Friday, November 30, 2007
Posted by Jason at 9:24 AM
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Posted by Jason at 7:24 AM
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
The Jury Commissioner for the Commonwealth respectfully notified me over the weekend that I will not be needed for Jury Duty on Tuesday 12/4.
While this cancellation would cause excitement for many, I'm bummed out.
I served on a case once before, about five years ago in the same court that was calling for me again - Boston Municipal Court - West Roxbury Division in Jamaica Plain. I thought everybody there was courteous and respectful toward us jurors, and I found the process interesting.
Unfortunately, the dude on trial for a drug dealing charge got off on an evidence-gathering technicality. The judge even told us in the jury room after the case that we probably made the right verdict based on the evidence presented (as obvious as his criminal behavior was), and thought we would be happy to know that he was on trial for another separate drug offense soon thereafter.
I was hoping to put somebody away this time.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Saturday, November 24, 2007
For a number of reasons, I feel totally lame for STILL maintaining my AOL email address as my primary personal email, the least of which being the "Loading...please wait" screen that AOL throws my way.
Should I marvel at the creative use of symbols to construct this cassette tape emoticon?
Perhaps I should fax them my opinion after I'm so kind as to rewinding the movies I rented.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
I completely understand regifting items. I have done it myself, as it's a pretty common practice. Smart. Economical. Environmentally-friendly.
Today, for one of my belated birthday presents, my parents regifted me a gift card they already gave me last month.
Sure, they gave me a few unique gifts that were not already technically mine (a BBQ utensil kit and a digital remote meat thermometer, both from Brookstone), but I couldn't help but dwell on what was included in the birthday card.
Last month, I happened to be in the area, so I spent an overnight with my parents. In the kitchen, they keep a small drawer for random mailings I still receive here, over ten years after having moved out for good. It's kind of funny that a few schools still think I'm college shopping.
My mother also throws newspaper clippings in there that happen to relate to our recent topics of conversation. I happen to mention my summer herb garden, there's an herb clipping. I mention something about poker? Poker clipping. Any time they see my high school mentioned in the paper - in whatever context - clipping.
Last month, I found a random $50 gift card for the local mall. The story behind that card was that my father bought it for a service technician at his car dealership for being particularly helpful, but by the time he tried to give it to him, he had taken another job.
Since this card had little value outside of Rockland County, NY, I left it in the drawer and said that I would pick it up during Thanksgiving.
For some odd reason, immediately before opening my birthday card, I happened to open my mail drawer and ask where the gift card was.
Little did I know that I was already holding it. For the second time.
Regifting something that's already mine. I didn't think it was possible.
I'm assuming that for Christmas, I will be given my high school yearbook. Thanks, Dad.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I'm at a total loss for content and things to blab about today, so I'm resorting to posting more photos from my Flickr site. I took this one in Siena, and it happens to currently stand as my third most viewed photo on my Flickr site (behind the one of horse butts and a Boston fire truck).
I'm sensing a common theme here?
Posted by Jason at 10:18 AM
Monday, November 19, 2007
How cool is this? I got an email from the editor of Schmap Guides about their interest in including this photo in the next edition of their guide.
I had never heard of Schmap, but they seem to have some useful interactive city guides online.
I think it's safe to assume that will be for their Amsterdam guide.
Posted by Jason at 10:14 AM
Sunday, November 18, 2007
I had a great birthday weekend - thanks to all of my friends who were able to join me during part of it.
Things started Thursday night after work when a few of my co-workers took me out to Cornwall's for a couple drinks after work.
Friday night, we went to Cottonwood, which while the meal was delicious going down, drove me to an emergency bathroom trip upon arriving back at Jamen and Chris' place for cake. I'm assuming something in the seafood paella wanted out of my body, and it got its way. Nonetheless, I still enjoy Cottonwood, and would most certainly go back.
I was supposed to attend a conference at MIT on Saturday, but the birthday drinks and paella misfortune grounded me for the morning. Instead, I went to a park off of Morrissey Blvd. with Rosie, and she enjoyed her off-leash play date with Same and some other dogs who were there. I was amazed how fast she was. Rosie definitely outran all of the other dogs there, and she was also quite obedient.
It was around the drive home that I started to suspect that Rosie does not like driving in cars (I'm assuming it's all cars and not just mine...or not just a result of my driving). She gets extremely nervous - dripping drool (she never usually drools), resistance to enter the car, farting in the car, refusal to eat treats, muscle shaking, and occasionally puking. We're going to have to work on this, as it adds a huge crimp in my ability to transport her. She's not going to be able to meet the family in New York for Thanksgiving, which is a bit of a bummer!
The puking, actually, didn't happen until the rise to Brian & Kelly's later that night. They made an incredible dinner that night for six - the three of us, Ryan, Jesse, and Hilary. Roasted chicken, delicious stuffing, roasted root vegetables, and a strawberry cheesecake from Cheesecake Factory (thanks Ryan!)
