Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Less than one week to midterm elections!

It may come as a surprise to some of you out there, but on November 6th, Americans go to the polls. Scratch that. On November 6th, a small fraction of Americans go to the polls, but that doesn't mean the stakes are small.
Granted, no one will be voting for Presidential, Senatorial, or Congressional seats, but there's still plenty at stake. Voters will elect town councilors, School boards, selectmen, bonds, referendums - you name it. While midterm elections draw few crowds and rarely a blink of the eye from television crews or big investment dollars in advertisements, you'd be surprised at the billions of dollars that will be voted on nation-wide on everything from increased school funding to environmental protection.
For those that think their vote doesn't count, midterm elections may be proof that this is not the case. Percentage-wise, more is decided by fewer people on midterm election days. What does that mean to you? It means that that a single vote really does make a difference.
So go online... Okay, you're already here, so go to your state or local website and look at what's on your ballot. If you're unfamiliar with an issue, do a search on,,,, or any other search engine you can find. You'll be inundated with information so you can make an informed decision come next Tuesday.

Gearing up with 5.11 Tactical

Whether you’re gearing up your local police force, getting ready to head out into the vast outdoors, or even getting ready for some paintball, 5.11 Tactical Outdoors has a vast array of products for your outdoor and tactical needs. The crew at 5.11 Tactical have everything from holsters, police jackets, a wide selection of pants and outerwear, and a nice assortment of durable backpacks.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Americans are Silver in Solden

High atop a glacier in Solden, Austria, the first alpine events of the World Cup season took place this past weekend and the Americans got off to a quick start. On Saturday, Julia Mancuso of Olympic Valley, California, stormed to second place in a race that didn't feature here teammate and all-around threat, Lindsey Kildow. Climbing all the way up from 12th in the first run, Mancuso could hold off Italian Denise Karbon, who was the woman's giant slalom winner, collecting her first victory since 2003.
On the men's side, it's a safe bet that many of Sunday's faithful fans had their eyes on Bode Miller has he was set to compete in his first race as an independent racer, having dropped his affiliation with the U.S. Ski Team. Miller, skiing for just the 6th day in the past month due to a lower back injury wasn't far back from the leaders finishing in a surprising 5th place when only days before, his coach John McBride questioned whether Bode would even complete. While Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal, last year's overall champion and eight-time World Cup winner, won the gold, it was Park City native Ted Ligety, who was a mere 3/10 of a second behind.
While the Americans rarely capture top results in Solden, they will face a bigger test as the tour moves on to Levi, Finland before coming across the pond for several North American events where both the US men and woman are poised to rack up points.

See the best of Canada with DialAFlight

The United States may be the most popular destination for UK travelers, but our friendly neighbors to the north have plenty to offer regardless of the time of year. It’s never too early to book your flight from the UK to any number of Canadian destinations with Book a flight to Vancouver and you’ll be only 2 hours away from some of the best skiing in the world at Whistler/Blackcomb. DialAFlight offers worldwide destinations, tailor-made vacations, and you can book everything from your car to hotels with one easy call. So whether so you want a flight to Montreal to peruse the famous underground city or you’ve always wanted to book a trip to Quebec’s famous Winter Carnival, it all starts with

Sunday River to open for Halloween!

While daily and top-to-bottom skiing is still likely two weeks away, Sunday River ski resort in Bethel, Maine plans to fire up the Locke Mountain Triple for 5 hours on Wednesday marking the earliest skiing in 13 years. With temps at the higher elevations dropped this past weekend, Sunday River was able to utilize some of the new and improved snowmaking equipment brought in by Boyne USA to open for this one day event. Regular skiing and riding operations are slated to begin on November 9th, weather permitting.

A mortgage site for the skeptics!

You’d be hard-pressed to find many people out there who are more skeptical of mortgage brokers than I am. I know quite a few, who reputable and others that, quite frankly, make me shy away form the possibility of borrowing through a broker. All that said, I always keep my options open and certainly like to see companies out there promoting themselves as different from then norm, and going the extra length to prove it.
One site I have been very impressed with is Money Magic Mortgages. Based in the UK, this company has a very professional site with all the tools a skeptic like me is looking for. Their 3-step mortgage quote process starts with you filling out a form without having to disclose any personal information. This is followed up by a call from one of their independent financial advisors, not a Mortgage Broker. Finally, you are given a quote. They will search all the mortgage possibilities and you won’t even have to have your credit checked. Sounds like a good deal to me!

Do you have some old favorite TV shows you'd like to see again?

I sure do, but despite the seemingly far reach of Netflix, Blockbuster, and, there are just some shows that will never make it to DVD. If you're lucky, you may find a pirated version on eBay, but you'll pay dearly for it. Take for example the show High Mountain Rangers from 1987. High Mountain Who? You ask! Okay, so Robert Conrad may not have made a ton of hits outside the western genre, but at least he got his whole family involved. I paid about $10 for 3 episodes, which is a lot, but you can't get it anywhere and it was a favorite from my younger days.
The point is that there are a ton of shows that for one reason or another, we loved. Some of them live happily in syndication. Others are easily found on eBay or by renting online. Sadly, others will lie dormant. In such spirit, I have decided to do a review of sorts (of course in my opinion) of cancelled or old shows. Some may have been cult favorites and others were shows that never made it past the initial few episodes. Remember, not every show draws multi-millions in ratings and ends to big parties and contests. By-in-large, a majority of shows fail by network standards. I should think that our standards are far-different. So if you have a show you would like have reviewed or featured, send me a note or leave a comment, and pass the word!

