Thursday, July 30, 2009

Junk Food Bliss

Remember this post from earlier this month?

The one with a story giving a recipe for homemade oreo cookies?

My beautiful wife just one upped it.

Here is a recipe for cookie dough cupcakes.

When we were looking into bakeries for the wedding we ended up at the Cupcake Factory in Andover. One of their flavors was a cookie dough cupcake. We tried it. We loved it. We asked for one of the tiers of our cake to be cookie dough. They made it. We loved it. We want more.

We have the kids this weekend and were looking for things to do. I think if the kids are up for it we might have a baking bonanza and try to make both of these mouth watering junk food desserts.

I can't wait!

Happy Monthiversary

She and I have been married for two months.

Happy two months sweetie!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sleep Would be Nice

Damn it's rough being old and trying to function on less than five hours of sleep.

We spent last evening at my sister's new house babysitting her baby. He was very good all night. He ate his dinner and a big chunk of Jen's. He was smiling and playing and squirming around and being great. We had two short crying moments. First when we were changing him and then later when we put him to bed. We definitely heard two words clearly, "mama" and "dada". We might also have heard something that might possibly have been "yes" but we're not sure.

Lisa and Ken were at the Red Sox game which just happened to go into extra innings (after the Sox blew a nice healthy lead... the jerks). So they didn't get home until after midnight, and they actually left before the game ended. We got home a few minutes after 1:00am and then the alarm clock went off at 5:30. Nice!

Jen and I both went to Lisa and Ken's straight from work which meant both of our cars were there. When we left we decided to take one car and leave the other there. Which of course meant we had to leave home early this morning to go get it. It resulted in me getting to work very early, Lisa and Ken live about half way between me and work, and Jen getting there a little late. She had to ride with me way out of her way and then drive back. Sorry sweetie.

The sleepiness is taking it's toll. I currently have an IV dripping caffeine directly into my blood stream. I must also admit to having had a Snickers bar for breakfast. Not healthy, but satisfying... as the jingle says.

Tonight there are no plans. Just staying home and hanging out with the kids. Perhaps hamburgers on the grill are in order?

The Moon

Another iPhone astrophotography picture.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

iPhone astrophotography (daylight edition). The (very faint) moon.

William Shatner is KING

First he was Captain James T. Kirk, clearly the coolest man in history, past or future.
Then he was T.J. Hooker, the bad ass cop you wish was protecting your neighborhood.
These days he's Denny Crane (please tell me I spelled that right) the lawyer you want to have your back.

But now he is so much more than that.

Now he is Sarah Palin's translator.

Watch and be dazzled by The King.

Driving + Taking Pictures = Difficult

Yesterday I was driving home from work and I came up with what may be the nerdiest idea for a picture post yet. I would keep my phone in one hand, with the camera on, and take a picture of anyone I saw along the road who wasn't in a car. Walking, running, biking, standing in a parking lot, pumping gas, doing yard work, anything.

Neat idea, right? Sort of a street view/photo walk type thing with the only catch being I was moving at about 40 miles per hour the whole time.

It's not as easy as you might think. Here are a few examples of the results.

Is that the steering wheel? Wooops

I timed this one perfectly. Look at that wonderful front bicycle tire.

There is probably some one on the other side of the car... or that thing that looks almost like a car. It might actually be the best picture ever, assuming I caught the car just as it entered warp. (Star Trek reference of the day)

I think I am just stupid enough to try this one again. Not today though.

My cousin has season tickets to the Red Sox. (lucky stiff!) As a wedding present he gave Jen and me two tickets to tonight's game. Unfortunately I am both a fat ass and super tall. I don't actually fit into my cousin's seats. Besides, we are on a major debt reducing kick right now and with it being the end of the month we are pretty much broke. So we thought it would be nice to give the tickets to my nephew for his 1st birthday. He in turn gave them to his parents. Seeing how generous the one year old was, Jen and I decided to offer to baby sit.

That was before the Red Sox announced that they are going to retire Hall of Fame Member Jim Rice's number 14 at tonight's game. Damn, I wish I was shorter and thinner. (no I don't... I don't wish I was shorter)

So Lisa and Ken are going to go to the Red Sox game tonight while Jen and I babysit our nephew. I am a die hard Red Sox fanatic who became a fan during Jim Rice's prime and will always consider him one of my favorite players... and it seems like a fair trade to me.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Dental X-Rays SUCK, and Did You Know Fat Burns?

Great weekend. I said it already, but I'm saying it again. It was a great weekend. It's all Jennifer's fault of course, that goes without saying.

Saturday we thought it might be fun to have my friends Larry and Nawal, and Mike and Tammy and their daughter over for a cookout. Prior to that though, I had to see a Dentist.

