Dec 28, 2006

Out With The Old, In With The New



I had my hair done yesterday at Tu Moda Spa. My stylist Ruth has helped me over the ledge many times in the past few months as I try to grow my hair into a sassy bob. Fortunately, my hair grows fast and furious and I was never really ready to jump. I've just experienced the typical frustration of having bangs hanging in my face while I'm trying to type or that strange flip-thing that the left side of my hair does which makes me look like I was trying to style my hair in a cool way and it just went horribly wrong.

As I sat down in her chair yesterday, she asked me what was bugging me today. (Can there be such a thing as a styling-therapist?) Was it the bangs? Was it the flip? Without hesitation I told her it was that heavy look my hair gets around 9am when I see it in the bathroom mirror for the first time at work. Maybe I'm using too much product? She began to probe a little deeper asking me what I'm using when I style my hair. Perhaps I'm using too much product or not the right one. Exactamundo! Not the right one.

I ask her the question hair stylists love hearing the most aside from "Just cut it all off!" : Can you recommend something?

Unlike most encounters with stylists, she casually motioned to 2 bottles sitting on her glass counter and said, "You can use these." She proceeded to work miracles with the sassy bob and showed me how to use both the liquid gel and firm-hold hair spray that I would later purchase from Aveda. She easily sold me on the hair spray by letting me touch her own hair to demonstrate how I could run my fingers through her locks even though she was loaded with the hair spray. It was magical and surreal.

Nestled cozily in a swanky Tu Moda Spa bag was my two new hair care products. I promised myself that this time things would be different. I would consistently use these products and not get frustrated that I couldn't recreate the look and feel of a professionally styled head of hair on my own. I needed to face the facts, it wasn't going to happen.

My mind began to wonder on the drive home. I started thinking about my bathroom closet with all the other hair care products I got suckered into buying in the past for other hopeful hair styles that never came to be:

And then it hit me. Throw them away. Make a fresh start for 2007. Out With The Old, In With The New! Wipe my hair slate clean. Put the new Aveda products in my top drawer along with the hair dryer and brush and be done with it.

So this morning I followed through on my promise to gather up the old relics of hair styles gone by, but unfortunately I found more stuff that I bought over-the-counter at CVS:

  • Rave Create and Control bodifying mousse .13 oz
  • Rave Create and Control bodifying gel spray .14 oz
  • Garnier Fructis Style XXL Volume weightless gel 6.8 oz
  • Aqua Net Professional All-Weather Hair Spray (20% more free!) 8.4 oz

Is there a Salvation Army or GoodWill for hair care products? It seems such a shame to just throw all this perfectly good stuff away. I mean, the Aqua Net is an easy toss. I probably had that sitting in my closet from the mid-80's, but the others are harder to put in the waste basket. I feel so wasteful.

But that's the thing about making New Year's Resolutions. You have to stand by them and remember your reasons for making them in the first place. For me, 2007 is all about simplifying my life. It's the price I have to pay to look beautiful in my new sassy bob.


Dec 14, 2006

I'm Bringing Sexy Back!!!





If I was polled on the street by Worcester Magazine asking me which cartoon character I thought I might resemble the most...well, in a heart-beat I would say Velma. She's got the glasses, is brainy and wears a rockin' orange turtle-neck. She also has that blunt hairstyle which frames her face nicely, too.

Unlike Velma, I'm not a solver of mysteries. I'm naive and will probably believe anything you tell me whereas Velma is suspicious of actions and words.

So when you see Velma, just remember that if I ever had the opportunity to dive into the animated world, you'd find me hanging out with a big dopey Great Dane in a super tricked out stoner van saving the world one mystery at a time.

Pacman Fever


I was always one of those fortunate kids growing up that received really great presents from my parents. I never wanted for anything, but obviously there were a few toys that my parents didn't allow me to have that I always wanted: Easy-Bake Oven (cursed root of all my domestic woes in the modern-day kitchen), a Big Wheel (Mom thought I would roll out onto our dead-end dirt private street and get instantly terminated by a speeding car) and not letting me go see Duran Duran at The Worcester Centrum on their Seven & The Ragged Tiger tour when I was 13 years old. She had read in the local newspaper that all that banging people did on the seats was going to cause the structure to come crashing to the ground. (Still haven't forgiven my mother for not letting me see my favorite Super Group of the 80's)

But sometimes I got exactly what I wanted, too. As was the case with just having to own the first video game console that was all the rage in early 1980-The Atari 2600.

I remember my dad driving us down to RH White's at Lincoln Plaza to buy me the gaming system. The lower level of the store had a housewares section, a candy counter and other domestic things such as the Atari 2600 locked up in a glass case. Go figure. I want to guess that my dad paid about $200 for the Atari. But the fact that he also bought me Pac-Man for $50 specifically sticks out in my mind because it was like a windfall for me. I had just won the kid lottery and it wasn't even Christmas or my birthday.

