Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mystery Writer

Watching old mysteries on the Internets (specifically, Ironside with Raymond Burr) has me thinking about how when I was a kid I always wanted to be a detective. I was always using deductive reasoning to figure things out--like where my missing sneaker was, or what my mom's motive was in showing up late to pick me up at school. There was always something heroic about the Columbo or Hawaii Five O detectives breaking down the most diabolical criminals. So I decided to do the next best thing--become a mystery writer.

My first mystery will start with a gruff detective--let's call him Jimmy Bombay--who breaks down murderers with his clever questioning and seemingly pointless stories. The master criminal will be a gentleman psychopath--maybe with a name like Nigel Chalmers, that sounds pretty diabolical--and of course there will be the angry commissioner who hates Bombay's unorthodox methods and high expense reports. Maybe I'll put a sneak preview on this blog!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wednesday Blues

Word is Chole's surgery went well, so there's a bit of good news to start the year off right. And now I've booked my flight for a ten day trip to FL, for some sunshine and relaxation--I figure my job search can proceed just as easily from there as it can from this place. It warmed up a bit in the past couple days (relatively speaking, that is) but still this isn't the best time to be up north. May as well travel when you can!

Last night attended a "Greendrinks" happy hour with Paula and caught up with some of the gang there--the thing had some sort of "eco" (ecological, though also economical, since it was a free food and drink event--very useful when you're on a tight budget) theme to it. From there, we met up with some trivia folk at Ri Ra, to try and re-start our reign of trivia terror. We put up a good show, but ultimately lost by a point. Well, it gives us something to fight for!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Get Well Soon Chole

Today our pal Nichole (or Chole as she likes to be called) is going to hospital for some routine surgery, and we're all pulling for her--soon she'll be back on the scene, eating chilli and drinking nog like the best of 'em. Here's to modern medicine!

It's times like this that one marvels at how far modern medicine has gone in recent years. Just a couple centuries ago, it was all leeches and drilling holes in the head to let out the evil spirits. And it was like that for centuries before that. Now, each year it seems like they come up with some brilliant new way to diagnose and treat various problems that were once deadly. So long as the incentives are still there to research and develop new technologies--and make them more widely available--we could someday see cancer as a nuisance rather than a deadly threat, and brain tumors as a minor blemish to be excised rather than a threat to life.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Snowy Days

Another fun filled weekend--the long bar crawl on Saturday covered a good part of it, and it provided a chance to catch up with the gang and visit some old haunts. In Maine in January, it's essential to have a reason to be out and about, otherwise it's too simple to sit indoors and read and drink and watch films. Me, I'm an outdoor person (in that I like to eat at outdoor cafes) and I enjoy varying weather (that varies between 70 and 85 degrees).

Next morning I plan to meet up for blunch with the Trees, and she says she might invite a few of her "peeps". One thing about Trees is that she never operates alone--like a lioness she's at her best in packs (or is it prides? Gotta watch more "Nature"). So I shouldn't have been too surprised to get to the blunch place and find out that we needed a table for 10! The only problem with large tables like that is (a) there's more odds of people showing up late and (b) you can't really converse well with everyone since the table is so long. Still, they all did finally show, and Trees began tearing apart the antelope carcass so they could all eat.

And then another snowfall and parking ban! This might be the fourth or fifth this year so far. Too bad you can't sell snow.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Winter

The experts say that winter officially began back in late December (the 21st, I think) but the experts clearly haven't been outside since it started getting cold in November. I like to think winter begins the minute it's too cold to sleep in your car, and ends when you can eat and drink outside again. Of course, this means winter varies based on where you live, but we already knew that--Florida doesn't have a winter, they have Light Summer, Severe Summer, and Autumn-ish. Most of the rest of the country has Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter. Maine has Winter, Winter, Oh, Geez Is It Still Winter, and Don't Blink Or You Might Miss What We Call Summer.

The cold isn't the worst part of winter for me, since you can always just bundle up (not very flattering, and look out hat-hair, but practical) and it just takes longer to warm up the car. It's the never-melting ice and snow that depresses me--you have to walk carefully and always feel extra cold under your feet.

Fortunately, by my calendar, we are nearing the mid-point of winter, as days are gradually getting longer and we're getting ever closer to the melting season. January is the worst, since December at least has holidays and February is at least short (and with more sunlight).

I'm thinking I might take another jaunt to Florida for a week or so soon, since I can just as easily do a job search from down there and at least get some outdoor exercise. Plus, they do shrimp right! Who doesn't like shrimp, I ask? Anyone who doesn't is a bit dodgy, if you ask me.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Gooood Eeevening

If you want to be productive with your time, avoid a website called since it contains a lot of tv shows and movies online and you can lose yourself catching up on them. My current culprit is the old Alfred Hitchcock Presents show, which are fun to watch since each one contains a brand new cast performing a brand new teleplay. I can't really think of a modern show which uses this sort of format (it was also popular with the old Twilight Zone, and I'm sure countless others, like Outer Limits, etc.). But the easy access to these shows online can eat away great stretches of your day.

Hitchcock was a hell of a director, bringing us great films like Rear Window, the Birds, Vertigo, and a bunch of others that could put Breakin' 2--Electric Boogaloo to shame. What a class act! With simple suspense, the killer in Psycho could keep you on edge far better than anything in Prom Night (both the remake and the horrible original) or My Bloody Valentine. Learn from the greats, modern directors!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Tax Fury

During these cold days it is probably best to find some indoor activities--one great pasttime is looking at old WKRP episodes on, and following the pratfalls and hijinks of Less Nessman, Venus Flytrap and Dr. Johnny Fever. Ah, they don't make 'em like they used to! These days it's all "CSI this" and "Who Wants to Marry that". Flimshaw! Bring back some classic half hour comedies, where everything is wrapped up in 24 minutes and done on a single set.

Of course, today I get a nasty letter from the state of New York that decided that I owe them upwards of $10,000 in taxes because I didn't file in 2003. Which is especially fascinating since I was a Virginia resident for that entire year, and had no New York income. If I want to challenge their assertion that I owe them this money, I need to prove that I was a resident of another state. New York state of course has not produced anything indicating that I was a New York resident--apparently their intuition alone is enough to charge me this delinquency and also penalties on top of that. What a brilliant concept! I think New York could go farther, and send a letter to every single U.S. resident asking them to pay a delinquency, or to prove otherwise that they were not a New York resident. And why shouldn't all 50 states do this? This way, every American every year can be forced to send verifications to the 49 states of which they are not a resident.

Lucky me--I get to deal with this new headache!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy 2009, Let's Hope

Back from Sarasota--and what a nice pleasant time it was! Sunny every day, temperature in the 70s and 80s, wading in a heated pool, with a view of the bay and palm trees all around, bonding with the fambly--it was a much needed recharging of my frozen batteries!

During the trip, we had some delicious home cooked meals, and some fancy rum drinks on the terrace. Kelly paid a visit and we had a chance to see the magazine she edits (Boca Magazine, based in Boca Raton) and catch up for a bit. We also went gator-watching, though very little gators to be seen! Curse you, gator preserve!

The result was a full rest, clearing my sinuses and thawing out thoroughly. I now have a nice tan and can pass for Cuban. Ole!

Last night we attended the Chris Trees New Year's Extravaganza, which was loads of good fun and laughs, though we didn't have the TV on so we missed the ball dropping. So technically, the new year didn't count and we are still in 2008.

Here's hoping for a terrific year, filled with adventure, a good new job, and health and happiness. Happy 2009!