Thursday, January 28, 2010

Shovel This

Like many Buffalonians/Western New Yorkers, I had to do a serious amount of snow removal from our property in the last 24-30 hours.
I was out three times in this period, including two sessions of more than an hour each of snow shoveling. We got a pretty good amount of snow over this period, about 15 inches; nothing horrible, but certainly enough to shovel as much and well as possible. The colder than normal temperatures and strong winds certainly didn't add to the joy of having to shovel out our double-front property, including porch, driveway and walkway in addition to the sidewalk.
What irritated me the most today was before my final shoveling of the last inch or two at about 5 p.m., Walker Evans and I took our daily stroll in the neighborhood, although skate or climb was more like it.
Our West Side/Elmwood Village neighborhood is usually very good at snow blowing, shoveling or plowing snow, but for some reason, way too many people had apparently not even been out the night before to take care of their sidewalks. The worst was a corner property on Ashland Avenue (I forget which corner), which had not been touched, causing Walker and I to jog and hop through close to a foot of snow for much too long.
I know I temporarily have some extra time on my hands, but come on, people, let's clear the snow.

I'm Still Here

Sorry for the absence, folks; I have been busy, as you might imagine, with job hunting, insurance, benefit and other financial considerations recently, and it did not hit me until yesterday that it has been more than a week since I posted here.
I do have a few things I want to get to in some detail, so I will try to get to that later today, but I am doing OK, if a bit pissed off and depressed, as I enter week 3 for being unemployed. This is no fun at all, in fact it is a bit scary, and I appreciate that no one has even joked that I am on some kind of vacation.
On the job front, along with scouring all kinds of help wanted lists and job postings, I applied to one job that I made the first cut of, and then was assigned two writing tasks and have turned in the samples. From these writing samples, the people to be interviewed for the position will be chosen. I hope to have some news on that effort very soon.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Another Vocabulary Crime

As a writer/editor for way too many years, I get annoyed at times at the bad, wrong or inappropriate use of certain words, and there is one I've been meaning to mention.
More and more, I have been hearing the word "decorated" used in place of "honored," especially on ESPN, for athletes and other people winning awards. No.
Decorated has a simple, long and rich meaning; it stands for people who receive decorations (such as medals and the like), as in military personnel, law enforcement officials, security/intelligence (CIA) and diplomatic personnel.
There is no reason the words honored, lauded, acclaimed, awarded and so on can't be used for athletes and others while the word decorated stands for those received decorations for heroic actions taken in the face of danger and for meritorious service in the defense and protection of others.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

And I'll Probably Feel a Whole Lot Better

One of the first things Val noticed after I had been left unemployed by the political fun at the Erie County Legislature was that I seemed way calmer than before.
This is true; as soon as I saw that this could be the end result of changing leadership at the Legislature, in late November, I started clearing my office of personal belongings/effects bit by bit, and had just about everything taken home when the hammer came down January 7. All I had to do was load the desk photo of Val and me, my water bottle, a can of soup, some gift candy and maybe one other thing into my knapsack. This took about one minute to do; I had already packed up my CDs, radio and a photo Val took in Austin from our 2001 visit, among other things.
But the tension of possibly/probably losing your job while not being actually told this or anything else specifically would happen took its toll on many of us, particularly those of us who are now gone; the "Dead Man Walking" joke never got old. So, getting the letter telling me my services would no longer be needed handed to me at 5:55 p.m., and for me to basically be gone by 6 p.m., released a lot of tension.
Of course, there is a different kind of tension going on now in our household as I try to find a new job and keep our home going, and no doubt Walker Evans may get sick of me soon.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Journey Continues

Yes, the tumultuous changes in my life, mainly my recent unrequested lack of employment and the events surrounding them, have caused lots of commentary and controversy in and around the media, including the Western New York electronic/online media, as I previously pointed out and and supplied links for (see below).
Except for what I already wrote on this subject, I don't believe I will be spending much time rehashing things or getting into the political chicanery, dishonesty and/or infighting that has been involved; it really won't accomplish anything for me at this moment, when my focus must be on gaining new employment and making sure our household can make it basically intact until that moment. My wife, Val, my family, including our dog, Walker Evans, and our house are by far my points of concentration.
Not that I won't discuss some certain effects events and situations have had, good and bad, but I think some things are already being written about in good manner. If you have any questions, I am certainly willing to read them and respond.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A Change is Gonna Come

And in fact, it already has; as some of you know or could tell, the major event occurred and, as I have written to explain things, I have now involuntarily joined the ranks of the unemployed.
In what was a controversial move to some, and destructive to others, I was one of eight people whose "services are no longer needed" by the Erie County Legislature Democratic Majority, where I served as director of communications. You can read about it here, here, here and even here, the last which makes a kind reference to me.
Actually, you should read several of the posts at both Buffalo Pundit (Alan Bedenko) and Buffalo Geek (Chris Smith) on this topic, because they have made some serious continued comments that should be read and discussed. This includes the classic explanation of events here and the same on Buffalo Pundit.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Possible Resolution

It appears that today ought to provide some resolution, some finality to a major uncertainty in my life these past few months.
I and others are certainly hoping this will happen so we can all move on with our lives in one way or another. As I have said and written before, uncertainty is not a good thing and it is affecting me in various ways, some obvious, others not so much. Let's see how today goes.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Nothing Much New

This anticipation thing is a little bit wearing; I have little new to discuss today due to possible/apparent upcoming events.
I've got some topics I'd love to mention, plus a bunch of music things that deserve and need to be written, but until there is some clarity and decisiveness taken on a certain major issue, I will be a bit preoccupied. Hopefully, that will happen very soon, but until then, pardon my possible scatterbrain status.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


2010 is turning out to be typical in the bad winter weather we're getting, mostly predictable but still annoying, but some good things are happening so far.
First, my back injury is feeling way better than it was when I first hurt it in early December; I started seeing my chiropractor, Dr. Steve Niemiec, a friend before that, in mid-December. The pain has subsided to almost being gone, my flexibility is better and, due to Steve and Val's urgings, I am sleeping longer and better.
I have taken a step to improve things otherwise in another area that I hope will do so and that I should be able to discuss further later. I am also hoping to increase and improve my writing habits, blog and otherwise.

Monday, January 04, 2010

I'm Irked

I know, I know, it's a real shocker, but I am a bit annoyed at some things today, and not just because it is a Monday after a holiday weekend and back to work time.
Yes, Buffalo gets its hard, tough and long winters, but for cripe's sake, do you think it can stop snowing for five freaking minutes? More than a major snowfall at one time, to me the most annoying times of winter are the day after day after day of snow that occur, when you can' t look out the window at day or night without seeing snow fall and seeing the need to shovel and/or brush off your car.
I am a native Bufalonian and I know how bad winter gets and that clearing 2-3 inches of snow 2-3 times a day is not the absolute worst thing that can happen, but to me, these are the times that really get depressing or at the very least very annoying.
Oh, and I can hardly wait for someone to try to cheer me up with "Well, we didn't get 81 inches in three days like we did on 2001." Wow, cue the angels.