Sifting through the bad credit offers

Millions of Americans suffer from poor credit. Some take advantage of opportunities, which just look too good to be true, and then months down the road, it turns out that they were. There are also those who are constantly trying to repair damage done to their credit from years past. It can be overwhelming to sift through all the offers and companies promising to help you get back on your financial feet, but so very important in determining what bad credit loans might be best for you.

Sunday, October 28, 2007


Congratulations to the 2007 Boston Red Sox on concluding a sweep of the Colorado Rockies and winning the World Series. The Rockies are a tough team, but Boston played so well. A decade ago, we couldn't have imagined winning a second series in a four year period 'cause we couldn't fathom winning any World Series. This team is tough and a bunch of hard-working young men, who will makes New England, and indeed "Red Sox Nation," proud for a long time to come. Colorado has nothing to be ashamed of, they are a great team and a wonderful bunch of athletes!


As a fan of the game...

I've admired every minute of watching the World Series at Coors Field in Denver. Granted, the Sox having been doing well, but the atmosphere looks electric, despite the seemingly bleak outlook for the home team. In last night's game the Rockies were down 6-0 and while in other parks, fans would be making their way for the exits, the 50,000 plus Rockies fans were still roaring and cheering their team on. As a fan of the game and sportsmanship in general, this is what we love to see. And while the 3-run homer by Matt Halliday wasn't enough to put the Rockies over the hump, they hung in the game like they'd been there before, and that my friends, bodes well for baseball in Denver for a long time to come, not matter the outcome of this series.

Secured home loans made easy

With all the recent talk of foreclosures and housing slumps, it’s easy to overlook that there are some great advantages for current homeowners looking for additional cash to consolidate other loans, do much needed home repairs, purchase a new car, or whatever your financial need may be. Magic Loans Secured Home Loans is a new company in the UK offering established homeowners the ability to borrow up to ₤250,000 with a variety of flexible terms, rates, and payback periods – all subject to credit worthiness. Their site is informative and user-friendly. It has an easy FAQ section and quick calculator for easy estimates. Whether you’re looking for home improvement funding or consolidation, if you live in the UK, you should definitely check out Magic Loans.

National Novel Writing Month - What are you writing about?

Okay, so I'm being a little nosey, but despite the fact I have taken part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in the past, I've never asked others about it. What I mean is that I've heard that it's just a good way for writers to let loose and free-write without the worry of editing of drafting, but it seems that things have changed in the past couple of years. Now don't get me wrong, change is a good thing, but it is sometimes weird. For instance, I haven't a clue as to what I will write about other than I know it will be fiction and at least 50,000 words. Others have topics and outlines. That piqued my interest as perhaps if I put some more thought into into it, I could come away with a viable first draft. Hmmm. Or maybe I would just get stuck trying to make things work out just the way I want them to. It's an interesting dilemma, but I will go with my original approach. I respect those who have planned out what they will write and write about and wish them success, but me, I'm just gonna wing it.

Saturday nights in St. Augustine

I had first visit to St. Augustine, Florida when I was just 8-years old. I had heard the legend that city, said to be the oldest settlement in the America, was home to the Fountain of Youth. Whereas I’m clearly no longer 8-years old, I would be remiss to say that the fountain doesn’t house unique power. People still flock to the city from all ever the world. And yes the Fountain of Youth is just one of the attractions people come to St. Augustine for. Founded in 1565, St. Augustine is home to the Mission of Nombre de Dios, which is believed to be the first permanent mission settlement in the United States. Settled and established by the Spanish, the Mission of Nombre de Dios is also home to Our Lady of La Leche.
So perhaps you’re not very interested in religion and visiting a historical landmark isn’t exactly your idea of a good time on a Saturday night; well not too worry, St. Augustine shopping is also world renowned, especially on the last Saturday night of every month, when boutiques, galleries, and antique stores in the Uptown San Marco Shopping District, stay open with live music, refreshments, and free parking. With November 24th and December 29th still remaining on the 2007 calendar, don’t miss this unique opportunity to celebrate the culture, explore the historic city, and browse the fine shops of St. Augustine.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I'm not a traitor, really!

I should preface by saying that I wouldn't blog so much about the Sox if it were not for the fact that they have a chance to win their second World Series in two years. My blog - being topically random - should and will have more variety, but again, the World Series is pretty special.
Anyway, to the point of my title, I am saying that I am not a traitor because I admittedly want the Red Sox to only win one game in Colorado. I know, I know; you can't have your cake and eat it too, thus I would be Happy for them to win the Series at all, but ideally, it would be sooooo much better for them to win the Series at Fenway, especially since it's been over eight decades since it has happened. Two losses, or even three in Colorado is very possible. Hell, The Rockies have the heart and talent to take this Series, I just think they - like the Indians - are a year or two away from being a team like Boston. All of that said, The Rockies could win the Series and I wouldn't lose too much sleep over it 'cause they're not the Yankees or Mets, but yes, I would be upset. I don't take the Sox for granted, but they are a good team, who could sweep this series, so all I am saying is that it would be cool to see a World Series end in Fenway. Aside from the Sox throwing games like the "Black Sox," I don't see that happening this year.
It's actually a little strange being a fan of the Red Sox when they are expected to win. None of us grew up with such an aura surrounding the team. Regardless, I want the Sox to win and ultimately it doesn't matter if it's in Denver or Boston, the banner will look exactly the same, I hope.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Red Sox hope to keep momentum going into game two

