Good thing I was just semi-groggy and not entirely still asleep while unloading my dishwasher this morning.
I looked down to find all of my knives and forks loaded into the silverware tray all facing upward, reminding me of Data from the Goonies falling into a pit of stalagmites and being saved by his "Pinchers of Peril."
Either I have been loading dishwashers incorrectly for my entire life, or one of my dinner guests on Saturday night was sending a message about how much they liked (or....disliked) the meal I prepared.
Monday, June 30, 2008
Posted by Jason at 7:06 AM
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Yesterday, I did something for the first time ever.
I used a Coinstar machine.
For some reason, I have always enjoyed the masochistic activity known as coin rolling. It must have been the sheer surprise that a bag of coins could be worth anything significant.
The silver bullet is always the dime. Dimes are paper thin and on a value per ounce basis, I would imagine that they worth more than quarters. I always underestimate their overall contribution to a pile of coins.
Even with the convenience of Coinstar, I was never too keen on giving up 8.9% of my stack for their counting service, ignoring the fact that my time spent counting a bag of, say, $100.00 in change is indeed worth more than $8.90.
But yesterday, I remembered that Coinstar waived the 8.9% fee if I elected to convert my coins into a gift card toward purchases at one of their partner merchants. Those merchants include a bunch of places I regularly shop, so I figured this was a perfectly adequate arrangement.
Not to mention that it's time to head back on tour and rock out again, as I was about to place an order on Amazon.com for Guitar Hero: Aerosmith (to be released next week), and didn't feel like charging it.
I ended up converting just enough coins with Amazon.com for the game, and then distributed the remainder between itunes and Starbucks.
$143.45 of coins no longer sitting in a Ziploc bag back home
Friday, June 27, 2008
Last weekend, I wandered around parts of the Common, Public Garden, and Copley Square. The weather was great, people were out and about, and it made for a perfect photography day.
Sometimes pictures are much more interesting when parts of the setting are eliminated.
The sidewalk outside of the Park Street T stop isn't particularly beautiful. The crowd of people mulling around usually includes passers by, tourists, those less fortunate, and vendors.
I took this shot of the T-Shirt vendor's cart - it's a decent representation of Boston and Cambridge in a nutshell.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Today is a groggy morning because last night was a late one for a weeknight.
Around 6pm, I had a text from Meaghan, asking if I wanted to join her for a private party at Eastern Standard, celebrating their being named one of America's Best Bars by Esquire Magazine.
Of course I did! I hadn't been to Eastern Standard in a while, but always enjoyed the place. Great menu, excellent mixed drinks, cool lighting and decor, and friendly staff.
I asked her how she was invited to such an event, and Meaghan mentioned a piece she wrote for The Boston Globe about their head bartender Jackson Cannon. It turns out Jackson has quite the story about his journey to this high-profile position, and it truly illustrates his and Eastern Standard's commitments to an integrated customer experience at their establishment.
Her actual husband Dan had to work, so I had the honor of playing stand-in. Perfect! Iron a going-out shirt, quick shower, throw on some cologne, and off we go!
Right off the bat, I knew I had committed two fashion faux pas. First, the black shoes I often wearing going out are square-toed (which now appears to be out), and I left my button-down shirt untucked (also out). But, since it didn't look like a smock, it made me look thinner, and fashion trends tend to hit Boston late in the game. So I was good to go, fully aware that my errors flew in the face of the exact magazine / party host that preached said mistakes.
The photo I shot is a bit blurry because I had the lens focused on a distant point. Whoops.
This is exactly the type of party that is covered in photos by the Improper Bostonian, and that it was. Their photographer literally looked at us as a potential subject couple, but skipped us over three times, possibly because of my couture gaffs.
Again shunned by the Improper, I jumped back into the food and liquid comfort. A few more oysters, Manhattans, and Side Cars later, Meaghan began searching for Jackson within the crowds.
Instead of Jackson, we found the owner Garrett (who I had met before, actually). When Meaghan reintroduced herself to Garrett, suddenly she became royalty.
It was a stunning transformation from party goer to superstar. Funny what a good writeup in the Boston Globe can get you!
Within moments, the bartender is mixing us special cocktails of their choosing, and we have a plate of fancy grilled cheese and fries, all compliments of Garrett. Wow.
Minutes later, here comes Jackson - with a big smile and a huge gift bag containing a designer cocktail shaker and four glasses that he purchased for Meaghan as a thank you. It seems that since the article came out a week ago, liquor sales have been up, and countless people have mentioned the piece.
Folks he does not know have been calling him by his first name as if they were old friends.
