jesse leo dot com - 2011 edition
Old junk, photos, etc.

E-moi: jesse at (duh)
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12/31/11: -- New Years Eve already? How can this be? Not that I have any sort of sentimental attachment to 2011. Don't get me wrong, there were high highs - a couple of terrific jaunts to Block Island for which I'm extremely grateful... A surprise 40th celebration assembled by my wife/fam/friends, which included a tiki torch fest on the deck. That absolutely rocked. Great strides were made towards settling into the new (I still consider it new) house. A trillion more projects on the list of course, and we'll get to them eventually.

But there were also some low lows in 2011. Lots of hand wringing over money, parenting, work, health, etc. Too much hand wringing, in fact. I'm giving this past year a name, we shall call it The Big Worry.

But hey, we're still here. I'm filled with optimism as that big silly ball drops to welcome in 2012.
12/28/11: -- Peter Jackson's most recent production diary vlog, I watched the entire thing in awe. What I'd give to be a part of this, some role no matter how trivial - maybe I could be the nose makeup buffer-upper for Bombur or something? Anything? Something? Peter, can you hear me?

-- One of the American hikers who was detained in Iran sounds off. Incredible stuff.
12/27/11: -- Saturn. It's big.

-- Golden - was getting caught up on Daring Fireball and came across this gem posted on Christmas day:

Late last night, inspecting Santa's handiwork, a simple thought occurred to me. A decade or so from now, when, say, I'm waiting for my son to come home from college for his winter break, and, when he does, he wants to spend his time going out with his friends -- how much will I be willing to pay then to be able to go back in time, for one day, to now, when he's eight years old, he wants to go to movies and play games and build Lego kits with me, and he believes in magic?

How much then, for one day with what my family has right now? How much? Everything.

The truth is, I'm the luckiest person in the world today. I hope you are too.

An epic post that sums up the spirt of Christmas, Fatherhood, and a hundred other things as well. Props to @Gruber.

-- You know me by now, so I'll spare you the usual post-holiday melancholy spiel. I'm constantly trying to figure out why I get so worked up about holidays, with Christmas of course being king (Halloween a close 2nd!). The music, the lights, the movies, the good sentiments, the tree, the nostalgia... so much buildup, and to what end? The big day arrives at warp speed after a stress-laden December of scrapping & scrounging... don't get me wrong - it's a really nice day brimming with laughs and gifts and sinfully good meals, plus multiple viewings of A Christmas Story. But it too flies by in a blur, and then just like that it's over. Lights out, music off, decorations put away... Whoops, guess I didn't spare you the spiel after all. Curses to me for being a sucker for this stuff!

But know what? Given the choice I wouldn't have it any other way.

12/23/11: -- Slate explains why 'nog is only sold in December. Just in case you were wondering.
12/22/11: -- I've been watching the trailer (announced/posted yesterday, scroll down) for The Hobbit about once per hour, for no good reason other than it makes me happy. But my God the accompanying poster is so indescribably beautiful. Makes me want to break down and start weeping, then chuck everything and move to Bag End.

-- It has been a cruel December, make no mistake about that. I'm doing my best to bring about a Scrooge Morning After moment. But it's just not happening. But is this really something that can be forced, something that can be willed into action? Shouldn't it take me on its own?
12/21/11: -- Finally, a trailer for The Hobbit !
12/20/11: -- Recommended viewing: The Adjustment Bureau. You won't come out of it a better person, nor will you find the answers to life's deepest questions about free will (something this film delves into)... but you will be entertained, thrilled a little, and you may just fall in love with Emily Blunt.
12/19/11: -- I can't vouch for the validity of this video, but the North Korean people's reaction to the demise of their Dear Leader is downright creepy. The Twitterverse reactions are less somber...

-- NPR recently interviewed screenwriter Diablo Cody (of Juno fame) about her latest project, which stars Charlize Theron. I love the bit right at the end about using social media to recreate high school, it is kinda strange when you really think about it. I remember way back when Cody was a stripper who maintained a blog affectionately called the Pu**y Ranch. No, it wasn't that kind of site. The brilliance was palpable, you knew it was just a matter of time until she moved on to amazing things. Oh and Charlize: we get it - you can act. Feel free to go back to being a bombshell any time now...
12/15/11: -- Radio Hell: My new-old car has some kind of wiring problem under the dash, so what shows up on the stereo display is random jibberish. As such there is no way to tell what radio station you are tuned into until the deejay announces it. No tune button as far as I can tell, just "seek", which cycles round and round stopping at just two or three lame local stations. So for the pre-programmed radio station buttons I'm stuck with whatever the previous owner was into - 1: An NPR affiliate (thank heavens!)... 2: i95 (classic rock, meh)... 3: 98Q (pop tunes and chatter, no thanks)... 4: 98Q again!... 5: wplr (more classic rock).

What have I done to deserve this?

12/10/11: -- Reindeer cam! Watch Comet, Cupid, Donder, Blitzen et al prepare for the big night - walking around the stable and eating and stuff...

-- The Year in Photos by The Atlantic. Set aside a chunk of time and really go through all three parts, simply stunning.

-- Stumped about what to get me for Christmas? Look no further.
12/9/11: -- Shirtless volleyball games with dorky "up high/down low" combo high fives... dizzying aerial sequences... Kenny Loggins soundtrack (no, please no!)... yes, it's looking like TC will reprise his role as Maverick in a Top Gun sequel. Wonder if the Ice Man will be back. Last I checked, Val Kilmer was pushin' three bills...

-- Where in the world is... Ryan Seacrest? Just doesn't have the same ring to it.
12/5/11: -- You won't find a bigger Apple fanboi than I, but yeah - it is puzzling as to why Apple released Siri in such a relatively unpolished state. In two years it'll be amazing I'm sure, but right now it seems like a crapshoot as to whether it'll actually return any useful information. Nifty at cocktail parties though...

-- Must've had a when I'm on my deathbed will I wish I'd played it safe or gotten a great Christmas Tree in 2011? moment yesterday afternoon. It's going to be absolutely glorious once decorated, but damn that thing is a towering monster.

-- Haven't I been saying it all along? Transforming into a jerk has served me well...
12/2/11: -- Inflatable necktie for napping at the office. They should've thought of this years ago!

-- There's a soft spot in my heart for old dudes who have toiled away all their lives - starting off happily doing what they love, later falling prey to tragedy/hardship, but finally ending up finding joy and recognition before all is said and done. This is why the (**SPOILER ALERT**) standing ovation scene near the end of Scorsese's Hugo had me all choked up and whatnot. But whatever your feelings about old dudes, you need to see this movie - it's just beautiful on many levels. And yeah, fork over the extra cash to do the Real 3D thing. This is only the second movie in existence (the first being Avatar, of course) where 3D actually has the intended effect of enhancing the experience. Caught myself reaching out to grab at snowflakes at one point, totally worth the headache those dorky glasses give me.

Couldn't help but notice some similarities to my beloved World of Wonders, the Robertson Davies masterpiece - the automaton, the extraordinary kid teaching himself mastery of all things mechanical, the connection to theater... but not enough to cry foul.

One more thing - leave the kids at home. No, seriously. They'll find the sluggish but carefully crafted first hour hard on the attention span. Jakey, you know I'd take a bullet for you without hesitation. Just don't expect me to bring you to the movies again any time soon...

-- Made my first ever call to 911 the other day - now don't worry, everything is ok - it was a work thing which has since been rectified. But I'll say this - next time you meet a volunteer fireman, EMS person, emergency responder, etc... shake their hand and buy them a coffee. They were on the scene within minutes and displayed an almost mystical ability to quickly make everything right.
11/28/11: -- So as it turns out, that recent mega gazillion dollar Powerball jackpot was won by three finance nerds (who were probably already rich) from, of all places, Greenwich. Tossers.
11/25/11: -- The NPR bit about this Louisville Record Shop shutting down broke my heart, sounds like it was a magical place.

-- Dear Santa: All I want for Christmas is for the NBA season to start...

-- I want no part of the fracas going on at The Mall, Best Buy, Walmart, etc. I just don't get it. Time is money, so I can't see the point in camping out in the cold to be first in line to save $40 on a high-def TV...
11/23/11: -- Had I known the Tooth Fairy would be that generous to Jakey for his first tooth I'd have gone into the tooth loss business years ago.
11/22/11: -- Eight years and she still hasn't thrown me out. Yet. Now if only I could get her to laugh at my jokes... Happy Anniversary, babe!
11/21/11: -- Sorry Space Nerds, Mars is still a long ways off. Mankind will have to wait a decade or two before we can actually hold those exciting red rocks in our hands...

-- Well that settles it, I'm moving to the UK. Damnit.
11/17/11: -- Ebert reviews the latest Twilight movie. You just know he had a blast writing this...

-- My rear license plate dangles comically at a sideways angle since it's being held in place by just a single screw. Little did I know when I bought my old clunker that for whatever reason the Saab license plate brackets are proprietary to Saabs - that is, the universal brackets you can pick up for $7.99 at Auto Zone won't fit. Looking around on eBay I saw some fella selling the bracket I need for $60, but I refuse on principle.

But in the past couple of weeks this has reminded me that people are, for the most part, inherently good. Folks have gone to great lengths to warn me that my plate appears to be falling off - last weekend it was an old dude next to me at a stoplight silently mouthing L-I-C-E-N-S-E P-L-A-T-E and pointing frantically, this morning a young lady put her Jeep in park while we waited at a Stop sign and sprinted (at great personal risk) up to my window to tell me face to face about the impending disaster.

Maybe I'll leave it like this, I'm starting to appreciate all the attention.

11/15/11: -- This is some seriously sweet TMNT artwork.
11/14/11: -- The CT resident who supposedly hit that monster $254M Powerball jackpot last week can't find his ticket. Ouch.

-- Not looking good for a 2011-12 NBA season...

-- Officially using Mac Outlook at work, gonna give it a few days to see how it goes. If it annoys me more than twice I'll kick it to the curb.

-- "This is an oldie, but uhh.... Well it's an oldie where I come from."
11/11/11: -- Moooove over Laird Hamilton, now that there is a wave...

-- Classic video game death awesomeness. I was able to name about 85% of these, darn right that's something to brag about...

-- Still waiting to hear back from body shop regarding the tree limb damage to my car, I'm assuming no news is bad news... But still, could've been worse - a few inches higher and the rear windshield would've been toast.
11/9/11: -- Saddened to hear the news about The Heavster. Just a snippet of any one of those hits brings me back to the college days and makes me smile. Wishing him a Peaceful Journey...

