.............hopefully counted since april 25, 05 ...........
  what were your favorite shows as a child????(pt.2)
So inspired I was a few days ago that I just blew up with TV nostalgia....this would be the second half to the previous TV story.....and just to let you know Jenn, I did not forget about 'My Secret Identity' (note the reference below), but the Disney Afternoon, I will have to say that that slipped my sad....but maybe at that point I was too intrigued by Pretzels and Cheese.....

...I guess the best way to truely remember all that time in front of the TV would not be to remember the classics, but to remember the obscure, crappy shows I watched....I don't even think I enjoyed those shows....who could?, they were terrible even when I was a kid....three pop in my mind right away,

The Greatest American Hero: A dufus with curly blond hair becomes a superhero because he finds a book that Aliens from another planet, when on their visit to earth, had forgotten to take with them back home....this book has a whole bunch of 'magic' words or phrases that somehow, the halfwit has learned to invoke in order to give him certain superpowers....lets see, he could make himself invisible, he could run really fast, could he fly? I don't remember...oh, he could also see where people were presently by touching another object that person had come into contact with in the past..a very specific superpower....there were of course the token pretty lady and crazy old man who were the only ones privy to frizzhead's secret.....the shitty thing about this show....well generally, everything about this show was shit, but if I am to pick, I'll say it was the concept of a comedy-action with a fantasy plot (only 'My secret identity' could pull this off) and the fact there was no arch-enemy...blah.

the other two, I can't remember their names (not suprisingly), and they were most truly the worst shows on television....One was with this very strange looking host who always wore suspenders and pink framed glasses....the idea was you'd have a brother and a sister on the show, and they would have to answer questions about eachother in order to get to the prize round, which consisted of each child seperately browsing through a studio of prizes (pink for the girl, blue for the boy). The brother would get to choose three toys that his sister would like most, and vice-versa....then, if they knew eachother super well!!, they would both get all the prizes.....whoa!

...The last is certifiably the worst show of all time. The concept was to play arcade games. You and your teammate would challenge another team, playing really bad conceptualized arcade games while the host rapped about what you were doing in the background.....the final challenge? actually get to take part in a real video game!!!...not really...the effects were so poor and such a primitive piece of attempted virtual reality that no one ever won the game....(Where were those sharks and hedgehogs coming from anyway?? you had no way of knowing, all you saw was a blue screen...)....The concept was poor, but salvageable....what left this show with no hope whatsoever was the host, who was the biggest most vivid example of why you shouldn't watch TV in the first place....the debilitating ADD...

I would like some help here....some sympathy; please comfort me and tell me all my wasted hours were not in vain....
  Sorrento, sorrento, beautiful sorrento....
I've doubted myself again. Its really becoming an issue when I try to write something....see, there is a part of me that aspires to lofty desrcription, something which, if not worthy of some of the authors who inhabited this region in antiquity, would at least not incur in the reader an immediate and nausiating revolt of the senses.....but lo!, the muse is silent, and there remains only an uninspired is this lower part of I, which always is left with a fleeting desire and corrupted, crappy, and overall, 'cheesy' phrases.....take for instance the proposed opening to this piece......

'Sorrento, sorrento, beautiful sorrento....your hills and cliffs are filled with lemons, but nothing is sour here.....'

.....holy..!....yes, invoke christ....!....this is crappy....ok, so I'll let the beauty of sorrento speak for itself (though beware, it may utter slight malcontent for being shown in this technological light, far from the truest luminescence of its sure though that this place indeed lives on in the senses of my mind; and to be sure will do the same for you if you are lucky as I who have visited it......

  what were your favorite shows as a child???? (pt.1)
I watched a lot of television when I was a, some of those shows were I sit here, reminiscing 'bout my formative years exposed to the electron scan of the CRD...I realize that ironically, TV ...boring... has been replaced by computer ...FUN... and still I am mezmerized by the same 'ol seisure inducing, eye straining high frequency pulse which I similarly cherished all those years ago. In the vain of nostalgia, I will now list here, in no particular order, those 'special' ones which I loved so much....

mmm, Nickelodeon was favorites were 'Salute your shorts', 'Hey dude', 'Pete and pete' (one of the rare classics that is still watchable), 'Guts' and 'Treasures of the Hidden temple' (both of which are completely nausiating to watch now), 'Double Dare', 'You can't do that on television', 'Ren and Stimpy', etc....

PBS had a few ('Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?, Reading Rainbow), though they were always educational, which may have alienated a few of my peers at the time, but I'd say that the years have proven me right for having gained invaluable knowledge from sticking with that experiment that was called Educational TV...(they would've been better off using the production $$ for these shows to send someone to the house and steal your TV....though not very becoming of a public institution; I expect they would be rather less forthcoming about the whole ordeal and just take your stuff some other way....but, I digress)....