We stayed for another round (or two), and ended up leaving the 8pm-10pm party at 12:30am.
Hence, my groggy morning.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
When we moved into our new office digs in Quincy, we negotiated with the prior tenant, and elected to purchase all of their unwanted office furniture at a significant discount. While the furniture is not brand new, it's mostly in perfectly good condition, and very much in line with what one might expect to find in a standard office.
The desk in my office featured a set of three drawers that were locked, and we were without the key. I told Martin (our Controller who I have begun referring to as our Office Manager as well) about the locked drawers. He returned with some randomly discovered keys, none of which unlocked he lock.
I kept jokingly telling him that we would need to figure out a solution so I can get the tuna sandwich out of the locked drawers. In his Irish accent (that sounds angry yet is simply conversational), he kept telling me that there is no tuna sandwich in the drawers.
Fast forward to today. Martin walks in with a building maintenance person, and explains the locked drawers to him. Maintenance guy suggests that we simply drill out the lock, which works fine for me since I do not need to keep anything inside under lock and key.
A few quick minutes later, he drills out the lock. I open the drawers to find....
...as I suspected....
No, not a tuna sandwich. But rather cans of tuna. Cans that expired 03/06.
Yes, March 2006.
For lunch today, I packed a salad and a can of tuna from my kitchen cabinet.
That can expired 09/10, over two years after today.
So assuming that tuna has a shelf life of at least 2+ years, the can I discovered in my desk COULD have been placed there in 2003. Lord knows when the fish was actually caught.
Other highlights of my desk drawers include:
Cinnamon Apple Sauce
Crystal Light Drink Mix
A water gun
A pattern to sew a poncho
Three tampons, unused
Information about a newly (at the time) opened Target Credit Card
White-Out (yes, I sniffed it)
A bottle cap for a free 20 oz Pepsi or Mountain Dew
Naturally, I am planning to toss everything except for the bubbles. No need to throw out good bubbles.
Monday, June 23, 2008
One of the side effects of having very few airplane trips of late is this pile of magazines.
It sits atop my kitchen counter or dining table, and I swear it's never ending. When I get backed up in reading them as I am right now, the pile just mounts higher and higher.
I subscribed to a bunch of magazines because they provided for excellent airplane and airport entertainment. Quick info, easy to carry, not too heavy, and they can be left on the airplanes or in the airports for another traveler to read.
And by purchasing annual subscriptions, I was saving a ton of cash from buying one-off issues for 5 bucks a pop on the news stand.
But now I'm left with the subscriptions coming in, and not much time to read them. It begins to feel like an obligation - almost as bad as when my DVR list fills up.
I swear, some days I receive 4 or 5 new issues. The postal carriers must hate me.
But I have begun to dismiss the necessity of reading all of these issues cover-to-cover. Skimming works just fine these days.
And of course, I always recycle them.
Posted by Jason at 10:00 PM
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Just when I'm flat out of things to say, I have a full day like I did on Saturday.
I have resolved that whenever I'm feeling a bit of a lull, I need to grab a camera. Photos tell stories.
After a long morning walk with Rosie, and a long walk through the city during the afternoon, I was a bit spent and dehydrated. What a perfect physical state for a Beer Festival!
Beer Advocate's 2008 American Craft Beer Festival had its final of three sessions at the Seaport's World Trade Center, a building I had never entered. $40 landed me a plastic tasting glass, and full access to hundreds of interesting beers.
I had the schedule planned out, wanting to maximize efficiency. 3.5 hours, one 2 oz drink every 5 minutes = 84 oz of beer = 7 bottles. I figure 7 bottles of boring beer at a nearby bar would have cost over $40 with tips, so it justified the expense on a purely cost per fluid ounce basis.
So, I'm getting a bit jittery when we elect to pregame at the bar next door, ambling over to what has now become an incredibly long line. After 25 minutes in the queue, we're finally inside around 6:30, throwing off all of my calculations.
Nevertheless, it was time to dust myself off and begin drinking.
The beauty of the glass we received was that the 2 oz line was somewhere in the middle of the vessel. I'd say the average portion we received was 2.5-3 oz.
Since I have been on an IPA kick of late, I would estimate that 75% of what I tasted were IPA's and Pale Ales. Most of my decisions were made by simply figuring out what brewer's line I was standing in, finding them in the guide pamphlet, and picking their pale ale. Not much of a science to it.
Most off-the-shelf standard beers have alcohol contents in the 4.5-6% range.
I do recall many of the beers I tasted had alcohol contents in the double digits.
