Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday - A Most Excellent Day!

Today was an excellent day! After sleeping in until 9 AM I arose, puttered on the computer a bit and then shoveled snow. This was the third day in a row I decided to forgo use of the snow blower and just shovel for the extra exercise. There were several inches this morning and the snow was a bit heavier than the past two mornings so it took me about an hour.

After cooling down I got Scott up and he, myself and Danielle headed out to lunch and then hit Meijer to get the ingredients for hot wings.

My son Chris and his friend Mike came over around 3 PM, and Danielle and I played Left for Dead 2 with them for almost 2 hours with me taking a break around 4 PM to get the wings prepped and in the oven.

Chris, Mike, and I then alternated playing Earth Defense Force 2017 until the wings were ready. I made 108 wings in three varieties; hot and spicy, Italian garlic, and and new variety from the Chef Chris kitchens; Spicy Asian peanut.

Scott arrived home from the mall and the five of us tucked into wings while watching the latest Family Guy Star Wars spoof Something, Something, Something Dark Side which turned out to be hilarious!

After Family Guy we watched some video off the PC including the Terry Tate Office Linebacker series, Raging Rudolf, and finishing up with an episode of Man Verses Food. Chris and Mike departed around 9 PM. Danielle and I watched A Garfield Christmas, then the three of us Watched an older episode of How I Met Your Mother. Danielle and I then played some Left 4 Dead.

All in all it was a very enjoyable day, and I was quite pleased that Chris and Mike could join us.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Picture Of The Day 12/26/09

Tails was quite taken by the tree this morning.

Appearances Can Be Deceiving!

Ghost of Snowy Days past - Our House back in NJ back in February 2000

I am CHILLED! I just came in from shoveling snow. It was near 40 yesterday and rained all day and overnight when the temp dropped into the 20's. I looked out at what appeared to be about an inch of fluffy white snow. Not wanting to drive over it since I had to take my daughter somewhere at noon, which is before Scott has to go out, I figured it would be a cakewalk to clear the snow. I also decided, since Scott would be heading out a little later to remove the snow from his car since he does not garage his car as I do the Mustang.

SO, I went out and much to my dismay discovered a very icy snowy bottom layer under the fluffy portion. It took me twice as long as the half hour I had envisioned when heading out because I had to scrape the whole driveway to remove that bottom layer icy layer. In addition I chiseled the ice off of Scott's car.

I came in, and got under a nice blanket on the couch t warm up a bit. I wish I had the makings for some good hot chocolate! I will remedy that when I drop off my daughter and pick up the ingredients for that most wonderful beverage at the store. I will keep it sane though and get 2% milk and light whipped cream instead of half and half and regular whipped cream as I have used in previous winters! I will go for the Ghirardelli Hot Chocolate powder however, I mean you can only do so much.

Previous years when making Hot Chocolate I would also get a bar of imported Belgian chocolate and melt that into the mix! I think the lower calorie version will still be quite delicious!

Picture Of The Day 12/26/09

Below is a panoramic shot I stitched together depicting the general state of bedlam in my living room due to the frenzied unwrapping of presents yesterday! Note there are more Christmas and other photos over on my Facebook page so feel free to pop over and check them out. Not a Facebook member? Well, you can easily join on my Facebook page.

Click the picture for a larger version in a new window!

I hope all of you and your families had as Merry a Christmas as I did!

It's snowing here this morning in West Michigan - Once he awakens it is time to acquaint my son Scot, who recently turned 18, with my "Whoever has to go out of the house using their car first has to clear the driveway" rule. Unless it is not possible to clean the snow, I like to do this before driving over it other wise you get ice when the snow was driven on. Since you get get stretches of several weeks or longer going by with the temps below freezing, it's best to clear the driveway before driving on it.