Sunday, I met Jeff and Ryan at Zaftig's in Brookline, and after an almost 2 hour wait (?!) during which we wandered around the area since the weather was so nice outside, we had a delicious lunch. I have been there before, and have had sandwiches from there at work, but have never gone there for the Sunday rush. Zaftig's rocks, but just not on Sunday mornings.
Now, it's time to wind down on the couch. I have given in to Rosie's puppy eyes, and now she is allowed to lie on the couch (atop her blanket), a position in which she has spent the majority of the afternoon and evening!
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
In honor of Ms. Ray's book signing here in Boston tomorrow, here's a craftily edited montage of her most pleasurable food moments.
I totally stole this from Bostonist, but laughed quite hardily nonetheless, so it's now part of Platinum Elite.
Posted by Jason at 2:28 PM
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Ok, just one more Rosie-related posting this week. It's been all dogs here at Platinum Elite for a few days. Understandably so. There's a new critter that wakes me up every morning with her wet nose.
I am still adjusting to the time commitment involved with having her. That's the biggest challenge. Grabbing slobbery tennis balls. Picking up her deposits back to the earth. Playing fetch down my hallway. Sweeping doggie treat crumbs - no big deals at all.
The time involved with walks and attention is the biggest change for me. It cuts into my sleep (bad), gym (bad), and poker (good) time.
Plus I have decided that I need to figure out a dog walker situation. Boston has plenty of them, but I'm always open for recommendations if anyone who is reading this happens to know of a good one who works in Southie. I'm thinking of splitting midday duty with a dog walker - 3 weekdays walker, 2 weekdays me (it's pretty easy to drive home during my lunch hour).
I thought Rosie could hold it during the day, but discovered a little wee wee accident today upon returning home from work. I wanted to see her limits...and I think I found them. I admit it, part of me was a little too cheap to pony up the dog walker cash. But, honestly a dog walker is not a huge amount, and well worth it if it keeps her active (and therefore tired) and my area rugs dry.
I will just need to play a little more poker...
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
I found this photo on Flickr as the perfect example of how I would like Rosie to be using her own very special LL Bean doggie bed (yes, it's another stock photo of a dog - this isn't Rosie).
However, she seems to prefer lying on the duvet cover atop the double-pillow top mattress bed in my bedroom. I found her in there twice this evening already. This after a full night yesterday of her under my heels and at my side watching TV in the living room. Tonight is clearly a bit different.
She has grown weary of being a mere evening companion of mine, and is now performing her queen-like duties of ruling the land as she feels she should.
Posted by Jason at 10:49 PM
Monday, November 12, 2007
When I went to Petco, I bought a variety of toys. Who would have known that her rawhide bone isn't just her favorite, but it's like her cocaine! After a while of chewing on Saturday, I went to take the bone away a couple times, a motion that Rosie responded to with a menacing look and by shifting position, maintaining full grasp of the bone. When I went for it with more authority, she growled and barked, the only time I have heard her do that. I figured out that she can chew on it for a while, and I'm able to take it away and hide it by distracting her with a treat.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Bostonist was nice enough to feature my fire truck photo on their site this weekend! I took the photo with my first digital camera about five years ago, but it still looks pretty current with the leafless trees (and last I checked, Boston Fire trucks are still pretty red).
You might have to scroll down the page on Bostonist, or jump over to a previous page to check it out there.
Posted by Jason at 10:13 PM
Friday, November 09, 2007
Actually, I am already on my second cup of coffee today.
Now I remember why investing in stocks was always so unnerving to me....days like yesterday, walking past the TV into the kitchen at work to learn that (at that point), the DOW was down 200 points again, and Google was down $50 a share.
When I had no money in stocks individually, and my security investments were limited to my 401k, I wouldn't pay it any attention. I would diligently record my 401k contributions in Microsoft Money, and make adjustments to my allocations once or twice each year.
During my previous experience with online trading, I remember doing well with XM Satellite Radio early on, and losing 95% of the money I invested in Starnet (an Internet gaming and porn company, I believe). This was 1998-2000 - Internet gambling was nothing compared to where it is today.
Finally this year, I decided to re-enter the market as an individual investor. I transferred some money from a high-yield saving account into an online brokerage account, and bought a few stocks whose products I believed in - Apple, Google, and Starbucks. I went with one more, PetroChina, on a whim - I figured oil and China were a good mix.
Fast forward five months. My portfolio is up almost 60%. Starbucks is the only loser. If I had doubled up on Apple with the Starbucks money, the whole portfolio would be up over 80%. In five months. I'm digging this once again!
PetroChina becomes the largest company in the world, market capitalization-wise. My shares were up about 115% at one point.
Then things take a slight turn. World markets freak out, sub-prime lending crisis, US dollar weakens, consumer confidence drops, oil is $100 a barrel, US gas prices are nuts....
DOW ping pongs a couple hundred points each day. Down 200, closes up 15. Huh? Down 150 at 3pm, closes down 300 an hour later. Next-day rally, it's up 250 again.
