31 October 2007

Halloweeeen Quizzilla (Boo!)

1) What are your plans for Halloween night?

Trick or treating early. Friends stopping by after for a sugar high dance party with "Dorothy Gale" and a "Pig with Glasses." And if we're really lucky, we'll see an infant italian monkey and a wee girl in Peapod bunting. I'm sure wine and chocolate and Sweet Tarts will be involved. I can feel the first blush of a migraine coming on just thinking about it.

2) What are your Top 3 favorite Halloween costumes of all time? (It doesn't have to be one of your own)

-Charlie Brown ghost costume -- a sheet with numerous holes cut out and a treat bag full of rocks. (Me, a long time ago)

-Daniel LaRusso in the Shower (T-Bag, not that long ago)

-Aluminum Foil Swan Doggie Bag (Waiter at Dali -- not that long ago, via S)

3) Have you "Boo"-ed or been "Boo" - ed?

Both, several times over. In case you're unfamiliar, "BOOING" is a suburban phenomenon where someone leaves a sack of treats on your doorstep (usually candy and Halloween favors and junk), rings the doorbell and runs off. In addition to treats, the boo sack contains a picture of a ghost named "Boo" that you have to hang on your door to let other potential booers know you've already been booed and to go boo elsewhere. Once you're booed, you are charged with the responsibility of booing two other neighbors within 24 hours. It's basically a high maintenance chain letter. Of course, we've been booed a number of times, regardless of the ghost on the door. We thought of re-booing the boo sacks. So, we went out booing last night -- three neighbors -- which was a little too exhilarating for C&P. Future toiletpaperers and eggers of the South Shore.

4) What is your Halloween Candy personality?

Click here to find out and share the results.

I'm partial to Reeses Peanut Butter Cups, Twix and Twizzlers which, according to the chart, means I am a generous soul trapped between two personalities and deep down, a truly demented sicko.

5)What was the last Halloween party you attended?

It was two years ago, a Halloween/Birthday party for one of James' friend's daughters. They had this contest where you had to eat a honey-dipped donut that was hanging off a string with your hands behind your back. Caroline walked up to the line, ripped the donut off the string and wolfed it down in about three bites. In her defense, she was 2 and the other kids were 7 and 8 so it was ok. The other night we were wondering why nobody has Halloween parties anymore -- think Brandy Petes, etc. Then we realized that plenty of people still have them, we're just not invited to them, and even if we were, we probably couldn't go anyway. O-L-D.

29 October 2007

Car Troubles

Sometimes I benefit from James' inherent luck; other times he suffers from mine. A few months ago, he lost my car keys after a late-night hockey game. And on Saturday, he accidentally threw away my spare set. My only set. The act stemmed from a good deed; he was cleaning out my car and the keys ended up in the trash along with some take-out bags and straw wrappers from Dunkin’ Donuts. He then packed up the trash in his own car and hauled it off to the dump. That said, there was no divide and conquer on the to-do list all weekend as we had to wait until today to have the car towed to the dealership to have a new key programmed. $200 in the garbage, literally.

The rest of the day, a similar theme. That afternoon, we headed to Braintree for Isabella’s 6th birthday dinner. Demetra made a fat lasagna and ordered a phat cake from Konditormeister, so everyone was eager to get there. Miraculously, we were the first to arrive and immediately shared the car-keys-in-garbage story. Demetra told us that Maria was having her own car issues as we spoke: A flat tire, growing flatter by the moment, as she sat in traffic on Boylston Street, caught in the middle of an apparent Iraq War protest. In a series of frantic cell phone calls, she delievered the news: “My tire's going flat! I can’t get out of the city! There’s some kind of riot!” She’d told P to just go ahead to the party on his own and bring Isabella’s gift with him in case she couldn’t make it. P showed up 45 minutes later, looking like he’d just rolled out of bed, carrying some miniature Uggs and a roll of wrapping paper. We were still waiting for Nana Peg, however, who was bringing the sauce for the lasagna. “Where the hell is she?” Moments later, Peg walked through the front door, ashen.

