Friday, November 30, 2007

Weekend Note

If you're looking for something holiday-related to do this weekend, don't forget that you can come hear a talented choir and pit orchestra perform The Living Christmas Tree at the First Covenant Church on Spring/Fifth Streets in the city of Jamestown.

The performance schedule is as follows:
Friday (tonight): 8pm
Saturday (Dec. 1st): 5pm, 8pm
Sunday (Dec. 2nd): 5pm, 8pm

Tickets are $5, and are available at the church, and at the door I assume. I've heard that Sunday's 8pm performance has sold slowly.

With that kind of performance schedule, I won't be up to much else other than sleeping in and my usual grocery shopping/news stuff on Sunday. Post-weekend, though, you'll find me at Labyrinth around 8pm. Something cinematic. That's all I'm going to say.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Didn't I Fill This One Out On MySpace Recently?

Tagged by Galoot:

I give you money and send you into the grocery store to pick up 5 items. You can only pick one thing from the following departments. What is it?
1. Produce: Cucumbers
2. Bakery: Plain Bagel
3. Meat: Lemon & Garlic Marinated Chicken Breasts
4. Frozen: Steam Fresh Broccoli
5. Dry goods: Salada Tea

Let's say we're heading out for a weekend getaway. You're only allowed to bring 3 articles of clothing with you. So, what's in your bag?
1. "dress" jeans
2. Black turtleneck
3. Black loafers

If I was to listen in on one of your conversations throughout the day, what 5 phrases or words would I be most likely to hear?
1. Geezus Eff!
2. Awesome!
3. Cripes!
4. Zak! Buddy! Go!
5. I'm not saying, I'm just saying

So, what 3 things do you find yourself doing every single day, and if you didn't get to do, you probably wouldn't be in the best mood?
1. Shower
2. Consume Caffeine
3. Consume Some Form of Media

Sweet, you just scored a whole afternoon to yourself. We're talking a 3 hour block with nobody around. What 5 activities might we find you doing?
1. Fold laundry
2. Make myself a big mug of tea
3. Catch up on my magazines
4. Blog
5. Go out for coffee to Ryder's Cup or Labyrinth Press Company

We're going to the zoo. But, it looks like it could start storming, so it'll have to be a quick visit. What 3 exhibits do we have to get to?
1. Otters
2. Prairie Dogs
3. Bears

You just scored tickets to the taping of any show that comes on t.v. of your choice. You can pick between 4, so what are you deciding between?
1. The Daily Show
2. The Colbert Report
3. CSI: Las Vegas
4. MTV Video Music Awards (just for a laugh)

You're hungry for ice cream. I'll give you a triple dipper ice cream cone. What 3 flavors can I pile on for ya?
1. Cookies & Cream
2. Banana
3. Vanilla

Somebody stole your wallet… in order to get it back, you have to name 5 things you know are inside to claim it. So, what's in there?
1. A Ryder's Cup Coffee Card
2. Business Cards
3. A list of books to borrow from the library
4. An old picture ID from when I worked for the county
5. Tickets for my In-Laws/Matt for The Living Christmas Tree

If you could go back and talk to the old you, when you were in high school, and inform yourself of 4 things, what would you say?
1. Go with the skater hair cut and dye it black. It'll grow out.
2. Don't go out with that guy again your sophomore year. He's an asshole and you deserve much better.
3. Find a way to do that radio gig at WBER that both Jennifer V and Joey Guisto thought you should do
4. You will make it to 30. Hang in there.

I tag Matt, just because.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I'm Everywhere This Week, Apparently

It's mere coincidence that I managed to get my name mentioned in both the Scene and the Word this week. Seriously. Matt called me a "media whore" at dinner. Whatever. Now excuse me while I go update my Twitter.

Congratulations on 10 Years Cable 8!

Time Warner Cable 8 News is celebrating 10 years this year. The Chautauqua Region WORD made that their featured article this week.

I extend a big congratulations to all the reporters and staff there who bring a truly local television newscast to the Chautauqua County area every week day.

