May 2002

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May 30, 2002:  Well, another month is almost over.  The week is ending up well.  Not too much to report other than I'm looking forward to the weekend.  No major plans yet, but I've got some options on things to do, so I'm sure it will be fun.

It's been DAMN hot out here in Northern, CA.  Walking to work today, it was bout 80' at 9:00 AM.  It was just about 90' when I walked home.  Ahhhhhh, CA.  You gotta love it!

I'm thinking of picking up some hiking gear this weekend.  It's about time to get back into one of my favorite past times.  A new pack, boots, and basic gear are all in order.  I'll be checking out REI for all of it.

A couple of nights ago I spent a nice evening with my buddy Bryan.  We hung out for a bit and then went out for a nice seafood dinner on the water in downtown Antioch.  Though the service was 'amusing' the food was good as was the company :)

Oh yeah, I got to hear from Eric "Scutter" Withers this week.  Here are some excerpts from his email to me on how he's doing:

"I'm still married, hehehe, two years next month.  Does time fly or what.  I'm still living in Clinton MA (where ever the hell that is your saying).  And I still work at The WANT ADvertiser.  It's a cool
family run company that treats their people right.  And I manage the WHEELS ETC. magazine.  You know I'm still a car and motorcycles nut.  So this job keeps me close to all that stuff.

So I'm trying to enjoy and experience life myself.  Recently (April 02)  I became a Motorcycle Instructor for the state of Massachusetts.  It's pretty cool.  I get to teach people how to ride and get to meet lots of different people.  My first real teaching assignment is June 8-9th.  So that should be pretty interesting:)

So as you guessed it, I like to ride motorcycles.  I recently purchased my dream bike a new Ducati 748.  Its pretty awesome.  Being out in Clinton there is lots of cool riding."

Sounds like he's going great!  I so want to get a bike, but right now, I'll just have fun w/my car.  Maybe later next year :)

Next weekend, I'm thinking of heading down to the LA area to see Adam and Micheal.  In a few weeks, it's off to KY to see Spidey & Kathy, Perky & Tanya, Bo, Luke, Billy-Sue and Bobby-Joe Jack >;-)  Hahahaha, yeeee-haw!  I can't wait :)

I hope all is well in your nook of the world.  Drop a line and say HI!

~Penz

May 26, 2002:  Wow, life is good my friends!!! I just got back from a most EXCELLENT trip to Las Vegas, NV.  Primary mission of the trip:  SEE JIMMY BUFFETT with my bro' Mark "Hummer" Hamel.  Well, let's just say, mission accomplished, and then some :)

It all started off on the flight when I met Janet (who also travels under the alias's of DJ, Captain Jan, and Chrissie :-).  She and I both had isle seats across from one another.  I noticed she was reading Jimmy Buffett's "A Pirate Looks at 50" and decided to say hi.  Well, it didn't take long to find out that we had found kindred spirits in one another, so for the next hour or so, we enjoyed a couple of rum and cokes together and made plans to get together for dinner & drinks later on that night. Turns our she had reservations at Emeril's New Orlean's Fish House located in the MGM Grand, and once I heard that, well, how could I say no!?!? :-)   Hahaha, I'd come to realize later on in the evening that thought the dinner was amazing, it was truly the company that made it an extrodinary night :-)

We ended up meeting around 6:00 PM at the MGM for some drinks at the main bar and spent the next hour or so hanging out with some other fellow parrot heads and listening to a pretty good Elvis impersonator sing some music of the 60's/70's.  He was really a good entertainer and not to mention our bartender, Tony, was making some KILLER Cadallac Margarita's for us :-)  After tying on a really good buzz, we headed over to Emeril's New Orlean's Fish House for dinner (and since it's in the MGM, we took our drinks with us).

