Monday, December 29, 2008

A picture of patience.


So, I guess I didn't miss payroll after all. I called this morning and Marilyn informed me that payday is this coming Friday. Phew!
Even still, I am having money concerns. I got a call from Progressive Insurance informing me that the guy who hit me is under insured ( i.e. has $15, 000. worth of coverage ) and so far, my medical bills are at $ 19, 000. and rising. I haven't had any physical therapy, my arm has a rash from the cast that doesn't look too good, and I still don't have a reliable means of transportation. Oh well, like they say in Al-anon... "This too shall pass". I am going to try not to be such a whiner come the new year. In other words, this is going to be a resolution of mine this coming year. Don't complain about things I either a.) Can do nothing about or... b.) Am willing to try and work towards a solution. Nuff said. Above is a picture I drew of my mom who was a great example of patience and tolerance in my life. She put up with the shenanigans of nine kids, assorted grandkids and fools who were quick to judge her. I still miss her very much to this day.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Missed Payroll


Today is Sunday, the 28th of December and I am sweating it. I have a big red rash on my arm where the cast was, and now I am trying to figure out how to obtain a reliable, legal means of transportation (My car would not pass smog) so I can make it to church on time . I am going to mass and will be back in an hour to finish this blog.

Okay, I am back. Mass was a wash. Today was the feast of the Holy Family. I feel estranged, because I don't really have one of my own. Although I come from a large loving family, I personally never found a wife with which to bear children of my own. I am not happy with my life as it is right now. The priest talked about the efficacy of Proposition 8; Which only made me feel anxious about being a single male in a congregation filled with the righteous worshippers of parenthood. Jesus Christ was never a parent. My name is Christopher, which means "Christ-bearer" ...go figure.

This time of the year is so dismal and grey in the Western Hemisphere. I am beginning to think that Jesus was more a metaphor or an archetype rather than a living person seeking redemption for us all. It seems that more heartache and destruction has been carried out in His name, than the miraculous events that have occurred on His behalf. Has this world truly become of better place since the Advent of His birth? Presently, I am eating a bowl of cereal ... and as i write this. I am thankful for the food I have to eat, but I have to buy from the Grocery Outlet Store to make ends meet. I also purchase clothes from the Salvation Army for the same reason. The rent for my one-bedroom apartment in Calistoga is something I can barely afford to pay. Today, I am living out the legacy of a universal, ecclesiastical religion that has only served to maintain the status quo.

I just had a good talk with my sister Tara in Portland. Somehow, I thought of calling her to let her know how I was feeling. Man, I am sure glad that I did. She basically told me something that I hadn't thought of... that I really do love Jesus Christ. I just am not so happy with the way the world is right now, and religion hasn't been of much help lately. I am going to explore my relationship with Christ more as the new year approaches.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve 08'

Here it is, noontime on Christmas Eve. Now does that make any sense? I am sitting here typing away on my puter after watching some hysterical comedy bits using the CoolIris app. I intend to go shopping (not last minute, mind you) at some point today, to get some coffee filters, cream, tissues and other assorted grocery items. Big Whoop. The other thing I have to do is come up with some other t-shirt designs for Ubuntu. A former co-worker called me to see if I could come up with some " Expressions" to complement their dishes that are served in the restaurant. For instance... An edgy carrot expression, or asparagus expression etc. Well, without the freedom to add some human characteristic to the vegetables, I seem quite limited. So this visual of "Fred Asparagus" did not go over with a bang.I sketched another one, but this one seems really uninteresting to me. I don't feel very creative when I am told what to do and how do it. On the other hand, this comedy bit with John Malkeovitch is much more interesting and enjoyable than drawing t-shirt designs, anyway.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter is...


The Holidays come at a time of year when the weather is bleak and dismal. The days are short and the nights are long. I don't really like this month, even though Jesus came into the world during this time. Spring can't seem to come too soon, and it doesn't really take hold until early May usually. People are said to hunker down for long winter naps and attend to activities like reading, wrapping gifts and letter writing (((Yawn))) Even talking about stuff like that, makes me feel like having some comfort food to fill me gullet, and then crash out for a few hours.Speaking of comfort food, I went to Theresa and Johnny's Restaurant in San Raphael yesterday with my friend, Dieter. We had a "Norcal Eggs Benedict" special with home fries and some French toast that was other worldly. Leslie is actually the head Chef there. She is the "Theresa" of the Theresa and Johnny's . She has been a friend of Dieters for a long time. I met her when we went to visit a mutual friend of ours up in Grass Valley last Spring. This person would be John Kane, who is a boyhood pal I know from St. Francis Woods, who went on to become a chef and open his own restaurant just a few years ago. He is married to Maria, who also owns a restaurant there in Nevada City. They are both very busy (as one might imagine) , and spend most of thier time managing BOTH restaurants! Leslie is the same way (workaholics, all of them). She was taking orders and cashiering the whole time we were there stuffing our faces at the counter. Her place is so amazing with all of it's Kitsch items everywhere you look. Leslie likes to collect vintage Diner signs and it shows. I suspect that I will return there sometime soon.It attracts a specialized clientele (i.e. foodies, like Dieter and I).

