Thursday, December 31, 2009

Decade in Review

At the start of the decade I was finishing up my Associates Degree at Middlesex trying to decide if I wanted to go get a job or go to a four year school and get a Bachelor's degree.

In September of 2000 I returned to UMass Lowell after a nine year absence. I took a lot of classes, did a lot of projects, didn't learn nearly as much as I had hoped I would, and in May of 2004 graduated cum-laude.

In July of 2004 I started a job. On December 31, 2009 I am still doing that job.

In 2001 I was best man for my friend Larry. I gave a toast that got rave reviews. I still have no idea what I said. I made it up on the spot. In 2004 I was best man for my friend Mike. I planned the toast that time and I think it was a bit of a bust. In 2006 I was best man for my brother John. I prepared the toast way ahead of time and then while walking into the reception I scrapped it and came up with a new one. It was okay. Nothing Earth shattering.

Late in 2006 I started talking online with a very nice, pretty girl from Salem. On April 5, 2007 we went on a date. In July I was a groomsman in my sister Lisa's wedding. I took that pretty girl, Jen, as my date. In September we went on a couple of trips together and I was introduced to her two kids.

Not long after the start of 2008 I was living in Jen's apartment. In mid-April we moved into an apartment together in Methuen. One month later, on May 20, 2008 I got down on one knee and proposed to Jen. One year after that, on May 30, 2009, we were married.

In between those two dates, in October of 2008, I was a co-best man for Larry's second wedding. Also, in July of 2008 I became an uncle for the first time when my sister had a baby. In October I became an uncle for the second time when my brother became a father. Earlier I had become an honorary uncle, in November of 2006, when Mike became a father.

In this decade I got married, both of my siblings got married, and my two best friends got married. There were also a few other friends getting married as well. One might say that the 2000's was the decade of weddings. I prefer to think of it as the decade of Jen.

I am looking forward to seeing what the 2010's will bring. It's all up in the air right now, but I am hoping to become an honorary uncle again in January 2010 when Larry becomes a father.

Happy New Decade!

Planning Redux

Well I set out all of our plans for the weekend the other day and they've all gone to hell.

New Year's Eve we're staying home... at least we're staying home as of right now. It could still revert back to the old plans... we're flip-floppy like that some times. The current issue is two fold. First, the weather is going to suck a little tonight and we're not sure driving an hour plus to the north is going to be terribly safe. Add in the obligatory influx of drunken New Year celebrating schmucks on the road and it becomes less safe. Second, neither Jen nor I are feeling all that great. We're both starting to come down with something. Yippee. I am a little better than yesterday thanks to a decent night's sleep, but I'm still really tired. The kids may have a better shot at making it to midnight tonight than I do.

So... as of this moment (still subject to adjustments) I think we are staying home tonight, just the four of us. We'll play some Rock Band, watch some Harry Potter, eat some Chinese food, and watch the ball drop.

Tomorrow the primary goal is still to watch the NHL Winter Classic. Both teams won easily last night. Philly beat the Rangers 6-0 and Boston beat Atlanta 4-0. We watched most of the Bruins game and it was a thing of beauty. If they play like that tomorrow they will win. Of course, Atlanta's goalie going in the tank against us for the second time in a week might have had something to do with all the fun.

In further Bruins news, four players (so far) have been named to their nation's Olympic Hockey Teams. Zdeno Chara will play for Slovakia. That is what we in the hockey world refer to as a no brainer. Marco Sturm will play for Germany. Again, pretty much a given seen as there aren't many NHL caliber players from Germany. David Krejci will play for the Czech Republic. I'm not as up on the state of the Czech national team as I was a few years ago, so I don't know if that was an obvious choice or not. I do know that it was a good choice. The pleasant surprise was the addition of Patrice Bergeron to the Canadian team. He was not invited to their orientation camp and no one expected him to be named. All he did was play at the top of his game all year. That's what it took to earn a spot. Congrats to all of them, but extra congrats to Bergie. Nice going.

Saturday is also down the tubes. There will be a game night, but it is starting too late for us to go. We have the kids and have to be able to get them home and put them to bed at a decent hour. The game night will be starting too late in the evening for that to work. We would drive 45 minutes to get there, then stay for an hour, then drive another 45 minutes home. It's just not doable. Which means we miss another game night. We both really wanted to go to this one. We both are getting a little tired of things not working out for us in the game night department.

The plan for Sunday remains the same... sleep. I think I can do that.

For all of you going out celebrating tonight, be safe and have a very Happy New Year's Eve.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009



Nine degrees.

It was nine degrees out when I left the house this morning. It was 13 degrees when I left work last night. In both cases there was enough wind chill to make it feel like -145727 or so.

It's only been winter for nine freakin' days and it's already like this? Is it June yet? Please?

Yesterday I had a tooth ache wake up. I've been all right for a couple of months. I took some meds before bed and it didn't help at all. It wasn't bad enough to keep me awake all night, but it was bad enough to wake me up every time I fell asleep. I am exhausted. Lack of sleep plus the weather also has me feeling congested. Happy flippin' New Year, eh?

I took another dose of meds at 7:15am and they still haven't kicked in. It's 9:38am now. This bites.

Last night on the way home from work I saw three deer crossing route 126 in Wayland. The doe bringing up the rear had best learn to run faster as she almost had a close personal meeting with the front of my minivan. I stopped in plenty of time, but she was cutting it close. Pick up the pace doe!

I am a mess today. I am going to need to go to bed very early tonight. I need a good rest so I can make it to midnight tomorrow. Saying that is all the proof you need that I am now officially old. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Uncle Johnny

My mother found a picture of my Uncle Johnny and gave it to my brother in law, Ken, who cropped it, had it printed, and framed it. My mother then gave it to my father for Christmas. It made my father cry.


It was sure nice to see him at Christmas again.

We miss you Unc.

Looking Ahead

Thursday: I go to lunch with my group at work sometime in the early afternoon and then leave work two hours early, thanks alt time! I go straight home, pick up the wife and kids (and a Rock Band guitar controller?) and pile into the van and head up to Jen's mom's for a New Year's Eve of Beatles Rock Band and maybe some Chinese food. Because of the whole New-Year-starts-at-midnight thing we will be sleeping over. That probably means Robbie is sound asleep at 12:01am.

Friday: Get up and do the holiday morning stuff but make sure we're on the road home by 11:30 so we can get to the television in time to watch the NHL Winter Classic game between the Boston Bruins and the philadelphia flyers at Fenway Park. For months people have been asking me if I tried to get tickets to this game, as it may be a once in a lifetime thing. The answer of course is no. Let's see... an outdoor hockey game in January in Boston. Brrrrr I think not. Having said that, the forecast calls for a high of 41 degrees with a chance of rain. Not quite the weather I was afraid of, but probably just as bad. After the game... I don't know what. There was talk of making Indian food for dinner. That sounds great!