I also thank them for being the reason I'm able to do the news for WRFA-LP.

Sidenote: Thanks to Mike Salamone for crediting me for taking the pictures for the article. That was more than fun.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Surviving In A World of Christmas

It's the holiday season. I'm not stressing about the season that much. I think that I recognize that I won't ever be into the holiday like others. I appreciate the vibe, but I don't buy into the season on a whole.

When it comes to the holidays, the "reason for the season" is a non-issue. I do not follow, nor believe, in any religion. I don't even necessarily buy into goodwill and cheer stuff. But since I have no desire to divorce myself from my family, I make the rituals of Christmas the holiday for me. But it's only certain rituals. It's not the tree, the gifts, or a priest on the pulpit. It's the "everything" cut-out cookies, pirogies, bad renditions of certain carols during Midnight Mass, Jill Sobule's "Merry Christmas From The Family," and "A Christmas Story."

Underneath, I think the holiday died for me when we found out my grandma had pancreatic cancer in November 2004. I stopped caring at that point. I lost a key part of the ritual I loved. A quiet Christmas morning of sleeping in, being woken up by my mom only when my grandmother decided she wanted to open her presents. Watching endless rounds of "A Christmas Story." My mom yelling that she hates that movie and why do we have to watch it again. A dinner of ham, shoe peg corn, cucumbers in sour cream, shrimp cocktail, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, a relish dish, and Asti Spumonti Blush from one of the Finger Lake Wineries. Dessert showed off my grandma's baking skills with homemade shortbread, snowball cookies, peanut butter cookies with a Hershey kiss, fruit cake cookies, and date nut squares that my dad would cut a piece from and say, "Here's your piece. The rest is no good. I'll save you from it!" Then, after dinner, watching whatever was on TV from Return of the Jedi to Christmas videos on VH-1.

Despite all of this, I'm at better peace with the holiday this year than the previous few years. I don't feel that anxiety, and even anger, that I've had before when trying to defend why I'm not gung-ho about everything. Maybe I've just gotten better at not letting the incredulous statements of, "You're NOT decorating a tree?? What's wrong with you??" get to me.

Local Film Makers

Thanks to the various sites with video hosting available, it's possible for people in a small city like Jamestown to share their creative works. Here's a couple I've come across. The films are all wacky in their own way, and that's why I like them.

a weekend on 3rd street

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Overheard at Labyrinth Press Company

"My friend James? He was caught by his mom watching porn. I don't know if there was any action going on. Well, a few days later a magazine comes in the mail. It was a gay porn mag and it was addressed to 'James Carpal Tunnel.' His mom saw it, freaks out, and sits him down. Wants to know if he wanted to talk to her about anything. I mean. He couldn't have ordered it himself! No way a 15-year old has a credit card. Anyway, he didn't tell me about that until a few years later, which was pretty good I guess. James Carpal Tunnel!"

-- Late Teens/Early 20s Guy at Labyrinth Press Company

The Living Christmas Tree 2007

This week is a string of final rehearsals leading up to the annual performance of The Living Christmas Tree (Related Post-Journal article).

The pit orchestra is rather squished in a space between the "tree" and the pews. In fact, I'm squashed just enough that I have to be careful that I don't run my bow into the side of the "tree" or catch it on any of the lights or garland hanging on the "tree." This leads to some interesting playing positions while I slouch or raise my violin up or down so I can get a longer note on one bow stroke. Add to that a children's choir that stands directly behind me and I have to be careful not to poke one of the little ones in the eye as well.

The music this year is pretty awesome. I understand that they did this "book" a few years ago, but it's all fresh to me and it has a Broadway musical sound rather than a Christmas-Church kind of sound. Dig?

Lots of tickets are available, apparently. Shows are at 8pm on Friday, November 30th, 5pm and 8pm on Saturday, and 5pm and 8pm on Sunday, December 2nd. It's only $5 and I think you have to go to the church starting tomorrow to get tickets. I know I'll be one of those people since I haven't had a chance to get out to get Matt's ticket for the 8pm show on Saturday yet. Even if you're not overwhelmingly religious, I'd encourage you to come. It's a nice musical event.
Now playing: Brave Combo - O, Christmas Tree
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Now That It's Officially the Holiday Season

HT Princess Slea

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? A mixture of both

2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial.