As expected, small portions of beer add up, especially when many are 11% booze. While my camera on hand was the pocket Sony without the auto-shake protection, I think the out-of-focusness of the shots complemented our inebriated states come 8pm.
Overall, what a cool event! I'd do this again next year in a heartbeat.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Last night, Jamen commented that this blog has become boring.
I admit it, I haven't had all that much to say recently. Nothing snarky, nothing observant, nothing nasty, no veto list additions, no more Southie turkeys, no more phone books, no irritating bicyclists, and no travel stories.
It has been a bit of a lull, hence photos of large radishes.
With routine comes predictability. My life lately has been far more routine that in any time in the recent past.
Drives to the office are generally uneventful (less an overturned truck hauling gravel). Stories of what I do all day at work aren't too thrilling, as my day involves lots of spreadsheets, surveys, meetings, calls, and what might be classified as standard employment activities (plus, I make a conscious effort not to write anything inappropriate on here about my job or co-workers - that would be unnecessary and unwise).
But that brings me to a question posed by my friend Dan once on his far more entertaining blog Surgical Strikes - just who exactly do I blog for?
As much as I wish I could say I blog for myself, I no longer do. Part of my enjoyment in keeping this site is seeing how others find it - links, searches, random people stumbling across it - and realizing that others indeed use Platinum Elite for entertainment and information.
Over time, with a large body of postings, more and more people land here. Google and Yahoo think my posts and photos are relevant to queries, because they send tons of people to the site. Perhaps there is useful info amidst my posts, shrouded in the form of my opinions and reader comments.
And while most recent posts might induce yawning, the beauty of maintaining a blog is that people land on past postings all the time. Just this morning, I approved two comments referencing my canceling XM Radio and the unrequested sugar in my Dunkin Donuts iced coffee.
So here's to my finding value in the mundane. It's now summertime. The livin's easy.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Thursday is quickly becoming my favorite weekday.
Even more so than Friday.
Because Thursday is vegetable pickup day in Jamaica Plain. My box share at The Food Project is in week #3 right now, and every week keeps getting better. It's almost like a surprise each week (today I received their email describing the contents of the box before picking it up, unlike the past two weeks).
When I arrive home with my produce box each week, I simply have to taste a bit of everything. Much of it was harvested just hours before I sample it.
Today we received two enormous heads of Boston lettuce, a bunch of chard, more scallions than I know what to do with, a small summer squash, and these radishes.
One of them was simply the largest radish I have ever seen. While I realize that large radishes exist somewhere, none have ever appeared in my mini cello radish bags (that the produce snob in me can't bare to purchase now!)
While I was preparing my sauteed chard, scallions, and pac choi (an Asian green, good in stir-fry, and still fresh from last week's box), I munched on the Huge Radish, saving the radish greens for a salad tomorrow.
It was spicy, crunchy, and tender. All around, a delicious huge radish.
Funny how a box of locally grown produce can change my mood. Maybe it's psychological. Maybe I'm nuts. But it's certainly a check in the "good for you" column that I'm doing this.
Posted by Jason at 9:37 PM
I haven't had the chance to wander the city much recently. But when I do, I find so many great photo opportunities.
Take this shot of Beacon Hill brownstone residences. Along with European-esque narrow winding streets, this typifies what I expect to see in that neighborhood - black shutters, red doors, American flag, brownstones, iron fence, and green grass.
Posted by Jason at 6:50 AM
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
I must admit - it's not every day that the Goodyear Blimp is flying over my head at 12:30 am during the final Rosie walk of the night.
But it's also not every day that the Celtics have such an amazing field goal percentage and win a Championship in decisive fashion. Good for them. Yes, I even watched the game.
It's nice to see the photos on boston.com - fans celebrating in bars, on the streets, and by tipping over flower planters (?!)
Here in Southie, it was eerie. Way too quiet for a city with yet another championship victory. I remember people screaming and cars blaring their horns down my street when both the Sox and Pats won, and figured the Southie faithful wouldn't disappoint.
Perhaps we're expecting wins too readily? Or, perhaps in being a Tuesday night at midnight, people were just ready for bed.
Posted by Jason at 6:57 AM
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Today, I drove to NY for a number of family obligations (I'm taking a personal day tomorrow as well).
This morning, I woke up to torrential rain during the time I needed to walk Rosie and load her into the car. Normally, I would have waited until the storm passed, but I had to hit the road by 9:30am. So, out we go, short leash and umbrella in hand, wearing my rain repellent coat.
Regardless of how much I attempted to keep the umbrella above Rosie, she still got soaked. Stupid me then loaded her right into the car after the walk rather than bringing her inside to towel off.
