Nov 14, 2007

Disney Magic

Flew home Saturday from a Magical week in Disney World in Florida. Ahead of time, I was really stressing about the flights, with a 5-year old daughter and 2-year old son in tow. Especially since US Airways split us up... when we purchased the tickets, all four of us were together, and it was a necessity, mainly to keep our son occupied, and thus behaving. He's not a bad kid at all, but it's just the fact of him sitting in one seat somewhere around three hours made my head hurt.
Well I'll leave the flights and that horrible airline for another post, I'll just talk about the good stuff of the vacation here.

We flew down Saturday morning, and were staying at the Disney Resort itself (Boardwalk). They have it down pat, I have to say. The flight arrived, we then checked in for the Magical Express (a bus service that takes you directly to your resort), boarded the bus, and arrived at the resort about 30 minutes later. Along the way, the very funny driver amused us with his ramblings, plus pointed out two alligators! Cool stuff for a lifelong Jersey guy. We met my parents right away, who had driven down days earlier... Dad hates flying. Our luggage arrived from the airport, when our room was ready... nice.
Our son was an angel, and is usually obsessed with trucks and planes anyway. At one point, he actually exclaimed, "I'm flying Daddy!" Talk about a moment that will stay with me forever... that was definitively one huge one. He watched his DVD and munched on some pretzels, and our daughter played on her Leapster, drew pictures, and looked out the window.

We hit all four parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and MGM. Our daughter was all about the characters this time around, and we stood in line (usually with other New Jersey folks) a bunch of times to see too many characters to list here. Our daughter's the more leery one in terms of rides, but our son is the adventure-seeker, but still just a tad too short for the roller coasters. She definitely went on more things than she did the last time we were down, and we let her dictate where to go next, for the most part. Maureen and I traded off with my parents to watch the kids when we all wanted to go on the other rides like Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean... it worked out really well.
We only split up once, and that was when Dad and I walked over to Epcot Tuesday morning to ride the Segways, while Mom, Maureen, and kids went over to a Princess Breakfast in Germany in Epcot. My daughter had her princess dress on, and I heard my son had a thing for Jasmine. As for the Segways, I have GOT to get me one of them! This was the second time riding it, and this was an updated model. It's amazing how natural it is... me want.

We hit the Magic Kingdom three of our days there, and caught the Main Street Light Parade (or whatever it's called) and the fireworks twice. Didn't plan on seeing them at all, but the first night we gave it a shot after a later dinner, and the kids absolutely loved them both. My daughter was on my shoulders for the fireworks, and it was her first time seeing them... she was actually shivering at times. The second time we watched them, she yelled out, "THAT'S AWESOME!!!" repeatedly. Our third time in the Magic Kingdom was our last full day in Disney, and we planned on getting out of there around 4:00... well after the mandatory shopping, photo ops, snack runs, etc. it was definitely later. I was standing in line, I think for my daughter to see Jiminy Cricket, and Dad was standing off to the side with my son, who was saying something I couldn't hear. I went over, and he was saying, "Fireworks?" I had to break it to him, "No fireworks today buddy... all done," kissed him and went back in line. I looked back over, and he was looking at me with a boo-boo face and Dad was laughing... he was trying to play me, and at two years old!
But seriously, how awesome is that? Something like the fireworks made an impression on someone so small. Our daughter cried leaving on the bus because she didn't want to leave, and she would miss Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop (who were staying longer, now that they're both retired)... and has cried at home once since, because she wants to go back. What an impression, and what great memories we've been able to give them already... it's worth every penny, and I was able to see both of our kids grow in that week.

Oct 19, 2007

RV for the Tailgate

We have an RV for the tailgate this week! What was gearing up to already be a great tailgate fun, with breakfast sammy's, steak, shrimp, jambalaya, burgers, dogs, beer, RB&vodka, Mo's 7-layer dip and snacks galore, is now going to be even more fun. A friend of ours, who's going down, is bringing along a full-size RV for the tailgate experience. Oh boy.

This should be an experience.
Even the weather's cooperating: supposed to be 75 and mostly sunny Sunday. Most likely the girls will still be cold and huddle inside the RV, though.
I know we're not the first to bring an RV to a tailgate, but this is my first time... out of the probably ten-plus years of actual tailgating. Can't wait for Sunday! And oh yeah, the Eagles play the Bears later on in the day. SCHWEEEEEET!

Oct 17, 2007

Eagles FanCast Episode 11 Now Up!

