Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Guitarists Making Funny Faces

I was going to save this for the A to Z blog fest in April, for the letter G, but I couldn't wait, this is too funny...

I play a little guitar, and I catch myself doing this some times. It's just something that some folks cannot help doing... Making funny faces while playing the guitar.

I'll waste no more of your time, I'll direct you to some examples right now.



Some good music, but some pretty funny faces, I must say. Mick Fleetwood does this too, although he plays the drums. I don't like Fleetwood Mac though, so I'll not be posting any such material. Sorry. 

Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

New Blog

I have a new blog. Well, it's not necessarily new, but this is the first time I'm letting the cat out of the bag, if only slightly... I'm not going to tell you what it is. Not here anyway.

I've lamented before that I threw my real name all over this blog, and thus the internet, and now if I feel like ranting vulgarly, I kinda can't, because some of it's stuff I'd rather the folks who know me, didn't hear me saying. The kind of stuff you laugh like crazy at when watching a bad-mouthing comedian, and then shudder when you think about how you'd feel if you were known for saying things like that...

So I created another blog, one where my name is no where to be found, and I can swear and cuss and complain all I want, without tainting my "public" image.

If you're interested in reading it, and can keep my public identity a secret (what??) shoot me an email, (It's matthewconlon at gmail dot com) and I'll be glad to share it with you, if you're not related or a potential employer. Cause if you are, chances are I'm complain about you already over there.

Oh, and NO I will not be abandoning this blog, I'll still be posting the same caliber junk here, so if you enjoy it now at all, it's not likely to change. I'll still be sporadic, I'll still be sarcastic, and I'll still be long winded and wistfully nostalgic and a terrible speller. I just wanted another outlet, is all.

Scotch, Bourbon, and Me

I used to say that I'm probably one of the only Irishmen you'll ever meet who doesn't much care for potatoes or whiskey. These days, that statement is no longer valid, as I've found that I actually do kinda like whiskey. Well, so far, it's just a few kinds of scotch that I've enjoyed.

Like with anything, once I find that I like it, I want to learn more about it, as you may remember my adventures into the brewing of beer, which I really DO enjoy, and DO plan on getting back into... The thing about beer though, aside from the fact that yes, I do love it and consider myself a beer snob is that when you're looking for a buzz, you (or at least *I*) have to drink a relatively large amount of carb-laden liquid. You have to pee a lot, burp a lot and feel bloated later, etc... Which, let's be honest, I don't really mind... But in the interest of getting more effect from less substance, and not turning to opiates, I decided to give whiskey a try again.

More than all that though, I've always liked the smell of it. I always thought it smelled sweet like apple juice. It's one of the few food products that don't taste anything like it smells, at least the first time you taste it...

I was told once some years ago when expressing my distaste for whiskey, that perhaps I just wasn't "sour enough yet", and that it may come with age. Perhaps that's what's happened, I guess.

Tonight, I am going to a scotch and bourbon tasting, hosted by a fellow who owns a package store nearby. It's one of those invite only sort of deals. This all precipitated from a side trip I took to his store while looking to buy some cider, which I was doing for field research... you see, I wanted to try (and WILL! I swear it!) brewing cider, cause fundamentally, I thought it sounded easier than beer... get some cider, drop in some yeast, right? There's a little more that goes into it, of course... But I wanted to find out what different kinds tasted like in order to figure out how I wanted to go about making it etc... anyway... I was poking through the scotch area, as I'd had a couple kids that my father in law used to drink, and found them interesting.

The owner happened to be there, and we started talking. A couple minutes later, he'd produce three half-drunk bottles of a few different scotches, and I was tasting. He'd put me on a fairly short mailing list for his scotch news letter, and tonight will be the first such tasting I will attend.

Looking very forward to it, because this stuff isn't exactly cheap. I'd hate to spend $40 or more on a bottle of something that I ultimately find I do not like.

What are your thoughts on scotch or whiskey? Do you like it? If not, what's your favorite drink?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Pizza Place's Busiest Day of the Year

I have a friend who works for a very large national Pizza chain, and he recently told me of the busiest day of the year for them, and I thought it interesting. SO interesting in fact, that I thought I'd see if you guys could guess!

This pizza chain is nationwide and very well known. It's almost synonymous with the term "pizza" these days. I didn't run it by him before posting this, so just out of internet-respect I'll leave the name out... But when someone says Pizza, it's the chain that most people think of automatically.

