Saturday, January 21, 2012


I may possibly have a new favorite television show. Don't be silly! Nothing will replace Once Upon A Time in my heart. But this one comes close.

Via NBC. I did not take this photo LOL
For reasons I can't explain and by means that could possibly send me to prison, I was able to view the pilot episode of the new NBC series "SMASH". (Yes, I think it must always be capitalized) In a nutshell, it follows the cast as they attempt to produce a musical about Marilyn Monroe on Broadway. A lot of buzz in the media has compared it to Glee, one of my other favorite shows. Well, let me tell you, this show ain't nothing like Glee! 

There is singing and musical numbers, but not like the ones on Glee. This show is produced much more like movie musical than Glee. Many more of the numbers on this show are original songs springing out of the writers of the fictional musical the show is about. I noticed one cover song in the pilot. Not something that can be said of Glee. One thing this show has that Glee will never have is Angelica Houston! She is amazing. I hope they give her a number to sing eventually.

I want to stop comparing these shows. They are two very different beasts and I think there is plenty of room in the television landscape for them both to prosper and thrive. What would be cool is a crossover story arc where Rachel and Kurt graduate from McKinley High and go to New York and get cast in "Marilyn"! I know it will never happen...different networks. But it would be soooooo cool!

So, if you are at all interested in musical television, then be sure to watch SMASH (all caps) on NBC after the Super Bowl (is that a large Tupperware Party?) on Feb 6th.

Friday, January 20, 2012


It can mean many things. It can be something you have, something you go to for it's educational value, and often...something far too many people are without on a daily basis. For the purposes of this post, I am talking BUSINESS CLASS!

United Airlines. I did not take the picture.
It has been far too many years since I had Premier status on United Airlines. Back when I was last in the "club" you were sometimes given free upgrades out of economy seating into business or first class seats. Now the program automatically upgrades you if there are seats available based on all kinds of statistical minutia that I don't even begin to comprehend.

This was my first time actually getting the upgrade, and ya know what? I slept through it for the entire flight to Chicago. I didn't drink myself silly on free booze. I never even cocked my foot rest. The reading lamp went entirely unused. The light snack that was served...not to me! I was snoring I'm sure.

I did, however, take full advantage of the massaging lumbar support. You set it to the maximum level you wish to be supported and magic, it inflates and deflates in what seemed to be a random pattern. I can't really attest to that because, well...I was asleep! What I can tell you is that I had the most restful 2 hour nap on a plane that I have ever had in my 13 years of flying. I slept so soundly that I even dreamed. About what? I have no idea! That is how perfectly sound asleep I was.

Monday, January 16, 2012

What a Year It's Been!

So, here I am, a year into this blogging business and still enjoying it. Not quite up to 5000 views, but close, so I'm not complaining. I've really enjoyed posting this past year and hope all of you have enjoyed stopping by to read.

So what's ahead? More of the same. I think my goal for year 2 is going to be trying to get the JimNotMike word out. I'm going to try to get to 20,000 views in the next year. Ambitious? Perhaps, but ya gotta shoot for something.

Thanks to you all for stopping by and commenting when you can. Let's see where the next year takes us!

Bored yet?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

My New Baby

An update on my cracked phone saga.

So, I got to Vegas and fully planned on waiting until the Consumer Electronic Show opened in order to seek a repair for the busted screen on my iPhone 4. Well, I couldn't wait. Off my work wife Ashlun and I went to The Apple Store.

I got up to The Genius Bar, (gotta love how Apple names things) and was told that they could replace my screen for $149 and that it would take a couple of days. Well, I can't be without a phone, especially while onsite, for a couple of days. So I mentioned that I was due for an upgrade through AT&T and the guys said, "Dude, for $50 bucks more, you can have a brand new iPhone 4S". 

Well, that was all it took for me. In less than a half hour I was walking out of the store with my new baby.