Monday, December 15, 2008

"Cast-off " Day


Even though I was late for my appointment by a half hour, the good doctor still got me in. I missed the bus from Calistoga and ended up getting a cup of coffee and waiting for the next one to arrive. Naturally the #10 makes every stop and then some on its journey to the city of Napa.The weather was cold and wet today. The first winter storm of the season. I noticed white stuff on the surrounding hillsides. I was sort of hoping that my nephew Edward could steal away for lunch, but such was not the case. The radiology department a the Queen of the Valley was quite busy.Instead, I sauntered over to Staples to buy a black ink cartridge. The same one I was going to go buy the day I got rear ended on my scooter. This coming friday is the preliminary hearing for Mr. Madrigal. In the interim, I have been sending all my medical bills to his insurance company. My wrist and fingers feel kind of tender and sore, but it is SOOOoooo nice to take a shower withouthaving to wrap my arm and wrist in a plastic bag. My lacerations are clearing up on my face too. Pretty soon I will be back to my old obnoxius self again. Yipppee !!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Don't be this guy!


If it could happen to me, it could happen to anyone. I am referring to being hit from behind on a scooter by a GMC truck driven by an intoxicated person ( who fortunately was caught and arrested ). It could have been lights out for me... no last minute preparations, just goodbye!
Watch my Public Service Message
Part of me wants to go out fast like that. Not to have a slow death (like Cancer). But since I was given enough of a preview a few weeks ago, I have changed my mind. First of all,I am not ready to go by any means. If I have to be taken out, though; I would prefer to leave this world "in my sleep" as they say. Not a care in the world... in a peaceful manner. Enough of the morbitity.I want you all to live long and prosper, and as my boss likes to say, "May the farce be with you !"

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Google's Street View


This is so cool ! Here is a Street view of my place.Click on the picture to get a larger view and notice the two windows on the top floor of the building in the back. That is where I reside... it's my humble abode! To explore the neighborhood visit Google maps Street View and see what there is.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thats what friends are for


Dieter has been driving me to meetings, feeding me and keeping my company over the past couple of weeks since my accident.I have been recovering nicely yet have periods of great discomfort and pain.I've been asking lot of questions about how best to proceed on a daily basis with my friends and family. I have been getting a variety of answers in the realm of legal advice, medical and insurance advice, and even a little motherly advice too! I think that everything is proceeding accordingly.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Typing with a cast on


This is tricky, because I have learned to touch type and now I am going back to looking at the keyboard ! A very bad habit! This cast I am wearing is made of rigid fiberglass material, and my hand is forced to stay in one position. Last evening I had a very wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with my neighbors Andre, Dinora and her brother.They all signed my cast with a sharpie pen to commerorate the occasion. We gobbled up a delicious boneless turkey with barbecue sauce and homemade fries. Later we played Poker and watched Spanish Television to while away the hours.Dinora is expecting a child in February, and is starting to get pretty big. We laughed and joked as we speculated on how the Turkey we ate had no bones. Mmmmm and... Hmmmmm !?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More from Streamwood Santa

This is a video message for a little girl named Jessica. Ol' Santa sure has an appetite for milk and cookies!

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Santa in demand


My brother John called to say that he made the local news in Chicago.This is the time of year that he dons his red outfit and lets the beard grow out some more. He has a little cold this evening,but in a short period if time should be back in action.Now if he gets real popular, he might need his helpers to schedule some bookings out here on the west coast.Check out this NBC LINK or just watch the embedded video below:

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wake up call


It has been almost a week since my accident on Hwy.29 and I am recovering a little more everyday , but I am not out of the woods yet.
Today I went for a hike up to my favorite sacred site locally. I am speaking of Coyote Peak at Bothe State Park, a two mile hike up through the park from the valley floor.My good friend Don Freeland and Dieter Dopplefeld joined me. We didn't talk much, and we didn't have to... The beauty of the fall was in full splendor.
Tommorow I will be attending an appointment with a bone specialist to have my hand and clavicle observed and treated.My nephew Ed will be picking me up pretty early. I still suspect that I am still in the state of shock even though I am functioning normally. I have ugly purple and yellow bruises all over my body.My face is just the most obvious damage that occurred.My scooter is history now. It is sitting in a storage yard until the police report is released.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Worlds of Favor


This year's Worls of Flavor Conference was rather subdued. Many of the attendees have been here before, some for the second and third time. It was a pleasant affair. Not too rushed, better organized.I got to have my picture taken with Cat Cora (?) the first female Iron Chef. All in all things went okay. Marnie's mom passed away on Saturday morning. We had a run-in on Friday night and when her shift was over she left in a huff. I don't think she was present during her entire shift. She was trying to help everyone, but it all just became a hindrance. Logistically, the transportation system up and down the Napa Valley needs help. It can become rather unreliable when you need to get someplace after hours. Shuttles, Bus-lines and Cabs are not on the same page.It rained, but today is going to be sunny. There was lots of schwag after the conference this year. I think I will ride my scooter to work.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Barack Obama


Congratulations to our newly elected president. I hope and pray that the next occupant of the oval office will guide us with vision, direction and humility. I was really very impressed with the way Barack Obama spoke during his acceptance speech. The man demonstrates a cool, clear-eyed outook on what we as Americans will be facing as we move into 2009 and beyond. We may be near collapse in terms of financial stability and global repute, but we still stand strong as a people who are united in the principle of service and compassion. The next four to eight years will be tough, but I think Obama is correct in his assessment that we will persevere. My hope is that he will be strong and protected by a benevolent God as he carries out his duties in the elected office.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Hoping for the end of the Bush Legacy


A Seesmic Special in which actor John Cleese is interviewed by a Seesmic staff member. This man's opinions are most reflective of my own. I love his sense of humor, as well as his sense of the absurd. I have become more a fan of John Cleese as I've gotten older, than I ever was when watching his comedic acting on Monte Python during my college years. His observations about George W's first term in office are dead on... I was really pleased to learn that I was not alone in my belief that his candidacy and subsequent presidency was the most deceptively corrupt political staging ever foisted on an already suspicious American public. The worst part being, that most of us will suffer the legacy of this man's decisions long after he leaves office.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!


