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Lately someone I know keeps coming out with the comment “That doesn’t inspire me.”
She wants to go to certain places to be creative and then when she arrives at the destination isn’t inspired.

Some things that inspire me are:

  • Intelligent People
  • Architecture
  • Music
  • Landscapes
  • Human Behavior
  • Children
  • Food

So I ask the question “What inspires you?”

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While brainstorming about what to write blogs about, I wanted to find a way for my readers to get to know some of the awesome people who I know.  The best way I could come up with was an interview series.

Meet my friend KristineKristine is a great gal who I met through our motorcycle club No Destination.  Since we’ve met she’s proven to be a great friend who is one of the most generous people I know, who can give un-biased advice when it’s needed.  (I know, I know run-on sentence….)  So… without further ado – here is Kristine.

Kristine

Name: Kristine Choma

Age: MYOB 🙂

Location: Upstate NY

Hails from: Queens NY

Relationship Status: In one

Children: 1 daughter Alicia & My Pom Bubba

Blog Link: http://shouldabeenablonde.wordpress.com

Occupation: Senior litigation specialist

What is the most challenging part of your job? Wishing I had my old job back with the special investigations unit.

You’ve been through quite a few tragedies in your life.  What’s gotten you through them?
Cases & cases of Michelob Ultra 🙂   Seriously, I credit my fighting spirit, I’m a scrapper & I can be stubborn as hell. When I went through  the Mold House chaos I was determined not be victimized; to raise public awareness about Toxic Black Mold; the fact there are no penalties for sellers of real property when they lie on disclosure statements; that Home Inspectors have no accountability for the info or lack thereof contained in their reports; lastly to have laws & some kind of standards enacted by the Dept of Health to protect the public. I was also determined not to perpetrate the same fraud I was a victim of on other people.  I lost everything I owned including a house I had only owned for 11 months before realizing it was slowly killing me & my daughter. This is a really long story as my battles were many w/multiple different agencies from the real estate agent who was related to & helped the sellers disguise the true condition of this home to the I.R.S. & lasted almost 2 years.

This is the Mold House after I "decorated" it for Halloween (in August) to vent my frustration. The tape says "Caution Do Not Enter & DANGER!"

For the house fire once again my fighting spirit, stubbornness & refusal to be victimized got me through. However, my knowledge of insurance probably contributed to saving the day in spite of All State’s attempted concealment of benefits we were entitled too & their claims handling philosophy of delay, deny, defend & then delay some more.  The beautiful thing about the fire was that so many friends came forward to help me out, especially an old elementary school friend (Big Shout out to Kim to whom I am eternally grateful); who gave us furniture, clothing, kitchen stuff etc etc to help get back to normal during the first couple of months while All State attempted to not pay our claim. The beauty of my many friends generous spirits was that it enabled me once we did start getting our claim paid is that I was able to Pay It Forward w/3 different families. I helped a man & his daughter starting over after a divorce. I helped a young woman & her daughter re-establish themselves after an abusive relationship; & a very young couple w/an infant & 3-year-old son re-establish themselves after they were exposed to Toxic Mold.

What was left of my '06 Road Guide after the house fire.

How do you manage being the mother of a rebellious teenager?
I don’t know.  Am I managing?  I just keep praying the day she snaps out of it is tomorrow.  But truly things have gotten better with her; she is slowly growing up.

What’s your favorite color? Don’t have just one; but Teal, (not aqua – teal like a peacock’s feathers) Crimson, & a paint color called Cougar are among my fave’s

What got you interesting in motorcycle riding? It’s all my Granddaddy, Charlie’s (pronounced Chahhlie) fault.  When I was a little girl I couldn’t wait to visit him in North Carolina. He would make me ‘beg him’ to take me for rides on his fully dressed Road King & I loved it. I knew he wanted to give me the ride as much as I did despite his teasing & pretending to be too busy.  I loved hanging out with him in ‘the Motorcycle House’. (Yes, his Harley had its very own house) & watch him wash, polish, change the oil etc. etc. while sneaking me sips of his beer when the ‘adults’ weren’t looking.  I loved watching his friends ride up to ask his help & opinion on how to fix what was ailing their bikes & the camaraderie they shared. The best is when my Mother or Ree-Ree (my Grandmother) would catch him letting me sip on his Schlitz. It was so funny watching him play innocent when he knew he was busted, but trying to get away with it anyway. Granddaddy was the best & I miss him terribly.