There is one day out of the year that their traffic spikes greater than any other day of the year. What day do you think that is?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

These are a Few of My Favorite Things:

This is likely to be an odd post, as I think you'd agree (if you've been reading this blog for any amount of time) that I derive pleasure or at least enjoyment from some of the strangest places. Not like, sick and twisted places, mind you, but things that most folks would call ordinary.

I am not a good loser. I don't like to fail at whatever I'm doing, and I've been known to shatter a video game controller or two in my day. Because of this trait, I do not "talk trash" to other competitors. I do not jeer or goad or brag, etc, the way some competitors do, because when I do, it bites me in the ass. After all that talk, when I lose, I get SO much more angry.

What I DO enjoy though, is when someone talks a bunch of trash to me, and I remain calm and quiet, and win. Cause now, they've talked a bunch, and failed. They almost seem to get a little measure of enjoyment out of having their faces rubbed in it, though I still refuse. It's like they expect it, and thus are justified to do it back when they win. By silently congratulating myself on a job well done, and leaving it at that, it actually seems to grate even more for them. ...and I like that.

I love the smell of coffee. I think even more than the taste (and don't get me wrong, I do love to drink my coffee) there's something magical to me about the way the scent of the coffee permeates the air so completely when the can is opened, or the filter is filled. It's not one of those scents that you catch a whiff of, or that comes to you incompletely. It's either there, or it's not.

I love to watch my kids learn, even if it's not something they should really be learning. Obviously I'm not talking about lessons like "Don't lick the receptacles" of course, but things like learning how to communicate, even when it's saying things like "leave me alone" or "stupid dog!" or the latest "Oh shit!"...

Which actually brings me to a tangent thought... I do not have the cleanest of vocabularies. I like to keep it relatively tame on this blog, cause who knows who will be reading it, and I didn't have the foresight to start it anonymously...(no, I had to go and put my freaking name in big bold letters all over it... hindsight is 20/20...) but the reality is that I grew up hearing and rather early on, saying "bad" words.

Honestly... I'm not really all that concerned about the kids learning them. I know it sounds rather "un-fatherly" of me, but I'd rather they hear them now, and aren't shocked later on in school by them. Learn the words and their uses, but respect them... I'd rather not have them calling people swears and what not, but... well hell, I did it. They're going to do it too eventually. At least if they're aware of it, I'm hoping they won't be hurt by it later...

I'm not oblivious to the other side of that coin of course. I know one day I'm going to get a call from school "Your daughter was calling another kid an "asshole"... and all I'm going to be able to say is "Well... was the other kid being an asshole? Did she use the term incorrectly?"

I'll burn that bridge when I get to it, I suppose...

But back to my original point, I love to see when things click for kids... The first time they learn to use the door knob is a big deal. Yeah, it's a pain in the ass now, cause you can't confine them (and an adult to be with them of course) to the "child safe" room to play while said adult nods off... Cause they'll leave and go play with knives... but that's a huge hurdle! Mechanical skills and observation and curiousity all come together and boom. A door is open, literally and figuratively...

I also like to see when they learn mischeivous things... I taught my oldest to tear the top half of the straw wrapper off, and blow into the straw to shoot the rest of the wrapper off. Of course, now every time we go out to breakfast or something, she does it (especially if I do it first!) and now and then it lands on the table behind us... People are usually forgiving of it when it's the 6 year old's. When it's mine, I just pretend it was the 6 year old's. :)

I love the unspoken brotherhood of driving on the highway that can come from two or more drivers boxing in the jackass who is trying to cut lane to lane within inches of the poor schmo he's cutting off.

I understand being late, or having somewhere to go, or just wanting to go faster, but you don't risk someone else's life for it. If it's a true someone-is-dying-in-your-car emergency, flash the lights, blow the horn, wave out the window, etc... Call 911, get a police escort. If you're just going to ride my bumper and flick your high beams once, then I'm going to slow down, and you can go around me. ...unless of course, you're boxed in by the other guy. In which case, you deserve it anyway. Jerk.

I love to ask how people are doing when I call, and wait for an answer. I spend a lot of time on the phone, and when I call, I say who I am, and ask "How are you today?" and I'm always shocked at how sometimes they don't know what to say! Just tell me how you're doing! I don't care if it's true, if you don't want to talk. Tell me you're fine, and we can get on with the call. I don't even care if you don't ask me back! It's a simple question, just say something. Don't sit there and wait for me to get on with it, cause I will wait for an answer, no matter how quiet and awkward the wait is.

I love to watch reunions, especially when it's a military person coming home to their loved ones. In that moment when they step into the baggage claim or whatever receiving area and see their loved ones whom they haven't seen in months or years, all the stupid petty shit goes away. Bill payments, appointments, chores, to-do lists... It all goes away, and the moment is just about what's important.