Yesterday was my nephew's baby girl's second birthday. Maisy is a bright and curious child and looks more like her mom than my nephew Ian. I hope she received the email I sent her. Lot's of changes are happening at work. My former supervisor Desi moved back to the east coast. Jenn from Special events is moving down to Ventura with her boyfriend, Ryan and Anna from Sodexho is moving to a new job in the city. Already we have a great person working the reception desk. Liz came downstairs from her position as hostess in the restaurant. She is working on her master's degree in psychology and still manages to stay on top of everything going on in the main part of the building. Today I am bring some of my chef hats to work to give to some of the staff upstairs for Halloween. I think it is going to be a fun day.The picture above is of two of Francis Ford Coppola's chefs from Belize where he is currently filming. They came to the Napa Valley on a special tour and this was taken right before they came inside the restaurant to have their lunch. If you can guess the weight of that pumpkin, I heard that the restaurant will give you a prize !

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Something New

I've just discovered Shot Codes. It is a way to learn about a person's blog or website by scanning their "Shot Code". First you must register by visiting W-1.com and download a free mobile app. select a ShotCode, and purchase gear from the online store ( at $50 to $57 a pop). Owners can connect their symbol to an Web site. So, if you happen to see one of these unique logos at a club or event, you surreptitiously snap a photo of it with your phonecam and a tiny app directs you to the wearer's LinkedIn, Facebook, or MySpace profile. Then you can decide whether a "Hello" is in order.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dateline Wednesday


The wonderful thing about going back to work on Wednesday is that it is "hump day" ( getting over the middle of the week) for everyone else which means at least THEY have gotten over the Monday-get-back-to -work Blues. It does not mean that I get to have a sour grapes attitude when I greet my coworkers enter the building just because I am starting my work week.My attitude has to set the tone for people coming into the CIA. There are times when the energy is absolutely electric and everyone is anticipating a fantastic opportunity of some sort. My calendar shows that Mercury is finally going direct today, which means that it has been in retrograde for the past couple of weeks. Computer ills, mechanical things and missed appointments should remedy themselves today. Today should be a good day.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Day of Rest


Sunday is traditionally a day of rest. I try to be observant of this to the best of my abiliity. Even when there is a wedding or some other special event going on, it's good to know that people still think of the Greystone campus as a former monastery. Thankfully some people hold the property in reverential awe ( perhaps it's the pews or Georgian arches that make people think of this as a monastery. )As a concierge, I do NOTHING to dispel this romantic notion. It is a pleasure when the voices in the Atrium lobby are in a hushed tone. Children who run around yelling are the bane of my serenity.When I went to mass this morning in St. Helena, I missed most of the sermon because of two children behind me who were figiting, crying, complaining and yelling. Five minutes into the mass, a late arrival plopped herself down next to me reeking of cigarettes. She startled me, and I scooched over without appearing like I was trying to physically remove myself entirely from the vicinity. I realized how sensitive I am to light, smell, movement, noise and touch. Truthfully, my maturity as an adult is directly contingent upon my ability to exercise patience and tolerance in the most trying of situations.I am not the only one who suffers... we ALL do! Given that I do have a choice to react or respond every moment of my life, I do make every attempt to strengthen my emotional resolve.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Camus Tuesday


Today was nice out, as it has been for the last couple of months. I drove to the Santa Rosa Mall to get a part for my Iphone . I also went to the ATT Store to reset my password on my Iphone and learned that I have a combined account with two separate passwords. After six attempts I was able to reset the password. Lovely. Then I went to Revolution Moto to find out where I can add more oil to my motorscooter if the need arises. I found out that I have to remove three panels in order to do that. Things used to be so much simplier ( or so I think they were ). A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing they say. These are complicated times. When I was at the Apple Store I was shown a little device that looked like a minature tuning fork. It turned out to be the device i would use to remove a "SIM" card from the IPhone. Back in the old days, you would use a paper clip... which still works, but then I guess someone would be out a job. Anyway, I am fried and feel like escaping somewhere. I will let you know in another post where I went.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Summer's End


Actually, it ended a few days ago but I am feeling like writing about it now. The highlight of my summer was the trip to L.A. to the Disney Studios which lasted all of twenty minutes after having driven six hundred miles. Today is the beginning of the "Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives" conference and I am still trying to find a way to get my chef's toques out there. Last week I was given a clean bill of health by the heart doctor who let me know after a surgical procedure that my heart was not blocked and that I just had high cholesterol. Now I just have to remember to take an aspirin every day along with a statin pill. I should exercise more, but my right foot and ankle suffers from neuropathy. I can walk okay, but after being on my feet for a while it can really hurt. Enough about my aches and pains. I am looking forward to quieter times as Fall approaches and the economy slumps. This should be a very creative period for me.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Relay for life


Last night after work and after the Saturday AA meeting I walked over to the Calistoga High School Track where the "Relay for Life" event was happening. I don't know if it was last year or the year before when my sister Rita went into to the hospital with a diagnosis for Cancer. Anyway,all I could do to keep from falling apart was to participate by walking around this 440 yard track. I must have put in about ten laps. Last night I walked again, looking up at the full moon above and appreciating the beauty of all the little white bags filled with sand and lit votive candles surrounding the track. Each bag had the name of a loved one who was directly affected by the disease. I recall giving five bucks to the organizer who put Rita's name on a bag and assured me that it would be included in the large array. Last night I walked the track, thanking God that Rita was still alive and that I too, was alive. There was a kid about 13 years old who was running laps in the opposite direction. I told myself that I would continue walking until he stopped. He kept going and going. Finally after I walked about ten laps ( and he probably ran about twenty ) he stoppped. I went up to him and gave him five dollars to donate to this worthy cause. Tommorow I go in for my heart treatment at the Queen of the Valley. Wish me luck.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Stuff goin' on...


