Saturday, June 30, 2007

Today is my birthday

Wish me happy birthday bitches.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The dream is ali...nevermind, it's dead.

Several months ago I applied for a position down in Italy. The position was at the port of Livorno and I didn't think I was overly qualified but I applied anyway. I made the referral list (the initial cut) but still didn't get too excited because I make the referral list for positions often and never get selected. I made the referral list way back in March and then didn't hear anything for over 2 months so I had pretty much forgotten all about it. Then, to my great surprise, I received a call from one of the officers down there a couple days before I left for the conference in St Louis back at the end of May. He said they were interested in me and wanted to do an interview over the phone. We talked about Italy and how much we loved the country and everything it had to offer, we discussed the job a little bit, then he asked if I wouldn't mind if he spoke to my supervisor. I gave him the number to the LTC that I work for and they talked later that afternoon although I didn't ask how it went. At the conference, the LTC revealed to me that the guy told him the final decision was between me and one other person and that it looked very promising for me.

Well, I was elated to hear this. I have always said that if I could be stationed at any base in Europe I would choose Livorno. The facilities are small and austere but the surrounding area...oh, the surrounding area. Livorno is a port right on the Ligurian Sea. It's the main departure point for ferries going to and from Sardinia. The seafood is abundant and delicious. It is about an hour away from Florence. There are several great beaches in and around Livorno including an American beach run by the military. It's about an hour away from Cinque Terra. It's in Tuscany, which means the best red wine in the world; Chianti, Montepulciano and - my all time favorite - Montalcino are all very close. Rome is only about 2 hours away. Pisa and its famous Leaning Tower are about 5 minutes away.

I didn't want to get too excited because it just seemed too good to be true. And apparently it was. I hadn't heard anything for a couple weeks so I called down to the personnel office last week and was told that I had finished second on the list. If the other guy turns it down, the position would be mine but in light of everything I just mentioned do you honestly think anybody would turn it down? Me neither.

And so it goes. As the Italians would say, il sogno รจ guasto.


Thursday, June 21, 2007

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Gino's Rebuttal

Statistics do not lie. However, when dealing with hand-wringing xenophobes of the Red Sox nation Percentages do not mean anything if they’re wearing pinstripes.

Understand this, as a Philly fan I have no sympathy for any person from Boston. None. It is amusing that it is now in vogue to be a Red Sox fan carrying the underdog moniker with pride. I enjoy watching the Bosox and the reasons are simple. They play great ball, they have great players, a great ballpark, even a great stretch song…I mean come on, Sweet Caroline would only be played at retirement centers if it wasn’t for Fenway. But I am so sick and tired of the “glass half empty” drivel that spews from their media outlets.

The Yankees are 8.5 back on June 18, 2007. They have had a great 2 weeks in June. SO WHAT…they played at home, they beat up the reeling White Sox, swept the AAA Pirates and an exhausted Arizona team (who just played their guts out to get 2 out of 3 in Fenway) and roughed up the Mets who are in a funk. So HERE COME THE YANKEES, yeah right. They are currently 3 games above .500. In order for them to win the AL East they will have to post a .779 winning percentage in the second half of the season. This has only been accomplished ONCE in the last 109 years. The problem with that is it happened in 1978, almost 30 years ago but close enough that we can remember it. I could bore you with more stats utilizing the power rankings and road travel records on west coast trips lasting longer than 6 days but it wouldn’t make a difference. Bottom line is they have Oakland, Minnesota, LAA, and Toronto in July. Their pitching will not hold up to win the nearly 80% of games it will take to get in.

The Red Sox had two weeks of offensive struggles. Tito knew it was coming and they weathered the storm. They now have Texas and Tampa Bay at home. They have 17 out of 27 at Fenway in July and six out of the ten away games are at KC and Baltimore.

Relax Sox fans. Theo will take you to the Promised Land. Detroit, Cleveland, and Anaheim will not let you down. I stand by my prediction. Unless there is a resurrection of the Son of Sam and Billy Martin, the Bronx will not be burning come this October.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Gino, you SUCK!