Red Sox players probably learned a lesson or two from the seven game series with the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS. First, they learned that the Indians have one tough team that will be a thorn in the collective American League's side for years to come. More importantly, they learned that a switch in momentum can happen with one play or one inning. You let up a second against a team like the Indians or yes, The Colorado Rockies, and you'll pay. Granted, the Sox looked very strong in their 13-1 victory Wednesday night, but the Sox looked very strong in game one of the ALCS. As Clevelnad bounced back to trounce the Sox in extra innings in game two and go on to win three in a row, the Sox may have overcome a some adversity that makes them a better team in this World Series. While the arm of Curt Schilling will be tested tonight, it will be the bats of the Sox lineup that will be under the microscope. The bats stay hot, the Sox win. The bats go cold, well, let's just say that coming back from a 3-1 series deficit made for exciting baseball.

A chance to make us all better drivers

Have you noticed that more and more car insurance companies are offering premium discounts for safe driving? It would be hard to miss the commercials on television, but that doesn’t mean that many drivers fit the bill. Sure, there are plenty of drivers with great driving records and no accidents, but that clearly doesn’t mean that they are truly driving safely. It isn’t something we necessarily think about until something happens to bring it to the forefront of our minds.
Interestingly, there is a new company from California that has developed an in-car diagnostic system – linked to an online server – that provides instant feedback while you drive. Brake too hard, a monitor will tell you. Accelerate too quickly and the system will let you know. The point behind the GreenRoad Safety center is to help drivers improve on the little things that can add up to big problems. While it may take a while to catch on, as people see their car insurance premium rates climb, they may take a closer look at just how safely they are driving.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

What does your back yard look like?

Well, mine doesn't look like this, but with snow covering the top third of Sugarloaf/usa, just a couple hours away, it means that ski season is right around the corner and I can't wait. It's so nice to leave corporate America behind and glide over the snow. I've even thought about creating a second blog that would only be about skiing, but before I get ahead of myself, I'll just start by sharing this beautiful picture a friend snapped last weekend. Jules and I were at a ski resort about 40 miles southwest and snow wasn't even a possibility, but all good things come in time...

Does turkey make us shop early?

I think I may have a lead on why so many people are able to get up at dreadful hours of the morning to wait in line at the mall for the 5:00 am openings of stores on Black Friday. It makes perfect sense ‘cause we Americans stuff ourselves with so much turkey that we fall asleep much earlier on Thanksgiving that any other day of the year. And because of this, we naturally wake up earlier. Whereas that means an early trip to the mountains for me to ski, it means shopping to others. Now don’t get me wrong, I shop as much as the next holiday shopper, but all the tricks, ploys, and free early morning outdoor concerts aren’t getting me near a shopping mall at five in the morning. If you feel the same way, but still want to get the deals that the people waiting in line get; perhaps you should check the offers at Not only do they have a wide selection of exactly the same stores you’d be stopping into at your local mall, but the sale prices are the same. What’s even better is that you can enter you email and get sale and deal updates write to your inbox. So whether you’re looking for BestBuy deals or perhaps the latest Old Navy specials, this site has what you’re looking for.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Go Sox!

Trying to get lost in autumn in Maine

Each year, thousands of people pack their cars and head north to the rolling foothills and mountains of New England to witness the change of seasons.
After the first frost, the leaves on our towering maple and birch trees, turn from a hearty forest green color to a kaleidoscope of red, yellow, and orange. As the leave life cycle comes to an end for the year, people are mesmerized by the array of colors and and the crisp bite in the air.
And yet here we are nearing the end of the third week of October and the leaves have just hit their peek. A late foliage season by Maine standards.
Jules and I were fortunate to be at Sunday River this weekend to view some of the astonishing views afforded by such a pristine site. After a wind-swept game of tennis on Saturday, we packed into the car and headed northwest. We drove past the resort's farthest reaches and into a part of the area neither of us had driven. Passing the last known landmark in that of the Outward Bound camp, the road leading out of Newry merged with the River for which the ski resort is named.
Jules asked where we were going and yet I had no answer. My eyes focused forward, the drooping trees formed a colorful canape over the narrowing road, which had turned from paved to graded gravel to pine needle-covered dirt.
I looked past her and over the side of the road at each chance I got. I could hear the rush of the water getting louder and louder until the trees back away from the road a little and somewhat of a shoulder appeared. Parking the car, each of us grabbed out cameras. The crashing waterfalls and eddies of the upper river were unknown to me in my years of hiking the area. I'd seen pictures and heard stories, but my journeys always took me to sites on topo maps and AT guides. For the two of us that day, we just drove without purpose - allowing ourselves to get lost. Or were we?

Go Sox!

Despite being 2 hours away from the "city" and amongst the tall firs and birch trees of the western Maine mountains, Jules and I were still back to the condo to watch the Sox last night. J.D. Drew's grand slam in the first inning finally popped me up from my semi-slumber and I got to enjoy the home team rally back to tie the series behind an impressive and gutsy performance from Curt Schilling...

It's top of the 6th inning and 3-2 Red Sox. J. D. Drew just hauled one in for the second out of the inning, but the nerves are still there. And why? What stake do I have in this? In the grand scheme of things - nothing I suppose, but it's October and the Sox are playing baseball. It doesn't get old!