I'm reminded of a clip from "Dogma"... Although it's not exactly as "sappy" as I like to imagine it... And naturally I can't find a clip online of it, but basically he says something like "they're so relieved to finally see each other again, it doesn't matter how many times she cheated on him while he was gone" etc... I like to imagine that the things they're ignoring in that moment aren't so bad, but... the sentiment is the same.

I love M&Ms, peanut are my favorite, but regular are fine too. I like to wait until the insides are warm and smooshy before biting through the shell.

What about you, what are some of your favorite things?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Descrepancies that Piss Me Off - A Rant

My mind is like a black hole for information that I will likely never need. Not necessarily useless information, cause someone, at some point, found it useful, and shared it... But there's a lot of junk bouncing around in my skill that I'll never be able to employ.

I am Ok with this. If you only ever knew the things you needed to know, you'd be a boring person. I'd rather someone tell me something I didn't know than just stand there in silence.

The problem with this is though, that when you do know something that the general public doesn't, and you see something done wrong in a movie that would otherwise be great, it completely ruins it. And me, being me... I have to share this information with the other people who I'm watching said movie with.

I once had occasion in high school to heat a piece of metal rod to red hot, and beat on it with a hammer. It was Metal Working class, so it was allowed. Anyway, I'd asked the teacher, as I was smashing said rod flat, why it was that you'd see a blacksmith hit the piece of metal, and then hit the anvil. He was delighted that I asked, I guess the average person doesn't notice that. He said he was going to wait to tell me about it until the next day, after my arm was sore from the work, but since Id actually asked... The secret is that when you hit the anvil, the hammer bounces. So you hit the piece, and then a slight tap on the anvil assists in bringing the hammer back up, thus less strain on your arm.

Now, it's not often that you see blacksmithing, (Which evidently Google Chrome doesn't think is a word, cause I'm getting red-squigglied) even in movies, but when they don't do that, and just keep hitting the red hot metal, I always think "They're going to be sorry they didn't go to Brookline high with me." Worse, I've seen movies where they hit the thing they're working on once, and then tap it... Then hit it, then tap it. They ALMOST have it right, I say.

Another thing that people say all the time is 9 months of pregnancy. There's 4 weeks to a month right? 40 weeks to a "normal" pregnancy... how does that work out to 9 months?

Being a computer guy, I'm pretty good at typing. I hate watching people on movies pretend they're typing, it's so obvious that they're not, if the camera angle is right. They almost never use the space bar.

Something else that bugs me, lead has not been used for writing since ancient Rome. The stuff in your pencil is NOT lead, yet mechanical pencil refills SAY lead on them... They're not.

It's PER-RIFF-ERR-ALL. Not PER-RIFF-REE-AL!! Same with nuclear. It's not NOO KYOO LAR.

Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman was set in the year 1876. I was a fan as a kid... Anyway, several times, they played The Star Spangled Banner in the show. A song which wasn't the national anthem until 1931. Ruined the whole series for me.

Am I the only one who has trouble looking past things like this? I really get hung up on these things, and my disbelief gets harder to suspend. What stops your enjoyment dead in it's tracks?

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Few Food Related Gripes

Last week I ventured out into the unseasonably warm night to get some food for the family. They're partial to Chow Mien sandwiches, which I had never heard of. It's basically chicken chow mien in a Styrofoam container. They put the bottom of the hamburger bun in the container, dump the chow mien in, and put the top... well on top.

Truth be told, they're not bad. You hear all the time from Chinese people how American Chinese food is nothing like REAL Chinese food, (assuming your Chinese friends are real Chinese people. Doesn't matter if they're a real friend or not, I'm sure they'd tell you the same thing regardless of their social connection to you) and it's true.

Some of my favorite meals were in China Town in Boston that I ordered from menus I couldn't read. We'd go down there maybe twice a week when I worked in Boston. One of the guys in the department was (and I imagine still is) Chinese. He'd always steer you right too. I can't say I'd say the same if the tables were reversed. You know how much tripe and what not is on the real Chinese menus?

I did once question what was in the "Seafood" soup, to which he replied "Seafood, don't ask, just put it in your mouth and eat it." Can't argue with that logic.

Contrary to the American version of Chinese food, I always felt GOOD and FULL after eating the authentic stuff, instead of feeling shitty AND stuffed, and yet... still hungry. I guess we Americans gravitate toward that sort of thing though, Darwin only knows why, and what Americanizes things better than a hamburger bun, honestly?