We recorded our 11th episode of Eagles FanCast last night. The show was a good one, and we had fun. The three of us are definitely getting better with timing, working off each other, and not talking over each other too much. I still have to work more on reeling in the longer-discussed topics, but I'm still learning.
I want to do some work on the website when time allows... more is needed, and a new design is needed as well. I want to get a pictures section up there, as well as a better look and feel. Maybe after vacation in a few weeks. Prior to that there's a kids Halloween party, the Eagles-Bears game with a big tailgate planned, Halloween party (sans kids), Halloween itself and my high school reunion! Yeah, so no time for that updates type of stuff in the meantime.
When the hell am I going to have time to play Halo 3, Portal, Half Life 2: Episodes 1 and 2??? sigh

Oct 9, 2007

About Time Things are Changing

I've written briefly about the music industry from a consumer standpoint a couple times on here, mainly about the RIAA's idiocracy here and here. There's been a lot going on, including some setbacks where one Minnesota woman lost her case and now owes $220,000 "in damages" for sharing 24 songs online. By the way, a Sony executive in that case also decided to redefine theft and piracy, and calls backing up our purchased CD's or copying our CD's to our iPods, Rios, Zunes, etc., piracy. Interesting... I really thought I owned that CD I overpaid for. Apparently not in Sony's eyes. Well, I guess I won't be buying any more of Sony artists' music (Sony, Columbia, Epic, Arista and more). I'm sure what's next is we will be called pirates (arrrr!!) for copying our purchased digital music to our media players as well.

Personally I don't want to take that chance of potentially being singled out for piracy, do you know what I mean? Sorry AC/DC, Alice In Chains, Korn, Foo Fighters, Audioslave, Aerosmith, Good Charlotte, Bob Dylan, Soul Asylum and Joe Satriani... you've all rocked. I'll really miss Pearl Jam and Live. Maire Brennan, your voice is amazing. No more Tenacious D, System of a Down or Cake on my purchase list. James Taylor, take it easy. Who I'll miss the most is Bruce, and of course the E Street Band.
I'll listen to you all, illegally in Sony's cataract-covered eyes, through my purchased music (but I don't OWN it!! Right?!)... but I won't take the chance on breaking laws. It'll be safer to just NOT buy anything more from you.

Hey, what's that out there... Nine Inch Nails is now label-free? So is Oasis, Madonna and Jamiroquai? Hmm, they're recognized artists. Others are letting people decide how much to pay for a new album? Still others have given away their latest? What the hell is going on? Wait a damn minute, one of the online music distributors is now finally standing up to the music industry? Something is wrong... no wait, I take that back. Something has been wrong, and maybe is finally starting to be corrected.

Well I hope to see more of this correction, and see more sites support the artists like the Podshow Music Network, PodSafe Audio and The Beat Suite.

You hear that record industry? It's the sound of change, the sound of frustration being released... and it's the sound of you catching up, instead of leading.

Oct 3, 2007

Eagles FanCast Episode 9 online!

I haven't had much time to post here lately at all. Things have been busy, and we're trying to catch our breath. Hopefully I'll be able to get back here on a semi-regular basis.
Still been doing the Eagles FanCast though, and we recorded our painful 9th episode last night. Painful only because the Eagles are killing us at this point. Boy we need this BYE week at this point. Anyway, lots to talk about, but not much time... hopefully a new, real, post coming soon.

Sep 13, 2007

Eagles in The Onion Sports

As an Eagles fan, it's impossible to NOT like this...

Eagles Fans Give McNabb Three-Week Deadline To Win Super Bowl

The Onion

Eagles Fans Give McNabb Three-Week Deadline To Win Super Bowl

PHILADELPHIA—Frustrated with the Eagles' last-second 16-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers last Sunday, and with quarterback Donovan McNabb's failure to single-handedly score three touchdowns, prevent two of his teammates from muffing punts,...

Sep 11, 2007

Six Years

Six years ago, life was much different for the world. Terrorism, for the most part in America, was a thing of foreign matters. It hit home in a most dramatic, and horrific, way six years ago today.
Once again, today on the anniversary, there will be many articles written by the media outlets regarding September 11, 2001. They'll obviously do a better job than I can, and I won't try.
Six years ago was a completely different time for us, and it feels like a different lifetime. We lived in a different part of New Jersey, in a different house. We were pregnant with our first child. We both worked completely different jobs than we do now.

On that day, life changed. But how cliche has that phrase become?

The following day, as no planes flew overhead (which we saw a lot of, considering we were right between Philadelphia and Newark airports), life was scary. No longer did we just have the normal fears of having a child, but we questioned raising a child in a new world. If terrorists could hit there, then where else? Was it wise to hope? A war was inevitable at that point.

Life moved on for us. The planes began to fly again. I had a birthday, then we celebrated our "last Christmas as just husband and wife." Maureen had a birthday, then we had our very precious daughter on a lightly-snowing magical day. Life was better. Maureen resigned her job to raise our daughter, I found a much better job, possibly my dream job. We learned that the world was a good place to raise kids, and we had our second child, a boy. We moved into a bigger house, leaving the area that I spent over 36 years of my life, and relocating an hour from central Jersey to south Jersey. We brought our kids to Disney World. I was able to go to see the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl (although with a loss.) I quit my "dream job" after the president of the company essentially became paranoid and delusional, and started my own consulting company. Our daughter just started Kindergarten last week, and I started a podcast last month.
There were also some negative times in this time as well. Shortly after 9/11, anthrax came to town, literally. The huge post office in our town, Hamilton Township, was shut down when it was discovered that it became contaminated by the anthrax letters, as Hamilton served as a regional sorting hub. We have also endured two wars, both of which are ongoing, and with rumors swirling of a third to start soon. Maureen developed celiac disease. And this year we lost a beloved member of our family, who is very much missed by us all.