-- Picked up a rental this morning while my car is in the shop. It's a Kia Something or Other has one of those new(er) transmission systems that looks like an automatic but actually requires that you sort of tap the shifter to change gears like a 5-speed. Of course the dude failed to tell me this, so I start off down the street with the engine roaring like an Indy car in first gear, didn't figure it out for a few hundred yards. Now that I've gotten the hang of it it's kinda cool though...
11/8/11: -- 70 degrees and achingly, heart-breakingly perfect outside. Could this be the last amazing day of 2011? Bums me out.

-- Duck!
11/7/11: -- It looks like I might have ITBS. It's been coming on for a while now, but in recent weeks it would usually work itself out and go away. However since Friday it's become intolerable. Like I have time for this nonsense...

-- Babe, you're a queen every day. But today even more so. Enjoy!
11/4/11: -- Unless you live in a cave (or maybe if you're a CL&P customer) you've probably already seen this bouncing around today. But it's just too awesome not to share - check out the Jimmy Kimmel Youtube Halloween Candy Challenge.

-- Filming of the next Bond flick finally getting underway!

-- Haven't really had time to blog the storm/power outage, it's been an insane week needless to say. Think I was in 3rd grade last time we had an October snow storm, I remember good ol' Mrs. Stone staring out the window shaking her head in disbelief. But as I recall that one was just an inconvenience, what happened last weekend was astounding. I was scurrying around the yard late night on Saturday, doing what I could to keep my beloved butterfly bush from being smothered and crushed by the weighty snow. The sounds of limbs cracking and snapping all around was nothing short of terrifying, it was literally raining branches. A thick limb plummeted 60 feet and landed not too far from where I toiled, so at that point I decided to call it a night. Not that there was any sleep to be had, I lay awake most of the night hoping that the thunderous crashes out near the driveway weren't smooshing our cars, and that whatever just thudded against the roof didn't damage anything.

Overall we're pretty lucky. We lost electricity, or course, but were able to camp out elsewhere for much of the week and keep warm. Some relatively minor damage to my car, and a massive tree that went down in the back yard mercifully tipped sideways instead of crushing the house. Insurance may be able to help us out a bit, but damn those deductables...

CL&P is taking its lumps this week - deservedly so. Doing the bare minimum always comes back to bite you in the arse, sooner or later.

11/3/11: -- Well there were some exciting moments while I ran out to the car to check my ticket... but no, it wasn't me...
11/1/11: -- We can sum it up like this: Sunday morning after the storm we were sweeping snow (yes, snow) off the deck. I must've bumped into one of Jakey's motion sensor-activated zombie skeleton monster heads, and even though we couldn't see it buried under the wet snow, it laughed and laughed maniacally. HE CACKLED ON! Mother Nature threw us a wicked curveball and did her best to rob us of our favorite holiday. BUT THE SKULL CACKLED ON!

Sorry, got a bit carried away there. But yeah, town mayors were asking kids to stay home due to the power outages and general weather mayhem. The Danbury Fair Mall invited area kids in for Tricks or Treats, and I'm told it was a zoo of lameness. We ended up reserving a parking spot on the New Milford Green - the town assembled a last minute Trick or Treating event out of the back of parked cars. Not a bad fallback plan, though the ratio of loot "takers" to "givers" was way out of whack. Maria manned the car and was quickly overwhelmed, within a short time she'd handed out all six bags of candy and had to start turning kids away. If the town holds this event next year they'll first need to confirm additional candy sources...

From there we raided a charmingly spooky neighborhood near a friend's house - we had planned to stop in to say hi, but since there was plenty of room in the boys' buckets it seemed silly not to hit a few houses en route. All in all last night's mission was accomplished. Despite the elements and circumstances stacking up against us, candy and fun were had.

We're already thinking about next October. May the skull cackle ever on... Freaking love this holiday!

10/31/11: -- Why? Because I link to it every year on 10/31, that's why! Enjoy. And a Happy Halloween to all.

-- The Google pumpkin thing they have up today is cool.

-- This might be the Halloween that Wasn't. Too depressed to talk about it just yet. Working on a backup plan for Trick or Treating, since most towns are advising kids to stay home due to the snow/power outages. Hoping to salvage some semblance of Halloween spirit tonight afterall!
10/29/11: -- Smokey Sinacore (1997-2011) Ah, Bobo. She was in a bad place and you kept her safe all those years. For that I'll always be grateful... Rest well.
10/28/11: -- This was supposed to be it, the weekend where we cram an entire month's worth of Halloween spirit into a single weekend. October seems to have flown by in a frenzy of busy-ness, so here was our chance to line up a full itinerary of spooktivities in preparation for Monday night. But now they're calling for rain, snow and arctic temps. *SIGH* Fallback plan will have to include indoor pumpkin carving and scary movies. All is not lost!

-- Say what you will about TC, the trailer for Ghost Protocol looks pretty badass...

-- The creepiest collection of vintage Halloween photos ever compiled.
10/27/11: -- Often thought of hiring a financial planner of some sort, the cruel joke being that doing so would put too much of a strain on our finances. Could this be the answer we've been looking for?

-- I want to support our local bookseller as opposed to the big behemoth, I really do. But for Pete's sake they need to pick up the damn phone when I call them during business hours!

10/25/11: -- Adulthood's Halloween candy conundrum. Cute.

-- Our beloved NE fall foliage in jeopardy? I'll move, I swear it!

-- Pretty sure we held our 2nd Annual Pumpkin Carving Party over the weekend, however all I can recall is a whirlwind of food preparation, cleaning, raking, entertaining and general madness. But I also recall laughter, and lots of it. Jakey was in his element, leading a gaggle of giggling hoodlums through all of his haunted monster areas around the yard. People were carving. And eating. And aside from one explosive situation involving a flaming tea light battery and some singed eyebrows, a spooky good time was had by all. We even busted out the firepit!
10/21/11: -- A "particularly majestic" meteor shower on tap for the wee hours of Saturday morning...

-- Secretly entertaining dreams of owning a quaint coffee shop? Think twice. An amusing and eye-opening read.

-- Mouse corpse update (see below, 10/19 post): the stench is becoming unendurable, dropping off at Honda of Danbury today at great expense.
10/19/11: -- Anyone up for a good cry? Read on...

-- Our Honda Pilot is undrivable. A mouse or similar critter crawled deep into the bowels of the ventilation system and up and died, leaving an intolerable stench wafting in whenever the vehicle is in motion. For now we're forced to drive with windows open like Ace Ventura (around the 0:48 mark). We even had a Sears mechanic take a look and they were unable to find any varmint corpses. What to do? It could be months before the state of decomposition is sufficient for the odor to dissipate...
10/17/11: -- Ok iPhone 4S, now you've got my attention. A guy I follow on Twitter shot/edited this entire video entirely (more or less) with his 4S. Not too shabby. And last night Kate and I took the same photograph and compared side by side - the crispness in the newer model is pretty evident compared to my iPhone 4, which now seems prosaic by comparison. I believe it was Oliver Wendell Jones who proclaimed that "Hackers, as a rule, do not handle obsolescence well."

-- So apparently about 100 years ago a Halley's comet-sized rock zipped within spitting distance of earth. Had it collided with us, suffice to say I wouldn't be typing this right now. Scary. I have a sneaking suspicion this sort of thing happens more often than we know, scientists and astronomers no doubt stay tight-lipped so as to avoid global panic.
10/14/11: -- The Caribbean's Top Ten Isolated Beaches. Of course they had to mention my beloved Jumbie Beach (St John), now every Tom, Dick and Harry will be showing up to litter the place with used tampon inserters and empty cans of Red Bull.
10/13/11: -- Swim Fans: Both boys started sessions yesterday with Swim Whisperers. Aidan has a dangerous love of the water and hurled himself right into the instructor's arms. And man, she made him work - kicking, reaching, extending, pulling himself out of the water. He was completely exhausted by the end of his turn, exhausted but grinning. This is exactly what his little muscles need.

Jakey, on the other hand, has always been timid in the water. So when he reluctantly descended the pool stairs, he grabbed the poor instructor in a death grip around her neck. But by the end of his session he was chasing his classmate around, performing complete laps end to end (with a bubble and fins, but still), and jumping in feet first. I practically had to drag him out of the pool by the end.

Needless to say I was impressed by the instructor, she worked her tail off for a full hour with our monsters. No easy task I can tell you.

10/12/11: -- Some alternate uses for candy corn.

-- Meet the new Bond Girl. Now when the hell will the next flick be out?
10/7/11: -- RS Reader Poll Results: Ten worst songs of the 80's. I'll have words with anyone who disses Wham! like that...
10/6/11: -- Put a pistol to my head and force me to listen to a commencement speech, about five minutes in I'll probably beg you to pull the trigger. But damn if the one Steve delivered in 2005 to the Stanford grads (it's bouncing around the internet ad nauseum today) doesn't make me tingle. Most notably:

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

A few paragraphs later:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true. Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

-- Classy statement from Big Bill on Steve's passing.

-- Steve Jobs (1955-2011): It's going to be weird, every day I imagine that he's out there somewhere on the other side of the country in some immaculate office, dreaming up the next big thing that we can't live without.

Farewell, Steve. You shook up the world like no one else could have.

10/5/11: -- A nice infographic comparing the newly announced iPhone 4S to the iPhone 4. I like the improved camera and faster CPU. But am I blown away enough to plunk down a bunch of cash for the 4S? Methinks not. But hey folks, Christmas is right around the corner...
10/4/11: -- Rage comes out today. In case anyone was wondering...

-- Trying in vain to find a livefeed for the Apple iPhone/iOS even going on, they're all completely overwhelmed with traffic!
9/30/11: -- Feeling kind of melon collie nyuk nyuk nyuk ...

-- What we can expect at the next iPhone event, the rumor mill is grinding along like never before!
9/29/11: -- Whoopsie! Looks like The Onion might've gone too far this time...

-- Barf bags: not just for barfing anymore...

-- The search for the perfect clunker continues. Yesterday I reached out to six different private car sellers I found on Craigslist, three have already turned out to be scammers. Such a nice world we live in... A few interesting (legitimate) possibilities though, fingers are crossed.

-- On the dangers of ignoring important warnings...
9/27/11: -- Ladies, double up on that morning cuppa joe! You'll feel better.
9/25/11: -- I wouldn't want them to do my carving for me, but when it comes to pumpkin gut clearing, these bears have no equal.
9/22/11: -- Post-divorce J-Lo has fallen on hard times...

-- For Troobies: the makeup work behind Pam's rotting appearance last season. Incredible stuff.

