Archive for December, 2008

25 Days of Thanks- Day 15

December 16, 2008

Thankful- St. Arnulf of Metz, The Patron Saint of Brewing

The family line of the Spain’s is filled with interesting people.  The most recent is a man by the name of Charles Fort.  My Great Great Uncle Charlie was an interesting guy according to my grandmother.  Before she passed away, she told me stories about him including the fact that’s there’s a whole society dedicated to his literary and scientific efforts.  In addition, Fortean phenomena is a term used to describe many supernatural and extraterrestrial incidents that happen around us.  Some even credit him with starting the world’s interest in the supernatural and extraterrestrial parts of our world.
My grandmother would also mention every now and again, a person known as Mr. X and the letters and phone calls they exchanged about Fort.  She was one of the few living decedents of Fort and enjoyed answering his questions about her past interactions with him.  
One day I got an excited phone call from my grandma asking me to come over and take a look at the latest letter.  Dated June 2, 2005, Mr. X had spent a good amount of time examining the ancestry of Charles.  The farthest confirmed ancestor that he could find was a man by the name of Arnulf of Metz.
Canonized a Saint in 800, he apparently had two miracles involving beer, one was ending the plague in his town by encouraging people to drink beer instead of water by dipping his crucifix in the beer.  Another miracle involved beer being produced from a brewery even after it had been burned to the ground.  
So to St. Arnulf of Metz, thanks for watching over the beer and brewers out there including Budweiser who brews thier beer with not-Jeff-friendly rice.  Thanks also for your decendents including Charles the Hammer (great name), some guy named Charlemagne, Anna and Edward Fuller (who traveled on the Mayflower and arrived at Plymouth Rock), Charles Fort, and most of all, my grandmother who maybe through some Fortean force could read this blog post, know that I and many of us miss her, and hope she is doing well up in Heaven.  
A big thanks also goes out to Mr. X for his work.  My family has gotten a lot of enjoyment out of your efforts.  
More info on Charles Fort, click here
More info on St. Arnold, this site had some good information.

25 Days of Thanks- Day 14

December 15, 2008

Thankful- Christmas Carols

Two things are true:
  • I sing in the car.  I have been caught.  My face has turned very red.
  • I like Christmas music
In theory, that’s really 4 things but the point is I thoroughly enjoy holiday music. 
Top 4:
  1. Little Drummer Boy/ Peace on Earth- Bing Crosby & David Bowie
  2. 12 Pains of Christmas- No idea who sings it but I chuckle every time I hear it
  3. Baby It’s Cold Outside- Dean Martin
  4. Carol of the Bells- Manheim Steamroller
It’s a quick list that’ll probably change but for right now, those are the most played according to my IPod.
Not So Thankful

I’ve got nothing tonight.  
I’m going to take my good mood and head off to bed.  Hope you all had a good weekend!

25 Days of Thanks- Day 13

December 13, 2008

Thankful- Student Groups I Work With

My job is pretty awesome.  I work with some great co-workers (more on them later) and some great students.  Here are some of the student groups that I interact with:
  • CAs/PAs– I’m thankful for the student staff that I currently work with.  The Community Advocates and Peer Advocate are on the front line in the apartment area connecting with residents, helping them through issues, and resolving conflicts.  
  • The RAs (both past and present)- Most of my career has been spent with Resident Assistants.  I’m also thankful for the hard work y’all do.
  • Orientation Staff- Recently re-connected with a lot of you on facebook.
  • Hall Council- Thanks to those from Pratt, NYU, and Brockport
  • BLT- Oh, Business Leaders of Tomorrow.  What can I say, it was a good ride and I’m happy to hear some rumblings about bringing it back.
  • Off Campus and Apartment Student Association (OCASA)- We need to spend a few seconds on OCASA.  Today was their winter retreat and I was really happy with how it went.  Remember that each of you accomplishing a small goal means OCASA will continue to be a presence in big ways.  Thanks for your hard work.  I’ll be waiting for our bowling rematch Jackie.  One pin…
  • And to all the other students I’ve worked with, thanks for all you’ve done.
Not So Thankful- Not having a washer and dryer