Chahhlie!

I know you have your own motorcycle license, so why don’t you ride your own bike?Actually getting my license taught me the huge responsibility & risk one takes when operating a motorcycle. Anyone who does not have a license doesn’t realize that the smallest thing like a pebble or twig in the road can cause you to drop your bike. After surviving a motorcycle accident while I was a passenger shortly after getting my license, I had to admit to myself I don’t have enough hours behind the handle bars to ride my own.  We went down because the transmission seized & the rear wheel locked. If I had been operating that bike when it happened, I would not have been able to control ‘the down’ & I’d probably be dead.

What’s your favorite destination to ride to? No destination – anywhere. So long as I’m riding.

What’s your favorite vacation destination? Don’t have one of those either.  I usually va-kay w/my family in Pennsylvania or North Carolina.  I do enjoy going to Laconia every year though & Puerto Rico was great!

Kristine in Puerto Rico

You have the cutest Pomeranian dog.  Tell us how wonderful Bubba is….
What can I say? Bubba is Bubba-licious. J  He truly is a one –owner Pom (a trait of the breed)  he follows me everywhere I go no matter where (except in the pool – Bubba don’t play dat.) He is a marvelous watch dog that never fails to alert me when the doorbell rings; or a door opens or closes. Doors opening & closing & door bells ringing mean people are coming & since he is so very protective of me he wants me to know people are on the way. He is very well socialized; loves all people & other animals.  He’s a big snuggle bear & loves to lay w/me & be petted & give me kisses.

Bubba-Licious!

I know you love to cook.  What is your favorite meal to cook?
THANKSGIVING!!!!!!!!  I love to cook big meals & there is no bigger meal than Thanksgiving.

You’re known as the 50/50 Goddess….  What is the biggest pot you’ve ever had?
Well in excess of $1200.00

The 50/50 Goddess Hard at Work!

Who is the most interesting celebrity you’ve ever met?
That would be Sully Erna & the band Godsmack.  I won a contest w/Channel 103.1 (J.K. Rox) It was by far the most rockin’ experience of my life. I got to ride on their tour bus, hang out backstage & get autographs & then have dinner with them. It was amazing.

Godsmack! Look how skinny I was.


What 3 things could you not live without?
Makeup
My Road Glide – I may not ride my own; but I own my own.  Lol
My boots.

My Road Glide

What if anything do you collect?
Sandals & boots; peacocks; & art by James Christensen.

Which is your favorite James Christensen?
I don’t have just one favorite.  I love everything James Christensen does. ‘Poofy Guy on a String’ was the 1st Christensen I ever purchased.  When I bought Poofy Guy; I was going through the Mold House drama. When I read the description that Poofy Guy’s wardrobe represented the baggage of a life time it touched me in my soul. Next came Twilight; then The Bride;  Gettin’ it Right; Superstitions; A Place of Her Own & Fairy Tales came last. A Place of Her Own is my 2nd favorite.  I came across that one right after the fire & a lot of people thought I resembled the woman in the picture. But there was so much about the painting itself that reminded me of things I’d owned but lost in the fire, or to the Mold House, I had to have it.

A Place of Her Own ~ James Christensen

Poofy Guy on a String ~ James Christensen

What is the biggest misconception about you?
That I’m Italian.

What do you like to spend money on?
Sandals, boots, Halloween Decorations & James Christensen’s art.

The house decorated for Halloween.

What’s your favorite board game?
Nightmare. It’s actually an interactive video board game. Creepy stuff, so naturally I luv it.

What would be the title of your auto-biography?
The Luckiest of the Unlucky

You were recently injured.  What’s the diagnosis?
Three herniated discs in my Lumbar Spine w/nerve impingement, & lesions of the sciatic nerve.

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Let’s stick with our stacked rocks theme.  In case you missed yesterday’s picture it’s here.

These pictures make me think of Godsmack’s song Serenity.

