Monday, December 31, 2012

Jeffrey Scott's - Best of his Blogs - 2012

One of the things I love most about December 31st is the end of year countdowns and reviews. It's fun to read or watch the top 10 moments in sports, films of the year, songs of the year and celebrity news stories that people compile. So it's not surprising I like to do the same. If you are reading this, then you likely follow at least one of my blogs. Now you have the opportunity to see what else I typically write about. As you read and review the past year entries, take notice of the other articles. Maybe you'll find something else that interests you.

After reviewing this compiled list, I have to say I'm impressed. So much so, I wish I could time travel back one year and show myself what neat things I'll be writing about. Of course how awesome would it be to do that next year. But unless I see my future self in the next few minutes, I'll assume it's not going to happen...... Nope, I guess I'll have to wait for next year to see what cool things I write about in 2013.

Thanks once again to all my readers, subscribers, and supporters. I love writing, but you make it so much more enjoyable and what keeps me motivated.

Carrot Sticks - BL S13E01 - No Excuse Zone
Season 13 recap of Biggest Loser begins.
I'm excited for the new season!!!!
Tegan - This is the Game of Rassilon
Created a mini dice related game.
J.A.Scott (Music) - "Fools Fantasy"
Martha Berner CD Review

Carrot Sticks - Tweets of the Week
I was invited to guest blog TWOW
Carrot Sticks - The Ice Cream Parlor
Season 13 article of the Biggest Loser, describes how upset I am with the season!!!
Tegan - Fifth Doctor in Review
A brief review of the Peter Davison era.
J.A.Scott (Music) - "Hot Sauce"
Jessy J CD Review

Carrot Sticks - BL - Coming Home
Jillian has Bob on her blogcast - I speculate her possible return to Biggest Loser
Tegan - The Two Doctors
A review of the episode featuring Patrick Troughton & Colin Baker
J.A.Scott (Music) - "Sophistication"
Thisbe Vos CD Review
J.A.Scott (Photography) - "Streets & Stores"
A trip to Chicago
J.A.Scott (Poetry) -"The Smile"
What I love about the girl who doesn't love me.

Carrot Sticks - No new Biggest Loser recaps
Stopped having fun blogging this season.
Tegan - Blog Hiatus
Took a break from this blog to work on J.A.Scott
J.A.Scott (Poetry) - "Moonlit Walk"
Poetry month! One poem a day.

J.A.Scott (Photography) - "Fire House"
Visited Helenville Fire Station for a photo shoot.

J.A.Scott (Photography) - Dublin Day One
A trip to Europe with my friend Dan.
J.A.Scott (Poetry) - "Goodbye My Friend"
When a friend died, I wrote a poem for her.

Tegan - Who is Tardis Mechanic?
Wrote a spoof article involving my Rock Band group.
J.A.Scott (Music/Photography) - Diana Krall Concert
I was able to bring my camera in and take photos.
J.A.Scott (Poetry) - "Social Butterfly"
It can be hard to catch the eye of the one you adore.
J.A.Scott (R.a.n.t.) - "Ant: Us vs Them"
I relaunched my r.a.n.t. topics.

Carrot Sticks - What Are Your Fitness Inspirations?
Tried writing a new inspiration series for weight loss.
Tegan - Sixth Doctor in Review
A brief review of the Colin Baker era.
J.A.Scott (R.a.n.t.) - "♫Whistle While You Work♪"
Rage against whistle blowers
J.A.Scott (Music / Photography) - CD Case Restoration
How I acquire second hand CD's and spiff them up.
J.A.Scott (Poetry) -  Schrödinger's Cat
A whimsical look at Schrödinger's Theory

Tegan - Time and the Rani
First episode featuring Sylvester McCoy
J.A.Scott (R.a.n.t.) - "It's Nothing Personal, It's Just Business"
What I hate about big business reasoning.
J.A.Scott (Photography) - "Picture Rock Cave Trail"
One set of photos from my Wyalusing Trip

Tegan - Survival
Final episode of the old Dr.Who serie
J.A.Scott (Photography) - "Muskego Park"
Enjoying an Autumn day.
J.A.Scott (R.a.n.t.) - "The Newest Odd Couple"
In an update of the Odd Couple, I could play both parts.

Tegan - Doctor Who the movie
Review of the film featuring Sylvester McCoy and Paul McGann
J.A.Scott - Chocolate Fest
I hosted a chocolate taste test with my sisters.
J.A.Scott (Poetry) - "You Will Never Read This"
Likely the one intended will never read this.
J.A.Scott (R.a.n.t.) - "Too Shy, Shy"
Problems I have with trying to associate with others.

Tegan - Legacy of the Daleks
A book review which features Susan, the Master and Paul McGann
J.A.Scott (Poetry) - "Broken"
Pick me up and throw me away.
J.A.Scott (R.a.n.t. / Poetry) - "A Poets Football Game"
My imagination of what a football team comprised of poets would be like.