-- This has been bouncing all over the Internet and it's too delicious not to share: need an instant dose of machismo? Just add a Tom Selleck 'stach...
9/21/11: -- Hey brother, can you spare a cool $9.9M? Kenny Chesney's St John mansion is for sale.

-- New iPhones soon come? Confound it Al Gore, no more riddles!
9/20/11: -- Good fats facts.

-- So I leave town for a few days and come home to find we own a gineau pig. Luckily for "Soccer" (don't look at me, I didn't choose that horrendous name), we had gineau pigs when we were kids - hence there's a soft spot in my heart for them. He's cute but shy. And we suspect he has an ear infection. Bring on the vet bills!

-- Netflix has divided into two separate companies (come on, Qwikster? What?). No, I don't understand it either. Between this and the recent price increase I'm finding it harder and harder to justify remaining a member...
9/19/11: -- Most deserved Emmy of the night.

-- I was certain the last week of June was to become the new September when it comes to Block Island. Not so sure anymore. The past few days reminded me of the soul therapy the island administers only after Labor Day...

And yes, I do intend to do something about that leg hair situation.

9/15/11: -- On Block Island through the weekend! Will be sans laptop, but will try to throw a pic or two up on FB.
9/14/11: -- I thought it was dead. The Butterfly Tree I received for my birthday and planted - paying nauseating attention to the care instructions - in early July showed absolutely no enthusiasm all summer long. An occasional little white bud here and there, but nothing much. But recently it's been showing signs of rejoining the living, and as of this AM there is a lovely full-blown blossoming branch (pictured here). There's hope yet - bring on the Monarchs!
9/12/11: -- Comic Shops. I heart them. They're a walk down memory lane, a glimpse into the future. Masterpieces everywhere you look. Every single issue in every single stack in every single aisle, someone has poured their heart and soul into making it happen. And don't get me going on the vintage stuff - retro lunchboxes, old-school figurines, costumes, sculptures, posters, handheld games you haven't seen in years - faded a bit and dusty from decades of sitting idle, but still glorious.

A terrific little shop opened up in downtown New Milford a few months ago. It's on par with something you might find in The Village, just on a smaller scale. You can get lost in there for hours, an afternoon can simply vanish and you'd just be getting started. They did a really nice job on it, but... but... not in this town. It breaks my heart, and I really hope that I'm wrong. But I'd be stunned if they make it through the end of the year.

-- Join the debate! And appreciate the rings on fingers...
9/9/11: -- I looked it up (see below), based on the markings I'm going with a member of the Orb-Weaving Spider family. Truly loathsome but not especially dangerous.

-- With some sun (finally) in the forecast, I went to hang a towel on the clothesline and found Shelob (pictured here) had spun her lair between the ropes and was messily prepping some unfortunate moth for a meal, spinning him round and round and round... could there be any worse fate? Daddy is ever the nature lover but Daddy just doesn't do spiders.
9/7/11: -- Goodness, is Chrissie Hynde really 60?

-- Stopped at the Dunks drivethrough this morning. During the money/coffee exchange I accidentally latched onto the employee's finger, and in my zeal/caffeine lust almost yanked the poor kid right out of the window onto my lap. Maybe it's time to cut back just a bit...
9/6/11: -- That is one big croc.

-- Took the boys to Gam's pool over the long weekend and found the water temp has dropped about ten degrees, compliments of Hurricane Irene. Still bearable, but I felt like those Polar Bear Club guys that drill a hole in the ice mid-winter and take the plunge...
9/2/11: -- Coffee Jerks in advertising. Ladies, stand up to your men! Tell 'em to make their own damn joe !
9/1/11: -- ...every year there is a brief, startling moment
When we pause in the middle of a long walk home and
Suddenly feel something invisible and weightless
Touching our shoulders, sweeping down from the air:
It is the autumn wind pressing against our bodies;
It is the changing light of fall falling on us.

From "Fall" by Edward Hirsch

8/31/11: -- Disturbing news from my mechanic yesterday, one of those more $ to fix it than the car is worth deals. Mind you it's still drivable, but I do so with some degree of trepidation. So I'm in the market for a clunker. I'm talking a real sh*t box. Basically if it rolls, I'm in. Holla at your boy if you come across anything.

-- How cute is this?

-- Back to school! A rough, rocky start let me tell you. Suffice to say we all need to start getting to bed earlier...
8/30/11: -- Bullet dodged, at least for us. Zillions of folks are still sans electricity, and our fam up in Vermont is treading water. But for us the worst we saw were some small-ish limbs down in the driveway and a brief flickering of the lights. Huge sigh of relief.
8/25/11: -- In anticipation of Hurricane Irene this weekend, here's a hurricane preparation list from the NHC. But since there's no mention of booze anywhere, let's assume this list was compiled by amateurs.

-- We can let the nerdy business historians debate whether any company (Chrysler?) has ever staged a greater comeback than Apple with its rise from the late 90's to now. Love him or hate him, there's no denying that Steve Jobs consistently pulled rabbits out of hats over the years. And he did it with style.

So what's next for Apple? Only time will tell. Former Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook will be taking the reins, and he's no slouch. But from what I've read he's more of an Operations guy. Will he have Jobs' ability to envision the next Thing We Simply Cannot Live Without - months or years before we even know we can't live without it? Will he be able to build up a fever pitch of excitement around it, have it engineered beautifully and then crank it out the door on schedule?

Farhad Manjoo has a great write-up on why he believes Apple will continue to flourish with nary a black turtleneck in sight.

-- Someone cast a spell on Neville Longbottom and transformed him into a stud.

-- Hurricane Irene's projected path is a direct hit on Block Island in a few days! For once I'd actually pass on going out there...
8/24/11: -- Swear I've never used the iPad on the iPotty, but apparently 35% of tablet users do...

-- Old Navy releases a line of shirts with a grammatical error. Doh!

-- So yeah, went ahead and bought a used (two seasons) pellet stove. I think it's slightly underpowered for the size of our place, but we got a good deal and the seller even threw in a dozen bags of pellets. All along we'd been thinking of going wood stove over pellet, but this one landed in our laps so we pounced on it. We would not survive another winter of $600 electricity bills, so we're praying this was the right move.

-- Mama dragged DC to the ER yesterday since it was day 12 or so of his stomach issues. We'd never heard of this sort of thing lasting longer than 3-4 days tops, so... Blood test done, everything seems fine. A "sample" is being tested at the lab, but we won't have those results until later this week. So in the interim the puke-a-thon continues, if this lasts much longer we'll be out of linens...
8/23/11: -- Too golden not to pass along - a collection of celebrity meeting stories from Questlove (via Kottke). Every time I find my favorite I click another one and the fav gets replaced...
8/22/11: -- Kate Winslet saves the day! She can rescue me anytime...

-- Going on day 11 of Aidan's issues "down under", he's going back to the doctor today. We have a feeling they may admit him to the hospital for a closer look under the hood...
8/19/11: -- So I'm guessing Ebert didn't exactly love the new Conan flick? By Crom I care not!

-- At first I was thinking it had to be some kind of daredevil stunt, and I strongly considered calling the authorities. Yesterday right outisde my place of work, some loon was repairing the high-tension power lines via a hovering helicopter! It's not so much that I thought he would fall, as I'm sure there was a harness of some sort. But what if a powerful gust of wind caused the chopper to sway and the prop hit the wires? Catastrophe! But I guess it worked out ok, after a half hour or so of tinkering they flew away.

-- HP to Apple: You Win.
8/18/11: -- Study: human poop is killing coral. Between this and regular coral whitening triggered by climate change, I'm dying to visit the Carribbean at least one more time while the snorkeling is still worth a damn...

-- Ok, please just pronounce Johann Sebastian's last name (Bach, obvi) as BOCK. Don't do the hock a loogie thing at the end. Snob.
8/17/11: -- Loved, loved, LOVED IT ... Here's a novel so elegantly written that you don't mind the occasional (1X per month to be exact) bloody mauling, or an uncouth dropping of the 'C Word' every few chapters. And even if you're fed up with seeing, as I surely am, every other novel/film/HBO Series these days deal with supernatural beings - vampires, lycanthropes, mermaids, oompa loompas, whatever - suspend this for just a week or two and enjoy this lip-smacking treat that Glen Duncan has given us.
8/15/11: -- In case you're wondering why I've stopped being nice.

-- A list of things you shouldn't feed your dog.

-- You couldn't have drawn it up any better. An outdoor wedding in Vermont on a divine summer day, later evolving into a full moon fueled gala that ran well into the night. Any other outcome would've been downright cruel - my northerly family members busted their butts for months in advance of the big night and sweated every detail down to the last doily. It was a joy to see Mother Nature cooperate so completely. And did I mention that my cuzzy looked drop-dead gorgeous in that gown?

As for me and my brood, we had a nice time of course. But leading up to the event I had built up visions in my mind of the missus and I twirling across the crowded dance floor to Van Morrison while the boys darted hither & thither chasing fireflies and giggling in the moonlight. But in reality the only times we ventured onto the dance floor were to corral Aidan, who had taken to sprinting back & forth, colliding with wedding guests and grabbing buttocks wherever he could find them. And we don't need to talk about the stomach issues he was having throughout the weekend. Suffice to say we would not allow him in the pool back at the hotel...

Life's like that sometimes. Preparing for the prom is often more fun than the event itself. Not that any of this matters, Vermont in the summer is not to be missed and I'm thankful we made it up there. And besides, this weekend wasn't about us - congrats to Seth and Savannah!

8/11/11: -- Fellow New Englanders, embrace this. We're currently getting the best of September weather right here in mid August - insanely blue sky, 70's, cooling down at night for amazing sleeping conditions... Let's hope it lasts.
8/10/11: -- To bank or not to bank, that is the question. Wired Magazine claims that using the glass improves your odds dramatically, at least from 12 feet or closer. I agree, in part at least - when shooting from a side angle at that range the bank shot is a no-brainer. However I adamantly refuse to bank from straight on, at any range. Just can't do it. And no 3-point bank shots, unless you're playing a game of H-O-R-S-E. Ooh and regarding step 2 from the article, never aim. Just shoot.

-- Arrgh, Captain Morgan's sunken ship (yes, that Captain Morgan, with the rum named after him) has been located in Panama. What treasures untold lay in them thar chests, waiting to be discovered!? Gold doubloons? Pieces of Eight? Gem-encrusted daggers? I love this stuff. Just don't let Geraldo open the cargo on primetime...

-- For a brief while yesterday Apple was considered the most valuable company on the planet.