3. When do you put up the tree? Whenever Matt does it, otherwise we don't put up a tree. Don't tell my aunt, who buys me at least 3 ornaments every year for Christmas.

4. When do you take the tree down? If it actually gets put up, the goal is to get it down before the Super Bowl

5. Do you like eggnog? Yes!!!! Java's used to make a pretty good steamed variety.

6. What is your favorite gift received as a child? I really liked a magic set I got. It had secret compartments and all kinds of tricks.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? I think I have at least 2 nativity sets. That doesn't mean they get put out.

8. Hardest person to buy for? My uncles.

9. Easiest person to buy for? My mom

10. Worst Christmas gift ever received? I've blocked it from memory. I did get something that looked like a chin rest from a pen pal, but we never figured out what it was other than that he sewed it for me. It was more endearing than bad.

11. Mail or email Christmas card? I usually give the card with the gift.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? A Christmas Story. Duh! As if there's any other Christmas movie??? Kidding. A Charlie Brown's Christmas gets high marks from me (on this Tuesday at 8pm).

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Whenever I remember that I need to do that. This year, I bought the first gift sometime in September.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I don't believe so.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Cheese pierogis!

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? I like both.

17. Favorite Christmas song?

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Travel to Buffalo

19. Can you name Santa's reindeers? Probably, but I'm not in the mood to try

20. Do you have an Angel on top or a star? I use an ornament of Winnie-the-Pooh hoisting Tigger up to put a star on top of the tree as my tree topper. If the tree gets up.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? My family opens its presents on Christmas Eve and then we open some more with Matt's family on Christmas Day.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? The grinch in me would say "the holiday" but I do like Christmas to a degree. I think it's the hustle the really annoys me.

I Love Beethoven Too

Oh For Fun posted this, which game me immediate license to avoid writing a proper blog post.

Which Peanuts Character are You?

You are Schroeder!
Take this quiz!

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

PMS For the Holidays

Just in time for all the schmaltzy tunes and programming to invade our radios, televisions, and lives, I get PMS. I'm not in a bitchy mood, but that's by my own estimations. I'm sure Matt will claim differently.

My condition became apparently while reading a post on The Traveling Spotlight. By the end of the entry, I was sniffling and hugging whatever dog was closest to me.

Today it has continued. Tears welled up in my eyes as I read the last line in this Buffalo News article. I found myself reaching for tissues as I waited for my tea to brew at home.

Of course, one could just say that I'm a softie. That I've broken the cycle of being a jaded news reporter. But before you think this something other than my hormones doing that wacky female thing, let me tell you about this movie review and how when I got to the line "happily ever after" I let out an audible sigh of "Aww!" A movie review. I'm getting weepy over movie reviews.

Of course, I'd rather be weepy than be a raging bitch for the holidays. Bitchiness combined with holiday-traveling induced road rage would not be good.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

I Bake Okay

I tend to get a little dramatic when it comes to time I spend in the kitchen. I don't cook a lot, but when the holidays roll around I spend what I consider a ridiculous amount of time in the kitchen baking.

Tonight, I'm in the middle of a pie-making marathon. My fourth pie, pecan, is in the oven. I still need to roll out the dough for the final pie, cherry. That's waiting on Matt bringing home a second can of cherry pie filling that I neglected to note that I needed.

Part of tonight's process has included many trips to peer through the oven window at the temperature gauge I bought a couple weeks ago. Our oven's temperature is off by about 50 degrees. I didn't know this a year ago, and nearly burst into tears at the Thanksgiving dinner table when I realized that both my pecan pies had failed. My fingers are crossed for this year.

The three completed pies, thus far, are above.

Monday, November 19, 2007

7 hours, 4 fillings, 2 people, 270 pierogies

110 - kapusta (sauerkraut)
106 - farmer's cheese
23 - apricot
23 - prune
8 - prune/apricot combination

My arms are tired from rolling out all that dough.

