Thursday, March 31, 2011


March in New England:

In like a lion...
Out like a bigger lion.

It's snowing in Framingham, MA right now.


Opening Day!

Everyone celebrate! Today is Major League Baseball's Opening Day!

(insert marching band playing festive celebrationie music here!)

The Red Sox don't open until tomorrow, but we can celebrate the start of the season today.

Go Red Sox! WOOHOO!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


What do you think, oh wise internets, is this bird that we saw for the first time this weekend a woodpecker?




A quick perusal of google images tells me... nope. So what is it? It sure looked like a woodpecker as it was pecking it's beak into that tree.

Reason Number 126346

And now for a special installment of the crappy Rob Blog:

Allow me to present to you,
Reason Number 126346 Why You Should Live in Massachusetts Instead of New Hampshire

We just received a phone call. It was a recording made by a New Hampshire state representative telling us that our representative in New Hampshire (pause for dramatic affect) will tomorrow be voting on a budget yadda yadda yadda...

My phone number has a Massachusetts area code. My phone number has a Methuen, Massachusetts exchange.


And yet...

A state representative from New Hampshire called us to get our support for a representative vote in New Hampshire.

And people voted for this clown?

Dumb ass.

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost Remake Star Wars

Simon Pegg and Nick Frost have remade Star Wars.

Sort of.

I swear, if these too guys filmed themselves watching paint dry for two hours, it would be one of the finest films ever made. Citizen Bloody Kane!


The Bruins beat the Blackhawks last night, three to nothing. Another shutout for his Royal Highness, the King of All Goalies, Tim "The Man" Thomas.

I listened to the game at work. Working until 11:00pm is a pain, but it's even worse when you live almost an hour away (without traffic) and one of the major highways is closed along your route. They detoured us onto a side street and then back onto the highway a short distance later. I pulled into the driveway at midnight.

I tried to go straight to bed, but it's so hard to go to sleep right out of the car like that. It took me a while. I finally did get to sleep, but it felt like the damn alarm went off a minute or two afterwards.

Looks like today will be another long day.

Back to the Bruins though... Shawn Thornton got cut by a skate last night. He needed something like 40 stitches on his forehead. I guess the gore was pretty impressive. On the way off the ice someone (or someones) on the Chicago bench said something that was bad enough that not only was Thornton, blood pouring out of his head and all, ready to pummel some one, but even the ref escorting him to the bench was yelling at the Blackhawks' bench.

My question...

What did the Chicago player(s) say?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Can You See the Kitty?


EBH Blues

Tonight is a second shift night for me. 4pm to 11pm.


I hate this. I don't want to do this.

I have a feeling that I am in for a really bad day today.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Laundry Cat


Little Teapot Cam



The Bruins beat Philly last night, 2-1, and clinched a spot in the playoffs. Now they can go on a huge skid for the rest of the regular season and not have to worry about it.

Just kidding. I want them to casually win out the season. Not too much effort or anything, just play their game, win out, don't take any injuries, and start the playoffs with huge confidence.

Most people are looking at the last two playoff seasons and thinking that anything less than making the third round will mark the entire season as a failure. Normally, I agree with that sentiment, but I want to add one little thing to it.

Don't lose to Montreal. They are probably going to meet the Canadiens in the first round. Losing to Montreal this year will be almost as bad as blowing the three games to none lead was against Philly last year. Losing to Montreal will be catastrophic. Just don't do it.

Please. Don't lose to Montreal.

I just felt the need to share my paranoia with the world. Thanks.

Go Bruins

Sunday, March 27, 2011

New York, NY

Jen is looking at hotels in Manhattan. We're going to the Rush show in a couple of weeks, and are looking for a place to stay.

The last time we went to a Rush show in New York we stayed in The Bronx and the drive there from Madison Square Garden after the show was downright brutal. This time we'd like to stay closer.

Unfortunately, the prices for hotels in Manhattan are even higher than we'd feared.

But you know what they say, right? Who needs a life savings anyway.


Not Since College

Both days this weekend I have slept until after 9:00. Closer to 10:00, truth be told.