I know he has plans with his friends later, right now I have no pressing need to go out first though at some point I do need to hit the store for some groceries.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Picture Of The Day Christmas 2009

Before - - - - - - - After

Picture Of The Day Christmas 2009

Virtually deserted roads greeted the Mustang and I this morning on our last minute Christmas mission! 12/26/09 Update - This was to get $20 for each of my kids Christmas cards as I know they hate empty cards. The heart-felt message I wrote each one of them in the cards should have been enough but.....

The ground was so icy, I just let the Mustang idle in reverse out of the driveway without stepping on the gas but we still slid all the way into the street! The main roads were better but the bank parking lot was very slick. At least I made it in and out with no issues. I headed home, exercised, got cleaned up and awaited the arrival of the X and the kids.

A Charlie Brown Christmas
Performed by:
The Cast Of Scrubs

This is HILARIOUS! If you have seen the TV show Scrubs, heck even if you have not, this is a 10 minute version of A Charlie Brown Christmas voiced over by the Scrubs stars.

Be Advised - The dialog is rated PG-13 in my humble opinion!

That's What Christmas Is All About.....

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas To All!

"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, 'Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'"

That's what Christmas is all about.

'Twas the night before Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas and out on the ranch
The pond was froze over and so was the branch.

The snow was piled up belly-deep to a mule.
The kids were all home on vacation from school,
And happier young folks you never did see-
Just all sprawled around a-watchin' TV.

Then suddenly, some time around 8 o'clock,
There came a surprise that gave them a shock!
The power went off, the TV went dead!
When Grandpa came in from out in the shed

With an armload of wood, the house was all dark.
"Just what I expected," they heard him remark.
"Them power line wires must be down from the snow.
Seems sorter like times on the ranch long ago."

"I'll hunt up some candles," said Mom. "With their light,
And the fireplace, I reckon we'll make out all right."

The teenagers all seemed enveloped in gloom.
Then Grandpa came back from a trip to his room,
Uncased his old fiddle & started to play
That old Christmas song about bells on a sleigh.

Mom started to sing, & 1st thing they knew
Both Pop & the kids were all singing it, too.
They sang Christmas carols, they sang "Holy Night,"
Their eyes all a-shine in the ruddy firelight.

They played some charades Mom recalled from her youth,
And Pop read a passage from God's Book of Truth.
They stayed up till midnight-and, would you believe,
The youngsters agreed 'twas a fine Christmas Eve.

Grandpa rose early, some time before dawn;
And when the kids wakened, the power was on.
"The power company sure got the line repaired quick,"
Said Grandpa - & no one suspected his trick.

Last night, for the sake of some old-fashioned fun,
He had pulled the main switch - that old Son-of-a-Gun!

Picture Of The Day 12/24/09

This morning I needed to venture out and do some last minute Christmas shopping, primarily for supplies to wrap gifts. I knew from previous years Target would have just want I want, and via the highway near my house they are about 5 minutes away. Checking their website last night informed me they would be open at 7 AM this morning so I left my house a few minutes before then.

The shot below shows my plan worked well, the parking lot was nearly deserted!

It was dark and cold and a very frosty wind was blowing. Were it not for the bright lights I would have had one thought in my head: Zombies! Yea, I guess I do play too many zombie games, but it will be a colder day that today was in hell before I play the likes of FarmVille or Restaurant City!!! Anyway, I digress......

The store was nearly empty as well and I was able to do my shopping there quickly with no hassle. I picked up a few last minute impulse gifts for the family, hit Costco too, gassed up the Mustang and hit the grocery store by mouse as well. Total time out was less than 90 minutes.

I then had a thrilling time taking care of some laundry and starting to clean up the house so it will be nice for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day tomorrow. The kids, the X, and I may go see a movie a little later, plus I have gifts for the family to wrap.

Speaking of gifts, I apologize to those I've sent Christmas gifts to past years but finances are quite stretched this year so I had to concentrate on the kids and my family. Feel free however to send me anything you wish! Come on! Do it now! I know from personal experience I truly enjoy giving and I want to share that with you all!

