Saturday, March 31, 2012
I saw two blue jays, a little yellow finch, and a little chickadee. Of course they had all bailed on me by the time I got my camera.
It seems the hawk hasn't scared anyone off yet.
Back yard bird photo goals for spring/summer 2012:
A cardinal (after I kept missing them last year)
That little yellow finch
Oh yeah, and that HUGE FREAKIN' HAWK!!!
Maybe this summer the birds using our bird feeder will have more to worry about than the squirrels.
The plan for this weekend is simple: finish reading The Hunger Games as fast as possible so that my beautiful wife Jen and I can go see the movie together.
That and maybe try to grill up some dinner on the gas grill, if the weather cooperates. That's it.
Lazy weekends are sometimes the best weekends, don't you think?
Friday, March 30, 2012
In December you blow all of your money on Christmas but we get paid at the end of the month, so it's almost like emergency medical care... the paycheck comes right when you need it most. It goes fast though as you have more bills to pay in January due to Christmas-on-Credit, but when January's paycheck comes it is accompanied by my company's annual bonus, so January's paycheck takes care of pretty much all of the Christmas troubles. Following that, February's paycheck comes seemingly immediately because February is a short month. Granted, it's not that much shorter, but somehow it always seems like the paycheck comes fast.
Then there's March.
31 days. It seems like the longest month of the year. It seems like 100 years goes by between getting paid in February and getting paid in March. It's only 2-3 days longer, but it seems like a lifetime. It seems like the entire family economy... hell, the entire economy of the United States of America hangs in the balance, waiting for the end of March to arrive.
Perception is a bitch, you know?
Today is payday.
>insert sigh of relief here<
Thursday, March 29, 2012
As the Genius Mix fed me a steady diet of Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett, Traffic, Jefferson Airplane, and Paul Kantner/Grace Slick music I finished the book. I then opened up the Kindle app and started reading my wife's copy of The Hunger Games. After four chapters I needed a break so I jumped onto the Twitter app and learned that the Bruins did indeed lose, but that they tied the game at two before losing in the shoot out. So they did not clinch their playoff spot, but they did move one point closer.
I think I'm done reading for the night so I thought I would open up the Blogger app and write a little blurb about all of the apps I've used tonight.
Now as the Genius Mix brings up Pink Floyd's High Hopes, maybe I'll open up the Netflix app and watch some South Park or something.
A win by the Bruins tonight against Washington will clinch a playoff spot. That's all well and good, but I want the division. I don't want them to settle for just making it into the post season, I want that #2 seed.
I just saw a squirrel out in the back yard. How will I go about having a bird feeder this year with out those damn dirty squirrels eating all of the food?
Spring is here.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
The Bruins won last night.
Our van is in the shop getting its air conditioner fixed.
As far as I know we have no plans this weekend. That's really weird.
Major League Baseball's regular season opened in Japan today with a game that wasn't aired on television in the United States. The real opening game is Boston at Detroit next week.
I folded all of our laundry on Sunday. It's still sitting in the living room waiting to be put away. Urgh.
Very exciting, huh?
I have this urge to scrap my current music project in favor of writing and recording an ep or so using nothing by Garageband on my iPhone. Basically, the same thing I did for RPM last month only with a much smaller touch screen.
I want to go away for a week to San Diego.
I want to go away for a week to a lake in Maine.
I'm crazy about my wife.
I get to see my step kids today.
Life is good, even if there isn't much happening today.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Seven games left. The Bruins have a three point lead in the division over Ottawa. We have two games in hand, but I never consider that as a positive. Sure there are four potential points for the Bruins that do not exist for the Senators, but whenever you start banking on games in hand the team always tends to lose those games. I focus on what has happened instead of what might happen. I guess. As it stands now, if Ottawa catches us we would drop from second in the conference all the way down to sixth which is terrible, but last week it would have been seventh. Sixth sounds a whole lot better than seventh.
In the conference we are in second place, 10 points out of first so we can forget about that. Florida is four points back. It's close, but frankly I am a whole ton more worried about Ottawa than Florida. I want to win the division. I don't care if we're second or third seed. Second seed guarantees us two rounds of home ice, but they have been so frustrating over the past couple of months that I am only caring about the first round.
