Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Pause that Refreshes

I took a break from my new evening pastime of bicycling, today. I might have continued had the cool front made it to the Northshore already. As it didn't, I figured the leg muscles could use a little down time. So, I went to the Home to visit with Mom.

Mom is fitting in much better than a lot of us thought she would. Maybe something clicked and even she realized that she's probably a lot safer where she's at. Still it doesn't make it any easier to see where she is. Even a really nice nursing home is still a nursing home!

It was a good visit though. She has gotten chummy with a couple of other ladies and with my visits I've become friendly with them as well. The other ladies had their daughters visiting the same time I was there. So we all sit at a table and get to know each other and talk about what the little trio of Moms were up to during the day.

It's kind of weird in a way, but I think we feel almost like our folks must of felt when visiting us kids at our schools or something. When you think of it, our parents made some friends over the years based on us. Our friends parents became friends with our parents because of us. Wow, this is just a little too zen like for me.

Anyway, I think Mom liked the visit, too!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Use It or Lose It

I've toyed with the idea of entering the PanMass Challenge. This is a bicycle ride from Sturbridge, Massachusetts to Provincetown, Cape Cod also in Massachusetts. The ride is a benefit to raise money for cancer research. It's a long ride and it takes two days.

I actually first thought of getting into this bike ride a few years ago while staying at my brother-in-law's place on Cape Cod. Back then when I stayed on the Cape, I always brought my bike. I would get up in the morning and ride 25 miles before breakfast. Then, maybe another ride later in the day with my nephews.

I haven't been on the bike in almost 4 years. Today I took a ride for less than an hour. I'm not going to make that PanMass Challenge this year.

If you used to do something a lot and then you don't do it for a long time well, you seem to lose some of the ability you might have had. Judging from today's ride it will take a while before I get much of that ability back.

But, this was just day one, damn it. And, I am determined that there will at least be a day two!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

We're Working Out the Kinks

Doing business and/or just screwing around on your computer can still get you into trouble. Especially if you go clicking on some of these pop up windows telling you you need updates. The HP can be running just fine but you see this window telling you you should be updating to a new security version of something or that you are using an obselete version of Adobe Reader, so you go ahead and click and your screwed!

So, now your stuck for two days trying to get your setting back to the way you had them. This is time you didn't set aside for this shit.

Computers really haven't made life any easier. Different maybe, but not any easier.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Whoa! Well, it certainly doesn't seem like a good time to be an incumbent. You might say people are fed up with politicians who don't seem to be getting anything done. Normally, I'm all for that kind of thing. If you've got a representative who ain't doing what you wanted her or him to do, and you've got a majority of people thinking your way, by all means get the bum out of office. That's democracy, baby!

It's no secret that things down in our capital seem to be stalemated. Way too much partisan politics. Sometimes a good housecleaning is just what is needed.

I just hope we don't throw the baby out with the bathwater!

Monday, May 17, 2010

I Promise I'll Quit after this Next Post

So, yeah, there's a whole lot of people on facebook. Just about everybody you know is on facebook. Betty White got a gig on Saturday Night Live due to the hype around a facebook campaign. So, yeah, the whole freakin' world is on facebook!

Well, now there's some facebook backlash going on. Is this a good thing that we're all kinda exposing ourselves out there, is this safe to be talking to all these people, was Betty White right - is this just a colossal waste of time? Here's the deal - it is what it is, gang! It's an internet based social network. Is it safe to be giving out information to total strangers? Hell no! Just like in real life, you should network with friends and friends of friends.

Do you think facebook is collecting information from all of us? Of course they are, folks! Do you think they are providing this network because they just want us all to be good friends? They want to make money and they can make money by selling information - your information. So, what it comes down to is if you want to play in the playground with your friends, you do have to give up something. But, you don't have to give away the store. Be smart with your personal information. Only put things on your page that your willing to have recorded in whatever database facebook designs.

Now, a lot of people think this has gone too far. Too much privacy has been taken away. So. now, a big push to quit facebook is on. May 31st is going to be "Quit facebook Day", kind of like an internet version of the National Smoke-Out Day. But, here's the kicker, there using facebook to get everyone on board for this thing. There's a Quit facebook Day page on facebook. You see, you have to be on facebook to become a fan of this page. A page that's telling you to get off facebook!

What happens, sometime later when people think facebook has become safer, how are they going to let everyone know if they all got off facebook. It's a strange new world!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Grass is always Greener

It has really been a fantastic spring weekend here on Boston's Northshore. The weather was great. People were out doing outside things all weekend. Saturday, I took advantage of the sunshine and started sprucing up the yard. It was great weather to do a little weeding, some transplanting, I even got the edger out and redefined a few borders around the yard.

So, after putting in a productive day in the yard, I also surrounded the garden in chicken wire to keep the critters away from the lettuce, I felt Sunday should be set aside for something restful. Sundays have been reserved recently as visiting days with my mother. Mom has set up residency in a nursing home since fracturing her hip last December. I visit a lot of other days, too! It's just that Sunday, well, it's the formal visit day. The weather being as nice as it was, I felt it would be great to get Mom out into the fresh air.

We decided to go for a little drive. I had no destination in mind, I just sort of drove through Cape Ann trying to keep the ocean in sight so my mother had something to look at. The funny thing is I had something to look at. Like I said, this was meant to be restful so I wasn't deep in thought or conversation, just a little light chatter. But what struck me was just how nice this area is.

