Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Head of the Jason

I got a haircut today.

That in itself isn't exciting. What is exciting, however, and is probably the real reason why I'm now going to the Supercuts at Packard's Corner on Comm Ave, are the amazing head massages they give out if you purchase a shampooing after your haircut.

I was there last month, and I thought the head massage was specific to the guy who cut my hair then. Today I had a different stylist, and her head massage was even longer and more forceful. I was slightly concerned with a blood flow restriction in my cranium, and the residual stroke / migrane / permanent discomfort, but then moved on to more important thoughts like where I was going to eat lunch.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Yo soy gordo

You know it's time to restart the diet....

....when you wear your fat jeans, leave them unbuttoned but zipped, and switch to the looser belt hole BEFORE you even leave the house to go to Christmas dinner....

....and then switch to stretchy-waist shorts IMMEDIATELY upon returning home.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Conceding my rank

Usually the holidays are pretty busy with parties, friends, nights out, family events, and miscellaneous end-of-the-year work projects. It typically begins with my birthday in mid-November, so I get a week's jump on the festivities from Thanksgiving day.

This year has been no exception. It's a nice problem to have, actually! I am fortunate to have such an excellent crew of friends and family, a great place to live, a sound mind and a (too) full belly. I am appreciative of my new job and everyone at work, and am fortunate that I have been given (and taken) plenty of opportunities throughout my career.

I must now resume the creation process of the gifts for my parents. That's my project today. This year, I'm appealing to sentiments rather than buying much "off the rack." Usually, these types of gifts are winners.

Lots of travel will resume in in Jan 07. I'm sure the stories of my friends in Airworld will abound. Until then, I can cheerfully enjoy the remainder of 2006 without my fellow citizens, and prepare for my time in 2007 as merely a (gasp) Silver Elite. There goes my scarlet P.

Usually a few interesting or offbeat stories occur during the week between Christmas and New Years. If so, I'll be sure to post.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

The Detroit Lions of game night

Last night was game night. We decided to play Balderdash, a game I had never played before but thought was right up my alley. The premise is pretty much to lie, attempt to get others to believe your lie, and at the same time attempt to learn the truth through others' lies.

I think I'm pretty solid at knowing when others are fabricating things. I'm also known for convincingly spinning a tall tale at times, all in good fun.

Complete with my toolbox, needless to say, last night I got smoked.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

My Favorite South End Restaurant

I have never, ever had a bad meal at Union Bar and Grille on Washington St. in the South End. Last night was no exception. Our marketing director Bev and I went there (we were supposed to take out an old radio friend of ours, but he postponed until next week, but we still wanted to go).

Bev has lots of radio stories which are fun to hear, especially when sipping a martini or a bottle of wine. We might, um, consumed both last night.

Their menu has about 10 appetizers and 10 entrees. I wanted 7 of the appetizers - so hard to pick. I chose the Buttercup Squash Bisque with Toasted Pumpkinseed Oil, Brioche Croutons and Parmigiano Reggiano to start. My entree was a special Salmon dish they had, which was seared with a delicious crush, and came with celery root puree and baby brussels sprouts. For dessert, we split the Vermont Maple Bread Pudding with Walnut Praline and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream .

One of the things that makes Union memorable is that right after you sit down and they take your drink order, they bring a cast-iron table-sized pan of corn bread - a nice touch and quite a dichotomy from the rest of Union.

The place is always packed, and rightfully so - probably my favorite South End restaurant. Bev knows the owner Jeff, and he gave me his card after we chatted for a while about how much I enjoyed going there. Always nice to have a name to drop and to know the owner!
Readers of this blog are free to shower me with many gift certificates to Union.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Scraping the bottom

The original intent of this blog was to chronicle the absurdity of traveling on business - sights, Airworldians, uncomfortable beds, and towel bunny sightings.

During these travel lulls, my lack of creativity drives me toward the commonplace everyday occurrences that probably aren't too interesting (i.e. "wow, I just discovered that chocolate chips in oatmeal are very delicious").