Top 10 Blog Articles of 2012 - (According to Web Hits)
1149 - J.A.Scott - Social Butterfly
545 - Carrot Sticks - Biggest Loser - Coming Home
516 - Carrot Sticks - Biggest Loser S13E05 - Listen & Keep Your Mouth Closed
462 - Tegan -Dr. Who (The Early Years) - Part 69 "The Sixth Doctor In Review"
398 - Tegan -Dr. Who (The Early Years) - Part 58 "The Five Doctors"
317 - Carrot Sticks - Biggest Loser S13E10 - I Could Lose One Pound Taking A Poop
298- J.A.Scott -Diana Krall - Milwaukee: 16, July 2012
294 - Carrot Sticks - Biggest Loser S13E09 - Going Home
131 - J.A.Scott -Vacation Day 10 - The Isle of Man TT Races
104 - Tegan -Doctor Who (TV Movie) - Part 76 "Doctor Who"

Top 10 Blog Searches
1078 - Carrot Sticks - creepy man
637 - Tegan - Carly Foulkes
405 - J.A.Scott - Butterfly
382 - Carrot Sticks - Kim Lyons
380 - J.A.Scott - Bond Band
316 - Carrot Sticks - Why did Rulon leave biggest loser
267 - Carrot Sticks - Anna Kournikova biggest loser
210 - J.A.Scott - Diana Krall
75 - Tegan - Simpsons tapped out
62 - Tegan - the war machines computer

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Dave & Busted

R.a.n.t. of week 12/30/12
This past weekend, I was invited by a friend to an eatery I've heard others describe as an "Adult Chuck E. Cheese". I had never been to this place so figured I'd give it a whirl, mostly because my children were with me and they would likely enjoy the games the establishment provided. As we arrived, I saw another friend who had arrived about thirty minutes before us. As luck would have it, the booth next to him was open so the waitress gave us that one. So how did the encounter go? Well, it's the topic of this weeks r.a.n.t., so probably not as well as I would have liked it to. Later on at home, I took the opportunity to fill out a survey to express what I thought of the place. One of the questions asked about the attentiveness of our server. Following are the actual comments I left.
"I had to ask for straws for our drinks. Then I had to ask for cutlery for our food. Is there a charge for drink refills? I have no idea because we were never asked if we needed another drink."

I'm a master of passive aggressive behaviour so my first attempt at trying to gain forks and knives was when the waitress walked past and I grabbed a handful of mashed potatoes and began eating them from my fingers. That didn't seem to catch her notice so I ended up flagging her down and asking for the utensils. Connie told me she thought it was odd I was doing that and I replied, "I just thought that was the 'thing' here." She laughed but finally gave the utensils for the six of us. "I won't make you eat with your fingers any more." she replied.

Additionally, the food was not something I'd write home about. But it was perfect to write a blog about. I ordered a chicken plate which came with mashed potatoes. I did like the coating on the chicken, but it was served lukewarm. Also the mashed potatoes were prepared gazpacho style. I also stole a French-fry from my friends plate when he made the mistake of stepping away for a bit while the food was just about to be served (so his food was really cold by the time he received it). Needless to say, the fry was likely sitting under a heat lamp in the back for a while.

Continuing with the survey I filled out later, it asked for additional comments on how happy I was with my visit. Once again, my actual response is included.
"Had 6 people in my 'party' but had to pay an 18% gratuity. This was gratuity even AFTER simple game cards were purchased, not just food items. Then found out another table complained about the gratuity and had it waived. How unfair!!!"

When I received my bill, I was shocked to find I had to pay an 18% gratuity fee for a party of 8 or more. I can only assume this was because I stopped to say hi to my friend on the way in. Suddenly he was a part of 'my' party, despite us not even talking during the entire course of our meal. I had my own table of company to keep. After I paid the bill I was informed he had his bill taken care of because he was outraged by the added gratuity and the fact it was for game cards which could have easily been purchased at a kiosk. Some dinner deal I received.

One of the last questions the survey asked was, what could have made my visit more pleasurable.
"Not be charged an 18% gratuity for an inattentive waitress.
Not be charged an 18% gratuity for cold food.
Not be charged an 18% gratuity for a party of only 6."

On top of everything else, the price of the games confused me. The game cards are full of 'credits' which do not equal the amount of monies put on the card. Each game has a cost averaging between 5.2 and 9.9 credits. Yes, those are decimal points. This confounded me and made it difficult to figure out exactly how much I was really spending on each game.

Okay, I realize you are probably saying, 'Jeffrey you complain to much. If you dislike the place so much, don't visit it again.' Point taken, I think I can manage that.

Thursday, December 27, 2012


I'd always felt so all alone
trapped inside a little cube.
Miserable I sat in angst
'til experienced a sudden xube.

So gorgeous, she, like nothing else
since beauty first began.
how I long for her embrace
yet know I'll soon be xan.

How could she ever love me,
her faith in me confide?
It's just my silly secret,
and never to be xelotide.

So quietly I sit alone and
whisper her name into the breeze.
Thinking of the one I love
my sweet and cherished xiquez.


* Fictitious words I invented

1. Xube - Experiencing something beautiful you have never experienced before.
2. Xan - To be driven crazy.
3. Xelotide - Being in a state of public awareness.
4. Xiquez - Some hidden knowledge from the general public.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Spam & Scam - Click HERE For Viagra

R.a.n.t. of week 12/23/12
One of the things I hate more than not receiving any feedback is getting spam feedback. It's kind of sad when most of the comments I receive have to be deleted. What's worse is most of those spam message are also scam messages, i.e empty promises or ineffective products. Following are the last five comments I received on various blog posts:

1. Unbelievable, I just found this software that can promote your website. Click here for....
-- And this relates to the Isle of Man TT how?

2.Crucial Factors Of Philadelphia car accident lawyers - What You Need To Know Also see my page...
-- Yea, that really relates to my article on supermarket checkouts. Or is the point that in Philadelphia only accident lawyers use the speedy checkouts?