Picture Of The Day 12/24/09

I received a package from yesterday. A picture of its contents are below. I guess they are not kidding when they say they have everything!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

We Wish You A Merry..... Whatever!

At this festive time of year I'd like to wish you and yours an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral, winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most joyous traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, but with respect for the religious persuasion of others who choose to practice their own religion as well as those who choose not to practice a religion at all;

Additionally accept my wishes for,

a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the generally accepted calendar year 2010, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions have helped make our society great, without regard to the race, creed, color, religious, or other preferences or practices, sexual or otherwise, of the wishers.

(Disclaimer: This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others and no responsibility for any unintended emotional stress these greetings may bring to those not caught up in the holiday spirit.)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Picture Of The Day 12/20/09

The nearly empty mall this morning just after it opened. I got in and out in an hour getting all my shopping done.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad

I've been really blue today. This day would've been my dad's birthday. While he may not have won the Nobel Prize, invented the TV, telephone, telegraph or anything like that but to me he was a great man! I've really been missing him and my mom today.

So here's to a great guy! I love you dad. I wish you were still here so I could tell you that! Give mom a hug for me!

Love Chris

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Pictures Of The Day 12/13/09

For those of you unaware Tuesday through Friday we had quite a lot of snow and for three days we were under blizzard warnings with winds up to 40 miles per hour. When I was putting the shovel away yesterday I looked out the window of the garage's back door and noticed a ton of ice and snow overhanging the roof on the back of the house.

Here's some higher resolution pictures of the ice and snow overhang on my garage I took with my 12 Megapixel camera this morning. Though they are scaled down somewhat they are much better and larger than the ones I posted on Facebook earlier today. Note clicking on any of them will open a much larger picture in a new browser window.

Panoramic shot stitched from two pictures

Closer shot of the overhang by the garage door

Shot looking under the overhang from the garage door

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Picture Of The Day 12/12/09

The view out my garage's back door; an immense overhang of frozen snow and ice almost reaching the ground!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Picture Of The Day 12/10/09

Note these bushes by my front door are completely under the overhang of the roof so this is all wind blown snow. Usually they don't get anything on them when it snows.

Picture Of The Day 12/10/09

A shot of the snow a couple of days ago! There's much more now!!

Picture Of The Day 12/10/09

Blizzard warning extended to tomorrow as the wind howls and the snow keeps falling!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Conversations with my Father

The other day I was looking at quite a few digital pictures from a few years back. Many of these featured my father. One of my favorites is shown below.

Danielle, My Dad, and Scott July 2007

That night I had a very realistic dream, it was very vivid and made quite an impression on me. My dad and I were talking. We knew he was dead and we knew I was dreaming. "When you dream my son, the veil between our two worlds is more easily traversed." he explained, "I can sometimes come and talk to you as we are doing now. You may think it's just a dream, but it's not."

We talked awhile about how much we missed and loved each other, and we gave each other a big hug when we were done. As my dad faded away, he winked at me with the smile of his I remember and mentioned he'd be seeing me again, and not to be too sad about his being gone.

I awoke, and reflected. Could it really be my dad talking to me, or was it in fact just the product of my over-active imagination? Unlike most of my dreams this one was very clear and very realistic and the full memory of it stayed with me. Anyone else have an experience like this?

Real or not, I will say I missed him a bit less, and felt better about his being gone. I hope to see him again in my dreams some night soon.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Picture Of The Day 12/5/09

The view looking out the back door of my
garage after the first snowfall of the season.
Click picture for a larger version in a new window

Help Desk Log

Found this old tidbit when going through some very old files on my system. It's a bit dated, but still funny!


User called to say they forgot password. Told them to use password retrieval utility called FDISK. Blissfully ignorant, they thank me and hang up. God, we let the people vote and drive, too?

Accounting called to say they couldn't access expense reports database. Gave them Standard Sys Admin Answer #112, "Well, it works for me." Let them rant and rave while I unplugged my coffeemaker from the Accounting departments UPS and plugged their server back in. Suggested they try it again. One more happy customer...

