:: Friday, May 30, 2003 ::
Ahhh...as a Red Sox fan it feels refreshing to be back in familiar territory.
This morning the glorious Red Sox held a precious 1/2 game lead over the hated New York Yankees in the AL East standings. But after tonight's MLB action, with Boston losing 13-2 to Toronto and the infidel Yankees beating lowly Detroit 6-0, the Sox are now a 1/2 game behind New York. Again. And as a bonus, the Red Sox have their first 3-game losing streak of the season. Sweet!
What were the local lads thinking?? At the high-water mark earlier in the week Boston had developed a 2-1/2 game lead over the Stankees. It was weird, it was as if East was West, and West was East, and the twain had met. Of course the Sox couldn't let that be and had to set things straight.
:: posted by Al on 5/30/2003 11:31:00 PM ::
I just got back from the dentist. I hate dentists. How can people actually want to stick their hands in peoples slimy mouths for a living?? I know the $$ is good, but come on, yuck. I swear they're all sadists; well at least my dentist is. She had me writhing in pain for more time than I thought was necessary. She was enjoying it. After enduring hours and hours of excruciating dental procedures she left the room and came back with this big ol' gnarly spike-thing and I broke. I yelled out: No more! I swear I don't know the location of the Rebel base! This is a consular ship! I don't have the Death Star plans! We're on a diplomatic mission!
I don't think she believed me. I don't know how I made it out.
:: posted by Al on 5/30/2003 11:07:00 AM ::
Boston sends Hillenbrand to Arizona for Kim
No, not the Kim who just got married to Rob in St. John, I'm talking about Byung-Hyun Kim, the Arizona Diamondback pitcher who had 36 saves last year. He was acquired by Boston from Arizona on Thursday for All-Star third baseman Shea Hillenbrand. Although Kim is just 24, the South Korean is in his fifth season in the majors.
Of course, Kim is best known for his Yankee Stadium meltdowns in Games 4 and 5 of the 2001 World Series, but other than that he has had a solid career with Arizona.
I hope this works out for us.
:: posted by Al on 5/30/2003 12:31:00 AM ::
:: Wednesday, May 28, 2003 ::
I was hired by my anonymous benefactor to search the globe for a unique object, one mostly unknown to inhabitants of this part of the globe. It was such an unusual item it was once thought of as only legend passed down throughout history. But recent clues dug up by careful research had piqued the curiosity of my employer to the point where it was now believed that this object may indeed lie hidden, somewhere on this Earth, waiting to be found by one who was up to the task, one willing to earn the right, one willing to pay the ultimate price to retrieve this treasure. Believe it or not, I was that man.
The task that lay before me was to locate, retrieve, and deliver into my employer's possession a bottle of the mysterious 'Grand Marnier Cuvee Louis-Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle' liqueur. For those of you unaware, this is the not as sweet, drier, made with older cognac, and not sold in the US cousin to the ubiquitous 'Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge' that you can buy off the shelf of any liquor store here in the United States.
I was given the first installment of my hefty stipend and set out south to the Caribbean to find fortune, and glory.
After months trekking through the dark jungles of St. Thomas, I now believed that the end of my quest was near. I found myself aghast as I stood at the long-lost entrance to the fabled Duty-Free Shop of Cyril E. King Airport. It really was a sight to behold. Ten evenly-spaced skylights in the ceiling of this large, domed room sent their shafts of sunlight down to a unique tiled floor: white and black tiles laid out in a lovely, intricate pattern. I stood at the doorway and looked across the wide room at an altar at the far end. There, in the supreme hallowed spot, lighted by a singular beam of light was a brown bottle with a silver and blue label containing a golden liquid, my objective for this adventure.
Two torches, many years old, were in their holders by the door. I took one down and lit it. I could see no barriers in the way to my treasure, it looked easy. Too easy. What was the dealio? It was time to figure out what I was up against. I kneeled and used the unlit end of the torch to reach out and tap a white tile. It was solid. OK so far. I tapped a black tile. There was a distinct whizzing sound and a tiny dart stuck into my torch. I wasn't cool with that.
I stood and looked around the rest of the Duty-Free Shop. The entire room was honey-comed with the same kind of hole that that dart came out of. Great. Torch in hand, I began my careful walk across the Shop, making sure to step only on the white tiles.