“Uh oh. You look like you have a story too,” Demetra said.

“The sauce. I spilled the sauce all over the damn car.”

All was not lost. There was plenty of reserve sauce for the lasagna and Maria was able to get her car to the shop, hop in a loaner and make it in time to sing Happy Birthday.

Later that night, while trying trying to bring the kids down off a massive sugar high, we started half-watching “Stranger than Fiction.” In the movie, Will Ferrell’s character is due to meet an untimely demise because his wristwatch is three minutes off. I got to thinking that maybe all of these unexpected disturbances and inconveniences are really blessings in disguise. Fate. Or maybe it’s just mercury retrograde. That planet needs to get its ass direct!

So Good!

Once again, I fell asleep during the game, anxiety-free, and woke up to the scenes of celebration from Lansdowne Street and Colorado. This morning, James "dont' tell me what happened" was firing through the TiVo, and I was walking around with a poker face on, not touching the computer or radio. The entire scene and series was identical to 2004. It's not quite as magical but we'll take it. The Boston.com headline, in the spirit of Sweet C, said it perfectly -- So good! Bring on the Duck Tour Victory Parade.

26 October 2007

All About the Sox

Seems Bean Down Under is feeling the magic all the way from Brisbane! Two down, two to go. Finally getting anxious. And how 'bout Papa-Jima?

10/23: It's all about the Red Sox right now. It's all around us. Yesterday, people everywhere were bleary eyed from staying up too late watching the post-celebration unravel at Fenway into the wee hours of Monday morning. All day long, we moved through the day, riding on the energy and anticipation of the World Series, and an extra Dunkin's or two. I was waiting to post insights from BG, who is a much better sports scribe but he's too busy at work. It was then I realized that BG and Jonathan Papelbon are very similar creatures: Very focused on the task at hand, can be intense about accomplishments. But then can let loose and do an irish jig in his underwear, or do something like this. I hope we can harnass this sentiment over the next week. And I really hope that the anxiety of watching these games will somehow end with someone running the bases in a gorilla suit and a tutu.

18 October 2007

These Guys Can't Do it Alone

In a thoughtful, faith-restoring rant on the Red Sox, PU Correspondent Brownguy talks us off the ledge, explaining why it's far too early to sound the death knell.

These are difficult times for Sox fans (I’m not into the whole “Nation” thing – especially since the mini-empire assesses a fee to be recognized as part of this elite group). Everything seemed to be going so well when Manny clocked that 2-run HR Saturday night into the lower bleachers, followed by Lowell’s HR to take the lead. Sure the game became tied in the 6th, but our world and this series went to sh*t when Tito turned to Gagne to close things down in the 11th. Let’s hope that experiment is now over, and the next time we see that overweight batting-practice gimp, it will be in the 7th inning of the first Sox/Devil Rays game next season -- and he won’t be wearing the reds and whites.

Things haven’t been the same since.

Sox starting pitchers are only going 4 2/3 of an inning for the last 3 starts, and only 4 guys are hitting: Youk, Papi, Manny and Lowell. These guys can’t do it alone. The remaining line-up couldn’t hit against a guy who topped out at 90 mph only once on Tuesday night, yet was so impressed with himself that he bragged about it upon entering the dugout. Pedroia (.172 avg), Drew (.231), Crisp (.192) ‘Tek (.192) and Lugo (.208) have been atrocious in the playoffs. And these numbers actually include the Angels series where they did hit. Watching these guys at bat is like watching the 3 token girls on your co-ed softball team walk to the plate – it kills an inning and any hope of making something happen. (Sorry ladies, but out of all the co-ed games I’ve played, I’ve only played with 1 girl who could hit the ball past the pitcher with any velocity.)