-- Remember, remember the 5th of November... Renown hacker group has vowed to bring down Facebook on 11/5/11.
8/8/11: -- Monopoly: you've been playing incorrectly all these years.

-- Is Stand By Me really turning 25? Remember the complete and total Barf-o-rama sequence? Haven't eaten a pie since. And then there's that closing scene, which seems to make me more melancholy the older I get. And it has nothing to do with the fact that Richard Dreyfuss shuts down his PC without saving or backing up his work...

-- The usual musical beds game played every evening in our household landed me in the bottom bunk underneath Jakey last night. It must've been around 2AM when he decided to vault down like an Olympic gymnast and land two-footed square on my sternum. So if I seem a little jumpy today, there it is.
8/5/11: -- Mr. Bean crashed! Guess he has a thing for sports cars. Ugly ones.

-- Eating healthy... it just costs more.
8/4/11: -- A sneak peek behind the magic that goes into Rise of the Planet of the Apes' special effects. Isn't that the dude who played Smeagol in LOTR? I want that gig. Ebert was underwhelmed by the movie itself, but I still intend to see it for the primate effects alone. And maybe for Frida.

-- Best FB post ever.

-- Yet another reason to hold it 'til you get home...
8/3/11: -- Someone please do this on my bedroom wall at once! So freaking cool.
8/2/11: -- Attended the Kent Sidewalk Festival over the weekend and had the great opportunity to chat with Elvis. Unfortunately he had already performed multiple sets in front of the coffee house and those bushy sideburns were dripping with perspiration. There was just no way he was squeezing back into that polyester suit on a 90 degree day. SO tempted to ask him for a few bars of Suspicious Minds, but I figured even The King needs a break once in a while...

-- The birthday experiment: one of Slate Magazine's editors sneakily changed his Facebook birthday setting so that FB actually listed him as having three birthdays in July. He found that many of his 'friends' actually wished him happy birthday more than once, proving (in his opinion) that Facebook consists largely of 'soul-dead social robots'.

I gripe about FB from time to time, but don't get me wrong - there are elements that I enjoy very much: sharing photos, videos, links to cool stuff, etc. Not to mention the huge audience. I mean everyone is on there. If you have something to say, FB is the place to put it. My main beefs are as follows: 1) People who had nothing to say to me when I knew them in real life sending friend requests. Why? What's the point? 2) It takes something away from the epic-ness of catching up with old friends (I've whined about this in the past, scroll down to 3/24). Ain't nuthin' like the real thing, baby.

-- ...Aaaaaaand just like that it's August. This is the part where summer is supposed to slow down so we can enjoy it and make up for missing July, which seems like a blur. Right? Anyone?
7/29/11: -- He makes a living out of helping people disappear. Wonder if he gives free consultations...
7/28/11: -- After rigorous research, scientists were able to determine the saddest movie of all time. Old Yeller got rooked, I tell you!
7/27/11: -- I love this kid. Jared who?

-- Pleased to say I got in on this action, prompted by Jeff Jarvis. See? Twitter isn't completely useless. Now Facebook on the other hand...

-- Not fair!
7/26/11: -- 3:11am, the cat uses my upper abdomen as a springboard. I was shirtless. I have the scratches to prove it. Heart rate octupled instantly, I was no doubt in a deep state of REM sleep prior to this. I make a mental note to beat the crap out of her later, and roll over. But of course sleep is impossible now, what with my heart thump-thumpin' away like I'd just run a marathon. Then I hear the squeaking. Oh great, the damn cat must've caught a rodent. That explains her need for a springboard. I stumble out into the hallway, bleary-eyed. She's crouching by the nightlight swatting away at the largest insect I've ever seen. No idea what it was, it kind of resembled a cockroach but it had large wings and could fly. And it squeaked! I sh*t you not. Since when do insects have voice boxes? Thought that was only possible in Indiana Jones movies. I trap it with a cup and chuck it out the door. Not that I was being a treehugger at 3:20am, I had no qualms about squashing it. At that time of night it's game on. But the thought of that crunching sound - and possibly more squealing - was too horrifying. Not to mention the explosion of bug ick between my bare toes...

So. Any entomologists out there want to take a stab at what our nocturnal visitor was? You guys were so helpful last time around (scroll down to 7/18 post)...

-- I don't care if you've seen it 100,000 times, if the final scene of Hoosiers doesn't thrill you then you aren't a fan of sport. "I'll make it." (0:51 mark) - goosebumps every time!
7/25/11: -- Never really cared tuppence for her music... well, that's not entirely true. Her cover of Valerie is very nice. But regardless of what you thought of her or her music, it's nonetheless tragic that Amy Whinehouse joined the grim 27 Club over the weekend. Assuming it was drug-related (though as I type this the cause of death is still unknown), it still astounds me how it can get that bad, how talented musicians with mountains of money, successful careers, legions of adoring fans and so much going for them can fall so far.

-- So called "dead" guy wakes up at morgue and starts freaking out. Guess I would too.
7/23/11: -- Well that settles it, I no longer have any desire to see Friends With Benefits - read on...

-- Thrilled to hear that Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson are joining forces for Tintin, the trailer for which looks terrific. But I'm pissed to see that Jackson was attending Comic-Con 2011 when he should be on set hard at work on The Hobbit. Chop chop, Peter!
7/22/11: -- Lotsa chatter about the new A Tribe Called Quest documentary, so much so that even NPR did a segment about it yesterday. For me Tribe represented fun, plain and simple. An alternative to the shoot the guy who looked at you funny, then smoke a blunt/drink a 40 and go find a ho to treat badly gangsta rap nonsense that was gaining popularity around the early 90's. Tribe made it perfectly acceptable to be yourself, even if that entailed acting like a complete moron (aka buggin' out). To stop taking music - and life, for that matter - so seriously and just enjoy yourself. And then there were the beats, ooooh those beats beats beats. Too many hours spent on the court when I should've been studying, someone always brought an old dented up boom box and those beats were everywhere. The soundtrack to simpler times...

-- A Great White Shark was holding us captive for three days. Well, that's an exaggeration. But by becoming stuck in the drain he was preventing us from using the upstairs shower. A wide array of screwdrivers, toilet snakes and other assorted poking devices were deployed to no avail. Finally we resorted to purchasing a flexible grabber tool with a miniature flashlight on the tip - a device specifically designed for just such a calamity - and even that didn't work. Only after we cleverly affixed a straightened out fishing hook at the end of the grabber device were we able to drag the reluctant killer from the depths of our drain (the barb on the fishing hook was the key!). Sorry boys, from now on a rubber ducky is the only toy allowed in the shower.

Speaking of Great Whites, did you see this? I think they're gonna need a bigger boat...

7/20/11: -- ... and speaking of Apple, sounds like they're doing ok these days. Whooda thunk this was a company that was on the brink of extinction in the late 90's...

-- Lion was released today. No immediate upgrade plans here, assuming it'll even run on my old clunker Macbook Pro.
7/19/11: -- Sat down earlier this week for my annual viewing of Sideways. How Paul Giamatti didn't win Best Actor that year for the Pinot Scene is beyond me.
7/18/11: -- Blasphemy, I know. The other day I heard that legendary opening bass line for Lou Reed's Walk on the Wild Side and was secretly hoping for Can I Kick It?

-- Ok movie buffs, have at it. Thought I'd rock this, but I was absolutely terrible (via Kottke).

-- A squawk. I'd definitely describe it as a squawk. We routinely hear some mysterious creature of the night, usually after 10PM or early AM if I wake up for a tinkle. From the surrounding woods on our property - SQUAWK! **20 second pause** SQUAWK! We're talking loud. WTH is this thing? I've googled around and found some talk of owls, foxes, frogs, racoons, etc. It sounds bird-like, I spose, so out of those choices I'd go with owl. But when I think owls I think of the mild-mannered Hedwig gently hooting from her perch in a barn. This thing is ear-piercing and almost prehistoric sounding. Some night if I'm feeling bold maybe I'll grab a flashlight and venture forth into the blackness... just not tonight.
7/15/11: -- All of the Harry Potter films (except for the finale opening today, of course) summed up in 7 minutes (via Kottke).

-- Squeaky Wheel: So apparently we won our appeal with the health insurance company to cover OT and PT services for Aidan. Yay? Guess I'll believe it when I see it...
7/14/11: -- New Potter flick scoring a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes, holy smokes. Accio movie tickets! Found an interesting read in the Atlantic, making the argument that the movies have actually surpassed the books in some ways. You be the judge.

-- Boomers hoping to retire are finding their 401(k) plans woefully insufficient. Stuff like this is downright frightening.

-- Gathering last night with the old gang from waaaaay back. So glad we can still do this, even if it only happens once a year. This one was rather tame by our standards, as 1) it was a school night and 2) the young-uns were in attendance. But that doesn't mean there wasn't plenty of therapeutic belly-laughing going on. And that hummus was to die for. Guys, lets do it again soon! -Chester

-- Netflix to consumers: You WILL stop using DVD's. Resistance is futile.
7/12/11: -- Holy mackerel that's a lot of loot...

-- So I'm watching Daredevil the other night and thinking there is absolutely no hope for this movie. But then just as my trigger finger tensed up on the TV remote, this scene happened. And there was some small degree of relief/redemption, compliments of Colin Farrell and House of Pain: These Irish eyes are smilin', I'm buckwildin'...
7/11/11: -- Came home Saturday afternoon to a house decorated with tiki torches, island-themed trinkets and festive lights all over the place. A belated 40th surprise party! And here I thought I'd put all that turning 40 stuff behind me. We whiled away the evening on the deck, and later by the fire-pit, talking and laughing and drinking and listening to Jimmy Buffett and making merry. It was everything one could hope for on an early summer night under the stars. Except for the aforementioned turning 40 part.
7/7/11: -- The past two weeks have been such a roller coaster of goings-on, what with the Philly IDEAS Conference, Block Island, Gammy's passing, and a billion other things. I'll try to get caught up tonight or tomorrow. For now suffice to say that Block Island's grip on us is as tight as ever, even though last week there were times when the boys tested the limits of our sanity. We took some great pics and I'll try to post a few here and/or up on FB. Impossible to take a bad photograph out there, even with our battered 4-year old PowerShot.
7/5/11: -- Dorothy McLaughlin Leo (1924-2011): Gammy, you were always the kooky grandmother with the irreverent wit and the convention-be-damned attitude... there are no doubt hundreds of stories from the good ol' days, stories that incite belly laughs every time they're told - the Ironworks house, Montauk, Bimini, Block Island, Bell Island - sadly I've probably heard less than 1% of 'em. So far. And don't get me going on the iguanas, I recall receiving a dried-up lizard corpse in the mail more than once. And didn't you keep a pet tarantula for a time? What was that all about? Grandmothers are supposed to wear cardigans and sit in rocking chairs knitting. Aren't they?

