Tuesday, March 31, 2009


I probably should have blogged about this when it was fresher in my mind.
Lucky you (the reader) will probably be treated to a shorter blog post this way.

So it was called "Cezanne and Beyond". It was an exhibit at the Philadelphia Art Museum. I went with my ma (you can read her account of the event on her blog here). We both enjoy art and it was a nice day.
The drive over could have been a nightmare, we learned just before leaving there was some sort of Greek Parade going down the main street that takes you to the Museum. I had my little gps device with me, but I'm not 100% comfortable trusting that device, nor do I know the city well enough to go off the beaten paths. Luckily though, we missed any sort of traffic and got there in time. In fact, we got there about 40 minutes early... which as it turns out was a good thing, because it was super crowded!
Oh, and yes... the art...
I really enjoyed the exhibit. I learned that while I don't necessarily like everything Cezanne did, I did really enjoy a lot of his work. There was one that stood out above the others as one of my favorites. Unfortunately, In my rush to leave the house to avoid the parade, I forgot to bring a notpad and pencil to take any notes. Google to the rescue... it was called "The Bridge at Maincy". The above photo does not do the colors justice though. (I found the photo here on this website.)
Now... here's the thing that really surprised me... since there were other artists shown in this exhibit, I got to see some other "masters" works. To my surprise I ended up really impressed with another artists work other than Cezanne... Mondrian! Sure, like most of you, I've seen the white checkerboards with splashes of red, yellow and blue. I thought that was all that Mondrian did! Well, I was wrong. Some of the paintings I saw were also geometrical in nature, but the colors and designs really impressed me! As a result, after the exhibit, while perusing the gift shop, I picked up a small book about Mondrian and not Cezanne (no offense Paul).
Ok, I think I said something about keeping this short...
Nutshell, a great day, appreciating fine art and learning other ways to see my world.
And yes... I might just pick up my brush again and try a watercolor soon.

PS> I decided to join the museum for a one year membership. I HOPE I will be able to take advantage of this membership, and head over there on a regular basis, and explore what else the museum has to offer.

PS2> I also learned that there is an artist that I really did NOT like... Henri Matisse (wiki).
A few others that I DID enjoy: Georges Braque, Jasper Johns, Alberto Giacometti, Charles Demuth, Ellsworth Kelly (some of kelly's stuff I liked).

Saturday, March 28, 2009


I opened a piece of 'junk mail' today. It was from the DCCC or Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. It had a letter from Nancy Pelosi in it (I'm sure she did not write this letter). It had a little folded piece of paper in it with lines on the inside where you can write a message to President Obama. The slip of paper that asks you for a monetary 'donation' (It's not a charity) starts with the line:
"I've written a message of hope to President Obama. Please deliver it to him for me...."

This turns my stomach in so many ways.
But the biggest...
The letter gives the 'illusion' that IF I were to donate this money, that my card will make it right to the desk of President Obama. It's a borderline bribe. Give us money, and we'll see that your message gets through.
The 'gall' to call this little folded piece of paper a "Hope card" to play off of people's ignorance is also disturbing.
DCCC - I doubt I will ever contribute anything to your organisation due to this letter.
Shame on you.


Friday, March 27, 2009

where is everyone?