OK, OK… enough of my glass-half-empty rant. The last 4 days have quite frankly sucked swamp-ass for this team and their fans. I’m waiting for Mo Vaughn and Jose Canseco a la 1995 to come up to the plate in Game 5 so they can slam dunk the ass festival. But let’s turn our thoughts to the 1999 ALDS. Remember that? The Sox were down 0-2 to the Tribe, won 2 at Fenway (one shellacking that I saw in person with T-Bag and Nova), and then clinched it AT Jacobs Field, with 2 improbable Troy O’Leary HRs after intentionally walking Nomar both times. And of course the grand-daddy of them all, Pedro crippling the entire Indian’s roster with a busted back in 6 shut-out innings.

("Wake up the damn Bambino. Maybe I'll drill him in the ass")

Now I know Pedro’s not walking through that door, and Troy is not walking through that door (thankfully), but perhaps Tito can let Ellsbury and Kielty walk through that door while Coco and Nancy Drew take batting practice – hell, maybe they can learn how to strike-out instead of hitting into double-plays all the time. 1 out is better than 2, right?

But consider these numbers I pilfered from espn.com: When a team is leading a 7 game series 3-1… historically out of 65 series, 34 of those series were won in 5 games by that team leading 3-1. 17 series were won in 6 games, and 4 series in 7 games. I know, a tad depressing. But in 10 out of those 65 series, the team LOSING 1-3 won the series in 7 games. “So you’re saying there’s a chance.” Sure it’s only a 15 percent chance, but that’s better than Lloyd Christmas’ chance with Mary Swanson in "Dumb and Dumber." OK – totally unrelated but that movie was great and I had to somehow reference it after stealing Lloyd’s quote.

("We're gonna getcha.")

So what, the Sox can’t win 3 games in a row now? The Indians just did it. The Sox did it 16 different times this season. Now I’m not going to cheapen the situation by reminding you all of how 2004’s ALCD ended. Let’s face it – that was an anomaly and something only characteristic of the personality in that team. But this year’s team and the ’04 Dirt Dogs have the same mindset for the next game (as well as any recovering alcoholic) – One Day at a Time. Tonight’s game to the Sox is Game 7 of a series tied at 3-3. And I like Josh Beckett going in Game 7 of a 3-3 series. I know it’s unlikely for him to dominate like he has in the past 2 games, but he’s rested and has been in this situation before in an environment scarier than Jacobs Field (think batteries coming at you instead of gnats). And the offense seemed to have an idea of how to connect on CC SaFAThia. And then we move to Game 6 at Fenway. Over the years, Schilling has typically rebounded well after a loss. Consider that this could be (in my opinion it will be) his last outing in a Sox uniform should light a fire under his ass. If that doesn’t, 39,000 obnoxious Sox fans will. And if they take that game, we move on to Game 7 where anything can happen, especially in Boston. Sure we’ll see Westbrook again – but the Sox will be ready for his junk. And hopefully that 1 hour internal conversation Dice-K had with himself at his locker after Game 3 translates to his arm. If not, we have Jon Lester ready to hit the mound with a shot of sake for the Dice man (did anyone else notice that he only gave up 1 hit in 3 innings last night with 4 K’s?). So hang tight Red Sox Na…. uh, fans. Yeah, this totally sucks right now – big time. But we’ve ALL had a day off to rest, and we’ll resume things for at least one more time tonight. And this privileged Pointy Universe correspondent is not shutting the season down just yet.

17 October 2007

Current Events Quizilla

1) Did Ellen Degeneres overreact on her show about the dog?
I don’t think so. She’s an animal lover and I think she was genuinely upset about what happened. She's a crier. I remember her crying on a show after hosting the Oscars. In this case, she didn’t use her show and position to bash the shelter folks (which would’ve been justified after their ridiculous over-the-top sting operation) but to apologize to them, a mea culpa for not playing by the rules. She offered a tearful plea to the shelter to give the dog back to the girls. As long as she doesn’t make a habit of it and become mawkish, it’s all good.

