August 23rd, 2006
One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.
- Will Durant

East Coast Road Trip Part I - A Day in the Car and a Night in Philadelphia

August 22nd, 2006

For as much time as we spent talking about our road trip, Josh and I really did not plan it in any detail. We knew what days we would be gone because other commitments and lack of vacation time set aside a block of days by the process of elimination. We knew what cities we wanted to visit and roughly who we hoped to see in each. Beyond that, we had no plans. We did not know how many nights we would spend in each city, nor what we would do while we were there.

There are always changes that can be made for the next trip, should it ever occur, but as the inaugural voyage it was perfect. I had an awesome time spending a few days outside of Michigan, seeing old friends, making new friends, eating way too much and doing it all in a span of 6 days and just over 1700 miles.

I do not vacation often, but I am at least familiar with the sense of elation that overpowers all semi-rational thinking once the trip is officially underway. Josh and I really had to temper our excitement to avoid a moment like the one in the movie Swingers when Trent and Mikey scream with excitement about their trip to Vegas only then to have to endure the majority of their long drive in an uncomfortable, anti-climactic silence.

Anyway, 14 of us set out on the roughly 600 mile stint from Detroit to Philadelphia: Josh, myself, and 12 crispy strips from KFC. Yes, they were all for me. He ate, so don't concern yourself with that detail. Excuse Explanation: It's just my road-trip snack. When I have a drive that will last that long, I don't like to stop for food...and I have a crazy fixation with chicken fingers (more on that later).

I loaded up my iPod with a few extra albums that definitely came in handy. Only once did we have to revert to an east coast/west coast showdown battling 2PAC and Biggie. I am sorry to report that, like the proverbial 100 coin flips, the battle still ended without decision. We had hoped to return home with the issue settled once and for all. Alas, the debate rages on...

Our first stop was actually in West Chester, PA and not Philly. My buddy Sean was kind enough to host us for the night, and he calls West Chester home. We stopped by his place to drop off our stuff and get him (and the other Sean) before we headed into Philly. We had serious business to attend to once in the city. I was a man on a mission. It had been two years since my last Pat's cheese steak. That streak must end before my night continued. And end it did (Wednesday saw one streak start and another come to an end) I had my "cheese witout" with my cheese fries and birch beer. There ain't nothin' finer.

The next stop for the night (after picking up Moyer) was Finnigan's Wake. Finnigan's is a bar I went to a few times when I lived in Philly that was closest to the atmosphere we were after. We just wanted something low key where we could hang out and catch up. Oh, it was also a chance for Sean Delaney AKA "The Verbal Assassin" AKA "Silk Spinner" AKA "I spit hot fire" to show Josh how my college friends bust my chops (let's hope he didn't pick up any pointers). It was karaoke night at the bar, which was an interesting backdrop for our night out and didn't actually come to the forefront until Josh thought it would be a good idea to tell the (rather unattractive) girls he was hitting on that I was going to sing my favorite song, which he reported correctly or incorrectly to them as It's Raining Men. Maybe he could have just gone with "Would you like a fish sandwich?" Perhaps if I were a better friend I would have helped the kid out and karaoked the song for him...

Unfortunately, Mark (joined the night by meeting up with us at Pat's) had to leave early because apparently some people work for a living. Shortly thereafter we headed out. We took Moyer home, allegedly because of the same lame excuse, before we headed back to... Pat's(!) for round two.

Cheese steak.
Cheese steak.

Life is good.

We talked briefly about seeing a few things in Philadelphia before moving on to the next road-trip destination, but ended up seeing nothing of the city on Thursday after we got up. In the end I think it was more beneficial for us to rest a little and hang out at Sean's since he had the day off rather than go downtown and try to drive around a bit. The excuse I used at the time was that Josh seemed to be chomping at the bit to get to our next destination (New York City) and since it was his birthday (more on that in Part II) I wanted to cater more to him. The excuse I use now is that it just means we have to do it all over again...

Stay tuned for East Coast Road Trip Part II - More Friends and Two Nights in NYC.

Number of consecutive days eating chicken fingers: 1.

Difference between bake and roast.

August 18th, 2006

Q. What is the difference between baking and roasting in an oven?

A. There is no difference. If you want to be finicky or traditional, you can't actually roast food in an oven — to roast traditionally meant to cook food (meat) with an open flame, as on a spit in front of a fire (as opposed to grilling on a grate over a fire). But the fire and its radiant heat were the essential components of roasting. Nowadays, roast is bake and bake is roast. -Ochef

$240 Worth of Puddin'

August 10th, 2006

I am a big sketch-comedy fan. I have avoided Saturday Night Live because for some reason I find it largely unfunny. I have spent most of my formative sketch-comedy enjoyment wrapped up in The Kids in the Hall, or more loosely known as the show Lorne Michaels did that was actually funny.

All it took was a "shh" in an instant message from a buddy today to send me reeling through the sketch-comedy archives in my brain. There is a permanent bookmark in said archives around what is probably my favorite sketch of all time. I know that is a bold title to give out, but I mean it.

Some of you may remember that MTV had a show years ago that fits with Kids in the Hall in my heart. MTV's The State was the comedy troup that has done a few movies and is basically the current cast of Comedy Central's Reno 911.