Saturday: There is a chance of snow on Saturday but I am hoping that it won't interfere with our scheduled Game Night. During the last Game Night (which we missed due to Jenny's back problems) it was decided that a regularly set day should be chosen for the festivities. The first Saturday of each month was the day settled on. If people can show up, that's great. If they can't, that's all right too. Everyone is busy and setting up a good date has turned out to be the biggest Game Night hurdle. So, the next one is this weekend. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully the weather will be okay. If it snows a little I might take my new camera outside for some winter wonderland type of pictures. We'll see.

Sunday: Sleep late and hang out at home in our pajamas. Ahhh the holidays!

Monday, December 28, 2009

We got a flurry of snow today. Also this morning I installed an update to camerabag on my iPhone. The two occurences combined to create this pointless picture:

You are welcome.

Christmas Weekend Recap

Just about noon on Thursday I left work and headed home. I stopped to get a camera cleaning kit so I could get the horrible smudge off of my lens and avoid the crap that you may or may not have noticed in the Enchanted Village pictures.

2009-12-24 and 25 - Christmas 002

Once everything at home was ready, including a big plate full of freshly baked cookies that Jen and the kids put together while I was at work, we piled into the van and headed up to Jen's mom's for the Christmas Eve party.

2009-12-24 and 25 - Christmas 189

We got there first and spent time playing tick tack toe, and watching the Norad Santa Tracker. Once the rest of the guests arrived we piled into the presents. The kids played Santa and handed out gifts to everyone. My in-laws got me a nice shirt and a very cool looking Red Sox triva game. Game night anyone? I also took pictures.

2009-12-24 and 25 - Christmas 181

We left the party kind of late, the kids had already left with their father, and headed home. We put out the cookies and milk for Santa, and some celery for the reindeer and hurried off to bed. We turned out the light at 11:52... just in time to get to sleep before Santa arrived.

Christmas morning we hurried out of the house as fast as possible to get to Mike's to see the kids getting out of bed. I took 1000000000 pictures, as usual, and the kids are in almost all of them. There are only a few I can share here, so here is the best one. Easily the best one.

2009-12-24 and 25 - Christmas 068

After the kids destroyed the wrapping on all of the gifts Santa gave them we had breakfast and played with a couple of the new toys. Then we packed up again and headed to our house so the kids could see what Santa left there.

After the kids finished with their Santa haul Mike and Yvonne left for a while and we exchanged our family presents. We all made out like bandits with all sorts of great presents being opened.


We then ripped into a few of the new toys and spent a couple of hours playing. Barbie, Wizards of Waverly Place, Hot Wheels, and Toy Story were among the first toy brands played with. We all had a blast.

Eventually Mike came back and the kids went with him to have dinner at their Aunt's house. Jen and I jumped into the van and drove to my sister's house where we had Christmas dinner, exchanged gifts with the extended family, and watched the two toddlers run amok. It was a great time.

2009-12-24 and 25 - Christmas 091

I, of course, took another 1000000000 pictures and once again they all have kids in them. I did get one cool one of the tree lights bouncing off the wall.

2009-12-24 and 25 - Christmas 210

Eventually Christmas day came to a close and a very tired Jen and Rob went home and fell dead asleep. It was a really wonderful day. Our third Christmas together. Our second Christmas living together. Our first Christmas as a married couple. It was perfect. Thanks to my entire extended family, the kids' entire extended family, and most of all to my loving, lovely wife Jen without whom the whole thing would have been pointless. I love you sweetie.

There was a theme to the day after Christmas, Boxing Day where applicable, and that theme was: Waiting.

We cleaned up the bomb site that was our kitchen and living room. We had to dig through Christmas debris in order to find the floors, but we some how managed. We then went to a little breakfast joint in Salem, NH. We've gone there a bunch of times and it is often busy. This time we had to wait 10 minutes or so to get a table, and then we had to wait AN HOUR to get our food. They were out of control busy and short handed to boot.

We then went to Best Buy to take advantage of some of those after Christmas deals and get a couple of things we had promised to each other. We had to give our names in one department and wait for some one to be available to help us. The 25 minute wait turned into an hour. While waiting for that item we went to another department and waited 40 minutes for some one to help us check out. We ended up spending about 90 minutes in the store. It was insane.

From there we went home for a while before going out again for some food shopping and dinner. Once we got back to the house we stayed there for the rest of the weekend. No more waiting in lines for us, damn it.

Sunday was spent relaxing for the most part. We watched a few Christmas gift blu-rays and played a few Christmas gift video games. We also did about three weeks worth of laundry. Clean clothes for everyone!

The only downside of the Christmas weekend was that it ended. Three days was really nice, but four or five or six or twenty would have been even better.

Next up is New Year's Eve. The current plan is to go to Jen's mom's again for a Beatles Rock Band marathon. The holiday season is in full swing and there is more celebration to come! If only we could do something about the four work days still to go.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


I got a new camera. Just testing it out. Here is one of the first tests... obviously it's Jenny.


This ornament has been the highest one on every Christmas tree I've had (with the exception of the star, of course) since 1977.


Here is the star on top of our tree.

Here is our entire tree, complete with the open gifts underneath. Merry Christmas!

The official Christmas Day and Christmas Eve picture post is coming at a later time. This is just Robbie playing with his new awesome camera.

Until next time...
It's a blu-ray Christmas. Last night it was The Hangover. Right now it's Star Trek. Later it might be Galaxy Quest or maybe The Half Blood Prince.

Also, in the Christmas miracle department: the laundry that's been waiting for weeks to be put away has been put away.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Rock Band

Yeah, The Beatles Rock Band is a keeper.

Happy Boxing Day

Want to know what would be a real Christmas Miracle?

The US making Boxing Day a holiday.

Also, another miracle would be learning what Boxing Day actually celebrates.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Fun

We started at the kid's father's house where we viewed the opening of the Santa gifts. After breakfast we headed to our house for Santa Part Deux. The kids left with their dad and Jen and I traveled to my sister's new house. We just ate an excellent Christmas dinner and are about to do our family secret Santa.

It's been a great Christmas so far.

(cool gift: The Beatles Stereo Remasters box set.

Christmas Miracle: A certain six year old has his first loose tooth!)

Merry Christmas!

Santa Claus was here!!

Merry Christmas to all my friends and family. I hope Santa treated you right last night! HO HO HO!

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Hurry up and get to bed! Santa will be here in about 10 minutes! We have to be asleep or he won't come!

Ho Ho Ho

Office Christmas Party Humor

Today's Dilbert comic:

My Christmas Wish

I have already received the gift that I wanted for Christmas.


It came 209 days early, but it truly was my greatest Christmas wish.

I love you Jen.

Happy Christmas Eve

Happy Christmas Eve everyone. The big man flies the sleigh tonight! Ho Ho Ho!

On today's agenda, I got out of bed. While Jen and the kids started making cookies for Santa I went to work. At work I will go to a Christmas party. After that I will go to another Christmas party. Then I will go home.

After work I will go to a Christmas party.

All the wrapping is done, all the preparations (except the cookies) are done.

Everything is done except the actual shredding of the wrapping paper. We have to wait until tomorrow for that.

Christmas is 15 hours away! WOOHOOO


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

St Nick and Kate Plus 8

This is wrong on every level, which I why I like it.

From, episode one of St Nick and Kate Plus 8.

NORAD Santa Tracker

I love this thing.