3. Hey there admin found your website via search engine but it was hard to find and I see you could have more traffic because there are not so many comments yet. To dramatically increase traffic to your site visit....
-- This was left on the Isle of Man Glen photos. I think I liked the Glen just fine without traffic.

4. Торговля двигатель рекламы !!!
-- To be honest, I'm not sure what to make of this. Google translate translates this to "Trade Engine Advertising!!!" This was left on one of my 'Auto Show' posts. Well, maybe this wasn't spam??? If I'm wrong, sorry about that comrade.

5. We procession inasmuch as all kinds of crazy qualitys that separate mistaken in a inconsistency of styles, colors and sizes at wholesale price....
-- This was left on my 'Cinema Talkers' rant. And isn't the irony of the broken English above criticising "crazy qualitys & inconsistancy" just as annoying as a movie talker? And then there is the unrelated topic of this spam directing me to a website where I can buy cheap wedding and prom dresses. I'm like ???

To be honest though, the last response reminds me of the email scams from Nigeria. Years ago I used to respond to them, just to mess with them and waste their time. I don't think they usually had any idea what I was talking about. Included below are a few key moments of one such correspondence. I, of course, used a fake name.

The Setup: In these emails, the scammer tries to obtain the bank information of unaware people. Usually they pose as Nigerian barristers, lawyers or businessmen, trying to move money to a "safe" place in America. They claim to need bank information to move the money into your account. When they acquire the needed information, they drain the account of money and disappear. My goal was to waste their time so they were not doing this to other, more gullible, people. I won't bore you with his first email as it's usually 5 pages long. Suffice it to say I responded favourably and willing to help, though I didn't send him any bank details.

From: Ali (Scammer)
To: Mark Krall (Me)
Dear Mark,
I have acknowledged the reciept of your mail.Please if you are not ready to send your banking information where the fund will be transafered, you should forget about helping me and I dont want any other person to be involve in this transaction.

From: Mark Krall (Me)
To: Ali (Scammer)
Oh my! You do not trust me? I just figured it would be easier to have my personal banker give you all the necessary information. I was trying to be efficient and fast and you are now saying I am not trustworthy?

From: Ali
To: Mark Krall
Please, if my last mail to you offended you, I appologies for that, you should forget and forgive, let us forge ahead, so that we can be able to achieve the gold ahead of us.

From: Mark Krall
To: Ali
I accept your apology. Account number will be sent to you this evening when I arrive home. All my bank information is at home. I was going to bring it in to work in case you wrote back but forgot to grab in my haste, I was running late earlier. I heard a loud crash outside my apartment building this morning and saw an overturned milk truck. There was milk everywhere and all the neighborhood cats were running over. I tell you, I never had such a hard time driving down my own city block. With luck, the milk and the cats will be gone when I get home.

From: Ali
To: Mark Krall
I HAVE RECEIVED YOUR MAIL, TAKE NOTE THAT I HAVE NOT RECEIVE YOUR ACCOUNT NUMBER , PLRASE YOU SHOULD ENDEAVOUR TO SEND IT TO ENABLE ME FORGE AHEAD. I recieved your mail.Thanks for your urgent response. You have to send the inforamtion asfollows:
Name Of the Bank/Address:
Bank's Tel and Fax:
Acoount No/Routline No:

From: Mark Krall
To: Ali
My best friend, Ali
How are you doing? I hope all is okay with you. Please tell me things are okay. I must get right to the point. Please Ali, we are best friends; you have never told me a lie. Are you being serious or is this just a joke for you? We need to take this serious if it is serious. If it is just a joke to you, then why do you write me? You seem a very busy man and important to be making jokes and just fooling around. If you are truly serious then contact Jenny at my bank. Her number is 867-5309. Please! This is very important!!!

From: Ali
To: Mark Krall

From: Mark Krall
To: Ali
I did not want to delay in this. Here is the information you needed.
Bank: Maggody Tri-N-Save / 100 Main, Maggody - Stump Cty C
Phone: Jenny - 867-5309
Account: 25OR624
Now we should be able to get our deal concluded. I can't wait. Do you mind if I go shopping right away? I could buy both of us a brand new car and when we meet we can have drag races. Just like in the movies.
Dragster buddy,

From: Ali
To: Mark Krall
Coming to your request, I will not give any answer to any of the question until the fund is approved for payment on your behalf, you know what to invest with your own money and I know what to invest with my money. Be informed that I am investing a lot of money here to ensure that our dream become true. All you need to do now is to make a good arrangement on where I will stay.

From: Mark Krall
To: Ali
I still want to buy us a pair of matching cars. If you'd like I can take out the remaining money and put a down payment on them. They will look nice and we can cruise and pick up chicks. They will like our new cars. You never got back to me and specified which color you preferred, puke purple or outrageous orange? Please, this is VERY important you get back to me on this since I can go to bank today to take the money out to put the down payment on the cars. You will really like them!!!! Don't worry about a place to live, you can live with me.

To: Mark Krall
From: Ali
You refused to mention the Name of your Country as the desination where the Fund will be routed, I don't want you to hinder our Payment since I have not see any seriousness in you, even your last mail proved that you are joker, Look at the way you address me on your last mail, talking meaningless things that does not make sense.