I didn't feel that tired going into the weekend, but I guess I was more worn out than I realized.

It's time to get my butt in gear and get some stuff done.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

New Favorite Spot

Patches seems to have a new favorite hang out spot.

The picture windowsill.

New bird at the birdfeeder. Red head, black wings, white belly. Woodpecker?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Water Glass Cam


Samosa Cam


Pentatonic Scale

Two Weeks

Two weeks from today...

2010-09-14 - Rush at TD Garden 1160

2010-09-14 - Rush at TD Garden 591

2010-09-14 - Rush at TD Garden 1176

The Time Machine Tour, take two. The Rush Road Trip 2011.



I had a lot of stuff to do last night. There were dishes in the sink that had been there since the weekend and they needed cleaning. There were mountains upon mountains of recently washed clothes that needed folding.

I had a lot to do.

I listened to most of the first period of the Bruins game on the radio with headphones on. I missed the first goal, but the kids gave me a couple of funny looks when I silently, "wooohoooo"'d the second and third goals before the end of the period.

By the time the second period started I was down in the cellar with the huge pile of laundry, watching the game on low-def television. It didn't matter... it was still beautiful.

I am trying to find an adjective to describe the victory. The final score was Boston 7, Montreal 0. That doesn't do it justice though. Domination? Not strong enough. Annihilation? Not overwhelming enough. Blew them out of the effin' building and sent them back home to Montreal crying like little whiny babies while their fans called 911 to report that the team had been mugged on their trip to Boston? That's pretty close.

I had to go upstairs to say goodnight to one of the kids and I missed the first few minutes of the third period. I went upstairs and it was 3-0 and the Canadiens were still fighting. I came back downstairs and it was 5-0 and the Canadiens had clearly given up. They were just standing around, looking beaten. Thoroughly beaten. They were so done that even with a five on three power play they still managed to give up a shorthanded goal to Campbell. Let me restate that, giving the turn of events the proper emphasis:


That just doesn't happen to teams that are still trying. That happens when I play EA Sports NHL games on the Playstation, it does not happen in real life.

But it was beautiful!

Now back to reality: We are probably going to meet the Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs. They still scare me. Despite the glorious manner of victory last night, they still have beaten us badly this year. So I am not going to guarantee a win in the first round for the Bruins. You'd be nuts to think that.

But it sure will be fun!

Go Bruins!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bright Idea, Nimrod

My step kids live in two different houses. Dad's house and Mom's house.

They have homework most nights and are still young enough that the overwhelming majority of their work is paper and pencil. Of course, that won't be the case forever.

My step daughter was assigned a book report recently. The instructions gave her the option of hand writing it, or typing it. Being the super student that she is she obviously wanted to type it. (she is a precocious little genius, isn't she?)

That prompted a few questions. She started working on the assignment on Sunday even though it isn't due until tomorrow. (told you she was a super student) That means she could start it at Mom's house and then finish it at Dad's house. There is also the nasty little tid bit of Mom and Rob not having a functioning printer at their house.

What to do?

Robbie comes up with the super idea of giving the kids a Google Documents account of their own. That way they can work on reports like this at either house without having to truck the files back and forth on a disc or something. Great idea! I let the kids chose the user name and password (with Mom and me having veto power, which we used a couple of times) so that they would remember it.

While my step daughter was at her Dad's this week they logged in and printed out her report. Although there was something strange happening.

The pages (not her report, but the actual Google pages) were in Croatian.

Yup. Croatian.

So... I logged in to fix this. I had Firefox open and logged into my own Google account so I opened up Chrome and logged into theirs. I had to translate the page into English, using Google translate. Then Chrome crashed. I tried again. Chrome crashed again. Urgh.

I switched to Safari. Same thing. Crash. Twice.

I switched to IE. It managed to get me where I needed to be, but when I clicked on Settings it opened up the wrong menu. That's right, the wrong menu.

Finally I just logged myself out in Firefox (the swanky new Firefox 4) and logged into their account and everything went fine. I was able to change the default language from Croatian (how the hell did it get set to Croatian? My step daughter sure as hell wasn't reading Croatian on Sunday) to US English.

Problem solved.