After some nimble footwork on my part, I finally reached the massive altar. The bottle sitting by itself looked both fierce and beautiful as it rested on a pedestal of polished stone. I looked over the whole set-up very carefully. I knew what I needed to do. From the pocket of my cargo shorts I took out a small, canvas drawstring bag. I filled it with dirt from around the case of the altar. When I had created a weight that I thought approximated the weight of the bottle, I bounced it a couple times in my palm, concentrating. I needed to replace the bottle with the bag as smoothly as possible. My dirt-weight seemed ready to go, so I stopped, took a breath and loosened my shoulder muscles before proceeding. I slowly eased the bag up against the bottle and then in one quick motion rolled the bottle away as I placed the bag in its place. I had made the switch! The bottle was now in my hand, the bag on the pedestal! Ahhh...now it was Miller-time. With a small grin I slowly turned to begin my journey back out of the Shop and had taken two steps when I heard an eerie stone-on-stone grinding noise coming from behind me. I didn't need to look, but I did anyway. The polished stone beneath the bag was slowly dropping out of sight. Uh-oh, my bad. This, apparently, was the start of a crazy chain reaction as some huge mysterious mechanism could now be heard rumbling into action deep in the ancient heart of the Duty-Free Shop.
I spun around and started my sprint back across the Shop floor, this time at around four times the speed of my previous effort.
The entire room began to rumble and shake in response to the mysterious forces I had unleashed. The rumbling was getting very loud and as I glanced over my shoulder I saw why: right behind me was a huge boulder comes roaring around a corner of the passage, perfectly form-fitted to the passageway. It obliterated everything before it, sending chunks of rock shooting ahead like cannon balls. I dashed for the light of the exit, not stopping any more to look back as darts dangerously flew all around me. I make sure I still have the bottle with me and make a diving leap out the end of the passage as the boulder slams inches behind me to a perfect fit at the entrance, sealing the Duty-Free Shop of Cyril E. King Airport for all eternity.
As the echo from the huge boulder slowly faded away I surveyed the scene around me. No angry locals, no ferocious beasts. That was a good sign. I let myself take a breath and felt a huge smile growing across my face as I realized that I could feel the presence of a smooth, glass object under my shirt. I reached in and pulled out a bottle of 'Grand Marnier Cuvee Louis-Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle' liqueur. I had made it out alive, and better than that, I had made it out with my treasure! Gee-whiz is my boss gonna be happy when I get home, I thought to myself.
Click here for some inspirational theme music.
:: posted by Al on 5/28/2003 06:46:00 PM ::
:: Sunday, May 25, 2003 ::
Yeah, I know, I didn't quite keep my promise of posting daily updates and adding more pictures. But what can you do? The fact that 75% of my readership was most of the time within 2 or 3 snorkel fin kicks to my left and right or inside a 10-foot radius of me on the beach may have had something to do with my lack of keyboard time. The fact is that we just weren't near our hotel room for the last half of the trip, the hiking and snorkeling and kayaking and sailing and the beach kept us too busy. We would get up in the morning and not return to the Westin until after midnight. Such is life.
The wedding was great, we took tons of pictures and we will be posting them up for everyone on Shutterfly.com for viewing and print ordering. We got back on Friday night. When we left the islands it was in the high 80s and sunny. Boston greeted us with low 50s and rain. Lovely. I'm down on the Cape now, I'll probably head back to Boston on Monday.
Hi Caroline, I hope I see you again before you go back to New York. (You get special personal messages like this when you say nice things about my blog site.)
I haven't seen Lori in over a week. I miss her so. Hopefully we will get a chance to see each other on Monday.
:: posted by Al on 5/25/2003 01:16:00 PM ::
:: Monday, May 19, 2003 ::
We downloaded some pictures, click on this link: http://www.thecia.net/users/space/stj/
One picture is a view from our hotel balcony, the rest are from The Beach Bar last night in Cruz Bay.
:: posted by Al on 5/19/2003 06:36:00 PM ::
Hello. I spent the day kayaking around Great Cruz Bay and painting with my watercolors on the beach. We are all now a little more redder than we used to be. The Westin has an inflatable rock climbing wall that is anchored 25 yards off the beach. It is really cool. You swim up to it and have to get yourself up the wall. Then you slide down one of the sides into the ocean. I've been King of the Mountain 3 times now.
Last night we went to a 'Meet and Greet' party that Kim's sister was throwing for everyone at a beach bar in Cruz Bay. It was fantastic. Everyone going to the wedding was there, we all were drinking Painkillers (pina coladas with more pineapple juice) and beer and eating burritos. I took lots of pictures. Some of us were having great fun playing with the electricity that was flowing through the un-grounded metal posts adjacent to the bar. It was funny. If you leaned against the post with exposed skin and happen to be also touching the concrete the post was bolted onto, you got a nice jolt that quickly got your attention. The bartenders loved us and eventually bought us all free shots. Not that we really needed them to, a round of 3 beers and a Painkiller costs $7.50 at Happy Hour. We ended the night by throwing each other into the ocean. Everyone bonded, Gary Pokraka is Taylor and Dave's new best friend. Taylor won $600 playing Internet poker when we got back.