Six years.

Amazing how a life can change so much in what seems to be such a short amount of time.

It was wise to hope, and I won't ever stop again.

Sep 7, 2007

The week in review

What a week... our daughter (who's the oldest), started Kindergarten on Wednesday morning. Talk about stresses! She's gone to preschool the past few years, but this is all day. So far, after two days, we're not impressed with the substitute teacher (her regular teacher is out on maternity leave until January), as she's pretty much just babysitting them so far, shows up after most of the kids are already there, and isn't organized at all. Not a confidence booster in the whole "teach our kids" department. Our daughter's played with a lot of Play-Doh, which she likes, but she's been playing with it for three years and is already bored.

Also, recorded the fifth episode of Eagles FanCast last night. Another decent show, and the Eagles' first game is Sunday against Green Bay. All three of us are just jonesin' for the season to start... can't wait!! After five shows, most of the technical issues are out of the way, and I'm thinking about how to start spicing it up a little bit. We have a repeat audience now, too, so that's nice... just have to keep them around. lol

Sure glad I drafted Joseph Addai as my top running back in my fantasy league Wednesday night... a few points out of him, and he stomped my opponent's Marvin Harrison, which is nice.

A kids party on Saturday, a podcasting expo in Philly (PodCamp Philly), also on Saturday, and the game on Sunday... it's going to be busy yet again.

Aug 30, 2007

Episode 4 of Eagles FanCast is online

I know, I skipped telling people about Episode 3, but at least I'm telling you about Episode 4! We've been so busy with things, I haven't had the time to post to this blog lately. Stinks, but it's the way it is. I'll try to post more things, more often, but getting this podcast off the ground took a lot of work, so I've been trying to spend more time on things around the house and especially with the family.
Well that's about it for now, another boring post, but a post regardless.

Aug 17, 2007

EFC Episode 2 is live

Just had to put it out there, that the second episode was recorded Tuesday night, and posted on Wednesday.
The family was hit with the monkey pox (our pet name for when some kind of heinous virus infiltrates our health), and hit hard. Days of high fevers and swampy fever-breaks, sore ears, throats, messed up sinuses and pink eyes galore. Sounds like fun, yes? Three of us were down, as Emma was recovered from the week before and finishing up her meds, so it seems like she survived the hard hit we all took.
Still cloudy and tired, and only back to work for three days... no more of this sickness, please!

Aug 8, 2007

EaglesFanCast Podcast is LIVE!

Well last night started the brand new podcast, EaglesFanCast.
For the past couple months, I've been learning things in an area that I know very little... audio.
People that know me know that I have absolutely no musical talent. Other than being forced in grade school by the music teacher, Mrs. Spisak, to sing in every "production" that was put on, I'm musically inept.
I've never played an instrument, have no idea how to read sheet music and you have to ask Maureen about my very interesting rhythmic dancing when we go out.
So in the past couple months, I've taught myself things like the audio waveform, compression, limiting, normalizing, the mixdown and who knew that "gain" is actually "volume"?
With that brand new knowledge, and learning RSS feeds, online syndication, etc. the thing finally came together. Eric, Todd and myself sat down and talked about the Eagles for almost an hour... it was casual and smooth, like we were doing it for 50 shows already. Great fun. Eric and Todd definitely know more of the ins and outs of the team and sports in general, so they were able to carry the conversation throughout, and I was thrilled.
We ended it, and that's where the rest of the show came in for me. I saved the file, then edited out a lot of the dead space (long pauses between topics, etc.), then did some of those things I learned about (compression, normalizing). Then I had to record and mix in the music for the intro and outro. Then I had to put it all into one file. Then I had to convert it to the MP3 format (like any songs you download through iTunes and such). Then I had to update the file's "tags" which are things inside the file like Title, Artist, Year, Comments, Track, etc. etc.
Then I uploaded the final file to the file server online, updated the show's settings, updated the show notes, and made it available for the various sites that list podcasts.
Once that was done, I updated our website / blog with the info on the new podcast, and listed the show notes in a post.

Then I went to bed.

Well the good thing is, half of those things ONLY have to happen on the first episode, and can just be mixed in for the rest of the shows, and a few settings updated with the new info. In theory, I won't have to go to bed at 2:00am on the night of a show anymore. :)

So the website is
And if you know what RSS feeds are and want to subscribe to the shows, the feed is

It was fun, and I learned a lot... and there is a LOT of polishing to be done on my end for the post-production work. Plus I have a bunch of things to do on the website as well. I'm tired.

Aug 1, 2007

New project coming...

I'm working on something new, and will reveal it officially in the next week. It's just something that's been an interest of mine for a couple years, and now I'm jumping onto the other side of it after much "observation". A few buddies of mine will be helping me out as well, so that will make it work the way it's supposed to.
In the meantime, I just have to do some more learning, practicing and tweaking to make it come to fruition.

Jul 16, 2007

Peggle Grand Master

That's right.... Grand Master. Love that game!!