This is just a random thought I had tonight.
I've had similar thoughts before, so it's not new or anything, but every now and then it strikes me.
So tonight, I was driving home from work. It's a drive I've made almost every week morning and every weeknight through a semi-small town. It has a main street that has maybe 5 businesses on it, the rest is about 8-10 blocks of houses.
Going too work, There is a section of main street that is off the main highway, and the speed limit is 35 mph. I'd say it's about average. It even goes past the local high school (there's a sign that says if kids are around then the speed limit is 25mph.) But 35 is "comfortable. Sure, on few mornings when I'm running late, I might push it up to 40, but I usually try to go the speed limit.
Now almost half way from the highway, to my office there is a creek with a little bridge over it. This (I think?) marks the township line... but more importantly, it marks a 10mph speed drop. It goes from 35 down to 25. It's only about 4-5 blocks, but it's SO tedious to go 25! Especially when I'm running late in the morning.
Tonight, I was driving home, and there's that little sign of relief - thank goodness, I'm outta that 25mph zone and can go back up to 35. I pondered... WHY? is it 25mph for that part of town, and 35mph for this part of town? I thought... usually every township picks 25 in a "residential" area. you know in case there are kids around... and that's when it hit me. I've been driving this same route day after day, and for the most part, I never see ANYONE outside. Sure, there is the occasional jogger, or woman walking her dog, or occasionally some teens, but trust me they are few and far between.
It always amazes me how a "small town" can feel so deserted. We live in our houses (and apartments) and might occasionally go outside when we have to (yard work, take the garbage out, etc,) but for the most part, I have no idea who lives in the neighborhood where I work. It's kinda creepy.
Now... In all fairness, I personally am a stay at home person. So, 'maybe' if I got out more, I'd see more, but I don't think so. People have somehow moved from a social interaction to preferring to stay home.
Related...(or not)... I recently rented a series of documentaries about the Great Depression. Actually, I'm not sure how to describe the dvd. It's called "Our Daily Bread" (imdb here). It was a movie filmed in 1934 and was about a couple who got an opportunity to run a farm. The husband was out of work for a length of time (As were many others since it was the great depression.) so an uncle offered them the farm to live on, and IF they could make a go of it they were welcome to stay there. Without giving away too much of the plot, the farm attracts many others to help out. maybe 50 or more famlies and couples from all walks of life. The movie shows how they build a community. I couldn't help to think... if this were today... there is NO way this idea would have worked. People don't trust one another, they don't want to help one another, the don't want to work for a common goal or common good. It seems to be every person for themselves.

Well, I've wandered down this trail in my story, and now I don't know where it's lead me, nor do I know where to go from here. Sorry to have taken you down this path as well.
I guess what I'm saying is... go outside.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Oh boy... here we go....
I HOPE this will not be a big headache, but I'm mentally preparing myself for a nightmare.

I noticed on Friday, I got an important looking envelope from a local hospital. Huh, It's prob just some marketing mail or something. Well, last night, I opened it and almost fell off my chair. It was a BILL for $719.00!!! What?! I look at it again, yep, it's in my name, and I look at the reason. It just says that I visited a Dr. Mazz (not his real name) for an Emergency Room visit back in November of 2008. Now you've probably guessed by now the problem here.... I was never at that hospital!
I can't call their billing department until Monday to get things straightened out, so now I have another full day of worrying what all this will mean. Of course I'm HOPING it's some weird clerical error, and after one phone call it will be resolved. But I am also afraid of the worst too. Medical identity theft. I googled that last night, and of course was met with several horror stories of folks who went through this. So again, I'm trying not to worry about it. But it's tough.
My fear is what other information this "alternate me" has about me. Did he just pull my name and number from a phone book? Does he have my social sec number? What other info does he have (if any?!)
I can't comprehend how this can happen. My friends and family will tell you that I'm SO careful about protecting my personal information. To the point of being a little over-protective. (whenever I use my credit card at a store, I try to keep my finger over the numbers in case there is a camera above).

Well, I hope to post a follow up here on Monday that is good news.

verizon dsl

Don't worry, I'll keep this one short.

