Wednesday, April 01, 2015

District Coffee FTW!

I just learned about this cool new project that the BPU is working on to help combat issues with water main breaks in the winter time and provide a tasty new service to customers in the service area. The District Coffee project will tie into the heat exchange system of District Heating where both the water for District Heat and cold brewed coffee will be heated in separate tanks by waste heat. After being heated, the coffee will be distributed in lines that run alongside water mains, which will help keep those mains from freezing in the cold winter months. As water mains and the district coffee lines will be adjacent, it will be easy for local businesses and residents to tap into that line for an on demand supply of hot coffee. An initial hook-up fee and monthly fee will be assessed to those who opt to take part in the service. Hey, it’s a better way to get coffee on demand than using a Keurig!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Moratorium

It doesn't seem fair to do a moratorium in a year I'm still living in, if just for a few more hours, but I felt the urge to scribble a post.

2014 had a lot of good moments. It was a kind of relief from everything that had happened over the previous two years between Matt's mom dying and losing our dogs, Buddy and Zak.

Accomplishments: This one is not my own but I consider it a pretty major deal that Matt not only completed his Bachelor's Degree through Houghton College but he maintained a 4.0 the entire time!

Matt and I also celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in July. It doesn't really seem like it has been 10 years!


  • Four-day trip to Washington D.C. in March to see our friends, Brian & Tim as well as getting to see M. (long time friend and shenanigans associate) and Brandy (Jamestown transplant)
  • Overnight to Cleveland, OH in May to take part in an alumni orchestra rehearsal at Baldwin-Wallace under Dwight Oltman's baton one last time. Saw many old friends.
  • 10th Wedding Anniversary trip to Burlington, VT with a day trip to Montreal in September to finally meet Maurice.
  • plus numerous trips to Rochester, Buffalo, and Erie, PA.

Books: I read at least 15 books according to a scan of my Goodreads list in 2014, which is a marked increase from recent years.

Movies: Between Netflix, movies at The Reg, and our local theatre chain, we saw some good flicks including The Monuments Men, The Way Way Back, We Are The Best!, The Grand Budapest Hotel, Le Week-End, Guardians Of The Galaxy, Frozen, Mrs. Brown, A Single Man, Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day, The Trip, Funny Face, Slacker, New York, I Love You; Coffee & Cigarettes, Don Jon, Blue Is The Warmest Color, Geography Club, and The Interview.

Music: My top ten artists according to for 2014 have a lot of overlap when you consider that Johnny Marr and Morrissey both were part of The Smiths and Adam Schlesinger is writing/singing/performing songs for both Fountains Of Wayne and Ivy.
  1. Fountains Of Wayne (132 plays)
  2. U2 (126 plays)
  3. Morrissey (99 plays)
  4. Taylor Swift (62 plays)
  5. The Smiths (59 plays)
  6. Ladyhawk (52 plays)
  7. Enya (51 plays)
  8. XTC (48 plays)
  9. Johnny Marr (47 plays)
  10. Ivy (44 plays)
Violining: My violin was attached to my neck most of this Fall but for overall ensembles/concerts that I performed with this year, I offer this:
  • March - "Annie Get Your Gun" at Falconer High School
  • May - Jamestown Area Community Orchestra Spring concert at Jamestown High School
  • October - Jamestown Area Community Orchestra Fall Concert
  • November - "Les Miserables" at Jamestown Community College
  • December - The Living Christmas Tree at First Covenant Church

Random Bits: I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in October and have been on medications since that seem to have stabilized my levels so far. Matt made the decision in 2014 to get Lasik surgery on his eyes, but that won't happen until 2015. We bought a fancy, new convection oven, 5-burner gas stove in December after another pecan pie filling failure on Thanksgiving. I also bought a Pono device after buying Neil Young's pitch hook/line/sinker. It really does have great sound quality although I will admit I'm still mad at Apple for discontinuing the iPod Classic as that probably would have been my music player replacement for my iPod Touch, which is old and doesn't hold nearly enough music for my liking.

Looking Ahead to 2015: Who knows what could happen? It's going to be a year of some change with my office being moved to City Hall, Matt being able to see without glasses, and the fact that it's an election year for our Mayor. I've never been a fan of resolutions because they're far too easy to break, but I'm hoping that we go into 2015 with an open mind and patience for what lies ahead.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

28 Days Later

Here I am at the end of 28 days away from Facebook. What have I been up to?