Just then, thinking about someone stealing my TV I had pictured it to be none other than Mr. Wilfurd Brimley (he played Scrooge in a version of A Christmas Carol I once saw at the Palace Theater in Albany...that could be the source of the association...), nevertheless, he is worth mentioning, cause his name alone opens up a whole new area of the classic TV I watched....the sitcoms/dramas.....starting with Mr. Brimley (maybe remember him from Quaker oats commercials?), I'll mention the 'ol favorite 'Our House' where in fact Big Wil did play an old grumpy guy....then there was 'Dougie Howser M.d.', 'Life goes on', 'The Hogan Family', 'Family Matters', 'Wonder years', 'Growing pains', 'Family ties', etc, etc, etc.

....Really if I had to pick a favorite, it would be something like 'Step by step', 'Mr. Belvedere', or 'Whos the Boss', ...but there are just so many to choose from.....
Finally these pictures are up in the right spot and the table seems to work...!!, there are pictures of me and Manal, with our co-worker Kelly and her friend, Richard, all on Mt. Vesuvio together in varying poses....enjoy!

  A new beginning....
Today, I have spent most of my time rehauling the blog, changing HTML code and such. The reason this took so long is because I am at work, and this means I have had to try and be very sneaky while updating. I've felt paranoid all day long, looking over my shoulder and hitting ALT+TAB back to my 'work' that I have been pretending to accomplish....I have no computer at home though, and hopefully now that these changes are completed, I can rest easy on the blog template for a few months...(its a lot easier to use now!!)....this means, back to work and research tomorrow.

So, a list of what I've changed: Colors, fonts, margins, padding of cells, my profile picture (from Mt. Vesuvio), added some links on the sidebar for other fun blogs (check them out)...etc, etc, etc...

I would of course like to hear some feedback, so feel free to tell me what you think of the new look...
  Fire on the Mountain
A first hand experience with the natural surroundings of this region’s visible and notorious landmark, Mt. Vesuvio

The planning started late last week at work, where, due to a lack thereof, I found myself with a lot of free time to set up an excursion up the side of the only volcano in western europe. Finding information on the National Park of Vesuvius was easy enough…we easily determined that the park was indeed centered on the mountain itself and encompassed most of the surrounding townships…after two weeks in Italy, the image conjured was not one of solitary enjoyment but of a much inhabited and tourist ravaged landscape….despite this, I was certain that there would be found a way up the volcano that would not involve too many of these distractions….so the internet was scoured, and there was found a wonderful website that gave information on the 9 official trails that found their way through the park (; each with distinct characteristics, lengths, difficulties…..upon careful inspection, I decided the best route to take would be an old route which was used in the ‘20s and ‘30s by two brothers in their trips up the mountain which was now converted as park trail no. 6, “La Strada Matrone” ( This one would offer the best views of the surrounding areas, and with the high difficulty and long round trip (7hrs!) would most likely deter many of the tourists.

The Pre-Hike Hike
The head of the trail was located just north of the town of Trecase (information gleaned from the park’s website), and it didn’t seem like too much of a task to make it there from the local train station. Then again, we weren’t referring ourselves to a topographical map, and we hadn’t quite grasped the distance from the station nor the change in elevation from the sea to the trailhead. So, it took the better part of two hours to walk through the towns at the foot of Vesuvio, up through the tourist resorts and villas until we finally reached the gate of the park; which was locked….seemingly a common occurance, though, due to the well worn path around the gate and through a hole in the barbed wire fence, and finally onto La Strada Matrone. This may have turned out to be some of our best luck because the trail was nearly empty all day (we only saw two other people walking that day)…..The four of us, (Myself, Manal, our co-worker Kelly and her friend from London, Richard) started out on the journey up the mountain after resting 5 minutes from the journey from the train line….

The Long and Winding Road
I have the slightest memory of recollection from this time. I recall chasing lizards most of the walk up through the pine forests at the foot of the mountain. They were too fast. I spent much intellectual effort to determine how I could outsmart them, because I would obviously not be able to beat them on speed. I concluded that I was a poor hunter, or rather, had been shopping too long to instinctually hunt my prey. The best solution to the problem I found, with all my superior human intellect, and with nearly two hours of contemplation of the task at hand was to throw my shirt at them, hoping that like a bird in a cage, the lizard, with my shirt draped over its head and eyes, would think it was nighttime allowing me to capture it. This plan never panned out, and before I knew it, it was lunchtime. We ate ham sandwiches, already dead, cooked and sliced to our preference. Our shade was sparse, the red dust of the giant loomed, and for the first time I realized how ridiculous a desire it was to climb knowingly towards and struggle up to the lip of a mouth that had smothered and destroyed who knows how many thousands throughout history…..I sat before this living genesis, humbled by its mass and in the waning cool provided by its prehistoric life, and I held it in reverence.