Ok, yes it looks exactly like my old phone. I'm ok with that. I loved my old phone. This one has a much better camera, a faster processor, longer battery life, AND Siri. Siri is the new digital personal assistant built into the iPhone 4S. It's kind of amazing. It lets me use voice command like never before. I can say, "Call Mom" and it knows, based on the configuration of my address book and frequent calls just who Mom is. I asked Siri if she was married and she said, "We're here to talk about you Jim, not me". Too Fun! I can also ask things like, "Do I need to take a coat with me tonight?", and Siri accesses local weather and it's trends and said, "It's going to get chilly, you might want to take a jacket."

So, "Welcome" to the newest addition to my technological family...I'll be holding a shower later this month.

 Update: So now I have 2 older iPhones sitting around collecting dust. My iPhone 3G was the victim of "Sweat Damage", it's Home Button stopped working, but has now miraculously began working again. So if there is anyone out there looking for an iPhone, even if it isn't the latest model, let me know. We can work out a deal. I think I may bite the bullet and repair the screen on my iPhone 4 myself and then try to sell it as well. That way, getting the iPhone 4S will be like getting a free phone!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

New Christmas Decor

Every year depending on how the After-Christmas sales work out, we wind up with new decor in the home. It's just in time for the "Come See The Tree Before It Dies" Party so it's perfect! This year I was able to find a few lovely additions to our home…and electric bill.

I found this snowman at a local garden/xmas shop that begins a progressive discounting policy the week prior to Xmas. He's so adorable. Here's a close up…

I love the "shatter-glass" effect of his torso and it also looks like he is licking that Xmas Tree like a lolipop. Awwwwww! At the same place, I also found this…

Lighted glitter tree!
Anyone who knows me knows that if it glitters or lights I am all about it. This does both. As it heats from the light in the bottom the glitter dances up the tree creating a soft warm glow.

Next, I was off to Pier 1 to see what their "50% Off Sale" had to offer. I finally found the placemats I had been looking for all season.

I wanted then in white, but red will do.
I'd been looking for a placemat that said "Winter" instead of "Christmas" and I think these jeweled snowflake mats do just the trick. Did I mention they were a dollar a piece? They were! What a baragin!!! Lastly, a Pier 1, I found this…

Who doesn't love a gaudy mirrored star?
I couldn't resist this bargain. My spacial acuity told me it would fit perfectly on the mirror by my desk, and it does! Bingo!!!

That's my new Christmas Decor for the year. Did you find any After-Christmas baragins? If so, please share in the comments.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Favorite Things: 2011 Edition

Well, if Oprah can do it, so can I! Granted, there may not be an audience of screaming fans standing around, but I too provide folks My Favorite Things of 2011. I think it's safe now. Only my sister hasn't gotten her gift bag, and she doesn't read my blog.

I know…certainly not a glamour shot
Each Christmas, I put together an assortment of my favorite products and such from the previous year. These are what I give as presents. Some folks get the entire kit-and-caboodle…some, only a selection of the items. This year, in no particular order…

Mmmmm, liquor!
The Poisoned Apple Cocktail Mix.

I've created a lot of cocktails for parties, and heck, my own imbibement, but this one stuck out this year. It's rich spicy texture and "appley" flavor won out as far as cocktails go for 2011. Folks were provided with one bottle of The Poisoned Apple Cocktail Mix which yields approximately 8-10 servings of the cocktail. (Heck, Scott already finished his and needed a refill…LUSH!) You can make your own by heading over to my blog post on the subject.

Citrus-ish, The 2011 Spice Blend (salt-free)

Each year I head to a local Amish Market and buy spices in bulk. From that selection of spices I create that year's spice blend. Past blends have included…Savory, Sassy, and last year's India. This year I opted to go in a more citrusy direction. By combining Lemon Pepper, Orange and Lemon Peel, Sage, and Taragon, I came up with a blend that is as perfect on fish and seafood as I think it will be on pork and other meats. I can't wait to try some blended into my Chicken Salad! Sorry, there isn't a link for you to make this one on your own. You have to know me and I have to like you in order to get this Favorite Thing. But, I encourage you to always play around with spice. Just watch out for salt in your blends. If you salt your blend and then people add salt…well, things get SALTY!

