All posts by

Moving from Chicago to Kansas at the age of ten is bound to have some affect on a kid. I was a Polish/Irish boy in the land of Smith/Jones(s) . Humor became my go to coping mechanism and reading/science became my refuge. That is the recipe that created the person that I am today, an engineer who, um, shall we say “sees the world differently”. I am no longer in Kansas. They were done with me quite a while ago. I am currently roaming the wilds of Colorado but where ever I go people always tell me I’m “unique”. I am sure they mean it as a compliment.

Ode To The Vanishing Record Store (reprise for Record Store Day)

Record stores, To me they were magical. Just their names cast spells of joy , angst and love all at once. Kief’s Records and Tapes, Waxie Maxie’s, Penguin Feather Records, Paul’s Records and Tapes, Twist and Shout. The list is endless. Unfortunately the digital age may spell the demise of these places and that’s too bad. They were great places to learn about new bands and argue the important questions in life.  Who was more significant to the punk movement , The Sex Pistols or The Ramones? Passersby would offer “you don’t know what you’re talking about because you didn’t even mention The Stooges“. Which power trio had the best drummer,  Rush or ELP (Emerson , Lake and Palmer)? Or which guitarist really was God, Eric Clapton or Jimmy Page? I of course would toss in “You didn’t even mention Stevie Ray Vaughn or Jimmie Hendrix you boobs”. Try having these arguments while downloading from iTunes.

No matter the name or the layout they all had one thing in common. They had this mysterious aura about them. I am not sure if it was the smell, which often was of incense ,or just the knowledge that you were  about to discover something new and mind-blowing.   To me they also felt foreboding.  Perhaps that’s  because my introduction to music stores occurred during the seventies when many of them doubled as a “head shop”. Go ask you parents what that is. God I’m old.  So if you are lucky to still have a music store ( CD/Records) around and not just a section of Walmart because you really can’t discover anything there except a new kind of fungus, visit it and spend some money there before it’s too late. I gotta go, Twist and Shout is calling me.

My Fragmented Soul (How I became Lord Voldemort in a Good Way)

I have always found it easy to make friends. I am not sure exactly why but it may be because with me what you see is pretty much what you get. I tend to wear my personality on my sleeve or much like pasta sauce during a white shirt day, everywhere possible.  It may not be obvious but these days but when you come across me I may not be entirely there, but you won’t notice anything missing.

There are many theories about the existence of the soul and while I am no theologian much less an avid church goer, wait for it , listen, there , a sigh from the heavens, I do have my own theory about the soul. Mine to be specific.

I have spent a good deal of my life not living it in one particular place most of the time. Being a road warrior these days has taken that to the extreme. In each locale that I have lived I believe I have left a little bit of my soul with those who touched my life in the places I have called home. Why else would I feel comfortable in all of those places and sad to leave each and every one of them.

My time in my current location is drawing to an end and while I will be happy to get back home I will be a little bit sad leaving friends behind. Not too sad though. I will be leaving another bit of my soul to keep them company.

If it’s true that your soul goes on when your mortal coil has spent its last earthy moment, then mine will go on in many places.  Some say your soul is called to another stage of life.  If mine does move on , then it’s probably going to take quite a while to get there in its entirety. I figure if I have lived my life the way I want to, there will be a few hundred pieces that will need to be collected.

I am humbled by a Liebster Award Nomination


Many thanks to Maria ( for nominating me for the Liebster Award I am humbled.

11 random things about me:

I can wiggle my ears one at a time.

Like 8 out of every 10 persons I can curl my tongue.

I have no other magic physical qualities I would like to share with the general public.

I don’t look my age and I do not have a hideous portrait of myself  in my attic.

I was asked  by my professor in a sophomore composition class  If I ever thought about being a writer. I thought about it and decided  I needed to wait until I had lived a little. Ten years ago I decided I had lived enough to give it a shot.