When dogs move from wet to no longer wet, what do they do? They shake out.
Inside of car is now soaked.
My jeans were also uncomfortably wet, so I locked her in the car, ran inside to change, and came back out to a car interior that was both humid and slightly pungent as the distinct smell of wet dog overpowered my air freshener.
Thankfully, Rosie seems to have overcome her aversion to my car, as she now freely hops up into it, and no longer drools uncontrollably.
Off we went.
I drove to the Dunkin Donuts drive thru, and ordered a #5 and coffee with just cream.
That's simply two things to remember. Arguably three.
Coffee (which may or may not be understood)
I received my #5 and cup of coffee, eating the #5 first, and finally taking a sip of hot coffee around one of the Masspike toll plazas.
It had cream and sugar.
WHY does Dunkin Donuts assume everyone wants sugar in their coffee?
I don't. That's why I say "JUST CREAM"
And...upon hearing those words...how hard is it to deliver a coffee that doesn't have sugar?
I got over my sweet coffee, and focused on the drive.
The rains ceased around I-84 (but continued intermittently), Rosie was well-behaved, and we made it without stopping in around 3 hours and 15 minutes. Great time. The sun even emerged.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Remember...say it three times whenever you get the urge....
Just because you have an oven, doesn't mean you can bake
Just because you have an oven, doesn't mean you can bake
Just because you have an oven, doesn't mean you can bake
Cooking? No problem. Baking? Eh.
Somehow, I was able to make two pans of brownies that were done on the outside, but wet in the middle. I was told it had something to do with the pan I used (i.e. a disposable aluminum pan from the grocery store).
Nonetheless, they looked delicious. But just weren't done enough.
I tried putting one pan in Todd's oven last night, thinking they could finish cooking there...and they just wouldn't finish cooking.
For today's brownies, I cut out the middle and transferred that into a glass pan. The outside edge is done enough to not have to cook again.
But the middle...is being re-cooked now (can one re-cook a part of a pan of brownies??)
In the future, it's simple. I just need to remember this posting.
Posted by Jason at 8:31 AM
Thursday, June 12, 2008
The cabinet project continues. Yesterday, my granite counter top was installed.
I think it looks great!
The stone isn't a perfect match to the existing counter (it appears a touch darker), it's about 1/2 inch higher than the existing counter (because I had to install the cabinets atop the flooring, rather than install the flooring around the cabinets as the builders did), and the finished edge isn't 100% identical to the other counter top....but all very minor issues.
The vertical backsplash really illustrates the unevenness of the drywall. It's hard to tell in the photo, but the middle part of the wall is a good 1/2 inch from the granite!
So onward we go - next step is the slate tile, which should compensate for the bumpy wall (the tiles are, by design, of varying thicknesses). I would have ordered and received it by now, but ran into a couple snags at Tile Showcase.
1. They no longer carry the decorative trim that I need (so I have to hunt it down).
2. The staff there who helped me were unexpectedly unpleasant! Very strange. I literally walked into the Watertown showroom with a receipt from my last purchase there a few years ago, measurements of the cabinetry, and examples of what I needed to purchase.
Somehow during my brief visit there, I was referred to as "this guy" by the receptionist (minutes after giving her my name), given a calculator to calculate the square footage of the tile myself, and received an entirely unwelcoming vibe altogether. Very contrary to my last visit there in 2005. Perhaps I forgot to brush my teeth or something?
In all fairness, they did tell me who manufactured the line of trim that they no longer carried, and gave me their information to try to hunt down a local distributor.
So, I decided to try to seek out the trim line first and then figure out what to do with the tile. Ideally, I'd take my measly $200 tile order elsewhere, but that would require hunting down another local distributor of that same tile. A phone call to Tile Showcase would be much easier.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
O cheeto, how delicious you are
Your crunchy texture
Pleases my palette by far
Your artificial cheese flavor
Sets off my taste buds
You stick in my molars
Much better than fried spuds
Your orange coloring on my fingers
Reminds me of how much I love thee
As I type away on my keyboard
The aroma of your baggie
Sets my mind toward
My next date with you, o cheeto
Posted by Jason at 8:10 AM
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
You know what, family of 10 picnicking on the grassy area across from Carson Beach on Sunday?
If you're going to f*@king come into Southie (welcome) and have a f*@king picnic, then bring your f*@king trash home after you're done.
One of the joys of listening to NPR each morning is how they delivery the stark economic news every morning. It's not a "fair and biased" Fox News approach, nor an overly sensational in-your-face presentation of the major networks.