They play Tampa Bay tonight. Tampa embarrassed the Bruins a couple of weeks ago. May Boston's finest right that particular wrong.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Sunday started out with a few chores inside the house. Jen went food shopping, I cleaned the kitchen and the kids straightened up the living room. Once the clean up was done the kids and I went outside to play catch for a while. When my step son got tired of that he rode his bike and for the first time ever was able to stand up on the pedals. Just before we broke for dinner I was buzzed by a hawk. That was so cool. After that Jen had to spend a couple of hours working so the kids and I went down stairs to veg for a while. As soon as Jen was finished working we played a few kid-friendly card games. Rack-o, I Doubt It, and Spoons. We will probably suggest a couple of those when we're on our vacation to Maine. They were all fun. Once it was time for the kids to go to bed Jen and I hung out in the living room where I watched the Bruins while folding laundry. The Bruins won... I wonder if me folding laundry was what put them over the top? This is how superstitions get made.
All in all it was a wonderful weekend. I had a blast. I am the luckiest guy ever.
Sunday, March 25, 2012
It flew straight at our living room window before pulling up and flying over the roof.
After my heart started beating again I looked to see if it had landed. I found it on a tree branch on the edge of the back yard.
It was a huge red tailed hawk.
We tried sneaking up to the tree but it calmly swung its head around and looked at us. It then flew very low across the yard and then into the woods.
Coolest wild kingdom moment ever.
Thursday against 10th place San Jose... they play like zombies.
Saturday against 7th place Los Angeles... they win 4-2 and look pretty good.
Tonight against Anaheim will probably be another turd.
But it begs the question... if this continues into the playoffs, will they go on a monster tear because they are only going to be facing good teams?
I hope so, because the last few months worth of Bruins hockey have been seriously frustrating. Will the real Bruins please stand up?
Saturday, March 24, 2012
This is the result of two storms.
After the work was complete we headed out into the woods behind the house to do some exploring. There is actually a little path back there that leads to one of the houses on the next block. We had no idea.
Usually my woods pictures are taken from the house. The trees look bigger up close. (har har har)
Yesterday I turned the shuffle-to-randomize function on in Hipstamatic. Yeah, I think I'll turn that off now.
The kids chose our first destination, a hill to the right of our property, and on the other side of the hill were a lot of bark-free dead trees.
There were also downed trees all over the place. A number of them were magically transformed into balance beams.
Artsy, eh? The randomize function gave me black and white film. Was I aware of this? Nope.
At last, the settings I actually chose!
My step son was really digging how much ground this tree pulled up when it fell over.
Please note that after we got back into the house, Mommy searched the kids for ticks and Robbie made everyone get changed so he could wash all of our clothes. Yeah, deer tick paranoia runs rampant in our house.
It goes something like this:
I can't believe the school system is making us do this. (where this is any number of things. Usually it is relating to either class room sizes or some fee)
The response to the first statement eventually comes around to something along the lines of, they had that referendum on a tax increase but of course we voted it down. (where a tax increase would have either eliminated or greatly alleviated the issue being discussed)
Today's version was three parents bitching about next year's class sizes being significantly larger than this year's. The referendum in question voted down funding to add class rooms to one of the elementary school buildings.
It's like effing clockwork. They are furious with the way the schools are handling their tiny budgets but absolutely insulted by the very concept of giving the school system a larger budget.
It's almost as if they are incapable of seeing the connection.
As Ronald Weasly once said, "How thick can you get?"
Friday, March 23, 2012
That's twice now that the Canadiens have won a game that seriously helped the Boston Bruins. They brought their most bitter rival closer to winning the Northeast division.
Thanks, Habs. I still hate your filthy guts, but I appreciate the help.
So I took my lunch break and went through all of the pictures I have on Flickr that are tagged "iphone" and sorted out a set of just Hipstamatic pics.
It's sometimes hard to look at a thumbnail and know if it is Hipstamatic or Instagram or some other camera app.
Anyway... I took this on 4/17/11 and I am reposting it because I like it.
That is all.
Part of the reason may have been that the Bruins were barely there. 17 shots in a 2-1 loss to a 10th place San Jose Sharks. Remember all of that optimism generated by the win against Philly and the massacre against Toronto?
They get L.A. on Saturday and Anaheim on Sunday. You have to figure Marty Turco is going to play goal in one of those games.
This road trip can't be as ugly as the last road trip... but it could still be ugly.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
First, the stock set up...
Lens: John S
Film: Ina's 1969
Second, my favorite set up pre-Hipstapacks...
Film: Kodot XGrizzled
Finally, my favorite so far, following the purchase of a few add-ons...
Lens: Lucifer VI
It's funny you should ask, but yes I do need a vacation.
I went crazy buying hipstapacks tonight. I decided it was time for a new go-to Hipstamatic combination.