My dad drove a trailer for most of his life and earned really good money at the time for being a long-distance driver. He could afford really expensive things like a tricked-out Harley Davidson, a huge heated waterbed, tons of toys for me and the ability to give my mom the credit card so we could go down to Lincoln Plaza shopping pretty much on a daily basis.

But still--he bought me my first gaming system. I loved Pac-Man it was the only video game I turned out being really good at. I loved the chomping sound as I moved my little yellow friend deftly through a stress-filled maze loaded with colored ghosts trying to break my manic stride of eating as many dots as possible all the while hoping to make it to the next level.

I was all about the score. I remember that was how I could tell if I was gaining skills maneuvering around the maze. Pac-Man brought me hours of fun when I was a pre-teen and I'll always remember it was my Dad who gave me one of the coolest gifts ever.

In later years, I was able to get the Pac-Man video game in various formats for other systems like Sega Genesis, but it was never the same as when I was 13 years old. The magic was long gone. But fortunately the memories remain that at one time in my life, I was the coolest kid in my neighborhood because my dad spent a fortune buying me an Atari 2600.

Dec 3, 2006

Gloria J. Silva

My mother died on Wednesday night around 9:30pm. I was able to be by her bedside holding her hand when it happened. I'll spare the personal details of my experiences these past few months and share with you some of the things that made me who I am today because of the love and care of my mother:

  • I always remember this one thing that my mom told me: No matter how bad you feel, there is always someone doing much worse.
  • She loved music and listened to records all the time when I was growing up. Her favorite singer was Billy Joel, but she loved so many artists. Here are just a few that I remember: Al Stewart, The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Stevie Nicks, Fleetwood Mac, UB40, Juice Newton, Tina Turner, Chris Isaak, The soundtrack to the Super Fly movie, The Rolling Stones and just so many others I can't even list. I am a music lover because of my mom.
  • She always told everyone she met what a wonderful daughter I was and how much she loved me. I was her world. She lived for me. She was proud of me.
  • Mom loved babies so much. Her eyes would just light up whenever we were in a store shopping and she saw children. Unfortunately, our attempt at pregnancy failed in March of 2005, but mom would have been a wonderful grandmother. Knowing she won't see her grandchild breaks me, but I know that she's with me in spirit.
  • Avon was a big pleasure for her during her six year stay in two nursing homes. She loved to load her hands up with as many rings that her fingers could hold and most times double-stacked her rings because she loved how they looked on her hands. I became an Avon lady this past July so she could have a reliable Avon contact and thanks to her, I'm doing pretty good at it.
  • Mom didn't have a very good relationship with her family, but I always knew how much she loved her mother despite her difficult childhood. But she loved her mother-in-law Rose Silva dearly and thought of her as her own mother. They fought a lot as two women living in a house are prone to do, but they did love and care for each other very much. She took the death of my grandmother very hard in 1988 when I was just 18 years old.
  • I always used to tease my mother about her tri-fecta of shopping: shoes, bras and underwear. No matter what department store we went to (Wal-Mart especially), she would drive me nuts because she could never quite find the right bra that fit or be happy with having just a few pairs of shoes. Unfortunately, I'm much like my mother. I have certain things that fascinate me and I just can't get enough of: salad dressings, vacuums, purses and the latest newly packaged foods in the grocery store.
  • Many people say that my mother and I look alike. It used to always irritate me because I wanted to think that my features resembled my father. I didn't see this before, but now that I look at myself in the mirror, I'm glad that I do actually resemble her.
  • I have never seen someone in my own personal life suffer with so much pain on a daily basis. I'm a wimp when it comes to being sick. At the slight awakening of a headache, I'm popping Tylenol. But she was the master of sucking it up and handling pain. I'm so glad that she never ended up in a wheel chair.
  • I remember all our walks to Lincoln Plaza when I was little. She used to always say how she bought me all this stuff, but never anything for her self. It made me feel guilty. But as I'm older, I realize that buying things for me and taking care of me was the biggest pleasure in her life aside from being with my dad.
I am going to miss my mother something fierce. Both she and my dad died in the month of November. It will always be a month of sadness for me.

But this Christmas I'm going to do my best not to be sad. I'm going to decorate my new tinsel Christmas Tree and remember all the crazy times when I was little when she used to transform the house. Christmas is my favorite holiday and my parents gave me wonderful memories. But I can guarantee you that when I'm hanging the ornaments on the tree this year, I'll be thinking of how my mother would go through the process of decorating and tearing down the Christmas tree at least four times until she got it perfect. It should come as no surprise that I'm a bit of a perfectionist and I have her to thank for that as well.

I'm not ashamed to say that she did the best she could as a mother with many problems and I was one lucky kid to have a mother so devoted to me.