Serenity

As I sit here and slowly close my eyes
I take another deep breath
And feel the wind pass through my body
I’m the one in your soul
Reflecting the light
Protect the ones who hold you
Cradling your inner child

I need serenity
In a place where I can hide
I need serenity
Nothing changes, days go by

Where do we go when we just don’t know
And how do we relight the flame when it’s cold
Why do we dream when our thoughts mean nothing
And when will we learn to control

Tragic visions slowly stole my life
Tore away everything
Cheating me out of my time
I’m the one who loves you
No matter wrong or right
And every day I hold you
I hold you with my inner child

I need serenity
In a place where I can hide
I need serenity
Nothing changes, days go by

Where do we go when we just don’t know
And how do we relight the flame when it’s cold
Why do we dream when our thoughts mean nothing
And when will we learn to control

Where do we go when we just don’t know
And how do we relight the flame when it’s cold
Why do we dream when our thoughts mean nothing
And when will we learn to control

I need serenity [x2]

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This picture is so peaceful.  Does anyone know what the significance of the stacked rocks is? I know I’ve seen it elsewhere, but I’m not sure if it means anything or if it’s just Feng Shui….

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Image from:http://wileywillows.blogspot.com/2008/03/rock-stack.html

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Welcome to the 100th Blog!!

When I started blogging, I worried that I might not stick with it.  Well today is number 100!


We’ve chatted about all sorts of things so far this year.
You’ve gotten to know some of my friends, you’ve given one of my closest friends relationship advice,
you’ve consoled me when a close friend passed away, we’ve talked about bloggers,
duck, castles, art, my doggy Isabella, motorcycles, movies, travels, my weeks….

My top three blogs to date are:
PLEASE HELP!  My friend needs relationship advice!!
Interview Series ~ DerryX
What I Did Last Night

Thank you to all of you for hanging around and reading my ramblings!!

My blog jumps around quite a bit.
What else should we discuss??

Please comment and subscribe 🙂

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I LOVE Heist Movies!!!!!I’ve always loved heist movies.  The word heist is defined as: “to commit armed robbery or steal.
I’m an honest person.  I don’t steal things or rob places, but for some reason these movies have always been my favorites.  I’m going to tell you about a few of my favorites.

The Thomas Crown Affair ~ 1999

The Thomas Crown Affair I think this one is my all time favorite.  In the movie Thomas Crown (Pierce Brosnan) is a millionaire who loves his Monets.

San Giorgio Maggiore at Dusk ~ Claude Monet

Throughout the film Catherine Banning (Renee Russo) is an insurance adjuster is trying to prove that Thomas Crown was the one who stole the painting.  There are twists throughout the movie and it’s fun to watch Thomas toy with Catherine and the local detective on the case.   (Denis Leary)  There’s also a great sex scene on the stairway of Thomas’ mansion….  The music in the movie is wonderful.  The theme song The Windmills of Your Mind is performed by Sting and is a great song.  So check out my favorite cat and mouse game that is The Thomas Crown Affair.

Ocean's Eleven ~ 2001

Ocean’s Eleven What a great movie!  There’s one of the best all-star casts you could ask for as far as big names: George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Bernie Mac, Elliott Gould, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck, Carl Reiner, Scott Caan, Eddie Jemison, Shaobo Qin, Andy Garcia, and Julia Roberts.  In the film they rob 3 Las Vegas casinos (Bellagio, The Mirage, and the MGM Grand).  They plot and plan with the precision of surgeons.  George Clooney plays the ringleader Danny Ocean.  He has a personal vendetta against Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia) because he is dating Danny’s wife Tess (Julia Roberts).  The only way to get to Terry though is hit his pride/hit his wallet.
I found out a few interesting flaws in the movie (there are many) while I was researching this post:

  • Danny Ocean says that Nevada Gaming Commission regulations require casinos to have enough cash in their vaults to cover every cent in play on the floor. In fact, no such regulation exists.
  • The $100 dollar bill is currently the largest US note in circulation (and has been since the sixties). One million dollars in $100 bills (10,000 notes) weighs about 22 pounds according to the US Treasury Dept web site. Therefore $160MM dollars would weight about 3,520 pounds. There is no way eight people could carry that much weight in canvas bags in one trip from the vault to the SWAT van.
  • During the robbery, the first set of 6 bags which allegedly contained half of the $160 million actually held fliers for hookers. As Rusty had instructed, they were sent up from the vault using the elevator, and carried out of the casino and placed in the white van by Benedict’s men before the SWAT team arrived. However, there is no explanation about how the fliers were transported into the vault in the first place – Danny and Linus did not bring them, and there would not have been enough extra space for that much paper in the cart that held Yen.