Go to this wonderful NORAD site and follow Santa's progress as he muddles through the only day of the year he doesn't work from home.


9 hours and 46 minutes until the big guy starts his run. (according to the site, or course)

Insanity for Christmas

Christmas is a time for love, peace, family, giving, and TOTAL INSANITY!

I tried to go to the Ritz Camera store in the Natick Mall at lunch today. Big Mistake. The mob was so insane that they had police outside of the garage. Not policeman, singular, but policemen, plural. Four of them at one garage entrance. Four of them blocking one garage entrance and funneling everyone to the other garage entrance, creating a cluster of titanic proportions.

I didn't even make it into the building before running (well, driving) away screaming in fear.

Merry Christmas, indeed!

Gifford School Fire

Jen called me this morning to ask me if I take route 20 at all. I do, but only to cross it. She had heard there was a fire that closed a chunk of the road in Weston, MA. I don't cross in Weston.

Was there ever a fire. This is from New England Cable News:

Here's a later story with more complete details (no one was hurt, thankfully) given by a reporter on the scene who has a really rough time when she goes off script. Ouch.

Christmas Eve Eve

Tonight we are having dinner with my parents. The Christmas gifts the kids got for them are in my car, ready to be handed out. Word on the street is that we, much like the Whos down in Whoville, will be having roast beast.

Roast beast is a feast I can eat in the East.

Yeah, that was terrible. Sorry Dr Seuss.

The gifts are wrapped, with the exception of a couple that the kids want to help with. Those will probably be handled on Thursday while Jen and the kids are home and I am at "work".

I say "work" because Thursday is a half day for us. The day will start with our group Christmas yankee swap festivities. After that we will all trek downstairs to the humongous company wide Christmas party where the shrimp is world renown (I don't eat shrimp though) and the buffalo wings are wonderful.

Most exciting of all is that I have to do a load of laundry or two tonight as well. I can see your jealousy. Jealousy is an ugly thing but it is totally understandable in this instance.

Can you tell that I really don't have anything to write about this morning?

Watch this video and get into the holiday spirit:

You might be seeing stuff like this through the course of the day. I'm in a Rankin/Bass kinda mood.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Top "10" Best Things of 2009

This is the time of year when you can't walk down the street without being bombarded by lists of the top n things of the soon-to-be-concluded year. Top 10 movies of the year, top 100 songs of the year, top 10 athletes of the year, the biggest douche in the universe (thank you South Park). Stuff like that.

Well I'm not going to be left out this year! I have painstakingly compiled my list of The Best Things That Happened in 2009. Here is my list!

Number One!

Jenny and I got hitched!

Number Two!

There is actually a tie for number two! What were the statistical chances of that??




That's right, the tie was between the East coast half of our honeymoon, and the West coast half of our honeymoon! (so I guess I could have just said that the honeymoon was the second best thing to happen in 2009, but I wanted to post two pictures, so deal with it.)

Number Three!
Everything else that happened in 2009 is tied for number three.

So to sum up... Getting married to Jen was the best thing to happen in 2009 (not to mention the best thing to happen ever) and going away for two weeks to celebrate our wedding was the second best thing. Everything else was great too, but those two things stand head and shoulders above the rest.

I hope you enjoyed that. I worked really hard on it.

You're welcome.

I can't wait to see what happens in 2010.

Network Blues

The network in the building I work in has been down since 10:00am or so. We tried waiting it out in the hopes it would come back, but that doesn't seem likely right now.

So, we are taking advantage of the fact that my company has six buildings within a relatively short distance. I have moved to the closest one on the map. Fortunately I was able to snag a computer with internet access! >whew<

Unfortunately it probably means an evening commute on the highway instead of on the back roads. I'll see if I can map out a way that avoids the worst spots. I may just have to suck it up and take 128N to 93N like the rest of the world does.

Wish me luck!

I haven't been in this building since my original training in the summer of 2004. I forgot that you have to walk outside to go to the cafeteria here... which means Robbie has snickers bars for lunch today because I don't wanna go back out in the cold!

Fortunately I just heard the familiar sound of a soda dropping out of a soda machine so I know the kitchen (and the junk food) is close. >whew again!<

Three Days Left

Clean out the van to make traveling to Christmas Celebrations easier.
Buy the last two gifts, both of which are for work grabs.
Wrap the last few (two?) gifts and then wrap the grab gifts.
Put away the wrapping paraphernalia and straighten up around the tree.

Grab the from kids to step-grandparent gifts.
Travel the 15 minutes to my parent's house.
Have Christmas Eve-Eve dinner at my folks' house.
Bake cookies for Santa Claus.
Try not to eat all of Santa's cookies before Santa arrives.

Jen and the kids stay home while Rob goes to work for half a day.
When Rob come home, load the from us to Nana and Papa gifts in the van.
Make the hour plus journey to Jen's folks' house.
Have a blast at Nana and Papa's Christmas Eve party.
After the party the kids will go home with their father.
Put out milk and cookies for Santa Claus and some carrots for Rudolph and the gang.



Sleep all day recovering from Friday.

Ho Ho Ho Everyone! It's almost here!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Enchanted Village

Remember the Enchanted Village that used to be on display at Jordan Marsh in Downtown Crossing? Well it's at Jordan's Furniture in Avon, MA now. We thought it might be nice to take the kids to see it. After doing some heavy duty shopping Saturday morning we took a break from the hard work and drove South.

We found the place easily (it's right next to IKEA, the place we go to when we want to redesign our entire living environment) and headed to the Village's line. As we got into line who did we see but Elliot Jordan! The guy from the commercials! He used to be part of Barry and Elliot before Barry split, and now he's just Elliot. The guy with the pony tail who gives away shit loads of furniture when the Red Sox win the World Series. That guy. He was just hanging there, and why shouldn't he be... he owns the place, doesn't he? He said hello, we said hello back, then we got in line. By the time my camera was out of the bag he had left. I know I have no evidence of my pseudo-celebrity sighting, but you'll have to trust me. Besides, if I were going to make up a celebrity sighting it would probably be Geddy Lee. You folks know me well enough to realize that.


The line was very long but it moved steadily. The kids were patient but we could tell they wouldn't be staying patient forever. Finally we got in! Jen and I took a bunch of pictures. Here are a few of them.

Here is one little segment of the line. Not even close to the whole thing.
2009-12-19 - Enchanted Village 019

This display has been around for many years and whoever designed it had a thing for teddy bears. There are teddy bears everywhere. Here we see one reading a newspaper. If this were a new design he'd either be reading the news on a netbook or a smart phone. Probably an iPhone.
2009-12-19 - Enchanted Village 036

This shoppe made me want ice cream. Then again, every shoppe and every shop make me want ice cream.
2009-12-19 - Enchanted Village 043

I tried playing with the angle to get whole streets into single shots. More or less unsuccessfully.
2009-12-19 - Enchanted Village 045

I mentioned the teddy bears, right? This room was over run by them! Check out the little bugger poking his head out of the chimney. How the hell did a teddy bear get in there?
2009-12-19 - Enchanted Village 103

Obviously teddy bears aren't terribly good at judging spatial relations, as this guy was a little too big to fit under that foot rest.
2009-12-19 - Enchanted Village 102

He kid... gimme a cookie...
gimme a cookie!