That was the one downer part of the weekend. I have never been very good with Dentists. I'm not afraid, I just gag like a child every time they try to take x-rays. It's all in my head, I know that very well, but every time I try I make a fool out of myself and get really frustrated. The technician held the film out and asked me to open my mouth, and as soon as it hit me I started choking. We only managed to get a couple of less than high quality images of the problem area, and a panoramic shot of all of my teeth. The panorama did not require me to open my mouth, hence the success.

In the end I got the same info I always get. We can pull the bad teeth or you can get a root canal and get them fixed... but given your choking tendencies you're not going to be able to handle getting them fixed. So I ask if they can put me under general sedation while doing the fix-it job and they say no. I ask if they can refer some one who will and they say no. So... pain killers it is.

I have another appointment in a couple of weeks with the oral surgeon attached to the office I visited on Saturday in the hopes that he can help determine which of my two potentially bad teeth are causing the current pain, and in the fantasy that he might have some luck keeping me from approaching the projectile vomiting point.

But wait, wasn't I just saying this was a great weekend?

After the dental fiasco Jen and I went to a farm stand and got some fresh veggies and corn on the cob. Then we went to a butcher and got some good steak and some good chicken breasts.


Then we went home and made the salad. I went out to the grill and cooked the chicken. I am not one of those guys who considers himself a grill master or anything like that. I was yelling questions through the window to my wife who is the real grill master in the family.

The chicken looked good. I took it off the flame and put it onto the grill's top rack so it could stay warm. Jen came out and put the steaks on and Larry and Nawal showed up. We were all standing around in the yard watching the grill when Tammy called me. I figured they were knocking on the door wondering where we were, so I walked to the front of the house. Alas she was just calling to say they were running a few minutes late. No problem, says I, and I went back to the back yard...

Where I see a column of black smoke rising from the grill.

Uh oh, thinks I.

Jen and Larry were standing in front of it working up the courage to open the top. When they did there was a full on five alarm blaze roaring inside. The gas was quickly shut off and the fire died down in no time. The steaks were a little blackened on the bottom, but they weren't too bad. The chicken, however, was burned to a crisp.

The grill was turned back on with the gas very low and the steaks were finished. We went in and ate, all wondering how bad the damage was going to be. The steaks were excellent. Jen was cutting her's with a butter knife, that's how excellent. The chicken was badly burned on the outside, but it was perfect on the inside. So a little scraping was necessary, so what. That's the price we must pay for a funny back yard grill story.

We then retired to the new living room and watched a couple of movies. First we watched Disney's Cinderella, for the two year old's enjoyment, and then Mike and Tammy had to leave to put the little one to bed. After they left it was all about The Godfather on blu-ray. We only got as far as Michael blowing away Solotzo and McClusky, but it looked great and we'll watch the rest soon.

That brought our excellent Saturday to a close. I failed to get a picture of the back yard conflagration, but I did manage to get a shot of this random cloud. Yeah, Robert is a dork. Deal with it.


On Sunday we had nothing planned so we slept as late as we could. In my younger years the phrase, "as late as I could" would have meant something like 3:00pm. These days it was more like 11:00am.

When we finally got up we decided to have another cookout. At first it was going to be just the two of us, but then we agreed to send out invites to my family. John and Mary and Sarah already had plans, and Lisa and Ken and Patrick were busy working on their new house. My parents were free but were a little concerned about the predicted thunderstorms and the flood watch that Jen and I had managed to not hear anything about. My parents decided to hold off on agreeing to come over while Jen and I got some more steaks. We were going to cook out even if a hurricane hit. A few hours later we checked the forecast and it said the rain would hold off until around 9:00pm. We called my folks and set dinner for 5:00.

The act of grilling was a little less eventful this time, although we did have more flames. It wasn't the hell fire Saturday had been, and there was no black smoke, but there were some good sized flames. The greater concern was the 30 minutes or so of almost constant, non-stop thunder. Fortunately, the first rain drop hit me as we were taking the steaks off the grill. By the time we got to the back door it was raining a little, and by the time the steaks were on the table it was a full on torrential downpour. My parents came in at about the same time, and we sat down to eat successful cook out number two.

After dinner we sat at the table gabbing for a while and then my parents left. Jen and I spent the rest of the evening sitting on the new couch spending time together just enjoying each other's company.

I've said it before but I must say it again. My wife is extraordinary. She's amazing. She's wonderful. She's everything I have ever wanted in another person. I love her. I am the luckiest man alive.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


It's almost over, but this weekend has been great. We had a cookout with friends yesterday and a cookout with my parents today. It was just a great time.

Thanks for being wonderful Jen. I love you.

Free Time

Today is the first day in ages that we have nothing planned. It feels
good! If the weather holds we will cook out!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cook Out Part Deux

Today Jen and I are having my two oldest and bestest friends and their wives over for dinner.