I'll try to upload some pictures and get them up here soon.
:: posted by Al on 5/19/2003 05:30:00 PM ::
:: Sunday, May 18, 2003 ::
Well we made it, we are here!!!
Everything in St. John looks like it does in the pictures, it really is beautiful. We spent a couple of hours at the beach this morning, and now we are getting ready to go into Cruz Bay to buy some 'supplies' . Our suite is two floors and can sleep 8 people, it is really nice. Fear not gentle readers, this room also has a high speed Internet connection so I will be able to post on a regular basis. The Westin was a nice place to arrive at after a long day of travel. We ended up taking a plane to San Juan Puerto Rico, another plane to St. Thomas, a taxi to a St. John ferry, the ferry to the island, then a taxi to the hotel. Dave, of course, has already suffered a major tragedy as his luggage did not join us on the flight from the mainland. The airline says it has found it, so he is starting to relax. He's a magnet for that kind of stuff, I don't understand it. I've got to wrap this up as we have a party to go to at 4pm after we run our errands. What a hectic life I lead.
Oh yeah Jen, I am documenting everything with your camera. I'm taking very good care of it.
Lori: 210x2 :)
:: posted by Al on 5/18/2003 01:05:00 PM ::
:: Friday, May 16, 2003 ::
I'm leaving for St. John tomorrow, so you may not see a new posting on my blog site until May 27th or so. If I can get Internet access down in the U.S. Virgin Islands I will certainly keep you updated as much as I can on the sordid happenings down in the Caribbean. If I can't I'll take notes and let you know about all the good stuff after everything is said and done.
:: posted by Al on 5/16/2003 11:50:00 AM ::
:: Thursday, May 15, 2003 ::
We just got back from The Matrix: Reloaded and it was worth every penny. I won't say any more.
They showed a trailer for The Matrix: Revolutions after all the credits ran by. Of course that looks just as good.
Our friend Randy is a CG Supervisor for ESC FX, a California company that did some of the CGI work on the films. His name is way at the end, under the Xion Unit category if you are looking for it.
:: posted by Al on 5/15/2003 03:33:00 PM ::
I think I'm going to see The Matrix: Reloaded with Lori this morning. Cool.
:: posted by Al on 5/15/2003 09:25:00 AM ::
:: Wednesday, May 14, 2003 ::
The summer is practically upon us. I mean, it's almost Memorial Day weekend for cryin' out loud. I just got all of my information in the mail for a Triathlon that Jen and I are doing in July, which is only 2 months away. The Falmouth Road Race is only 3 months from now. That seems very close. I don't want to think of the summer in terms of months because it seems too short that way. All I want is some quality beach time on the Cape and several good opportunities to swim in Vineyard Sound before it starts to snow again. I don't think that's asking too much.
:: posted by Al on 5/14/2003 08:40:00 PM ::
:: Sunday, May 11, 2003 ::
Happy Mother's Day to all you Mothers out there.
Yesterday was First Communion Day for Lori's 9-year old cousin, Gabriella, so I of course have much to report.
If I haven't explained before in my entries, Lori's family on her Mother's side is Italian. I mean Italian. I'm talking just-off-the-boat 100% Italian. Those of you who have met some of them know what I am talking about. They're great people, very warm and friendly and I have a good time at every family event, I never feel uncomfortable at all. Those of you who know me know that I am not Italian. Not even a little. If Krissy hasn't brought her fiance Theo I'm usually the token non-Italian at these things. But Krissy was sick yesterday so they didn't make it. I've got to learn Italian, I really think I miss out by not understanding what people are talking about sometimes. How hard can it be? Lori's very cute 2-year old and 4-year old cousins Alessia and Isabella can understand full-on, super-fast Italian commands from their grandfather so I should be able to swing it eventually. Right now I know like 5 words of Italian and use them sparingly only in situations where I know I can get the most bang for my buck. Calling people a 'faccia bruta' (ugly face) is one of my favorites. Always good for a laugh when it comes unprompted out of my mouth. I used that gem yesterday on Lori when she and her Nana were complementing each other on their appearances. Brought the house down when I dropped that baby into the conversation. My hit-and-run Italian earns me major points with Nana.