This dinner was freakin' awesome!  Everything from the service to the food was impeccable. Once we were seated, we got to meet our waiter, Rocco.  After introducing himself, he went over the menu with us and then left us to think on what delicacies we were going to try.  It was during this time that we met Adam Morgan, our bus boy. Adam was great!  Turns out he and his family had spent some time in the Manchester, NH area before moving out to Las Vegas.  At 19 years old, this ambitious young man already owns and operates his own real estate company.  If you are in the need for real estate in the Las Vegas area, I recommend you contact Adam at amrealty1@hotmail.com !   Ok, continuing on with the meal.... we both decided that we would get the Chef's tasting of which I'll soon tell you about, but even though it covered a lot of culinary territory, we decided that a few more dishes had to be tried, so we ordered crab cakes, and the gumbo.  <sigh>..... each one was awesome..... <drool> but the gumbo.... well, it was the first time since my visit to New Orleans back n '99 that I've actually tasted real gumbo again.  IT WAS SUPERB!!!!  Hahah, and if that wasn't enough, Adam sensed just how much were were enjoying the meal and decided to bring me a taste of the New England Clam Chowder. Well, let's just say that after sampling it, I ordered a bowl and woofed that down.  Hahahahah, unreal.  It was that good!

And so the evening continued on.  The wine (a delicious house cabernet) kept flowing, the company and conversation were superb (thank you Janet!!) and then it began.  The Chef's Tasting..... 

Chef's Tasting Menu
May 24, 2002

Boston Bibb Lettuce and Creole Boiled Main Lobster Tossed in aCreamy Herbsaint Dressing with Pickled Fennel, Cornbread Cumbs and House Cured Bacon

Buttermild Fried Onion Ring stuffed with a Warm Jumbo Lump Blue Crab and Sweet Corn Salad, Wild Murshroom Sauce, White Truffle Oil and Fresh Basil.

Emeril's New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp served with Petite Rosemary Biscuit

Wild Ivory King Salmon over Kalmata Olive Mashed Potatoes with a Sun-Dried Tomato Butter Sauce and Red Onion Gremolata

Louisiana Cedar Plank Campfire Steak, Warm Remoulade and Creamy Grits, Drizzled with a Hint of Emeril's Homemade Worcestershire Sauce

Graham Cracker Crusted Bananas Foster Ice Cream Pie with Banana Cinnamon Sauce, Chocolate Shavings and Fresh Whipped Cream

Note that each serving is only a few ounces in size and not a full course.  Each one was brought to us seperately, allowing use time to savor each amazing dish.

Ok, there really aren't words to describe how good the meal was.  Suffice to say, it took 2.5 hours to complete and afterwards, I could've died a happy man :-)  Oh yeah, did I mention we also ordered the flourless chocolate torte for dessert as well, because, well, the night just wouldn't be complete without chocolate :-)

After dinner we took a walk and caught the last fountain show at the Bellagio Casino and then parted ways.  It was a great night!

The next morning, I got up around 11:30 and got a quick meal downstairs at my hotel (the Holiday Inn Boardwalk).  After that, it was off to the MGM Grand for the Parrot Head Pre-Show Party!  It was a TON of fun!  There were a lot of cool vendors present as you entered the party area, so if you forgot anything, you could stock up.  Once you reached the party area, you knew it.  There was a great Buffett cover band playing for the afternoon, TONS of crazy parrot heads all over the place, and lots of Margarita's flowing from everywhere :-)  I met up with Janet and we spent the afternoon "wastin' away" drinking tasty frozen margarita's from plastic coconuts :-)  Around 4:30, I took off to meet Mark, who was just getting ready to land at the airport.

Mark didn't reach the hotel until almost 6:30, due to the crazy Vegas traffic, but that gave me time to take a shower and take quick power nap before he arrived.  Once he did, we were off the MGM Grand to meet up with some of Mark's friends and then it was time for THE SHOW!!!