Verizon DSL:
About a week ago or maybe two, I had a problem with my DSL losing the connection and SLOW connect speeds. After giving them 1-2 days to try and straighten things out on their end, I finally had to call. After dealing with the tech support, who went through all the pre-programed questions (did you turn the computer off and on), they said the problem was probably outside and that they'd send a tech out on Monday. Well, Monday morning at 7:02, I got a computer voice telling me the problem was fixed. Good.
Until this last Fri night. ugh. here we go again - i thought. After watching the blinking green light for about an hour, praying to the DSL gods, I finally gave up, and was preparing to call the tech support again and get totally frustrated again. When for some odd reason, I thought... ya know what... let me just unplug my phone jack and see if that does anything. I pulled the plug, blew in the jack (yeah, that's no better than kicking a car tire when the engine stops - i know). I plugged it back in, when much to my surprise... IT WORKED! I had a nice fast connection!
So... in the spirit of being fair, I've grumbled in the past about Verizon's lack of tech support common sense, and this time... it WAS my inside line. So apologies to you Verizon.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


odd... my last post would not actually post. Got a strange error from google blogspot...
whatever that means!?

I'm curious if this post goes through.

Hmm, that was strange. I changed some underscores "_" to dashes "-" and it went through with no errors. kooky.

Ninja Kid!

This was a little event that happened to me and I just had to blog about it. It's several days later, and I woke up this morning and one of my first thoughts was 'Yikes! I forgot to post that to my blog!' - so here it is.

Monday nights I usually go to Wegmans for my grocery shopping.
I had made my rounds through the store and was about the head to the checkout when I remembered I had forgotten to pick up some soy milk. So I head back to the refrigerated aisle.
The soy milk is in the very last door furthest from the check out. There is a main aisle in between... kinda like this: o-------a --------x Where "o" is the checkout, the lines represent the fridges and the x represents the soy milk.
The "a" represents an end cap freezer where they sell the bags of ice cubes like for parties.

I grab my milk and start heading for the front of the store for check out.
I almost get to the aisle, when out of the Freezer (a), This little kid springs out and jumps in the middle of the aisle! Lands rather un-gracefully but not quite a fall.
He looks up at me and flashes this huge mischievous grin from ear to ear.
I just had to laugh/smile back at him :)
He then paused, looked both ways, and ran towards the front of the store (to catch up with his mother who I later saw in the checkout line).

I think I smiled all the way home on this one.
Sure it was prob a tad dangerous, sure the mother should have paid more attention to her kid and should have known that 1) he wasn't with her as she wasn't in the fridge aisle anymore and 2) was standing on bags of ice inside of a freezer.
But I couldn't help but laugh.
As someone who might have gotten into some mischievious trouble myself as a young lad, I could related to this boy's spirit :)

I will never approach an ice cube freezer again now without expecting some 10 year old kid to jump out!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Apartment complex

A day in the life post...
Note: I will admit... I'm cheap. It sounds fancier if I say "frugal" but I'm ok with "cheap". I hope SOMEDAY to own a house. Until that day comes, I can't see spending a lot of money to rent a nicer apartment. So while it's technically my own fault for continuing to re-sign my lease each year at this crappy apartment complex, I can't seem to justify paying a higher price, and then to just have other "issues". I'm sure any and every apartment complex has it's own individual problems. You put any group of people together to live, and you are bound to have issues.
That said, I thought I'd copy an email I wrote this morning to see how my day started off...