Quote o' the Day

"French fries are just a condiment delivery mechanism."

As spoken by my beautiful wife.

My wife is married to a guy who doesn't handle dentist visits very well.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Mark Buehrle

File this one under unreal.

In 1880 a guy by the name of Lee Richmond was pitching for the Worcester Ruby Legs of the National Baseball League. On June 12th he faced the Cleveland Blues and tossed the first perfect game in the history of major league baseball. 27 Cleveland hitters went to the plate and all 27 were retired without reaching base.

A perfect game is probably the most unlikely of all individual acheivements in baseball (with the possible exception of an unassisted triple play, there have only been 14 of those). In the 129 years since Lee Richmond did it, it has happened exactly 18 times. Mark Buehrle of the Chicago White Sox threw number 18 yesterday.

Congratulations to Mark Buehrle and the Chicago White Sox. Also, thanks to them as well for doing it against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Here is's perfect game page. Also, for the record, here is their unassisted triple play page.

I would also, being a total Massachusetts homer, like to add that while the first National League perfect game was thrown for Worcester (I bet you didn't even know there used to be a National League team from Worcester), the first American League perfect game was thrown in 1904 by some guy named Cy Young who was pitching for some team from Boston. You knew I was going to throw something pro-Red Sox into this, didn't you. Yeah, you did.

I Know Exactly Why I am Tired Today

This morning at 3:00am the toothache woke up. Seconds later, so did I.

The toothache has been there off and on for a couple of months now. It hasn't been that big a deal. It starts to hurt, I take some Tylenol, the hurt goes away, I carry on with my life.

Yesterday during the day it wasn't bad at all. I didn't need any dope to dull the pain, it just didn't bother me. It started acting up again not long before bed though, and I took some Tylenol at about 9:00pm.

When I woke up at 3:00am I got out of bed and took some more. I went back to bed and quickly fell back to sleep.

For about 20 minutes.

I was awake again before 3:30am and I haven't slept since. The pain isn't agonizing, I can still function, it is just bad enough to keep me from having any chance of falling asleep. I got out of bed about an hour later and went to Uncle Jimmy's chair and tried to sleep sitting up straight. No luck. I then resigned myself to wakefulness and grabbed a book. I paused briefly for a battle to the death with a centipede (guess who won) and later ended up on my computer looking for Rush bootlegs.

I have given up trying to fight the offending tooth myself and have made an appointment with a Dentist in Methuen. My lifelong Dentist, Dr Cleary, has retired and I have to find a new one. It's going to be sad not hearing my dentist swear during the check up.

Total change of subject: Yesterday I was all excited that we would be able to take the kids to karate this week. There are two problems with that. First, I now have a dentist appointment tomorrow morning. Second, and most important, we don't have the kids this weekend. I got so excited about a free Saturday morning that I forgot the little when-do-we-get-the-kids detail. Urgh

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Still Tired

Why am I so tired? I'm exhausted. Last week was one of those weeks where every night we some how managed to stay up way too late, and then when we did go to bed neither of us slept well at all.

This week we have been going out of our way to get to bed early. Generally between 9:00 and 9:30. I have been getting good night's sleep every night, but still I am tired all the time. Caffeine is helping to keep me going, but it's only helping so much.

Why am I so tired? I wonder if I have mono again?

(note: the only reason I mentioned mono is we watched an episode of Scrubs [we're up to season four, about half way through the entire series] where a patient was misdiagnosed as having mono... not because I think I have mono. Self diagnosis is fun!)

Totally Off Topic Alert! (but totally on topic for the last post): We will be able to take the kids to Karate on Saturday. We've missed that the last couple of times because we've been so crazy busy. That's something else to put on the Saturday agenda. Nice!


I knew all along that today was Thursday. In fact, one of the kids asked me what day it was earlier and I answered Thursday.

So why does it feel so much like Friday?

We have no set plans for the weekend. It's been a Long time since we've been able to say that. There is a tentative plan for something tomorrow, and I think one of the blue car's turn signals is out... just in time for the inspection sticker to expire next week. So there are two things. But otherwise the potential for a quiet, stay at home and do nothing weekend is very high. I like that.

We just have to get through two more work days. Urgh.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Another "Good Luck" Post

Once again my wife is in need of some good luck. I don't want to publicly air what it is she needs good luck for (yet) but I do want to branch out into the ether and see if I can pull in any good vibes for her.

So I will leave yet another of these vague, somewhat cryptic posts asking all who pass by to take a second and wish my wife good luck today. She has a lot of fish frying right now and could use a little universal good will when she adds another one, and then the karma could help in making the ultimate decision.

She's amazing, she's brilliant, she's talented, and everyone who knows her sees it. So let's just wish her good luck with what she's doing today.