To: Ali
From: Mark Krall
I am looking forward to the completion of this transaction as well. In regards to you calling me joker, I can truthfully tell you I am not him. Sure, I may live in Gotham but that does not mean I'm the Joker. Those canisters of Smilex they found in my apartment were not mine, but for a friend who accidentally left them over. You must believe and trust that I am not the joker. Perhaps when we meet for real when you come to visit I can prove it with a handshake. Still, I'm a little upset you called me the Joker. So I will call you penguin from now on.
Love that joker,

[I never heard from him again]

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Checking Out the Fast Lane

R.a.n.t. of week 12/16/12
Let's suppose you went to a Nascar race, only to find out the cars in the race were a soap-box derby type, using pedal power. The roar of the cars zipping past replaced with a deafening sound of nothingness from the derby cars. Probably not an event you'd write home about, unless to r.a.n.t. and complain. Even if you were a soap-box derby fan, you'd have to admit compared to the Nascar you were hoping to see, the derby cars were not very speedy. Keep in mind, being speedy is relative to how fast you expect something to go. A snail racing along at 10MPH could hardly be called slow. Why then, do grocery stores put monikers on their 'self-serve checkout' lines such as "Speed Zone" or "Fast Lane", when they are anything but. Have you ever tried using these lanes and actually watched the people in front of you? This weekend I was entertained with a three act show. With four checkouts, only three ever work at any given time. The first customer is a lady who ignores the 12 item limit and proceeds to self-checkout her cartload. I've also noticed the more a person has at the checkout, the slower they move. The next checkout is a lady who has a stack of coupons. I won't bash coupons if they work for you, but most machines require the attention of a checkout clerk. So every coupon the lady scans, the clerk has to come over and approve it. If she's going to be seeing the clerk that much, why not just use a regular lane? The final customer is an older gentleman who has his grandson along. First of all, the gent has a 'not so bright' look on his face. Everything he scans puzzles him and he tries to scan other items before putting the previous into a bag. This sets off the alert and the clerk is called over to find out what the problem is. His grandson keeps telling him to put the item in a bag, but for reasons unknown the grandfather doesn't listen. After a few more items being processed this way, I literally hear him say, "Maybe I should have used the other lane". Sir, you took the words right out of my mouth.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Turn Left

R.a.n.t. of week 12/09/12
This is an indicator light. Please use it!
A few years ago I r.a.n.t.ed about 'Inconsiderate Drivers'. Back then I was mostly talking about rude drivers. This time it's slightly different. It's the drivers who are indifferent to signalling. I can't count the number of times I've pulled up behind someone at a traffic light, waiting for the light to change green. And once it does I expect them to get going, but they don't. They just sit there. Why? Because they are turning left and have failed to signal. What makes matters worse, there is now a steady stream of cars going around us to the right. So now I'm locked in, waiting for this yahoo to finish their turn. Had they had their directional on, I would have known to go in the right lane. A few of the times they have a hard time turning, but when they do the light is already changing so now I'm forced to speed through a yellow/red light or wait for the light to change again. To add insult to injury, I've also noticed a few of these people who suddenly turn their directional on as they are turning. My brain just wants to melt. You DON'T have to tell me you are turning when I can SEE you are turning. We don't need signals in the car to inform others what you are already doing. Maybe next season, cars should be equipped with an indicator light, informing people there has been an accident. No, that's probably a bad idea, because once I SEE the accident, I'll KNOW ABOUT IT!!!!

*Thank you Donna for using your indicators. Much appreciated.

Thursday, December 6, 2012


Broken I am, as I lay on the floor.
Damaged to you,
busted and smashed.

Unneeded I am,
Redundant for you,
A pointless waste.

Unwanted I am,
Discarded by you,
Outcast of all.

Broken I am, as I lay on the floor.
Pick me up,
and throw me away.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Poets Football Game

R.a.n.t. of week 12/02/12
This weekend I was invited to a "flag" football game. Now of all sports, American football happens to be my favourite (unless darts counts). Some might think I'd be more interested in European football, but I'm not very agile on my feet and can't really run up and down the field like I used to. A few months ago we played Football (Soccer), and I really tired myself out (though I probably wouldn't have played if I wasn't trying to impress a girl). Truly, I need to lose weight; okay, another r.a.n.t. for another time. One of the main reasons I came to this game was for my son. Though there were many younger players for which we were playing flag football, us older ones were not always so passive when we went up against each other. I somehow managed to injure a few of my ribs and my arms and legs are extremely sore today. But, I wouldn't take the pain away (as long as they heal), for anything. I wear these pains as trophies, in honour and glory, satisfied knowing I went out there and played despite my initial misgivings.

What misgivings? Well, as indicated above, I'm not exactly the athletic type. And even if I were more fit, the drive to play somewhat alludes me. I was picked last in the 'school-yard pick-em' and the reason showed several times as I was playing, quite probably looking lost. At one point I remember thinking to myself, "I'm a poet, not a footballer". So that got me thinking. Can a poet be an athlete? I started to imagine a team playing football, comprised of poets. Here's how the game went in my mind:

* * * * *

"Hello, I'm Alex Flanagan. I'll be your sideline reporter for this first ever, poets football game. The players are on the field and the game is about to commence. Some might wonder why the game is so late at night. It seems most of the poets felt it was more 'poetic' this way. Number 12, Robert Browning, suggested this 'meeting at night'. Kick-off is about to begin and I'm joined by Pam Oliver who'll be interviewing a few of the players. Pam, I understand you are with Lewis Carroll, this teams quarterback."

"Yes Alex, Now Lewis, what do you feel are your teams chances of winning this game?"
"Twas brillig, and the slithy toves."
"I've forgotten, he doesn't usually make much sense. Back to you Alex."