I am the best thing about my mother's life.

Oct 14, 2006

May the Spork Be With You!



Did you ever get cursed with using one of these little suckers when you were in school? Wanna bring some fun memories back to your friends this Christmas? If so, I'd love to suggest you purchase this Titanium Spork from ThinkGeek.com.

Last Christmas, I bought my friend Marty a t-shirt with a spork on it that I found on CafePress.com. You pretty much can find anything on that website, but just the thought of Marty sporting a spork shirt tickled me something fierce.

I'm wondering why we don't see Sporks more often? This gets me to wanting to research where the Spork came from. Who invented this plastic wonder?

Surprisingly the Spork has been around since Medieval times. You can read all about it by clicking here. Knowing this, I'm rethinking my Western Civilization term paper on Body Snatching During the Enlightenment. I've already startled Professor Gould with my choice of topic so maybe I'll further stun him by asking him a Spork question to stump him at the end of class one night.

Regardless, I'm all about finding cool and unique stuff you can buy on the web-especially during the holidays. This is one gift that certainly would qualify for an office gag (pardon the pun) during a Yankee Swap and falls just under ten bucks.

So go ahead--it's hip to be square. Buy a spork for any number of friends on your holiday gift list. They could use it in a hospital or school cafeteria, the local Burger King, backpacking or prison.

Sep 19, 2006

Up to 4oz of Pleasure courtesy of TSA

My pal Jillian is planning an extended weekend trip to England in October. She is plagued with horrifying dietary restrictions as she must exist on a gluten-free diet. England is far more advanced with labeling and product availability so when she takes her annual trips to England, she's usually coming back toting 5 suitcases stuffed with food. Some people bring back perfumes, Jillian brings back flour.

But with the recent restrictions on what you can bring onto airplanes these days, she doesn't hold out much hope on being able to stock her kitchen cabinets on her next trip. Which leads me to what she recently discovered while surfing around the TSA website to get specifics about their restrictions.

Under "Important Information for Our Travelers with Disabilities and Medical Conditions" the following is stated: Essential non-prescription liquid and gel medications up to 4 oz per container (including saline solution, eye care products, and KY jelly)

I assume the KY Jelly would be for person(s) with hidden disabilities.....Or...for those amorous individuals who like to play mile-high club in the restroom?

Jun 23, 2006

Butter Boy


Butter Boy is a great invention. You place a 1/2 stick of butter into him and it makes it easier to slather the butter onto your ear of corn. Plus it's kinda cute! Available to purchase at PlumParty.com.

Happy 2nd Day of Summer, y'all!

Wave N'Dry Dispenser

Friday found me sailing through Route 9 traffic and gliding up The Mountain to begin my workday. Little did I know what excitement awaited me as I entered our fourth floor ladies room to dispense my 6am cup of coffee.

I rounded the corner to see a dolly of large corrugated boxes stacked about six high. I noticed the box showed a drawing of paper towels and the worker was discussing to his helper how many he had left to go." Odd. However, I was pleased to see the bright neon yellow "Closed for Cleaning" caution stick wasn't lodged into the door jam of the ladies room as it always seems to be exactly at the moment when I most need to use the restroom.

I maneuveredd around the boxes and entered the ladies room. To my surprise, I immediately noticed the two paper towel dispensers had been replaced!! I instinctly knew these must be automated paper towel dispensers. Everything in our bathroom is automated.

I could not wait to wash my hands. I almost washed my hands first - I was just that eager to play with the brand-spanking new dispenser. I liken it to that feeling I get sometimes when I go to The Outback and desperately want to have the Chocolate Thunder From Downunder desert before my Alice Springs Chicken because I know deep down inside that I'll never make it to the desert.

Talk about easy peasy. I waved my bacteria-laden paws under the AutoSoap dispenser, lathered them up and placed them under the automated faucet to wash them. I took three small steps to the left and put my hands reverently under our newly installed Amsan Renown Wave N' Dry automated paper towel dispenser. [Model RENO05157] A military-strict pre-measured 11" paper towel dispensed itself for my use and I ripped it off the machine gleefully. (And I must admit that I was always self-conscious about how many tugs I did with the paper towels. Did people think I was pulling down too much paper? Why wasn't I using the automated blowing machine? Am I responsible for cluttering Mother Earth with my waste?)

Eventually the excitement of the automated paper towel dispenser will wear off and I know I'll find myself griping about the stiffness of the paper and that annoying grinding sound the machine makes, but right now it's pretty freakin' cool.

Today I'm basking in the glory of no longer having to tightly grasp the paper towel from the old James River model and tug down to get the paper towel while the water from my hands drips onto the floor collecting in a clear puddle thus creating a safety hazard. Now there is no longer any chance pinching or twisting my wrist trying to free that annoying paper-towel backup that lately has been occurring more often than I care to count. This ADA Title III compliant dispenser requires less than five pounds of force to get the paper towel AND it's Green Seal certified. Could that be why the paper towels feel so stiff? Is the machine using recycled-paper?