Good luck sweetie!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Last night we did nothing. Somehow that was a strange sensation.

I got home a little before Jen and turned on the fans because our house is the muggiest place on Earth. She came home from the store and started cooking some corn on the cob and opened up some windows. I went outside and nervously sparked up our grill for the first time in almost a year. After some much needed cleaning I cooked some burgers and dogs, and joked with our neighbor saying I was afraid the whole sucker was going to blow up).

We ate our cook out at the table and then sat there talking about all the interesting details of the sale of Jen's company and the integration between the old companies and the new company. We went to bed early but kept talking about her options for the future.

Then we fell asleep.

We did nothing, and it was still a wonderful night for me. Why? Because I was with Jen, that's why. She's amazing. I love her. I am the luckiest man alive.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The grill still works

Despite seasons of neglect it still works.

Jupiter Got Popped in the Pole

I saw a link to this article on twitter today.

Apparently an amateur astronomer, named Anthony Wesley from Canberra, Australia, taking pictures of Jupiter last night noticed a new spot near the South pole. Apparently it is completely black and bears a resemblance to the black spots caused by the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9's impact in 1994. Apparently many people agree that it was in fact caused by an impact. Apparently there are people using great big honkin' infrared telescopes confirming that it was in fact caused by an impact.

Here is a link to Anthony Wesley's (temporary) website where he lists the details.

(Apparently slashdot ran a story about this that included a link to his website and the traffic hosed his server.)

So, apparently on the day we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the first humans setting foot on a giant rock in space that is not called Earth, another giant rock in space crashed into a giant ball of gas in space.

Also, apparently by coincidence, on the same day some red haired nerd in Massachusetts set the world record for use of the word "apparently" in a blog post.

What a world... what a universe.

Apollo 11

Originally uploaded by robj_1971
I wish I could have witnessed it. I hope that I'll get another chance.

It was 40 Years Ago Today

Apollo 11: 40 years ago today humans walked on the surface of the moon for the first time. We've sent machines to other worlds, but Apollo 11, 12, and 14-17 are the only times we've sent people to other worlds. It still boggles the mind that we were able to pull of such an achievement. It further boggles the mind that we stopped doing it 37 years ago.

Let's go back, shall we?

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Today's huge event is going to my nephew's 1st birthday party. His birthday was actually Friday and his folks gave him a little private cake... and he smooshed it all over himself without eating a single bite. I am hoping for a similar smooshing today.

It should be fun.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

At Logan Airport

We are sitting in baggage claim waiting to pick up Larry and Nawal who
are returning from their (slightly) delayed honeymoon trip to Hawaii.
This is totally addictive!

Sort of Busy Saturday, Sort of Not Busy Saturday

Today will be busy in spurts. We're dumping Verizon FiOS in favor of Comcast so the install will be happening sometime between 8am and noon. We're sort of tied to the house at that point. Later Jen's mother and step father are coming over for a visit. They want to check out the new living room. After that they will be watching the kids while Jen and I go to Logan Airport to pick up Larry and Nawal who are returning from a two week trip to Hawaii. After that we hopefully will have time to take Jen's folks out to dinner to thank them for babysitting.

Lots of things to do, but lots of down time in between... which is good because we're exhausted after a very-short-on-sleep kinda week.

Friday, July 17, 2009

I can feel the magical mystery power of the Three Wolf Moon.

Worlds worst driver

What's the next Challenge?

I've been thinking about the moon landings a lot the last couple of days. I've needed something to cheer me up now and then and seeing humans literally doing the impossible is usually a good way to do it.

President Kennedy challenged us to send a man to the moon and bring him back safely. We did that. What's the next challenge? A lot of people commenting on various Apollo 11 related stories I've read seem to think that Mars is the next step. I agree that Mars is a step, but is it the next one?

President John F. Kennedy and I are both Irish Catholics from Massachusetts, so I feel I am qualified to make the next challenge to my fellow American citizens.

I challenge us to land a man on the moon and bring him back safely... after living on the moon for six months.

There you go NASA. Get to work.

Apollo 11 in Pictures (thanks

Here is a link to a story on Apollo 11 from It is 40 photographs taken at different stages of the mission, from training through the return. The photos are fantastic and the story is even better.

Ignore the Decimal Point

Posted via email from Robert's posterous

Thursday, July 16, 2009

It was 40 Years Ago Today

40 years ago today Apollo 11 launched.

Let's watch the launch together, shall we?

The lunar landing took place on July 20, 1969, but today is the anniversary of the actual lift off. Apollo 11 to me represents humanity at it's best.

Living Room Redux

A couple of weeks ago Jen and I were casually talking about how big the sectional couch in the living room was. It's big enough to sit 5 adults and it takes up all of one wall in our living room and half of another. It's a really nice couch. It's a really BIG nice couch.