Monday I will go to the Queen of the Valley to have exploratory surgery. I am looking at maybe getting a stint or an angioplasty for my heart. I am 57 and have a blocked artery. Great. The other thing is that there are many conferences and weddings happening this month at the CIA and I don't have time to go see my friends really. I just am not motivated to do much lately. The dog days of summer are over, and so is my get up and go. I think I want to go on another vacation. Then again, I would feel guilty about spending money I don't have to buy things I don't need , to please people I don't even LIKE ! Tomorrow is another B&P graduation and I have hardly gotten to know any of the students that have gone through this section. It kind of makes me sad in a way. Somehow, I have the feeling that I am going to be at the CIA until the day I die... whenever that is.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Busy Weekend


We had two weddings on Campus this Labor Day Weekend. The Red Hat Society filled up the 1:30 PM Cooking demo and with the walk-in traffic there was a lot to contend with here at Greystone. I started the day by going to mass. St. Helena Catholic Church is undergoing a major renovation so they are asking for a lot of support. I dropped my lunch money ( all of ten bucks ) into the collection basket and know that I will feel the pinch. I am doing what I can to bring some extra cash in, but I won't be paid until at least the first week in September. Once I got to work, I had to set up both the Concierge Station and the Camera station in the theater for the cooking demo. After everything was set up, I noticed that I was missing my name tag. The only place I figured it would be... would be back at the Church, probably where I parked my motor scooter. This would be a likely place because the name tag has a magnetic back and it probably latched onto my keychain and subsequently dropped off as I left to go to work after mass. Anyway, it is a shame how attached I am to the damn thing.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Okay, my bad...


I haven't been keeping up with my blog lately, but it's not because my life have become a boring as a bag of potatoes. I spent most of my summer working on the Chef's hat designs and trying to figure out how to make it cheaply and where to sell it. So far, I have made five and have sold them for twenty bucks each ! That's a good start and has inspired me to make more. I am currently working on a pirate chef's hat and have had good success with it. My next design will be a "Hell's Kitchen" motif. I don't plan on stealing their logo, but I do plan on making a generic one with a pitchfork and some fire to give the idea.Our purchasing agent, Jim has gone to a trade show this past weekend and tells me that he will investigate to see if he can locate some disposable chefs hats without a company logo on them that I will be able to purchase wholesale.Hopefully, that will be one cost-cutting factor.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

My Question for Mick

Not long ago, I visited a web site promoting the Rolling Stones documentary, " Shine a light". There, I found a button that read, "Ask the Stones a question". So I was instructed to upload a video of myself posing a question to any of the Rolling Stones. I had heard in the past that when the Beatles had gone to India to study meditation, that the Stones went to Haiti to study Voodoo. This idea had always piqued my curiosity, so I decide to ask Mick that specific question. video

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Mick's Answer

Watch the video
An Answer to a question I posed to Mick Jagger

Taking the time


After getting all my domestic chores completed ( i.e. Laundry, shopping, bill paying, etc.) I can now enjoy the second day of my vacation. It is Sunday, August the 3rd, 2008. I started my day with mass at 8 am in St. Helena.I offered a prayer for my friend Herschel, who is going through tough times right now. After mass I spoke with Eve, who is another renegade from Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Calistoga . Ever since the mass times got consolidated there, I've been attending mass at St. Helena because I can still make it to work on time around 9:30 . Eve, said she has been attending mass here because she doesn't much care for the "social environment" at O.L.P.H. We had a conversation as we walked down towards the Sunshine Market. She wanted to get a little something to eat, I wanted to stop by the ATM to pick up some cash.
Eve is quite spontaneous and also a little fragmented when focusing on a particular train of thought. Her father was a Russian Orthodox Jew and her mother was Irish Catholic. She is very bright, and very spiritual ( and yes, very opinionated too ). I can say that, because I know of her past. I know also of her struggles. She was pregnant at seventeen and like my sister Terry, was an artist who tried to raise a child on her own. She admits to her staunch independence and in a reflective moment, will say that she suspects that (like me) she is growing eccentric as she gets older. She gave me a loaf of bread that she purchased at the Model Bakery before we parted ways this morning, mentioning that there are bargain prices to be had for the day old products. I promised to draw her a picture in reciprocation for this gift. I ended up taking my sketchbook to the Napa Valley Coffee Roasting Company for a cup of Joe and a little social time. There, I eased myself into reading an article about saving money verses spending it, in the current issue of the Bohemian. Garnering enough courage, I broke out my sketchbook and began drawing a picture for my friend Eve. It was a loaf of bread, dontchaknow. How apropos.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Observing Beauty


I started my day by observing a video project that my co-worker, Lisa had created. She spent about four months taping short clips of butterflies up near her place in St. Helena.The video was about eight minutes long and featured some gorgeous footage of Monarchs, Pearl Crescent and an assortment of sixteen other species. She had the music of Enya playing in the background which made for a delightful experience. Later on in the morning I went to our herb garden here at the CIA to pick flowers and herbs to put on display for our guests to enjoy. Lisa helped me with the arrangements and had some good suggestions about how to preserve flowers.If you put a drop or two of lemon juice in the water, it will act as a natural preservative.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Making my own Pesto