But wacky stuff aside, some of my favorite memories are the late nights in the Rowayton living room after a day of adventuring. You and Joyce would sit by that huge picture window after everyone else had retired for the evening and quietly reminisce about whatever. You didn't know I was lurking nearby, but I'd listen in on the pleasant conversations and the chuckling and the ice cubes plink-plinking inside glasses of G&T. A blissful way to close out those summer nights.

We'll miss you Gams.


Your Oldest Grandson

6/29/11: -- Grrrr, having a hard time finding wifi without paying for it, something I'm opposed to on principle. But suffice to say that as amazing as September on BI is, it's kind of nice not having to worry about the temperatures and/or Hurricane Season. Absolutely stellar beach days thus far.
6/26/11: -- No rest for the weary - got home from a terrific IDEAS Conference late last night, now off to BI. Got a boat to catch! Will find some wifi out there, luggin' the old Powerbook G4 along so I can hopefully post a photo or two. That thing is like the Engergizer Bunny, I swear...
6/23/11: -- When I was about 13, my friend Joe's mom had a sweatshirt that read Forty and Feelin' Foxy. The 'Y' in Foxy had a little bushy fox tail stemming from it, and it might've been the dorkiest article of clothing ever created. And that aside, the notion of actually being forty years old was like a black hole in space, a quantum space physics void that I couldn't even begin to fathom. And lookie lookie, here it is. Foxy? Not exactly. I crawled out of bed to a symphony of creaking bones and a sore knee that has me hobbling around like Long John Silver.

But truth be told, I'm doin' aiight and I'm far too busy to sit here dreading middle age. In fact I may even allow for a little pampering. Any volunteers?

6/22/11: -- Off to Philly tomorrow morning at the crack of ass for the IDEAS Conference! In the interim trying (and failing) to tie up a million loose ends...
6/21/11: -- Siked for this album...

-- The days leading up to vacation are too stressful. That settles it, I'm not taking any more of them... (sike).

-- Facebook fatigue? Yeah me too.

-- Thanks to all for Sunday - best Dad's Day barby evah!
6/17/11: -- The weather these days... I'm telling you, folks, get used to it. Harsh winters. Humid, sweaty summers. Almost non-existent transition seasons. Tornados, hurricanes, floods, forest fires. General mayhem.. Let's hope this year is just a fluke.

-- Oh thank goodness, Friday is saved!

-- A bloody good interview with Sookie. Bummed to be missing the 6/26 season premiere of Troob, but where I'll be it'll be worth it :)
6/16/11: -- More Harry Potter books coming? The door is open... Confound it, J.K., no more riddles!

-- Who would wanna kill Joss Stone? Girl's a peach. So damn cute... so damn talented.
6/15/11: -- Effective immediately: I'm chucking all of my wordly possessions, growing dreadlocks and going surfing...
6/14/11: -- Brilliant but simple trap for catching those meeces without doing them any harm!

-- Jakey graduated pre-school yesterday! Is he really starting Kindergarten next September? Makes an old man sad...

-- Tom Cruise to possibly play the role of my beloved Jack Reacher? Epic Fail! Reacher is at least a foot taller, blondish, and built like a linebacker. I'm thinking maybe a Sean Bean type would be a better match? Anyone but TC... Whatever the case, I'm a big fan of the books and it's exciting to see talks of a movie adaptation ramping up...
6/13/11: -- In case you haven't seen this yet, the famous open letter to the man... the man... I can't even bring myself to type what he was doing. So just read on. Boardwalk taffy!

-- There's a soft spot in my heart for the old guys of the league - the Dirk Nowitzkis, the Jason Kidds and the Jason Terrys - guys who it seemed would retire having had 'nice' careers but no rings to show for it. So it was very satisfying last night to watch the Mavs dismantle Miami in Game 6. That may be the first time anyone has ever seen Nowitzki smile. And is there any doubt now that he can take his place amongst the top 20 players of all time? Top 15?

I won't drone on and on about LeBron again (see recent previous posts), but yeah - he got some splainin' to do. 21 points but another 4th quarter disappearing act. I'll let the sportswriters theorize and debate that one all summer long... Anyway, gratz to the class-act Mavs on a well deservied title.

6/10/11: -- Anybody up for some light reading this weekend?

-- Yesterday afternoon's wicked storm front that rolled through here was truly a sight to see. After an unbearably HHH day, a freaky warm breeze kicked in and the air turned an odd deathly-gray color. The air became charged with electricity, and the whole scene resembled something out of a post-armageddon sci-fi flick. Then all of a sudden it was dark as midnight, and the pelting rains and hurricane'ish winds starting tossing tree limbs all over the place.

As kids these sorts of storms were awesome spectacles, and we eagerly looked forward to them as much as snowstorms. But working in IT all I can think about is the potential for power loss and/or damaged equipment. We'll file this one as reason #1,342,409 why being a grown-up is no fun...

-- Maybe Lebron read my post from yesterday, last night he tallied a solid triple-double. But you know what? Not good enough. In the 4th quarter Miami needed him to take over, and again he was a no-show. In fact he's scored just 11 points in all of the 4th quarters of this years' Finals combined. Fatigue? Nerves? Dude needs to grow a pair before Sunday night.
6/9/11: -- With the series tied 2-2, lots of people are talking about Lebron James' Finals performance, or should we say lack thereof... For whatever reason he seems to be deferring to Wade at key moments and is doing very little to assert himself into the offense. Kottke has a terrific post on the subject, since there has also been a lot of chatter about former Bull Scottie Pippen's recent [blasphemous] comment that James may be the greatest player ever. James is still very young, but if people are going to compare him to $ it's important to remember that the Ring is the Thing. The NBA Finals is not the time to shrink from a challenge. Going back to Kottke's post and watching the Youtube video... in terms of effectiveness and sheer beauty, only the Kareem skyhook compares to $'s fadeaway jumper on the baseline... breathtaking.

-- Nintendo has announced the successor to the Wii. Word on the street is that it's kind of like a tablet, is backwards-compatible with older Wii games, and on the fly can be "toned up" for hardcore gamers or "family-ized" for the more family-oriented gaming experience the Wii is famous for. This is great news for me, as we had bought a Wii primarily for the boys and of course for drunken games of Band Hero on New Year's Eve. But the gamer in me has always been wistfully looking towards an Xbox360, afterall a fella can only take so much Mario...

-- To honor the late great Les Paul, the Google logo on their homepage is a playable guitar that you can actually strum with your mouse pointer. Cool! go check it out.
6/7/11: -- HP!

-- Apple embraces the Cloud. For once Apple is late to the party, Google and Amazon have offered similar services for a while now. So what's all this Cloud stuff about? Put simply, the Cloud refers to a group of powerful servers in the sky where all of your data can be housed and reached from anywhere in the world by multiple devices. Well, not actually in the sky, in redundant datacenters around the country. Is this a good idea? Most folks think so. Hard drives are fragile. Even if you do regular backups (and you better be!), you are relying on a small mechanical device to keep your massive library of photos, documents and music safe forever. Lots could go wrong here - theft, a glass of Pepsi on the keyboard, etc. But if your stuff is in the Cloud, it's (supposedly) safe and you can get to it whenever you want from your Mac, Windows PC, mobile phone, iPod, whatever. Cool, right? But I'm just curious to see that Privacy Policy before I jump on board. I mean, if all of my stuff is on Apple's servers, they potentially know a whole lot about me. Kinda creepy. Is my info gonna be shared with anyone?

-- Summer buzzcuts last weekend, compliments of Aunt Kasey! Can't be bothered with hair in the heat and humidity. But don't worry, you won't be seeing our boys sporting mohawks anytime soon. Seeing an alarming number of 'em on young kids these days.
6/3/11: -- Initial reviews for 'X-Men: First Class' are nothing but stellar, how there am I!?

-- Dozed off halfway through the 4th quarter last night, figured Miami had it in the bag. Can't believe I missed one of the great comebacks in Finals history ! Dare I say it - Go Mavs...?
6/2/11: -- I guess there's a silver lining to finding moisture/condensation problems in the basement, it forces you to purge. The moldy smell and green coating have a way of making that special family heirloom or comfy old sweater seem not so important anymore. We've ordered a dumpster for a couple of days to help with the situation. But don't go getting any ideas - if we catch you showing up and sneakily dumping your old stuff you'll catch a whuppin'...
6/1/11: -- Shaq is hanging up his size 59 Reeboks after 19 awesome years in the NBA, he made the announcement via a Tweet which redirects to this video.

-- Further evidence that global warming is for real - last weekend we christened Gammy's pool, and normally the water is arctic until late July. Jump in, jump out, and grab the nearest towel immediately before hypothermia kicks in. Here it was May 30th and the water was quite tolerable, refreshing even...

-- My realtor still sometimes sends me links to articles praising the wisdom of buying vs renting. But I sometimes I still wonder... read on.
5/26/11: -- A nifty device for napping at the office...

-- Scary scaly monstrosity discovered under the Brooklyn Bridge. What the hell is that thing?

-- Ultra-reclusive (and somewhat wacky) zillionaire heriess dead at 104.
5/24/11: -- Took in The Bodies Exhibition in NYC over the weekend. Was reminded how simultaneously awesome and fragile these machines we occupy truly are. Millions upon millions of parts working in perfect harmony with one another every second of every day, it boggles the mind. And yes, those are actual cadavers they use, preserved at the cellular level and positioned into action poses. And these bodies *may* have once been Chinese prisoners executed by their government, though the Exhibition would neither deny nor confirm this... If ever there was motivation to avoid incarceration in China, this would be it. You may find yourself stripped of your skin and perpetually poised to pitch a fastball while thousands of tourists gawk at your innards seven days a week.

5/20/11: -- Magnet Boy!

-- Only in New York...