MGM Grand Arena - Las Vegas, NV 
Far Side of the World Tour 
Saturday May 25th, 2002 

Hot Hot Hot 
Meet me in Margaritaville 

1. Stars On The Water 
2. Blue Guitar 
3. Weather Is Here, Wish You Were Beautiful 
4. Come Monday 
5. Boat Drinks (Bluegrass Style).  This was AWESOME!!
6. Why Don't We Get Drunk 
7. Cheeseburger In Paradise 
8. Last Man Standing 
9. Son Of A Son Of A Sailor   (E, you know I was thinking of ya when he played this :)
10. Fruitcakes 
11. Margaritaville 
12. One Particular Harbour 

Intermission 

13. Banana Republics (this was the best rendition of this song I've ever heard him do.  Brought me right back to 1996 and a trip down to the Domican Republic with Eric "E" Larson and Paul "Dubbah" Barnes :)
14. Volcano 
15. Far Side Of The World 
16. Savannah Fare You Well 
17. Everybody's Got A Cousin In Miami 
18. What If The Hokey Pokey Is All It Really Is About (WHY JIMMY!?!? WHY!?!)
19. A Pirate Looks At Forty (brought a tear to my eye :)
20. I Love The Now 
21. Fins 
22. Southern Cross 
23. Brown Eyed Girl 

Encores 

24. Thank God The Tiki Bar Is Open 
25. They Say It's Your Birthday (Beatles Cover)-- to Savannah Jane, turns 23 
26. Changes In Latitudes 
27. Someday I Will 

It was an awesome show!  After the show, Mark, his friends and I headed over to the Monte Carlo Casino for a late night dinner.  Hahaha, we needed to get at least one good meal in us that night (that wasn't liquid, that is ;)  We all ended up turning in around 2:30 or so.

The next morning, Mark and I had a great breakfast at the Monte Carlo and after that, I sadly had to head for the airport to catch my 10:55 am flight back to San Jose (on SouthWest).  All in all, this was an awesome trip :)  I'm thankful that Mark got me the ticket so that I could go!  Hahahah, next stop, Cincinatti, OH for the June 18th show with Spidey!

Boat Drinks!

A very tired Penz :)

May 20, 2002:  I had a really good time with Art seeing Dave Matthews Band.  The show was a lot of fun, but sad to say, he didn't play a lot of songs that I would have liked to have heard.  Here was his set list:


Everyday, Granny, When The World Ends, You Never Know, #41, I Did It, Busted Stuff, Fool To Think, Bartender, Song That Jane Likes, Crush, Rhyme & Reason,What Would You Say, Don't Burn The Pig, 
Where Are You Going, What You Are, ENCORE:  Beauty of Wynona and Lie In Our Graves 

No "Ant's Marching", "Crash", "Seek Up", etc. for me!!! All of those songs were played the next night!  What a bastard :-)  For those of you who want to see just how diverse his set lists vary from night to night, check out this site

Sunday morning, I hung out with my buddy Bryan for a bit and then zonked out for the rest of the afternoon on the couch :-).

Today was a quiet day at work.  I got a lot of paper work done, which was good, but the day kinda dragged by a bit.  I got my review last week and it was GREAT!  I'm was pretty psyched to see what my manager had to say about me :)

Oh yeah, I did buy some art recently!  Hahaha, the artist's name is Joe Phillips and he's based out of San Diego, CA.  I ran across his web site from a link from one of my friends.  I immediately feel in love (lust?:) with some of his pieces :-)  So, I decided to drop him a line and see if I could order one of his sold out limited prints.  Well, Joe and I began a nice dialouge and soon, I had a signed/numbered canvas of "Beach Boys" (seen here) on my way to me via FedEx. One of the cool things about this piece is that it's the only one of this series that he's done on a canvas so it's #1/1.  I had it framed locally and now it's up on my wall.  I'm looking forward to purchasing a few more pieces from him in the not too distant future.  If you like this type of art, I highly suggest you check out his awesome website:  http://www.joephillips.com.

I hope that all is well in your neck of the woods!