I also take it as further proof that Firefox kicks all other browsers in the ass.

Bruins vs Canadiens - The Revenge Game

I'm guessing you won't be seeing this:

Or this:

Or this:

Or this:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Patches Enjoys Sitting on the Cellar Stairs


Quick Mom Update

My mother has been in the hospital since Monday and I haven't gotten a whole lot of news. A few minutes ago I started feeling really paranoid and snuck off to call my father.

All is still well. She had her Methotrexate dose on Monday and she is still side effect free. She was just being hooked up to her Rituximab IV when I called. That's the drug she gets on an outpatient basis on Wednesdays. Again, still side effect free.

Oh Happy Day!

The only issue she's having is that she is a little anemic. I don't recall seeing that mentioned in any of the articles I've read recently, and she has been a little low on the blood counts in the past so it may not be related. Still worth checking into though.

All in all, still going great. Fingers crossed that it continues.


I'm feeling a little low today. Pretty down. I shouldn't be, but I am.

I caught a cold on Monday. It's not too bad, but it kept us from going to see my mother last night, and I think it's going to keep me away for her entire hospital stay. (she should be out on Thursday)

The good news is, she's still doing well. I haven't heard much over the last couple of days, but at last check she is still side effect free, and the symptoms have been reduced. I should be leaping around in glee over this.

The Bruins finally didn't suck last night. I should be pleased.

But I'm not. I'm feeling low. I think if it weren't for my amazing wife I probably would have stayed in bed today. She didn't do anything special, I just love her like crazy and didn't want to miss a minute that could have been spent with her. She's that incredible.


In the immortal words of Opus in the A Wish for Wings that Work television special:

I blame Congress.

(I don't know why, I just do)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Random Stuff

It's my turn to be sick. I have a nice cold brewing. Just about everyone I know has had one recently... It's just my turn.

Hockey news, that goon Matt Cooke of the Penguins, the ass who may have ended Bruin Marc Savard's career with a blind side hit to the head last year, was suspended by the league for another blind side hit to the head against the Rangers Sunday night. He got the rest of the regular season, 10 games, and the first round of the playoffs, 4-7 games. Finally a suspension with teeth.

I bought a little mini 25 key USB music keyboard for my MacBook. It's called a laptop keyboard. I wanted something small enough to keep in my laptop bag.

It gave me a scare though. The box it was delivered in was HUGE! I was afraid it was either 5 times bigger than I thought, or they shipped the wrong item. Thankfully there was just a ton of packing material.

When typing the word "was" on my iPhone I almost always type "wad.".

Knowing that, your life must finally feel complete.

You are welcome.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Garage Band

I recorded 8 bars using my groovy new 25 key laptop keyboard. I have lots to learn about Garage Band.

Garage Band Gets Serious


The Third Chemo Drug

I finally got the name of the third chemotherapy drug my mother is taking. I had been told a couple of times, but it is a mouthful and I needed to actually see it written down before I could wrap my brain around it.

So, along with the Methotrexate and the Rituximab, we now have Temozolomide. I like the sound of this one. It messes with the tumor's DNA and kills the cells dead. No messing around with other chemicals that the tumor needs, this goes right to the source and kicks its ass. Thank you.

Based on the wiki article there aren't a lot of side effects, mostly just vomiting. That might explain why my mother has also been put on an anti-nausea medication on top of everything else.

I saw my mother briefly yesterday. She looked tired, but she had just finished cooking boiled dinner for 14 people. That would wear anyone out. She still hasn't had any side effects to any of the treatment. Fingers crossed.

Today she is being checked back into Mass General for her second Methotrexate treatment. She'll be in the hospital for four days. They give her the drug and then monitor her while they wait for it to pass through her system. It's a nasty bugger.

We continue to be hopeful that the chemotherapy treatments knock this tumor down to nothing, and we continue to keep our fingers crossed.


I hate Mondays.

I'm 18 days away from my next scheduled vacation day. I can't wait. I want to go now.

I didn't sleep well last night, and on top of the tossing and turning my nose started running at around 3:00. I appear to be coming down with a cold.