Regardless, I'm all about toiletry improvements and today I'm drinking more water than usual just to break in our new Wave N'Dry dispenser.

Jun 15, 2006

I wanna icarta


iPods are such useful little music players. The beauty of having an iPod is you can listen to your music privately so no one can make fun of your tastes in Olivia Newton-John or The Dead Kennedys. You can hook up attachments to take photos, use the iPod as a voice recorder and even hook up an iPod to your sneakers. But now you can even use your iPod in the bathroom.

Ladies and Gentlemen: May I introduce you to the icarta?

It's a docking station, it's a toilet roll holder and it has speakers.

Life just doesn't get any better than this.

Jun 5, 2006

Weather Anchor Winner: Todd Gross!!




My boy Todd Gross just won the category of On-Camera Talent Weather Anchor for the 29th Boston/New England Emmy® Awards.

Ever since his sudden departure from WHDH Channel 7 news, there's been a void in my heart for this amazing weatherman.

I miss him. But I'm completely thrilled that he's won yet another award.

Jun 4, 2006

Twinkie Cookbook


Here's a tip: If you're ever having a bad day and you can't seem to pull yourself out of it, say the word 'Twinkie' five times in a row and I guarantee you a smile.

Let's try it together: Twinkie-Twinkie-Twinkie-Twinkie-Twinkie
There.
Feel better?

Now if you really want to sustain the smile, you should go out an purchase The Twinkies Cookbook. The name alone should inspire the kid in you. Forget peanut butter and jelly, forget the fluff and don't worry about the mess. This cookbook will change your life.

Check out page 10 which gets the party started by providing a recipe for Twinkie Sushi. It's very imaginative. I was going to make these for one of the guys that I work with for his birthday because he loves all things sushi, but one of the ingredients kind of scared me: 4 pieces green fruit leather, sliced into 1-inch wide strips. Hmmm. Would a fruit roll-up count as fruit leather? What the heck is fruit leather? But I digress...

I've never eaten a fried Twinkie or for that matter a chocolate Twinkie. But this book gives you all kinds of recipes including smoothies you can make with Twinkies and even Twinkie Lasagna. Garfield would pass out if he got a load of this gooey goodness.

I'm no cook, but I can tell you that sitting on my kitchen counter right now is a box of Twinkies. After thumbing through the cookbook, Spencer hit the local Target and bought us a box. I can't remember the last time a box of any Hostess product was actually in my house. (Somehow just having a box of Twinkies announces to the world that you've given up any hope of healthy eating. )

Contrary to popular belief, Twinkies don't last forever. The book says the shelf life is 25 days. I suspect I've had some food groups last longer than that in my fridge since I rarely cook. But I'm the sort of girl who gets real inspired by beautiful cookbook pictures and lists of common ingredients that tease me into believing that even I could cook. We'll see.

20 days and counting....

Jun 2, 2006

Leisure Suite Larry


There's this great website called Go Fug Yourself that I regularly visit on my newsfeeds. It's a website depicting sharp commentary on celebrity fashion. It's an addictive website because as an ordinary person, you simply cannot look away.

Mostly looking at the snapshots of these helpless, fashion clueless filthy rich celebrities just fosters my day dreaming. I think about needing a life makeover in a weekend. It's too easy to pass the time thinking about what I could transform myself into if I had half their loot. And the interest to do it.

Most days I'm lucky to remember put a dollop of mousse in my hair before heading out the door. And who am I kidding? I don't care about the hair product, I just like making pert little chemical foam puddles in my palm and then washing it off because it makes me feel clean again.

So today's posting started off by saying the following about my boy Robert Downey, Jr:

It would seem that Robert Downey Jr. has discovered a new passion in life: being a walking representation of the haplessly skeevy, hopelessly cheesy video-game character Leisure Suit Larry.

Seriously. Check out the suit and don't tell me you didn't laugh when you got the connection.

I highly recommend you make this website part of your guilty online pleasure surfing.

May 29, 2006

Shave Everywhere


A friend from work forwarded this website to me and at least a half hour was wasted laughing hysterically while watching the videos about this new ground-breaking personal grooming system. We thought this couldn't possibly be a real website. It had to be a spoof. But it isn't a spoof and you can actually get to the website from Phillps/Norelco by doing some careful digging into their site.

No worries-here's how to do it: Click Here and then click on the Philips Norelco BodyGroom product that is located to the right of the website. The actor they have portraying the suave sophisticated male is priceless.