...Thank you, Dustin! Two-run home run. We beleive!

...And J.D., and Youk, and Pap, and Okie, and WORLD SERIES here we come - One Nation under Fenway!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Welcome to the mortgage crunch

I’m sure many of you have noticed that the Dow Jones Industrial Average has been doing pretty well as of late, but yet it took a bit of a tumble last week. It seems that news out of the Fed that mortgages and the housing market may still drag down the economy. As homeowners with sub-prime and even prime mortgage rates are going through foreclosure, the process for getting new loans of re-financing is becoming more and more difficult and lenders are raising the bar when it comes to what is perceived as an acceptable credit score.
With all this in mind, we are hearing more and more advertising for bad credit mortgages on the radio and television. So yes, there are lenders who are willing to give the money out, but at what rate? Furthermore, will there be a negative impact on the economy? There are many people, such as myself, who think so, but at the same time, I think that it would be hard to overlook the back that the housing market is crumbling. We need buyers to help offset the sellers. Granted, I do feel that there is room for correction in the marketplace, but I think that 2008 will be the year to buy a new home for anyone thinking about it. For those who have had trouble getting loans, but are working their way back to financial stability, do your research before agreeing to any loan and get the one that’s right for you now, and in the future.

Beckett tosses one-run five-hitter to carry Boston home!

It was do or die in Cleveland last night for the Boston Red Sox. The team, which looked like it may dominate the series during game one, was trying to avoid elimination in game five of the ALCS. With the game one starters back on the mound, the dreams of Red Sox Nation and at least 24 or their 25 players, rested squarely on the shoulders of Josh Beckett.
Beckett, dominant in game one, showed that he would be out-dueled by C.C. Sabathia and went eight strong as the Sox scored seven runs to send the series back to Boston. The Sox will still face elimination, but the Fenway Faithful will be the ones cheering now and hopefully, the momentum has turned!

Do you have insurance coverage that best suits you?

After a darkness-shortened match of tennis the other night, Jules and I were sitting court side and discussing how her employer had just switched insurance carriers. I asked her what she had for coverage and she listed off a number of products her company provides in their benefit package.
This type of conversation is increasingly important today. On television we are constantly bombarded by car insurance commercials, but this isn’t a bad thing, it means that there is a good level of competition and therefore we can all have the opportunity to get the best rates by choosing our coverage and carrier. Unfortunately, some people don’t even think about two of the least expensive types of insurance coverage – disability insurance and life insurance. Like anything else in life, we cannot predict the future and the cost of these two products is normally very low, if not even covered at a base level by your employer.
Lastly, I was watching the news last week and there was a story about a house that had burned down due to a child playing with a lighter. Fortunately, no one was injured, but at the end of the piece, the reporter closed with explained how the owner of the single-family home didn’t have coverage for home insurance.
With the end of the year rolling around, your employer will most likely be sending notices around for open enrollment for your yearly benefits. Do yourself a favor and educate yourself on the product available to you and your family.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Congrats to Joe Torre

Hold on! Did I just say that? But alas, I'm a Red Sox fan. How could I make such a comment about the former Yankees skipper. The reason is because I am a fan of the game and I respect people who give there all to anything or any type fo work.
Does it mean I have to like the Yankees? Nope, but I sure as hell respect the history the organization has and some of the fantastic players who've worn the pinstripes. Whereas I can't stand The Boss and feel that his announcement buring the playoffs that Torre had to win or would be done, was class-less; I respect Joe Torre and even like the guy. I'm glad he stood up and said no when the Yankees spit in his face today with their $5 million offer for one year. The man should have done this a long time ago and I hope he goes somewhere where he can come back to defeat The Boss, but the fact is, he already did so today.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Taking this whole Chuck Norris thing a bit too far!

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard a few of people's favorite "Chuck Norris Facts." While Chuck has been mostly relegated to cable syndication and late night infomercials, he has amassed quite a cult following for his 80's movies and his long run with the television show, Walker, Texas Ranger.
I indeed have a few favorites when it comes to "Chuck Norris Facts." Hell, I even made up a couple and shared them with Jules and her friends, but I'm going to keep this post a PC as possible. Whether you take it all in jest or you're truly a fan of the man, I think we can agree that some people take some things a little too far. I admittedly almost wet myself when I saw this picture. This is the number one reason to NOT try to emulate the master himself... and no this isn't me, but thanks for asking!

Manage your job candidate searches more efficiently

I can imagine being a human resource coordinator can be, at time, very overwhelming. The task of filling job vacancies alone can be daunting with all the job sites, postings, and candidates on the market.
Imagine posting a job opening on several sites and then having to sift through the candidates? With Trovix Recruit, employers can manage everything from the initial job posting, selecting the most qualified candidates, scheduling interviews, and extending offers; all through the Trovix applicant tracking system. Now employers can spend more time managing employees and less time and energy looking for them.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My girlfriend was in Paris and got me a heck of a lot more than a shirt!

Ironically, I would probably wear one of those t-shirts that say "so and so was in Paris and all they got me was this shirt." Why? because sometimes it can be pretty cool to be a tourist. You spend money and help others' economies. I like to do that. Don't get me wrong, you won't find me snapping 25,000 pictures of a building, but I've been known to snap a photo or two.
So what's the point of this post? Just to say that for the past year I've been donning a watch given to me while I was at a business conference at Disney. While I like my Mickey watch, but it's been on the fritz for a few weeks now. So while Jules and her family were in Europe last week, she snagged me a new watch and I love it. I love it 'cause it's from her and quite frankly, the thought of going somewhere to shop for a watch was depressing. So while you might think that a t-shirt is the best gift to get someone while your on your next vacation; think practical. I can now say that my watch is from Paris!