The Real McCoy ~ 1993

The Real McCoy is a movie that not too many people remember.  In the movie Karen McCoy (Kim Basinger) is a former bank robber who was recently released from prison.  Her greedy parole officer (Gallard Sartain)  holds her son hostage and threatens to put her back in jail if she doesn’t pull off one final bank heist for his boss Jack Schmidt (Terence Stamp)  She enlists the help of her biggest idiot fan J.T. Barker (Val Kilmer) to pull it all off.  Check this one out if you can find it.

The Maiden Heist ~ 2009

The Maiden Heist is a newer movie out to DVD.  I watched it for the first time last month and found it amusing.  It was an art heist where 3 museum security guards decide to steal their 3 favorite pieces of art before the new museum curator can have them sent to their new museum owner in Denmark.  Morgan Freeman, Christopher Walken, and William H. Macy all put in amusing performances.  (If you like art, check out my Art Blog)

Gone In 60 Seconds ~ 2000

Gone In 60 Seconds has got to be another one of my favorites!!  Aside from the fact that it stars one of my favorite actors Nicholas Cage as Memphis Raines the movie kept my interest the ENTIRE time which is tough to say for alot of movies.  Like Ocean’s Eleven this movie has another all-star cast.   Angelina JolieGiovanni Ribisi, Robert Duvall, James Duval, Scott CaanDelroy Lindo, Chi McBride Christopher Eccleston, Vinnie Jones, Timothy OlyphantWilliam Lee Scott (He’s from Hudson, NY), and T.J. Cross.  Just in case you live under a rock and haven’t seen the movie, it’s about a retired car thief who has to come out of retirement to pull off a 50 high end car heist in 1 night to save his little brother’s life.  There are some BEAUTIFUL cars in this movie as well as funny scenes (remember the snake?) to keep you glued to the TV.

The Saint ~ 1997

The Saint is a movie that many people have forgotten.  I was always a big Val Kilmer fan so when this movie came out it was something I needed to see instantly….  Val plays a character named Simon Templar (one of many names he uses throughout the movie) who is a professional thief/master of disguise who says once his bank account gets to $50,000,000 that he’ll retire.  His last transaction is working with the Russian Mafia and his last assignment is to steal the formula for cold fusion from Dr. Emma Russell. (played by Elisabeth Shue)  What he doesn’t count on is falling in love with her.  When he realizes that the formula isn’t complete and the Russian’s will stop at nothing to get it to work Simon realizes that Emma won’t be safe and goes to her to keep her safe.  Also stars Rade Serbedzija as Ivan Tretiak.

Heist ~ 2001

Heist starring Gene Hackman, Danny DiVito, Delroy Lindo, and Sam RockwellGene Hackman plays the brilliant leader of a gang (Delroy Lindo, Ricky Jay & Rebecca Pigeon as Hackman’s youngish wife), which pulls off complex heists for a despicable fence (Danny DeVito). After stiffing the gang on a jewelry robbery, DeVito forces the gang to go after a Swiss gold shipment and to use his nephew (Sam Rockwell) in the crime. No one trusts anyone and every step is shaded with the unexpected. Summary written by John Sacksteder (off IMDB)

Flawless ~ 2007

Flawless starring Demi Moore and Michael Caine is a diamond-heist thriller set in London during the 1960s. Demi Moore plays Laura Quinn, a bright, driven and beautiful executive at the London Diamond Corporation who gets frustrated as she watches man after man get promoted ahead of her despite her being more experienced.  Michael Caine plays Hobbs, the nighttime janitor at London Diamond.   Nobody notices Hobbs, but over the years he’s worked there he’s acquired extensive knowledge about how the company runs. Observing Laura’s frustration, he convinces her to help him execute his plan to steal a hefty sum in diamonds.