I began writing as an outlet for my sense of humor and that has driven my writing ever since.

Someone once seriously offered to set me up with Lorena Bobbit (post bobbing). I politely declined. People I have shared this with, all of them men, have expressed the thought that I should have agreed so I could have had an “interesting” tale to tell. I expressed the thought that anything more interesting would have been more of an experience than anyone one man should have in one lifetime.

I am a proud geek, as a kid I once read an entire set of encyclopedias front to back.

In school I balanced both sports and science.  In my 9th grade year  my entry in  the football program listed science as one of my interests. Opposing players were terrified…..of science.

My father bore an uncanny resemblance to Charles Bronson, I was a well behaved child. My father passed before Mr. Bronson, I cried for both departures.

My day is complete if I have made one person laugh.

Questions posed to me by Maria:  Would You Rather

1. Eat disgusting live beetle larvae?    or

2)Sleep with insects in your bed (ie, bedbugs) aware of their presence ALL night?

1) Hands down, How can you sleep knowing you are sharing your bed with bugs that will chew on you during the night? Besides    you didn’t say I couldn’t doctor up the larvae with condiments, habenero peppers anyone?

1. Determine the bus fare from “here” to Africa? or

2)Get 12 vaccines in 30 days?

1)I solve problems for a living so 1 would be fun and 2 not so much unless I can count acupuncture . I might be willing to give that a shot.

1. Partake in a Japanese Tea Ceremony in Kyoto?   or

2. Indulge in an American binge drinking “ceremony” at Boston College?

1.)I have never been to Japan let alone take part in a Tea Ceremony. Besides I went to college , not Boston , but at some point during college drinking binges you can convince yourself you’re  anywhere.

1. Go on a near-death trek across the Himalayas with Bear Grills of Man vs. Wild surviving only on goat testicles?  or

2.Be a camera/lighting assistant in a domestic-cat documentary (think day in the life)?

1) I am a dog person so I could only do #2 If I was under the influence of a drinking binge I partook of in Boston. Besides, number one was  only “near death” and again need I mention habenero peppers.

1. Become humbled by the vast height of the Redwoods in California? or

2. Stand humbled by the vast openness of the Sahara Desert?

1)I live in Colorado so I really enjoy the feeling I get around  tall constructs of nature. Besides, I am fair skinned and there is no    indication of SPF 45 in number 2.

1. Travel in a country of forced silence and safety?  or

2. Travel in a country experiencing rapid change and instability?

2) For me #1 is more predictable. I can predict that I could not abide by forced silence and after a violation the state would insure my safety in my new 8×8 windowless room. I will take my chances with  instability, the odds are better.

My questions to my nominees: ( In addition to identifying 11 random facts about yourself)

1 ) How do you eat an Oreo Cookie?

2) Your down in the dumps , what is your go to song/band/artist for elevation?

3) What motivated you to blog?

4) Your alone and in a good mood. Do you , whistle, hum or sing? Any particular tune?

5) Of any skill you currently do not have , what one would you like pick up and cultivate?

6) Where do you  ponder life, liberty and your navel ? : 1) At the ocean ,   2) In the mountains, 3) Down by the river,  or 4) A  field with no natural features.

My blog nominations are :


Andrew H. Black:


Jeff Moore:

Shannon Thompson:

Sweet Blogging Award Nomination


I would like to thank Barbara Brady  at

for nominating my blog for the Sweet Blogging Award (Sorry it took a few days to get this up!)

The rules to this award (for me and all nominees) are:

  1. Thank the Super Sweet Blogger that nominated them
  2. Answer five super sweet questions
  3. Include the Super Sweet Blogging award image in your blog post
  4. Nominate a baker’s dozen (13) other bloggers
  5. Notify your nominees on their blog

The 5 sweet questions.

Cookies or Cake. When it comes to sweets I have to ration them and if I am going to cheat I have to go big and go cake. With cookies it is easy to drag it out and go way past my allocation.