I highly recommend you look at all the videos - especially The Music Video!! Here is a sampling of the lyrics:

I was a lonely hairy man / my life was second rate / and on a scale from 1 to 10 my naked body was a 4.8/ it's so hard to be a Don Juan when you got a chinchilla wrapped around your *bleep* / I tried scissors / I tried waxing / but that pain is in the past now I'm just relaxing / with the phillips body groom the convenient simple and gentle way / to make your genitals bloom/ now I've got one more optical inch upon my *bleep* research has shown I have the best set of *bleep* on the block....


May 27, 2006

Sounds Like...

I was on vacation this week and purposefully took a break from my mother. We didn't get together this past Tuesday, but guilt got the better of me and I picked her up Friday night for an evening out. I figured she could use an airing from being in the nursing home all week.

She reminded me that her wedding anniversary was coming up (May 31st) and told me, "You don't have to take me out to dinner if you don't want to." When my father died suddenly in 1998, I stopped counting their wedding anniversary because it's not like he's here to celebrate it anymore. Why must I be so practical?

When I picked her up, she surprisingly had three choices to provide for restaurants she might like to visit for dinner: Pub 99, Barbers Crossing in Sterling or The Webster House. Considering we hadn't been to The Webster House in quite sometime, I decided this was the best choice.

When we arrived around 8pm, the parking lot was pretty lean and I was happily able to get the closest handicap parking spot right near the door. I was very pleased. When we were seated, I noticed there was a man over in the corner near our booth playing an acoustic set. My mother's back was to him so she couldn't see him. As he was singing "Starry, Starry Night", my mother leaned forward and asked me, "Is he gay? He sounds gay." Unbelievable. I don't quite know how a man singing could register on my mother's gaydar, but there was the question.

He continued to sing and during a particular high warble my mother again leaned forward and said to me, "He sounds like a cat in heat." Oh, dear. I was mortified that she said it so loudly, but more so because the woman sitting at the booth next to us obviously knew the singer and was enjoying the show. I hoped she hadn't heard my mother. If she had heard her, she had enough tact to ignore us and not be openly offended by my mother's proclamation.

I tried to engage my mother in light conversation so she wouldn't focus on the singer, but eventually nothing I was saying mattered because the singer was now performing Billy Joel's "New York State of Mind" which is one of my mother's favorite songs. "It doesn't sound anything like him. Whose he kidding?" my mother blustered at me while sipping her coffee. "It's not supposed to sound exact. It's his interpretation of the song." I countered. "Well, he sucks." she replied matter-of-factly and there was nothing more for me to say.

The singer ended his set, walked over to hug a warm hello to the lady sitting in the next booth and I managed to make warm eye contact with him saying, "Very nice set." My mother just glared at me.

And this little experience at The Webster House is why taking my mother out of the nursing home oftentimes turns into an occasion that I need a break from. Too bad vacations are so infrequent.

Apr 5, 2006

Flicker Picker


I am always getting gifts at work from my friend Michelle. She is my official Bose benefactor.

Here's the latest little gadget that she clued me in on. Really--sometimes I feel like I came from the backwoods of someplace weird. I never know about these neat little things.

This is a citrus peeler. It cost $.75 from The Pampered Chef and this little plastic device lets me perfectly slice an orange like I'm a citrus surgeon. I love it.

Feb 23, 2006

Neapolitan Dynamite


Opened up my email today and received word from my sister-in-law Katie that Ben & Jerry's just announced a new flavor in honor of one of my favorite movies of all time-Napoleon Dynamite. Dare I pump my fist in the air and exclaim with great enthusiasm, "SWEET!"

If you're wondering what they mixed together it's Cherry Garcia with Chocolate Fudge Brownie. But seriously--who cares what it is? It's freakin' Napoleon Dynamite ice cream.

But wait--there's more new flavors to rave about and you all know how excited I get over new stuff.

They also have Vermonty Python (coffee liqueur ice cream with a chocolate cookie crumb swirl and fudge cows) and Turtle Soup (vanilla ice cream with fudge & caramel cashews with a caramel swirl).

Both Katie and I previously signed up for Chunk Mail from Ben & Jerry's which is basically a monthly newsletter that gives you advance notice that new flavors are coming. You might as well give up on the diet because there's no way any ice cream lover can resist their inventive genius. Click Here if you'd like to sign up. Oh! They send you a coupon for a free pint of ice cream, too. Can you say crack addict or is it just guerilla marketing?

So that's my excitement for the day. I'll be roaming the frozen food section looking for my fix.

Feb 17, 2006

2006 Toy Fair


I keep a list of things-just like Earl-that need to be done to make my life better.

This list is mostly things to do and places to go within the year--but there has been one thing that has been nagging me year after year since the inception of this list: Attending The Toy Fair in New York City.

But the beauty of the internet is I can live vicariously t
hrough others who actually get up off their asses and do things that are important to them--such as going to New York City on February 14th to see all the cool new toys coming out soon.