...and just for the hell of it - GO SOX!!!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Get all the information you need before you incorporate

I heard an interesting piece on the news the other day that got me thinking quite a bit. It was about a man, who owns a small business and was being fined a fair chunk of change by the State of Maine for not properly conducting his business as a corporation. When asked by the reporter what he did wrong; the gentleman said that he had not submitted meeting minutes from his annual corporation meeting. A little chuckle as he continued to explain that his corporation is he and his wife and that he had no idea that he needed to go through such a process.
It’s easy to understand that this gentleman wasn’t trying to scam anyone, nor was he trying to break the law, but the fact of the matter is that he just didn’t understand or have all the information necessary to legally operate a corporation in our state; so he got fined. can help any small business with all its’ incorporating needs. Weather you have just filed your papers of incorporation and simply need the proper forms to register your business’s tax ID number or you just need some free LLC forms, has business solutions to help you whether you’re in Nevada, Maine, or any other state. Don’t get fined by being uninformed. If you’re going to take the time to start your own business, take the time to get all your affairs in order before audit time comes around.

Sports Talk Radio

Admittedly, I am somewhat fascinated by sports talk radio. Why, you ask? Well, that's a good question and as a sports fan, I'd never thought about it prior to this afternoon as I was driving home from work. And then after about five calls in a row - all about the exact same topic, I got to wondering why some people can't just leave well enough alone. Seriously, it's like a for or against debate that goes on for hours at a time and I'm totally captivated by it. I guess it's sort of like a daytime television talk show without actually seeing the people who have garnered your attention. How into it am I? Alas, I'm just a listener when I'm in the car or shaving et cetera, but don't be fooled; many of the listeners are a religious about their favorite sports talk shows as anything else in their lives. Some call daily and are known by name by the host or hosts. Others even have on-air names like "Carolina Guy" or "Boston Lou." and yet while I sit here and contemplate how odd the whole concept seems to me - because I truly do listen for scores and news more than anything - there are thousands of people who listen to these shows who think exactly the same about people who express themselves or connect with others through blogs. Go figure...

Before you head outdoors, make sure you save at

The response is in and it is increasingly clear that you, my online readers prefer to do your shopping online, rather than throwing elbows with mall crowds. And I couldn’t agree more, which is precisely why I’ve got some more online Coupon Savings from
Not only is your online guide to North Carolina nature, entertainment & culture, but they’ve got some great Coupons for you, too. Check out these Cabelas coupons for your outdoor needs. Or perhaps you’re looking for some special Jewelry. Forget about the mall jewelry chain stores because you can’t go wrong with coupons from Blue Nile.
Folks from North Carolina have been saving money with, but you don’t need to be a native to get in on these great deals.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

What has blogging done for me?

Curiously, it seems as though almost everyone I know now has a blog of some sort. Some simply have little rants on their myspace pages, while others have their own domains and write daily about passions, current events, sports, and paying endeavours.

While I've only had my own site here on blogger for a few months, I found myself writing more and more. Consequently, I soon found myself getting back to what it is that even gave me the notion to write in the first place - fiction.

While I started my first serious attempt at writing a novel in 2003, I swayed from the path, so to speak, a little over a year ago. It wasn't that the desire and determination had gone, but I was tired. I was tired of writing draft after draft and getting rejection after rejection. Whereas my skills were improving, I, like many who aspire to publish traditionally, am in a tough spot where being an unknown first time novelist makes it hard to break through, if you will. That said; my paying career was taking up more and more time and I decided to take a break. I never quit; I'm far too stubborn for that, but I knew I need to re-energize. All the while, I found myself trying to come up with new ideas for plots and also trying to force myself to sit down and finish the last draft of my most polished novel. The 22nd draft, to be exact. And yet I realized that for too long, I was trying to force it. While constantly reading and writing are keys to success, my opinion is that forcing your craft will only lead to poor results, thus my time off.

Now some time has passed and with blogging, I began to want to work on my drafts. I started to want to write down those new ideas and even start character sketches. A breakthrough? Perhaps, but what I know for sure is that writing is addictive and this forum has brought back a fuel I could have easily let run dry in search of something else. I realize now that whereas I may have needed time off from that project, I didn't need time off from writing. Blogging made me realize this. For those out there who aspire to publication or even those who just want to finish a piece you started long ago; never stop writing because no matter what form it comes in, it will undoubtedly be helpful in the long run.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Out-pitched, out-hit, and out-managed...

Things looked so promising in the 5th inning when Manny Ramirez and Mike Lowell hit back-to-back homers. Little did Red Sox Nation know, that Cleveland Indians manager, Eric Wedge knows a thing or two about managing a baseball game. My choice for Manager of The Year in the AL, Wedge used his tail end of the bullpen more effectively than Terry Francona, thus in the top of the 10th, Boston was forced to go to the always scary, Eric Gagne. The former Cy Young winner gave up a hit and walked a man and left to the dismay and shock of the Fenway faithful. Javiar Lopez, normally effective, but mostly used in partial innings, left his pitches up and Cleveland teed off. And the player of the game was none other than the Dirtdog himself, former longtime Red Sox right fielder, Trot Nixon. Nixon, who was pursued by the Red Sox in the off season when he was a free agent, signed with Cleveland and while probably not the vengeful type, he again left his mark on Boston. Final score: A lot to about half... Series tied at one game a piece.