Bath & Bodyworks "Cranberry Woods" Room Spray

I LOVE many of the room sprays that Bath & Bodyworks create. Very often, I do not like the same scent in a lotion or body wash, simply because I want my house to smell like them, not my body. Last year the scent was "Winter", a delightfully peppery spray that reminded me of walks I would take when things were cold outside. It reminded me of the wood stove smell I would find on those walks. This year's scent reminds me of what I would smell when walking into my Grandmother's house during the Holiday's. She would keep a small pan simmering on the stove which contained cinnamon, pine needles and cranberry. I miss you Grandma, but this spray helps me remember everything I enjoyed about the Holiday's at your house.

Ginger Chews

I rediscovered these little gems on my last trip to San Francisco. They are made by a company called The Ginger People and they have an entire line of products that, of course, contain Ginger. These bite size chews are great. I pop one in my mouth to wake me up in the afternoon at work. They have a wonderful gingery bite that some might find over powering, but I LOVE. They are also great if your tummy isn't feeling very good. I let one dissolve under my tongue and my sour stomach is gone within a half hour. Head over to The Ginger People website to see the great variety of products they offer and get yourself some Ginger Chews.

And a pan to the left reveals...

Crock Pot Candles

Everyone on my Favorite Things list receives one Handmade Crock Pot Candle (of varying size). I make these a few times a year because I am tired of paying the exorbitant price that manufacturers want for candles these days. You can head over to my blog post about these if you would also like to make your own. I enjoy the ease of making them and wonderful glow they provide in my home. In addition, everyone who receives a Crock Pot Candle is guaranteed a lifetime replacement as long as they return the original vessel to me so that I can make more.

This year there was a late addition to the 2011 Favorite Things category.

I mean, everyone has a toilet, right?
The HydroRight Dual-Flush Toilet Converter

I have 2 toilets in my home. Every time I would flush them I thought, "Why do they have to use so much water when I am just flushing down pee?". I ran across this beauty via one of my gadget blogs just a couple of week ago. It has the ability to use just a half flush when you are flushing liquids and then a full flush when things are a little bit more, um…solid (Poop! I've always wanted a reason to type that here in my blog). I also love that it's a button you press to choose which type of flush and not some sort of handle. I just feel like it makes the exterior of my toilet look more hip. I can't wait to see how using this affects my water bill. The website claims it will pay for itself in water savings over a certain amount of time. Most importantly, it's very easy to install. The website has a video of some well-spoken 9 year-old doing it! So, if you'd like to try out the HydroRight, you can find them at Home Depot, or order them online.

One thing I always used to include in the Favorite Things Bags was a calendar that I would produce from the photos that I had taken throughout the year. This year I decided not to mess with the calendar. First of all, it takes a lot of time and money to produce and secondly, I couldn't find that many photos from this year that were calendar worthy. This year most folks received a copy of the shot from Molly's Xmas Photo shoot. A few received some custom photos that were special to those individuals.

So that was 2011 as far as Favorite Things go. What were our favorite products, etc from 2011? Let me know in the comments…maybe they'll make it into the 2012 bag!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

It's a State College Christmas

The Hubby and I visited State College, PA to spend Christmas day with his family. Here are some pics from the trip.

Molly fancies herself quite the driver
The tree
The antics of small children
The antics of small dogs seeking leftovers
The trip to the local gay bar…gotta drink after all that!
I should note: This is the exact spot I dropped my iPhone.
The pic was taken after the sobbing stopped.
The trip home

Monday, January 2, 2012


Some of you may not know yet, but I was just promoted at work. I am a manager now! Not only do I have 10 people to boss around (well 8, I have to hire 2), but I have an office now. Here are some bare bones pics of it.