There's a great link in this post to PC Magazine's slideshow of some of the coolest and most interesting toys featured in this years show. I reviewed each slide with delight and excitement while harboring the familiar feelings of guilt that perhaps next year I'll figure out how to make it there.

Regardless--my two favorite entries this year are Hasbro's Butterscotch Pony and the Sakar Sound Pal:

Butterscotch Hasbro's life-size My Furreal Friends Pony.
Butterscotch is a marvelous robotic toy. She responds to touch, noise, and light, and she moves in an amazingly realistic way. Coming in the fall for $299. Hmmm--I like the fuzzy carrot and the golden mane...but she reminds me of how far we've come since The Sharper Image "Alive" Chimpanzee. (see prior post)

Sakar Sound Pal. Sakar International showed a dizzying array of kid versions of grownup tech toys. It also had Sound Pals, plush backpack-style carrying cases for iPods with built-in speakers.

I think you actually have to be in the Toy business to actually get a ticket since the whole point of the show is to bring together toy vendors to showcase their new products and score some BIG purchase orders for the Christmas season.

I'll figure something out. And maybe this time next year you'll be able to read my first-hand account rather than hearing me whine about not going.

The list continues...

Feb 11, 2006

So Long Arrested Development



Last night was the 3rd and final Season of Arrested Development. It's the little show that could...but unfortunately didn't because it got cancelled. (The 3rd season was supposed to be 22 episodes, but FOX shaved it down to 13.)


I suppose after watching my favorite clip montage of eldest son Gob doing his chicken dance (or what his father George Bluth Sr would call his "...tweety bird dance") you're not surprised to see why it got cancelled. But it was a critically acclaimed show winning multiple awards including an Emmy in 2005 for Best Writing in a Comedy Series, but it had the kiss of death because I liked it very much. It always happens. Shows I'm usually crazy about just don't make it in Prime Time. Here are a few notable examples"

There are some rumors that another network may pick it up like ABC, Showtime or Comedy Central, but I'll believe it when I see it.

It's hard trying to describe why I loved Arrested Development so much. Maybe it was the pure silliness of the family or just the sheer delight to see David Cross (one of my favorite comedians of all time) every week playing Tobias F√ľnke, the sexually confused budding actor who wasn't attracted to his beautiful wife, but had a man-crush on the actor Carl Weathers.

If you haven't seen Arrested Development, I suggest you rent Season 1 & 2 on Netflix and settle in for hours of guilty pleasure.




Jan 29, 2006

Book Review: The Ha-Ha by Dave King


Imagine being a single, middle-aged man who can neither write nor speak but is perfectly average in every other aspect of his life.

The reader is introduced to Howard Kapostash as he assumes responsibility of looking after nine-year old Ryan, son of his ex-girlfriend Sylvia who is being sent away against her will by her sister into a drug rehab program for an undetermined length of time. The sister takes care of the cat and Howard takes care of the boy who is not his son.

Howard can’t communicate due to a severe head injury that occurred sixteen days into his tour of Vietnam. He returns home to his mother and father a broken young man who can’t communicate and is unwilling to try even though the mere fact that he survived such an injury is considered a miracle.

The book is told from Howard’s narrative and it’s an amazing story that unfolds to the reader because you learn in flashbacks why Howard never really moved forward when he returned from the war and how he lived in a self-imposed solitary existence with his parents until each of them passed away thus forcing Howard to take on borders in his parent’s house (now his home) to help pay the bills. There’s a young Vietnamese-American woman named Laurel who makes gourmet soups for a living and two housepainters named Nit and Nat (so named because Howard finds bother irritating and never makes an effort to learn their real names).

The sheer beauty of this book is the way Howard and Ryan learn to interact with one another and how the introduction of this boy completely changes the dynamic of all the tenants living in Howard’s house.

But the frustration of the book is the reader clearly sees how manipulative and self-centered Sylvia is from the first pages of the story. We can’t imagine how such a good man like Howard could still be carrying a torch for this woman who continually insults him and takes advantage of his feelings to get him to do things for her that she doesn’t deserve—especially since she entrusts the care of her son to him and the care of her cat to her sister.

The big epiphany for me in reading this novel was how it felt to be unable to express myself just like Howard throughout the story. I wanted to reach through the pages and shout to Howard, “Can’t you see that this can only end badly? She’s going to break your heart! She is not the person you fell in love with at sixteen. She’s only using you. Be careful!”

The satisfaction of completing The Ha-Ha is that you survive the journey right alongside Howard. The author Dave King does an impressive job at showing the dark side of Howard as he learns to deal with just what his injury has cost him in both his present life and the life he could have had were it not for being sent to Vietnam.