Why wait in all the lines when the deals are online?

While I often find myself immersed in the fiery red and yellow colors of Maine’s autumn leaves, it can often cause as a pressing reminder that the holiday season – or shopping season, if you will – is fast approaching. Sure, I’ve selected a vast selection of colorful socks for all my cousins, especially those that misspell my name on the Christmas cards, but for those that perhaps warrant more thoughtful gifts, I had been sort of lost. While a friend of mine suggested I visit, I was hesitant and first tried more traditional means, so to speak.
Being a guy, I’m not exactly a fan of shopping. So imagine how I felt while making my way out to the mall the other day to pick out a few items only to find a line of cars stretching back onto the highway exit lane. Needless to say, I skipped that exit and jumped back on my laptop. Being pleased at the amount of money I saved using coupons for some clothes for the nieces and nephew, I made a few more clicks and thought about perhaps getting myself a present. It’s almost too hard to resist with the deals at, especially some of the Dell deals I came across. So skip the mall and click on the Chief!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Top of the 5th... and then GAME OVER! 10-3

And the Boston Red Sox are on top 5-1! Maybe I'll write more later...

and I rejoin you after a little shakiness from Eric Gagne, but nonetheless a fairly complete game by the Sox. Lots of timely hits and the Indians had to use a lot of pitching they probably would have liked to have saved. Tomorrow night's gonna be a tough night. I'll be curious to see which Schilling shows up. I hope it's the blood-sock Schilling!


I guess I'll flip-flop a little

Just two days ago, I wrote right here that reviewing novels or books should be kept to those with the expertise to do so. While I still agree with that... two days later, I feel compelled to comment on a movie recently saw. Nope, I'm not an expert on movies, but I think I know a little about motion pictures. My opinions probably differ greatly to those of the Hollywood pundits and the Oscar watchers, but I'm okay with that. We all have our subjective tastes and favorite film genres. My favorite, probably either thrillers or sci-fi, but I still watch a wide range of movies.
As Halloween approaches, I've yet to see Rob Zombie's take on the holiday classic, but I did stop in to Blockbuster the other night after 28 Weeks Later came out. Part of me wanted to see if the filmmakers would again take the notion of zombies to another level like they did with the original release, 28 Days Later. Another part of me was intrigued by how this film actually got acclaim. And there was also the part of me that always enjoys taking a trip back to my teenage days as an ex-patriot living in London.
What I found was surprising in that the sequel actually seemed to have more of a plot than the original. It certainly had a bigger budget and I felt that the cinematography and special effects were excellent. In my very subjective opinion, I thought the movie was pretty good. What does that mean? Truly nothing more than that it entertained me. I don't see any awards in the works, but to say it kept me on the edge of my seat would be agreeable.
For folks that like graphic violence and gore, this is your type of movie. I don't really fit into that category, but I actually found myself caring enough about the characters to see past it. So while I don't want to give anything away regarding the plot, I will say that anyone wanting to escape to a world even more terrifying and disturbing than our own should rent this movie. I wouldn't; however, recommend it to families or the faint at heart.

A bike for all seasons!

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Gone Baby Gone is more than a movie

Let me preface by saying that while I write fiction, I am not a book reviewer. I believe that one has to be a seasoned veteran as a novelist or even a journalist to have the needed credibility to review a book or novel. And yes, knowing the difference helps! So I'm not going to review a novel or movie in this post, but instead just give some thoughts.

That being said, I was reading USA Today last week and happened upon an article about a movie coming out on October 19th called Gone Baby Gone - written and directed by Ben Affleck and starring his brother, Casey.

I've known about this project for some time, as I have closely followed the career of Dennis Lehane. You see you'd need to read the second page of the article to know that while the screenplay was adapted (written) by Affleck, it is based on a novel of the same name by Boston native and bestselling author, Lehane. Perhaps most of you are saying Dennis who? Fair enough, but you may recall a little movie from a few years back that grabbed a few Oscars - Mystic River. Mystic River was Lehane's breakthrough novel and was published a few years after this newest of adaptations. In speaking with Dennis at a writing conference the year the movie came out, he talked about his time on the set and his involvement with the production. The fact he was involved is actually not the norm for a movie being adapted. Usually the rights are sold and the producers and directors have the freedom to hatchet away, but this didn't happen to Dennis with Mystic River. While the movie isn't exactly like the novel, it's pretty true to form. Kudos to Clint Eastwood and the screenwriting for saving the integrity.

My point (If I really even have one) is that I urge people to read the novel Gone Baby Gone before you start hearing the hoopla. Yes, the story touches the lives of many Americans, especially those with young children, but I am ever-fearful of such adaptations. Not that I think either Affleck would do an injustice to the novel. Both are friends with Lehane and Boston natives as well, but sometimes Hollywood has an influence that even a hot young director can't control. The subject matter is in no way light-hearted, nor is Lehane's writing. While Gone Baby Gone is actually the 4th in a five-novel detective series, it's power in character development, setting, honesty, and pure story-telling talent makes it one of my favorite thrillers I've read.

Once you read Dennis Lehane, you may become addicted. Or like me, you may aspire to be a writer, but that's for another time and post. For more info on Dennie Lehane and all his work, checkout his website.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Weatherman is making me giddy!