8:14 am
User from 8:05 call said they received error message "Error accessing Drive C. Operating System Not Found" Told them it was an OS problem. Transferred them to microsupport.

11:00 am
Relatively quiet for last few hours. Decide to plug support phone back in so I can call my girlfriend. Says parents are coming into town this weekend. Put her on hold and transferred her to janitorial closet down in basement. What is she thinking? The "Myst" and "Doom"
nationals are this weekend!

11:34 am
Another user calls (do they ever learn?). Says they want ACL changed on HR performance review database so that nobody but HR can access database. Tell them no problem. Hang up. Change ACL. Add @MailSend so performance reviews are sent to */ALL.

12:00 pm

3:30 pm
Return from lunch.

3:55 pm
Wake up from nap. Bad dream makes me cranky. Bounce servers for no reason. Return to napping.

4:23 pm
Yet another user calls. Wants to know how to change fonts on form. Ask them what chip set their PC is using. Tell them to call back when they find out.

4:55 pm
Decide to run "Create Save/Replication Conflicts" macro so next shift has something to do.

8:30 am
Finish reading support log from last night. Sounded busy. Terrible time with Save/Replication conflicts.

9:00 am
Support manager arrives. Wants to discuss my attitude. Click on PhoneNotes SmartIcon. "Love to, but kinda busy. Put something in the calendar database!" I yell as I grab for the support lines, which have (mysteriously) lit up. Walks away grumbling.

9:35 pm
Team leader from R&D needs ID for new employee. Tell them they need form J-19R=9C9\\DARR\K1. Say they never heard of such a form. Tell them it's in the SPECIAL FORMS database. Say they never heard of such a database. Transfer them to janitorial closet in basement.

10:00 am
Perky sounding intern from R&D calls and says she needs new ID. Tell her I need employee number, department name, manager name, and marital status. Run @DbLookup against state parole board database, Centers for Disease Control database, and my Oprah Winfrey database. No hits. Tell her ID will be ready tonight. Drawing from the lessons learned in last week's "Re-engineering for Customer Partnership," I offer to personally deliver ID to her apartment.

10:07 am
Janitor stops by to say he keeps getting strange calls in basement. Offer to train him on Notes. Begin now. Let him watch console while I grab a smoke.

1:00 pm
Return from smoking break. Janitor says phones kept ringing, so he transferred them to cafeteria lady. I like this guy!

1:05 pm
Big commotion! Support manager falls in hole left where I pulled floor tiles outside his office door. Stress to him importance of not running in computer room, even if I do yell "
Omigod -- Fire!"

1:15 pm
Development Standards Committee calls and complains about umlauts in form names. Apologizing for the inconvenience, I tell them I will fix it. Hang up and run global search/replace using gaks.

1:20 pm
Mary Hairnet from cafeteria calls. Says she keeps getting calls for "Notice Loads" or "NoLoad Goats," she's not sure, couldn't hear over industrial-grade blender. Tell her it was probably "Lettuce Nodes." Maybe the food distributor with a new product? She thinks about it and hangs up.

2:00 pm
Legal secretary calls and says she lost password. Ask her to check in her purse, floor of car, and on bathroom counter. Tell her it probably fell out of back of machine. Suggest she put duct tape over all the airvents she can find on the PC. Grudgingly offer to create new ID for her while she does that.

2:49 pm
Janitor comes back. Wants more lessons. I take off rest of day. Notice Janitor transferring support lines to Loading Dock as I leave..... I like this guy!

8:30 am
Irate user from Monday calls to say chipset has nothing to do with fonts on form. Tell them Of course, they should have been checking "Bitset," not "chipset." Sheepish user apologizes and hangs up.

Support manager, with foot in cast, returns to office. Schedules 10:00am meeting with me. User calls and wants to talk to support manager about terrible help at support desk. Tell them manager about to go into meeting. Sometimes life hands you material...