I’d give up the following things for a washer and dryer:
  • My kitchen
  • My left pinky toe- I kick with my right foot so I could still become a kicker in the NFL
  • My Xbox
  • Coca-Cola for the length of the washer and dryer’s stay
Doing laundry has to get done.  It’s not something I neglect.  However, after doing laundry in a residence hall laundry room for 9 years, I’m getting sick of having to make sure I haven’t dropped a sock or that a pair of underwear is hanging over the side of the basket as I make my way back to my apartment.  
I’m not thankful for the anxiety that comes right before getting to the laundry room and wondering if they’ll be enough washers available.  Then another round hits as you meet eyes with other people around the room who are trying to time their loads with available dryers.  When my loads get done my world goes blank and I purely focus on figuring out how to get things from the washer to dryer.  It’s like that scene in Old School where Will Farrell snaps at the debate and shifts into a completely different person.  Somehow when the washer gets done, the clothes get to the dryers and I suddenly gain consciousness.
And no, I am not one of those people who takes other people’s stuff out of the dryer.  I don’t care if it’s cold when I open the door meaning it’s probably been there for a few hours.  I’m just not touching other people’s stuff.  I wouldn’t want my stuff taken out, why would I want to do that to someone else.  And all I would need is for a student to walk in just as I’m taking someone else’s unmentionables out.  

25 Days of Thanks- Day 12

December 13, 2008

Thankful- Electric Generators/ Kindness of Neighbors

Say Hi to the Spain household in Wynantskill.
Wynantskill just happened to be square in the path of the ice storm that rolled through the East Coast.  There have been a few over the years and my parents have become pretty good at handling them, especially when the power is out.  It usually involves breaking out the electric generator, hooking it up to the sump pump and refrigerator.  But this year, that generator just happened to be 3 hours away getting repaired.  Whoops!
Thanks to the kindness of our neighbors, my dad was able to hook into the house next door to get a little power so that our basement doesn’t flood.  I don’t think he reads the blog, but in the best way I know how to right now, I just wanted to say thanks!
Not So Thankful– Those blow up Christmas Lawn Decorations

My future wife needs to be prepared for a few things including my allergies, drums, my excellent cooking abilities, and my desire to have the best looking house on the street around Christmas time.  
But we need to define “best looking”.  “Best looking” is not tons of crap on the front yard.  “Best looking” is not the brightest house on the street.
“Best looking” is a house that has an appropriate amount of lights, organized in a nice fashion, and looks classy.  
One thing that will never, ever make it to the front lawn are those blow up lawn decorations.  I’m sorry but all that goes through my head is me gathering a full head of steam and just tackling the things to the ground.  I know they’ll get right back up but they just bug the heck out of me.  I have no idea where this tackling desire comes from.  Maybe some vicious experience from a past life involving a blow up lawn ornament.  
But you people with those on your front lawn, watch out.  If you see a random person tackling your blow up Grinch, just let him go.  What harm could he do?  

25 Days of Thanks- Day 11

December 11, 2008

Thankful- Electronic Drum Kits

It be weird as the guy who has to hold people accountable for being noisy in the apartments, for me to be banging on drums at 1:30 in the morning.  
But with this electronic drum set I have, all that’s heard around me are little taps.  Just a tappy, tap, tap.  Nothing more.  
In my headphones though, it’s anything from AC/DC to Oasis, from John Mayer to John Cougar Mellencamp.  I can hook up the IPod and attempt to drum right along.  May not be as good as the real guys or girls playing, but I can keep up.  
Not So Thankful– French Fries
D**n you french fries.
D**n you and your fried goodness.
D**n you and your salty fried goodness
D**n you and your tasty, salty, delicious, seasoned, fried goodness
You have been and will be my side dish of choice.  But my waistline has a huge problem with that choice.  It laughs at you and your fried goodness.  It enjoys it too much.
So I say damn you french fries without the asterisks because you are the bane of my healthy existence.
One day, I will be the one laughing at you as I pass you by or wave my hand to the waiter/waitress and say, “No french fries, french fry pusher.  I’ll take the broccoli instead”.