In the end, this book is about relationships. It’s about how one person can come into your life and completely change the way you exist. It’s a love story between a fatherless boy and the man that could have been such a good father to him had things been different all those years ago. It’s a story about a man finally waking up to his life and learning that there are always possibilities around the corner if you’re looking for them.

I highly recommend reading The Ha-Ha. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in 2005 and you’ll walk away feeling a new appreciation of just how important words can be—in any form.

Jan 28, 2006

For My Protection

Provided by Management for your protection.


I find myself drinking much more water these days in an effort to get healthier and much leaner. A consequence of this lifestyle change is many, many daily trips to the bathroom during the day at work. I've got some time to think...

You'll probably feel this is T.M.I. (too much information), but I have to admit that I'm not one of those fussy women concerned about germs in public restrooms. I reason there is no need to take precautionary measures such as using toilet seat liners because I would never use a restroom that looked so sketchy that I needed to use accessories to protect myself from germs. My place of business is clean and sanitary and the patrons of the restroom on the floor where I work all seem perfectly fine to me.

I just don't like toilet seat liners. To me they're just another opportunity for irritation because inevitably someone forgets to flush them. Why do I constantly find myself walking into a stall with one of those liners haphazardly askew on the seat calling out for my attention: Flush Me! Flush Me! Now that's when I think "Ewwww" and move on to the next unoccupied stall. I flat out refuse to use them.

But when you sit on the toilet in a public restroom, the toilet liner dispenser is mounted smack center on the door in your direct line of vision. So today at work I noticed a little sign printed on the dispenser: Provided by Management for your protection.


Huh?
I have previously written about how impressed I am with automatically flushing toilets and water faucets with auto-dispensing soft soap. That little phrase about management providing toilet seat liners for my protection just kind of made me laugh this afternoon.

I'm thinking my employer may wish to consider protecting my sense of dignity instead. I would like to propose automating this whole toilet-seat liner business entirely because I've seen the future AND it works.


This is a picture of something called a Sani-Seat. I first experienced it when I went to an Anne Murray concert at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut at the end of November. (Stop laughing! Snow Bird is classic) It's the coolest little automated device because you're forced to use the liner. Upon rising up off the seat, the Sani-Seat immediately replaces the used liner with a fresh one. Simple. No thought involved by you. Just zip up or pull up and go.


This automated process eliminates stray used liners forgotten on the toilet to be flushed. There's no mess on the floor because such a paper thin liner blew off and landed on the floor when someone swung open the door to leave the stall. I like to reason this way because I'd hate to think there are some people simply too lazy to pick up the liner off the seat and dispose of it properly so they leave it there for the maintenance worker to remove. Why should they have to pick up these orphaned liners? It's bad enough that they have to do all the other unmentionable maintenance involved in keeping a women's bathroom spring fresh. They shouldn't have to flush for us, too!

So that's my bathroom rant of the day. I propose auto-dispensing toilet seat lining for all corporate offices.

Next on my agenda is figuring out that little lock-box that is built into the wall above the toilet of the first stall in the bathroom at work. Why only the first stall? Why are the toilet paper holders locked? Who randomly puts a bottle of Suave moisturizer in the ladies bathroom? I've got too many questions and too much time to think.

I better lay off the bottled water.

Jan 27, 2006

Is It Live or Memorex?


It seems animatronic Chimpanzee's are all the post-holiday rage. It all began with the original Chimp sold by Sharper Image.

My co-worker Andrew absolutely loved downloading the demonstration video showing both sight and sound features of this modern marvel all the way down to life-like chin whiskers. If he ever needed to interrupt the droning silence of work or lighten the mood of the office--he'd play the Chimp video and crank the volume. It always guaranteed a laugh.

As we approach February, I thought it might be a good time to check the clearance section of the Sharper Image website thinking I could get this toy for a great price--like fifty bucks. No such luck. "Alive" Chimpanzee has left the building. However, it's still being sold on Ebay at the princely price of $160.00 which is too rich for my non-anthropoid blood.

Never one to give up on a good hunt, I've discovered that my Chimpanzee has already evolved---into a much cheesier and paler version of the original. WowWee is about to release their own chimp and boy is he ugly. The facial details are so bad that he looks like a Chimpanzee with a crack cocaine addiction. Where's the supple skin? Where are the beautifully detailed glass-like eyes that shine brightly and make you feel guilty for looking away? I encourage you to compare both Chimps to discover what I already know--there is simply no comparison!

I guess the weird thing about this Chimpanzee head is I can't see who would want something like this other than office folks like myself who simply enjoy a manic burst of laughter now and then. But what really fascinates me is how someone invented this toy in the first place. Were they going through the attic one day looking at their old toys and came across one of those Barbie Stylin' Heads from the 70's and thought, "Hmmm. What if we used a monkey instead of a human?"

But I guess in an age where Bratz are the new Barbie's and technology is invading every aspect of our lives, it's no wonder that companies are trying to catch the latest trend in the toy industry. What's surprising is that I still care...