Books I've Read:
Morrissey: Autobiography (UK Edition)
Why Can't I Be You - Allie Larkin
Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell
Summer In A Glass: The Coming of Age of Winemaking in the Finger Lakes - Evan Dawson

Movies I've Seen:
The Monuments Men
The Way Way Back

Blog Entries I've Written = 29

Pounds Lost = 2

Exercise Classes Attended = 8 (guessing at this since I only started recording on Feb 18th)

Nights Spent Snuggling on the Coach with Sammy & McKinley while watching many episodes of Poirot on Netflix = Too numerous to count

Outings Out Into the Cold to See Friends Socially That Weren't Connected to Work/Boards/Organizational Events = 3

Phone Calls to Parents = Three. One 2-hour call and one 1.5-hour call and one 40-minute call.

New Beers/Ciders Imbibed = 7
Southern Tier Brewing - 2XOne
Southern Tier Brewing - Grand Arbor
Otter Creek Brewing - Citra Mantra
Ballast Point Brewing & Spirits - Tongue Buckler
Stella Artois - Cidre
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery - 75 Minute IPA
Lagunitas Brewing Company - A Little Sumpin' Wild Ale

Musical Rehearsals Attended - 2. Will increase exponentially in the next week

Paczkis Consumed Prior to Fat Tuesday - One solitary over-filled, seemingly double-glazed wonder

Tickets Purchased To See Morrissey In Concert at Artpark: - 3. One for me and 2 for my cousin and his friend.

Buffalo Sabres Traded: Two

Monday, February 17, 2014

Stealing & Recovering a $5 Million Stradivarius in Milwaukee

It's easy to put a romantic spin on a story about the theft of a Stradivarius violin, but it was anything but for Milwaukee Symphony Concertmaster Frank Almond when he found himself tasered and his $5 million "Lipinski" Stradivarius stolen just before he got in his car following a concert.

Indulge me with a moment of levity. I can't help it. I imagine that there are many in my age group who automatically hear the pronunciation offered by Vincent Furnier, known professionally as Alice Cooper, in this movie scene:

Done? Done.

Almond recently told his side of the story to The Violinist's Laurie Niles.

Fortunately, the tale ends positively with the recovery of the violin and the arrest of the two individuals suspected in the case. Almond was back on stage with the "Lipinski" in concert a week after it was recovered.

One of the things I appreciated is that the value of both of the bows that resided in the violin case along with the Stradivarius were divulged: $20,000 and $30,000. Stradivarius violins are so desired because they produce an amazing sound, are rare, and still retain some mystery in terms of the exact combination of materials that work to give the instrument its sound. But every violin needs a bow if you are going to realize the instrument's potential. A bow's construction is just as important as its larger partner. Of course, a bow isn't much without a violin where you can still make music on a violin in the absence of a bow.

My public service announcement for the day to any parent who has a child who is becoming more serious about being a violinist and who is playing on a full-size instrument, is that it's worthwhile to invest in owning a violin and it's worthwhile to buy a quality bow. Your wallet may be unhappy in the short term, but your child will enjoy playing on a better quality violin versus struggling with a violin-shaped-object. The goal of purchasing a violin is not just to save on rental costs but to give your child the opportunity of a lifelong enjoyment of her instrument. Here are some other thoughts on the topic.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Coffee To The Extreme

Caffeine addicts, like me, will joke about needing a mainline of the stuff on particularly rough mornings. It's probably a good thing it never occurred to most of us to try something like this. As the sub title says, Never Ever Do This At Home:

Facebook-Free Month - A Two-Week Update

As of yesterday, I had gone somewhat Facebook-Free for two weeks. The "somewhat" is a bone of contention for me because I still have to log in to do updates to the work Facebook page. In fact, not even a week into my month-long hiatus I got an email full of pictures from my boss asking if they could be uploaded to the work page.