Gino Martin fancies himself a baseball fan but he has absolutely no comprehension of the the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry (read; war). A few weeks ago the Red Sox were on fire while the Yankees were losing every game prompting the lesser informed fans to claim that the Yankees were dead and buried. However those of us who knew better (read; Red Sox fans) would refuse to bury the Yankees because we knew better. We had lived through 1978 and we knew that to bury the Yankees before September was folly.

So imagine my disgust when Gino Martin, who normally has his finger on the pulse of MLB, declared a few weeks ago that the Yankees were dead and buried and had no chance. To make it worse, when I tried to explain to him that the Sox' 13.5 game lead in early June meant nothing he made fun of me. When the Yankees went on the winning streak that I had long been predicting and starting cutting the lead down to single digits and I told Gino that my prediction was starting to come to fruition, he had the nerve to call me a whiner. His reply was some thing to the effect that he predicted the Yankees would not make the playoffs and that he "[DID] NOT WAVER".

So now the Yankees have won 9 (NINE!) straight games while the Red Sox have been floundering and the lead is down to seven and a half games. And we're still in June. I have faith in my beloved Red Sox but I also have been through enough heartbreak at the hands of the hated "Yank-me's" that I know that nothing is guaranteed. To people like Gino, it's laughable. They haven't lived through 1978, 1999, 2003, the Boston Massacre of 2006 and all the years of playing second fiddle to the Yankees. They'll never understand and that's why nobody could possibly understand the joy that we felt in 2004 after coming back from 3 games to none to defeat the Yankees. That was our World Series. The inferiority complex that Red Sox fans feel in relation to the Yankees is inexplicable. It defies explanation. It started when Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth - along with the deed to Fenway Park - to the New York Yankees, and nothing, not even 2004, has erased the pain of the Yankees' domination since. 2004 gave us a nice respite but we've got about 25 championships to go before we can finally start to feel a little SCREW YOU GINO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The X Man is a southpaw.

All the Thibodeau men are lefties. My father is a leftie. My brother is a leftie. I'm a leftie. And now it appears that the X Man is also a leftie. We've been throwing around one of his toys and I noticed that he was throwing with his left hand so I watched carefully and sure enough, every throw was with his left hand. The wife says that while they were in the Philippines her parents kept saying that he was going to be a leftie so I guess they were right. However, the wife also tells me that when she's trying to teach him how to write he sometimes does it with his right hand so there is cause for concern. But all signs are pointing to him following in the footsteps of a lot of proud Thibodeau southpaws and this pleases me greatly. It means that if, by some miracle, he doesn't play pro soccer - perish the thought! - he can still have a bright future as a left handed pitcher for the Red Sox.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The wife and kid return domani.

It's been a month and a half but it's honestly felt like a lot longer. I've quite enjoyed the time to myself - except, of course, the past 2 weeks where I was screwed into having to go to a planning conference in the US - but I'm a bit backed up and I'm so ready for them to come home. Virginia told me the other day that the X Man told her they need to come home because he misses daddy but I'm certain he only said that because she had been hammering it into his head for the past month or so. Regardless, I miss my little man and I cannot wait to see him.

One of Virginia's Filipina friends called me and offered to come help clean the house before she got back so I gladly took her up on the offer. BIG mistake. I swear to God, cleaning is like having sex to Filipinas; they just can't get enough. And I honestly think they enjoy cleaning more. She spent about an hour and a half on the bathroom alone. At one point I went in to check on her and found her in the shower, shoes and all, scrubbing the hell out of the floor with the water running (detachable shower head). I told her she was getting crazy but she just laughed and spent another 20 minutes in there. Then she spent another 45 minutes in the SMALL bathroom, which is basically a sink and a toilet. Anyway, I forced her down to the Bar d'Aix en Provence for some vino and Tapas then she had to take off for her night job stocking shelves at the commissary but she swore that she'd be here early tomorrow morning to finish cleaning (!). I asked her to come with me to pick up the wife and kid tomorrow so hopefully she'll relax a little bit. It'll be good for her, her and her husband are in the process of divorcing (he shit all over her) and I think she just wants to keep her mind occupied. The funny/sad thing is that she is 47 years old yet she looks like she's about 30. She is EXTREMELY beautiful and has an unbelievably big heart so I'm hoping that the right man comes along for her eventually. Whoever gets her will be the second luckiest man in the world, providing that he treats her right of course.