Tonight I picked a few sprigs of Basil from our herb garden. My neighbor Andres Quinteros let me have a few sprigs of fresh mint from his garden, and I had a host of other ingredients which I was determined to combine to make a dynamite Pesto sauce.
First I chopped the Basil and Mint using a traditional paring knife creating what is called a schifenade(?) and then mincing a garlic along with a handful of smoked Virginia peanuts, In a medium size mixing bowl . I scooped all the fresh ingrdients and added a half an avocado ( peeled ).After that I added lemon juice and four tablespoons of freshly grated Paramasean Reggiano cheese. Lastly, I mashed up the avocado, and poured some extra virgin olive oil into the mixture. Lastly, I sprinkled in a sufficient amount of Kosher salt to taste. This stuff is what summer snacks are all about. I used a baked cracker to scoop out some of this Pesto, just to satiate my taste buds. Smiling, I washed the cracker and Pesto sauce down with a big gulp of Lemonade. Yum !

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Watching what's next

Although I don't go for the use of expletives for emphatic effect (especially when they are used arbitrarily) , this slide presentation has an interesting message.It is a commentary on social networking when used as a way of marketing interest

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Visiting Dignitary


Timothy J. Keating, USN is the current Commander of the United States Pacific Command. He previously served as Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command and Commander, United States Northern Command. He assumed his current assignment on March 27th, 2007. Keating was born on November 5,1949 in Dayton, Ohio. He graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1971. Following duty aboard USS Leonard F. Mason (DD-852) in the western Pacific, he completed flight training in August 1973. Today his family and friends were our guests at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. Following lunch, they were given a complete tour of the facility. It was a distinct honor to show these folks around and at the end of the tour I was decorated with a commemorative medallion.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Making the Trip


Leaving Sunday evening around 9:30 PM and arriving in Ventura at noon on Monday. Phew ! I drove all night down 101 after crossing over from 280 at Gilroy. Smoke haze was everywhere from fires throughout the south land. I was destined to be at my meeting at two in the afternoon. I learned about the Gap fire after continuing from Ventura on through to Burbank. I overshot my turnoff and frantically found myself in Pasadena realizing I had to double back and find Western street with some time to spare. The meeting with three of the consumer products people at Disney proved to be a valuable experience, but only after my objective was met.I then jumped back on highway 5 to make it back to Calistoga by 10 PM Monday night. This was after a meeting that only lasted 20 minutes at best! I drove and drove with little time for rest. Eventually arriving in Visalia around four o' clock. From there I got on Highway 99 which led me around 200 miles out of the way. Gradually, I breezed into towns like Merced and Tracy, eventually finding my way to Walnut Creek . Luckily I got back on 80 going north to the wine country. Today I am baked.  I know what I have to do now. I have to take this referral contact that was offered to me from my meeting with the Disney Folks in Burbank and bring my" product idea" to a woman in New York who already has a license to sell goods from the Magic Kingdom. I will introduce her to what will be a complimentary product that will help sell an apron that has already produced for them.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Having Expectations


I can get quite philosophical when it comes to expectations. On the one hand, I expect a miracle because I have faith that I am serving a purpose on this physical level. On the other hand, one tries to have no expectations, so that they can at least observe the process of things, and learn enough to proceed through life without too much disappointment. At this age, I've gained some insight by conducting myself in such a way as to avoid making similar mistakes as the ones I have made in my past. Everything communicates. Everything is trying to tell me something. I wish I could be more specific about what I am referring to; Except that I just woke up and am still reeling from a dream I had about people in my past that showed up at a pool party. A photo album was brought out in this dream, so I know I am being told to reflect on someone or some incident in my past. This Summer feels a little like Winter to me emotionally , because of some unresolved issue that is beckoning me forward. More will be revealed.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Change in plans


I've heard it said that if you want to make God laugh, make plans and obsess about the outcome.
I am still planning a trip to Burbank on July the seventh. Originally, I was going to be driving my Aprilia Motor scooter down south but have reckoned that a rent-a-car will be the best approach. Especially after my sister Martha put the Kibosh on the whole idea. Besides that, my backside would be mighty sore after even a hundred miles of driving I am sure. This trip's aim is to be an educational experience. I hope to learn how best to promote myself , and how to negotiate with business people on their terms.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thinking ahead


I am looking at driving to Burbank on my motor scooter.I just had it tuned up over a week ago and the coolant has been replaced. I know that I can keep up with traffic because if I wanted to; I could go around 85-90 mph on a straightaway.My co-worker, Marnie thinks I should rent a car because it is such a long drive. My plan is to drive throughout the night From Sunday, July 6th to Monday,./ July 7th.I have an appointment to do a presentation at the Disney Studios in Burbank on Monday afternoon at 2PM. This is very important to me, and I hope to learn a lot about how to proceed when trying to get something accomplished in the business world.This is really the first time I've made a decision to really pursue a course of action with regard to a product invention. I am thinking carefully about my options and opportunites.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Lazy, Hazy, Crazy days of Summer