Chocolate or Vanilla. Really ? It’s a choice? Chocolate of course.

Favorite Sweet Treat.  Any item that combines Raspberry and Chocolate (Ice Cream, Candy , raw chocolate syrup and raspberries etc).  The person that thought “I wonder what raspberry and chocolate together would taste like?”  should have gotten the nobel peace prize.  Yes even before the person that thought the same about chocolate and peanut butter.

When do you crave sweet things the most? After a long hard work day. I guess its comfort food and a reward.  Its two , two things in one. Kind of like chocolate and raspberry.

Sweet Nick Name.   Is it a nickname if we give it to ourselves? I think my nickname should honor my heritage and therefore be a combination of terms stemming from my Polish/Irish background. I am combining the Polish word for chocolate and the name of a fine Irish whiskey . Czekolada Jamison  (pronounced Check-o-lada or Check-o-wada depending on how authentic a pronunciation you’re going for).  In fact I like it so much I may make it  my Nom de Plume.  It also works as a great band name. They would probably list Devotchka as one of their influences. Note: Chocolate Raspberry in Polish would be Czekolada Malinka but that would be a slight towards the Irish part of me. It also would make a good band name. But the band would have to involve a lot of accordion and would be relegated to the Wedding/Polka circuit.

My Nominations: So I want to point out that I have only been involved in this blog community for less than a month so my list is from the blogs aware to me in that short time.

Without further ado, ok maybe a little do, my nominations for the Sweet Blogging Award ….drumroll please…

Travel With Intent:

Charles Gulotta – Mostly Bright Ideas:

Marisa D. Lyon:

Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move:

Ermisenda Alvarez and Eliabeth Hawthorne – Ermiliablog:

Inside My Glitching Mind:       (Note: I could not find a place for posting comments to blog. I emailed the author).

Russell Deasley –  Worlds Top 10 of Everything and Anything:

Bitter Ben – Ben’s Bitter Blog:

The Unwitting Traveler:

laurasbadidieas –

Tracyembor :

Alistair Savage:

Thank you again Barbara!  (

A Story of Passion that Never Occurred in Plaça Catalunya.

I was going through some old boxes the other day. My rule is if you have not opened up a box once in the past year it’s toast. There are certain riders to the rule to adjust for special situations. If you have just moved for example then the time period starts at arrival at the new abode and lasts for six months. If, at the end of that time, a box has not been opened it is time to auction it off to Storage Wars.

I stumbled upon a box that I did not recognize and was not sure when it was opened last. I am sure that I had violated my rule several times over. Most of the contents did not seem worth holding on to until I came upon an old pamphlet advertising a shopping district (FNAC) in Barcelona by the name of Placa Catalunya. ” If you’re after sheet music, music-related books or musical instruments, there is a large FNAC on Placa Catalunya”. The past came flooding back as I gazed into the faded type of the yellowed poster.

It was several years back and I found myself enjoying  a warm spanish summer in Barcelona. I was living the life of an expatriate in Spain. It was not long after college and I was drifting along in the world bereft of an anchor that a career would provide. I had no inkling as to what my identity in the world would be and I was perfectly happy. I had drifted throughout  France and into Spain and by the summer I had found myself in Barcelona. I was in need of an influx of cash so I had procured a job at a small music shop in a shopping district known as Placa Catalunya. My spanish was passable and my music knowledge was sufficient enough to convince the proprietor to give me a job. I think the novelty of being American did not hurt.

It was my third day on the job when the universe pulled the emergency brake  as I was turning the wheel and the direction my life was taking was immediately adjusted by 180 degrees. The cause of this of course was a woman. Not just any women. Lupe was the embodiment of every gorgeous senorita that had ever existed. When she smiled the sun came out and when she walked the breeze smelled of jasmine.