"The game is now under-way and the poets have received the ball first. John Keats is returning the ball, wait, what's he doing? He's stopped and staring ahead, he seems to be paralysed in place, pointing down field and mumbling. Can we hear what he's saying?"
"Tiger, Tiger burning bright!"
"He's taken down at the 15! This is not good field position for the poets. It's first down and looks like they are going to try a run play. It's handed off to Robert Frost who, yes he's actually made a first down. The defence assumed he was running a different route, but he tricked them all and took the one less traveled by. They are now in better field position, but can they do anything again? Lewis Carroll is hiking the ball."
"One two! One Two! And Through and Through, hike!"
"It's going to be a pass play. Stephen Crane is running down field as though he's pursuing the horizon. William Wordsworth is running all about the field. I'm not sure he knows what he's doing. He seems to be fluttering and dancing in the breeze. Here's the throw, it's to W.H.Davies but he's just standing there. He could have caught the ball but he didn't even try. He's now being ejected from the game. Pam, can you get a comment from him?"

"Davies, what happened out there?"
"What is life if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare."
"Thanks for that incite. Alex, back to you."

"Thanks Pam. The team is now sending in Emily Dickenson. Earlier, she felt the game was going to be a breeze and said, 'success is counted sweetest'. Seems she's very hopeful. It's second down and they are going for another run play. It's handed to Emily but she's turned from the defender and has started to run backwards. Oh no, she is taken down for a loss of ten yards. I think we can hear her on the field."
"How DREARY to be somebody!"
"She seems to be taking this very hard. It's third down now and they need to make a conversion here. But can they do it? Lewis Carroll hikes the ball again."
"Callooh! Callay! Hike!"
"The ball is passed to A.E.Houseman, he's running for the first down but.... oh no. He's taken down and it doesn't look like he's getting back up. He took a hard hit, I'm not sure he's going to be back in the game either. Pam, you are right there, how bad does it look."

"Alex, he seems to have taken quite a hit. He's slowly getting to his feet. The crowd is cheering, but he's hobbling to the sideline. Houseman, are you okay?"
"Miles around they'll say that I am quite myself again."
"There you have it, Houseman seems to think he'll be okay."

"It's now fourth down so the poets will have to kick the ball away. Edgar Allan Poe is kicking the ball and it's received by the other team. They are running down the field but no one is stopping them. Edgar Allan Poe is actually running off the field yelling 'Nevermore'. He's being followed by the rest of the poets. Why are they running off the field? Pam, Stephen ran past you. What was he shouting?"

"Incredibly Alex, he seems despondent. As do the rest of the poets. 'It is futile' he cried and ran on. It seems this poets football game has come to an early close. Back to you."

"I guess that just about does it for the first annual poets football game. It seems there will be no joy in Mudville tonight. On behalf of myself and Pam Oliver, have a good night."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Some people in this world are crazy,
making other people sick.
Drag them down to insane levels,
heart is dropping like a brick.

These people's thinking is quite hazy,
their misery loves company.
Bring down others just for fun,
destroy esteem quite happily.

Why must these people be so lazy,
their attitude I do disgust.
Concentrate on others faults,
when their own they ought adjust.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chocolate Ecstasy

Chocolate, chocolate, ecstasy.
How I love you,
Can't you see?

So creamy, smooth and tasty.
Whether rich,
or sweet as me.

A chocolate kiss, wonderful.
All I want,
savoury staple.

UK, Belgium, Switzerland.
Who makes the best,
which is your brand?

The only chocolate that is bad.
It's the one,
I haven't had.

Chocolate, chocolate, ecstasy.
How I love you,
Can't you see?


Monday, November 26, 2012

Jeffrey Scott's Chocolate Fest 2012

The first annual Jeffrey Scott Chocolate Fest was a big success. Initially my intention was to create a poem on chocolate. Then I started to wonder if there was a way I could collect various thoughts on Chocolate. So the chocolate blind taste test was born. I went to various stores to collect as many chocolate bars as I could find that were each distinct enough, and yet fairly similar. So I tried to find chocolate bars as close to milk chocolate as I possibly could. Considering the success, I'm considering doing this again next year. At least it'll give me ONE good reason to look forward to next winter. For each chocolate, the panel were asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 10. After the study was done and before the results were given, they were then asked to choose their favourite and least favourite.

The Chocolates:
In no particular order, I had my panel blindly sample the following:
Green & Black (Canada)
Cadbury Dairy Milk (UK)
Milka Alpine Milk (Germany)
World Market Milk Chocolate (USA)
Scharffen Berger Extra Rich Milk (USA)
Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate (USA)
Lindt Milk Chocolate (Germany)
Godiva Milk Chocolate (Germany)
Guylian Milk Chocolate (Belgium)
de Lish Premium German Milk (German)

Judges: Though I initially wanted mature women to sit in on the study, because of time I had to recruit a few children. Now that I know of several others who would have been interested in this study (maybe you too), I hope to include a full adult panel for next year.
Name: Mykala / Age: 11
Name: Caleb / Age: 15
Name: Victoria / Age: 15
Name: Lori / Age: 35
Name: Sarah / Age 35
Name: Christina / Age: 43

Results: After crunching the numbers, the results were gathered after adding the total number of points each chocolate received. In the result of a tie, I first went with the number of people who might have chosen the particular chocolate as their favourite.