... and it isn't even officially summer yet. Today, is Friday, June 13th and I figured that Anton Ego the food critic from "Ratatouille" is the perfect image for this day where superstition runs rampant.It is my neice Erin's birthday and I am not even sure I know how old she is, but the weather is pleasant enough,and it looks a little hazy at 11am in the morning, but that should burn off by noon. Its days like this that I think of the expression, "Another ho-hum day in paradise" when I look out the door of the main entrance here at Greystone. It seems like I blinked and the hot weather arrived. It never ceases to amaze me how time leaps forward. I was longing for the month of March, because to me, that is when the winter weather starts to fade away and all the lusciousness of Spring bursts forth.Now I am thinking about how the Fall will be here before you know it.The tomatoes on my sun deck are growing bushier every day. There will be some fresh-ripe fruit by the end of August. Earlier this week was a salmonella scare on tomatoes throughout the nation. Most of the students are out on field trips today. The CIA is quiet except for the radio playing in the barrell room, the birds chirping outside and the occasional voice of a chef. Not the usual clanging of pots and pans up on the third floor.We don't even have any special events scheduled for today. I thought that June was supposed to be a big wedding month. You sure wouldn't know it this month.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Stwahbaywees !


I took this picture of Stephanie who works in our Campus Store(She is one of our famous Spice Girls) of the Spice Island Marketplace.The shot was taken at our
Annual Staff Picnic
last Wednesday evening. The food was fabulous, as was the camaraderie .We also tossed rubber rings from a distance in an attempt to land one around the neck of a wine bottle prize just for giggles. There were several winners at this game (and a large variety of wine being displayed).Several younger staff members who had won bottles, decided to stay afterwards to imbibe in their bounty.



Today is Sunday, June 8th,and after my last blog I mustered the courage to call the Disney Product Development division to find out when I will be able to participate in a Video Conference call. I was told to call back in about a week, and I will do just that. It is rather slow here at the CIA today. Yesterday was the big showcase event here in the Napa Valley. The Wine auction at Meadowood concluded and most of the attendees headed home today.My interest in attending the wine aution as a volunteer sort of waned this year. Last year, I sort of stood around trying to look busy when in actuality, I didn't do diddly squat. I felt it was best not go back.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

June, Moon, Spoon...


I'm a poet and I know it. In fact, last week I admitted to being ALL of it. My coworker quickly added that I am also full of it, too. Today is Wednesday, and I am heading back to work. My Apple TV is terrific except that I don't have cable and cannot access mainstream TV. Don't you have days when you actually get all the tasks that you set out to do, done? Yesterday was like that. I went to REI in Santa Rosa and bought a jacket. I actually returned a jacket because of a broken zipper and bought an extra one as I was given a brand new one for the one I returned. Sweet, huh? REI is a great place to shop. Then towards the end of the day, I went to vote no on "N". Mission accomplished. I almost voted "yes" on N because I was tired of the ruthless campaigning against it. Every time I turned around I saw a sign, received an email, a phone call, or a piece of junk mail. It got tiresome. Anyway, my blog marches on and I haven't even time to reflect on what I am typing. Blah !

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Wide Screen Anticipation


Tonight I am going to meet my friend Don after work to drive with him to my nephew's house down in Napa to pick up a wide screen TV for my apartment. This week I purchased Apple TV which is a remote server that will transfer content from my computer to the monitor.One can download movies,songs,images etc. from the internet to be viewed on this system. Even this blog can be viewed on the big screen. I can hardly wait to set the whole thing up. My apartment is only a one bedroom, so I am going to have to rearrange a lot of furniture and items to make space for this new addition. I feel that my collection of Apple products is gradually making my apartment into a digital studio that will inspire me to continue to create imagery, videos and a whole variety of other media that will help me build my portfolio.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Don't look down !


I have added this link because it is fun to watch! Can you imagine hiking along this path with a camera, videotaping as you go along?
The music only adds to the drama. Check it out here:

El camino del Rey

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Shoulda Stayed in Bed


I am so tired today. It's Sunday, but in effect it's my Friday because I have the next two days off(Thank God).Geez, even the internet seems sluggish today.Tonight there will be a small wedding here a the CIA. Only 35 rowdy drunkards to deal with on the Memorial Day weekend. Things could be a lot worse, believe me. The weather has been weird today. It rained yesterday, was sunny this morning and the rain is supposed to return tonight.I don't know what I will be doing on my day off, but for starters I will have to write to my nephew Justin and let him know that I listened to his CD. Some of the songs are better than the others. He has one called "Happiness" which is a nice little instrumental that I would like to add as a background to one of my Quicktime movies. The other thing I need to do is get more rest ! Yawn.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Too Cool! Mick answers my Question !

Recenty, I went online and came across a page on youtube™ that solicited questions people may want to ask the Rolling Stones. So I decided that I wanted to ask Mick Jagger if he studied Voodoo in Haiti. I heard somewhere that he had, and I wanted to hear his response. So check this out here !

Hear his response...

Now if you want to see both his and Keith's responses to other questions, go to: Living Legends and see for yourself. See, I wasn't jiving you !

Friday, May 16, 2008

My Friend, Reid


My buddy Reid started his own toy business many years ago. He is a very bright and modest man, with a keen business sense. Over the years I have watched him divest, invest and rebuild a business by his unrelenting commitment to the success of a product he created. I think this has served him well, long before I met him over fifteen years ago.He has always been on the lookout for ways of increasing his customer base and finding new ways of marketing items that support his main product, Flexiblocks™. The education community has certainly served him well, because this product is highly educational for youngsters and oldsters alike. Lately, I have encouraged him to start a BLOG so that he can have a place where people can comment on his product and stay in contact with him. If you want to visit the website he refers people to; Go to flexiblocks.com and have a click around.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

In case you missed it...