-- Happy BDay Kate! Forty-three, let's par-tee! Ok sorry, it's all I could come up with...
5/19/11: -- Millionaire lottery winner caught still using food stamps...
5/17/11: -- If you are not following @God_Damn_Batman on Twitter you should be. A couple of my favorite tweets: "Alfred, do you really expect me to peel string cheese wearing these gauntlets? THAT'S WHY I ASKED FOR LUNCHABLES!" and this gem posted around Easter: "Senses honed to perfection. World class detective skills. Geosynchronous satellite imaging. There's NO WAY you're finding more eggs than me."
5/16/11: -- We do have long term high hopes for the semi-finished basement downstairs, both as a family room and as a workout/rough house area. But it's at ground level and there are some moisture issues to deal with. It'll probably be one of those rooms that, even when 100% complete, might always have a tinge of moisture funkiness to it. A dehumidifier will help. But during yesterday's deluge we found out the hard way there is a still lots of work to do. Since I'd cleaned the gutters last November very thoroughly after the last leaves had fallen I assumed they were fine. Woops! The clogging caused a miniature Niagra Falls to cascade down the back of the house and gush into the downstairs through the foundation. Suddenly found myself up on the roof like Big Boi from the Miss Jackson video (around the 3:28 mark) while the missus held the flood at bay with old towels. Ah, homeownership...

-- Sat down last night to watch Game of Thrones in an awkward, uncomfortable position. One knee was kind of crouched under me on the floor while the other leg was splayed off to the side of the coffee table. One hour later as the episode was ending I realized that I had not moved. Not one inch. I had sat there so enthralled - not moving and hardly blinking - that the hour flew by in what felt like five minutes. The show is just that good.

-- Say what you will about Lebron James, he sure knows how to party...
5/12/11: -- Hey just found this nice blog about our lil town, loaded with gorgeous photographs. Though it looks like it hasn't been updated in quite some time.

-- Was talking to a friend recently who was lamenting the $40K per year he's paying for his child's college education. We all want the best for our kids of course, but the murmurings are getting louder. Is college worth the piles and piles of debt people are racking up? Is the bubble about to burst?
5/11/11: -- I had predicted the Heat would implode when Lebron joined, as he and Dwyane Wade are essentially a carbon copy of one another. Not enough shots to go around, and way too much ego on one court. And everyone was talking about Chris Bosh completing the puzzle, but to me he seemed raw and way too left-handed. But it looks like I was dead wrong. They're doing it, and forget about high-flying dunks and buzzer beater shots - they're doing it with stifling defense. Dime's Seeing is Believing is a great read even if you couldn't care less about pro hoops.

-- Best. Trash can. Ever.

-- Bob died 30 years ago today (via Gawker).
5/10/11: -- Wifey is always saying how much she wants a leather couch. Babe, here are 50 to choose from...

-- Well well well. Some 34 years after the initial release, Fleetwood Mac's near-flawless Rumors album is #9 on the charts. Or at least in iTunes, are the charts and iTunes one and the same these days? Obviously this was triggered by the recent Glee episode of the same name, which featured a few cute performances by the cast (though 'Songbird' is way too big for the girl that attempted it. Just sayin'...).
5/9/11: -- I know, I know, what kind of lousy son doesn't even blog about Mom's Day? Truth is, yesterday was a Mother's Day Roadshow of sorts. In hopes of giving the missus a break, I grabbed both rugrats and hit the road with the goal of checking in on all 342 moms in my life. The visits were sadly brief but I was glad to have made the rounds (Sorry Patti! Couldn't get up into that neck of the woods!). Got to see each of them smile, and hopefully was able to convey to each and every one of them just how much they are appreciated.
5/6/11: -- I don't mind putting my masculinity on the line and confessing that Glee is our newest guilty pleasure. But the show has one fundamental flaw that I struggle with: the overall premise is about geeks, outcasts and losers (hence the fingers making the "L" shape in the show's logo) joining the Glee Club to sing their guts out and prove to themselves and world that we are all beautiful regardless of our shape, size, sexual orientation, etc etc etc. Nothing we haven't heard before. And yes, there are a few homely looking kids thrown into the mix as background players. But there's no getting around the fact that the primary four or five characters look like models and could sing on Broadway...

-- Need to cram a week's worth of home improvement projects into a span of about three hours that I'll actually have free this weekend. Any suggestions?
5/3/11: -- Mead is making a comeback in a big way, I'm dying to try it.

-- Ten easy ways to tone your ticker. Watermelon - who knew ?

-- I sat at the stoplight behind a busload of 7-year olds, one kid in particular peered through the back window with a look of pure mischief. His cackling cronies gathered around, and so began the countdown to a mass bird-flipping. I knew it was coming, any second now, here it comes.... but lo! These lads smiled in unison and waved! Every one of them! And it wasn't even a mocking, lets get a rise out of this old goober behind us wave, it seemed genuine and good-intentioned. I returned the gesture cordially.

Perhaps there's hope for kids afterall.

5/2/11: -- Disturbed to see the videos of people cheering and jeering in the streets of NYC and DC, looked waaaay too much like the crowds cheering for the charred US soldier being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu all those years ago. Remember that? Thought we'd be better.

-- One less murderous scumbag in the world is a good thing, of course. But I wonder what will change now on a day to day basis? Will this get the troops home any faster?
4/29/11: -- Did Doctor Who crash the royal wedding? I'm praying this is real and not just a clever Photoshop job...
4/28/11: -- RS reviews Game of Thrones. Two eps in and I'm pretty darn hooked, I must say.

-- Ok I am SO updating my Amazon Wish List with this...

-- The 2011 Guide to Making People Feel Old. It's working.
4/27/11: -- Beautiful slideshow from the recent Autism Speaks Light It Up Blue event. We did our part, albeit modestly, swapping blue bulbs into our porch and walkway lamps.

-- An important how-to for the fellas.

-- Apple's Steve Jobs responds to the recent brouhaha over location tracking...

-- The entire new Beastie Boys album streaming live today !
4/26/11: -- Ok, BO was born in Hawaii. Can we move past this now?

-- RIP the typewriter (officially).

-- Ok there are Battlestar Galactica fans, like myself, and then there are the FANS.
4/25/11: -- In defense of trash talk. Hear hear!

-- So I have two recurring nightmares: the first is the usual chase scene dream that many of us have involving a monster or crazed axe-wielding serial killer and a looooong hallway that seems to get longer with each step. The other is Chris Paul coming at me with the ball at the top of the key ...
4/22/11: -- Noticed that a CrossFit gym has recently opened up in Danbury. This is where fitness is going, there will likely be tons of these types of places sprouting up everywhere. Why slog away on a treadmill for an hour, or sit around taking turns doing occasional sets on a bench press? With a CrossFit style session you'll bust your ass for 20 minutes and get a 10X better workout. You'll do stuff that now might be considered unorthodox, and a few years ago would've been considered downright loco: jumping around, tossing giant tractor tires, climbing ropes, swinging kettlebells, crawling on the floor like a seal, carrying heavy objects over distances, and so on and so forth. Never the same workout twice, so the body doesn't adapt. And you'll get out of it exactly what you put in, nothing more and nothing less.

This all started, I believe, after the 2006 release of the film 300. The actors needed Spartan-like bodies in a very short time, so they enlisted the help of climber/exercise guru Mark Twight and trained sneakily at the Gym Jones facility. There they went to hell and back but came out in phenomenal shape. So much so, in fact, that many believed the lead actors' physiques were the result of steroids and/or CGI. Twight had some choice words for the doubters.

Anyway, this is exciting stuff and is only the beginning of what I think will be the next fitness revolution. Now pass me that kettlebell.

4/20/11: -- These numbers are old but nonetheless mindboggling...

-- Somewhere out there is a Blake Griffin fan with waaaaay too much free time on his hands...
4/19/11: -- The highly anticipated Portal 2 is released today, G4 has posted a review in which they gush "...a triumph, and has earned a place among the greatest games of all time."
4/18/11: -- Whoopsie...

-- Sooooo what did everyone think of 'Thrones? E-moi your thoughts. Here is a brief synopsis of ep 1. I, for one, think we may be onto something terrific here. Read Time Magazine's review here.

-- Easter might have a fixed date? I'm confused.
4/16/11: -- In a past life I was a stud working in IT and had a sweet side-gig providing workstation & server sales/setup/support to a small-scale but lucrative medical office. Well I had no idea what I was doing from a business perspective, it never occurred to me that this company would be sending me 1099's. And so it happened that one year I ended up owing Uncle Sam a pretty hefty sum around April 15th, so much in fact that I had to beg, borrow and steal to set things right. And make no mistake about it, the Feds assigned someone to check me out pretty thoroughly - there were stern letters and even a phone call. There was no chance of this getting lost in the shuffle, slipping through the cracks. And they got their chump change even though it nearly broke me.

So when I read, as I'm sure most of us have, that in 2010 G.E. raked in $5 billion in profits (that's US, worldwide they made $14b) and paid zilch in taxes... well, can we safely say this system is broken? I hope someday we'll all look back and laugh. But as of right now it's hard to find any humor in this.

4/15/11: -- Someone from Brazil has been spoofing my email address, apparently. I started getting bounce-backs from certain domains to which I had never knowingly sent (if anyone from reads this, my apologies) any messages. Apparently there is little that can be done about this. And now as a result I risk getting blacklisted. Also noticing an increase in spam to my account, as my name gets out around the world.

Some days the internet sucks.

4/13/11: -- So the Evil Twins are at it again. Ok maybe that's unfair, they might not be evil. Maybe I'm just hatin' because they're rich and handsome. This is a good read, though, the story behind FB isn't as clear-cut as The Social Network would have you believe...

-- Happy Birthday wishes to my grandmother Nanclyn, the wisest woman I know. See you later today for sammiches!
4/11/11: -- "... but none of that matters. Because tonight, we have the TANGO." Man I miss that show. During those mid-point seasons the buildup between those two was irresistible.

-- Creepy cool underwater sculptures.
4/8/11: -- According to Slate Magazine one of my favorite words' definition is slowly changing. This has me nonplussed.

-- I suppose if I was into bodybuilding this commercial might be offensive... but regardless it's damn funny.
4/7/11: -- In case you're wondering why I only watch ESPN en espanol, here's why... RATATATATATATATATATATA!!!

-- Finally - the real deal on how to best maintain & preserve your laptop/iPhone battery. For the longest time I was one of the idiots thinking you were supposed to let it drain all the way every so often. Not that I ever actually got around to it...

-- Now performing for a limited engagement at a swampy area near you - my Friends of Spring. Their sound mesmerizes me every year around this time, I spent a good ten minutes sitting near a mucky bog-like pool of water last night just taking it all in.
4/6/11: -- Just what I need, another HBO show to become addicted to...
4/5/11: -- Loosies for sale on the streets of NYC, 75 cents or two for a buck... Maybe I'm in the wrong line of work?
4/1/11: -- Carter Beauford on the drums.

-- When they ask what pushed us over the edge, what it was that finally landed us in the poor house, we'll tell them it was the Cups! It was the K-Cups that did us in...

-- Report: LT was loaded at the time of her death.