I probably should write about music at some point. Everyone who knows me is aware of my life in the world of broadcasting and interest in recorded music. I seem to be distributing many more mix-CD's lately (the recipients, I'm sure, are simply listening to them to discover new music and then go out to purchase the actual CD's like good citizens).

My friend Dan had a smart blog posting once about sharing the Top 20 Most-Played titles in one's itunes library. Though that idea wasn't mine, I'll me happy to divulge my top title - a bizarre 3-way tie actually among John Legend ("Save Room"), OK Go ("Here We Go Again"), and The Veronicas ("I Can Get Used To This").

I also mentioned, once, that I'm more a fan of succinct blog postings rather than paragraphs - bullet-point lists to satisfy my USA Today-esque consumption of the news. So naturally, I now write long postings in paragraphs.

As for the photo - I typed in "chocolate chips oatmeal" into google and checked out what images came up. Naturally, a ton of photos of cookies, muffins, and a photo of this dude. He's a US Representative from Virginia - "The Honorable Thomas M. Davis." Never heard of him. Apparently, he's a Republican. And a Scientologist.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Farewell McAllen

My moments of clarity seem to occur in the shower and at the gym. I could shower longer, but that would be wasteful. I could go to the gym longer or more often...but, well, y'know...

I was just thinking this morning (at the gym) how I haven't been to LA in 5 or 6 months - probably the longest amount of time in years. My trips there were never by choice or for fun...always work. I'm a fan of components of the LA metro area, just not the entire thing (it would be unfair of me to bash the entire city since this blog seems to get hits from LA). Any city with such an overabundance of In-N-Out burgers gets bonus points.

I know that my business travel in 07 will take me back to LA at some point. It will also take me to places I'm now fine with (Austin for example), and others I'd prefer just to use for flight conenctions (Houston comes to mind).

Where it won't take me are places like Burlington, VT - which is such a cool and charming city all by its lonesome way up I-89, removed from the rest of New England in a world unto itself. It reminds me so much of Boulder, CO, another place I probably won't see again any time soon.

It also won't take me to McAllen, TX. Thank God. 5 trips there in recent years. No photos. No need.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


I finally broke down and hit the malls today for the first time this holiday season. We went to the Natick Mall, which is under some type of expansion. Their traffic patterns were terrible, and combined with their numerous jersey barriers for construction and general chaos of pathetic Massachusetts suburban drivers, almost caused me to move to Plan B before finding a spot open up. Although the journey spurred a terrific idea for my father's gift, the three of us walked out of the mall with 2 calendars among us. That mall is kind of lame, to be honest.

Next stop was John Harvard's Brew Pub for some necessary lubrication before doing battle with the parkers at Shopper's World in Framingham.

The parking lot at Shopper's World was surprisingly tame, and plenty of spots existed throughout. Stop 1 there was Babies R Us, a store I hadn't ever stepped foot into. We bought some pajamas with feetsies and some infant flash cards (a la The Royal Tenenbaums) for an undoubtedly gifted 6 month old. When my friend checked out, I realized that he hadn't asked for gift boxes, so I asked for him, only to hear from the cashier that they had none. Me, in my impatient irritated tone, asked, "ran out or never had any." They never had any. That tells me that some geniuses at Babies R Us corporate decided that gift boxes were unnecessary for their retail outlets through the holiday season. What morons.

The rest of the journey was relatively uneventful - Best Buy, Starbucks, Petsmart, AC Moore, Kohl's, and Linens N Things (where I bought silicone soft rubber ice-cube trays that made ice cubes with dots on them like pairs of dice, only to bring them home, fill them with water, and realize that soft silicone water-filled trays are pretty difficult to move into the freezer without major spillage). We did see a dude in a chicken suit, though. And for some reason my inquiry at Petsmart about the small packages of live crickets caused a sales associate to help me for about ten minutes, thinking that I was interested in buying a frog.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Consumer demographics

You know you walked into a convenience store with a large college-aged customer base when amidst the candy and TV Guides, you see a display of individual ping-pong balls for sale. 50 cents each.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Expression of choice

Companies can absolutely betray consumers.