2009-12-19 - Enchanted Village 112

The music store was obviously my favorite shop in the village.
2009-12-19 - Enchanted Village 118

Paying my respects to the sax player, even if he is a bear.
2009-12-19 - Enchanted Village 133

It seemed like every house had cookies. They were taunting me. Teasing me. Torturing me.
2009-12-19 - Enchanted Village 150

Weird... they were reading "Joy to the World" but the music we heard was "Jingle Bells." Seems like an easily fixed continuity error.
2009-12-19 - Enchanted Village 158

The last display was a marching band and once again I will pay my respects to the sax player. Merry Christmas, Mr Sax Player.
2009-12-19 - Enchanted Village 169

Traffic is Funny

It's sort of funny...

On Friday when I was stuck in insane traffic due to an accident that forced a bridge closure I found a handful of news reports about it when I got to work.

Today, when I wasted 40 minutes of my life trying to go about 3 miles I can't find any mention of it anywhere. Jen said she heard something about an accident near the route 133 exits on route 93 South. It backed up almost all the way to New Hampshire. I was stuck in the middle of that and it made me late for work again.

Merry first day of Winter.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I might take a few pictures through the window later, but not right now.

It's snowing. It's bad, but it's not quite as bad as the forecast said it would be... at least not yet.

We're having a very much needed flake day today after trucking the kids around to finish off the Christmas shopping and food shopping and stuff yesterday. We also went to the Enchanted Village, but pictures will follow at another time.

Today we're watching movies and eating popcorn and playing games and doing the last bits of gift wrapping. It's a nice quiet day and it's quite wonderful.

The Christmas planning is in full effect now. We have evening plans for Wednesday, Thursday, and all day Christmas Day on Friday. Nothing on the plate for Boxing Day yet, but then again we ain't English.


Saturday, December 19, 2009


Jen just took the kids out Christmas shopping.

Hmmm, thinks I...

Who might they be shopping for if they all went together and I was not allowed to join them?

Who indeed?


Friday, December 18, 2009

More Winter Classic

This is a 60 second clip from with a couple of comments on the Winter Classic.

The Winter Classic is Coming!

It's almost New Year's Day and the ice has arrived at Fenway Park!

More Christmas Lights

It might be one of those lots-of-youtube-stuff days. You've been warned.

More Christmas Lights:

Christmas Lights Hero

This is going around the office today. Guitar Hero meets Christmas Lights to the tune of Eric Johnson's Cliffs of Dover.

Traffic Woes

I dropped off the kids at their Dad's house this morning and headed back to the highway. There was a lot of traffic on route 97 near route 93. Why? The ramp to route 93 South (exit 2) was closed. I couldn't see why.

This resulted in me being late to work.

Bite me, Mr Traffic. Bite me.

Addendum 10:12am
A little Google News search brought me to this Lawrence Eagle Tribune article:

Both lanes of 93S reopened from Exit 2 to Mass. border

SALEM, N.H. -- Traffic remains backed up on Route 93S even though State Police have reopened two lanes of traffic following a 6 a.m. accident.

A tractor trailer traveling east on Route 38 struck the Route 93 South overpass, possibly damaging the structure and forcing State Police to shut down both lanes of the highway between Exits 1 and 2 as engineers studied the safety of the structure.

Traffic was diverted at Exit 2 onto Everett Turnpike, but the cars already on 93 were stuck for hours. At about 8 a.m. State Police reopened part of Route 93 South, easing some of the traffic burden on area streets and allowing those vehicles that were stuck to continue on their morning commute.

Traffic remains backed up, both on I-93 and surrounding streets. State highway engineers were studying the overpass structure for damage and the breakdown lane remains closed.

The mangled truck was still being extricated this morning as of about 9:50.

The driver sustained minor injuries in the accident, and was taken to an area hospital by Salem rescue squads. His name or condition were unavailable, according to Salem police Sgt. Mike Wagner.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bruins Christmas Commercial

Okay, the Bruins make a good commercial... now if they could just score some f---ing goals!

One Week Left

One week left until Christmas Eve.

Everything that I have purchased at a real, physical store has been wrapped. Everything that I have purchased online that has been delivered has been wrapped. The only exception is the item that came yesterday that is not the item I ordered. I am not sure what to do with that one.

I still have a few more things coming that will need to be wrapped. We also have a very notably bare banister in the living room that needs some Christmas lights. That's on the tentative agenda for this weekend.

We've also been invited to Larry's to check out the newly rebuilt house on Friday. We won't be able to stay long, but we'll make an appearance. Also on the docket are a couple of Christmas light displays at various places in Massachusetts. Maybe a Christmas Village or something. That should be fun. We were hoping to do things like that in New York, but that's not going to work so we'll do it closer to home.

Jen and I also need to pick up gifts for our work grabs and some stocking stuffers for each other, but other than those two things the shopping and buying appear to be done. Now we just have to figure out where we need to be and when we need to be there and we will be pretty much ready for Christmas.

We're so close to being finished we might actually have time to enjoy it! That's a weird feeling for this red head.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Damn It

My perfect Christmas record has gone down the tubes thanks to a warehouse picker/packer who can't read.

No, the item that you shipped isn't even remotely similar to the one I ordered. When I say the one I ordered I mean the one that is printed write there on your packing list.


Music Biz

Every now and then I stumble across an article that hammers home exactly why it's not a good idea to get yourself into the music biz if you're a performing musician.

This one was written by a member of Too Much Joy, it doesn't say who. A band I heard of but I don't think I ever actually heard. I saw it posted to twitter by John Strohm, formerly of the Blake Babies.

Give this a read.

If that doesn't make you want to vomit...

This article was linked from that article. It was written by Steve Albini. Steve Albini to me is a producer who makes records that sound so alive it's like you are in the room with the band. He makes bands sound like bands, not like processed cheese.

As the article's header says the numbers he lists are a bit out of date but they still drive home the point. Artists signed to major labels do not make enough money to survive.

Read this one if you dare.

To sum it up succinctly, I will try and recall an article I read in Metronome Magazine about 1000 years ago...

I think it was probably 1995 or so, give or take a year, and Mike the Bass Player and I were in a little going-nowhere band with Dan the Drummer. We had a rehearsal room in the basement of a mill building in Lowell. It was very reminiscent of Hollywood's standard depiction of a castle dungeon. We didn't care, it was fun. (although the stone walls were LOUD! and whatever hearing damage I have suffered in my many years of playing really loud music can probably be traced back to the few months we spent practicing there)

There was a little lobby with a couch and candy and soda machines. Every month a stack of copies of Metronome would appear in there and I would generally give it a quick read.

On one occasion there was an interview with Doug Pinnick (or is it dUg now, or something like that) of King's X... a band I have been very into for a very long time. I think they were touring in support of their Ear Candy album, which as it turned out was the last record they released on a major label. At one point Mr Pinnick was asked a question that must have been about how the business was treating him (I can't remember the exact question) and his response was that it would be nice if he could make his car payments.