So anyway, the time away has been nice. The wife knows how much I love her and the X Man and thankfully she understands that I sometimes need some time to myself. I suppose it's probably a blessing sometimes that her family lives so far away and we have to send her and the X Man away for so long to visit them. She said she gets bored after a few days and I can totally relate as I'm the same way whenever I have to go back to NH but the difference is that I go back to New Hampshire whereas she goes back to the Philippines where she is less than an hour away from some the most beautiful beaches in the world. Sometimes I think she'd rather sit in her parents' house and be miserable than go out and enjoy the stuff back home, lol. But I digress. Regardless, it is going to be GREAT to see them domani (tomorrow).

Anyway, in case I forget to mention it, somebody please remind me to blog about what happened in the Border's bookstore before I left...

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Back in the US...A?

When I joined the Army and came to Europe back in 1998, I'd pretty had much had enough of most American culture. I say "most" because there were certainly many things that I knew I would miss. I knew I would miss watching the Red Sox, Patriots and Bruins for sure (Celtics...not so much). I knew I would miss the Sunday Boston Globe sports section. But I was thirsting for adventure and something new and I certainly found it in Europe. I so enjoyed experiencing new cultures and learning a new lifestyle that I didn't really miss the things in the US that, at one time in my life, I didn't think I could live without.

Here I am back in the US for only about the 4th time since I came to Europe almost 10 years ago. And I gotta tell you, since I got off the plane it has felt like I'm in a foreign country. Even in the airport in Chicago, I was in a shop and it was really weird hearing everyone speaking English. I guess I've grown accustomed to everyone around me speaking a foreign language. I also laughed at the fact that there were a bunch of college students on my flight back to the US who had been on a 2 week tour of Germany and the first thing they did when we landed in Chicago was go to McDonalds. God bless America.

So anyway, I've been here about 4 or 5 days and in that time I've really come to feel like a foreigner. So many things seem weird to me. Even things which used to be an everyday part of life now seem foreign. I remember years ago, it was quite enjoyable to eat at a place like Applebee's Neighborhood Bar and Grill and have a few beers. The other night we had dinner there and the food was average at best. It struck me how little I enjoyed the experience compared to 10 years ago. Tonight I got hung up late in my hotel room following the Red Sox game online so rather than go out for dinner I decided to be a bit nostalgic and do something I haven't done in over 10 years; order a pizza. I was quite surprised to find that some pizza places actually take orders online now. You log onto their website, put in your zip code and place your order. Seemed a bit impersonal but I thought, "I have GOT to try this...". I started to do an online order with Dominoes but alas, you have to sign up for an account with all kinds of personal information and I really just wanted a pizza delivered to my hotel room so I opted for the comparitively antiquated system of phoning my order in. I was really hungry and I figured Dominoes was my best option since they had the 30 minute guarantee. So imagine my chagrin when the guy told me my pizza would be there in 40 minutes. 40 minutes?! What the hell happened to "30 minutes or less, guaranteed"?! I really have been gone too long.

Fortunately some things never change. I stopped at the shoppette on base on the way home tonight to pick up a six pack. To my great and pleasant surprise, they had about 7 or 8 different kinds of Sam Adams brews. Sam Adams was my beer of choice before I left for Europe and it's one of the things I've been forced to live without. I wanted to buy all of them for old time's sake but I settled on the Cherry Wheat (this being summer and all) and a sixer of my favorite - Cream Stout. I'm drinking the Cherry Wheat tonight with my pizza but I'm so anxious to open the Cream Stout that I'm practically quivering in anticipation...