We talked a little bit about maybe getting a new one. At the time it was a casual conversation. Two weeks and a trip to IKEA, Bernie and Phyl's furniture, a couple of stops in wal-mart, and a quick visit to Bed Bath and Beyond later and we have a completely redesigned living room. The only things left are the two floor to ceiling lights, one of the end tables, my uncle's reclining chair, my other uncle's wall clock, and our awesome hi-def television.

At IKEA we bought a new television stand, a huge book case, four sets of DVD shelves, some nice new lights, and a side board. At Bernie and Phyl's we bought a new couch and a table to fit behind the new couch. Wal-mart chipped in with curtains, a rug, and another light... of the lava variety, and Bed Bath and Beyond supplied a table runner for the side board... and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few things.

The TV moved from the bay windows to the opposite wall, the one the sectional completely filled. The couch and the couch table moved to the bay windows which lets us actually reach two of the windows that were previously blocked off. The recliner moved from next to the door to beside the opposite window. The DVDs surround the TV stand, and the book case takes up some of the space formerly covered by the sectional.

We're really happy with how it looks. There might be further tweeks. Jen isn't 100% happy with the new rug, and neither of us are all that thrilled with the table runner. We're going to live with them for a while and see if they grow on us. Partly because we're both so beat from working our asses off on this project, and because we want to do similar things with the kids' rooms, our bedroom, and the office.

Here are some pictures. In my usual dork mode I took too many. First I got all the angles without using the camera flash, then I took most of the same angles with the flash. (As always, click the images to see the Flickr pages where you can click the all sizes button and then click the link called original and see the full sized images.)

I hope you like it.

2009-07-15 - Living Room Redux 007

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2009-07-15 - Living Room Redux 014

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2009-07-15 - Living Room Redux 017

2009-07-15 - Living Room Redux 001

2009-07-15 - Living Room Redux 002

2009-07-15 - Living Room Redux 003

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2009-07-15 - Living Room Redux 005

2009-07-15 - Living Room Redux 006

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Day Off

I took a vacation day and even though it's only 6:53am I am liking it.

A couple of pieces of furniture are scheduled to be delivered between 10 and 2. After that we might be driving to Connecticut.

I am sore from head to toe but I won't complain about it. These have been a very domestically adventurous couple of days and I have enjoyed it very much.

If all goes well there will be pictures today.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Just a Thought

When I was much younger I had a job that required me to do a lot of maintenance work on floors. One major task was to strip all of the wax off of a tiled floor, mop a sealer onto it, and then once it was dry mop on a few new coats of wax. Fortunately for me, any time I was working on a project like that the only other people in the building at the time were the people who were working with me. No random people would be walking on the floor as we worked on it.

I've never worked with carpets before. Also I have never worked on a floor in a high traffic area like an office building. Because of this I cannot draw on personal experience when giving advice to people who carpet office buildings.

However, I think it might be a good idea for people in the office building carpeting industry that maybe, and I just say maybe, if you pull up a carpet on a floor that has a lot of traffic and then apply an industrial carpeting adhesive to the floor you might, and I just say might, want to put up some caution signs to keep people's wives from walking onto the adhesive covered floor and in turn prevent people's wives from falling over and slamming their knees onto the floor while simultaneously dropping an arm full of things which are then rendered ruined by the copious amounts of industrial carpeting adhesive they land on.

Just a thought, you fucking morons.

The wife in question is all right but her knee is swollen and her pride is bruised and I hope the idiots working on the floor get hit by trucks tonight. Assholes.

The Living Room Redesign Continues

Another day another new pile of furniture in the living room.

Last night Jen, in her incredibleness, surprised me by putting together the last of the new DVD shelves and bringing all the cables over to the new TV stand. She's incredible.

That's when the nastiness started. She tried to slide the TV stand a few inches to the right and BAM! two pieces came undone. I went over IKEA's somewhat cryptic instructions and checked the components in question pretty thoroughly and we did not seem to do anything wrong. We just happened to have two pieces of one of the front shelves (which also make up part of the support for the TV stand itself) come undone a little.

The question stood: Do we put it back together or do we replace it. After some soul searching and a little arguing and some nerves and some general pissed-off-at-the-TV-stand-ness we decided to fix it. It went back together pretty easily and is holding fine. I even put most of my excessive weight on it and it didn't wiggle or wobble or anything. We put it into place and ran all the necessary cables through it and decided to make a new house rule: If the TV stand needs to be moved, two people have to move it together and it must be lifted off the ground, not dragged. Of course 10 minutes later we discovered the Playstation 3 didn't fit on the shelf and we needed to rearrange some of the cables... which meant moving the damn thing again. It went fine. No problems. No wiggles or wobbles. The TV is currently sitting on it and all seems to be well.