Each morning, they tell me that gas has reached a new record high, foreclosures are increasing, unemployment is up, and the dollar has lost value once again. Then, they follow their disappointing news with gentle acoustic music, lulling me into a sense of complacency.
But finally last night, NPR caused me to think - how much am I actually spending on gasoline for my very un-eco-friendly-yet-wholly-paid-off Jeep?
In 2007, I spent $1,749.68 at the pump. Yes, down to the penny, I am aware of my gas expenditure.
So far in 2008, with gas much more expensive, I spent $502.12 through May 14th, putting me on pace for $1,338.99 (not factoring in how gas for the remainder of the year will cost more than gas for the first part of the year). Even if gas increases another 20%, I can project my year-end bill to be $1,606.78.
Now, those projections aren't perfect, because they also assume consistent consumption throughout the year. Nonetheless, I'm not hoarding a secret stash of gas in my closet.
I'm just driving less. Fewer leisure trips outside of the city. Less business travel. Fewer tooling around to unnecessary places.
I feel better. Just a bit, but better.
While I realize that everything is connected, and that higher gas prices cause higher airline prices, higher delivery fees, higher costs of food, lower consumer confidence, etc, I am comforted to realize that my entire paycheck is not going into the hands of the Hess on Old Colony Ave.
Even if gas doubled from last year, factoring out all other cost increases and assuming my level of consumption last year, that would cost me an additional $1,749.68 per month, or about $145 extra per month.
I was beginning to wonder if it's time for a more efficient car if the payment was going to offset the fuel efficiency.
At this point, it doesn't appear that I need to trade in the Jeep. 64,000 miles, a bunch of fresh repairs to keep it rolling. And it's only the third car I have owned in my 17+ years of driving.
$145 extra per month would suck, but it's not utterly devastating to me. It is still unacceptable, and sets a dangerous precedent should this rate of increase endure for years to come, but it's not game-ending.
I'm much more fortunate than those who have longer commutes or spend their workdays in their vehicles.
Monday, June 09, 2008
I must admit that I have nothing invested in the Celtics. Basketball just doesn't do it for me.
Sure, I can name a few of the star players. But that doesn't make me a fan.
Why bother watching a game when all of the excitement occurs in the final two minutes?
And even then, it's simply score, foul, free throws, score, foul, free throws - apply, lather, rinse, repeat if necessary.
I have, however, nothing against the Celtics. I believe I have been to as many Knicks games at MSG as I have Celtics games at the Garden, which would be exactly one game apiece.
But the fact that they are Boston's team is reason enough for me to be happy for them and the fans.
And as a sports fan, how could I not watch the prime time game last night, Game 2 of the Championship Series. I should want to be all over that one. We're definitely amidst a sports dynasty here in Boston, with the Sox and Pats having significantly contributed to the past six years of championships. And now, it's the Celtics' turn.
Is it fair to say that Boston has been the most successful U.S. sports city over the past six years? 3 Super Bowl wins, 2 World Series wins, and now this? There's a lot of cities with sports teams. Winning 5 of the 24 titles of the big four (yes hockey still counts) is a feat. If you consider Southern California as a whole, it appears that the Lakers, Angels, and Ducks have also combined for five recent victories.
So that's why I tuned in.
Only to realize that yes, I was correct. Basketball just doesn't do it for me.
After flipping to another program which will remain nameless (and would challenge my being male), I redeemed myself by surfing over to my DVR list and re-watching the final eight minutes of the Super Bowl. What a drive.
But then it was back to the game for the final few minutes. So I did see all of the excitement in the end, which simply proved my suggestion that the final two minutes are all I need to watch.
Posted by Jason at 7:18 AM
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Holy mother of God, it's hot outside. Even the beaches of Southie - which were packed yesterday - seems too uncomfortable of any endeavor today.
Rosie figured out that her strenuous job of laying on the deck causes heavy panting in this heat. She's returned to the comfort of central air.
We're enjoying a day catching up on the things that just kind of get away from us during a busy week - folding the laundry, bringing stuff downstairs to the basement, cooking for the week - menial, everyday things.
I also have a plan to immerse myself in Apple's iLife software suite which came with my MacBook Pro. I love the simpleness of their iWeb software, and am thinking that will suit me just well in creating a new website for my mother's artwork.
She doesn't need anything fancy, just an interesting business card, basically. Of course, I have more grandiose ideas of including a blog, links everywhere, and running Google AdWords - but that would require time and some work on her part. She's still in the checking email, sending the occasional IM, and playing Poppit on AOL Games.
Posted by Jason at 11:20 AM
Friday, June 06, 2008
Back in April, I joined a CSA program called The Food Project.