Jul 4, 2007

iPhone iN iHand

Geekin' out with the iPhone. That's me, holding an iPhone in an Apple store unaware that Eric was taking this pic with another display iPhone. Pretty decent pic, I didn't alter the colors or contrast prior to uploading it. Actually I didn't realize he took the shot until I checked my gmail and saw a message from "John Appleseed." All gushing aside, how cool is it that they let you use every aspect of it to take pics, send them via email, make calls and send text messages, all with demo units. Apple just does so many things right these days.
Now, anyone that knows me knows that I've been a DOS/Windows guy for all of my life... I just have simply never been exposed to any Apples at all, either in schools or in my professional life. And being a WinGuy, I have jumped on that wagon of giggling at the Mac fanboys of the world.

A few years ago (sometime in the latter half of 2004), Eric snagged an iPod Mini, when the clickwheel was introduced. Up until that point, I was curious about a media player (I had tons of CD's scattered throughout my car), but couldn't get interested in carrying one of these things around. But when I tried out his, and realized how damn easy it was to navigate with that clickwheel, I was VERY interested. I think at this point I was already using iTunes anyway, because, in my opinion, was the best, intuitive media organizer/player on Windows.
A couple of weeks after I tried his out, Apple announced the 4th Gen iPod, with the clickwheel, and a 20GB (or 40GB) hard drive capacity! I talked myself into getting one a few months later.

Honestly, the thing has changed the way I listen to music, and media in general. I would never have thought that a gadget could do that. But I moved almost all of my CD's to it, created a handful of playlists, downloaded audio books (I have an hour commute each way), and was introduced to podcasts. Now, I literally only listen to terrestrial radio MAYBE less than a half hour a week. When I hear any commercial, I change the station or find something on the iPod now.
So, getting back to the iPhone, from a geek point of view, I was psyched in January when Steve Jobs announced the smartphone/iPod/web browser hybrid device. How could I NOT be? This new gadget even had a completely new way of interfacing with it... after all, it's ALL screen, and you don't use a stylus, but your fingertips.
Granted the cost is so high, and I have a phone (that I made smart, but that's for another blog entry), and my 4G iPod which is only 55% full, and I can't fit all my stuff on the iPhone anyway. So I won't be buying it anytime soon. But I wanted to geek out and see this thing in person, I wanted to try out the interface. Let me say, it really is awesome. I loved it.

Jun 28, 2007

Spice Girls Reunion Tour!

This is big news, folks! Those dancing (if that's what it was), singing (yeah, not so much), hot (never a fan) Brits announced that they're going on a staggering 11-city world tour.

Realizing just re-hashing their awful '90s music wasn't enough, they also updated their spice with new names. The new power group will consist of Decrepit Spice, Plastic Spice, Metamucil Spice, Cadaver Spice and Old Spice (props to Eric for that last one).
Other news about the tour has revealed that some of their old roadies will also be joining them, still having the superb ability and skillz to constantly tell them "Yes, you're very talented. Yes, you're soooo beautiful. Noooo, you don't look fat." and "Yes, the other girls in the group like you."

The all-girl group finished collapsing in 2001 after realizing that no one wanted to put up with them any longer. Recent news-worthy stories announced that Victoria Beckham (the former Posh Spice) is moving to Los Angeles, and Melanie Brown's (the former Scary Spice) new claim to fame is having Eddie Murphy as her baby daddy. The desperate-for-attention quinary saw that some are still interested, so they jumped at the chance to be scoffed or ignored by a new generation of listeners. Their original listeners have been quoted as saying, "What was I thinking?" and "I thought they died in a blimp accident."

Get in line now, as those 11 shows might sell out in a few months!

Jun 27, 2007

The Little Mother That Could

Can't tell you how much I'm rooting for this woman... again! She's a single Mom that was sued by the RIAA, and after fighting with them in court, was able to have the suit against her thrown out. Two years of her life lost because of these bullies. Well now she's turning the tables with her own lawyers, and they've put together quite a laundry list of accusations... awesome.
If her lawyers did their homework, then this might be a nice precedent. Can't wait to see what happens here folks!

Jun 23, 2007

Found Koala pr0n

This photo was hanging behind our table at an Outback Steakhouse... I can't be the only one to see this in such a way. right??

Jun 10, 2007

Jun 7, 2007


Just boggles the mind.

Well I guess, by precedent, I don't have to worry about drunken driving laws in California.

Jun 6, 2007

Judge sues for lost pants?

In the You've Got to be Kidding Me category...

A Washington DC judge is suing a dry cleaner for losing a pair of pants... for $54M dollars. Yes, that's correct. Yes I know, I know, I'm being unfair here, he had lowered that amount from the ridiculous amount of $65M he had originally started the suit at. It's much more reasonable now.

I read this story, twice, and could not at all fathom how this man is allowed to continue to sit on a bench and be considered reasonable in any remote way. How scary is this that he is enforcing the legalities of our country. None of his colleagues have tried to talk sense into this guy? One of his claims has to do with a sign the dry cleaners had hanging that said, "Satisfaction Guaranteed". Yup, must be law, and any blunder should be seized upon with great vengeance and furious anger.

Why would any reasonable person sue for that much money for. losing. a. pair. of. pants?