First Place
Name: Lindt
County: Switzerland
Label Warnings: Possible traces of peanuts and tree nuts.
Average Calorie Per Gram: 13
Comments: Caramel Taste, Creamy, Sweet, Slight White Chocolate Taste, Divine, Familiar.
Favourite of: Sarah & Lori

Second Place
Name: Milka
Country: Germany
Label Warnings: May contain tree nuts and wheat.
Average Calorie Per Gram: 12
Comments: Smoky, Nutty, Smooth, Fruity, Lemony
Favourite of: Victoria

Third Place
Name: Green & Black's Organic
Country: Canada
Label Warnings: May contain traces of peanuts and tree nuts.
Average Calorie Per Gram: 13
Comments: Smooth, Biter, Milky, Average, Tasty, Creamy

Fourth Place
Name: Cadbury
Country: UK
Label Warnings: May contain tree nuts
Average Calorie Per Gram: 11
Comments: Sticky, Sweet, Nutty, Rough Texture, Average, Smooth
Favourite of: Christina

Click HERE for a Cadbury commercial.

Fifth Place
Name: Guylian
Country: Belgium
Label Warnings: May contain gluten and nuts
Average Calorie Per Gram: 15
Comments: Waxy, no taste, sweet, bland, tasteless, hard, very good
Favourite of: Caleb & Mykala
Least favourite of: Sarah & Lori

Sixth Place
Label Warnings: May contain peanuts, tree nuts and wheat
Average Calorie Per Gram:13
Comments:Tasteless, spice after taste, cinnamon, normal, interesting, hard

Seventh Place
Name:de Lish
Label Warnings: May contain hazelnut, almond and gluten
Average Calorie Per Gram:14
Comments:Neutral, Cheesy, Average, Smooth, One spit it out.
Least favourite of: Mykala

Eight Place
Name:Scharffen Berger
Label Warnings: Gluten Free
Average Calorie Per Gram:14
Comments:Earthy, Moldy, Waxy, Boring, Evil, Weird Aftertaste
Least favourite of: Christina

Ninth Place
Label Warnings:May contain tree nuts
Average Calorie Per Gram:13
Comments:Buttery, Smooth, What is that taste?, No comment
Least favourite of: Caleb

Tenth Place
Name:World Market
Label Warnings: May contain peanuts, tree nuts and wheat
Average Calorie Per Gram:13
Comments:Bitter and bold, burnt taste, taste like dark chocolate, bland, dirt
Least favourite of: Victoria

As an additional bit of information, I also broke up the statistics into two further groups.
Group 1: The Adults
Group 2: The Children

Group 1 Results
1. Lindt (Switzerland)
2. Green & Black (Canada)
3. Cadbury (UK)
4. Milka Alpine (Germany)
5. Godiva (Germany) Tie
5. De Lish (Germany) Tie
7. World Market (USA)
8. Ghirardelli (USA)
9. Scharffen Berger (USA)
10. Guylian (Belgium)

Group 2 Results
1. Milka Alpine (Germany)
2. Guylian (Belgium)
3. Green & Black (Canada)
4. Lindt (Switzerland
5. Cadbury (UK)
6. Godiva (Germany)
7. Scharffen Berger (USA)
8. De Lish (Germany)
9. Ghirardelli (USA)
10. World Market (USA)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pointless and Dumb

R.a.n.t. of week 11/25/12
Every once in a while, (usually around Winter, and usually for a few months), I start to have a dark cloud hover over me. Generally it's a grab bag of various reasons. One of the main things I have problems with is feelings of worthlessness. True, I know this is not unique to me, myself and I, but it doesn't help to know others deal with the same thing. Everyone has their own reasons for feeling the same way I do. So what's my biggest self doubt? Many times I feel what I do is pointless. An endless tedium of sleep, eat, work, ad nauseum. I look at others and see the wonderful works they do. I've got friends in the medical field, helping others who are sick, others produce wonderful works of art via camera or portrait. Still others are learning new languages so they can help others.... I could go on. Then I look at myself and wonder what meaningful thing I do? Is there anything I ever do that inspires, motivates or helps others?

Best I can do is entertain. I like to fancy myself as a comic, a writer and a poet - for the amusement of others. But do I? I strive to be clever, I hope to be motivational, I wish I were inspiring. But there are many times I feel my writing is completely pointless and utter rubbish. Does it really entertain anyone? I admit, initially I was going to rant about a seemingly lack of interest in my posts as identified by the comments I receive (or lack thereof). Then I thought it might be too petty, even for my blog. I suffer depression, so these feelings are likely a result of some chemical imbalance in my brain. So where do I go from here? I push past these feelings. I try to make what I write as meaningful as I possibly can. But ultimately, I plan to continue on with my writing. Because after all, even if my writing doesn't entertain anyone else, it entertains me. And if this entertainment helps me whether through my depression, then it has it's meaning and purpose.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Too, Shy, Shy

R.a.n.t. of week 11/18/12
Some people are described as living two lives. The open one, the one most people are fully aware of, and the hidden one. To some degree, that's describes me to a 'T'. But the usual connotation of the hidden life is one hidden intentionally for nefarious purposes. It's at this point, the hidden person inside of me begs to differ. I generally have no ill will of any sort. Ask my ex-wife. WAIT, No. I meant don't ask my ex-wife.

So what is the intent of my hidden self? In my case, (as the rant title implies), it's being shy. I've always felt I have a secondary person inside of me, just bubbling to get out. True, when I'm with those I've known for a long time, I don't have a problem releasing him. But in new situations, with new people, or a combination of both, I have a hard time being open. On-line and in writing, I never have a problem showcasing my other side. But typically in real life situations, to my dismay, I withdraw inside myself and seek a corner to hide in. Any party or reception I attend I'm generally found sitting alone in the back or with those I'm very familiar with. Being shy can be such a burden and a bother, but I don't generally talk about it. I sometimes wonder how those who don't know me, perceive me. Do they recognize I'm extremely shy? Or think I'm merely aloof, antisocial and/or a 'stick in the mud'.

