World Record Holder

In my first attempt on video, I became world record holder for the Big Toe Field Goal. From 9 feed out, I used my big toe to flip a dime through uprights fashioned from one of Beau’s many mobile homes.

I own the record knowing no one else has attempted it. But a quick YouTube search has yielded at least two competitors. One and two.

Bring it on. My toe is ready.

A Mobile Obesession

The topic of cell phones is on the cusp of surpassing weather as the de facto small talk subject. iOS7. Which service provider gets the best coverage. Whether or not the NSA is stealing your fingerprint data on your new iPhone 5s. How the word phablet could possibly have made it into the Oxford dictionary.

Why can’t we stop talking about our phones? Perhaps it’s our perpetual usage, checking them 150 times per day. We don’t give our brains much time to think about the off-screen world.

However, we may be nearing a tipping point or at least the acceptance phase. Articles and videos that announce the mass revelation of our mobile addiction are going viral. We share and “like” these stories on the smartphones they condemn, all too aware of the irony in doing so. Yet we can’t stop.

And the business machine doesn’t want us to.

Verizon recently unveiled a new plan, Edge, that allows you to purchase a new phone every 6 months. That’s crazy. My girlfriend has managed to survive with the same phone for 36 months and counting! Apple just launched two new models and is seeing record sales — 9 million in the first 3 days.  We’re obsessed, and we know it. Businesses know it too and are reaping the profits.

If we’re to return to a less-connected life in which the day’s temperature remains our go-to conversation starter, we need to accept that our fully functioning iPhone 4s is as relevant today as it was a week before the iPhone 5s announcement

. Weather on phone

[My] Best of Instagram

I like Instagram. It generally prevents people from uploading entire albums, and pushes them to do a little bit of editing to hopefully improve the visual appeal of their photos. I’ve certainly uploaded my fair share of duds, but a few have been quite well received.

My most popular photo to date is from my trip to the Philippines earlier this year, capturing a few of my former colleagues looking out over the Chocolate Hills of Bohol. This was one of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever experienced, and the Instagram contrast button texturized the clouds, making it that much more dramatic.


My second most ‘liked’ photo was taken the morning after New England’s Nemo blizzard which dumped between 2 and 3 feet of snow over the region. Mary and I woke up early and walked the quiet streets of Somerville, many untouched. For the first time since I’ve lived here, there were more skiers on the streets than cars.


What would a top Instagram list be without a cat photo? This is Beau being vain. Mary had put the mirror in front of him 30 minutes earlier, and he had not moved from his spot. As I walked around him, he tracked my movements through the mirror like he had been using one his whole life.


For more, check out my entire album at


Two years ago, as the #firstworldproblems meme was flourishing on Twitter, I tried to start up a similar trend — #firstworldfears. Besides a few retweets I got, the hashtag never really caught on. I’d like to give it another shot at glory.

1.) Using a handicapped stall while a handicapped person enters the bathroom #firstworldfears


2.) Reply-All #firstworldfears

reply all

3.) My luggage not fitting into the overhead compartment #firstworldfears



4.) Publishing unfinished, shoddy blog posts #firstworldfears


Sausage Pasta Soup

My mom found the original recipe on a can of something twenty years ago, but since then it has taken on a life of its own. Everyone who has frequented the Munsell residence has probably eaten it. If not, consider yourself a fringe friend.

May I present, Sausage Pasta Soup.


There’s no official recipe. My mom, siblings, and friends all have a different take on the dish. But, it would be useless of me to post pictures without giving you anything. So, here is last night’s ingredient list.

  • 1 pound of sweet Italian sausage
  • Enough onion to make a grown man-boy cry
  • A few big carrots, chopped
  • Ants on a log. Minus peanut butter, minus raisins. Chopped
  • Fresh garlic, pressed/minced
  • Large can of crushed tomatoes, regular size cans of diced & stewed tomatoes
  • Four cups of beef broth
  • Pasta (Rigatoni, Penne, or step-son Penne Rigate)
  • Basil, black pepper, oregano, bay leaf
  • 1 Serrano pepper

Variants & Additions:

  • Add a couple spicy peppers and spicy sausage (a la Steve)
  • For the gluten free, replace pasta with cannellini beans
  • For vegetarians, replace beef broth with vegetable broth and sausage with something that isn’t as good. Then try renaming it. You may not be invited to the Munsell residence again.






Not helpful enough?

