry and I fixed the upstairs bathroom sink. I also fixed the leak underneath the kitchen sink. It had been leaking for a while but lately it was dripping from inside the cabinet onto the floor. I took the toilet apart to try the suggestion toilet guy on the phone said to try, but I still can’t get the bowl to fill all the way. Even though there’s a flow of water from the  doohickey (fill tube) at the connection where the  thingamajig (rubber tubing) should lead to fill the bowl, it won’t go through. The rubber tube isn’t blocked or anything, so who knows what the story is.  But, again, it flushes and that’s really what’s important and my underneath connections leak-proof. And that’s equally important. I thought also, albeit briefly, of taking care of all the huge broken trees on my property, but, when you’re trying to relax, who wants to be trudging through the snow? Not us, we just cooked our way through the weekend, food too delicious to describe, and healthy to boot.

We got our Uni-Lazies in the mail on Friday and yesterday was the day to try them out. You’ll see in the picture below they’re really like a pair of footie pajamas. I felt like I was putting on a bunny suit. At first, it felt like it wasn’t fitting properly in the thighs, like the material was pulling from behind, but after a while, that slight discomfort went away. I hung out in it all day. As you can see, Ariel modeled the hood on his and I modeled the trap door. And let me just assure you, the trap door…works!, as I tested after my morning coffee <wink>. And of course, the front fly works from top as well as the bottom for ease of having to relieve one’s self without really having to come out from “under the covers”. I know it looks huge on me, but it IS a large and they are purposely roomy for comfort. Definitely a cool investment and I think will be part of our camping gear for those unbearably cold summer nights in the mountains.

Speaking of large, the biggest news of the weekend is I lost another 3 pounds and Ariel stayed at his weight from last week. That makes 14 pounds for me in 4 weeks and 10 for Ariel. Can my 34 waist jeans be far behind?

You know, I did have another wackadoodle dream Saturday night, but I’ll save that for tomorrow.

This week on McGinty Monday, the family tree begins to grow.

230 + 213 = Time For Change

January 18, 2010

Whew, it’s Monday. Finally, I can take a break. All I have is work today. Friday night, we went out to dinner with Janet, a friend of mine since we were both kids, and Meg, who we know through her. The last time we did that was, oh, man, it has to be well over a year ago, which is a bad thing, but it was like we picked up the conversation from where we left off the last time and before we knew it, four hours had passed.

On Saturday morning, while I continued fighting with my computer and the web server for my main website, (a fruitless task until it was time to go out the night before) Ariel took down Christmas by himself until I was done (I was setting up the new chapter of McGinty, which premiers today) and then I helped as much as I could with the dismanteling until we had to go to his sister’s house for dinner, where we learned his niece is getting married and is also having a baby and due in August.

But yesterdy, we finished off Christmas, which, by the way, now gives us the right to make fun of all those who still have their decorations up. We did laundry, shopped for groceries, cleaned out some cabinets in the kitchen made chicken soup and ate a pizza.

Now for some big news. It’s been a while that we’ve been hemming and hawing about it, but we finally got ourselves up and out to start up our daily 4-mile walks again. Today also starts our renewed regime of sensible eating. We had our official weigh-ins on Saturday morning before watching the history of breakfast foods on The History Channel (which prompted me to go out to McDonald’s for an Egg McMuffin and stuff) and I clocked in at 230 pounds and Ariel at 213. I’m right back where I was 2 years ago when I went to the doctor for the first time in 20 years. It was after that initial visit I began a life-changing regiment that lost me 35 pounds. Unfortunately, it all went back on since then, but now it’s time to reverse that again. So prepare yourselves for weekly updates on our progress. And we’re going to reward ourselves with something, yet to be determined, for every 10 pounds we lose until we achieve our goals.

On that note, and without further ado, it’s time to unveil the long-awaited return of McGinty Monday.

In The Eye Of The Beholder

September 21, 2009

Okay, so we all know what Kanye West did at the Video Music Awards was a sh!tty thing to do and he’s a big fat turd for doing it, but Ariel raised a question the other night which kind of gave me pause, turning the tables in a way that I might in a certain situation.

Suppose someone got up and interrupted an acceptance speech claiming, say, Bette Midler had the best video of all time, how would I feel? Honestly, my first impulse was to say, go speech interrupter, and that’s only because I’m such a fan of Bette Midler. In that respect, there was probably a contingent of Kanye/Beyoncé fans who were secretly (or outwardly for that matter) going, Go Kanye! But my allowance that this could be the case is no way accepting what he did was okay and really, it would not be okay for someone to interrupt another in favor of Bette Midler, though, I must honestly say, I’d be secretly siding with that person. And for the record, I’d consider myself more a fan of Beyoncé than of Taylor Swift, but not as much of Beyoncé as of Bette Midler.

To that end, with a slightly different angle, we saw the movie “The Informant” this weekend. I was a little disappointed because the clips they show on television are all these hilarious things that would make one think this was going to be a spoofing comedy along the lines of “Airplane” and the like. Well, it wasn’t. It was based on a true story of a corporate embezzler who ended up getting caught and the main character was played by Matt Damon. It had some comedic moments, but not a side-splitter by any sense of the word. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a Matt Damon movie before and for me, it was just so-so a movie. Hold on, I’m getting to my point. A year or so ago, or whenever it was, when the movie “Zodiac” came out with Robert Downey, Jr., I saw it and even though he wasn’t in it that much, and I walked away with the same feeling of gratification (neither loved the movie or hated it) I remember feeling like “Zodiac” wasn’t so much a burden to watch. Not that “The Informant” was a burden, but it just seemed like it was rolling along at an unwavering keel, like any other biography.

So, where was I going with all this? I’m not even sure. Maybe here… I’m saying that everything is relative. For instance, the song I like on the radio ranks at number 94 and not number 1, the song the rest of the world likes. The dress a designer creates on Project Runway that I think is a knockout, the judges hate and vice versa. The way someone on So You Think You Can Dance pleases me beyond measure and the judges rip them to shreds because a foot wasn’t pointed in the right direction, the play I hated, the critics all raved about. Everything is relative…except that Kanye thing. Oh, and Miley Cyrus? A diva? Really?

And if that’s not perplexing enough, now you have to worry about mycobacterium avium. You know, the micro-organisms that grow inside your showerhead and come charging at you while you think you’re getting clean under a nice hot shower. Think again! These disease-causing little buggers can really do a number on a person whose immune systems are already compromised causing symptoms similar to TB which include fever, fatigue and weight loss. And the recent findings that these bacteria collect and grow in showerheads and can be easily aerosolized and inhaled. So clean and disinfect your showerheads or change them at least once a year. Coincidentally, I’ve been considering a new showerhead recently but purely for aesthetic purposes. Perhaps I better step up my considerations.

Well, it’s Monday, and you know what that means. Oh, and I think McGinty has something of a special announcement to make.

MCGINTY MONDAY