This sucks almost as much as the Bruins have sucked over the last seven games.


Sunday, March 20, 2011


Just after uploading my exceptionally lame bird feeder pictures I went back to the bed room window to see if there were any other wild animals visiting.

There were!

I could see two deer at the top of the hill a short distance into the woods. I actually saw one in the same spot this morning too. I stood and watched them for a few minutes, trying to get a picture or two. The camera's auto focus was not up to the challenge, and really neither was I while using manual focus. There are just too many trees and branches for me to get anything good.

So I stood and watched. Something spooked deer #1 and he went off down the hill at a good run. That's when the surprise came. Deer #2 stood his ground, but suddenly there were a whole slew of other deer running away. One at a time, in single file, all following the first deer's route. Deer #2 waited for the others to go and then he took off too.

It was awesome!!!!!

Here are bad pictures...




Bird Feeder Success!

I saw the first birds feeding at our bird feeder!

Two Blue Jays were fighting over the whole thing. I took some crappy, blurry pictures.

Oh happy bird feeding day!



Academic Conundrum

My step daughter has quite the academic conundrum today. We are clearly seeing a downside to a 4th grade student reading at a much, much higher level.

How does a 4th grade student write a two page book report on a 500 page fantasy novel?

With difficulty, that's how.

On an unrelated note, I saw a deer in the back woods today. He/she was too far away to try and take a picture, and he/she was only in view for a minute or two, but I saw him/her and it made me happy. I want him/her to come back again for a photo op, and maybe to let us ride him/her like a horse for a while.

It could happen.


Agenda for Sunday:
Watch the birdfeeder.
Play Mario Brothers on the Wii.
Don't go to work.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bird Feeder

Open for business. (piss off squirells)

Saturday Agenda

Two kid activities...
Staring out the back windows, waiting for the deer to come for a visit.

Friday, March 18, 2011


Toy Camera kitty

Double Exposure

Double Exposures are my new favorite thing.

Bottle's Eye View

Wish List

I sure would like another crack at these shots...




Just sayin'.

Spring is Coming

Did you have a happy St Patrick's Day?

Jen called me at about 6:30 last night. I was trudging through downtown Lowell, trying to avoid a huge traffic jam on route 495 North. There was deer in the back yard. Not in the woods beyond the back yard, but IN THE BACK YARD! Eight of them. EIGHT OF THEM!

The kids got to see them. It was their first deer viewing at our house. I missed it. I was kinda sad. I like the idea of a gentle wild kingdom behind our house. I don't want anything scary, like mountain lions or grizzly bears, or Tasmanian devils, or anything like that. Deer are good. They do their thing. That's all. Hopefully as the Spring rolls on we'll see some antlers on the bucks. I'm hoping we do at least.

My celebration of the Deer Infused St Patrick's Day was limited to walking in the back yard looking for hoof prints in what's left of the snow. It was my first walk back their since December, when the snow came to stay. I managed to get all the way back to the woods without stepping on a flake of snow. Mud was another issue, or course, but no snow.

Spring is coming, folks. It's pretty much here!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Classic Toy

Stop downloading toy camera apps!

This one does double exposures!

Also, weird two lens looking thingies.

As well as single exposures.

Missed 'Em

Jen and the kids saw deer today.

8 of them!

I saw the growing lake. That's all.

Happy St Patrick's Day

To all of my Irish friends:
Happy St Patrick's Day.

To all of my friends who are not Irish but who pretend to be for one day each year:
Happy St Patrick's Day.

To all of my friends who aren't Irish but really wish they were:
Happy St Patrick's Day.

To all of my friends who live in Boston, MA:
Happy Evacuation Day.

Two great holidays on the same day... and I don't get the day off for either of them. Crud.

A quick update on Mom, she had her hospital appointment yesterday. It went well. She was tired, but otherwise fine. Good news.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Another Hospital Visit

Mom had a hospital visit scheduled for 8:30 this morning at Mass General. Given how much my father loves driving in Boston traffic I'm guessing they left the house at 6:00. I kinda don't blame them.