Penz

May 18, 2002:  Well, it's 4:20 PM and I'm getting ready to go and see Dave Matthews Band play at the Shoreline Amphitheater with my friend Art.  Hahahaha, I figured this was a good time to take a few minutes and update you all on what's been going on during this busy month of May.

The last weekend in April, I flew out to Grand Rapids, MI to see my good friend James Canders.  We spent a fun 3 days together hanging out, catching up and having a good time in MI (yes, that's possible :)  It was good to see him and hang out with some of his friends in the local area.

As a special treat, on Tuesday when I was getting ready to leave, James had to go to work (at the airport) for a training course being put on by the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). Well, guess who was there, Willie "The Terrorizer" James!  It was AWESOME to see Willie for a few minutes and do some catching up.  He's still living in Falls Church, VA and working for AAAE.  As a matter of fact, he just got promoted to Vice President of Business Development and Training!  How cool is that?  Willie sends his best to all of the Cellar Dwellars. 


I spent one day in CA before I packed up and flew out to Manchester, NH for a 10 day stay.  I was met at the airport by Scott Patno and Mike "Tab" Waciscko.  After some bear hugs, we headed over to Friday's for a few drinks, then I went and checked out their house.  By this time, it was 10:30 PM and I decided to head down to Nashua and crash and Alex and Dustin's place.  I was met there by my sister Gini and her hella cute boyfriend Brian, as well as Alex and Dustin (who was sleeping).  We hung out for a bit before I zonked out. 

On Friday, I got up late and went to breakfast with Gini and Brian.  After that, I hung out for a bit and then headed up to Dover, NH where I met up with Paul, Dana and Jon and then we proceeded up to Port Clyde, ME for a fun filled weekend!

It was great to see everyone, especially Paul. We rode up together and spent the time catching up a bit and just chillin.  I sure had missed him a lot, but that's to be expected :)  The weekend was great!  The menu on Saturday night for the 6 of us (a couple of Paul's friends from work joined us) included:

20 fresh off the boat Maine lobsters
10 lbs. of mussels
4 lbs of sausage
5 lbs of potatoes
10 lbs of baked beans with bacon
1/2 keg of Red Hook ale
1 big bottle of Robert Mondavi's 97 Merlot

Hahahah, drooling yet?  You better be!  It was awesome!!!!! All of this was cooked in Paul's new 20 gallon stainless steel pot w/strainer on a 30,000 BTU propane jet burner!  Hahahah, it was awesome!


 


 

Well, the rest of the weekend was a happy blur.  Lot's of drinking, eating, and enjoying life in general took place.  I should have some picts up here shortly to share with you.

We got back to Nashua on Sunday night and just crashed out.

Monday morning, I headed over to Daniel Webster College to see who was around.  After a little searching I found Prof. Donald Fagan in his classroom and poked my head in to say hi!  Hahaha, well, after seeing it was me, he got up and gave me a bit old hug and then turned to his class and said "You have a 2 day final.  It's Wedesday and Thursday.  I want to hang out with Penz, so class is dismissed!".  Hehehe, the time was 9:10 AM (his class started at 9:00 AM :)  Well, he and I talked for about 1.5 hours and then I headed over to DW Hall where I ran into Paul Labarre.  He and I spent the next 2.5 hours catching up, touring the campus and meeting up with some of the other faculty and staff.  It made for a great morning :)

That night, I picked Scott Smith up from Manchester airport where he flew in from VA.  I was SO psyched to see him!  We met a year ago while in Europe and since then, have remained in close contact.  He's made numerous trips up to NH to see Gini, Alex and Porky and vice versa down to VA.  I was psyched he came up to see me :-)  That night, we grabbed some dinner and drank until the wee hours of the morning :)

On Tuesday morning, I got up early and met Tucker for breakfast in Nashua.  We spent the better part of 2 hours together, catching up.  It was wonderful, as always, to spend some time with my bro :)  He and his partner Andy are getting ready to move from Hudson to Nashua, so I'm sure they will be busy over the next couple of weeks getting ready :) 