I'm gonna keep an eye on it though.

Next we put everything into the place it's going to stay until we move out of chez-duplex and bolted it all to the walls. Then we moved our massive DVD collection to the new shelves. I was a bad worker and snuck a blu-ray onto the newly moved TV. Rush - Snakes and Arrows Live. What can I say, I like music while I redecorate.

About that time Jen had to go to the back room to get ready for work. She was on call last night starting at 10:30. Usually her on calls last an hour or so. Last night was more like three. It gave me time to move the books to the new book case and bring the old book case, the old TV stand, and one end table that is no longer of any use out to the street in the hopes that some one will take them. That some one may be the weekly trash pick up, but if it's a random passerby then that's cool with us too.

We still have one more IKEA item to put together. It's a big side board that will go in place of the old book case and the now useless end table. We both agree that putting it together is going to redefine the term "bitch" but it will get done tonight. Then we will clean up the now empty area where the television used to live in preparation for two additional pieces of furniture that will be delivered tomorrow.

Once those items are in place we will have a completely redesigned living room and I will post some pictures. Once that is done we will start working on the kids' rooms. After that it will be the office. Then our bedroom. Then... we'll see.

We're going to have a whole new house.

Check Off Another One

The house centipede population has decreased by one. We had only seen three this season and we got two of them. Today we made it three.

Get out of my house you horrible, vile, evil looking bastards!

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Band in Pictures

Jen used my phone to take pictures of our third and final set last Saturday. Today I ran some of them through camera bag, and loaded them onto my computer. I then deleted the originals off of my phone. After that I noticed that many of them needed to be edited to avoid posting pictures of kids onto the web. So some of the camera bag stuff is pretty much blown. Still, here's what I have along with a couple of unprocessed images. As always, click the images to enlarge them. Everything on my phone ended up on flickr, one way or another. Some of these might be blog post repeats, but you just gotta deal with it, okay? Okay.

First we have my favorite photographer, as well as my favorite person, and just plain favorite everything. My wife, Jen.

Now the only other picture I took. The stage area. Three Les Pauls. Mine, Tim's, and Steve's. Beautiful, huh?

This is the only picture I could find that sort of has the four members of the line up I played in who played at the party. Me, Dave the bass player, Jeff the singer/drummer is in the back where you can just barely see him, and Steve the guitar player/host.

I was smiling at my wife when she took this.

I was smiling at my wife for this one too, only much more retardedly.

You can sort of see all four of us in this one but Steve is in the shadows.

I'm not a good singer but I seem to end up doing it a lot.

Jeff is not only an excellent singer but he is absolutely THE KING on drums.

I think Steve set the band record for rock poses.

Gibson Les Paul Custom: Cool enough to make any schlub look good, especially me.

There you have it. If you want a few more you can go here and get your fix.

Post IKEA Van Photo

Our van, after loading up at IKEA.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

My wife, in her wonderfulness, took a slew of iPhone pictures of the
band playing at Steve's party yesterday. It was a ton of fun.
Musically it was a tiny bit better than disasterous, but only a tiny
bit. We didn't care, it was just so much fun to play together. Even
Tim, the original guitar player who Steve and I replaced, sat in for a
few songs. It was a blast.

Thanks everyone!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Stage

My love

She's about to see her husband rock for the first time.

Wish Us Luck

It's time to head up to Salem for the great Break Even reunion. Wish us luck!

May the musical train wrecks be few and far between.

Rock On

Is this dirty?

Furniture Recon

Not shopping, just exploring a bit.

Death to House Centipedes!

I got one of those fuckers this morning! He tried to run, but he could not escape from me! I have sentenced all house centipedes who have the audacity to enter our home to a death by squashing... and the sentence was carried out with extreme prejudiced.

I am judge, jury, and executioner for house centipedes!

Check out this page if you want to listen to some Break Even prior to our reunion tonight.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Gig Jitters

Back when I was playing regularly I would never feel the gig jitters 24 hours before a show. I'd feel excited and I'd be wanting it to get here so I could play. I wouldn't get the jitters until just before show time. Probably the minute I walked into the bar.

This time it's different though. It's not a bar. It's a party at Steve's house. No one is going to care how we do. It's just for fun. There is no pressure, we're just going to enjoy it. That being said, the gig jitters have arrived. I'm honestly nervous and I still have a whole day.

I need to change the strings on my Les Paul, find the sound hole pick up, tune my 12-string down to Eb (yikes!), see if I can play Steve's song "Turn Away" on the 12-string, grab the different pieces of my two guitar stand, get my haircut (unrelated, of course, but still necessary), start cleaning out the kid's play room (also unrelated but necessary), and feed my wife some sushi.

It's Gig Jitter Time!

Does this work?