Friday, November 16, 2007

To Do-ing

  1. Braving snowy weather for the first time this season to go to Buffalo tonight
  2. Making about 300 pierogi tomorrow
  3. Coming back to Jamestown and collapsing Saturday night
  4. Doing the news by noon on Sunday
  5. Going to Warren for a dress rehearsal at 2pm Sunday
  6. Hopefully not massacring music too badly for the Warren Civic Orchestra concert at the First United Methodist Church on Second and Market Streets in Warren at 4pm on Sunday
  7. Rushing home to change, take out the dogs, and get to Mojo's by 6:30pm
  8. Going to the Viking's game with the Forte crowd Sunday night at 7:30pm

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Small Worlds Equal Memes

Nuts! I thought I was going to get out of doing this meme after reading it on Oh For Fun!, but then I noticed that she was tagged by Jennifer. I've never met Jennifer, but I know the guy she's dating because he used to share an apartment with a friend of mine. Turns out she tagged me and people I know through the Buffalo Blogosphere and WBNY.

Rules: Here are the rules which must be posted on your blog if you are tagged:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules. My “tagger”: All Things Jennifer

2. Share 7 facts about yourself: some random, some weird.
a. I drum on the steering wheel while driving, and generally don't care if you catch me singing along with whatever is cranked on my car radio

b. My refrigerator is covered with mostly art magnets. I found while traveling that it was cheaper than buying posters and easier to pack whenever I took in an art exhibit

c. Every year I buy at least two to three calendars for our home. One is usually an art calendar, the other something a little more fun (like something by Anne Taintor). I've been doing this since Junior High.

d. I love flan, creme brulee, and tapioca. Something about vanilla custard desserts. I like the way they feel on my tongue.

e. I love black tea (English Breakfast, Salada, etc.) with milk. I'm not so crazy about herbal teas and only stock them at home for my friends who drink them.

f. I have some very set routines in regards to going to bed and waking up. Any deviation, especially in the morning, tends to make me feel off-balance.

g. I used to zone out and "walk" to school in my mind while sitting through 30-minute homilies at church as a kid because I knew it took 15-minutes to get to school and that once I got there in my mind, the sermon would at least be half over. Unfortunately, this has led to me zoning out quite easily whenever listening to a sermon, speech, or anyone droning on at a meeting about nothing.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).

Matt (Because he took a couple days off to play "the game")
Galoot (Because it seems to be one of the ways to get him to post)
Preppy Girl (Every time she does one of these, we find out some pretty neat stuff)
Mr. Social (He needs more memes on his blog. It can't be all art, all the time!)
Ineffablog (Ineffa just needs to get tagged more. Um. That sounds so wrong.)
Heidi (A gentle nudge toward another blog spot before the holiday season takes her away)
Sabrina (Just seeing if she actually still checks in on this blog in between *headdesks* at work)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Salaries & Non Profits

Buffalo Business First had a special insert in last week's paper titled All About Nonprofits: Featuring the 2007 Million Dollar Nonprofits (News blurb here).

There was all kinds of data included, but something that caught my eye were the salaries for the Executive Directors for some of the organizations. I understand that some of these organizations are quite large and offer many services, so I can see how an Executive's salary could creep into the six-figure range. I do wonder about staff salaries, though. Having previously worked in the non-profit arena, I'm well aware of the kind of salaries those jobs command. One hopes that the salaries offered to the people delivering the services are in a fair ratio to what the top executive of the non-profit makes him or herself.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Blue Horizons

I took this picture on our last trip to Rochester at the end of September. It's a view of Lake Ontario from one of my favorite places: Irondequoit Bay Pier.

I also rather liked this one. You can see a grouping of sail boats in the distance, but it's the star burst effect of the clouds that make this photo for me.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

"Hi, I'm Danny..."

This Saturday I met Danny Wegman.

A friend who is a manager there told me about Mr. Wegman's visit to the Lakewood Wegmans as part of his annual tour around area stores.