He'd spent almost a decade making records for Atlantic and had as much success as you can get without becoming a full blown star... and he couldn't make his car payment.

Point made.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I Don't Get It

We've been watching The Office tonight on TBS. Not because we're paying a ton of attention to it but because it's... well... it's on and we haven't gotten around to shutting it off yet.

TBS's slogan is: Very Funny.

From the best I can tell though, from the commercials advertising their original programming... George Lopez ad after George Lopez ad and what not... Their stuff just isn't... well... very funny. Not even a little bit funny.

So you run Family Guy and The Office... reruns... that doesn't really qualify as enough to base an advertising campaign on. I mean... they could say, "TBS, where Family Guy and The Office is very funny but our original shows are kinda shit."

That would work.

Tiger Woods

Yeah, it's coming to that. A new low. Tiger Woods jokes by the truck load.

Christmas Memories

It's weird... I think my Christmas shopping is done. I am sure I'll think of something else to get, round about Christmas Eve or so, but for now I think I have everything that needs to be gotten.

So I am feeling a little Christmasie.

This year is the first Christmas Jen and I will have together as a married couple. It is also our third Christmas together as a couple. I just felt like celebrating that a little. Here are our Christmas trees through the years.

2007, our first Christmas. The tree stood in Jen's apartment in Salem, NH. It was a real tree (do they still make wooden Christmas trees?) which, strictly speaking, was against the complex rules. We had to sneak it in, and then after we took it down we had to sneak it out. Sneaking in is easy, you just wait till no one is around and run up the stairs with it. Sneaking out... that's tougher. After a couple of weeks it starts raining pine needles. That is a dead give away. So we cut the tree up into small pieces and carried it out in trash bags and left it in the dumpster. Call us criminal masterminds.
Christmas 2007 - Our Tree at Jen's Apartment in Salem, NH

2008, our second Christmas together, but our first in our new home in Methuen. Our half-a-house's living room was a bit too small to accommodate a tree without moving out all of the furniture so we had to think of a new solution. We ended up putting it in the dining room. We got a small table top sized tree for the living room too, just so we could always have a tree with us while watching and re-watching Rudolph and Frosty.

There was a bit of an adventure getting rid of this tree as well. We took it down the week after New Year's and brought it outside for the trash collection. I put it in our little mini flower garden spot in front of the house. Between that day and the next trash day we got bombarded with snow. Most of which was shoveled off of the side walk and drive way onto our little mini flower garden spot. Burying the dead tree under four or five feet of snow. After the snow melted the trash collectors wanted nothing to do with it. We'd missed our window. The tree is now hiding safely in a mysterious place where no one will ever find it. Shhhhhh.
December 12th and 13th, 2008 - Christmas Decorations 011

I have yet to do the annual photographing of the Christmas Decorations in the House so you're going to have to deal with this already-been-posted-here picture of the 2009 tree. Once again it stands in the dining room, but this time it's artificial. No more finding mysterious hiding places for dead evergreens for us. We still need to pick up our special-for-this-Christmas ornaments, although the kids have made a couple. That should happen this weekend. I'd also like to try and hang some lights on the stairs in the living room, if time permits. It doesn't matter though, because I love our tree. Our first tree as a married couple.
2009 Christmas Tree

I would like to close with a topical yet dirty joke a coworker told me yesterday. What's the difference between Santa and Tiger Woods? Santa stopped after three Ho's. ZING!

Merry The-Last-Christmas-Gift-Has-Been-Purchased Day!

New Years Resolution

Is it too early to make a New Year's Resolution? Do I have to wait a couple of weeks before it becomes official?

It probably doesn't matter, it's the same one most of us make every year. It's the same one I make every year.

Lose weight.

I lost a lot of weight leading up to the wedding and I have put it all back on including a fair extra chunk since then. I am back to being tired often and very uncomfortable and sore and in pain most of the time. I have developed a few bad habits over the last few months. Namely, junk food breakfasts and a return to non-diet soda as my primary source of liquids.

I can lose the weight. Not enough so that I will ever be anything other than a fat guy, I've come to terms with that. You will never describe me as "svelte." Ever. But I can lose a few pounds and be more comfortable than I am now. Maybe I can even reduce the chance of a heart attack that I can't imagine I am anything but destined for.

I will need help from my beloved bride, but I know I can straighten things out a little. Come January I will be back on the wagon.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Onion News

The Onion News reports that the new spokesman for the Republican Party is the reanimated corpse of Ronald Regan.

Zombie Reagan Raised From Grave To Lead GOP

Still beats Sarah Palin.

Crazy Weekend

That was a crazy weekend.

Jen hurt her back Saturday morning. We don't know how. She was fine one minute and the next she was in really terrible pain. We had a number of things planned for the weekend and we both really wanted to do it all, but the pain was just too much. She kept trying to fight through it like the trooper she is, but it was just too much.

I had to leave her alone for a few hours while I took the kids to a Christmas party (see the private page for pictures) but otherwise I just tried to stay with her and not make things worse and help her with whatever I could whenever I could.

She is going to see a Chiropractor for the first time ever. She's on her way there now. Driving is tough for her but she can do it. I feel bad that I'm not there to take her and help her in and out of the car.

Send your positive vibes Jenny's way in hopes that everything comes out all right, and hopefully they will be able to straighten out whatever went wrong and remove some of the pain she's in.

Good luck sweetie.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Spirit of Christmas

The funniest short film ever made. I forgot just how foul the language is in it. Don't watch if horrible language, or blasphemy, or violence against Jesus, children, or Santa Claus is offensive to you.

Damn, I love this cartoon.

Style Tags!

I just used a style tag to make the text on the body of a web page be Arial, while the text inside of a span tag is Verdana.

Oh yeah, I did it without writing HTML. I did it in Visual Studio using asp.

Yeah, who's bad?

(of course my gorgeous, saintly, wonderful, sweet, super-ultra-wicked-mega-GENIUS wife told me how to do it.)

Back Pain Again

My wife is still having back pains. It sucks. There's nothing I can do to help. I'm trying not to make things worse but I'm not doing a good job. Now I have to leave for a few hours and I don't want to.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Windows 7

We made a list of things we need in order to upgrade or home network to Windows 7. It turns out that Best Buy had a deal that made it cheaper for us to accomplish our goals by buying a new laptop.

Hello from our new laptop, running Windows 7. Jen is upgrading her laptop from XP to Win7 as we speak.

Thanks Best Buy!

Back Pain

My sweetie rolled over funny this morning and threw her back out. One minute she was fine and dandy 3/4 asleep talking with me about our plans for the day, the next she was in major pain and unable to move.

Plans are in the works for a visit to a chiropractor.

Send your no-back-pain-positive-vibes to the Mrs for me.


Friday, December 11, 2009


Having dinner at Bollywood on the Lawrence/N Andover line.

Isn't my sweetie a sweetie?

More New Muppets!

The Muppets are owning youtube these days. Here's another new video.