  • Brown sausage in garlic and olive oil, drain fat
  • Cook onions until translucent, then add in the rest of chopped veggies, and stir
  • Add in broth and tomatoes, stir some more
  • Add approximately two cans of water
  • Add spices & bring to boil
  • Simmer down now, for an hour
  • Cook pasta
  • Scoop pasta in bowl, pour soup over it
  • Top with Parmesan/Romano (Optional)
  • Eat today, eat tomorrow, eat for a week


Meet Beau, our adopted cat. Depending on the situation or his mood, we often modify his name. He turns into Ram-Beau after inhaling some cat nip. We call him Beau-zo when he falls off the couch. Ho-beau when he sleeps on newspaper. He’ll be Te-Beau when the Patriots play this fall (unless they play in Greenbay, where we may end up calling him LamBeau). Beau-no-bo, El-Beau, Beau-tie, Beau-Diddley, Dum-Beau, among others.

May I present, Beau.

sprawl2 photo



A New Generation

There are four of us Munsell siblings. We’re all very close in age, so there has been an ongoing conversation between friends and family of which Munsell kid will be the first to have a baby. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that there are some serious wagers on it.
Two months ago, my sister Hilary called me on Facetime. I picked up, and she greets me, “Hi Uncle Mike.” Baffled, I paused and then told her I didn’t know what to say — she wittily retorted, “Try.. Congratulations”. She was having a baby. Anyone who put their money on the second youngest, or the only girl, just took the prize.
Hilary went in for an ultrasound yesterday, and got more than just a few snapshots of the baby inside. She learned that she will be giving birth to a baby boy. She’ll be a mother to a son. Our parents will have a grandson. I’ll have a nephew.
It’s real now, and I finally know what to say. A new generation of our family is just beginning, and I couldn’t be more proud or excited. Congratulations Hil!

Father’s Day

I’ve returned from a New Orleans vacation with outlines of three blog posts scribbled on airplane napkins. One topic is Father’s day, though slightly belated at this point. Fortunately, I’m not vying for page hits.

I imagine one of the goals of a father is to instill life lessons and learnings into his children. He might think these are going to come from long lectures or stories from his youth. Yet, none of those come to my mind. Instead, much of my character has been shaped by small comments or emotions shared by my dad. Fleeting moments that he probably thought nothing of at the time, nor remembers to this day. I’d like to share a few tenants I live by and the moments behind them.

Think Independently

I first learned about political parties in a middle school social studies class. I came home and asked my dad, “What are we, Republicans or Democrats?”

Without flinching my dad replied, “I’m a Republican. You can be whatever you want to be.”

The topic hit pretty close to home for him, as he grew up with Democratic parents and later became quite conservative. Like father like son, I also diverged from my parent’s political beliefs. My dad probably regrets that comment now.

Work for what you want

My first real job was at a local pizza shop, a few miles from my house. I started as a dishwasher but soon began working the front, manning the ovens, and even making pizza. One day the owner showed me how to make subs — cold cuts, meatball, chicken parm, you name it. Yet, when I tried to fold, cut, and wrap them, the subs would somehow explode. I can’t explain the physics of it, but I’m sure the unfortunate customers could vouch for me.

My dad asked me one day how the job was going. I told him that I liked making pizzas but I can’t make subs.

“What do you mean you can’t make subs?”

Here’s a guy whose first job was making subs. His second building swimming pools, and later remodeling houses. And his son can’t even make a decent ham & cheese.

I don’t remember exactly, but I was probably embarrassed. At 14, if things didn’t come naturally to me, I would often quit, assuming I didn’t have the necessary talent to perform that activity. After that brief conversation, I started to change. I began to put more effort into my work. The next shift, I took on all of the sub orders until I perfected the fold, slice, and wrap.

Think about how your actions (or inactions) will affect others

My neighbor’s husband died unexpectedly. He was probably in his 40’s, I think I was about thirteen. Sometime that week my neighbor called my house, asking if one of us would be willing to clean out the van of her deceased husband. She was willing to pay $20.

Politely, I declined her offer. “No thanks.” My tween reasoning was probably laziness or that I was saving her $20.

My dad later found out about the conversation that I had with the newly widowed neighbor.  I don’t remember what was said, but the emotions were clear: anger, frustration, sadness. I completely let our neighbor, his friend, down during what had to be one of her darkest moments.

I do very little today without thinking about how it’s going to impact others. In fact, vacationing in New Orleans during Father’s Day weekend was a tough decision. I’m hoping this makes up for it.

Happy Father’s Day Dad!