Okay, so that really isn't the case. If the weatherman made me giddy, well, never mind, but it's that time of year when I bring my skis into the shop and have each pair ground. While I normally do my own tuning, I recommend at least one stone grind a year for your bases, even if you do your own edges.

So anyway, if the prediction holds true at Sugarloaf/USA, well be skiing in a few weeks. That said, the high elevations are might get the first coat of the season this weekend. Snow in October is nothing new here in Maine, but the first flakes are always so sweet.

Out west, our friends have already had the fortune of a few days with white gold dustings at Heavenly. The picture was shot on Friday October 5th and is the 3rd snow of the year. The season way still be aways off for Mott and Killebrew, but expect to hear the SMI cannons and snowguns getting revved up real soon on some of the higher elevations around Comet and Dipper. Go to and check on the three webcams for updates!

Okay, so now I'm giddy!

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Monday, October 8, 2007

Peak to Peak Gondola

It doesn't matter if you're a die hard skier or snowboarder or if you never seen snow before in your life; what's being built at Whistler/Blackcomb, British Columbia is one of the most amazing architectural feats in North American history.
At well over $100 million the Peak to Peak Gondola may be more of a tourist attraction for the upcoming Olympics, but it's practical use is will cut the time it currently takes to get from 2/3 of the way up Blackcomb to the same height on Whistler from about an hour and a half to about 10 minutes.
Being somewhat of a ski lift buff, I watched the update videos on the Whistler site and have been blown away by the sheer magnitude of this Gondola.
For Doppelmayr, it will be the 5th installation of the 3S Gondola and the first in North America. It will also be the highest Gondola in the world (Over 1300 above the creek) and at 1.88 miles between towers, will have the longest unsupported span in the world. This lift will be like have a loop of 28 cable cars (trams)!
And just another side note, this is not a sponsored post, this is just one absolutely amazing lift being built in Canada. Check out the Whistler Peak to Peak site for facts, media, videos, tons of pictures, blueprints, and more.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Hey! Put me down before you jump through that!

Saturday brought the annual North American Wife Carrying Championships to Sunday River Ski Resort in western Maine as part of the Fall Festival. The event had a large turnout to witness 40 couples race around the obstacle course for the ultimate prize - 5 times the weight of the woman in cash and 3 times her weight in beer!

Sox sweep Angels and await winner of Yanks/Indians!

It was a close game... until the 8th. Curt Schilling pitched a decent 7 innings with a very good variety of pitches. I was impressed at how he has reinvented himself to keep his pitch count low. The back-to-back jack by Manny and Big Papi were all teh Sox needed, but it was nice to see the run production in the late innings. Little Dusty and Lugo were smart on the bases and Coco almost made the catch of the game. I can't wait till Friday!

Go Sox!!!!!

Great tips to be found on

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For many, blogging is a business and it's very important that people actually visit your site. Not unlike promoting a book or novel, you need to promote your blog with good old fashioned leg work, but then how do you know you're actually reaching your readers? has a wonderful article on why Alexa is a good idea for those seeking to a way to track their traffic. Speaking of promotion, the folks at are running a promotion for the month of October called Buzz Your BLOGFEST, which is a unique opportunity for your site to be reviewed and perhaps bring a few extra visitors!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Manny and the Red Sox WALK-OFF!

The score tied 3-3 going to the bottom of the ninth in Boston. Jonathon Papelbon pitched a solid 1 1/3 innings and left it up to the top of the order with Boston leading the best-of-five game series 1-0.

With Big Papi intentionally walked and Julio Lugo on second, Manny Ramirez stepped to the plated against the funky-throwing, but always dangerous K-Rod.

Second pitch, middle-in, Manny hits it over everything in left field - over the Green Monster, over the screen, probably over Lansdowne Street and onto the Mass Pike.

What a shot!

Red Sox lead 2 games to 0!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

And more from SKI Magazine

Okay, so I've already covered how I feel about SKI's "reader's poll" results from the west, but I'm not done. Who knows? This may be ongoing, but quite frankly, it's taken me longer to sift through the pages as other ski magazines that have come out with their own rankings and ratings have MUCH more viability.

Nonetheless, I think we should talk about the rankings for the east. I guess I don't have too much of a problem with Mont Tremblant at number 1. They've got great lifts, over 2K in vert, and Intrawest has poured a ton of money into making this a destination resort, but the rest of the rankings are seemingly meant to be pleasing to a wide audience instead of catching the vibe of the skiers and riders.

Don't get me wrong, Smuggler's Notch is a great resort with good trees, out-of-bounds, vert, and their famous family program, but #2 in the east? Apparently the voters skipped skiing anywhere that has been updated in the last 30 years. I'm not saying that new is better and quite frankly don't like over-crowded slopes, but with that much vert, you can't rely on old double-chairs - Too slow and too cold. Having these types of lifts serving expert terrain is great, but when they are your primary people movers... Yikes!

Second, I think it's pitiful that Holiday Valley, NJ was included. Is there a really good reason why they have to throw a mid-Atlantic area in there each year and put it above places like Sugarloaf and Killington? No. It's absurd. I don't care how good your nightlife is, 750 feet of vert doesn't compare and it doesn't matter how far you spread it out.

As for the other areas that were included, you can probably mix them around each year as favorites are subjective, but they have to make some sense. The Bretton Woods golf course doesn't cut unless you are a beginner or intermediate. It's great if you are, but variety is key and BW doesn't have it. They do get props for lifts and views though.

