Sunday, September 26

Weekend smiles.

Anne came home with these velour tracksuit style flowers yesterday. No idea what they are, but they look and feel bizarre.

The squirrels that are running sprints on the roof. Time to hide your nuts fellas.

The groovy new white desk, credenza and book case we bought for our home office (half a point taken off because it is self-assembly)

The word credenza. Also while we are in that ball-park. The word cadenza - always a sign that you were a great musician.

Imaging our old cat Isobelle in our new house. She'd have sensory overload in this place.

Buying baby gifts in Bird by Bird in Inman Square.

The curry from Friday night that I can still taste Sunday morning.

The Iced Coffee from 1369 and the cavalcade of hipster twats wasting time in there.

People watching in Whole Foods. Funky, weird, cool, nerdy, super hot, stereotypical, straight, gay, somewhere in-between, 350lb brothers, tiny Asians, symmetrical tattoos, modern parents and their little Tarquins, mini-shorts, puffy skirts, jump suits.

People watching in Shaws. Lottery players, big latinas, skin complaints, single parents and shitty kids, crazy old broads, pasty chicks, Community College guys, Zip-car renters, sweatpants.

A full day of Fantasy Football.

This one's for my parents - they wanted to see our motorized blind in the bedroom!

Friday, September 17

That'll Do Nicely

I have a personal AmEx Card. I have a business AmEx Card. The rewards were being combined. I asked for them to be split.

There. I managed to write that in less than 25 words.

After 15 minutes on the phone AmEx said they had worked out what I wanted.

Sadly they moved 250,000 Business points into my personal account. Good for me. Bad for my business colleagues.

Just did another 15 on the phone. Again AmEx say it is all sorted out. We'll see.

Reminded me of the this spoof ad from the 80s.

I'm 2 lite beers away from this

So we're off to Cleveland this weekend to see Anne's family. The Browns are at home so I suggested we go see the game.

It's not like the Browns are the Patriots, consequently I would expect to be able to afford tickets somewhere close to the 50 yard line. For those not in the know, this is where the middle-class people sit.

My nephew called and announced he had snagged us 2 tickets. The big news? We're in the die-hard crazy bastard section behind the end zone.

In Cleveland this is called the Dawg Pound.

It should be fun, and who knows after a couple of cold domestic beers maybe I'll be 'that' guy, who dons the Dawg mask and takes his shirt off to reveal a big 'C' written across his chest.

Just in case I'll Sharpie pen a 'B' onto Anne's chest before the game.

I've nothing to say about this guy except "Wow".

Friday, September 10


A second cousin to the more well known 'rapist', the arboriculturalist is someone who comes round your house, checks out your foliage, and then charges you an exorbitant price to 'give it a trim'.

We have a single tree with branches that are getting close to the roof. 3 swishes of the chainsaw and a flick of the chipper switch and you're good to go.

And then a few trees (notice I use the generic term 'tree', I have no clue what they are) at the back of our yard. The neighbor actually likes the privacy - she does not care to see my deck-based Tai Chi morning ritual. So in other words they need a little pruning.

The missus got a quote last week that came in at $900.

I was sure they saw her as some kind of Mac-using, liberal, chickee-dee Cambridge socialite with cash to burn, so I got another estimate this morning.

My guy has quoted $1,450. Maybe it's time to buy a big ladder.

Monday, September 6

As American as it gets

My wife, aka the eternal optimist, was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. Subsequently she has a pathological love for the Cleveland Browns football team.

As an alien to these shores it also meant that I became a fan by proxy. Sure, I don't have the optimistic disease, but I want them to win. In fact I'm predicting a massive 6-10 season for them this year.

Browns quarterbacks are like British red buses. You wait an age for one to come along, then 2 come at once, and they're both shit.

This year is no different. They've signed 2 old slappers, but then Anne told me about the 3rd string guy. He's the new kid on the block.

His name is Colt McCoy. Is there anything more Americansounding than Colt Fucking McCoy?

This guy must shit BBQ.

He went to college in Texas and he's a Christian! Tell me he wears one of those big silly hats and has a belt buckle the size of a fist with his name brand-ironed into it.

Expect to see him in October when the management team have given up on the old seasoned pros.

Things I learned yesterday

We took a road trip out to the other side of Massachusetts yesterday.

Along the way we saw a sign for the Big E which kicks off in a few weeks time. Love that Big E!

As we drove up the I-91 past Easthampton we had the following conversation.

Anne: It's probably beautiful around here, but I cannot see from the highway.

Me: I'm sure it is. Lloyd Cole lives here without any Commotion. That's an 80s joke folks.

Our first stop was LGBT fave Northampton. What an awesome town. We did our usual slow wander around the town, and walked into the quasi-famous Faces store, where Anne had this zinger of a convo.

Cash Register Woman: How you doing today?
Anne: I'm great thanks. And you?
CRW: Oh, I'm doing super. Thanks for asking!

You see. Customer Service that makes me smile. I bought some offensive greetings cards and Anne found a shrug ... you know .. a mini cardigan.