The Bruins play the Sharks tonight. After two impressive wins in a row, the Bruins need to continue the momentum. San Jose has been slipping this year, and there is a good chance they will miss the playoffs. I would greatly enjoy it if the Bruins contributed to their collapse with a convincing, dominate win tonight.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
A few months ago I started a goofy Google Music projectoid. I wanted to take all of the billion or so Rush bootlegs I have found on the 'net and rip mp3 copies of everything and then upload them all to a free Google Music account and make a series of playlists each containing every show I have for each tour.
I uploaded everything I had already ripped for iPod use and then started catching up one tour at a time. I ran out of steam after finishing the 1979 Semispheres tour.
I have been inspired to pick it up again, and tonight I finished the 1980 Permanent Waves tour.
Why oh why are there so few good audience boots from this tour when there are so many good ones from '78-79 and from '81? It's such a puzzle to me.
I'm listening to the 5/13/80 show from Hershey, PA. It sounds like drool, but the performance is stellar.
I can't wait for the new album.
Note how I said, "was".
UA saw fit to cancel our connection and rebook us with a connection in Newark with a whopping 30 minutes in between landing and take off.
Oh, and none of our seats are together. I guess the flight attendants will have to deal with the vomit-prone nine year old because the airline thought it would be best to separate him from his family.
Oh, and they didn't see fit to tell us that they canceled our flight and moved us to a totally unacceptable replacement.
My wonderful, beautiful wife spent some quality time on the phone with a UA representative today, and I think things will be worked out, but still... Thanks for the kick in the nuts, right?
Now if they can just do something about the whole humans-see-in-three-dimensions thing so that the inviso-car does not pop out from the background.
Oh yeah, I guess they have some work to do.
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Today is that good day. It is the opposite of the first day of Fall. It all gets better now, at least for about six months or so.
Just saying, I hope you enjoyed it.
The right turn took me away from my back roads route home and took me toward the all-highway route home.
The result? I was in the house at 6:30. 15-20 minutes earlier than normal. Awesome.
I bet if I do the same tomorrow I'll get home at 7:15.
Final score, Boston 8 - Toronto 0. It was, in a word, glorious. It was like the November Bruins coming back to remind us of how awesome they can be. There are 10 games left. We have a three point lead over Ottawa in the Northeast division. We have a four point lead over Florida in the Eastern conference standings. If they keep playing the way they played the last two games we should be able to hold onto second place in the East, and maybe... just maybe... we'll have a little momentum going into the playoffs. I've been spoiled by all the playoff advancing we've done over the last few years. I don't want to be eliminated in the first round this season (or ever again).
Monday, March 19, 2012
10 years ago my cousin Tom put together a vacation for much of our extended family. His mother and my mother are sisters, and both of their families spent a week in a house on a lake in Vermont. We had a great time and have been wanting to do something similar ever since.
My mother dropped a hint a few months ago that she wanted to do something like that this year. My brother took the point and after a few days of back and forth between the three siblings and their spouses, we settled on a place in Maine and booked it. That was a week ago. We were all getting together at my sister's for our annual St Patrick's Day dinner yesterday so we decided to spring the surprise then.
That meant that I had a vacation to be excited about and couldn't blab about it here for a whole week! Torture!
It will be my parents, me and my wife and two step kids, my sister and her husband and their two kids, and my brother and his wife and their two kids. One full week in a huge house on a huge lake in the middle of nowhere in Western Maine. That sounds pretty much like heaven to me. I can't wait. Everyone is very excited. My not-quite four year old nephew even had a song to sing about it, but he got shy and decided to hop in place instead. It was pretty cute.
We have one thing to take care of before we can start concentrating on Maine though. Me and my wife and step kids and my wife's mother and step father are all going to San Diego for a week.
Oh yeah, did I mention? Two monster vacations for us this year? We are spoiled rotten and I Love It!
Spring in Southern California. Summer in Western Maine. Yeah, I'll take that. We have to start planning ideas for San Diego. The Zoo is obvious. The beaches are just as obvious. Should we go to a Padres game? You won't get any argument from me. I would love to see the seals in La Jolla. Wild animals are cool, don't you know. There are 100 different museums in Balboa Park and so far, in three trips since our wedding two years ago, we've made it to one.
So much to plan! So much to do!
Two vacations and I can't wait for either of them!
I can't wait!!!
Sunday, March 18, 2012
We had a very busy day planned. I was going to start cleaning out the garage while Jen made a fantastic corned beef dinner. I had expected the garage job to require the full weekend, but somehow, despite the overwhelming appearance, I managed to get everything on the to do list done by the start of the second period of yesterday afternoon's Bruins game.
I had enough time to help Jen cut up the veggies and we had a solid A+ Irish dinner at around 5:00. After that we went to Larry and Nawal's and just hung out shooting the breeze and getting caught up until almost 11:00. I had a lot of fun.