After breakfast, it was back to Alex's for some more coffee and then we headed out to Lowell, MA to catch "Spiderman" with Gini, Johnson, and Scott.  It was a great movie and a great time!  After that, I split off from the group and headed over to Becky and Lisa's house where I zonked out and caught a few much needed extra Zzzzz's before they got home from work.  We enjoyed a magical night together.  Lisa cooked up an AMAZING dinner!  We started with champagne and the opening course was a portabello cream of mushroom soup that literally was 'to die for!".  After two bowls of that (and cracking a couple of wonderful bottles from the 'collection') we moved onto the grilled salmon with a scotch bonnet salsa and asparagus on the side.  MMMmmmmm good!  This gourmet meal was topped with fresh creme brules for desert.  God, what a meal.  The only thing better that it, was the company :-) XOXOXOXOX

On Wednesday morning, I spent some time with my friend Mikey down in Tyngsboro, where we shared some coffee and spent some time hanging out.  I really miss hanging out with him and it was good to spend a little time together during my week back.  That evening, it was off to dinner with Paul Barnes and his parents (Barb and Stan) up in Bedford.  We had a great meal together at The Outback, but once again, it was the company that made the night.  After dinner, I went back to Nashua, picked up Scotty Smith and around 9:00 PM we headed down to Pawling, NY (3 hour drive) to see Tim "Porky" Watkins.  We got there w/out any problems and after a beer, crashed out.

Thursday morning, we got up, grabbed some coffee and then spent the morning hanging out with Porky and his girlfriend Thea.  After lunch, Thea had to go, and the three of us went to check out the horse ranch that Porky works on.  It was really nice!  What a beautiful place to work at :) After that, we headed over to Aunt Linda's place where we spent the afternoon riding the ATV's though the woods (that was A LOT of fun!) and then for dinner, we had venison, lot's of good wine, and lot's of good conversation.  It was a great night!

The next morning, we headed back up to New Hampshire.  After dropping Scotty off, I went right down to Wakefield, MA to meet up with my brother Tim :)  We had a wonderful day together!  It was so cool to see how nicely his house is coming along.  Here is a picture of his new hot tub (which I LOVED!) and his new shed (which arrived 2 days after I left). 

Heheheh, I could use that thing as a guest house!  Hmmmmm.... anyway, we had a killer day together.  We did sushi for dinner that night and hung out in the hot tub with his best friend Johnny for the rest of it.  His wife Suzanne was there for a bit, and it was great to see her, before she went out for a night on the town with the girls :)   It was a very special day, as it maked the one year anniversary of my father passing away.  Needless to say, it was good to spend it with Tim.

Saturday morning, we rallied and then went to Rivier College to see Gini graduate!  Hehehe, she did it!!!  I was very proud of her as she walked across that stage!  Hehehe, the first Penziner child to actually receive a college diploma :)  After the ceremony, it was off to her friend Rose's place for a little party and then back to Alex's place.  At that point, we all grabbed some dinner and then I broke off from the group (late night) to do some laundry and pack up.

On Sunday morning, I flew back to CA!  Hehehehehe, though my trip was a lot of fun, it was certainly wasn't restfull :-)  As soon as I got off the plane, Justin picked me off and we drove down to Moffett Field for an Audi/VW car show hosted by New Dimensions.  It was a lot of fun to see the new modified cars that were at the show.  Both Justin and I got some new ideas for what we'd like to do to our cars, when the $$ issue fades away :)  We ended up the day by going out to dinner, and then, finally, heading home, where I began the 3 day process of resting up from my vacation :-)


And this beautiful new addition joined our world, from Mr. and Mrs. Jim Hynek.  I present to you "this little giant came into this world weighing a little under 11 lbs and 22 inches.  I'll tell you what, I now do believe that there is nothing that my wife cannot do when she puts her mind to it. (that and a little help from her friend "epidural")  Mom and Ryan (and father) are doing just fine. - Jim" 

Ain't life grand? :-)

Penz


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