Next we stopped at Sylvester's for some coffee and a ginormous cookie. Sylvester's is located in the former home of Sylvester Graham, inventor of the Graham Cracker. Their bathroom facilities, while limited, have the most beautiful faucets I ever saw.

Leaving Sylvester's we crossed the road illegally, and were then stalked by a cop car for a few minutes. Is jay-walking the most chicken-shit ticket a cop can hand out?

Here's a list of notable residents of Northampton. And no, they're not all gay women.

Next we took a jaunt over to Amherst. During the opening week of college, the town is full of chino-clad parents and their 'new college sweatshirt' kids. So it was fun to watch the parents' faces as a shirtless banjo-playing stoner busked with his Caucasian girlfriend, who unsuccessfully tried to play one of those Chinese Harp things.

We also saw this. I had no idea what it was, but using this new thing called the internet I now know. If you're interested. Click here.

Reminds me of the joke where the YMCA volunteers are collecting for a new swimming pool, and someone gives them a cup of water.

If you find yourself approaching Amherst from Northampton, take the Rt116 turn to get to the college. It's quicker. I appreciate this factoid is tepid at best, but the blog post is named 'Things I learned yesterday'. It's not like this is paid content is it?

Next stop Sherburne Falls. Anne had no recollection of being here only 9 years ago. Don't do drugs kids.

Sherburne Falls has (at least) 2 things going for it. A Bridge of Flowers and a river and dam combo with huge glacial stone formations. I took a picture of each!!

On our way back East we stopped at a restaurant called 'The Wagon Wheel'. Sadly they did not sell these. Instead we had a BLT and Curly Fries. Also noticed a disproportionate amount of Chinese food buffet stops along the Mohawk trail. Odd.

Back on Rt2 we kicked on some tunes and sang and laughed our way back to Cambridge.

Top day!

Sunday, September 5

Double Bummer

It's human nature to try to connect yourself to a tragedy in some morbid Six-Degrees of Kevin Bacon way.

Everyone seems to have a 9/11 story, in the same way every old hippie was at Woodstock or the Isle of Wight.

So I was bummed out to see 2 New Zealand stories in the news this weekend. Christchurch was hit by an earthquake, and over at Fox Glacier, a plane crash killed 9, which is the worst crash in NZ aviation history.

So yes, I was recently in both places. It is just one of the many coincidences in life that Alanis Morissette should have sung about.

The glacier crash is the saddest. Fox Glacier and Franz Josef have created a wonderful little cottage industry flying people up into the mountains, and the tiny populations of these towns seem to understand what quality of life means.

Saturday, September 4

Swings and Roundabouts

Maybe I just don't spot average Customer Service, but I sure as hell seem to remember service at the ends of the spectrum.

Small things matter, like the pretty young woman at the Macy's counter who called Anne "Miss" the other day. She could have charged double and Anne would have swiped her credit card anyhow.

Compare that against the coffee shop 5 minutes later, and the pain in the ass young Russian chick who after learning my name for the order, then did that annoying trait of using my name as if we were life long friends.

Would you like our Saturday Blend Richard? How about a bagel Richard? I'll just be 2 minutes making your crapacinnos Richard. Would you like a Border Coffee Card Richard?

How about "Would you stop calling me Richard, and shuffle your ass over to the JavaFuckChipKulaShakerTwatiato Machine and make me 2 cups of a disappointing concoction for $9?"

Last week Best Buy managed to delight and bother. My TV was slightly on the fritz, so I popped in and they were all rainbows and unicorns, printing out receipts, organizing a Geek, and giving me a reach around for taking out the extended warranty.

Cut to a few days later and it turns out Geek Squad should be called Passive Aggressive Douche Squad. "How do you know your HDMI is out if you're viewing everything in Component?" Maybe we're not using HDMI because it doesn't fucking work?

Finally ...

... Oh I can't be bothered to write about Chase. I realized I've probably spent more time on the phone with Chase this year than I have with my sister.

After 10 years I've dumped them for another card company who have already bugged me with their perky activation assistant.

Am I so hard to please?

Friday, September 3

Animal Magic

Anne called me at work last week with some earth-shattering news.

"There's a bunny rabbit in our backyard." I got home as quick as I could.

Minutes went to hours on our deck as we watched the little fella just nestle down in the middle of our lawn (which did admittedly need a mow).

Finally I said to Anne, "Go see if you can pick him up".

So failure on the petting level, but the rabbit did return to the center of our lawn.

Later as I prepared to go to bed, I had to take one last look.

Flashlight activated, I ran the beam over the yard, prison movie style. There he was, big black eye looking back at me.

Unfortunately my Colditz interrogation freaked him out, and off he hopped.

Wednesday, September 1

Best Fail Ever

While I have never met anyone named Hugh Jass, or Heywood Jablome, they pale in comparison to this name.

I can only hope this is a fake, but the FAIL blog are running a best of, and they seem pretty sure of it's authenticity.

I think they call that a validated source in journalism.