Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bear in our parking lot

Sure, I don't post about work anymore but I will post this hastily taken picture of a bear in our parking lot. We get bears, usually in the spring and usually uneventfully. They act like bears, we act like humans (who avoid bears) and everyone goes home happy.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Inflation - Ack

The current exchange rates between Pounds and Dollars reveals that if I took $2.93 US into the bank I could get £1.79.

Or if I took $11.99 into Sagaya City Market in Los Anchorage I could get £1.79 worth of tea. Granted it's English tea and it's in little round bags without strings and it reminds me of my brief stint as a foreign vacationer (thanks again T!)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Joseph Lostrangio - A Memorial

This is a repost of my part of my contribution to the 2996 project.
I intend to post it every September 11 as long as this blog is online.

Those who have read my blog already know about my love for guitars and my complete inability to find the patience or will to master them. Today I'm going to tell you about a guitarist I never met. His name was Joseph Lostrangio.

Joe never met a six string he didn't like and he was an avid player. Friends remember him playing Billy Joel tunes with zeal.

Joe also had a love of saltwater fish. He had four tanks including a 90-gallon showpiece. Have you ever tended a saltwater fish tank? It's not a walk in the park. His enthusiasm was infectious and many coworkers learned how to care for their own fish through Joe's guidance.

Joe had a lot of enthusiasm and many diverse interests. His wife of 26 years, Theresann, called him "a life explorer."

Joe and Theresann lived in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. By all accounts he was a good father to their two children and a good husband. He encouraged the kids to follow his example of devouring new experiences and supported their talents and interests.

Speaking of devouring, Joe had another passion: food. Some friends called him a gourmet chef but others suggested it went way beyond that. He was fearless with food and tried as many exotic ingredients as he could find, often querying staff members of New York restaurants about how to find the next, weirdest ingredient yet.

Which was probably yet another reason Joe was excited about his new job in New York City. He grew up in Long Island and went to New York Law School in Chinatown. He worked as a reinsurance consultant and often visited the city but the new job with the Devonshire Group would put him in the heart of the financial district. And it put him near some great restaurants where he could learn tricks and procure new culinary delicacies.

His son, Joe Jr., was attending St John's College and they agreed to share an apartment so that Joe Sr. would have a place to stay whenever he would be unable to commute home. It was a perfect arrangement.

His first day of work was September 10, 2001. His office was on the 77th floor of 1 World Trade Center (the North Tower). He called a friend at about 5pm that evening and left a message for them to meet at a Chinese restaurant later that week. Later he called Theresann from the apartment and they discussed family news, what bills needed paying, and that he would call her from work in the afternoon the next day, as was his habit.

I hope they told each other they loved each other. I suspect they did.

The next morning at 08:26 am, hijacked American Airlines flight 11 struck the North Tower somewhere between the 93rd and 99th floor. One hundred and two minutes later WTC1 collapsed.

Joseph Lostrangio was 48 years old.

I never knew you, Joe, but researching your story has made me sad that I did not have the opportunity to make your acquaintance and call you a friend. Perhaps you could have taught me to master that silly F chord.

You have inspired me and challenged me to devour life. Yours was cut way too short but you made the most of it.

"… I'm not sure about a life after this
God knows I've never been a spiritual man
Baptized by the fire, I wade into the river
That is running to the promised land

In the middle of the night
I go walking in my sleep
Through the desert of truth
To the river so deep
We all end in the ocean
We all start in the streams
We're all carried along
By the river of dreams
In the middle of the night…"

Billy Joel – River of Dreams


This memorial is part of The 2996 Project administered by D.Challener Roe.
You have done an amazing thing Mr. Roe.


The New York Times

September 11 Victims: Joseph Lostrangio

9-11 Heroes: Joseph Lostrangio Joseph Lostrangio

September 11 Class Action: Statement of Theresann Lostrangio

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

The Cake Topper

Did I ever post this picture? The cake topper was fun to do but I certainly couldn't do such a thing as a business.

I do like the way it came out. It was way too tall but I did the heads first and the bodies had to be a certain height or they'd look like bobble-head dolls.

Here are the blushing bride and groom, still happily married after all these months.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Gotta Love A Tramp Stamp

Taken just after I got the camera. And yes, I was riding shotgun with Kelli driving so she knew I was taking a candid bent over tramp-stamp photo. What's a new camera for anyway? One has to accept opportunities as they come.


Monday, September 07, 2009


Pistol Pete is my inlaws' youngest dog.

If he were competing on a reality show and had just eaten a furniture leg or something I'd probably point out that he has a hole in is heart which means he probably won't live as long as a normal miniature schnauzer. But that would just be to garner sympathy with the voting public.

He's pretty energetic and you'd never notice he had any health problems.