10:00 am
Call Louie in janitorial services to cover for me. Go to support manager's office. He says he can't dismiss me but can suggest several lateral career moves. Most involve farm implements in third-world countries with moderate to heavy political turmoil. By and by, I ask if he's aware of new bug which takes full-text indexed e-mail databases from management and puts all references to furry handcuffs and Bambi Boomer with the managers name in the Marketing section on the corporate Web page. Meeting is adjourned as he reaches for keyboard, Web browser, and Tums.

10:30 am
Tell Louie he's doing great job. Offer to show him mainframe corporate PBX system sometime.

11:00 am

4:55 pm
Return from lunch. Take support lines of of random dialing to China.

5:00 pm
Shift change; Going home.

8:00 am
New guy ("Marvin") started today. "Nice plaids" I offer. Show him server room, wiring closet, and technical library. Set him up with IBM PC-XT. Tell him to quit whining, Notes runs the same in both monochrome and color. New guy and I boot our PCs.

My PC finishes booting up.

8:45 am
New guy's PC finishes booting up. Tell him I'll create new ID for him. Set minimum password length to 64 characters. Go grab smoke.

9:30 am
Introduce Louie the Janitor to Marvin. "Nice plaids" Louie comments. Is this guy great or what?! I really like this guy!!

11:00 am
Beat Louie in dominoes game. Louie leaves. Fish spare dominoes out of sleeves ("Always have backups"). User calls, says Accounting server is down. Untie Ethernet cable from radio antenna (better reception) and plug back into hub. Tell user to try again. Another happy customer!

11:55 am
Brief Marvin on Corporate Policy 98.022.01: "Whereas all new employee beginning on days ending in 'Y' shall enjoy all proper aspects with said corporation, said employee is obligated to provide sustenance and relief to senior technical analyst on shift." Marvin doubts. I point
to "Corporate Policy" database (a fine piece of work, if I say so myself!). "Remember, that's DOUBLE pepperoni and NO peppers!" I yell to Marvin as he steps over open floor tile to get to exit door.

1:00 pm
Oooooh! Pizza makes me so sleepy...

4:30 pm
Wake from refreshing nap. Catch Marvin scanning want ads.

5:00 pm
Shift change. Flick HR's server off and on several times (just testing the On/Off button...). See ya tomorrow.

8:00 am
Night shift still trying to replace power supply in HR server. Told them it worked fine before I left.

9:00 am
Marvin still not here. Decide I might start answering these calls myself. Unforward phones from Mailroom.

9:02 am
Yep. A user call. Users in Des Moines can't replicate. Me and the Oiuji board determine it's sunspots. Tell them to call Telecommunications.

9:30 am
Good God, another user! They're like ants. Says he's in San Diego and can't replicate with Des Moines. Tell him it's sunspots, but with a two-hour difference. Suggest he reset the time on the server back two hours.

10:17 am
Pensacola calls. Says they can't route mail to San Diego. Tell them to set server ahead three hours.

11:00 am
E-mail from corporate says for everybody to quit resetting the time on their servers. I change the date stamp and forward it to Milwaukee.

11:20 am
Finish @CoffeeMake macro. Put phone back on hook.

11:23 am
Milwaukee calls, asks what day it is.

11:25 am
Support manager stops by to say Marvin called in to quit. "So hard to get good help..." I respond. Support manager says he has appointment with orthopedic doctor this afternoon, and asks if I mind sitting in on the weekly department head meeting for him. "No problem!"

11:30 am
Call Louie the Janitor and tell him opportunity knocks and he's invited to a meeting this afternoon. "Yeah, sure. You can bring your snuff" I tell him.

11:05 am

2:00 pm
Start full backups on UNIX server. Route them to device NULL to make them fast.

2:03 pm
Full weekly backups done. Man, I love modern technology! Usually takes 3 days to write it all to tape!

2:30 pm
Look in support manager's contact management database. Cancel 2:45 pm appointment with Doctor for him. He really should be at home resting, you know.