Yet, this can be dealt with. Speaking for myself, a smile, eye contact or a kind word does wonders to break the ice. Just keep in mind, being shy usually means the person also struggles with finding things to say. I'm not one for idle chit-chat. I have a hard time talking about the 'weather'. But if you get me going, and we start talking about something I have an interest in, you will probably have a hard time shutting me up.

Additionally, part of the solution falls squarely on the shy person. All people are different, which means all shy people are different. I have one friend who's wife is so shy, she has a hard time replying, even when asked simply how she's doing. And still might have to ask her to speak up. But initiating eye contact is also important for the shy person. I tend to keep 'aware' of my surroundings but often I notice people walking around with blinders on. So if you want to draw out a shy person, find a common interest (a hobby they like), establish eye contact, greet them warmly (but give them space if they need it).

Shy people, we are not off the hook. We HAVE to work at being receptive. One of the hardest things in life is trying to get a shy person to open up when they refuse to be approachable. I've been on both sides in this matter, so I know. It's really hard to get 'the time of day' from someone if they intentionally are (or seem to be) ignoring you. Not everyone wants to get someone's attention by running up and waving their hands in front of their face.

6 Keys To Open Up Shy People:
1. Smile
2. Kind Words
3. Be Approachable!
4. Establish Eye Contact
5. Find a Common Interest
6. Don't Expect a Conversationalist

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Coming in Sick

R.a.n.t. of week 11/11/12
Life is hard, that certainly isn't a secret. It also wouldn't be such a great topic to r.a.n.t about considering how general the statement is. Still, one of the hardest things to do in life is striving to keep a decent job. Sometimes you have to do whatever it takes to keep the job, even if that means going into work sick. I'm not talking about the a case of the blues, or the blue flu, (I know nothing about that) I mean SICK! Hacking, sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head & feverish kind of sick. [I'll take my royalties now Nyquil]. Who wants to do anything, let alone work, when they are sick? Even with sick time and personal time, you really don't want to take many days off if you can help it. That's why it sucks to be sick for more than a week, let alone a month or two.

The next thing worse than going into work sick is having someone else come into work when they are sick. When this happens, not only do you get to enjoy listening to them hacking, sniffling, sneezing coughing and such all day long, but you get the added worry of, "Will I be getting sick next"? Nothing worse than wondering all day long, "Did they just use this stapler"?, "Are they using tissue when they sneeze"?, "Are they contagious"?, "Why do they not wash their hands, but continue to keep touching my stuff"?, "Shouldn't they be shouting out 'UNCLEAN' as they walk along"? That's why it's distressing, and annoying when their sickness last more than a week, let alone a month or two.

Friday, November 9, 2012

You Will Never Read This

If you could only know,
the feelings deep inside.

How I wish it wasn't hidden,
these emotions that I hide.

My pulse begins to quicken,
when ever you are near.
The melody of your voice,
is all I care to hear.

But you will never read this,
and this I'll never tell.

How wonderful, if we could walk,
under the stars above.

No longer would I be so shy,
and I could tell you of my love.

But that is just a hopeful dream,
I'd never be so bold.

You will never know the truth,
your hand I'll never hold.

'cause you will never read this,
and this I'll never tell.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Darkness Saving Time

R.a.n.t. of week 11/04/12
"Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." - Benjamin Franklin

Was Franklin advocating Daylight Savings Time? Was his quote intended to praise an early morning sunrise? Actually no, so he's spared my wrath. How do I know this? Well research for one, but I've also picked apart his quote. To do this, I had to look at what he DIDN'T say. Notice he didn't say 'early to bed and late to rise', this would be an indication of someone depressed rather than wise. How about, 'late to bed and early to rise'? This could indicate a person not rested, consumed in too many projects, thus resulting in making poor decisions. Hardly a wise person. Also his quote is sound because getting adequate sleep does indeed make a person healthy. At least it makes for a healthier person than one who never allows his body to fully recharge. As for the wealthy bit, I guess that remains to be seen. I'll let you know after I make my first million. I wonder if Trump is an 'early to bed, early to rise' person.

So rising early isn't something I'm opposed to. But note, it doesn't mean I need sunlight first thing in the morning. No, neither does it mean I need the sun to help wake me up. That's what my alarm clock is for. If I needed to employ the use of the sun in my time keeping, I'd own a sundial.  My main problem (or rant) is never having enough light in the evening. In the winter months, I end my secular days and it's already dark. When this phenomenon happens, I rarely have the ambition to work on projects once I get home. When DST ends, the feeling is intensified, thus my rant. This causes me to start squandering time. Why? Because it's hard to motivate myself when the evening dark makes my body want to be 'early to bed'. With this squandered time, who can truly feel they made the most out of life? Wait, why did that sound so familiar?

" not squander time; for that's the stuff life is made of." - Benjamin Franklin

Ahhh, that's why. Well played Benny.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Best Place, Beer History Tour (Set 2)

The rest of the tour moved on,
but I wanted to get a closer look at the office I saw.

Recently on a show called Abandoned, this desk was featured.
It was once used by Captain Frederick Pabst.
Jim Haertel, the owner, was not keen on anyone sitting at it.

Once again, the rest of the tour moved on.
This gave me an opportunity to take my time photographing.