-- So now the missing Bronx Zoo cobra (scroll down to 3/28 post) has its own Twitter feed... Ok fine, I'll follow. If only to keep from getting bitten.

-- Sorry folks, no goofy April Fools gags today. My sense of humor has temporarily left the building, it's just been that kind of week. I do recall one year sticking a massive FBI logo on the page and announcing that the site was seized for anti-government rhetoric in accordance with Section 302a Article 12 of the Patriot Act, or some such nonsense. One or two of yous actually fell for it, muwhahahahahaha...
3/31/11: -- A pictural history of the Presidential First Pitch. Harding threw like a girl.

-- Avatar sequel(s) to be shot at a higher framerate, as if the first flick didn't look cool enough.

-- HP on Broadway!

-- We met our hillbilly neighbor back in December as we started to move our stuff into the new house. Old guy, seemed sweet enough. Lives simply. Salt of the earth kinda guy. Into hunting and trapping. Didn't think much of it or him at the time. Then yesterday I spot a Turkey Buzzard glowering at me from a tree limb over our driveway as I arrive home from work. Then another. Another. And another. Turkey Buzzards everywhere. I get out of the car and slowly creep up into the wooded area between our property and the neighbor's, surely these loathsome birds are here for a reason. Sure enough I find their prize - two skinned BEAVER CARCASSES. The stench is overbearing, it was like a scene out of a horror movie.

I don't know exactly where our property line is, but I suppose we're within our rights to ask him the move and/or bury them. They're far enough out of the way so as to not be noticable, though the carrion birds are repulsive. My main fear is that H-Dawg will discover the bodies and have a field day. She has a propensity to roll around in stinky things she discovers...

3/30/11: -- Love this tune, love it.
3/29/11: -- Like, try to avoid using "like" during an interview.

-- Report from the Browser Battle front: Firefox is kicking IE's ass.

-- Deconstructing Friday. Oh, this is too good...
3/28/11: -- Further evidence that the internet is morphing us into morons.

-- Awright who let the Egyptian Cobra out again... ?
3/25/11: -- I did it. Don't know why, but I watched Friday and was the 47,304,384th viewer. Someone... anyone... tell me this is a joke. Please. It was seriously the worst thing I've ever seen.

What's most frightening is the fact that it's not far off from the garbage Ke$sha puts out, who is in fact a millionaire many times over and is frequently atop the iTunes Store most-downloaded list. Someone, please make it stop...

3/24/11: -- Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing, Baby: Don't get me wrong, Facebook is fun and I jump on several times a week (though less and less these days). But something has been bugging me about it, and only recently did I figure out what it is. See, there's an old friend of mine that I haven't seen in 15 years, maybe more. I'm sure we'll meet again one day, and I'm hoping it will be epic. And then the other day, boom - there he is, logged in and actually available for chat. My fingers hovered above the keyboard, I typed a few words. Then faltered. What to say? Hi? Whatcha been up to? What's epic about that? Maybe this isn't a FB issue, more of an internet issue in general. But there it is.
3/23/11: -- G. Love talks about his new album on NPR. Jammed to it all weekend and it is absolutely solid from the rooter to the tooter. In some ways it's a departure from his usual stuff, much bluesier and even country at times. It's a lot of fun and I think this might be the soundtrack to summer 2011. If it ever gets here.

-- A list of movies that should never be remade. High up on the list I noticed Real Genius, which I actually wouldn't mind seeing modernized. And I recall reading someplace that Val Kilmer would be totally game for it. Just don't know how they could possibly recapture the magic of that original ending sequence (starts around the 5:30 mark), the children frolicking in the popcorn is like something out of a dream.

-- Using your iPhone on St John could lead to trouble. Not that we'll be worrying about this any time soon :(
3/22/11: -- The end is near. Again.

-- Spent the bulk of last weeknd with rake in hand. And somehow, it felt ok. Could get used to this homeowner stuff. But ask me again in a month or two, still a mountain of work to be done... Saturday was the nicer of the two days weather-wise, I stole a 15 minute snoozy in the sun with H-Dawg. We were lying atop that big rock by the back deck, the one the home inspector guy marked as a hazard. So tthhhhppppt to him.

-- Some dazzling shots of the Super Moon from last weekend. No, I didn't take them.
3/20/11: -- Now this is just plain disturbing...
3/18/11: -- Upper 60's, at least for today. A month or two ago I was honestly questioning whether I'd live to see a day like this again. Is it just me, or did this past winter seem to last 8 months?

-- Well yawls know I'm more of an NBA guy, but I will watch chunks of the NCAA tourney of course. Stuff like this is just bound to happen, not to be missed!
3/17/11: -- A great free site for honing your typing skills. Found myself transported back to 7th grade typing class, clattering away at one of those old clunkers and cursing as it became jammed every five minutes.

-- The health benefits of beer (click the infographic to enlarge). I don't know whether or not this applies to green beer.
3/15/11: -- Jon Bon Jovi: Steve Jobs/Apple destroyed the music industry. What a bunch of rubbish. The very argument he uses, that is the thrill of visiting a music store not knowing what the album sounds like and making a decision based on the jacket... this is exactly what we the consumer were saved from. If I had, well, $18.99 for every time I shelled out $18.99 for two quality tracks and eight stinkers... (via df)
3/14/11: -- Math Nerds rejoice, it's Pi Day!
3/11/11: -- Why yes, Ms. Winslet, I saw 'Titanic' a number of times. But I've always been more partial to 'The Reader' and 'The Little Children'... Another grape? That would be lovely, thank you. Here, if you wouldn't mind hand-feeding it to me I'll just tilt my head back like this... Wha-what? What? Hmmm? Oh sorry, must've slipped off into a daydream for a moment there after watching this Lancome ad...

-- Another deluge last night, though not quite as bad as last time around. Our yard is a veritable bog once again. But given what's going down in Japan, there's absolutely nothing for me to whine about... Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to those in need.
3/9/11: -- Another one of life's great mysteries has been solved...
3/7/11: -- Yesterday seemed like just your average rainy day, but things obviously must've reached Noah's Ark-like levels overnight. This morning New Milford schools were canceled and several major roads were pond-like and closed off. This includes Federal Road pictured here, note the mostly submerged car dealership. Hey maybe now they'll give me a good deal on that Jetta I've had my eye on...
3/4/11: -- I tried, I really tried my best to get through all 3:07 of this. But couldn't do it. Had to hit the stop button after about 45 seconds. Thing is, it's not even good bad. It's just plain bad. It's so indescribably awful that I can't help but think this wasn't a serious attempt at making music. Rather it was another experiment in just how far KK can take this I'm rich & famous solely due to my curvy rear end and pretty face thing. Thoughts?
3/3/11: -- I want.
3/2/11: -- Apple announces iPad2 today, Jesse wipes more drool from chin. Thing is thinner than an iPhone!
3/1/11: -- Elderly folks are eating pretty much whatever they want... Their docs aren't happy, but you know what? Too bad. Wasn't it Julia Child who once remarked that "The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook."
2/25/11: -- Epic flop fail, he'd like to thank the Academy...

-- Not working out is not working out. Been on an exercise hiatus. With the exception of an occasional hoop game or a bout of pushups here and there, it's been a long stretch of inactivity. I'll be the first to admit that this was largely due to sheer laziness, though I have been absurdly busy. Life in general has been kicking our asses.

It's been an interesting experiment, though. Everything the experts say about the benefits of fitness - sleeping better, managing stress, not getting sick, etc etc etc... all of the cliches are 100% true. Every one of them. I've spent about half of the winter so far with some form of malady. Work/life/parenting/financial stresses are loaded up on my shoulders like an oversized yoke. I'm short-tempered and hardly sleeping. And when I actually do make it to a ball game, the performance is comical.

The big four-oh! is about 4 months away, just enough time to get some swagger back. Anyone seen my sneakers?

2/24/11: -- New MBP's announced today (wiping the drool off of my chin).
2/23/11: -- Can't believe he's 7. Apparently he was eager to start the celebration, he woke up (and woke us up) around 1AM and never went back down... The real party took place last weekend, tonight we'll probably lay low and blow out some more candles. Then pass out from exhaustion. Still can't believe he's 7...
2/22/11: -- New G. Love today!
2/21/11: -- Juicy Sarah Palin tell-all pending publication, this one might be too delicious to pass up...

-- This is too good, the Hotmail Rap. I'd be willing to bet there are over 5K unread messages in my Hotmail inbox, and I have no idea what the account password might be. Nor do I care to find out.

-- Well the new house is now battle-tested. Saturday night we had an (early) gathering for Aidan's 7th, the place was packed to the hilt with kids and grown-ups behaving badly. Pleased to report that the place is still standing, and a nice time was had by all - even the birthday boy. The only complaint is that our single-file driveway makes for difficult maneuvers and requires group coordination as guests begin to leave. Could be worse I spose.
2/18/11: -- Confessions of an Apple Store employee. It's much worse than you think.

-- A beautiful trailer doth not a great game make. As an old-school gamer I'm always suspicious of video game trailers that are big on cinematics and light on actual game footage. Wired Mag warns about the hype surrounding the Dead Island trailer, which has been substantial. But all that aside, just watch the darn thing (right side of page), it's far and away the best I've ever seen. Let's hope the actual release can do it justice.
2/17/11: -- Charter is so not getting it done for us. There's bad wiring from the street to our house, and as a result our internet is down about 75% of the time. Also the signal is so weak that we can only get TV stations if we bypass the cable box and go directly to the TV, which severly limits our viewing options. This won't do! Supposedly they're scheduling a bucket truck to come out and rewire us, but it just ain't happening. I'm sure they'll understand when I disregard this statement they just sent us...

-- Jeopardy! wiz Ken Jennings on being bested by an IBM supercomputer. Well once the prize money runs out from his previous stint on the show, he can no doubt fall back on a writing career - this is a great read!

-- A tale of mediocrity. Think I'll go back to bed now...

-- No, we didn't give Honey a makeover. This is Willy, he belongs to a friend who was kind enough to let me dogsit for an hour or so. Handsome and energetic! Maybe we'll introduce him to HDawg at some point. But first we'll need to cut his balls off.
2/16/11: -- Think I heart her. Make sure you watch the Tiny Desk Concert (link on left side margin of page).

-- On Good Kids: When I was in grade school/junior high I remember kids' attitudes towards their Special Needs peers: either completely ignore them or treat them with contempt. But we're heartened to hear that times have changed - according to Aidan's teachers, our boy enjoys a celebrity-like status. Many of his classmates go out of their way to assist/accommodate/engage him. To me this is more important than anything he'd ever learn from a book. Let's hear it for kids that don't suck :)

-- Zoinks, Borders is bankrupt. How'd that happen?