I was too mesmerized to understand her request at first but I soon snapped to reality and understood her yearning to play the guitar. It did not take me long to convince her that I was the man for the job. When I got done with her, my guitar would join the legions of men, women and children that had fallen in love with her.  For me, it was too late. I had already fallen hard.

The summer had passed in a rose-colored instant. All of the Disney  bird chirping , stream flowing , flower blooming symbolism could not describe the passion that we shared.  I had no inkling as to the danger that lay a head. There may have been a sign or two that I chose to ignore. Perhaps it was the strange mens clothes in the back of a closet or the montera (bullfighter’s hat) on the coat rack inside Lupe’s front door.

When summer ended, so had our love affair. One moment I was professing my love for her and the next I was running for my life down the  La Rambla de Sant Josep with El Rodrigo and his gang of picadores  in hot pursuit. Fortunately my european ramblings had gotten me into excellent shape and I was able to outrun the angry mob of bullfighters*.

My mind came back to the present and I decided to keep the pamphlet. It was my only keepsake that tied back to Lupe. Well ,not if you include the times when the weather is cold and the act of sitting down brings back the sharp reminder that one of the picadores had a decent arm and good aim with a pica.

*Well that’s what I called them at the time. Running for your life is not the time to research the true name, Torrero.

Note to friends and family. Do not fret about this unknown part of my life. It did not happen. This story was hatched from a writing idea in a blog called “Daily Prompt”. The instruction was to go to  “Blogs I Followin the Reader. Scroll down to the third post in the list. Take the third sentence in the post, and work it into your own post. In my case the third post was “Music Shopping in Barcelona” at a Blog called “Shop With Intent”. I hope you enjoyed my story.

Three Cab Monte (Dante’s Dilemma)

I arrived at Denver International at a little after 11:30pm  and immediately began  a journey through Dan’s 14th level of hell, lost-luggage-land.  I have no idea why Dante stopped at 9 levels.  I am sure he had a deadline.  Perhaps my outlook on life is a bit cynical.  I have 59 levels and counting.  My 14th level is the afore-mentioned lost-luggage-land and I was staring it directly in the face after 25 minutes of waiting at the luggage carousel produced the usual black , red and an occasional pink bag but none that matched my generic black one*. When it was clear my bag was not coming I schlepped over to the baggage office where I was promptly directed back towards a podium by the carousels and asked “Have you talked to that women?”.  “No”, I replied and then thought “15th level, merry-go-round-land, here I come”. I answered the prerequisite questions for entrance into merry-go-round-land, type of bag, color etc and resigned myself to never seeing my luggage again.  The next problem on my agenda was how I was getting home at this late hour but before I started to tackle that problem my luggage had been granted a last stay of execution. It seems it “had wandered away from the rest of the luggage” and was found  cowering in a corner somewhere.  Lets hope I did not just use up my travel karma I thought as I headed over to ground transportation.  When I am gone for weeks at a time I always leave my car in my garage and take the airport shuttle. For return trips the shuttle folks tell me a reservation isn’t necessary. I was now about to put that advice to the test. Sixteenth level of hell, stranded in airport-land here I come.