Well, this is how my day has gone so far...
[almost ready to hangup]
"Hello, This is verizon's automated internet service. We're alerting you that we fixed the problem."
me: what time is it?!
Well, maybe I can get back to sleep.
close eyes...
close eyes...
Boy, I really have to go to the bathroom, maybe I'll do that, and then I'll be able to get to sleep...
thats better...
close eyes...
close eyes...
close eyes...
[WOOSH!!!! - Downstairs neighbor turning on shower]
close eyes...
close eyes...
[ Pbbbbb. Vrmbbbb.... outside a car with either a hole in the muffler, or a "hotrod" muffler starts up. Revs engine a few times, then takes off. This is the third time I've noticed this car in the early morning (yes, my window is closed).
close eyes...
close eyes...
close eyes...
close eyes...
close eyes...
close eyes...
close eyes...
close eyes...
Again, this is the 5th or 6th time I've been aware of this dog. I start counting the seconds in my head between dog barks...
8, 9, 15, 16, 7, 9, 10, 15, etc...
I start to ponder...
What kind of dog barks at such odd intervals?! What is happening in that apartment that causes this dog to just bark at 10 second intervals every morning?
close eyes...
close eyes...
OPEN eyes... ugh... its starting to get light out now...
close eyes...
close eyes...
heres the muffled talking of downstairs neighbors boyfriend talking...
close eyes...
close eyes...
Starts to ponder... What if I built a foam wall, would that help eliminate all these outdoor sounds?
What's gonna happen when the warmer weather gets here, and I want to sleep with the window open?!
I really should get that crack in the window fixed, but that will mean dealing with the cruddy maintenance people.
Which reminds me, WHEN are they gonna finish painting the flimsy rotting wooden fence outside in the parking lot?! All winter it's remained half painted, like they literally ran out of paint and said, "oh well, that's good enough, maybe no one will notice"
AND... should I REALLY have to be the one to call and complain that there is a large broken tree branch hanging precariously above the parked cars? If that thing falls, it's surely gonna cause some damage. Doesn't anyone who works here see that it's broken?!
eyes wide open now...
eyes wide open now...
eyes wide open now...
eyes wide open now...
eyes wide open now...
Well, this is pointless laying here, I should get up and check my DSL to see if it's working ok.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Winter: What makes it cold out?

Ok, this is gonna sound strange, but I'm not buying the whole explanation of what makes winter cold. Yep, this is explained in probably 4th grade science, but I've been thinking about it lately and I'm just not buying it.
Ok, first the myth...
Some people believe that winter is caused when the earth is further away from the sun. Bzzz. Wrong. In actuality, The earth is closer (only by a little relatively speaking) during the (northern hemisphere's) winter months.
So the next logical question... then why is it always colder in the winter time?
The answer, is due to the earth's tilt. The Earth is tilted 23.44 degrees. Also called the "Axial Tilt" (wikipedia here). And yes, there is a slight wobble, but we won't get into that now.
So, When we are in the summer months, the earth's top (north) is tilted towards the sun, which means it will have MORE sunlight during the daytime, and thus be warmer. Vice Versa, in the southern hemisphere, the earth is tilted away from the sun, so it has shorter days, and less sunlight - thus colder.
Summer and Winter also has to do with the angle of the sunlight hitting the earth too. During the winter, the light hits the earth at a larger angle, whereas in the summer it hits it more face on or directly. You can see some charts and illustrations on this wiki page here.
Ok, I understand all that.
But here's what I don't quite get...
Why the "extreme" temperature shifts from day to day? So for the most part, the temps can be averaged out to lets say "10-15 degrees" (I'm guesstimating). In other words, one day it might be 35º the next it could be 42º or even 28º (a 15º difference).
But as an example here, last weekend (Sat) it was around 50 degrees. I had to crack my window to get some fresh air as I was driving. Then on Sunday night, we got hit with about 8-10 inches of snow, and the temps were in the low 20's! That's a 30º difference in a matter of a day or so!
Our earth's axis sure didn't change during that time! So what caused that temp shift so drastically? To top it off, This coming Saturday, we're supposed to be back up into the 60's!
So, I want to know why or what causes these temperature shifts?
Is it simply the wind patterns? The Jet Stream? A passing rain storm/snow storm? What kind of wind pattern can shift a patch of cold air that far from the north down to the south in a matter of a few hours? Wouldn't you think it would be a fierce windstorm?
It seems the more drastic temp changes are around spring and fall, ie: if it's summer time, and a 95º day, chances are that the next day will be around 95º too, and not 75º. So why is it more windy (if that's the answer) during the spring and fall?
If anyone can point to a 4th grader who knows this answer, please do. OR better yet a web link that expains this, I'd appreciate it :)
(I tried googling it briefly, but most of the hits came up with temperature shifts due to global warming.) I'm talking about Temp shifts from day to day.