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.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Lemon Sunshine Over Chicken

Endless cold days combined with very little sun has me craving a hometown restaurant staple: Chicken French. I do not think it's a coincidence that the dish has made a reappearance in Wegman's $6 Meal offerings as I noted when I passed through the prepared foods department on Sunday.

The dish didn't originate in Rochester, but that city made it popular. The dish lacks love in certain populations. A friend who worked in catering in Rochester for a stint had no love for the endless plates of lemon-sauce drenched chicken. Despite that, The dish's ubiquitous home on innumerable menus of Italian restaurants in the area means you can taste test around town until you've hit upon the place that makes it just the way you like.

If you want to make this sunny chicken recipe at home, the Artful Gourmet's recipe pairs the chicken with a bright green side. As much as I love pasta, this combo is like a reminder of Spring and Summer in the mouth.
Chicken French & Lemon Broccolini

Monday, February 10, 2014

Undercutting Matt

Martha preps Matt for the cut
At least one hair stylist and one 1940s-Fan friend on Facebook posted a link to the haircut all men should get. I took a gander and agreed. For a long time, I've wanted Matt to keep his hair longer on top with short sides. Naturally, I schemed with our friend/hair stylist, Martha, about this new look.

On Saturday, he took a chance that we might have a good idea. In the end, we're all pleased with the result.
Martha begins the final style

Matt's new undercut

The new undercut style-side view

Another side view