A Race to the Top
The importance of draping meaning in meaningless rhetoric can never be overestimated. However I often find this statement itself a problem, as I know some others may. Even now I am waging a battle with myself and the phrase ‘Out of the frying pan and into the fire’…but why?....yes, I remember…..
As the journey contines up Vesuvio, we are now out of the sparse shade of our recent respite, much farther removed from the fragrent peace of the wooded foothills, and fully engulfed in the heat of the midday sun, which is now magnified from the fiery lava rock below foot, itself a loose collection of pebbles that makes it difficult to find your footing and ascend the remaining kilometers….Motivation comes from the surroundings though, in bursts of the high mountain winds and spectacular unobstructed views of the Mediterranian. With our legs pumping we make it up to the final piece of well defined trail before we must find our final ascent to the crater on a obscured footpath, maybe out of regular service for quite some time. Climbing, winding round the side of the cone, following the remnants of a fence bounding the trail on the right, then on the left, we’re offered exhilirating heat, wind and the adrenaline of having climbed this fantasy.
At one point its necessary to traverse a washed out span of the mountainside; the accumulated dust and pebbles make this place very susceptible to erosion. We climb up, then around, pausing in the middle of the washout to admire the very vacant trough which we’ve for that moment decided to settle in….then its around one more bend and there is the cone…..from our first glimpse we can only see the hoard of tourists who took the bus up the opposite side of the mountain, having shaded themselves in the comfort of their vehicles as they ascended, missing out partially, I would say, on the splendor of this mountain…… a second glance, developing into a glimpse of wonder, we ourselves see the massive crater that leads downward, some 600 meters into the center of the mountain…..
…..but, this big hole in the ground is not what I came for, rather I came for the journey up the face of the legendary volcano….so, I took a look for one last time at those surroundings that had been made so familiar during the last 5 hours, I grabbed myself a glowing piece of the crag, and I took the long, relaxing journey back down the other side…….
  I guess its because I said I'm tall, but.....

Take your chance at the ultra nerd star wars quiz...brought to you by me through Dan Zabbal, my roomate of Montreal, and further, Liquid Generation...

Use the following link:

Tell me who you are!
Okay, here are some pictures from Italy.....first, there's the 'Villa' where Manal and I are staying....

...and then there are the folks we're staying with...the first one is of our auntie, 'Dia', and the two grandchildren, Antoinella and Francesco...then there's me with Dia and then with Antoinella with Francesco in the background...

...and here are some random pictures...The large church is in Nola, near where we live, the castle on the water is Castel D'ovo in Naples on the Med., and there's our Italian guides, the wonderfully hilarious Michele and Francesca...

Enjoy,...there are certainly more pics to come....
  Parlano Italiano?
..No, in fact little or none. This is maybe an overlooked aspect of my trip to Italy; yes they do actually speak Italian here, and my English language suave is not carrying me the whole way. But, details, details....the good thing about Italy is that these folks are fluent in hand gesture, which I can certainly speak myself.

Now, to get down to it. I came in around 3pm sunday afternoon and was picked up at the airport by a woman who works at our company. We found our way to Saviano, which is where I'm now living. Saviano is a small town that is about a 40 minute train ride from Naples, and it is about 20 minutes by public transport from our workplace. The trains and busses are no where near as good as the system in Canada (for instance, there are no bus schedules or route maps, it just comes when it comes...usually around the same time each day, but this type of variability is something you just have to get used to expecting....). I think Saviano is beautiful, but I guess if you've been living there long enough, like the people I have spoken with, you end up seeing it differently....but for me, four months will probally not taint my image of this wonderful place.

I live in an apartment/villa with my Manal, my coworker from Canadia; the apartment is owned by a family whose house is attached to the place...I would describe the whole deal more accurately as a compound...theres a gate at the front for cars and people, there are three muts who 'guard' the place (loosely using guard because they run away if you yell at them, so they're only really there for barking) and the total of the three apartments/houses is one huge building (one section is lived in by the grandfather/grandmother/greataunt, one is lived in by the daughter, and one by Manal and I). We all share a garden which has orange trees, lemon trees, and a walnut tree. The family is terrific and really old school Italian….by which mean when Manal and I came home one day at 9pm, the whole family was outside wondering where we were and waiting for us…grandma (‘Dia’), pleaded with us that we call next time we’re late…so now we have a cell phone (given to us by our landlord, the son, Antonio) so that we can call when we’re going to be home later……Really, I feel blessed to be in such good, loving hands….even though I can’t understand much that is said, both Manal and I have been accepted wholeheartedly.