2) What do you think about the bridezilla suing the florist for $400K?
A reptile with zero perspective. How miserable a person do you have to be? It’s your wedding day, you’re marrying the person you love, in the company of family and friends, all is festive. But, the shade of the flowers is a bit off and it’s clashing with the décor. The wedding is ruined! I'm going to weep at my wedding and then sue. We all know someone like this, though. The perpetual malcontents, the self congratulatory high maintenance who believe that their relentless disapproval equals sophisticated tastes. But they’re usually the dregs of humanity, the kinds who would throw a bug into their entrées for a free meal. Sure, if it turns out that there was some breach of contract, she should get some money back. But $400K? Emotional distress and embarrassment? Get a real problem.

3) Is it over for the Sox?
I’m not optimistic, but they’ve done it before. Three years ago this week to be exact.

4) Did you watch Matt Lauer’s interview with Larry Craig?
Yes. I watched in amazement, thinking: Wow, this guy really believes what he is saying. I wonder if he realizes how transparent he is, how evident his self-loathing is. Nope. Talk about living on deepest plane of denial. And he and his “wife” sitting there, talking about their bond, the strength of their marriage was just more evidence. I’m always skeptical when people feel like they have to do PR for their relationships.

As one blogger eloquently noted, the history of similar charges against Craig, “have been sitting out there, like the one-eyed aunt dressed as an elephant in the middle of the tea party.” He’s been caught several times with his pants down but it’s always the result of a “misunderstanding.” I think it’s odious that he – someone who shapes policy -- condemns the gay lifestyle while pursuing one in secret. And then lies about it.

5) Have you read any articles, print or online, that piqued your interest recently?
Yesterday, I read a piece on the search for the new Juan Valdez. The search was likened to the quest for a Tibetan lama, a combination of "Colombian Idol" and "Survivor," but finally resulted in the selection of Carlos Casteneda, a third generation coffee grower. The real deal. Soon, he’ll be popping up randomly in your life, he and his donkey, peeking through your kitchen window or joining you at your breakfast bar, raising his mug to you in salute for your fine taste in java. And just like before, you won't find this the least bit unsettling.

15 October 2007

Truck Touchers

You can't throw a doggie bag of shrimp scampi out the window without hitting one of these popular suburban extravaganzas. Usually held in random parking lots, "Touch a Truck" events let kids get up close and hands on with the motor vehicles of their absolute fascination. Paulie almost faints whenever a fire truck or school bus rolls by, Caroline always asks if she can drive Stu's truck (mailman). Here, they were able to take their vehicular fancy to new heights, climbing into the cabs of 18 wheelers and hook and ladders, running amok on the back of a flatbead, and crawling around, in and out of some police cruisers and mailtrucks. Then they can got their faces painted and had some snacks. What’s better than that? Apparently the free trolley ride,
included in the price of admission, that takes you up and down scenic Route 53. The sightseeing through trolley windows proved to be much more exhilarating than that of the daily Volvo excursions:

“There’s 7 Eleven!”

“Oh my God, there’s Webb’s. It’s Webb’s! We take swimming lessons there!”

“Oh my, oh wait a minute, are we going to pass Finagle a Bagel? I think we are! There it is! Look!

12 October 2007

Go Sox

There will be anxiety, but thankfully it won't be New York-induced anxiety. Which makes all the difference in the world.

Underdogs no longer. Go Sox!

P.S. Happy Birthday to our Libra pals: Goy, Auntie and SAC!

10 October 2007

The Suburban Traveling Circus

As you know, the traveling circus makes many stops. In several gatherings and celebrations spanning two weekends, the TC experienced a birthday, an intervention, and a massive sugar crash. And another Red Sox victory, of course.

1st stop: Jack’s 1st birthday party was both nontraditional and traditional -- and quite a ripper, I might add. I hadn’t had a chance to view the photos until a few days ago and realized I had to share them all. Let’s just say the two photogs of record, Caroline and I, have very different visions.