-- 29 second movie review: These days the movies seem super saturated with thrillers, it's impossible to get to them all. But make time for Salt, even if you're not a big fan of the genre. I Netflicked it last week and was held enthralled (and no, it wasn't due to Brangelina lust. She's not my type). Suspend your belief in the logical world - of course no one can negotiate an elevator shaft like that. What of it? This is a good watch. And make sure you're listening closely to the voiceover during the final few seconds for a doozy of a mindf*ck.
2/15/11: -- Giant flare headed our way, I'm off to the Arctic Circle to enjoy the show.

-- I guess that Lucas guy is doing ok for himself, eh?
2/14/11: -- AOTS has a side by side review of the VZ iPhone vs the ATT model. Kevin's main beef is justified in that taking a call on the VZ phone will disrupt 3G connectivity - lame but not a showstopper as far as I'm concerned. And apparently VZ is addressing the issue.
2/11/11: -- What's this? Democracy in the Middle East without missile strikes and marine deployments?

-- This is kind of old news, but alt. rock fans are still reeling over the formal breakup of The White Stripes. But perhaps no one is more distraught than my dear sis. Kate, maybe this will help.
2/10/11: -- The sweet smell of no smell: The plumber came back out yesterday and finally we were able to locate an open pipe that was causing unpleasant aromas to permeate the downstairs area. And luckily this opening was easy to reach, a simple rubber stopper did the trick. The nightmares I was having about bringing in bulldozers and/or ripping down the walls were unfounded, and we're breathing (literally!) much easier now.

-- An unfathomably awesome visual guide to the history of Dr. Who. Just wish they didn't use the cheesy Powerpoint clipart.
2/8/11: -- Wow, Leeroy Jenkins is flirting with 23,000,000 views on Youtube. Explainer here for the Warcraft-impaired.

-- Factor in even a modest coating of ice/slush/snow to our new road along with a non-ABS vehicle such as my own, and you've got a recipe for disaster (pictured here). Fortunately I survived this recent episode.
2/7/11: -- To be honest I didn't even know who was playing in the Bowl until yesterday morning. Kind of half-watched the game, mostly for the commercials as usual. Slate has a funny roundup of the stinkers and the winners (most fell under the former category). Below are my top few, won't bother linking to them since the article already did:

1. Ok fine. I'll admit the VW Darth Vader kid thing was damn cute, I guess this one wins. But it was borderline cute-sy (there's a difference), and then this morning the Today Show had the little kid on as a guest. Enough already.

2. Sealy Mattress ad! Tastefully done, and so much fun. Beautiful people panting and basking in the FFG (email me if you need that spelled out). Plus couple #5 features the 2nd most gorgeous woman I've ever seen in my life, Mrs Leo being the 1st of course. But what's she doing with that dork? Wait, I'm referring to the woman in the ad, not Mrs Leo...

3. The Chrysler Eminem thing. I agree with the article's author, it had me bursting with pride and chanting USA! USA! But after a few minutes that wore off, and no, there are still no plans here to buy an American car. Ever.

As for the losers, there were several. So let's just talk about #1 - as an Apple fanboi of course I'm going to dis Motorola's lame attempt to bash Apple's legendary 1984 ad. First of all, I'll bet more than half of the viewing population had no idea that was even the effect Motorola was going for. Secondly, in one year will you be able to name one person who actually owns a Xoom? Me neither.

-- Using Verdana for every piece of electronic correspondence today. Cuz that's how I roll.

-- Revenge in the Internet age.
2/3/11: -- Scratch lottery tickets: random? A good article on the subject.

-- An early review of the VZ iPhone. The title says it all...

-- Never was a fan of The Boss, but I kinda heart this (relatively) new tune...
2/2/11: -- The Block on the Chopping Block: I always considered it untouchable. No matter how bad things got, no matter what was going on, we would always allocate time/resources and do whatever it took to return to Block Island each summer. Find a way. Not so much because we're spoiled brats... well, we are, but more because I believe going there does us so much good on so many levels. Thinking about the trip all winter long sustains me in ways I can't even begin to describe, it keeps me focused and it keeps my eye on the ball. It makes me smile during the darkest of times. Sounds silly, but it has a direct effect on my overall level of optimism and happiness. As for the boys, it goes without saying that romping around, digging ditches and hunting for shells/crabs/critters/stones on the beach is a critical childhood rite of passage. And for the missus, seeing her sitting stress-free in her beach chair with her movie star sunglasses reading a sleazy celebrity mag or (even worse) a Nicholas Sparks novel, it's priceless.

But this time around it's not looking so good. Getting into this house has proven far more costly than we'd expected: we ran into a nice little plumbing surprise that has us pinching our nostrils and opening our wallets. The heating needed an overhaul and some electrical re-wiring was needed (note to self: die and come back as an electrician). The snow plow guy is there at least twice a week. Floors are still rugless. And so on...

And so it's looking like the Year of the House. We'll likely be out on BI in some limited capacity, maybe a long weekend or something. But for the most part we'll be looking for ways to bring the spirit of that trip to us. Daytrips. Local stuff. There's plenty of fun -n- sun to be had around here if we know where to look for it. Start squirreling away sofa coins for summer 2012's BI trip, maybe tack on a few extra days to make up for lost time...

1/31/11: -- We needed a break from the evil sentient being that has taken control of our lives, our sanity, our bank accounts... by that I mean the new house. So we took off for Coco Keys to take advantage of a great deal offered by Autism Speaks - water park passes and hotel for about $130. Plus we had the whole park to ourselves for a few hours, which was huge - that place is filled to the brim every weekend. Despite the photo (above) we actually did have a pretty terrific time, I caught the boys smiling on multiple occasions. And even I might've cracked one once or twice...
1/27/11: -- More Hobbit delays, we certainly wish Mr. Jackson a speedy recovery.

-- The oft-maligned color coded security threat level warnings are finally being put out to pasture. Personally I don't think they've ever done anyone a lick of good, aside from helping get Dubya re-elected in 2004.

-- Sometimes the simple tools are the best tools. Those who know me well will tell you I'm not exactly the most organized person in the galaxy. So of course I've looked into using the myriad of apps and fancy utilities available for computer and mobile device, but none of them could hold my interest very long. The iPhone reminds me to take out the trash Wednesday nights, that's about it. But a few years ago I started using a good old fashioned (and free!) text editor (TextWrangler, to be exact) for meeting/call notes and to-do lists, and it has helped me exponentially. I stash the files in a NOTES folder and back it up daily. Done deal. My professional life has some semblance of order. My personal life, well...

-- I dunno, maybe this January is just a fluke. Or maybe it's a climate change thing. Some folks are saying this is how it will be from here on out - arctic winters with massive amounts of snow followed by sweltering, unbearable summers. Each year a little more intense than the last. Let's hope they're wrong.
1/25/11: -- Military suicides are a bigger deal than most people think...
1/24/11: -- We grew up with an old Glenwood Oak wood stove as our primary (only?) source of heat through the long New England winters. I remember as a lad coming downstairs to get dressed and shivering next to it even after it had long since burned out during the night. The potential for heat was sometimes enough.

It's easily over 40 or 50 years old, but we have it set up downstairs at the new place - as a secondary heat source of course. Cautiously threw a log in the other day and fired it up, no disasters to report. Maybe tonight we'll open it up a bit and see what she can do. Buckets of water at the ready of course.

1/21/11: -- Roof Rake update: The top layer of snow had frozen, so it was almost impossible to make any progress using the damn thing. But the snow depth actually made for pretty good roof traction, so I spent a couple of hours up there under the winter moonlight with a traditional snow shovel, sweating and panting and swearing. Wonder if Agway will take back the rake, lightly used...
1/19/11: -- Just plunked down an absurd amount of money for something called a roof rake. But with two feet of snow still stuck up on our roof - every bit of which is about to freeze and double in weight - I figured it best to play it safe. If you're looking for me tonight I'll be on a ladder risking life and limb. Hopefully this silly device isn't overly difficult to operate...

-- Turncoat Joe to retire in 2012, good riddance to bad rubbish.
1/18/11: -- Fans of Wired voted for the all-time best movie SciFi effects, and the results are in. For me it's impossible to come up with a #1, though Avatar's "Light Forest" completely knocked my socks off and made me yearn to be there. I do recall as a kid, there's a scene in Return of the Jedi that I'll never forget seeing for the first time. On the forest moon of Endor, Luke is on the ground and one of the Imperial troopers fires at him from a speeder. Luke deflects the laser shots with his lightsaber, and until then we'd never seen that effect before (though in the prequels that became the Jedi's bread & butter move). The effect lasted less than a second, but it stayed with me a long time.

-- Ok this isn't the Disney-esque scene it appears to be, that little bird actually had just slammed into our window and was completely dazed. But I'm happy to report that after a few groggy minutes he gathered himself and flew away.
1/17/11: -- If only I were more nautical...

-- Something tells me he's not coming back this time...

-- Two outstanding people of note share a birthday on this fine January 17th, Mother and MLK. Mother, because it's your special day I might be willing to forgive you for making Jake wear that horrible hat (pictured here)...
1/14/11: -- Forget about texting while driving, texting while shopping is far more dangerous...

-- These are classic, and timely!
1/12/11: -- This snowstorm makes last week's seem like a mild case of dandruff. Haven't seen depths like this since I was a kid, it was the kind of snow that made it hard to open the door to get outside. And don't get me going about shoveling...
1/11/11: -- I love this woman. It's like one day she was bored and decided to take up triathlons, then just like that she was soundly beating the best in the world.

-- Finally after years of speculation, a Verizon-capable iPhone will be announced today. So, who'll be jumping ship? Given the performance of AT&T's crappy network, this should be a no-brainer. But keep in mind this would require buying a new phone. So I dunno, I'll definitely put it on my list, just not anywhere near the top. For now.

-- The projected ten most profitable companies of 2011. #1 is no surprise, but it still angers me greatly...

-- Whew. Finally stole a few minutes to reload the site with its usual 1997 look. Like the color? I'm sure to win some awards for site design. So yeah, with only a few days left until we officially move into the new house our lives consist of painting, scrubbing, moving and stressing. And going broke. But we'll get there. Someone please assure me that we'll get there. Anyone? Bueller?
Some sites I hit:

Boing Boing
Me on Twitter!
MVY Radio
Galactica Watercooler
ars technica
On St. John
National Geographic
Calvin & Hobbes
Daring Fireball
Jason Kottke
Starbucks Gossip