How special were these pants? Oh, it must be about the principle, right? Must be. Who knows, maybe they were jerks, too. So, if they were bad business persons, wouldn't it be the consumer's (-cough- Judge) responsibility to not patronize said business? But if that wasn't the case, and this business DOES have a good reputation, and has treated this consumer well during past business exchanges (-cough- Hawaiian shirts and capris), then their first mistake is so unforgivable that you have to drive them out of business and destroy their reputation entirely? Who ARE you?

Hey "Judge", send me your home address, and I'll pack you up not one, but TWO pairs of chinos, so you can drop this lawsuit and get back to what's really important... like resigning. Ass.

You know, come to think of it, last week I ordered a small drink and was delivered a medium. Because of the stress of being forced to drink the entire thing rather than be wasteful, I believe I may now sue them for a very reasonable $97M. It's not about the money, it's about the principle... they should NOT have made a mistake!!

Jun 5, 2007

For Sale: 1957 Plymouth Belvedere Sport Coupe

Practically New! Extremely few miles!

Offered AS IS. Sorry, no refunds.

Will be available after June 15th.

May 27, 2007

Memorial Day

It's Memorial Day, and it's a time here in the States where picnics take center stage. It's used in the marketing arena as a way to kick off the Summer season and funnel thousands to the beaches, and into stores. Many of us take the time to get together with family and friends in some way and have a good time, eat good barbecue, have a few beers and play horseshoes and quoits. (That last one is kind of like horseshoes, but better.)

But the name of the holiday is "Memorial Day" and it is the day designated when we pay tribute to the men and women in the Armed Forces, and especially those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. My father was one of them. He died on foreign soil... Saigon, Vietnam, almost 39 years ago. He was an MP in the Army, assigned to the US Embassy in Saigon. A tragic accident took his life... three weeks before I was born.

You are still remembered on this day, and many days. You also have a granddaughter and grandson, and they are growing, and will take your legacy with them as they live their lives too.

So remember, respect, and welcome home those that served... and thank them.

May 26, 2007

Friday Night, TD on the Tube

Well Maureen's out for the night with the girls from the neighborhood. I had decisions to make... gaming, TV, movies, porn, WHAT?? Well I've got the 360, the PC, and some great games for each (Gears of War and Supreme Commander, respectively). But I don't feel like thinking, and I just feel like sitting. MOVIE!!
OK, so... a movie that Maureen isn't interested in. That narrows it down to anything not on MTV and all comedies. I've got a bunch of DVD's I've bought and not watched yet. A few around, but anything 1. Jack Black and 2. ridiculous... will work. So the only answer is...

Tenacious D and the Pick of Destiny

This. may. be. the. best. rock. movie. ever. made.

Jack Black's comedic timing, and Kyle Glass's (Glass'???) non-acting-skills, as well as their rock opera injection make this a comedic rock masterpiece. The first few minutes, with a "young" Jack Black and Meatloaf as his Dad, with singing dialog is awesomely great. Some great lines, and some even better song-lines, if that makes sense.
"Fuck-a-luck-a-ding-dong" was just one of them, as I was writing this.

Funny thing... Maureen JUST walked in, as Black was trying to disable the laser protection beams, with, his, uhhhhh, "member". Talk about walking in at the wrong time.

I can't say that it's the 3rd drink I've had since I started watching this, but this movie has a lot of the timing, goofiness, crass comments (in this case, in song), and blatant outrageousness that make this a great comedy that's worth watching on any night alone, or with the guys.

In watching the last five minutes of the movie..... I have to say... best. rock. movie. of. all. time.

Thank you Swedesboro, and good night!!!!!!!!!!!!!

May 14, 2007

Moblog Test

In my never-ending quest for more geeky fun, I helped Eric figure out how to post pics from the mobile phone to his blog.

He wanted to figure out an easy way of blogging on the road, easily, without carting his entire laptop. Since I won't be going on the Phillies roadtrip up to Chicago (Chi-town, Windy City, City with big shoulders, my kinda town...), at least I can live vicariously through him.
Plus, now I know how to do it, which can make for some more interesting posts on my part.

May 9, 2007

Tomato, Tomato

No matter how you say it, I planted eight of the plants in my humble garden on the side of my house Monday night; two each of plum, cherry, early girl and big boys. Also threw in two, maybe three or four (a few seeds seemed to take in each dirt pots) cucumbers, and two eggplants. With all the plants Maureen bought, I'm glad I expanded the garden by a few square feet this year. Emma helped me plant each of them, and I couldn't be more thrilled. My Pop Pop had a garden, my Dad and Mom took it over, I helped them out, now we have our own for the eighth season, and I'm going to keep my kids interested in it. Pretty damn cool.

If only I could grow grass in that soil.

Last evening I busted out the tiller and took some more dead spots grass out of the equation to finally put in a bed at the back of the house where there were two lilac bushes. Some big, creepy spiders were not happy with me, and I definitely was careful avoiding them when picking out the upturned grass and roots. Anyone that knows me is well aware that I'm not a spider person by any stretch. Unfortunately for me, Maureen's less of one, so I have to take care of them, and they seem to enjoy our garage. [shiver] But I think that I was more creeped out yesterday since I saw this article earlier in the day.
That just skeeves me to no end, and I think it's mainly because these BA sonsof.. keep pets!! [shiver]

May 8, 2007

Cinco de Mayo!!