I downloaded the video from the internet and compressed it using Quicktime Pro so that I could post it here. The Corkscrew Collection was featured on Modern Marvels on the History Channel about a month ago.I am still suprised at the number of people who said that they saw it. Anyway, I know the link to the website was posted a few blogs back, but I thought it would be nice to have it play here just in case the link gets broken.I apologize in advance for the "Flip for Mac" logo emblazzoned across the screen.You see, the orginal video was a windows media file and had to be converted to a mac format for cross-platform viewing. I have the trial version of this processing program because I am too cheap to shell out 30 bucks for the fully loaded version. So just Enjoy what's there!

video

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Sunday Serenity


Today, our cooking demo Chef Steve Ruggenberg came in to prepare for the daily cooking show and promptly informed me that he was ill.Luckily, there were only nine people on the books, so I did not have to rush about returning a lot of phone calls to let these folks know that the demo was canceled.After he left, I posted a few signs and made a few phone calls to the supervisors to let everyone know what the story was. The morning hours were cool and foggy.Early May in St. Helena feels more like late winter than late Spring in the Valley. Many bicyclists were riding up and around the Silverado Trail and Highway 29 as part of a Charity Ride for Diabetes. I think my nephew Edward is participating. Last year I donated a couple of bucks, but this year I've been stingy. Last night I went to " Scooter Rosa 2.0" for a party and raffle. After shelling out 40 bucks for a Shwag bag ( that I have yet to receive ) and a chance at a new Vespa scooter, I sat down with a few other motorscooter enthusiasts for a Ginger Beer and plate of Buffalo Wings. The event was held at the Russian River Brewery.I was reluctant to enter this place at first. It had that typical stale beer and barf smell which is foreboding to say the least.I got to talking to my new friend Damien who has been working for a dry cleaning business the last 11 years of his life.He also tells me that he is into video production, and has learned most of the processing software for this endeavor from scratch. An hour into the conversation, the winner of the scooter was announced.We looked at each other and shrugged our shoulders. I left shortly thereafter to ride back to Calistoga. I felt okay about spending the forty dollars because it went to a good cause. The money collected went to Big Brothers/Sisters of Santa Rosa.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My Twenty Seconds of Fame


Today I found out that the segment of "Modern Marvels" from the History channel had been posted to the web. I've created a link to the portion of the show that featured "corkscrews" and am featuring it here.
Modern Marvel's Corkscrew Episode The other two people in the video are Karen McNeil who is the author of the Wine Bible, and Crystal Collins who is the education coordinator of the Rudd Center for Wine Studies at the CIA. All in all, the vignette featuring Brother Timothy's collection went very well, and I am pleased to the producers of the show for their superior editing skills. They really made me look like a pro. A good forty minutes of shooting was refined down to twenty seconds ! So far, I have recieved several compliments about my appearance on the show, and would probably be a regular viewer of Modern Marvels if I had a TV and a cable connection to watch it on... Right now, I am in the process of inheriting a large screen set that my nephew wants to replace with a new flat screen model. Perhaps after my next paycheck I will have some extra cash to upgrade my home network. All I will have to do is purchase the newest version of Apple TV, and add some selective content, and this TV will turn my one bedroom apartment into a home entertainment center ....Wow & Whoopee!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Rita's Birthday


Today is April 23rd and it is my sister Rita's Birthday (She is the tall one in the back when this picture was taken many years ago). It is also a gloomy looking day, but let that be no reflection on our relationship. She is a great sister and a wonderful mom to her two boys, and now she is a wonderful grandma to her two grandchildren. Rita has been a stable influence in my life, because she has been the most accesible person in the family to talk things over with; Whenever I have needed to hash out a problem, she has been there. I recall one time when I was around 14 years old and she convinced me not to run away from home.I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like if I had ignored her plea. On another note, My friend Reid and I went to see the new Rolling Stones movie,"Shine a Light" today. It was fun.I hope that I have half the energy Mick Jagger has when I get to be his age. After the movie, I am bringing a fresh salmon that we will be cooking for dinner.Reid is a Salmonaholic if there is such a thing. Anyway, I initially wanted to send a card to my sister letting her know what I've been up to...but am having trouble with my" dot mac" account today. Grrrrrrrr. I hope that I will still be able to get a nice little ecard off to her before it's too late.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Keeping up with it...


Wow, it has been over a week since I've blogged ! Shame on me. This is so much better than writing in a diary because of it's vulnerability, and potential to reach an outside audience. At times, I've wanted to reveal more about myself here, you know... kind of like the "baring your soul" variety of blog.I think it would be difficult to filter out what would be ego-blather versus what would actually be making a contribution to my readers. After all, wouldn't that be the job of a good editor? Wait a minute, I'm not only the author, but I am also the editor! ( duh! ) This is so like the committee running constantly in my head. But hell, if I can't express it, I am stuck with it! ( What is it that I was talking about, again? ) Oh yea, this blog. My paranoia tells me that some "meta mind" in the background is tabulating all this data and information to eventually dispatch the white coats to deposit me in a rubber room. More than fearing for my sanity would be the idea that someone would be put away for having an opinion or that I am dangerous to the community as a whole.I am shocked at how hard some people work to control the behavior and opinions of people not like themselves. I think that we all need to be more generous and charitable in our opinions of others.. and let it begin with me.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Not liking Facebook


I recently deactivated my Facebook account. I find it annoying, unpleasant and user unfriendly.I tried having a game of Scrabble (called "Scrabulous" online) and when I clicked on the link to continue the game, it did not take me to the playing board to plot my next move ( sorry... a simple gesture, shouldn't have to jump through hoops for that! ) Then I got an email from a college sweet heart. She wanted to add me to her friends list. I replied to her email because the link she supplied brought me to MY PROFILE PAGE not hers ! I know what is on my page... duh ! I then searched for her in the search for friends feature and was unable to find her. Oh well... Now, I've come to the conclusion that social networking is just idle bullshit that only serves to tittilate the easily impressionble. I think like most people, I may have jumped into this WAY too soon. Now I'm just pissed for doing just that.