As someone who is a fan of the store, I thought it might be cool to shake Mr. Wegman's hand and, perhaps, request that he bring sushi back to our store.

The store was in fine form, with all products stocked in abundance. I tasted several samples being offered around the store including chicken French, shrimp cocktail, organic strawberry jam on brie, and spiral ham. The employees gathered at the front of the store when the executives arrived, cheering with music playing. I went about my errands, collecting my groceries for the week.

After I left frozen foods, I looked up and saw a man clad in a red sports jacket come my way. It was Danny! I paused, and said, "Mr. Wegman?"

"Hi! I'm Danny," he said as he extended his hand

I shook his hand, thinking it was the softest skin I had felt. "My name is Julia."

"Julia? Nice to meet you!" he replied.

"It's nice to meet you too! I just want to tell you what a great store you have," I said. I felt my face starting to flush to the roots of my hair. "I grew up in Rochester and when I moved to Jamestown it was a comfort to know there was a Wegmans here."

"Thank you!" Danny replied. Or at least I think he did. I wished him a good visit and we both moved on.

At least I was more coherent than when I met John Edwards.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Habitual Habits

I decided to add "Forte" to my tag list since we spend enough time there. Naturally, that leads to blogging about this wonderful establishment quite a bit. We were there again last night to duel with some drinks and see some friends. The drinks lost, and were consumed with ease.

I also would like to thank Nick for dropping this off at our table just when S-V-H and D-H whined about being famished for the millionth time:

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Washington Street Bridge Reconstruction

(Picture Courtesy of the Post-Journal)

Think about the Washington Street Bridge in Jamestown. Can you see it in your mind? It's that aging structure that connects the downtown area to the south side of town. Not the prettiest looking thing, but it's one of the few ways tractor-trailers can get to that side of town.

The good news is that the New York State Department of Transportation is going to replace the bridge.

The bad news is that after reading the proposed plan and getting some additional information about the proposed design of the bridge, the end result is that it's not pretty. The state apparently went with the cheapest design and not with what aesthetically would fit the area.

Think about where the columns are on the bridge now and imagine that as a solid wall from the top of the bridge to the ground. This wall would be about 3 stories high in spots and have openings for Harrison Street, the Chadakoin River, the rail road, and a set-back for the River Walk that's being developed on the north and south sides of the river.

If you're looking east or west, you'd no longer be able to see much of what lay on either side. Talk about visually ruining an area that the city is trying to make a destination where the river is concerned.

But the good news there is that the State is holding a public hearing this afternoon to get public input on the design. I know this news is a little too late for most of you to re-arrange your afternoon, but written comment can be submitted until November 20th.

I will be at this hearing this afternoon. Hope to see some of you there (details on hearing below).

The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) will host a public hearing to discuss the proposed replacement of the NY Route 60, Washington Street Bridge over the Western New York and Pennsylvania Railroads, Chadakoin River and West Harrison Street in the City of Jamestown, Chautauqua County.

The public hearing will be held on Thursday, November 8, 2007, from 4 to 7:30 p.m. in the court room of the Jamestown Municipal Building, located at 200 East Third Street in the City of Jamestown In Chautauqua County. The hearing will be conducted in an open forum format, whereby individuals can arrive at any time between 4 and 6:30 p.m. to discuss various elements of the design with representatives from the Department of Transportation. A brief formal presentation will be held at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the property acquisition procedures, followed by an open discussion.

The project, which begins at the intersection of Washington Street and West Second Street and proceeds southerly to the intersection of Washington Street and South Main Street, proposes to completely remove and replace the existing bridge with a new structure. Washington Street, from the south end of the bridge to its intersection with South Main Street, will be reconstructed. Written and oral comments pertaining to the project will be accepted as part of the official record. Written statements received on or before November 20, 2007, will also be placed in the record.