Went out on the Cinco with some good friends in Philly. We started at the El Vez restaurant... where Mexican-American meets East L.A. in a Tijuana Taxi. Nice. Food was very good, and plenty of gluten-free (and tasty) things for Maureen. I couldn't finish all of mine, which says something about my new eating lifestyle because that NEVER would have happened before. All were happy.
Then we walked around the corner (more or less) to Senor McGillin's for a nightcap (more or less). That's where I was finally introduced to Red Bull and vodka. I know, I know, that combo's been around for at least a decade, but I never had an interest. Never even had a Red Bull before either. So after my fifth one Saturday, I realized that it's a sweet, guzzling kind of drink and the sugar/caffeine definitely offset the vodka nicely. No hangover the next day either, but I wonder if it's because I didn't get enough alcohol in my system in the first place. Probably won't make a night out of that drink again, but it fit the bill perfectly that night. We laughed our asses off for hours.
On the way home, we talked our DD into a quick diversion down South Street. Now anyone that's familiar with South Street on a Saturday night when it's a perfect-weather night just knows that there's no such thing as a "quick diversion." Driving was slow, so Scott, Eric and myself jumped out of the truck and ran up two blocks to get slices from Lorenzo's. After we stood in line, grabbed the slices and paid, the girls had just pulled over out front. Nice.
The trip home was a combination of pizza, laughing hysterically, and singing (loudly) to many Prince songs... it's probably best to not ask.

A good time was had by all.

May 3, 2007

Family Bush

So since late January, family's been more and more important in my life. We lost a beloved aunt to cancer, and as these things tend to do, it brought the family closer together. We talked more on the phone, we were able to share stories, laugh together and cry together. I believe it made a lot of us think, and maybe some of us regret not going the extra mile up to this point.
Well since then I've been inspired to lose weight, start this blog, and start gathering info on my family for genealogy. Not that I have so much extra time, but this will be fun... I've always had a thing for plugging in data into forms. LOL
I bought Family Tree Maker 16 and installed it last night, and started harassing family members to get me info. Once I get a lot plugged in and it starts slowing down, I'll try exploring some of the online resources and see where my family came from. Who knows, maybe I'm a direct descendant of a Hungarian, Irish or German ruler... or fry cook.

Soundtrack - iPod playlist including: Foo Fighters, GnR, Red Hot Chili Peppers

Apr 27, 2007

RIAA Wunderkind

So much is written and said on both sides of the whole RIAA and DRM thing, I tend to just stay away from the conversations. My personal opinion is simple: they're a bunch of desperate, old-media, bullying, non-innovative, lawyer-driven neo-luddites that have no clue in today's technological reality. Simple.
I really believe that if they didn't have the extreme bank accounts that they have, they would already be struggling for survival. Instead of embracing the positives of the new generation of music listeners, they've repeatedly alienated them through threats and lawsuits, and treat all listeners as morons by spewing statements about how what they're doing is for the consumers.

Gizmodo wrote a great little response to some of Bainwol's latest paranoid Jesus-complex statements...

RIAA: DRM is Pro-Consumer; Gizmodo: Shut Up, Idiots.

Nice and short and funny.

So now do you know why I try to stay out of these conversations?

Apr 23, 2007

Rockin' the Tut

What a great weekend this was! The weather was priceless... 70's both days, with clear skies. Maureen and I went to see the King Tut exhibit in Philly on Saturday. My parents came down to our house to watch the kids, and were going to stay overnight. The exhibit was amazing... crowded, but amazing.
I've always been interested in ancient Egypt, but not to the point of decorating my bedroom with mummies and golden sarcophagi, mind you. The items shown in the rooms, with a combination of Egyptian burial artifact history as well as Tutankhamen's (assumed) lineage, amazed us with their preservation. We were both blown away that a wood sculpture we were looking at was over 3200 years old, with original paint and inscriptions. I was definitely more struck with the items that were used by Tut and others more so than those that were made for his burial.
The child's game board, alabaster jewelry box (with a written description of the contents, almost as we label things today), his chair and footstool (with wear marks on it), and his flail and crook definitely impressed me more than the items that were crafted upon his death.
Regardless, we both learned a lot of new things, and are going to be doing some research of our own to learn more... it's worth going to see.
Afterward, we hit a restaurant in the city that had some gluten-free items on the menu, and could accommodate Maureen's celiac needs. Our staple restaurant has been Buddakan in Philly, but Maureen believes she was "glutened" the last time she was there because of a bonehead waiter that wasn't paying attention. So we went to Buca di Beppo, a family-style Italian restaurant. We ate in the "Cardinale" room. Each room had a different "theme", such as the "Pope" room, which had a bust of John Paul II on a lazy susan in the middle of a round table that probably seats ten - kinda freaky. The food was great, although limited for Maureen since almost all of the few gluten-free items had meat, and she's (unfortunately for me) a vegetarian. They were nice there, and were able to substitute shrimp for salmon in her meal. I had the tortelloni and a meatball... a half-pound meatball! WOW. It was damn good. I ate the meatball and half the tortelloni meal (the "small" is for two, mind you... remember the family-style part?) So I went off the diet, but had control, which is a good thing.