Monday, April 07, 2008


I have been told by Jason that my scooter will be ready on Thursday. I will believe it when I have driven it back from Santa Rosa and it is parked behind my Ford Aspire. I could hardly sleep last night thinking about it. I still owe the Credit Union around a thousand bucks before it is officially paid off. It couldn't come at a better time because the weather is getting better and better now that spring is here. On another note, last Friday I appeared on "Modern Marvels" a show about gadgets on the History Channel. I was demonstrating some of the most unusual corkscrews in Brother Timothy's collection here at Greystone. All in all, the filming took around an hour, of which two minutes got aired. I was quite pleased with what got shown. My co-workers also got to have what artist Andy Warhol dubbed your "Five minutes of fame." I already have been quite shocked by hearing back from the people that actually stayed up to watch it. The company promised me a DVD sometime in the future, so I will get to bring it out and show it at family gatherings. That should be good for a few chuckles and a yawn... tee hee. video

Friday, April 04, 2008

Who reads this stuff?


Okay, so the scoot is STILL in the shop, awaiting parts and refurbishing.I have been told that it is under warranty, so I don't have to worry about the cost of labor and parts.I will know for sure if the scooter is ready to be picked up on April 10th. My guess is that the mechanic can't wait to see it leave the shop because it has been there for over a month. I don't want to get these people mad at me, because I will probably need them in the future for regular tune ups. This is just embarrassing.I now surround that vehicle with the white light of the Holy Spirit. In fact, I surround the shop where it is being serviced with the white light of the Holy Spirit ! May all Peace and Harmony prevail ! Amen.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Nursing a cold


Yesterday did not start out well for me. Driving to work, the old white "potato" that I drive had a blowout. After changing the tire and getting my hands filthy, I drove the rest of the way to work on the little doughnut tire that served as a spare. Thankfully, I was able to get a new one put on later on in the day.You know when you have a cold when your voice makes you sound like a progressive jazz d.j. from West Oakland on a late night radio show. I was telling the women at work that I was going through puberty again.I hadn't realized how much I use my voice at work until I found it difficult to talk. Throughout the day my chest was aching from coughing up crap.My supervisor let me go sometime around three.I stopped by Safeway to buy some cheap expectorant to move the nasty glop on out. This morning, it was easy to tell that my body needed the rest it got. stretching and yawning felt especially gratifying... kind of like a cat on a warm window sill that arches it's back and opens it's mouth wide enough for flies to go in and out. After a big bowl of cereal and posting to this blog, I'm heading back to my feathered respite.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Holy Saturday, Batman !



Today is Holy Saturday and I went to work today.I am still pretty tired today from not having a good night's sleep. My new friend Chet came by for the cooking demo, and she has become quite a regular to these cooking demonstrations. She and her friend are Filipino, and cute as buttons. I think she likes me, but I might just be dreaming.Today's demo was some God-awful Potato Gratin dish with Portabello mushrooms.I wanted to like the demo, but it just seemed like an inordinate amount of time spent on bland ingredients and boring utensils.I don't plan on preparing this dish for myself or anyone else anytime soon.The last demo that made any impact on me was the Quinoa Salad demo. I went right to Cal Mart to buy myself a package so that I could prepare this dish that has proven itself to be quite versatile and delicious.You can make Quinoa with peppers, onion, garlic, lemons, avocado and other savory ingredients.The other nice thing is that it is a complete protein with loads of nutrients and other health benefits... like, it's great for your heart and cholesterol reduction.Anyway, I don't know what I am going to do for the next couple of days without my scooter, but suffice to say that I left a message with Moto Mechanica requesting an update on the status of my joy ride.Come tuesday I should know something (keep your fingers crossed ) Just for giggles I made this silly movie below for your enjoyment. Also, the picture at the top of today's blog is my neice, Erin. We were having fun making goofy faces with the Photo booth application last Christmas.I just hadn't gotten around to posting it.


video

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Live and Let Live


This past week I attended Pat Freeland's memorial. It was a very nice affair that took place at her husband ( and my friend ) Don's house over in Oakmont. Don is my running buddy who will push me to run to the top of Coyote peak at Bothe State Park on my days off.We had a pot luck dinner and I brought the fixin's for garlic mashed potatoes. There were only six of us there, mostly close friends of Pat over the years. After dinner we had a great cake made by Laura. We sat around and shared stories about Pat and the things we remembered best about her. She was a very spiritual person. It's only a few days left before Spring and already the weeds around my apartment are up to my knees. So, in a flash of inspiration I put on my work gloves and went outside to pull them up. Yesterday was St. Patrick's Day and I wore my Sullivan's Tavern sweatshirt to remind myself that I have Irish Ancestry ( Do I need to remind myself of this ? Sometimes I wonder ).Recently, a second cousin by the name of Clancy Mullen sent an email with an attached file which turned out to be a very accurate family tree. He wanted to cross check the data that was included in this account. Now I pretty certain that my big ears came from the Sullivan side of our family, rather than the Ryan side.Also, my brother John has insisted that we are in no way related to former president Zachary Taylor, contrary to a rumor that was started by my niece, Elizabeth.