Logging in means there are glances at the top item in my newsfeed. Other times, clicking on shortened-urls in my Twitter feed that have led me to a Facebook post or image. Then there is the dilemma whether to allow 3rd-party apps, like FourSquare or Untappd, to send my update to just Twitter or to both that and Facebook. I'd say I definitely cheated when I used Selective Tweets  to send Matt a Valentine's Day wish to Facebook by adding "#fb" at the end of my tweet.

The negative newsfeed was the big reason why I wanted to take a break from Facebook for awhile. While it feels good to not have that sitting in the background constantly, I feel like I am missing out on stuff happening in my friends' lives. My first week away, some high school friends posted quite a set of hilarious (so I'm told) pictures of Friday night fun. One of them even taunted me via Twitter,
"there are pics on FB... You can enjoy them on March 1st ha ha"
Schedules have aligned so that I've had more face time than Face(book) time with some friends lately, but those get-togethers wouldn't have happened if not for the use of Facebook Messenger. Then there are friends who live far away who I wouldn't be able to keep up with if not for the dialogue we maintain on each others Facebook posts because they're not emailing/texting/phone call types. I'm definitely missing those people right now. I even thought about name-dropping them in this post but the list is getting rather long in my head.

This morning I was reading an article online about The Pub, a popular local bar that had a devastating fire last month. In it, it mentioned how pictures were being posted on the establishment's Facebook page of the interior of the bar and of work being done. I sighed, knowing that I wouldn't get to see them for another 2 weeks.

And then I thought, "There's nothing saying I HAVE to stay off Facebook for a month. It's a self-imposed hiatus." Of course, I'm not a fan of quitting a project early. It's one of the reasons why I steadfastly continue growing my hair out even though it's at a length that's driving me nuts. So onward I plow. I suppose it's a good thing that what I miss most about not being on Facebook is how it helps enhance actual relationships I have as opposed to missing the myriad of link bait that fills the newsfeed.

Friday, February 14, 2014

History of Women Moving On

Yesterday I shared the History of Men Moving On. Today is for the ladies. The ones who have been wronged. The ones who will get back up again and sing their heart out in the shower or in the car when any one of these gems comes on their radio/iPod/satellite radio/Pandora/Spotify/etc. etc. etc.

Happy Bacon Roses Valentine's Day

I got together with some friends last night for some girl time, wine time, and making bacon roses for Valentine's Day time. My friend, Allison, got the idea off Pinterest. As far as Pinterest projects go, this one wasn't too difficult other than waiting for all the bacon to bake. We call this success! Plus, who wouldn't, other than vegetarians, love bacon for Valentine's Day?

Thursday, February 13, 2014

History of Men Moving On

Here's a little something special for the day before Valentine's Day for all those guys whose hearts have been broken

Why Comcast Reportedly Buying Time Warner Cable Isn't Great News

The news has broke that Comcast has reportedly bought Time Warner Cable for $45 Billion. Hat tip to 106.9 Kiss FM for being the first place I heard about this dismal news.

Why isn't great news if you're a Time Warner Cable customer?

First off, you're taking the two largest cable and internet providers in the country and merging them into one. Their service didn't overlap anywhere, but then again there is usually no competition for cable service anywhere that Time Warner or Comcast is located other than going to satellite. On the internet side, the linked article above had this to say:

One likely important factor that would not be as consumer-facing but would still have a huge impact on consumers is the leverage that a combined Comcast/TWC would have with regard to bandwidth. With the recent removal of net neutrality regulations, Internet service providers have the ability to charge whatever they want to — or to block or slow down traffic for — online content providers. 
Also, it doesn't make me feel good that Comcast was also in the news this week for possibly being hacked

I do have mild concern in regards to what the deal would do to the Time Warner Cable News outlets. As much as I grumbled in the past about TWC taking over our beloved Cable 8 News back in 2011, I'd still rather have what we were left with than no reporters stationed down in Chautauqua County at all. Plus, I don't know that a merger would mean the end of the stations anyway.

In regards to how this will affect the wallet, I almost have no doubt that consumers would get the shaft in this deal. As it is, broadband costs are higher in the U.S. with much slower internet speed than the rest of the world.

Thankfully, this is not a done deal yet. The FCC and Justice Department still have to approve the deal.

UPDATE: To give you an idea of how much Comcast is loathed, Doghouse Diaries thinks wishing "A Comcast Monopoly In their region" is great revenge on an enemy.