She is having a chemo treatment today. I don't know which drug. I think it's Rituximab, but I'm not sure. It's just an outpatient thing. They'll plug into her IV port, give her the dose, probably hang out for a while to make sure everything goes well, probably have some of the numerous doctors working on her case come by for a check up, then she'll get to go home.

Monday is her next inpatient visit. That will be a four day stay. Let's get through this one before we worry about that one. Not that I'm worried about this one, just that I'm worried about everything. When I hear some news about how it went today I'll share it. Until then...

Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Popcorn Cam



A quiet night last night. Jen had to work late and I magically got home first. After sitting on the couch watching Family Guy for about 15 minutes she called me and asked me if I wanted to meet her for dinner. I did. So I drove to her office to pick her up. Within seconds it was decided to just drive someplace close to home and leave the van at her work. I had to get up early to drive her in this morning, but that was fine... with the exception of a bridge being out on Brown Street in Tewksbury. Stupid thing. I got around it though.

Yesterday demonstrated both the huge upside to daylight savings time and the major downside. The upside is that I got home from work before the sun went down. Granted, I had magical traffic luck and it only took an hour to get home, but even if I needed the normal 75 minutes or so I still would have been home before sunset. The downside is that when the alarm clock goes off at 6:00am it is still dark outside. When I say dark I mean, dark. I had gotten used to having some light coming in the window to help wake me up in the morning. Those days are over for a little while. I can live with it though.

No new news on Mom yet. She has an appointment tomorrow. I'll let you know how that goes. Fingers crossed.

In closing, beware the ides of March and all that fun stuff. If your name is Caesar you might want to consider not going out in public today. Just saying.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Diet Coke Cam

Wine Glass Cam


I Mean it This Time

Last one. I mean it this time.

It looks like a kid shooting his matchbox cars with a garden hose. Unbelievable.

One More

One more and then I'm done.


I've managed to go this long without viewing any of the videos of the tsunami in Japan last week. This is the first one I've looked at. I think it's a good indication of how bad the situation was as it was happening.

First you see water... then you see cars floating by... then you see a boat... then you see parked cars start floating away... then you see buildings float away.

Google has released a collection of satellite images showing before and after pictures. Here are two examples:

Yuriage in Natori Before:

Yuriage in Natori After:

Kashima in Minamisoma Before:

Kashima in Minamisoma After:

Hang in their folks.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mom Update

Here's a quick update on my mother.  As stated yesterday, I was on the phone with my father discussing how now that Jen is feeling better we are more or less the only members of the family besides him who are not either sick or out of town when I overhead my mother in the background asking Dad to ask me if there was a Legal Seafoods near us. 

Back story:  The last time we saw my mother in the hospital she let it be known that she really, really wanted a baked stuffed lobster.  Like... really wanted one.  So we talked about trying to get her one.  My sister sort of took the lead but due to other circumstances nothing happened.

So Jen and I ran with it.  We called Legals and ordered a baked stuffed lobster for take out.  We picked it up at 4:00 and took it to my parents house.  My mother was thrilled.  She devoured the whole 2.5 pounds of shelled goodness.  She thanked us a bunch of times, but we were really happy to help out.

As for her health, she was really good.  No really noticeable confusion.  Her memory was fine.  There were no side effects from the chemo.  She was fine.  Her only complaint was that she hasn't been able to wash her hair because of the stitches closing up the biopsy incision.

We went over again today and she seemed tired, but otherwise fine.  She and Dad had gone food shopping and I think that wore her out a little.  Again, no side effects, no memory problems.  We were very pleased with how she is holding up.

She goes back to the hospital on Wednesday for a treatment.  It's just an outpatient thing.  They'll give her the meds and send her on her way.  Then a week from tomorrow she will go back for another dose of Methatrexate.  She'll be admitted for four days for that one.

Fingers crossed that she continues to respond well to the chemo, and that the side effects continue to stay the hell away.

Nature Returning?

I just looked out the bedroom window to the woods behind the house. I saw chipmunks and a squirrel and two blue jays.

The atmosphere might not be convinced that Spring is almost here, but the critters sure are!

Wonder of Wonder

We did not forget to change our bedroom clock last night!

We know what time it is! WooHoo!