2:39 pm
New user calls. Says want to learn how to create a connection document. Tell them to run connection document utility CTRL-ALT-DEL. Says PC rebooted. Tell them to call microsupport.

2:50 pm
Support manager calls to say mixup at doctor's office means appointment cancelled. Says he's just going to go on home. Ask him if he's seen corporate Web page lately.

3:00 pm
Another (novice) user calls. Says periodic macro not working. Suggest they place @DeleteDocument at end of formula. Promise to send them document addendum which says so.

4:00 pm
Finish changing foreground color in all documents to white. Also set font point size to "2" in help databases.

4:30 pm
User calls to say they can't see anything in documents. Tell them to go to view, do a "Edit -- Select All", hit delete key, and then refresh. Promise to send them document addendum which says so.

4:45 pm
Another user calls. Says they can't read help documents. Tell them I'll fix it. Hang up. Change font to Wingdings.

4:58 pm
Plug coffee maker into Ethernet hub to see what happens. Not (too) much.

5:00 pm
Night shift shows up. Tell that the hub is acting funny and to have a good weekend.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Six Truths of Life

Six Truths of Life **

1. You cannot touch all your top teeth with your tongue.

2. All idiots, after reading the first truth, will try it.

3. And discover that The first truth is a lie and
feel superior because they can do it.

4. You're smiling now because you're an idiot

5. You soon will forward this to another idiot.

6. There's still a stupid smile on your face.

I apologize about this.

I found out that I was an idiot too and I needed company....

** Thanks to my friend Barry for sending this Gem my way!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Birthday Scott

It seems like just yesterday I was at the hospital the day after thanksgiving awaiting the birth of my second child. Today he is 18! We had a nice day together. We all went and saw 2012 and then had dinner at Olive Garden.

Later he and I played a couple of campaigns of Left 4 Dead 2, and we also watched tv in between him working one of his flash projects.

I can't put into words just how happy it made me to be able to spend so much time with him on his 18th birthday.

I will say it was the best day of my week off!

Happy Birthday Scott! Remember now matter where your life takes you down the road or how old you are, I'm always here for you.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Picture Of The Day 11/28/09

No my friends, it's not the prelude to the Zombie Apocalypse, but, it certainly looks like it could be. What's unusual about these shots taken outside my home was it was a sunny morning around 9:30 but the fog was so thick as to be surrealistic. I really like these shots though I must admit it was eerie being outside while taking them. Note all can be viewed in a larger size by clicking on them.

Friday, November 27, 2009

CajunGrocer Turducken Was a Real Turkey.

For thanksgiving I ordered a Turducken with pork sausage stuffing from

Since more than a few people wanted to hear how it was, I decided to do a CajunGrocer Turducken Review......and here it is.

The Turducken was easy to prepare and I used a meat thermometer to insure it was cooked in accordance to the directions on the package since their web site's instructions differed from the instructions on the Turducken package itself.

Eight of us dined on this yesterday. As side dishes I made corn bread, biscuits, peas, onions, broccoli & cauliflower in cheese sauce, and corn. Of course there was jellied cranberry sauce.

Before I go into detail I can sum up my feelings in one sentence: I must say after shelling out over $80 for the Turducken and shipping from CajunGrocer that it was quite a disappointment.

Now, after making such a statement here's the reasons why.

The stuffing was just totally inedible, no one liked it and it resembled in appearance, taste, and texture nothing in the way of any stuffing I had eaten over the years. Heck, a box of Stove Top Stuffing would have been far, far tastier. The comment was made it looked like canned dog food when it was on the plate which everyone agreed to and got a good laugh from.

The duck was another sore point. Out of 8 of us only one person enjoyed the duck, the rest of us thought it tasted bad. I've had duck in the past and liked it, but this was just so gamy tasting that I could not eat more than a bite.

Even my gravy, made from the pan drippings was off and this was noted by my dinner guests who normally rave over my gravy on Thanksgiving.