In another room, older decorations of the building were found.

Not sure where this was found, but it's a generic beer.
Does anyone remember generic black/white labels?
Does anyone remember buying generic beer?

Another piece of "art" found was this Schlitz poster.
Schlitz, owned by Pabst, brewed by Miller.
If anyone is paying attention, you can add this to my wish list.

We really didn't have a lot of time so I called my friend Dan over.
You see I needed an accomplice.

I needed to sit at Captain Pabst's desk.
I just had to!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Best Place, Beer History Tour (Set 1)

Welcome to the Pabst community! Lots of beer history in Milwaukee.

This impressive building has a 'castle' feel to it.

Another photo of the building outside.

In the main court, a statue of Captain Frederick Pabst welcomes everyone.

This was found inside one of the buildings.
Before we actually tour, we are entertained with some history and a beer.
For those unaware, the "B" stands for Best.
Jacob Best is the founder.

On our way to tour one of the buildings, we are greeted by King Gambrinus, the patron saint of beer. This particular statue is on loan from the Illinois headquarters of Pabst.
But as 'Best Place' owner Jim Haertel reminded us, possession is 9/10 of the law.

Lots of great architecture can be found inside this building. 
Also older Pabst signs and memorabilia.

As we toured some of the common areas, 
we learned Jim intends to turn this into a Beer/Bed/Breakfast. 
Each room containing it's own beer tapper.

As this photo shows, there is a lot of work to be done.

Beyond this point we were forbidden. Not all of the building has been cleared for tour groups.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I Didn't Have Time

R.a.n.t. of week 10/28/12
I think I've spent enough time in the past few weeks ranting about things I directly have control over. This time, however, I've decided to go on about something I have less control of. As a parent, there comes a time when you have to assign duties or chores to your children. These chores can involve washing the dishes, sweeping the floor, putting the thyme away I accidentally left on the kitchen counter, I think you get the idea. What I hear time and time again when I check to see if the duties are done is....... You guessed it, "I didn't have time". (Okay, I'm done throwing in a 'time' reference for each sentence, well after this one). What annoys me the most about this statement is how inaccurate it really is. What our kids really mean is, "I mismanaged my time". The other day my oldest used this line to explain why his chore wasn't done. It was a reason he gave the second after he paused a youtube video he was watching. I inquired about the video and his response was he "just sat down".

It almost makes me wonder what the inspiration is for all the film and TV shows about time travel. No one is really interested in seeing the past or future, they just want to sit and watch TV all day and still have time to go to work. I half expect when Doctor Who goes off the air, the final episode will be him returning home just as his wife gets back from the grocery store asking if he found time to clean the leaves out of the gutter. To which the Doctor will reply he "didn't have time".

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Muskego Park - Enjoying An Autumn Day

Enjoyed a nice walk in the park on Saturday. Most of the colour in the trees had fallen already so I looked for beauty in other places.

 The carpet of fallen leaves is cool, and fun to walk on. Listen to the crunch as you take each step.

A few leaves are stubborn and hang onto the branches for dear life.
'Autumn Leaf', fall. Do not be afraid.
I will recite some lyrics to capture your beauty.

Looking up to view a few coloured leaves, I found this guy staring at me.

With the coming of the setting sun, the trees lit up in orange radiance.

Okay, so I'm a sucker for a sunset. Just look how it enhances the horizon!

If the sky was orange like this all the time I'd LOVE it. Except it would stop being special.
On second thought, I'd hate if the sky was always this orange.

The day has come to an end. 
The sun is gone, the fun is done.
Thanks for sharing my day with me.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mind If I Cut In?

R.a.n.t. of week 10/21/12
Word Of The Day
Dance - [dans, dahns] verb,
1. to move in a pattern of steps.
2. to engage in the art of conversation, esp when trying to get to know someone better.
3. to do what one can to be noticed by another.

I think one of the worst things a person can ask another, is if they can "cut-in". It's kind of like saying, "I think you've had enough fun with this individual, it's my turn now." Well, there is one thing that could probably be worse. Your dancing partner could eagrly agree. How is THAT supposed to make a person feel? As you might have guessed, I'm speaking from experience. This literally happened to me just a few months ago. I had a strong urge to deny the request, but my personality wouldn't allow it. I sheepishly agreed and slunk back to my seat. Dancing, for me, especially in a social setting, is not easy to do. But when the music hits, I've been known to get over my fears and cut a rug. This time however, I was already feeling depressed. Typically my choice in dancing partner is slim to none, and I wasn't expecting another any time soon. (Shyness sucks). How I hate people who "cut-in"!

Of course that was a couple of months ago. A recent dance analogy happened this weekend. There I was, once again, trying my utmost to impress the girl. Ever try to dance with someone and they seem distant, not really there? Same thing as this weekend. I can never figure out if it's because I have two left feet, or I'm just not that interesting to dance with. Whatever the case, I tried again later, in a more group setting where everyone was dancing to a much faster song. I'm really not built for that any more, and my shyness was creeping in, but something clicked and I gave it another go. In retrospect, maybe not the best of ideas. I think I somehow tweeked my shoulder because it's not feeling right. The things I do to try and impress the girl. To make matters worse, I later saw her dancing with another guy and she was seemingly, enjoying it. Later when it was time to go, I tried to say goodbye but despite being right there, she seemed unaware of my presence. I guess her conversation, I mean dance, with the other guy was more important. Oh, cripes! Wait! Was I trying to cut in? Have I become what I hate most?