2nd stop: LPD, Jess and I headed to the Scarlet Oak, which is fast becoming the venue of choice for bringing friends back in from the ledge. This time it was Jess who required help, having plummeted into a depression in the wake of Suppah Club’s cancellation last week. Her first night out since giving birth was nothing less than restorative.

3rd stop: Goy spread out the snack plates and set up a massive bouncy slide to entertain the kids while we cackled on the patio, passing around Sweet Baby James with much fanfare. Inside, as the games started up on TV, an intense match of Hungry Hungry Hippos broke out in the dining room. My lightness of mood led to poor judgment as I allowed Paulie to have a Whoopee pie after 8 p.m. In a prelude to a sugar crash, he ran amok with a hobby horse, giving new meaning to the term Hingham High. Shortly thereafter, he collapsed on my lap with a juicebox and philosophical declaration, “We can’t stay here forever.” Indeed, Paulie.

Enjoy the crappy slideshow documenting the ride. No music today. I couldn’t stomach the cheesy offerings of songs “in the style of" Kool & the Gang. I will find a way to pirate my way around this wet blanket, just not today.

04 October 2007

Bisons Clinch on the Common

The Renegades, in the typical dramatic fashion that has become their hallmark, won their fifth championship in six years, and third in a row after defeating that other team on the Common. For a recap, stats and more photos of the traditional post swill at the Sweetwater, please visit J. Roche's impeccably maintained site devoted to all things Bison.



Congratulations go out to T-Bag who was honored as 2007's Besotted Bison. Don't let this photo fool you. He was a force to be reckoned with this season. More on his win, here.

Stroller Envy

Parent or not, check out my story today Coveting thy Neighbors Stroller to see just how insane it's gotten in the world of keeping up with the Joneses. The wheels have officially come off the wagon and our new mamas and papas are steppin' it up left and right with their fly Bugaboos and Bobs. They are pretty cool-looking, but I'm so glad I missed this craze. Expecting buckets of hate mail for this one.

01 October 2007

Dan Talbot

UPDATE 10/2: Nice words for Dan from his local paper.

I wasn't going to write about this because it's almost too sad a topic for the PU. But I can't think of anything else today. By now, everyone's heard the tragic news of the Revere police officer who was shot and killed over the weekend. Dan Talbot. Dan was our tenant in EB from 2002-2004. He and his girlfriend Connie lived downstairs from us with two ferrets named Lenny & Squiggy, and then shortly thereafter two Jack Russell terriers which they named Louie & Rocco (in the spirit of Vito). At least twice a day, the dogs would get loose and run amok in our apartment upstairs and either Dan or Connie would have to come up and coral them. These hilarious little outbursts often ended up with cocktails in the kitchen. We really got to know them while they lived downstairs. They were good kids and you could tell there was a lot of love between them. On the news, people keep describing Dan as an "all around good guy" which was true, but the cliched expression doesn't seem worthy of his kind soul. Whenever it snowed, Dan, James and JAL would shovel out all of the older neighbors cars along the street. Whenever James needed an extra man for his hockey team, Dan would sign on. He cared about the neighborhood and would park his cruiser on the sidestreet to discourage the drug dealers across the street from doing business near our house. Needless to say, it got very quiet at Furio's House of Drugs while Dan lived downstairs. By the end of 2004, we were sad to learn Dan & Connie were breaking up and going their separate ways. "Too young," they said. I just learned through the news this weekend that they ended up getting back together last year; they purchased a condo in Salem four months ago and were planning an Oct 2008 wedding. Which makes this the worst kind of tragedy. The details are sketchy. Nobody's quite sure how or why Dan & Connie ended up behind Revere High School early Saturday morning. He was on the anti-gang unit of the police force and "words" were apparently exchanged with a gang member at a bar across the street prior to the shooting. Dan was only 30 years old. Then one night, a brief encounter, a judgment call, perhaps. It's all over. I can't begin to imagine the heartbreak. That said, thoughts can't be anywhere except with Connie on what are sure to be the most difficult days ahead.