The Score ~ 2001

The Score was a great movie starring Robert De Niro, Edward Norton, Angela Bassett and Marlon BrandoDe Niro plays Nick Wells, a professional criminal who almost got caught on his last job.  He wants out of the business for good.  His plan is to live in peace with his girlfriend Diane (played by Bassett), and to run his Montreal jazz club NYC.   Nick’s good friend Max (played by Brando who’s also his financial partner in his illegal dealings) has an offer Nick can’t refuse.  A historical and priceless French sceptre has been discovered while being smuggled into the country.   It is under intense surveillance in the Montreal Customs House, and soon will be returned to France.  Nick has to team up with Max’s man inside.  When Nick and Jackie Teller (Norton) meet it isn’t exactly love at first sight.  Nick thinks he’s young and careless.  They go into the job together, and only one question remains: Who will trick whom out of their share?

The Italian Job ~ 2003

The Italian Job starring Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Donald Sutherland, Jason Statham, Seth Green, Mos Def, and Edward Norton.  A team of expert thieves pull off a heist in Venice, Italy stealing 35 million dollars worth of gold bars.  One of the thoieves betrays his team and swipes the gold for himself.  A year later, in Las Angeles, the remaining team members create a smart and devious plan to steal back the gold and get their revenge on the traitor.

The Doberman Gang ~ 1972

Finally I’m going to mention a movie you’ve probably never heard of.  In The Doberman Gang a bank thief decides to train a pack of doberman pinschers to rob a bank after a failed bank robbery attempt.  Dobermans are a breed of dog that trains extremely well and there’s less room for deviation in the robbery.  Even though this is an old movie, it’s nice to go back to an old school movie to remember how it was all done before we had computers and all the technology used in most heist movies we see today!  According to Wikipedia there were two sequels to this movie as well which I haven’t seen.  If anyone has them I’d love copies!!

What are some of your favorite heist movies?  Tell me, maybe I haven’t seen them yet!!

Please comment and subscribe 🙂

UPDATE!!
Please comment and tell me what brought you to this blog.  I’ve been getting TONS of hits on it months after it was published.  I’m just curious why….

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I was reading an article about Billboards in Automobile Magazine.  It was a fast facts type of article.
Since I can’t find a link to it online I’ll post the bullets here from the April 2010 issue, page 22.

  • In 1889, the twenty-four-sheet billboard was introduced.
  • Today, most billboards are one sheet of vinyl or polyethylene.
  • The most common size is 14 by 48 feet.
  • Six to eight advertisers can share a single digital billboard; the messages change every eight seconds or so.
  • Four states ban billboards: Alaska, Hawaii, Maine and Vermont

I found in my research a couple websites that said Vermont experienced a 50% rise in tourism spending in the first two years it became billboard free.  I thought that was REALLY interesting.

Courts across the nation have held that billboards may be prohibited or regulated principally because they gain their value from the proximity to taxpayer-funded roads and are, fundamentally, a use of the public right-of-way.

  • The nonprofit organization Scenic America seeks to limit billboards
  • The Outdoor Advertising Association of America is the billboard industry’s primary trade group.

    Mail Pouch Tobacco Barn Billboard ~ I think these are a work of art!!

  • Thousands of American barns have been painted to function as billboards, most often by Mail Pouch Tobacco – and about 4000 of those were first painted (and frequently retouched) by one man, Harley Warrick.  Farmers were paid a token sum, but the real value was the free paint job.  The sides of the barn that didn’t face the road would be painted a color of the farmer’s choice.

    Mail Pouch Tobacco Barn Billboard ~ I think these are a work of art!!

  • The 1965 Highway Beautification Act, championed by Lady Bird Johnson, was supposed to regulated billboards, but the Act is considered ineffectual.
  • Although no definitive count exists, it’s estimated that nearly half a million billboards line federally funded highways alone.
  • Times Square properties often sit empty, but owners hardly fret; billboards bring in the real money.

    Times Square Billboards

According to www.oaaa.org

  • 5.5 billion spent on outdoor ads
    • 62% billboards
    • 15% street furniture
    • 19% transit
    • 4% alternative
How often do you read billboards?  Do you pay attention to them?
I find personally that I notice them when they say something along the lines of  “Coach outlet exit is in 1 mile” or something like that if I’m on my way somewhere, but other than that I don’t pay too much attention unless they’re completely ridiculous!
What are your thoughts?  Do you think it’s an effective way of advertising?
Please comment and subscribe 🙂

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