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and The Food Project is one of the local organizations that operates in this manner. The Food Project provides for many summer jobs for inner-city and suburban youth (teaming them up and having them work together). Plus, much of what they grow is donates to local food banks and hunger organizations. Their goals are quite admirable.
Food Project members purchase a "share" of the crops that they grow, and in turn, they distribute the crops weekly. I believe the rate this year was $425 for a weekly box of what appears to be 20-22 weeks of pickups. The box usually contains between 4 and 18 pounds of produce.
Yesterday was the very first produce pickup, an exciting day indeed. At the orientation, they described how the crop tended to become much larger as we moved further into the summer growing season, and that the first pickup might be quite small (like simply some greens).
So, on my way home from work, I'm half expecting to detour through the pickup spot in Jamaica Plain to pick up a box with a head of lettuce inside. No problem, I thought. Gets me into the routine of Thursday pickups, and it's still a head of lettuce.
I was quite surprised when the box contained two humongous heads of lettuce (one green, one red leaf), two parsnips, four small parsnips, and a full bag of baby spinach. Wow! And this is week #1?
I did not know what to expect when I joined, and my gut tells me that I am going to have an overabundance amount of locally-grown produce for the next five months!
This is also a good reminder that I need to buy a salad spinner.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
On Monday, I worked from home (well, from home and from the waiting room at the Jeep dealership - the beauty of laptops and wireless cards).
When the weather is pleasant, I like to leave the door to my deck open so Rosie can wander in and out as she pleases. We're fortunate not to have many flying pests here in my part of Southie. Large house flies seem to be more common than mosquitoes.
With my door open and me seated at the kitchen table, I began to hear some loud, consistent squalking - a volume and cadence much different from birds happily chirping.
I walked over the the railing in time to see these birds, along with about eight others, flapping around nervously. What could be causing the ruckus, I thought?
I looked down onto the sidewalk, and up the same path that the Southie turkey trotted last week was a midnight black cat with an unlucky still-alive bird flapping around in its mouth. A perilous position, indeed.
The captured bird was letting out a high-pitched cry for help, and its buddies up above were screaming back at it. Poor guy. I wonder what he was saying.
I asked a friend if it was bad luck for a black cat with a still-alive bird in its mouth to have crossed my path.
His response? "Yes, for the bird."
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
In an effort to answer some of the world's questions that drove people to Platinum Elite, I thought I would post a random sampling of some of these questions and provide insightful answers or comments.