The entrance
As you enter, my desk to the right
Further to the right, guest seating!
I really did luck out as far as offices go. No window, but really…what would I be looking at? A parking lot, that's what!

So, once I get to decorate it, sometime mid February, I'll post pics of that so you can compare.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy 2012 Everyone!

Well, New Year's Eve has come and gone with little or no damage to life, limb, or property. The "Come See The Tree Before It Dies" Party here at Sanctuary was a great success (except for those who missed it…you know who you are!). One might say that Tod and Scott had a little too much to drink once we got up to The Lodge, but it certainly wouldn't be me. Imagine that, I was the DD last night. That almost never happens!

Anyway, back to the party. This time I decided I wanted to make things that I had never made before. No Puke Dip or Fabulous Meatballs this time. I went with a "Create Your Own Canape" idea. I had seen a graphic in a New York Times article showing the many possibilities for Canape creation and it got me to thinking. Why not let my guests play with their food?

Signage! How cool is that?
That way I didn't have to do a lot of assembly. I could create pieces and then let the guests put it together in whatever fashion they chose.

For the bases, I purchased an assortment of crackers, mini-toasts, toasted french bread, and was given some hearty bread made by some Bosnian friends of my sister.

Those Wasa Crisps look like you could build a house with them. Sturdy!
The spreads are where I got to have my fun. I made a Chicken Liver Pate, a Salmon Mousse, and what I am calling, "Sort of Aunt Carol's Pimento Cheese Spread" (that will get a post all to itself at some point). I also had some Homemade Pesto in the freezer that I defrosted and a Roasted Veggie Bruschetta that my sister had given me for Christmas.

Mmmmmmm, goodness at the end of a knife.
Once a guest had chosen a spreadable (to my delight someone decided to mix the pate with the mousse and came up with a Surf & Turf canape!) they could either pop it in their mouth at that point, or move on to the toppings area. Here, I got to chop, grate and open lots of jars. Very little cooking involved.

Thyme, Dill, Capers & Spicy Pomegranate Sauce
Dry-Roasted Walnuts, Black Olives, Parmesan & Maple Roasted Apples
I didn't actually do the math, but given the number of ingredients, there were quite a few ways all of these various bases, spreads and toppings could have been combined. I enjoyed the Pate on mini-toasts with a caper or 2 on top. The Salmon Mousse was delicious with a black olive or 2 and some parmesan. The cheese spread went well with the Thyme (Who knew?) and dry-roasted walnuts gave the Pesto a nice little kick. I saw guests putting together all kinds of combinations. I wish at the end of the line I had made them all "Show & Tell" their creations with everyone.

The Assembly Line Party!
In addition to the "Create Your Own Canape" line I also provided some "more typical" party fare.

On the dining table are Chips & Dips and Crudite with a delicious Lemon Dill Dip. My mother brought a couple plates of her Christmas Cookies and some of her Homemade Peanut Brittle.

Oh! I almost forgot. At the last moment I came up with a cocktail for the party. I was just going to retread The Poisoned Apple since very few people got to sample it at the Halloween Party (thanks snow!) But it really didn't fit the theme of the party. So with a little browsing around (thank you interwebs) I came up with this.

Crappy art, but I had time constraints!
My apologizes to Dick Clark. I did not ask his representation if I could use his name on the party cocktail. They can sue me later. Basically, it's a Cosmo constructed a little on the light side and then Prosecco Bubbly is added once all of the other ingredients are shaken and poured into the martini glass. I also can't take credit for the cocktail recipe. I found it over here and only modified it slightly. All I can take credit for is the combination of the two. Both if which will probably get me sued. Not to mention the art I stole to create the graphic to display on my bar. Ryan Seacrest will also probably not be happy with me for blocking out his name in the above art with the word "Cosmopolitan".

Apparently, my New Year's Resolution is to be sued by one or more parties for various incursions. What's your New Year's Resolution???