25 Days of Thanks- Day 10

December 10, 2008

Thankful-Christmas Movies

Top 7 (in no particular order)
  • Home Alone
  • Twas the Night Before Christmas (Don’t know this one?  Head here)
  • Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer
  • Scrooged
  • Mickey’s Christmas Carol
  • National Lampoons Christmas Vacation
  • Elf
A couple of notes:
– It was orginally just going to be the top 5 but then I looked at the list.  Something was missing…  How could I not include Elf on this list?  “You smell like beef and cheese.  You don’t smell like Santa.”  I actually work with someone who has already seen this film 15 times since Thanksgiving.  
– Update 12/12- Realized also that Christmas Vacation wasn’t on the list.  Stupid Jeffrey.  
– Since a buddy of mine hasn’t yet sent me pictures of his engagement so that I can post an appropriate “Congrats Joe and Jennifer” story, I’ll embarass him and I for a moment.  Yea, we thought we were cool, especially when we would quiz each other on all things Home Alone.  By the way Joe, address of the McCallister house, 671.
Not So Thankful- Rebates
Rebates.  That’s how they get you on the big ticket items.  
It’s so easy.  Here’s a copy of the reciept.  All you have to do is fill out here, here, and here, cut here, sign here, inital there, e-mail this, wait four days, then go here, fold there, make a copy of this, then wait 6 to 8 weeks.  
A very happy day recently involved a rebate.  A few years ago, I bought a cell phone that was supposed to be free after rebates.  I did all the paperwork, made copies of everything, and followed all the instructions.  The thing with this rebate was that it was supposed to come in two checks.  Well, the first one arrived on schedule.  Second one never did.  I get cranky, call them, and they said because I didn’t turn in one part, they couldn’t give me the rebate.  I fire back with the fact that they already thought it was good enough to give me half of it.  
Customer Service person: “Oh, um, we shouldn’t have done that.”  
Skip forward two or three years and three more cell phones and one day I get a check in the mail.  I read the attached letter that states because of a court agreement, we have been required to pay you this money because the terms of our rebates were not clearly stated.  
I did so much of a happy dance that I almost ripped the check up and threw it in the air like confetti.  
I loathe rebates.  

25 Days of Thanks- Day 9

December 9, 2008

Thankful-80s Cartoons

The following need no introduction:

My two personal favorites:

There are others but these were some of the classic ones.  
It’s ok to have these in your head the rest of the day.  You can thank me later. 
Not So Thankful– Shredders 

What happened to those days back in the 80s when real credit cards came in the mail, when you could throw away everything, when we weren’t so worried about information security.  
Nowadays I shred everything.  Whether it’s old magazine covers to bank statements, a lot of my mail and reciepts end up in the shredder.  I even shred the return postage paid envelope.  All because some wacko at the right place at the right time could find one piece of paper that could lead to them finding out everything about my credit life.  
Must go to happy place… Bouncing here and there and everywhere…  Ok, I feel better.  
Until tomorrow, thanks for reading.

25 Days of Thanks- Day 8

December 8, 2008

Thankful- Channel One 

At CCHS, I was involved in a bunch of stuff ranging from theater to mock trial.  Even had some time for sports with golf and tennis.  But every morning for a few years I was one of two people (Hi Kim if you happen to be reading this) who’d get out of homeroom and get up to our “TV studio”.  Really, this “TV studio” was a large closet.  But while prepping for the morning announcements, the group would try to catch what they could of Channel One.  
Even with all the commercials and product placement, it did a good job of recapping the news of the day.  We didn’t have the internet back then and Tom Brokaw didn’t exactly spark a young kid’s interest, but we did have Channel One.  A little news, a little sports, a little quiz, it was pretty cool provided I wasn’t rushing to do my homework that was due for first period.  
Not So Thankful– The Broiler Part of the Oven
Contrary to popular belief, I do do some cooking.  “Some” being the key word.  But the broiler part I haven’t quite mastered yet.  But what is there are a bunch of pans, cooking sheets, cooling racks, stone racks, stone pots, and 40 different other things.  
Really what it’s become is the most frustrating drawer in the whole kitchen.  Even though I currently have only 1 other drawer, even when I did have a bunch, this thing was and is a gateway to a temper tantrum.  
Yes, I’ve caused it myself by putting a bunch of different things in there.  So much so that trying to open it is like trying to get a cranky 4 year old past the candy part of the checkout.  There will be tears, there will be flailing of limbs, and there will be a voice saying somewhere, “Calm down!  CALM DOWN!  Be nice and maybe I’ll get you what you want.”  Gentleness and patience does eventually win out, but how much really is it to replace that dented cookie sheet I practically bent in half when ripping open the drawer.  I think it gives it character and adds to the perception that I actually do cook.  