Carol of the Bells

Ugh Ugh Ugh Ugh

Some friends and I have for many years been big fans of the movie Highlander. The original movie. The sequels have been horrid piles of steaming garbage. The television shows were okay until they run so long that the premise of a few abnormal (no spoilers here) people hiding amongst the throngs of normal people gets silly, as the few becomes a couple dozen a year.

But the original movie... for all it's nearly countless flaws... is a huge ton of fun. It's near the point where Larry and Mike and I can carry on whole conversations using nothing but quotes from the movie. Yeah, we're that bad.

One of the best parts about this film... which really is a terrible film I have to admit, but I love it anyway... is the bad guy. Kurgan. He's a psychotic killing machine who's been throwing off catchy slogans whilst offing those weaker than he for hundreds of years. How can you not love it. Top it off, he likes playing chicken on New York streets. Perfect!

As is often the case with cultish movies with a cast made up of actors of questionable talents, it is not surprising that the actors you enjoyed watching don't show up in too many other notable films. The guy who played Kurgan, Clancy Brown, is one of those. I've seen him in a few low budget b-movie type rolls, but I can't think of anything major you might have seen him in. The one exception is that he played the drill sergeant in the movie Super Troopers.

I forget what I was looking at the other day... what was it... I think it was the internet movie database page on the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street when I saw his name in the cast. I clicked on the link to see what other work he's done. I thought maybe there was a movie I'd heard of but never seen that might be a good netflix/rental choice.

Turns out Mr Brown has done quite a bit of television voice over work. One item that caught my eye was the voice of Lex Luthor in recent Superman cartoons. Excellent!

Then I saw it...

The big one...

Something I've actually seen many, many times...

Clancy Brown... The Kurgan... the guy who got to say the killer catch phrase from Highlander something like 100 times... is the voice of SpongeBob SquarePants' boss, Mr. Krabs.


His coolness factor just rose by something like 100000000000%!

"There can be only one! ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh."

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thinking Ahead Again

I am still in a little bit of a New York state of mind. I just checked the forecast for New York, NY for Friday the 18th through Sunday the 20th. Some clouds, temps in the 30's, no precipitation. Perfect!

I also checked Methuen and Worcester, MA and Hartford and Bridgeport, CT. All cities along our travel route. They all had similar forecasts.

Now if it can just stay that way (or even warm up a little!) we'll be heading to New York for a little pre-Christmas travel.


Charlie Brown Christmas, Scrubs Style

This is three years old... I am not on the tip of cool. I never was. It's only got more than 2.25 million hits.

A Charlie Brown Christmas with the voices redone by the cast of Scurbs. Yeah, it's funny.

Car Pooling

Tonight is Jen's company Christmas party. I am leaving work a little early so I can go and meet her in time for it. Because we're both going to be in the same place at the end of the night we figured we'd experiment with something we talked about when she first started working at her current job.

Car Pooling.

Jen's office is very close to being precisely on my way to work. It's maybe 5 minutes out of my way, but that's all. Consider though that me driving five minutes out of my way can save 25-30 miles worth of gas and mileage for one of our cars and it seems very much worth it.

We can't do it on days where we get the kids after school, but we demonstrated today that we can do it on days when the kids wake up at our house but go to their dad's in the evening.

Did I mention I get to leave work a little early? I very much enjoy having vacation time. It's sweeeet.

Back to important things... hockey. The Bruins face the Maple Leafs tonight. They destroyed them 7-2 on Saturday and I fully expect an equal dismantling tonight. We need Phil Kessel to never win a single game against Boston, and we need the Leafs to come in dead last in the NHL this year and next year. A pounding win for the Bruins tonight brings those two goals closer.

Go Bruins.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Summing Up the Day

This is how I feel about the weather today...

California Dreamin'.

Wow, Did That Ever Suck

I left the house at 7:05am today and punched into work at 9:35. My 1.25 hour commute doubled to 2.5 hours. It's snowing like a mutha out there. Actually, now that I look out the office window it isn't snowing at all anymore. Figures.

Jen was the smart one, she worked from home today. I was the dolt who braved the storm... what little storm there was. It was never all that bad, but it was definitely bad enough to grip the wheel tight and pay attention.

Here is the obligatory camera phone picture (processed in Camera Bag. Yup, there's an app for that). I took this during one of the many, many times when I was stopped in the middle of the road.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It Was 29 Years Ago Today

29 years ago today John Lennon was taken from us.

Bring on the New Kids in the Hall

There is a new Kids in the Hall mini-series. I want to see it right now!

Here is a small taste of what we've been missing since The Kids went off the air...

AT&T Can Bite Me

Go back a few posts and see where I mentioned the AT&T Mark the Spot iPhone application. See where I mentioned how they would be getting a flood of complaints?

I have used the app six times already. As I was pulling out of the parking lot after work I got a text message from Jen asking me why I wasn't taking calls. I had no idea what she was talking about so I called her. Or at least I tried. I dialed and nothing happened. After about a minute of dial-tone-free dead air I got the double beep of a hang up.

There's the first complaint I posted.

I tried calling our home number and got the same results.

There's the second complaint I posted.

I sent a text message saying I didn't know what was wrong. I then rebooted the phone. I called Jen again and got a voice message saying that my call could not go through at this time. What??

There's the third complaint I posted.

I called our home phone again and got the same message. No dial tone. No attempt to place the call. Just the screw you message.

There's the fourth complaint I posted.

I then received a text from Jen saying she couldn't get through to me and would meet me at the place we went to tonight. At that time I noticed that my earlier text to her had failed to go through.

That's complaint number five.

Just as I posted that complaint the phone actually rang. It was Jen. I answered and immediately the call was dropped.

That's complaint number six.

Screw you AT&T. Screw you right in your stupid ass.


On an unrelated note, I am posting this using the new Google Chrome for Linux beta. It's been running for about 10 minutes now without crashing. Already the Linux version is better than the Windows version. Is anyone surprised by that? I sure ain't.

15 Day Accuweather Forecast

I just found a site that has a 15 day extended weather forecast. Here's what they have for New York, NY for the weekend after next:

It looks good if we left Friday evening and came back Saturday night.

Of course I have as much faith in a 15 day forecast as I do in monkeys flying out of my ass. But still, it's fun to look.

Weightlessness for 200K

Where did I put that $200,000? I had it with me a minute ago.

I want to take a ride into space on a commercial spacecraft. Five minutes of weightlessness is worth a good 200K, isn't it?

I think so. Sign me up for a seat on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo!

(assuming there is enough leg room for some one as tall as I am, and enough ass room for some one as wide as I am. If the seats are small and cramped together I will be shite out of luck, eh?)

AT&T is About to Get Swamped with Complaints

I just installed an app onto my phone. AT&T Mark the Spot.

The application lets you instantly send a complaint to AT&T when they drop a call, have a call fail, have a gap in their coverage network, or any fun things like that. I guarantee that once the word of this gets out to users their data servers will be flattened by the incoming deluge.

Serves them right.

One of Those Days

Do you ever have one of those days? Where nothing bad happens yet everything bugs you? Where you are hyper sensitive to annoyances?

I do. Not often, but I do.