Q. HOW TO REUSE BEER CANS
Q. HOW TO USE A DRUM SANDER ON A DECK
A. KEEP IT MOVING, OTHERWISE IT MIGHT SAND RIGHT THROUGH THE FLOOR BOARDS
Q. IF DRIVING HOW MANY MILES FROM LONDON TO CROATIA
A. WOW, THAT'S QUITE A DRIVE!
Q. JONATHAN PAPELBON - RED SOX PITCHER WHO DOES A CRAZY CAJUN DANCE AT HOME PLATE
A. YEP, THAT'S HIM
Q. PAINT INSIDE DOORWAY WHICH COLOR
Q. SANDWASH PAINT UNEVEN COAT HOW TO FIX
A. PAINT ANOTHER COAT
Q. TARGET STORE SOUTH BAY MALL SHOWER CURTAINS
Q. WHAT CAN I DO IF MY ITUNES CARD WON'T REDEEM
A. YOU'RE OUT OF LUCK
Q. WHAT COLOR SHOULD I PAINT UPSTAIR WALLS
Q. HOW DO I BECOME ELITE IN CONTINENTAL
A. FLY OFTEN
Q. HOW DO I GET BACK MY DEPOSIT ON PLASTIC SODA BOTTLE
A. RECYCLING MACHINES AT GROCERY STORES USUALLY DO THE TRICK
Q. HOW DO YOU PRONOUNCE HARLINGEN
Q. HOW DO YOU PRONOUNCE QDOBA
A. WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO?
Q. HOW LONG ARE ITUNES CARD REDEEM CODES
A. NOT LONG ENOUGH. REDEEM THEM QUICKLY.
Q. HOW MANY CALORIES IN A GRANDE SOY LATTE FROM STARBUCKS-NO WHIP CREAM
A. FEWER THAN IN A BAG OF KETTLE CHIPS
Q. HOW MANY TIMES DID YOU RESUBMIT TO ISTOCKPHOTO BEFORE APPROVAL
A. I'M STILL NOT APPROVED!
Q. HOW MUCH ARE LUXURY BOXES AT GILLETTE STADIUM
A. QUITE EXPENSIVE
Q. ACCORDING TO THE TITLE OF A PLATINUM 1979 ALBUM, WHERE DID SUPERTRAMP EAT BREAKFAST
A. IN AMERICA
Q. CONTINENTAL ELITE BOARDING PASS WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE
A. SAME AS THE REGULAR ONE, WITH "ELITE ACCESS" WRITTEN ACROSS THE TOP
Q. CONTINENTAL PLATINUM HOW TO DO IT
A. 75,000 ELITE QUALIFYING MILES IN A CALENDAR YEAR
Q. GILLETTE STADIUM HOW TO AVOID ROUTE 1
A. GET AN HDTV
Q. GUITAR HERO 3 HOW TO ""BEAT TOM MORELLO" GUITAR BATTLE
A. SAVE UP YOUR SPECIAL ATTACKS, WAIT UNTIL THE MAIN SONG IS OVER, AND USE THEM REPEATEDLY DURING THE GUITAR SOLO PART
Q. HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL ICE SHOW BOSTON, MA PROMO CODE
A. I HOPE YOU HAVE CHILDREN
Q. HOW CAN I FIGHT AMEX
A. YOU CAN'T. THEY WIN.
Q. HOW CAN I LISTEN TO WXRV ON MY MAC
A. NO IDEA. I CAN'T LISTEN TO THEM ON MY MAC EITHER
Q. HOW DID CHRIS BENOIT & HIS FAMILY DIE
A. CHRIS DID IT
Q. HOW MUCH DOES GOLD'S GYM IN SOUTHIE COST
A. $39/MONTH FOR ME
Q. HOW MUCH DOES PAINT COST?
Q. HOW OFTEN DOES EXPRESSJET OVERBOOK
A. RARELY SINCE THEIR PLANES FLY PRETTY EMPTY
Q. HOW TO BECOME PLATINUM ELITE EASIEST
A. I'D SAY A BUNCH OF LONG-HAUL FLIGHTS WOULD DO IT
Q. HOW TO BUILD A MODEL AIRPLANE OUT OF SODA CANS
A. UM, SERIOUSLY?
Q. HOW TO FIX A BAD INTERIOR PAINT JOB
A. HIRE SOMEONE
Q. HOW TO GET YOUR PHOTO IN THE IMPROPER
A. YOUR GUESS IS AS GOOD AS MINE - I FAILED AT IT
Q. HOW TO HANG CABINETS
A. A COUPLE FRIENDS AND SOME CHINESE FOOD
Q. HOW TO MAKE CUPCAKE CAKES
A. BAKE TWO DOZEN CUPCAKES, START WITH A STABLE BASE, AND WORK UPWARD
Q. HOW TO MAKE SANDWASH PAINT
A. DON'T MAKE IT, BUY SANDWASH PAINT
Q. HOW TO READ EXPIRATION DATES ON MILLER LITE BEER CANS
A. IF YOU'RE READING DATES ON BEER CANS, YOU HAVEN'T DRUNK ENOUGH
Q. WHAT DO STUDENTS THINK OF BOSTON UNIVERSITY?
A. THEY SEEM TO LIKE IT. THERE ARE QUITE A LOT OF THEM, THOUGH.
Q. WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOUR WINDSHIELDS BUSTED?
A. CALL YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
Q. WHAT HAPPENED TO MY ITUNES SONG CREDITS?
A. YOU DIDN'T USE THEM QUICKLY ENOUGH AND APPLE REPOSSESSED THEM
Q. WHAT IS A DOUBLE SOY LATTE
A. TWO SHOTS OF ESPRESSO AND STEAMED SOY MILK WITH FROTH
Q. WHAT IS SUMMER LENT
A. IT'S A SELF-IMPOSED PERIOD OF SACRIFICE FOR 40 DAYS DURING THE SUMMERTIME
Q. WHAT IS THE CAUSE OF THE QUANTITY OF TRASH IN BOSTON
A. PEOPLE NOT RECYCLING ENOUGH
Q. WHAT IS THE NAME OF THE SONG THAT WAS PLAYED ON OCTOBER 21, 2007 AT THE END OF THE BROADCAST OF THE ALCS GAME ON FOX
A. I'M SHIPPING UP TO BOSTON, PERHAPS?
Q. WHAT IS THE THIRD LARGEST STATE IN THE US
A. I THINK IT'S CALIFORNIA
Q. WHAT PART OF SOUTHIE IS THE PLAYWRIGHT
A. ON EAST BROADWAY
Q. WHAT RHYMES WITH AUSTIN AND BOSTON
Q. WHAT STORE CARRIES BEHR PAINT IN DAVENPORT IOWA
A. HOME DEPOT
Q. WHEN DID THE HACKLEY SCHOOL HAVE A FIRE
Q. WHEN IS THE END OF LENT IN ITALY
A. EASTER SUNDAY SOUNDS ABOUT RIGHT
Q. WHERE CAN I FIND A PINK ESCALADE LIMO IN MASSACHUSETTS?
A. NOW, WHY ARE YOU LOOKING FOR ONE OF THOSE?
Q. WHERE CAN I FIND THE STARBUCKS DUBLIN CITY MUG?