Fortunately the shuttle desk was still open complete with a long line of customers.  My luck seemed to be holding until a minute later some official looking guy, well he wore a uniform anyway, announced that I was now entering the 16th level, the shuttle was shutting down. He was trying to contact the drivers that had just left for home to see if they could come back for one last run. As optimistic as he sounded, I for one was not convinced that he was going to be successful.  So there we were about twenty of us hanging around for Beelzebub to greet us while uniform guy wandered off in the direction of what I only could hope was a shuttle and not a donut. I am sure those were easier to find. I being of Polish descent (ie, sweaty) was content to wait outside away from the desperate masses. Soon the refugees started to break into small groups. Oh-oh, Lord of the Flies level here we come. My trepidation turned out to be premature. The cliques were based on who was going where.  Unfortunately the leader of the Boulder group was a very young , very desperate and who I assume was a about to be victim of a hustling cab driver.  The desolate look on his face screamed  “I’m vulnerable , please take advantage of me”. He and two others bound for Boulder had secured a $20 dollar a piece ride to Boulder.  I believed that about as much as I believe the Cubs will win the word series in my lifetime. I am making plans for my ashes to be sprinkled on the field when the blessed event takes place.  I declined to be a passenger  on the road to level “stranded by cabby because we did not have $200”.  Soon another “choice” opened up. For $60 I could have the privilege of accompanying 5  strangers to unknown parts of Denver before making it to Boulder. For that I get a discount of $20 off of average cab fare of $80. Sorry, I can get lost in Denver on my own and for free. I was starting get a feeling that this evenings  odyssey had a few more chapters in it that would rival “After Hours” (it’s an awesome movie, check it out)  but so far nobody had died. Risking that record and taking matters in to my own hands I talked to one of the cab drivers still hanging around the ground transportation island and “negotiated” an $80 fee. Yes steep compared the other “bargains but from I what gathered by talking to ground transportation personnel earlier, it was within line of a normal cab fare to Boulder. At this point my gut told me to shoot for normal rather than bargain and I alway’s listen to my gut. Well these days I do. Just ask my friends about the times I didn’t and you will get a litany of psycho ex girlfriend stories.

The ride home was uneventful. Sorry folks, no murders , no mayhem and no running out of gas. It was however 1:20 am. I suppose that was not too late considering I had just left level sixteen. Thankfully level one of heaven on earth was just around the corner. “Posturpedic-land” was calling me.

* Note to reader: I am color blind so it is highly probably that any one sample of the worlds luggage collection will contain much more than three colors.

Traveling Stooges Style

The three stooges. Most men love them, not too many women admit the same. I  contend that it depends on when the latter is questioned about this particular proclivity. I believe that a woman is much more inclined to admitting their love for the Stooges before giving birth. Afterwords I believe the fear of intervention from social services prevent them from telling the truth.  Watching them was fun , traveling like them would not be.

No matter what their mode of transportation was ,they always slept three to a bunk , chair or car.  Flying was not much of an option during those days. If it was they could have shared my recent experience.

Let’s face it. The one size fits all airline seats were designed when Mickey Rooney was that one size.  The standard airline seat requires that you fast  a week before traveling.  Is it an accident that cheaper tickets require a reservation at least one full week before departure? I think not.  The fact that the airlines manage to fill up the planes defies natural law and the fact that there are not more air marshal incidents  due to overcrowding is beyond me. I know I am not alone when I say that I hate the middle seat. When it comes to sitting in the middle seat,  I am an on the edge of being claustrophobic . This particular flight I was lucky and was assigned my preferred seat next to the window. The aisle seat was assigned to a  man about 2 1/2 Mickeys, I am about 2 Mickeys.  The person who would be taking up the middle seat was running late and giving me hope that there would be a buffer , allowing comfort for all involved. If he did arrive he was going to have to be somewhere between .75  to  1 Mickey.

Middle Guy , my official name for him during the flight , showed up just moments before they closed the airplane door. Judging by the look on his face as he first gazed upon his seat assignment it seemed he was silently cursing  the flight attendants sloth-like ability when it came to closing cabin doors, the failures of many people to get in his way during his terminal run or his own swift feet. Middle guy politely squeezed  into his seat and his position gradually evolved into  a more comfortable one, for him, leaning onto me.  For those of you who have followed my adventures on this story board, you know my one true super power. SPOILER ALERT ( I have always wanted to do that). For those of you who have just discovered my stories , I will reveal it now, but please go back and see what you missed. My superpower is that I can sleep anywhere , particularly if I am on something moving. It was at this time that I chose to deploy my power. What I can’t see , hear , or feel can’t hurt me. Probably a philosophy used by many in prison. My power did not fail me and I slept through snack and beverage time. In kindergarten that would have made me cranky but I have evolved. I woke up 2 hours later with the strange feeling that something had gone wrong.  I cleared the sleep from my eyes and noticed that middle guy was looking at me with trepidation, ok down right fear in his eyes.  When I caught his gaze he cautiously stated “ I have been really worried the last hour or so. I am sorry but I accidentally got mayonnaise* on your pants”. I  glanced down at the location of the mayo and approved of his decision not to try to clean it up while I was sleeping. I looked at middle guy and laughed and said” No worries,   They are just jeans”. Travel pants are a good idea. Besides I pictured him trying to squeeze mayo out of a packet with his right hand while trying not to elbow Aisle Guy and commiserated with his predicament.