View slideshow

Yes it worked, but no it didn't work. I set it up to make a slide show of all of my photos on Flickr with the tag, "Honeymoon." It made a slide show of 36 of my photos with the tag, "Honeymoon."


...Eternally terrible minor league hockey team from Lowell

Originally uploaded by robj_1971
The Lowell Devils.

I won't even consider another ticket package until they make the playoffs once. Even then, no promises.

Occasionally good minor league hockey team from Lowell...

Originally uploaded by robj_1971
The Lowell Lock Monsters

(I dug out a ton of old pictures from 2005 and 2006 and added them to my Flickr account)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

You have to wait for it

I have no idea what they're doing, but the end is funny.

I Hate My Teeth

When I was a kid I had a lot of trouble going to the Dentist. I wasn't afraid really, the Dentist, Doctor Cleary, was a great guy and I didn't have any problem with the sharp objects or the fear of drills or anything.

My problem was puke. No, really. I have a very sensitive gag reflex. Any time the Dentist would try to work on my back teeth I would hurl all over the place. Specifically I would hurl all over him.

It was not a pretty site. He was used to it though. He'd sit on his little rolling chair and be ready to wheel himself out of Dodge in an instant. I too got a little better at handling the situation in most cases. There were, of course, exceptions.

The two exceptions were fluoride treatments and x-rays. I think x-rays caused the most vomit over all, but I did I good job cleaning my teeth and never had any cavities as a kid, so the x-ray portion of the experience could often be skipped.

Fluoride, however, at the time wasn't a big deal either. I never had any cavities, so why do I need fluoride?

Now I know why I needed it. Around the time I reached my late 20's I started getting cavities. I also had a little issue of being an older career student and not having any health insurance. That meant the cost of actually fixing the bad teeth was extremely prohibitive, which means I've had a few teeth pulled.

Right now I have a cavity on the upper left side. It is killing me. It woke me up from a sound sleep at 2:30am this morning. I hate my teeth. I hate my stupid, stupid teeth.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

I'm Going to Have Three OSs Running on My Laptop

So Google has finally done it. Chrome OS. The first (actually second) Google operating system. Here is the initial announcement from the Official Google Blog.

As with most things Google I will give it a shot when it comes out. I already have Windows 7 (beta) and Ubuntu running on my laptop. I'll make it a triple boot and add Chrome OS too. (I should also update to the latest Ubuntu at the same time. We'll see)

By the sound of it this really isn't being seen as a replacement for Windows... yet. In the future it sure will be, but for now it looks like they are just pitching a tiny, bare bones operating system that you can use on a slow, low powered machine that will get you booted quickly and get you onto the web so you can use Google Apps for things you would normally use desktop applications for. I am all for that myself.I have Word at work, and Open Office at work, on my desktop at home, and on my laptop. I'm really not a fan of any of them. Google's word processor and spreadsheet are sort of minimal, but they more than meet my meager office software needs. I like the sound of an OS that pushes everything onto the web.

Of course the argument then falls to where does my hardware go? Will it be able to handle unloading my cameras? Will I be able to play my own music and video files? Will I eventually have the means to record multi-track audio? Maybe... maybe not. If it's as bare and simple as it sounds I would lean toward no. That means I remain a Windows/Linux, and possibly at some point in the future Apple guy (bring on GarageBand babie!).

There is also the little problem with the Chrome browser being, in my very limited experience, a real piece of shit. It is the crash happiest application I have ever seen. Granted, on my work machine every application is crash happy. Firefox crashes regularly, but Chrome crashes constantly. If I open more than one or two tabs I am guaranteed to crash. At home on my super suped up desktop that runs faster than light it still crashes pretty regularly. Chrome just seems to suck. Let's hope they don't have similar problems with Chrome OS, or we'll be fondly reminiscing about the blue screen of death.

Still... bring it on. I'll try it out. I'm looking forward to it. Chrome OS and Mac OS X will both be running on top of Linux. There's nothing wrong with that. Besides, anyone who wants to take a shot at knocking that chip off of Microsoft's shoulder (and in the process knocking off a chunk of the OS market share) is worthy of applause in my insignificant little book.

Go get 'em Google! Makes Oreos!

How is it possible that the Boston Globe is going under? Their website,, today published what may be the single greatest story in the history of news.

The recipe for homemade oreos.

Yeah, you read that correctly. Make your own oreos.

Click the link above to see the article, or read it in its entirety right here:

Homemade Oreos
July 8, 2009

To make Joanne Chang’s Oreos, allow 1 hour for the dough to firm before shaping, then several more hours for it to chill before slicing. You can refrigerate the dough for up to 1 week or freeze it for 1 month (defrost in the refrigerator). The log may settle as it chills, so reroll it every 15 minutes if you’re around during the initial chilling so the log stays round. The filling will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Let it come to room temperature before using.