Sunday was busy, but stay-at-home busy. Dad helped me build a pseudo-retaining wall around the air conditioning units on the side of our house. The ground on the sides of our house slopes a lot, and the two A/C units are on this slope. Trouble is, the water pump outflow from the summer dehumidifier on the inside blower (and the winter's humidifier unit) lands next to the one A/C unit. Because of the flow almost year-round, the soil's been slowly eroding. So, because we had a lot of slate rock left over from the rock wall Maureen built around the shed, Dad and I used them to build the rock wall around the A/C units. It turned out really nice. All that was still to do was to fill it up with something to level it out... later.
We grilled up some burgers for lunch... the inaugural 2007 barbecue. Nice.
Then Emma and I tried to fly the kite we bought for her at the Franklin Institute on Saturday (where the Tut exhibition was). Wasn't much of a breeze, but she ran her heart out back and forth across the yard. To her it was a success, and we all had a lot of fun.
After my parents left, I decided to move as much of the river rock (see Freakin' Rocks!) from the back of the house to inside the rock wall around the A/C units. That was a lot of rock, again.
By the time we sat down to watch The Soprano's, my back and legs were aching.
The kids passed out with no hassles. I found out my parents passed out shortly after getting home. We passed out shortly after the show was over.

Apr 20, 2007

24 (not the show)

Lost 24 pounds since the end of January. It's getting harder to stick to it... it's almost as if I'm getting bored with it. I was surprised that I've gotten this far, but I'm not done yet. I want to get healthy in general.
My aunt (Mom's sister) passed away from cancer in January. She was essentially the matriarch of the family, one of the sweetest people you'd want to meet, too. The family (she had three children) took it very rough. I realized at that point, more than ever, that my family's life expectancy really isn't that high. (How scary is this... the now-oldest person in my blood family isn't even 60 yet). I'm approaching 40, and my kids are 5 and (almost) 2 years old. I want to be around for them forever, and my life of eating Wendy's, cheesesteaks and candy galore will have definitely caught up fast. So I made a decision to lose weight, then start exercising.
Baby steps though... I'd diet and eat healthier (what ARE these vegetable things you speak of??), drop some weight, THEN start exercising. Been dropping weight steadily, and bought some weights and equipment. Cleared out some of the chaos in the basement to move the bike, bench and exercise equipment from hell to a usable area.
It's working so far. I still have weight to lose, and starting to work out. I lifted weights for the first time in decades, and it felt great. Some things are definitely important.

My chest hurts.

Apr 19, 2007

CompUSA Brick & Mortar - Good Riddance!

A few weeks ago, CompUSA announced they were closing over half of their retail stores because of some lame excuse which deflects their true mis-managed reasons. The one closest to me at work is closing. Granted, I haven't stepped foot in one of these stores in a few years, but I had mixed emotions about it. One, walking into a place like that is nothing short of geek porn. The other end of it is that never once has going in there been a good experience.
Being in tech for the years I have, seeing stores open dedicated only to the things in my hobby was awesome back in the day. It's like an avid golfer walking into the pro shop, a comic book collector going into a comic store, or a vegetarian walking... into a field, or something.
There was a CompUSA near me where I worked at the time, and it was a good place. There was a Computer City in Princeton, close enough to where I lived. The prices were high and their employees were idiotic and arrogant, and the two times I was in there, the line for returns was twice as long as the checkout line... I'm not kidding, PLUS it wasn't a holiday season. Then I was psyched when CompUSA bought Computer City... a changeover near home! Nope, same crap.
I started to trust online purchasing, then discovered great prices, and have since built my last two computers, and bought countless gadgets, from online retailers.

Back to present day... they started with 5-15% off. Not great, but hey, a discount is a discount, right? I went in on lunch to find the place fully stocked, and plenty of people walking around... allright, bargain time!!

Holy shit!

They marked up their prices so much (or maybe they were that high to begin with), but who really sells items for the MSRP nowadays? Seriously. I walked the whole damn store, just hoping to find something worthwhile. Nothing. The prices were ridiculously high. I was irritated, but hey, it was the first few days, what did I expect? Plus the store was fully stocked.
OK, I did buy a PC game, Supreme Commander. It was brand new, I wanted it anyway, there was one left on the shelf, and it was $35, with the 10% off. I found it $5 cheaper with free shipping online that night. Oh well, no biggie.