I have a sneaking suspicion that today might become one of those days. I have no idea why... except maybe I'm just at the low ebb of my you-have-a-long-commute cheeriness cycle. Some times I don't mind the long commute. Sometimes I do. This morning after sitting at one light in Methuen for four cycles, and then another light in Concord for four cycles I think I reached the nadir. (I hope I used the word nadir correctly. I think I did. I could look it up to make sure, but I would rather convey my question about it to you, the kind reader, than actually act on my impulse to use the English language correctly for a change. In other words, I am that rare combination of long-winded and lazy. But I digress...)

This weekend we have a game night to attend. Jen and I have missed the last couple of these and I am hoping we'll have enough of our errands done in time to go this time. It's at Larry and Nawal's house and I want to see it. They recently redid the entire interior. I literally will not recognize the joint when I'm there.

On Sunday we are borrowing the kids from their dad to take them to a Christmas Party. My father has been a member of the organization that runs the Bingo at church. Every year for as far back as I can remember they have had a kids Christmas party for children and grandchildren of members. I went to it for years. Now for the first time my step kids get to go to it too. Santa Claus will be there, of course, handing out a gift to each kid. Rob will be there with a camera full of fresh batteries snapping away. Ho Ho Ho

The weekend after that we have the kids. Jen and I had talked a few weeks ago about the possibility of an overnight trip to New York. We talked about it and then forgot about it. Then last week we had a talk about how we were kind of feeling the need for a day trip somewhere. Sort of like our trips to the mountains. Drive for a while, do something fun, drive back. I started thinking about New York again. I thought, wouldn't it be swanky for us to drive to New York to do some Christmas shopping. It would, wouldn't it. Even better, wouldn't it be cool to bring the kids to New York to see Rockefeller Center and some of the other sites in all their Christmasly decorated glory. We have to wait for the extended weather forecasts to get out to that weekend, but it might be something we end up doing. If we do, you'll see 10,000,000 pictures or so.

Okay, talking about game night and Christmas parties and a lit up New York has greatly improved my mood.

Your humble narrator thanks you.

Monday, December 7, 2009


New Kids in the Hall!
New Kids in the Hall!
New Kids in the Hall!

An 8 episode mini series airing on the CBC. Please please please let some US network (preferably one on cable that won't have to censor any of the fun stuff) pick this up so I can see! Puh-Leeeeze!

In a Stabbin' Mood

I left the house at 7:10am today. The kids were buckled in and all the things they needed to bring to their dad's and to school were loaded into the trunk. That's 5-10 minutes later than I would have liked to have left, but it was okay. I did have to scrape ice off the windows before leaving though.

I had to stop and get gas. I didn't fill the tank, I just put $20 in. I did have to wait for the pump to ask me questions like, is this a rewards card? It also seemed to take a long time to authorize my debit card (dial-up speed?), and it pumped slow.

I dropped the kids off at a decent time but then got stuck in a little traffic getting back to the highway. I was behind some one who seemed to be overwhelmed with fear of turning right. It didn't take long though.

I exited route 93 and had to wait a few minutes on the ramp. It always takes a little time but it seemed worse today.

I had a long wait at a light on route 38. Another, longer, wait at route 3A. The wait turning onto route 4 was much longer than usual. I was starting to do a lot of clock watching at this point.

I usually spend less than 5 minutes on route 4. Today I spent over 15. Then I had a long wait turning onto Old Bedford Road. I had the normal wait crossing route 2, but that wait is pretty long on the best day. It was at that point that I got stuck behind "the slow guy." Speed limit 40 translated into 27-28 miles per hour.

I punched into work at 9:17. 127 minutes after I left the house.

I take all those back roads and side streets to avoid route 128 and all the traffic it suffers through on a daily basis.

It turns out that because of this everyone else did too.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Harry Potter Christmas

Jen told the kids that from now until the big day we would watch nothing but Christmas specials. That bumbed out a certain eight year old who wanted to watch Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.

Then it occurred to me... don't all of the Potter books include a chapter on Christmas break? Well there you go, all of the Potter movies ARE Christmas movies! We blew through Sorcerer's Stone and then jumped forward to Goblet of Fire on Blu-ray.

Merry Christmas Hogwarts!
The 2009 "Dead Relatives Tour" is winding down. Another enjoyable day with family. It sounds morbid but it's really a good thing.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


It's going to snow tonight.

I hate snow.

We are at Target trying to get snow outfits for the kids before we need them... Unlike last year.

I'm hoping that being prepared results in the snow giving us a miss this year.

Hope hope hope

Friday, December 4, 2009

Christmas Special Bonanza

While out resident eight year old is out enjoying her very first sleep over birthday party, our resident six year old is being allowed to stay up way past his bed time. He is also in charge of the television.

So far we've watched The Polar Express and Frosty the Snowman. Now we are starting to watch Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

Does it get better than that? Not in December it doesn't!


So I've been listening to Stephen King's Dark Tower series books on tape while driving to and from work. I've mentioned that before, haven't I? (ad nauseam?)

Well, anyway... I'm on the last book. Nearing the end, but not quite there yet. Part of the story takes place in 1999 and King often refers to that time as, "the year of '99." Every time I hear that phrase a song by Queen pops into my head and stays there for hours. The song is "'39" from A Night at the Opera and the phrase is actually "In the year of '39" but it doesn't matter, it gets into my head and stays there.

Now you can have it stuck in your head too! (Robbie's power trip! Muahahahaha!)

Now anyone who knows anything about Queen records knows that "Bohemian Rhapsody" is on the A Night at the Opera album and sure, that's the money track. But... I think the marketing folks got it wrong. There is another song on that record that, to me, is even more impressive. It's called "The Prophet's Song." It tops 8 minutes, so get yourself a snack or something before playing it. You may want to turn out the lights and hold up a bic lighter or something... it's one of those.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tree - Complete

Something Something Something Dark Side

Family Guy.
Star Wars.

Kindle or Tablet (assuming there is a tablet)?

I read this MacRumors article this morning. It talks about a New York Times report on an IDC report on the much rumored Apple Tablet.

My first thought on the possibility of a Tablet was simple. I'd rather a MacBook. If I am going to get any Apple product that is more powerful than my iPhone I will get the most powerful sucker available. Who wouldn't?

Then I heard about the Tablet being used as Apple's entry into the budding e-reader market. I really like the idea of Amazon's Kindle. Think about it... your whole library; magazines, newspapers, and all, stashed in one little electronic device. Sorta like... oh, I don't know... an iPod.

Then, after reading the above mentioned article this morning, I posed a question to myself (and to Jen, via Google Wave. I like Google Wave. I love Jen. Oh yes, I do love her very much): Which would I rather spend my dough on? An awesome e-reader, or an awesome e-reader that lets me check Facebook and Twitter (and Blogger too!) and occasionally play Pocket God?

If the prices are comparable (always assuming the Tablet actually exists) then I think the answer is pretty clear.

Star Wars Uncut

Really... if I had any video skill at all... actually, if I had even a tiny bit of video skill... I would grab a bunch of scenes and join in on this.

Star Wars Uncut.

Watch the trailer.

Star Wars: Uncut Trailer from Casey Pugh on Vimeo.

Fake Christmas

You know what a Fake Book is, right?