I put a Stop limit on PetroChina at $200 per share for insurance, and the trade is executed (I kind of wish it hadn't). In six months, this one stock went from $128 to $266, back down to $200 (where it is currently). I jumped off, took my earnings, and went to BJ's Wholesale.
This is worse than the swings on a poker table. My life was more harmonious when I didn't watch the market multiple times each day.
So, I encourage you to do your part.
Please note...iPods make lovely holiday presents. The Christmas blend and associated holiday products are in Starbucks stores now...go buy lots of them. And click on lots of Google AdWords when searching online....screw the natural search results. Make them pay for your attention!
More clicks, more coffee, more clicks, more coffee.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Environmentalists, please close your ears.
The T blows. Once and for all. Final answer.
I'm sorry, but I had a refreshing 15 minute walk to Andrew station this morning. Brisk fall breeze, sun shining, people smiling as they mull about the neighborhood.
As I approach the Metro and BostonNow distributors atop the steps to the dank Andrew Square station, I take my final gasp of clean air for 35 minutes.
I wait on the platform, refusing to look down on the track because I hate seeing mice and rats.
Rush-hour train approaches, packed as usual. Doors open. I squeeze my way aboard and inhale my first body-odor laden breath. No seats. I refuse to touch any of those poles or bars, as they harbor germs and disease. I grab around one with my arm, hand in pocket, hold on for dear life.
South Station. Finally people disembarking. I find an empty seat, still warm from the butt of the previous rider. Gross.
Park Street. Transfer to the Green Line.
Run to a C Line Train, ready to depart. Another packed cabin. No seats. Nobody looking at each other. Nobody smiling. Nobody happy about their present situation.
Kenmore. My stop. Walk upstairs to a station still under repair, dripping pipes, scattered puddles of water with pestilence, orange construction netting, makeshift plywood walls.
Finally, I walk upstairs, emerging from my underground dungeon. Pedestrians prancing around, sun shining, fresh air, gentle wind to dry my grimy T sweat from my brown. Life is good once again.
Why do I usually drive to work? I can open my windows. I can sing along to music. I can chat on my cell phone. I can enjoy my personal space. I can transport heavy possessions in my back seat or trunk area. I can get to work faster.
And I can (actually, I do) recycle all of my newspapers, cardboard boxes, magazines, cans, bottles, and plastic containers to offset the (smidgen of) guilt I have owning a gas-guzzling Jeep. If I need to add some Carbon offsets, so be it.
Anything to avoid the T.
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
I was very much looking forward to yesterday evening's focus group. Turns out the topic was pretty much what I suspected - a Continental Airlines credit card.
It appears that Continental is interested in the combination of perks will get high-volume travelers to pay $85 per year for their credit card. We spoke about our perception of airlines, travel experiences, and what motivated us. Boarding airlines early? Bonus miles with approved merchants? Free drink coupons? Guest passes for their Presidents' Club lounges?
Toward the end of the group, it hit me that I'm not sure that the "answer" was any type of consensus. What was important to me wasn't important to someone else. For example, if I had status on the airline, getting a credit card that permitted me to board early would be irrelevant to me (since my status would already grant me that privilege). Free passes to their lounge, however, would be nice (but wouldn't be important to someone who already paid for a membership). Perhaps they will go in an a la carte direction...at my suggestion, of course!
I was paying particular attention to the moderator and how she conducted the group, since I did that for many years myself. She did all the tricks - explained thew structure of the group, dispelled the doubts of the large mirror in the room (yes...it's a one-way mirror, yes there are people sitting back there watching), and attempted to get the group back on track every time we went off on a tangent, which was often.
I wonder how I was perceived by the moderator and the clients. I could have been the "incredibly astute young guy with great ideas," or just as easily "the guy who would always speak first and wouldn't shut up." Whoops!
Posted by Jason at 7:22 AM
Sunday, November 04, 2007
We lost another wrestling legend this weekend. I read that The Fabulous Moolah passed away. To non-wrestling fans, she might just seem like an older woman, but she was truly one of the best.
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Friday, November 02, 2007
...a Little God for a Friday.
I'm not overly religious, and Karin did email me the link to www.GodTube.com in jest (I'm assuming), but this, GodTube's most played video, is kinda adorable. I also found it on YouTube, and since that is linked here to Platinum Elite, I'm posting from that site.
Posted by Jason at 1:33 PM
Posted by Jason at 8:03 AM
Thursday, November 01, 2007
It's not just because November is my birthday month.
Sweaters gradually enter my daily wardrobe.
Ushering in the December holidays, Thanksgiving is a time to reconnect with family members or old friends from back home over a long weekend.
Football is the main focus of the sports world.
The calendar nears its annual end, getting ready to reset to a new year of opportunity.
In my previous job, November also marked the beginning of our "down time," which after an intense period of research and business travel, provided a nice respite from Airworld.
Posted by Jason at 7:42 AM