Anyway, I didn't feel like it, so I went for the American version of horrible food, and stopped at Wendy's. One meal, cost me ten bucks! It wasn't even then triple (bypass) burger either. I could have gone next door to Ruby Tuesdays and for the same price plus a twenty minute wait, I could have a half pound of Angus beef cooked to order... Only advantage Wendy's had was that I didn't have to get out of my car and I got it right then and there. Of course, I'd have waited at the bar, and spent more money, but...

And boy, how much like a lazy slob does that last paragraph make me sound, huh?

I complained once before about Subway, and a snarky girl telling me "We have no small drinks, only medium or large", but I somehow lost that post. I think if you look though, you'll find at least two other posts complaining about how I once complained about Subway and can't find it...

I hadn't been back to Subway since then, until tonight. I went and among other things I ordered a Steak and Cheese for myself. The picture on the menu had to be at least a side of beef on a bun. What came, was maybe one and a half "Steak 'Ums".

This sub was so lacking, that I opened it up, and tore off one side. I was able to fold the remaining side around the steak, cheese, peppers and onions. No wonder Jared lost weight. I wish I'd have noticed while she was assembling the sub, cause I'd have told her to keep it. I figured since I was home I'd eat it. It tasted alright, and I needed a blog subject anyway.

This was a rare occasion where you'd actually have gotten less calories from the food that cost the least, but most of the time, it's just so much cheaper to eat garbage, isn't it? Eating healthy is expensive! I don't do new years resolutions, so it's not one, but I am going to make a conscious decision to change my eating habits.

Hell if nothing else, it'll make for some interesting blog entries...


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Guest Post: Thieves Steal the Strangest Things

Crooks it seems sometimes just aren't satisfied with using their sticky fingers to nab oodles of cash or priceless works of art. Nope, sometimes only the unusual will do. Like half a frozen head for example... read on.

Via: magnetbox
1. In the early 90s a medical student decided that he was going to take his work home with him. Unfortunately the work he took home happened to be half a human noggin. He sensibly kept the head on ice in the fridge, sadly for him his landlord discovered it. Which as you can imagine led to quite a kerfuffle and a lot of explaining.

2. Californian Polytechnic University suffered the theft of frozen goods from their dairy building. The 'goods' were bull semen and embryos worth $10,000. Although the embryos were recovered the semen was not despite a reward being offered.

Via: sharonstoned1
3. Buttons? Who steals buttons?! The wife of Manuel Noriega, that's who. And yes he is the former politician and military dictator of Panama. Felicidad and a friend half-inched around $400 worth of fasteners from a Miami mall, they'd actually cut them from garments on display.

4. A fast food chicken eatery erected a 20' tall inflatable chicken to celebrate its continuing success. The chicken was stolen less that a fortnight later. Despite promising a dozen free chicken combos for its safe return it was never found.

Via: callme_crochet
5. Marla Maples, the ex-wife of Donald Trump was convinced she was missing shoes from her closet. Estimating that about 40 pairs had vamoosed she set up a security camera. Sure enough she caught the thief, her publicist Chuck Jones. After searching his house the high heels were recovered as was a rather explicit magazine on shoe fetishes entitled Spike. Chuck denied everything.

6. A businessman from New Hampshire managed to have a 15 ton building swiped. It was an unassembled pre fabricated structure. However the thieves still managed to get away with beams and girders measuring 35 feet long.

Via: Joe in DC
7. Proudly stood outside a Tokyo movie studio was 130lb rubber Godzilla. It disappeared in '92. Fortunately he hadn't returned to the sea ready to rise and stomp destruction upon a mini-metropolis. In fact he was discovered hiding in a bamboo thicket less than two weeks later.

8. In the Irish Tavern in Michigan, a man called Keith Bradford drank a few too many and then headed to the restroom. He emerged with the condom machine, having torn it from the wall. He then walked home with it on his shoulder. Witnesses a-plenty the police were able to recover the machine easily from Keith's home along with 48 prophylactics and 127 quarters.

Via: tnarik
9. Remember Gene Kelly singing in the rain and that moment where he spins around the lamppost? Yes? Someone nicked that. One of the labour crew, a Bryan Goetzinger, who cleared out the studio took it and installed it in his front yard. Technically this was theft in itself, however it was then stolen again after four years stood outside Bryan's house. It was never found.

Thieves really do steal the most unusual things, there might be a TV show in that...

Always the bridesmaid, never the bride, Holly Waites nonetheless researches wedding presents online for the gifts retailer Find Me A Gift.