Getting to the hotel I promptly attempted to wash out  the stains left on my pants. There were still noticeable spots. I was a little self-conscious about them on the return flight but nobody seemed to notice . Perhaps they were afraid to look at the laughing man staring at his pants and doing impressions of Curly. Nyuk , Nyuk, Woo Woo Woo.

*Thankfully it was the fake stuff, the egg in the real stuff would have gotten nasty.

I Grok, The Story of the Worlds First Detective

“I Grok Therefore I am “, He thought when he first woke up this morning. He was not sure what any of that meant. He did not have thoughts before this morning. Well to be clear he had not had any lucid thoughts until this morning. He was still not quite sure what lucid meant.  There was really only one thing he could be sure about and that was that  all of this strangeness started yesterday.

It was a day like all of the others. Get up in the morning. Slowly peek outside the cave and see if it was safe out there. No big hairy flying things, check. No big hairy four legged walking things, check. No sign of anything hairy and moving, check. Most of the dangerous things around here were hairy and moving except the dweller in the cave next door, but he was always having a bad hair day , even when he did manage to move his behind off his rock and do something useful.

Convinced all was well in the neighborhood of caves he stepped outside to begin his morning of foraging for breakfast. Foraging was not the duty of most of the males in his village but he was no longer allowed to go hunting with them. His idea of “hunting” was too boring for the other men. He preferred to “think” about it for a while. At least that is the “word” he now attached to it, thinking. After thinking he would determine the easiest place and time to kill the beast. This usually involved waiting until the beast had mated and had fallen immediately asleep. Male beasts were no different than any other male creature.  For the rest of the village males, this did not offer enough excitement. Oh sure some of them had an unusual fascination for the preliminaries to the kill but it still did not offer enough prehistoric brutality to make it worthwhile.

He found foraging fascinating. Fascinating, that is the word he now attached to the feeling. He could look at plants and think about them all day long. At first, finding the plants you could eat was a crap shoot and usually that is what happened after eating what you found.  After several instances of hiding behind a rock the rest of the day and erupting at both ends of the spectrum, yes it’s a euphemism, you put a few clues together and learned what you could eat and what you could not.

He had been in the large clearing , a field maybe, yea that’s it, on the edge of the cave neighborhood when a loud noise above him caught his attention. Turning his attention skyward he caught site of a large boulder flying over him. Closely following the boulder was a flock, yea  a flock , of other smaller boulders. Maybe rocks, but kind of shiny.  That was the last thing he remembered before he woke up in his cave. That was two sunsets ago.

Upon waking up, Grok had two thoughts. “radioactive” and “cliche”. He was not sure what either of them meant but whatever happened had changed him. He felt different , he felt smarter, he felt the need  for an outside rock and ran out behind his cave. “Hmm, still feeling the after affects of yesterdays foraging”, he thought. “ What is with these thoughts “, he ….thought. Until yesterday all he ever had in his head were grunts and other incoherent syllables , with the majority the grunts being mostly “doh” and “nuts”. What was that all about? After a few moments he gave up trying to figure it out and went back inside his cave to start his day.

Once he a had spruced up a bit ,splashing water on his face and plastering down his hair, he exited his cave. Looking upon the neighborhood he saw it in a brand new light. Something different lay before him. Something that contained possibilities.