Today we slept in. Did we ever sleep in! We woke up after 10:00am! Glorious! Best Sunday Ever!
This evening we will go to my sister's house for another wonderful Irish dinner, and we will get to see the nephews and the niece. I'm looking forward to it.
The only thing separating this weekend from complete perfection is that it is not a kids weekend. Other than that, this weekend has been as good as weekends get.
Next weekend is a kids weekend so it will be even better!
Saturday, March 17, 2012
And now? Bruins game, it's 2-1 Boston with nine minutes left in the second period, and then some corned beef for dinner to celebrate St Patrick's Day.
Friday, March 16, 2012
I just bought a CD online. I did it for reasons unrelated to the music. I've been listening to a band from Texas called King's X since the early 90's. Musically they are unreal. Lyrically they are often terrible. They are often lumped in with christian rock which makes me want to vomit, and it's not unusual for that to show in their lyrics, again that makes me want to vomit. They fight the christian rock label, and I am happy about that. There are reasons that they have made public that make it obvious why they would try to distance themselves from it. (I remember reading once after a band member publicly outed himself that a chain of christian record stores pulled their music off of their shelves. How very christian, indeed) Anyway, none of that has anything to do with why I listen to their music (the guitar god in the band was enough to pull me in, the outstanding vocals including the three part harmonies were enough to keep me there forever) or why I bought this particular record.
Their drummer, Jerry Gaskill, suffered a serious heart attack a few weeks ago. From all reports he is recovering well. Last we heard he had been removed from ICU. That's good to know. The band has been playing together in the current incarnation since at least 1987, and from what I hear the three band members have been together in one form or another since 1980. In all that time they had one... maybe two... sniffs at rock and roll success. Not even stardom, just success. A couple of songs that made it onto FM radio across the country, and a couple of videos that got some play on MTV. That was back in the early 90's. The rest of the time they have wallowed in relative obscurity.
In other words, they have been doing this for over 30 years and they haven't made any money. I have read interviews in the past where they openly worried about making car payments and rent payments. These are not rich rock stars in any way shape or form. They also work in an industry that does not provide health insurance. If you are a professional musician and you want health insurance it's pretty much guaranteed that you're going to have to buy it yourself as no record label is going to waste money providing health benefits to the employees that they routinely screw over in order to make their billions. (Not much longer though, my dear record companies. Your much deserved collapse is imminent.)
So Jerry Gaskill is in a band that is successful enough to make ends meet, usually, but not successful enough to be wealthy... and at the moment his health care bills are piling up at a terrifying rate.
To help counter this, the band has made available a sort of low-fi-ish live recording for sale with all of the proceeds going to help pay for Jerry's medical bills. For 20 bucks you get a recording of most of a show from June of 1991 at the Channel in Boston, and one of the band members gets 20 bucks closer to paying his medical bills without losing his house.
You can go to this link to help out:
King's X - Burning Down Boston - Live at the Channel 6.12.91
One of the reasons I support universal public health care is because I never want to have to do this again.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Details: On Friday Dumpster Depot will be dropping off a dumpster in our driveway, in front of our garage.
Mission: Your mission, if you chose to accept it, is to take all of the crap in the garage that needs to be disposed of and move it into the dumpster, thus throwing it into the garbage where it belongs and allowing us to use that very large space attached to our house that currently cannot be used for anything.
Questions: Is there anything in the garage that cannot be thrown away. Two items come to mind. One is a smallish kitchen appliance (I'm guessing it's okay) and the other includes a small internal combustion engine (I'm guessing it's not okay).
Caution: This message will self destruct.
One point. They play in Florida tonight against the Southeast division leading Panthers. Ottawa's next game is tomorrow night against Montreal again. The Canadiens suck so bad this year that we can not expect them to win again. The Bruins need to get their collective shit together today or the drop in the standings will feel like an elevator free falling down from the top of the Prudential building.
This collapse is starting to feel Red Soxian in nature.
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Neither did the Bruins.
That was the worst performance I've ever seen. The game was virtually over before the five minute mark when Tampa Bay scored their third goal. We learned definitively why Marty Turco has not been in the NHL for over a year.
I've never seen a team suck like that, and I used to go to 50 or so minor league games a year when it was not unusual for teams to just not try every now and then (usually on Sundays at the end of a three game weekend).
What's worse? They have now legitimately sucked for three straight games. When Ottawa catches them in the standings this week they will drop from second in the Conference all the way to seventh, and they deserve it. At this point they don't deserve to make the play offs. Teams that suck this bad have no place in the post season, and there is no reason for anyone to believe they will ever turn things around.