Jan 22, 2006

Supply Planner's FAVORITE TV Commercial



I am a Supply Planner at Bose in Framingham. Most of my friends have no idea what I do and when I attempt to tell them in my own words that I "...translate the Sales and Operations Production Plan into a time phased supply plan while executing schedules in a manner that factors capacity constraints with working capital goals while lowering the product cost through efficient production so that product is available, on time, to meet Customer needs, fabrication needs, or internal needs..." they get all glassy-eyed and translate my job into this: Kim works for that company that makes that expensive Wave radio advertised alot in Parade magazine.

So this is why I LOVE the Nextel commercial shown here. In a nutshell, this is my job minus all the spreadsheets and analytical process. I make sure the products are available for the customers. Everytime this commercial comes on, I have to rewind it on the DVR and watch it at least two times. It is brilliant.

Jan 12, 2006

Two Buck Chuck


Tomorrow is indeed a special day for me, but it's not because it's my 36th birthday. My co-workers are taking me out to lunch to celebrate my birthday at Ruby Tuesdays and we're topping it off with a Two Buck Chuck run to Trader Joe's.

'Course they are quickly finding out that I must have been living in a cave all these years because I didn't have a clue as to what they were talking about. I know they picked the restaurant because there was a Trader Joe's next to it. They patiently explained to me that Charles Shaw wine is exclusively sold at Trader Joe's and the wine tastes really, really good. Some of them were just baffled that I had never heard of a Two Buck Chuck.

Have you?

Now I'm no drinker. If you opened up my cabinet, you'd see a big bottle of Midori and a newly acquired bottle of Anisette (Thank You Katie!!) along with a large bottle of Parrot Bay rum. That's about it. I don't like beer or champagne. I stick to what I know and wine is too complicated. I get weary of bottles that I can't just screw off or flip off with a bottle opener. Cork Screw? Forget it. I don't even think I own one of 'em. So I'm going to have to add one of those to my shopping cart tomorrow.

My co-workers tell me that it's not uncommon to just go into Trader Joe's and buy a whole case for $35.99. That's a boat load of wine for someone like me who gets a buzz-on from a wine cooler. I'm the kind of drinker that looks for the rebates on a 4-pack of Bartle and James....pathetic, I know.

In fact, to further drive home their suspicion that I've lived in a cave all these 36 years--did you know that a Roy Roger was the 'boy' version of a Shirley Temple? Seriously...who knew? I tried to defend myself by telling them that being an only child didn't allow for many social outings with boys who would want the masculine version of my ginger ale with grenadine juice.

But here's the thing. I made a mini-resolution that this would be the year for me to try new things and imagine possibilities...I think this Two Buck Chuck run is a great way for me to start off my 36th year.

Next on the agenda...my first hangover from a cheap bottle of Chuck.

Jan 2, 2006

He's MY Weatherman for LIFE!


At some point in December, Channel 7 (WHDH) decided to get rid of the amazing Todd Gross. He was their chief meteorolgist after old Harvey Leonard moved onto to greener pastures with Dickie Albert. I'm not sure why Todd was asked to leave, but regardless it was a huge mistake in my opinion.

The thing that I love about Todd (and I can call him that because I have an autographed picture of the man) is how he always was working astronomy into his forecasts. It wasn't enough for him to report on the next full moon--he encouraged his viewers to reach for the stars. He made it exciting to want to see a planet on a clear night rather than just looking up into the sky. (Did you know he was the guy who coined the phrase 'The Perfect Storm'? Yes, the very same Perfect Storm that inspired the Mark Wahlberg movie. OK-it was more George Clooney, but everyone who knows me knows I love my Marky Mark)

But here's the great news! He's back on his own terms with an evolving weather website for all of us living in New England. I implore you to tell your friends, family and co-workers about ToddGross.com.

If you're hard up like me and really want to support the guy, you can even join the Todd Gross Support Group hosted on Yahoo. I'm already a member! Not a big surprise there...

I've also subscribed to his RSS Feed so his daily forecasts will be posted on My Yahoo. Screw that annoying little chirpy Weatherbug application that will only clog up your computer. Say good-bye to any other weather websites out there. I don't know where the man is getting his weather models to do the forecasts, but he's doing it and I'm supporting his endeavors.

Might I also suggest you provide some viewer feedback via email to WHDH telling them what a HUGE mistake they made in letting him go? If enough crazies like me and you send emails, maybe we can get him back on the air. (Remember-The Family Guy came back)

You can also email Todd. Just remember that he might not be able to answer your email as it appears he's getting inundated with support which is fantastic news. Plus he's still involved in lots of technical weather discussions with people that are really, really into meteorology.

Just knowing that Todd's got my back is already making this a great 2006.