Sometimes you travel and you see some pretty awesome stuff. And, you might even get comments from your significant other, "Honey, what would you think about living here?" when traveling. But, when it comes down to it, I really like where I'm at. I just need to go out and appreciate it more.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Just Desert?

In the past couple of dozen years, supermarket chains have done a lot to beef up there in-house bakery departments. Years ago, they sold only the prepackaged bread, pies and cakes. Nowadays, you can walk into a Stop & Shop or a Shaw's and get fresh bread, baked on the premises. Many stores are getting pretty damned good at it, too! The bakery section now has quite a selection of many types of breads, cakes, cookies and pies that you would only find in a specialty bake shop years ago.

My problem though, is with their packaging. Specifically the packaging for the pies and cakes. I'm sure you've seen these plastic boxes that the deserts come in today. Like a big clear plastic top hat. The round cover clicks into the base securing the cake within.

Why are these things necessary? Trying to get into these things is like trying to solve a Rubik's Cube. You have to start unclicking the base around the edge while holding one side open so it doesn't reclick on you. Not to mention how loud the foolish thing is when your trying to steal a slice of cheesecake late at night.

And, when you've finished your cake, disposing of the plastic is not an easy task. It doesn't break up or flatten easy. So, it always takes up way too much space in the recycle bin. And, hello, aren't we suppose to be getting away from this plastic packaging. Whatever happen to the nice cardboard package with the cellopane window, you could slide your pie in or out with hardly any sound I might add. The box could be easily flattened and added to the newspaper pile.

There should be a movement to end the use of these plastic coffins! I'll get rid of mine as soon as I can unsnap and release this last slice of caramel swirl cheesecake without waking anyone else in the house!

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Horses are on the Track

I know it's a little early to be getting too deep into the gubernatorial race here in the Bay State but Charlie Baker, the Republican nominee, has caught my ear. This guy is saying a lot of right things and he sounds intelligent when saying them.

Once the race starts getting heated up and the GOP starts shipping money in from out of state, Baker is going to look electable. Unfortunately, the national story is going to be that another Republican takes a big prize away from Massachusetts Dems if he wins. Deval Patrick will be running against Baker and the Scott Brown revolution. But, Baker actually sounds like he wants to put the state's fiscal house in order.

You know, the governor in Massachusetts doesn't have a whole lot of power, there's always too many Democrats on Beacon Hill to allow that. But, having a Republican in the corner office doesn't always turn out to be a bad thing. State government seemed to work a little smoothly when William Weld held the seat.

Baker worked for Weld and maybe that mixture of checks & balances might be what this state needs, again. The bad thing is, if Baker wins the national press is going to play it up as a movement. And, it could turn in to a movement with a life of its own. This is how Martha Coakly's blunder can cause a real problem!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Apparently in celebration of Mother's Day, Saturday Night Live had Betty White on as the guest host last night. I'm not a regular fan of SNL any more but I found myself up at 11:30 so I tuned in. It's no secret that SNL is not as funny as it used to be. They have had some ups and downs over the 35 year run and I would say the last few years goes into the books as one of the downs. Last night did nothing to improve that trend.

The whole premise of the show seemed to be, let's get Betty White to be as raunchy as we can. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind a raunchy joke or two but raunchy for raunchy sake is pretty old. Lenny Bruce was doing it 45 years ago and after a while, even that got lame. The thing with SNL though is it just ain't funny!

They had Betty in several MacGruber skits. She played MacGruber's grandmother and she would say things to embarass him. MacGruber is a take off on the MacGyver TV show. That show has been out of production for 18 years. The first time I saw a MacGruber skit, it took me a while to figure out what they were spoofing!

Another skit was designed to have Ms. White say the word lesbian several times. Once may have been humorous, by the 5th time, the skit had already died.

Yet another skit was the NPR Delicious Dish, a running skit that ran its course a long time ago. Anyway, they tried to get the same kind of milage they got from Alec Baldwin when he appeared in the skit a few years ago. The Baldwin Shweddy Balls routine was clever. With Betty they replaced balls with muffin and they all would continue to refer to Betty's muffin. It mustered a chuckle but it didn't work as well as Alec's balls.

Betty White is 88 years old. She has a long history in television. And, I think it is great that she is still working and poking fun at her own image. The Snicker's commercial first aired during the SuperBowl was great. I like the fact that she is ok with playing raunchy at her age. But, the stuff they wrote for her last night wasn't really raunchy, it was closer to garbage.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

There's no place like home, there's no place like home.

As great as it is to travel, Dorothy was right, its great to come home. Something about being able to crawl into your own bed or clean yourself up in your own shower, just gives you a real comfy feeling.

Of course, that feeling is short lived once you take a look at your lawn!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Today's World

There use to be this TV commercial for an airline with O.J. Simpson running through a terminal to catch a last minute flight. Remembering this, shows you how much the world has changed. For one thing, O.J. is doing his running in a prison exercise yard. And, also, you can forget about last minute access to an airplane.

It once was that you could show up just a few minutes before a flight. But, since 9/11 we can all forget about that. You've got to plan a couple of extra hours into your travel plans when flying these days.

And, as for O.J., how the hell his he going to find his wife's killer cooped up in the slammer like that. It's a different world!