Didn't you go to music school?


Okay, a Fake Book is a collection of sheet music. Most often they are associated with Jazz Standards, but you can get Fake Books in other genres as well. You buy a book for the key of your instrument. Guitar is in C, alto saxophone is in Eb (pronounced E-flat for those of you not in the know), trumpet is in Bb, ect ect. The sheet music consists of the melody, the chord changes, and the lyrics. It's up to you to put together an arrangement.

Why am I thinking about this?

The kids have been taking piano for a while now. They are well beyond the early beginner stuff and are doing cool stuff like playing chords and using both hands.

Wouldn't it be groovy to get a book of Christmas music. Each kid could pick a song or two and play the melody on the piano while some fat red head plays the changes on guitar. That could be fun couldn't it?

Couldn't it?

Twitter Lists

I took the twitter feed off of this page. There were two reasons. First, last night it was showing some one else's feed. I don't know who it was, but it sure as hell wasn't mine. I checked the set up and it still had my user and the test still showed my tweets, but when I reloaded the page it wasn't showing anything of mine.

The other reason is related to twitter lists, and the blog security purge from earlier this year. I was added to a list made up entirely of people who have my last name. I haven't a clue who the person who set it up is except that we share a last name and he's from Illinois. Other than that.. nuttin.

The problem is that I am trying to keep references to last names off of this page and if I kept the twitter feed you could click on that and figure out my last name. So off it goes.

The other problem had to do with some of the other twitter users on the list. Spam, in other words. What a bummer. I only gave the list a cursory glance, but noticed many a familiar tweet. The teeth whitening spam was there (your dentist doesn't want you to know about this!). The webcam porn posts were there (I'm throwing a party and you're invited >insert porn link here<). It made me feel sort of bad for those of us on the list who are actual people. It made me sad. I took a very quick look at opting out of the list but I don't think you can.

I could remove my last name from my account. As it is it doesn't display (at least I don't think it does). I don't want to do that though, because if there is a chance that some one I might know might want to find me on twitter I'd like to give them a chance. I'm on the fence about that one. I'll probably just take my last name off the account.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The kids and I did some major tree work. We're not even close to done yet.

Commence with the Decorating!

Look at the post I made prior to this one. I'll give you a second to scroll down...

>whistling while waiting<

Are you back? It was a Christmas tree, right? Good.

So last night Jen and I got a Christmas tree.

The original plan was to buy a tree on Friday, set it up in the designated tree place, let it spread out on Saturday, and then decorate it on Sunday. That was before we checked the calendar and realized we were busy Sunday. So we re-planned and decided to buy the tree Wednesday, the decorate it on Friday. Right about that time we saw a weather forecast calling for Wednesday evening rain. (The current forecast has pushed that off to late night. Oh well)

Then Jen and I got to talking (over Google Wave) about maybe getting an artificial tree. The tree we had last year made a god awful mess. Jen and I both grew up in fake tree families. She had a fake tree the Christmas before meeting me. It would cost us more this year but probably save us money in the future. After much back and forth we decided that getting an artificial tree would be the way to go for us at this time.

It was a bit of foresight on our part that might just make you folks think we're psychic or some crap.

We were at Target (tar-jhay) last night looking at trees when Jen's fantastic iPhone rang. It was a certain eight year old girl who was staying at her father's house that night. She had been invited to a sleep over on Friday and was asking her mom if she could go. We looked into the calendar and agreed that yes, she could go. Which meant our decision to pick up a tree on Tuesday was no longer a spur of the moment thing. It had become a necessity! (like how I am trying to make buying a fake Christmas tree more dramatic than it really is? You're welcome)

So now the plan is officially, buy tree Tuesday, decorate Wednesday, go to music lesson Thursday, go to sleep over Friday, baby sit baby Saturday, visit graves and have dinner with lots of family Sunday. >whew!<

Now for the ridiculously amazing part...

When I was a kid and we had a fake tree it was a huge, laborious process to put it together. There was a pole with holes in it. You put the pole into a tree stand. Then you put the color coordinated branches into the appropriate holes on the pole. There was a truck load of color coded branches and it took a very long time to get them into place.

Not any more. Our tree has a stand and three tree sections. You put the bottom section into the stand and unfold the branches, then put the middle section into the bottom section and unfold, then put the top into the middle and again unfold. We were done with the whole thing, including adjusting the branches to fill in an gaps, in just about 10 minutes. It was glorious.

So now we are fully prepared to take care of all of our Christmas decorating tonight. It's going to be fun. To make it even better, I had some accumulated time off from work that I had to get rid of so I am leaving early this afternoon. I call that a double bonus!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Happy Merry

My Lovey-Do

Space Shuttle Ascent Video

This is cool. It's video from a variety of different cameras following the ascent of a Space Shuttle launch.

Yeah, nerd city.

Just skip over the first two and a half minutes or so. It's nothing but credits.

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Bad Hockey

So there was no Bruins game last night (there was a Patriots game and they got slaughtered by New Orleans) but there were a couple of interesting moments in the NHL.

First, there was Alex Ovechkin playing like an out of control lunatic... again. On at least one occasion this year there has been talk about suspending him. Of course he wasn't because the NHL does not suspend it's stars, never mind the game's best player.

Last night though, he initiated a knee on knee hit on Tim Gleason of the Hurricanes. (was Gleason a Lock Monster? I don't think so. I think he was a Monarch which is an unforgivable sin in my book) Cam Neely fans see hits like this and get really mad. Cam might still be on the ice (that's a humongous stretch of the imagination, I know) instead of in the front office if not for a hit similar to this.

Take a look:

He is clearly guilty. There is no way the league can't punish him given his recent history of playing like an asshole. I don't care how many MVPs and scoring titles the guy has. He's always had a bit of a loose cannon vibe about him, and frankly that was what made him so fun to watch... that and the fact that he is so good he looks like he's toying with the entire league half the time... but he's just going too far. The league should sit him for a few games. I wouldn't mind seeing as many as five.

Of course the question is, how many of those games will he actually be able to physically play. He looks like he seriously messed up that knee. After watching Cam Neely... you have to wonder if he's ever coming back at all, or at least if he'll be the same player when he does come back. I very much want to see him punished for that hit, but I do want to see him back healthy when the punishment is over. That's just scary.

There was one other very interesting moment in the league last night. A stick swinging incident. This time involving Florida's Keith Ballard hitting Florida's Tomas Vokoun. Yeah, you read that right. This douche back played T-Ball using his OWN GOALIE'S HEAD as the ball.

Watch and be amazed at the glowing stupidity:

I don't know what else to say about this one. How stupid can you get? The league has said that Ballard won't be suspended... but something has to happen to him. If I were the Panther's coach I'd bench him for... for... ever. If I were the GM I'd cut him. How can you keep a schmuck like this on your team? How?? The good news here is that Vokoun seems to be all right. He was taken from the ice on a stretcher and brought to a hospital, but it looks like the extent of his injury is a cut on his face. I hope he beats the living shit out of Ballard. I don't like to condone violence or anything... but... but... Ballard totally has it coming.

Damn hockey is a fun game, isn't it??