A Design Report, which evaluates the project's effect on the quality of the human environment for the proposed project will be available for review by all Interested parties. This report is also available for review at the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library, 106 West Fifth Street in the City of Jamestown, the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library, Central Office, 1 Lafayette Square, in the City of Buffalo and the Mayor's office at the Jamestown Municipal Building, 200 East Third Street in the City of Jamestown.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A Breath of Relief

Matt's predictions for a certain race in the city was off by only 5%, but that's still good. It means we're breathing a little easier in terms of job stability for one person in our household. I'm hoping that our lives will resume some form of "normal" after yesterday's elections, but I am realistic. Available free-time will still be at a premium due to things I'm personally involved with at this time of year (multiple orchestra concerts, pierogi making, pie making, Thanksgiving, radio spot creation, and a certain someone's birthday).

Last night, we spent time with some friends we hadn't seen in awhile. Matt, Tara, and I got to enjoy a "deconstructed omelette" at Forte. I blame that beautifully butter-drenched food item for why the scale registered two more pounds this morning than the day before. Bless Ian for creating it. I'm floating through today in a kind of weird, exhausted, relaxed haze.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Don't Let a Small Minority Decide Who Governs You

Today is Election Day.

As American citizens, we are given the right to vote for the people who we think will best represent us and our communities. Some people choose not to vote, for whatever reason.

My opinion is that if you're registered to vote, you should. Too often, we let a small group of people vote in the person who is responsible for creating the budgets that raise or lower taxes, or who decide whether we go to war. I know that's two extremes, but it seems to be what gets people riled up lately.

There's a story in today's Post-Journal about how one of our county's Election Commissioners giving an estimate about voter turn-out:
As residents around Chautauqua County make their way to the polls today, the county Election Commission’s expectations are relatively low for voter turnout.

Election Commissioners Terry Niebel and Norman Green said that they are expecting about 40 percent or less turnout in Chautauqua County.

‘‘It should be a normal off-year election,’’ Green said. ‘‘We expect a heavier turnout in Jamestown and Dunkirk with a less heavy turnout in the rural areas.’’

Niebel said that there are a number of factors which weigh on turnout for today’s election.

‘‘In the cities (Jamestown and Dunkirk), most races are contested,’’ he said. ‘‘That is not the case in many of the rural areas.’’

He also explained that the lack of countywide races, and the fact that many judicial candidates are endorsed by both major parties contributes to the relatively low expectation of voter turnout.

Niebel also encouraged people to check out for up-to-the-minute election results.

‘‘As soon as we get results, we put them on the site,’’ Niebel said. ‘‘Then at the end of the night we recheck the data and spend Wednesday through Friday rechecking the machines.’’

The polls will open countywide today at 6 a.m. and close at 9 p.m. Any residents with questions about their polling place or the election in general can call the Chautauqua County Elections Board at 661-7580.
After I read that and looked at the snow flying outside the window at home, I got worried. Lake Snow Warnings generally don't bode well for voter turn-out.

Please use the voice that you're given. Vote today.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Mish Mash

Matt and I have been on the aural mission to find songs that mash well. This is the latest we heard after running some random errands around Lakewood:

Marvin Gaye - Sexual Healing

John Mayer - Waiting For The World To Change

Friday, November 02, 2007

Hannah's Hope at The Crown Theatre

Congratulations on 40 Years!

Congratulations to Mr. Signorelli on celebrating 40 years of business running String Instruments Ltd.!

My parents and I bought my violin, bow, and case from Signorelli's back in the mid-1990s. Earlier this summer, I took my violin back to him for some work. He's very knowledgeable and has a great memory. He even remembered my violin after studying it for awhile when we dropped it off.

Jamestown Vikings Hockey Starts Tonight!

The Jamestown Vikings open their first season in Jamestown tonight at the Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena.

We plan to be there to cheer on our new team. Smackdab will be performing in the veranda room beforehand and I hear there were will be lots of chicken wings to be consumed and excellent prices on Labatt Blue beer.

Game time is 7:30. Tickets start at $6. See you there!

(Image Courtesy of this week's Chautauqua Region WORD)

Away, Away

We're on a mini-vaca in an area where they're experiencing forest fires (thanks asshole arsonist). It's an area that makes Clift...