But can consumers betray companies? Is that a true definition of betrayal, or just an expression of choice.

I chose to fly more Delta and JetBlue (who are now flying nonstop BOS to San Juan, PR) because their extensive nonstop direct options from Boston match my new job's travel needs quite well.

Continental from Boston, besides some odd turboprop routes to places like Rutland, VT and Islip, NY, is a journey of flying through their hubs.

Though their ship isn't sinking, I'm glad to be one of the rats who already jumped off that boat. Their proposed merger with United stinks of the fatcat investors getting fatter, and the consumers losing out. When airlines #2 and #5 merge - that can't be good for competiton.

And in a separate but related story, there is a proposed AirTran / Midwest hostile takeover on the table.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Double-beat loaf

Back on the road - first overnight away from home for work in a few weeks...and I'm spending the night with my beloved parents in New York. I happened to mention yesterday that I had meetings nearby, and they laid the guilt on very thick when I told them that my plan was to drive down and back from Boston the same day ("You never visit" (untrue) "You visit like once a month" (I think that's untrue too).)

It's always an added plus when I happen to drop in on meatloaf night.
And...just to clarify...the title of this posting refers to a line from A Christmas Story.

Monday, December 11, 2006


The photo below is of a sunset over Lake Coeur D'Alene in my one and only day in Idaho. Coeur D'Alene is about 45 minutes east of Spokane, Washington, where I worked once.
Sunrises and sunsets are my favorite times of the day - when the dark yields a multitude of colors in a seemingly random array of patterns during its transition to light (or...vice versa in the case of sunsets).
I thought of this picture as I left the gym this morning at 6:50am, only to be greeeted by the most amazing red and blue sky, which soon after became orange as I filled my gas tank. I took the long way home, driving along Dorchester Bay, to watch the final remnants of red and pink over some of the Boston Harbor Islands. I wish I had my camera with me, but a photo would not have done the views over the sky any degree of justice. What a way to begin a new week!

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Kenmore T Station is a joke

As the conversion to Charlie cards continues, the MBTA employee who works in the booth at Kenmore has gone from "grumpy" to "grumpy and doesn't care if people pay the fare or not."

I myself have stolen six rides in the past week.

I bought a $10 Charlie card at the Andrew Red Line station, in anticipation of a few after-work T rides and such.

Last week, I found myself with 4 others, 3 from out of town, as we shifted from our office in Kenmore to dinner at Bouchée Brasserie on Newbury St. (aside - this restaurant is very good, but I have seen some odd "just ok" reviews online, I would imagine because of price. The food, service, and atmosphere are all really terrific).

I had a $10 Charlie card, a $100 bill, and credit cards. T token people hate anything but the closest of exact change, and penalize others with large bills by giving a multitude of $1 bills as change. I didn't feel like carrying around 93 $1 bills. Thank god for automated Charlie Card machines that take credit cards and don't give attitude.

I asked if I can get tokens off the card (of course I can't can he determine the value? Wouldn't a card reader in token booths have been a wise investment for people in my situation?). He said the reader on the turnstile would read my card (well, no it won't...this isn't a monthly pass).

Finally after a few moments of confusion and planning, I made an executive decision and told everyone to simply walk through the iron gate THAT WAS ALREADY OPEN FOR MANY OTHERS TO ALSO WALK THROUGH, WHICH MANY WERE DOING.

How many $1.25 fares is the MBTA losing because of this guy, this gate, and the station? My lord let's enforce some of the rules here. I'm more than happy to pay my way because the MBTA doesn't run for free.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Providence Field Trip

I took a drive to Providence last night to check out Matt Costa, a guy on Jack Johnson's label. I have listened to this CD (or the digital equivalent) more than any other this year. It's incredibly catchy, well-produced, and filled with good songs.

Matt was not playing in Boston on this leg of his tour, and I missed him last time he was in the area. Luckily, I was in town to catch him this time. The crowd wasn't huge - maybe 450 people of so. But they were into him. Sing alongs to most of his music.