"Now I know what you're thinkin'. Barry and Levon, where did you get $240?"


"Don't worry your pretty little head about it baby."
"It ain't yo' concern."

It gets no better than this:

How Long to Keep Open Wine

July 31st, 2006


There are lots of variables regarding the wine type, method of production, age of bottle and on and on. There are all those considerations and exceptions but for 95% of the wine that most people drink, the answer is pretty simple.

Three (3) days. Around here, we keep wines up to 3 days after the bottle has been opened. Once a bottle of wine is opened, the oxygen in the air starts a process that initially softens the flavors and opens up the aromas of the wine. As this process (oxidation) continues over many hours and days, the wine is ultimately made undrinkable. The trick is to use the wine before it becomes unpalatable or to pour it out before bad wine is served to guests.

You can (and usually should) refrigerate recorked bottes. You can buy stoppers and gadgets to create a slight vaccuum in the bottle. You can get systems that put a layer of inert gas in the bottle. All these items and efforts are aimed at slowing the oxidation that will eventually destroy the wine.

What makes the whole thing tricky is that the wine will not go immediately from good to bad. The wine will, at a point, begin to progressively develop tastes that are unpleasant. Just like milk that is going bad, each person has a different point at which they identify the beverage as having gone bad.

If you want to play it safe (and who doesn't with either milk or wine), then just use the 3 day rule. Recork and refrigerate the bottle for up to three days. With red wines, pull the bottle from the refrigerator at least 1/2 hour before you want to use it so it will warm to a desirable serving temperature in the mid 60's F. With white wines or roses, just pull and pour when you need them.

Keeping opened wines beyond 3 days is like playing golf in a lightning storm. You may get through but you are tempting the fates. If you keep a table wine for more than 3 days, you will be serving a wine that has lost most of the characteristics that are prized. The aroma will start to change and much of the fresh fruit smells and tastes will subside. At worst, you'll be serving a wine that has oxidized too much and is partly or entirely bad.

Dessert wines like Sauternes, most everyday Ports and most Sherries can last much longer but those are special cases. Just play it safe with the 3 day rule. It is a good practice to write the date the bottle was opened on the label if there is a chance of confusion.

World Cup Scrapbook

July 7th, 2006

Since I have never been to see the World Cup, I sure wish I knew someone who has been and made an online journal of the places they went and things they saw complete with pictures and videos...

What's this you say? I DO know someone who went to the World Cup this year in Germany? And (his brother) DID make an online photo essay of their trip?


Get this guy off the stage.

July 5th, 2006

Not everyone deserves 15 minutes of fame...

MVI_0791.AVI 60 MB

Randy Foye - Draft Day

June 29th, 2006
Picture from's 2006 draft coverage

Congratulations to Randy Foye. He received an incredible amount of praise last night from everyone involved with the 2006 NBA Draft that I feel he has more than earned. I can understand that he was not drafted before the seventh pick, but obviously would have liked to see this Villanova guy go higher in the order.

I was a bit worried initially. His being drafted 7 was by the Boston Celtics, who had traded the rights to that pick to the Portland Trailblazers. That would be a horrible system in which to begin his career. The team has accurately been called the "New York Knicks of the West." The team is beyond need to rebuild and is not the place for a young guard to shine. When the news came through that Portland had traded the rights to Randy to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the rights to Brandon Roy and some change, my heart picked itself back up off the floor.

I was hoping, as the draft started, that Randy would land in Minnesota. If the Timberwolves look to hang on to Kevin Garnett it would be an unbelievable experience for Randy. He could really begin to make an impact early.

It is very exciting, as a Villanova graduate and basketball fan, to see a player like Randy receiving such praise and being in the position to begin his career with a team like the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Best of luck to Randy and also to Kyle Lowry who left Villanova after his sophomore year to be drafted 24 by the Memphis Grizzlies.

If I don't see you...

June 15th, 2006

"Hey, if I don't see you, have a great weekend."


Do we imply with this that if you do see me that my weekend will automatically be awful?

Who has this power? Am I the only one who works with the walking cursed? If you see me later, your weekend will be bad...

I have now realized that if someone says that to me I must avoid them at all costs. I want to have a great weekend. I do not want it spoiled just because I passed you in the hallway at work again.


Do we imply with this that if you do see me that you hope my weekend is awful?

Is this guy just a jerk?


Or do we maybe imply that his weekend will be so great that if he does see me that I am guaranteed to have a good time?

That way he hopes that if we don't cross paths that he hopes I can come up with some way to have fun other than in his presence. That is rather nice of him, but I think I will not put him in that position and I will hunt him down instead to get me some of this rockstar weekend. "I have glorious ends to my week without fail, if our fates do not intertwine over the next few days, please find in your heart to go on without me in search of enjoyment."


Or mayhap he is so conceited that he does not see it as possible that you could have a good weekend without seeing him, but he wishes you well regardless?

Screw you, pal.


The important thing is that I do not over analyze anything.

Graduation 2 of 2.

May 30th, 2006

Lesley recently graduated from Boston College. Congratulations to her. Pictures from her graduation and many more of our family screwing around in Boston are available for your viewing pleasure.

Take me to the pictures!