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1. In a medium bowl, whisk the butter and the sugar until combined. Whisk in the vanilla and melted chocolate. Add the egg and stir until well blended.

2. In another bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir to blend them. Using a wooden spoon, stir the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. The finished dough should feel like Play-Doh. Cover the dough with plastic, and set aside for 1 hour or until firm.

3. Place the dough on a long sheet of parchment paper. Use your hands to shape it into a rough log, about 10 inches long and 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Place the log at the edge of the parchment. Roll the parchment around the log. With your hands on the paper, roll the dough into a tighter log, keeping the diameter the same.

4. Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours, or until it is firm enough to slice without crumbling.

5. Set the oven at 325 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

6. Remove the dough from the paper. Cut the log into 32 slices, each a quarter-inch. Set them on the baking sheets 1 inch apart.

7. Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, checking them often after 15 minutes, or until they are firm when touched in the center.

8. Cool completely on the sheets.


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon milk
Pinch salt
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on low speed for half a minute. Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and beat until smooth.

2. Beat in the milk and salt. The filling will look and feel like spackle.

3. Place 1 tablespoon of filling on the flat side of 16 cookies. Press the remaining 16 cookies on the filling, flat sides against the cream, to evenly distribute the filling.

4. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Adapted from Flour Bakery + Cafe
© Copyright 2009 Globe Newspaper Company.

Stupid Person's Made Up Word of the Day

I have to share this wonderful tidbit I overheard yesterday.

I had left work and was heading to Salem to practice with the band. I had to stop for gas and went to a place in Framingham. I no longer carry a credit card, so my paying at the pump days are over for the foreseeable future. That means I had to go inside to pay.

As I'm standing at the counter paying my $20 there were a few people carrying on a conversation. They were all in their early 20s or so. They looked like the stereotypical high school drop out types that one would imagine hanging out at a gas station while their one employed friend works. I'm not saying they were bad people, or douche bags, or whatever. Just saying they fit the stereotype.

One guy is talking about the environmental impacts of painting your house. I got the impression he over heard Rush Limbaugh once and decided he too was an ultra conservative hate-all-things-that-are-remotely-liberal type. He was talking about how the paint you'd use on your house is crap today because of "the environment." Not environmentalists. Not regulations in place to protect the environment. "The environment." That in itself was funny enough to mention to these intranetz, but it got better.

He said something about how paints used to be rugged. He said, "have you ever seen an old barn that was falling down but the paint was perfect? You don't see that today. Paints used to be more rugged. They didn't care about the environment. It had longativity."


I laughed out loud. The kid at the counter looked at me funny. I couldn't help it. The douche bag actually used the word (or should I say, "word") "longativity" in an attempt to make himself sound smart and knowledgeable.


There you have it. The stupid-person-tries-to-sound-smart-and-makes-up-a-multisyllabic-word-that-in-fact-makes-him-look-even-dumber-than-he-normally-looks word of the day.

Feel free to use it in a sentence. I have no idea what it means because it isn't actually a word, but just stick it into your conversations wherever you want.


Wish My Wife Luck

Jen needs a healthy dose of good luck today. There are a couple of important things going on and I want all the positive energy in the universe (how new agey of me!) to be backing her up all day.

Send your happy thoughts, good luck wishes, prayers (where applicable), and red head vibes (where applicable) to my babie today.

I love you Jen. Knock 'em Dead!

The impending disaster looms closer

I refer to the imminent sort of reunion of Break Even.

Last night was the second and final rehearsal. Was that pressure we were feeling last night? Can't be, we never felt pressure when we were playing in bars, how could we feel pressure when playing in the guitar player's back yard?

I think the set list will be 12 songs. Steve's step son will play drums on 6 of them... I think, Steve's daughter will play on one other, and Jeff will play the rest. Also, Jeff's soon-to-be-step-son will play guitar on one song, but we haven't practiced with him.

My playing is garbage, utter garbage. Why should things be different? I got caught up in the fun last week and tried to play as fast and crazy as I could and basically ended up falling all over myself. Last night I tried to just spin out little melodies and ended up either repeating myself endlessly or falling all over myself. I suck. Really I do.

Practice #1 was chock full of train wrecks. Last night we managed to avoid a few of them but still had a few. Saturday we're going to have to deal with some. I think it's inevitable. I'm not complaining, it's still going to be fun.

We're only playing two original songs. I shouldn't give anything away, but I will. This is one of the original songs we're going to play.

We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Happy 4th of July

2009-07-03and04 716
Originally uploaded by robj_1971
I hope everyone had a fun and happy 4th of July. The day we celebrate the fact that we are no longer British.


2009-07-03and04 673
Originally uploaded by robj_1971
Boats are always good to photograph too. There was a marina near the beach and I took a few... dozen.