The evening was entirely nostalgic, given my history in Providence and the multitude of shows I have seen at the venue. I forget the specifics of how Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel now operates where The Strand used to, but that's the deal these days. The venue is currently such a letdown. I hadn't stepped foot in that building in over 11 years, and the interior looks like the owners haven't spent a dime on improvements since.

I remember seeing Tori Amos, Tool, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Oingo Boingo, Joan Jett, Sheryl Crow, Belly, and countless others at the old Strand, not to mention the WBRU Sat night alternative dance nights we used to sponsor (our nights were so popular, we used to sell the place out - over 2000 people - every Saturday. Around that time was the very start of moshing, and it got so out of hand there at times, they installed a "no moshing" policy that still stands today. I still have an old Strand T-Shirt with the anti-moshing policy on the back).

I have a photo I took from the stage right before introducing Sheryl Crow. I still think that was the biggest crowd I have been in front with a microphone.

The old Lupo's had a ton more character, but its layout caused for many sight-line blockages, depending on where you found a spot to stand. I still regret spowing up late for a Juliana Hatfield show where I caught just the final song of her opening act, Jeff Buckley (Grace is one of my favorite CD's from the 90's).

'BRU let me down as well - it was a "Cheap Date" show they were promoting with $12 tickets, but there wasn't a single mention of WBRU, no banners, no band into, no van - nothing. Why bother getting a co-promote if you're not going to show up?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sign your name across my heart

My friend Jamen wants me to blog about my making him my #1 friend of MySpace.

Unfortunately, while this is true because Jamen is a good guy and finally accepted me as a MySpace friend, this posting is not about that.

I signed my name 300 times today. Though I wish it was for adoring fans, I had to sign 300 recruiting letters to prospective candidates for our programs.

It's amazing how different my signature was on each letter. I figured my signature was my signature, but it tends to degenerate into an amporphous cursive mess after the 237th autograph.

What are the odds?

Today's strange confluence - Wham!'s "Last Christmas" coming on my ipod at the gym this morning at the same time as George Michael's "Freedom '90" coming on the gym's video TV channel?

I promise never to mention George Michael again.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Attack of the towel bunny

In anticipation of my forthcoming trips to Austin (currently unscheduled...but looming), here is a photo of a wild creature I captured in its natural habitat - atop a bed at the Courtyard Marriott Arboretum.

The towel bunny (terriclothigus bugsii), spotted in warm-climate economy-lodging properties, is a rare creature known for its edible hard-candy eyes and absorbant fur coat. When the towel bunny senses a sudden change from darkness to light, it usually assumes an attack position (note vertical ears for acute sensing of business travelers).

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Oh Haymarket, My Haymarket

OK my friend Jamen continues to yell at me that I don't write about my friends (well, specifically I don't write about him).

Unfortunately, this is another posting not about him.

I went to the North End this morning to buy some Torrone at Mike's Pastry. I thought it would be a nice bring-along to the numerous holiday parties I have this and next weekend. Their torrone is much harder that the kind I am used to, but I tasted some of it when I returned home, and it's very delicious.

I parked over on Canal St. because even at 9 AM, Hanover Street parking is impossible. Walking back, I detoured through Haymarket, which I hadn't done for quite some time. My most vivid memories of Haymarket are:
  • My friend Brian purchasing an entire box of limes for $2, and bringing it to Hennessey's on a rainy afternoon for an alcoholic warmup. We sat there, along with 4 other friends, surrounding a soggy carton containing many limes.

  • Spending $20 for an insanely huge amount of crudite vegetables for our First Fall Fiesta in Sept '01. We never had a Second Fall Fiesta for some reason.
Today, did not disappoint. I heard my fair share of inappropriate comments, but they came from patrons rather than the usual foul-mouthed vendors. One of my purchases was zucchini. I thought the 3 lbs. for $1 sign was 3 for $1. So now I own 10 zucchini. My solution is to make zucchini bread this afternoon for this evening's Christmas dinner.