So anyway, we are all in church for the First Communion ceremony, standing and watching the kids come down the aisle in their procession. All the little girls are wearing flowered tiaras and white dresses that look like mini-wedding gowns and all the little boys are wearing solid white suits and shoes and look like mini TV evangelists. But that's not what holds my attention. I must have realized it at some time before that precise moment in the church, but from my seat in the back I can fully comprehend the fact that I am like 6 inches taller than every member of Lori's family. I mean the starting Center on her family's basketball team is like 5'6", tops. I'm no giant, and I'm no midget, I'm almost 6' on a good day. I suddenly had visions of Gulliver and people who represent the Lollipop kids.
After the ceremony we all headed back to Frank & Lisa's house for a party for about 50 people. All of Lisa's family and all of Frank's family. Yes, all very much Italian except for me. I wasn't worried. I introduced myself as 'Lori's date' to some people. Frank thought that our 8-year long date was funny.
Don't get me wrong, I thought the food at Krissy's wedding shower was great, but Lisa kicked up a notch for this celebration. She had the food delivered from some old-school Italian caterer (I didn't know boneless buffalo wings were old-school Italian, but I should shut up, it was really good) so it was a feast. Tons of meats and cheeses, and breads, and pasta, and stuffed mushrooms, etc. And of course there were more desserts than 700 people could have eaten. Lori and I took home enough food to open a restaurant.
Lisa's family celebrates these events by busting out the 'Italian moonshine' as someone called it; homemade 'Grappa'. Grappa is the distilled by-products of the winemaking process: the seeds, the skins and the stems after the grape pressing takes place. It comes out 80+ proof on the other end. We could have driven home on this stuff.
I'm going to go raid my fridge. Breakfast of champions: coffee, cold buffalo wings, and fresh mozzarella cheese.
:: posted by Al on 5/11/2003 11:16:00 AM ::
:: Thursday, May 08, 2003 ::
I am in a quandary.
I enjoy reading The Boston Globe every morning, but lately I've been thinking and realizing that maybe I shouldn't be so happy. It is turning into the The New York Times, Boston Edition. I should not be so surprised as The New York Times Company owns both the New York Times and The Boston Globe. Sometimes the Globe's spin on their stories is a little too far to the extreme left for my liking. I'm more moderate. I've also noticed that the Globe sometimes omits stories that look down upon The New York Times Company and its holdings. That's close to being censorship. Maybe my issue is because The Boston Globe told it's writers that they would be fired if they went on my favorite local sports radio station, WEEI 850-AM, because it was "offensive", which is crazy. But on the other hand, the Globe's coverage of local stories, if not too political, can be pretty good and I like keeping up to date on the local stuff. I don't have very many options.
The Boston Herald, "The Workingman's Paper", has a far more moderate angle on everything, and also doesn't seem to censor it's stories as much. But I hate it's size, you read it like a big magazine, like The New York Post. That's the deal breaker. I like my paper to be big and have a fold across the middle of the page.
I don't like reading the news online either. I do read online to a degree, but in my opinion news should be delivered on off-white newspaper stock. It's much more pleasing to the eye and it brings that familiar warm feeling to the daily information absorption experience.
Maybe I'll just read the ubiquitous free 15-page weekday commuter rag Metro, which claims to be able to be read cover to cover in 16.7 minutes. I think that's pushing it, 16.7 seconds is more like it. It's like USA Today-lite. I'll probably just stick with The Boston Globe. It's still a good daily news source.
:: posted by Al on 5/08/2003 05:33:00 PM ::
:: Tuesday, May 06, 2003 ::
A week and a half and I will be in the US Virgin Islands. Oh man...I can't wait.
:: posted by Al on 5/06/2003 12:04:00 PM ::
:: Friday, May 02, 2003 ::
(Dow Jones) - The nation's unemployment rate moved higher as U.S. employers cut jobs for a third consecutive month, suggesting the overall economy continues to struggle. Nonfarm business payrolls declined by 48,000 in April after a revised drop of 124,000 in March, the Labor Department said Friday. The unemployment rate rose to 6% from 5.8% in March. The increase in the employment rate was larger than expected, while the payroll decline in April was less than economists had projected after two months of steep payroll cuts.
:: posted by Al on 5/02/2003 10:30:00 AM ::
:: Thursday, May 01, 2003 ::
Today GW is going to announce an end to major combat in Iraq. He's also announcing the official start of the U.S.-led efforts to rebuild Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
6 weeks of actual war, start to finish. You gotta admit, that's pretty speedy for the ground that was covered.
:: posted by Al on 5/01/2003 01:37:00 PM ::