A couple weeks later I went back, and noticed the signs proclaiming "15%-30% OFF Storewide". Nice.
So with renewed vigor I went in. Some of the shelves actually looked lighter. I walked the store again. The expensive stuff? Five percent off. OK, that's not what the sign says out front, bastards! What's 30% off? Well, things like cables or power strips. Irritated, I start heading out.
But what I see along the way are guys (not a woman in sight) with smiles on their faces standing in the checkout line, and walking out with bags of items. HUH??? I spied what these guys were buying and walked back to see what the prices were myself. Hey, there must be bargains here after all. Generally I know prices, and when I found the items, they were all seriously high. I just kind of laughed and left the store, again. These guys are all buying items that are still marked up, yet at a "20% off price!" UGH! It's so easy nowadays to look up comparative prices online... come ON people!!
Case in point... a coworker wanted to see if he could find something over there, and saw the prices were now "20%-40% OFF" blah blah blah. So I went for the ride. This was another two weekends after I had last been there, and the store's shelves were now half empty (or half full in CompUSA's misguided eyes). There was something I had my eye on before, one of the Logitech Harmony remote controls. Now 30% off, but I can STILL get it online for almost $60 less. Laughable... but they'll probably sell them all. Actually, it's brilliant for their bottom line... because it's been so long since anyone's bought anything from their stores, no one knows the prices, so they jack them up to MSRP, then "discount" them... people go ape!! Then they'll sell the shelving systems themselves and walk away from the leases. Huge profits this quarter!

Ehh, have at it. They're late to the party at this point, and they had the opportunity to ingratiate themselves to the market and make some real fans. They blew it, and now after I've seen what they are doing now, you'll never see me shop at their website. I'll just happily shop at Newegg, ZipZoomfly or even Amazon. Their prices are all good, they're trustworthy, and they respect their customers.

I think there's still a display model Pentium III laptop there for $2295 if anyone's interested. Hey, it's 5% off folks!

Apr 14, 2007

Freakin' Rocks!

So we're working outside today, trying to get some things done before the Nor'easter comes barreling up the coast (WTF, in mid-APRIL!!??) and drops cats and dogs on us. It's creating new beds, piling up new mulch, planting bulbs and a few little other flowery type of things... not in that order. I'm mowing the lawn in the back and Ryan's napping (slacker). Maureen takes Emma and goes to get more bags of mulch to finish up with what we have to do.
She finishes the mulching of the beds in the back around the shed, I'm almost finished mowing, Ryan's still napping, and Emma's digging holes for bird seed (don't ask, it makes sense to her). So Maureen realizes she needs more river rock to line the new bed she just created, and grabs Emma to run out and get two bags of the rock.
She comes back with no rocks, because the place didn't have any bags left, but the good news is that they'll deliver the river rock for us because they're quiet right now. So we have a quarter-ton of river rock to come soon, which really isn't that much. Ryan wakes up and I go up to get him and dress him so he can come out with us. The truck shows up, and he dumps the rock in the driveway like Maureen had instructed.
So, I'm upstairs (I do know the truck is out there delivering it) changing and dressing Ryan, and I hear him start dumping the rock. And the sound continues...

... and continues.

I finish, and the boy and I go outside. The truck's gone, and Maureen kind of has this sheepish look on her face and says, "They gave us extra rock."

Uh oh.

Well, now it seems our driveway is blocked, and there's no WAY we're getting our cars out of the garage and down that driveway with a ridiculous pile of rocks on it. OK, the Jeep yes, but the majority of the rocks are on her side of the driveway.
Now I can't do it tomorrow, remember the damn nor'easter? Yup.

Moved however much tonnage of rocks into the carrier, down the hill, and dumped them along the back of the house. Maureen helped, granted, because the kids were occupied inside.

She thinks I hate her.

My back hurts.

Apr 11, 2007


A couple days ago I just turned over 100k miles on my Jeep. Have to admit, that was pretty cool to see. When I was a kid, the cars' odometers just kicked back to '000000'. It's only a 2002, but despite the mileage that thing rides as good as the day I first got it. Although I'm a tech-head, and it's always great to try out a new gadget (and hell, what new car ISN'T like a new gadget), I really don't want anything else right now. An SUV isn't too "green" nowadays, and I'm definitely getting hit with the rising gas prices (AGAIN!!!), but boy do we use that thing a lot to lug shtuff around. Especially now that it's Spring and there's more things (read: work) to do outside, we couldn't be without it. Now if I could only figure out some way to keep the kids out of it, it would be SWEEEEEET! Maybe I'll treat her to new speakers.

You wouldn't understand... it's a Jeep thing.

Apr 9, 2007

And away we go...

So. Hi there. Glad you could make it. What, uhhhhh, are we going to talk about? You ever get the feeling you're being watched? Well I don't... after all, no one knows about this thing yet. So...
Bored yet?
OK, I know, this is where it starts. Here's a quick stream for ya, maybe details will follow.
My kids are awesome, but insane... I'm trying to get healthy and am losing weight... the Phillies are sucking and as a result the Eagles season is so damn far away... I am absolutely tired of commercial radio, especially in this town where there's only one station worth listening to, and I now despise commercials... TV is quickly approaching the same status, but luckily the Sopranos and Entourage started back up and I'm still reluctantly into Lost... but nothing keeps me from Family Guy... music listening is rare, but I get my podcast on daily... my iPod is all that, as well as my PC (just built last October), and even my xbox360, despite being a PC Gamer through and through.
Well I've started, let's see where this takes me. Some say I talk too much. Let's see what happens here.