A. ON THE EMERALD ISLE
Q. WHERE DID THE OLD WBOS 92.9 GO?
A. OUT TO PASTURE
Q. WHO IS IN CHARGE OF MARKETING
A. GOOGLE CONTROLS EVERYTHING
Q. WHY DO YOUR EARS ""POP"" WHEN U TRAVEL IN AN AIRPLANE OR DRIVE IN THE MOUNTAINS?
A. PRESSURE CHANGE
Q. WII TENNIS + PLATINUM + HOW MAN
A. STRAP IT ON YOUR WRIST AND SWING!
Posted by Jason at 6:51 AM
Monday, June 02, 2008
I started Platinum Elite on Wednesday, October 11th, 2006, and somehow found 500 things to say to 27,600 unique visitors, 7,867 of whom found something interesting enough to come back for more.
In the world of blogs, that's not a huge number of visitors. But it is flattering that people find value in what I write - whether it's informative or merely entertaining, thanks for dropping by.
I have learned a great deal about website analytics and blogging during the past eighteen months. Sometimes, I can just tell when a posting is going to generate comments or receive links (both of which I greatly appreciate).
Some of the keyword searches that landed people on Platinum Elite range from understandable (yellow pages, Continental, itunes) to absurd ("elite boobs", "hipster vs. scenester", "is prostitution legal in massachusetts?")
There's a ton of great and amusing questions that people asked in search engines, and somehow landed here. Before I post those, I wanted to reveal a Top 10 list of the most viewed postings..
1. Mi Barrio
No idea why this keeps getting hits. It's a simple satellite photo of my part of Southie, and one of the first postings on Platinum Elite. I can't figure why it keeps getting hits.
2. KZPS Dallas - Lone Star 92.5
I listened to this station a ton about a year ago, and found its mix of music so unique - classic rock, country, and Americana, all with a respectful presentation. I believe the station has since tweaked its format somewhat. For a while, Google indexed my posting very high when people searched on terms related the station's name that I picked up a bunch of Texan readers and commenters !
3. My Starbucks City Mugs
One of the most commented postings thus far as well. It appears that there are a bunch of us Starbucks City Mug collectors around the world. I even traded mugs with Olivia in Germany as a result!
4. Posting 200
The last time I paused for a recap.
5. Hollywood Overstaying its Welcome in Southie
My local rants seem to be favorites of Universal Hub and Bostonist, as they are both generous with links. Writing about parking in Southie is a layup - always easy to get people interested and/or riled up.
6. Yellow Book Shame On You
Perhaps the crowning moment of Platinum Elite. It's nice to see how this posting continued the momentum of other local initiatives. People commented, sites linked to the posting, Fox 25 interviewed me, and I met with a City Councilor, all about the unnecessary distribution of these gigantic eyesores. My unexpected invitation into the world of social consciousness.
7. Canceling My XM Radio
I don't believe it was difficult as it seems...but truthfully, I don't know yet. I need to see if they bill me for June, as they have emailed me confirmation of the cancellation yet my XM receiver still works.
8. What Did One Parking Meter Say to the Other?
A moment of levity - Cambridge parking meters face each other, whereas Boston meters face the same direction. After I looked at the photo, it just screamed of them talking to each other. Hence the post. And the 14 comments!
9. Even Dogs Can Get Shafted During Snow Parking
I laughed when I saw this, laughed again when I posted it, and still find it amusing. Quintessential shot of snow parking in Southie, using a large stuffed dog as a space saver.
10. Departing Cruise Ship
Of all the pictures I have taken and posted, this is not my favorite. I like it - great timing, OK shot - but it picked up a number of inbound links and caused it to become popular content.
Honorable Mention to..
11. Boston Idiots on Bicycles
I'm a bit surprised that this was as popular as it turned out to be. Not just here, but also on Universal Hub, which received some spirited comments about this topic.
There might be a few more self-promoting posts this week. We'll see. But here's to another 500 postings here on Platinum Elite. I'm sure I'll have plenty to say.