25 Days of Thanks- Day 7ish

December 8, 2008

A little late…

Thankful- Swedish Fish
This post would have been posted 10 minutes ago if I hadn’t lost the bag of these tasty treats I bought today.  All through little league and when I was an umpire, these little red and purple (more on that in a minute) candies got me through those summers.  For $1 you got a 100 of them.  It was awesome.  Then, at different points in college, I’d come back from Albany with a huge box to eat and give out to the floor.  
Now I enjoyed the red flavor but the grape ones were the best things on earth. 
Side story, think I just ate a minty red fish.  My mouth is a little tingly (not allergic tingly, just that minty tingly) .
Anyway, grape swedish fish = awesome.  Can’t seem to find them anywhere though:-(
Not So Thankful-Nose Hair
Nothing good comes from a long nose hair.  Nothing.  
All you get is an itchy nose.  And it always comes at the worst times.  So you start itching away at the thing, trying to get it to move but it just keeps coming back.  And if it happens when you’re in public or in front of a crowd, you can’t really go at the thing too hard or it just looks weird.  
Ok, so then you trim the hair.  But then all your left with is stubble which, if you itch your nose, pokes the sides creating more itching.  
Plucking is a personal torture and always brings me to tears.  
Recently while on a trip to buy a friend’s wife’s birthday present (Happy early birthday Melissa! She already knows what she’s getting so I’m not spoiling anything!), we got a tour of the men’s part of a spa and salon.  One of the services they offer, nose hair waxing.  
Now as odd and painful as it sounds, I’m oddly intrigued.  My mind was running when she was explaining it but I heard something about q-tips and my friend talking about looking like a walrus but I’m curious to see what it entails.  There has to be something to take care of the little itchy bastards. 

25 Days of Thanks- Day 6

December 6, 2008

Thankful- IPods

When I got my first (and only) IPod, I was a little hesitant to accept it.  I thought with me being a gadget fan, that I had probably 20 other doo-hickeys that did the same exact thing.  But, I was sooo wrong.  
It’s a perfect music machine.  Everything gets loaded on there.  With it, I can borrow music from other folks and rip it right to the device.  Throw in the ease of the Apple Store and downloading music, I don’t know what I’d do without it.  It’s also awesome for long trips down the thruway.  No more changing stations as I pass in and out of radio signals.  
One thing that has changed with my IPod is that I used to listen in the car through a device that would broadcast the music over a specifically tuned radio station.  If I was travelling with someone in another car, I could also play DJ on WJEF.   On a recent trip to Boston, my sister got to hear WJEF for the last time as now my Corolla has an IPod In jack.  
Not So Thankful– The Snooze Button
Devil sitting on one shoulder: Go ahead, press it.  10 more minutes of blissful sleep.  
Angel on the other: GET YOUR BUTT UP!  This way, no rushing.  You could enjoy the morning for once!
Devil:  Oh, go ahead, press it and really enjoy the morning! You could dream of beaches, winning the superbowl, seeing tha
Angel: Ok, that’s 10 minutes, you got it in.  Now get up!
Devil: Oh come on, 10 more minutes, that 8:05.  You’ll be fine.  
Devil: Do I really need to say anything?
Angel: 45 minutes to get to work
Devil: You live on campus.  Your office is on campus
Devil: Isn’t the scruffy look in right now?
Angel:  HAHAHA  25 minutes… dumbass.  I tried telling you!  You learn one day.
Me: Crap
You’ve just read my morning routine Monday thru Friday.  It never changes.  I even found a clock that has does not have a snooze button but I have quite built up enough faith in it yet.  Yes, the thing is loud but it’s a once or nothing thing.  There’s no leeway.  The snooze alarm is the bane of my morning existence.