And now to get really subjective. Yes, I'm from Maine and grew up skiing Sugarloaf and Sunday River, but I ski everywhere and that being said, have a really hard time with Sunday River being left off when places like Holiday Valley and Bretton Woods are considered the best. To rank Holiday Valley higher than Sugarloaf is basically spitting in the face of people who actually go to a place to ski or ride. And Sunday River's variety, snow making, and grooming can't be ignored.

That's all for now, but check back after I've read a few more pages.

Think Snow!!!

Are you in debt up to your eyeballs?

If you watch an hour of television a night or perhaps listen to a baseball game on the radio, chances are, you’ll see and hear a variety of advertisements for financial consolidation and resources of all sorts.

The fact is that people who were able to afford what they could a few years ago, may not be able to do so today. You read about the credit crunch on Wall Street every day and know that millions of Americans need to refinance their current mortgages or risk losing their homes.

America is obsessed with spending and I think that this affect all of us in some way. I can’t sit hear and tell you I’ve never carried a credit card balance. It does seem like more and more people are getting into trouble with huge credit card debt and let’s face it; if you don’t take care of it now, your credit rating can be ruined for a long time.

And yet the most surprising advertisements that I’ve heard over the radio in recent months and even days, have to due with tax debt. I always thought that if you did pay your taxes, the IRS came after you and you went to jail, but apparently the IRS now works with companies to help people pay back taxes owed.

I’m glad that I have tabs on my financial situation, but all one has to do is read the business section of their local paper or the Wall Street Journal to realize that debt is at an all time high in the United States. If you’ve got a problem with financial debt or credit – get on top of it before it’s too late!

Go Sox!

So yeah, last night was a pretty good first game for the Sox. Beckett was no less than dominant and a complete game is perfect with our current bullpen. I still think they are a little beat up and a extra night off will hopefully be good. That being said, I hope Dice-K and Schilling pitch deep into games so we can preserve even more. The idea of Gagne coming in with a playoff game on the line is a little worrisome. Should be a fun game tomorrow night, no less.

As for tonight... Go CLEVELAND!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Look out for the baseball glove

So I was on my way out to my car this morning when I tripped over a baseball glove while wading through the abyss that is my garage floor. That could be why my car is outside and not in my garage – there’s too much stuff and it’s everywhere. I knew I needed to find a way to store everything in there.
While at work, I started to research some places online to see who might have some garage storage bins. Turns out I can get whatever I want without having to brave the mall or any big box store.
As for what to do with my skis…

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

SKI Magazine screws it up again...

Yep, SKI magazine has done it again, they've made a mockery out of ski resort ratings in the most recent issue. It's no surprise, they do it every year. The magazine says that the rankings are all based on readers votes and I can see it to some degree, but there need to be some disclosure when ranking the tops 25 resorts in the country. There's the obvious aspect - I'm not overlooking - which is that resort ranking are are completely subjective, but even still, I SOOOOO find it heard to believe that a majority of the readers polled chose Deer Valley as the number one resort in the land.

Better than Whistler/Blackcomb... REALLY?
Better than Vail... REALLY?
Better than Aspen, Telluride, Snowmass, Heavenly, Squaw Valley... REALLY????

I think that the problem is that out of all the categories, SKI gives a lot more points for bed turn-down service than it does for say, skiing. They put more weight into valet parking than say, variety of terrain.

I think you get my point. Yes, Deer Valley is a wonderful resort that offer the very best of everything, but unless you are Joe Millionaire, it's not the place for you. Head over to Park City Mountain Resort for much better terrain. Another 5 minutes to the Canyons for the most terrain. Hell, get out of PC and head to Cottonwood Canyon for the BEST snow, but please, leave Deer Valley off such lists. Your magazine losses a lot of credibility with such nonsense.

The days go by so fast

It seems like only yesterday, we were all gearing up for summer, and now it's gone. Don't get me wrong, I can do without the 90-degree humid weather, but best part of the season is that it stays light out so much later. Even tonight when Jules and I went to play tennis, it was almost dark at 6:30. I can't truly complain about that, given that ski season is like a month away, but I just like the long days.

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Monday, October 1, 2007

Boyne USA $4.8 million into Sunday River for the 2007-2008 ski season

While only in it's possession a little over two months, Boyne USA has already begun the process of revitalizing some of Sunday River's assets. Not counting the $2.5 million it has spent to repair damage caused by flash-flooding this spring, Boyne has sunk nearly $4.8 million into Sunday River, with a high concentration towards snowmaking and grooming. Already know for offering "The Most Dependable Snow In the East," Sunday River will benefit from new fans, low-energy guns, and 3 new Prinoth cats. As reported on, the mounted fans will be primarily used for high-traffic lower trails like Monday Mourning and Lower Sunday Punch, both of which need re-surfacing many times due to the convergence of other trail filtering into them. The fans on Monday Mourning may signal the mountain's intentions to once again have it be the top-to-bottom early season option.

Let's Go ROX!

No, I haven't jumped ship and love my Sox, but I've always been somewhat of a fan of Denver sports teams. (Not counting the U of D that beat Maine in the NCAA Hockey final a couple years ago, though) I was very impressed with the way the Rockies played against both Boston and New York during inter-league and think that they are a formidable team.
So there's my pick for tonight in Denver...

...and in Cinnci tonight - GO PATS!