I have infact taken some pictures, and I will be sharing them as soon as I get the chance. It will really help to understand where I live. But for now, I’m at work and should get back to doing things. This weekend, I plan to head out to Naples and to see the Mediteranian. I also want to climb up Mt. Vesuvio and travel to Sorrento and Amalfi….but there is still a lot of time left for me here…

Ciao from Italy,
  The Last Night of Montreal
Yes things have come to a close for this year, and I'm heading on out tonight to Italy. Just when things start to get beautiful in Montreal, though....I'm not going to suggest I would rather stay here all summer and not be in Europe, but there is something so perfect about a Montreal summer. This is really a city I love and can live in for a long long as I can take some of the winters off to somewhere else..

Last night was fun, right?...right?...well for those of you who were there, you certainly know what I'm talking about, for everyone else, sorry you missed out... :(

We had a dinner at the Ritz Carleton for CIADI (Concordia Institute of Aerospace Design and Innovation...what a mouthful), and then we took off to Newtown on Crescent. As a sidenote, I just realized about a month ago that Newtown is Villeneuve in english, which of course is the owner's last name (Jacques Villeneuve). Newtown just sounds cooler I guess, but I wouldn't recommend to Jacques to change his last name permanently, for fear of being disowned in this, Villeneuve..ahem..Newtown, was fun. There were a bunch of friends there, and hell...just look at these pictures....

Its off with me to Italy then. The next time I write, I will be doing it from work, so it may be shorter, but certainly sweet. For everyone who is staying in Montreal, be sure to enjoy the hell out of the summer for me, and I can do the same for you in Naples. Take care of yourself world, and until the next time.....
  You're So Vain
Yes, I am....But that's OK. There's the picture on the right there which is an old picture of me. I'm looking for a new picture and I just happen to have two potentials sitting right by here. Now, I'd ask you, the public (if there is anyone but me who reads this, again reaffirming my vanity) which one do you prefer. Here are your two options:

Pirate Me:

, or there's Revolutionary Me (conducting serious on the phone business).

Please, Make your vote count.
  Born in the USA
New York is a funny thing. I don't know any other place in the world quite like this one. There is real beauty here. The land is fertile, we're surrounded by water, the nights are quiet and the woods are deep. Beyond its natural beauty, this capital region has some terrific architectural design and rich history. The Dutch settled the area and had it called New Amsterdam back in the 1600s, and during their stay here had built some impressive structures; some of which survive until today. Then, during the birth of America, during the revolutionary war, many battles were fought on this land. It was a highly contested area, because of the hudson river and the connecting waterways: to the north there was lake george (Fort William Henry), Lake Champlain (Fort Ticonderoga) and further up, the St. Lawrence river which of course filters out into the Atlantic, and itself an area of rich history for Quebec and the colonial battles fought there. To the south the hudson filters into the Atlantic at New York City, and from the west, you can follow the mohawk river all the way to lake erie. George Washington stayed in the colonial house of the Van Schaick family, one of the original Dutch settlers of this area, right down the road from where I stay now, battles for independence may have taken place right on my land.

And then, after the birth of America, there was great industrialization of this area. The Cohoes Harmony Mills, at one time the largest textile mills in America were powered by the falls of the Mohawk river and brought many workers (mostly French Canadian) to the area near the end of the 19th Century. Troy NY was named the Collar City for its great 'Collar' industry, I guess...thems the times before they learned stitching the Collar and cuffs onto the shirt and marketing it as one big package made more sense. These industrialists left behind a bunch of terrific Victorian Mansions, many now stand dilapidated near the riverfront of the valley. And Uncle Sam. The real Uncle Sam was born and is buried in Troy NY. I guess during one of the big wars, he had sent care packages to many of the soldiers overseas and had received the moniker 'Uncle Sam', his image later being used as a marketing tool for the US armed forces.

And on and on and on. But the most impressive thing about this area is that I feel everyone takes this rich history and natural beauty for granted. There are those who do find the time to experience our history and travel outside their homes to enjoy nature, but I think they are a minority. I feel it is greatly important for the people of this area to embrace this culture, history, beauty. We have all let ourselves become slaves to a history that is not our own, one that is an ideal and not a reality. The pace of our lives is too quick to allow us our respite; reverence of our forefathers. That is the true revolutionary spirit that created the nation, the battles fought on our soil, places that we have now come to pave over with road and parking lot. Ideas we have buried under the ground that we now build our luxurious homes on. There is hope for you yet New York, and America. If your time has indeed come, though, let it be known to all that your history was rich and your people hardy.
  Pictures Again
In an ever continuous effort of improvement, I have moved on with the picture hosting to a hopefully better site. This is officially my first trial of, so if they work out, I'll be pretty psyched. Also, just got a fancy digicam, so now I can document every useless occurance and post it online in no time. Fancy indeed!

Here's some pictures of Albany.


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