On the plus side the Turkey and chicken were quite good and fortunately there was enough of that for us all to have a hearty meal thanks to the side dishes, but we all agreed that one of my regular stuffed Butterball turkeys with my cornbread and pork sausage stuffing would have made for a much better centerpiece of our Thanksgiving meal. It would also have cost less. We all really missed having stuffing with our Thanksgiving dinner!

I did not go into this purchase blind. I did a lot of research before settling on CajunGrocer. One thing that swayed me in their direction was that on the website is a re-print several years back from the Wall Street Journal proclaiming that of the brands tested their Turducken was the best, and delicious. I can only conclude that their quality has gone downhill since that was printed.

It was nice to try something new, but between the inedible stuffing, the overly gammy duck (I've had duck before that did not taste as strong as this did), couple with the high cost made this a very disappointing purchase for me and one that will not be repeated.

So, my opinion is that this Turducken was a real Turkey!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Picture Of The Day 11/25/09

So, above is a picture of the items (except the Turducken of course which sits in the fridge, nearly thawed) for Thanksgiving dinner. Look at the picture, and tell me what item is missing to prepare one of the other items I bought. You can click on the picture above to open a larger version in a new browser window.

Note the X cannot play, as she knows already.

Winner is welcome to stop by for a slice of Turducken! See disclaimer below.

Disclaimer: If you opt to stop by for a slice of Turducken it should be after 3 PM EST. While this offer is extended it is not to be taken as a guarantee that there will actually be any Turducken left depending on your arrival time or the ravenous hunger of my dinner guests. Cost of transportation must be borne by the winner. We cannot be held responsible if the Turducken makes you sick or has any other affects such as halitosis, body odor, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, fever, chills, palpitations, ringing in the ears, double or blurry vision, the heartbreak of psoriasis, psychosis, bloating, excretion of methane gas, visions of the undead, the ability to talk to visions of the undead, twitching, itching, a rash, speaking in tongues, the growth of a third eye, causing zombies to roam free, or the earth to spin out of its orbit and spiral into the sun killing all of humanity just because YOU wanted a slice of Turducken!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Picture Of The Day 11/22/09

Actually, it's Pictures Of The Day today, I shot several of the same Sunset and could not choose between these two finalists, so, I decided to just post both of them. Enjoy!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Ghosts of Christmas Past

We're in the Holiday season and frankly I'm a bit blue because of it. Since I don't anticipate a lot of posting in the coming weeks other than my Picture Of The Day posts, I thought I'd go into a bit of explanation for those who might wonder why I may seem a bit distant and why I'm not online a lot these days.

Christmas Eve 2000

Growing up we were in the lower middle class bracket. We lived on the second worse street of a pretty affluent town. While we did not want for for simple good food or clothes, though I often wore hand-me-downs, there were not a lot of luxuries because money was always tight. My Dad took a second full time job around the holidays, I found out years later, just so my parents could afford Christmas presents for my brother and I. Christmas as kid, then growing up before and after having my own kids, it was always something special, magical, and just the best of times.

Danielle, Scott, and Chris on Christmas Morning 2000

We started our own tradition with the kids for Christmas. Christmas Eve the three of them would get new pajamas and a Christmas book which we would read a story out of after they we in there new Jammie's before they went to bed.

Starting in 2000 for four years each Christmas I would make and give away on the internet a Christmas Screen Saver for the PC. These took months to create in my spare time. I watched Christmas specials in the middle of July off of video tape and in later years DVDs. I just really loved Christmas.

In fact I truly loved the Holiday season starting with Halloween and stretching through New Years. Since the divorce, it's just not been the same. I don't have the creative spark to do the Screen Savers. Thinking about doing it seems like such a massive effort and before it was effortless. The first holiday season was a real struggle to get through but that year and subsequent years I did my best to try and make the kids holidays happy and I found joy in their happiness. It really refined in me the spirit of giving, and I truly believe it is better to give than to receive. So, most years I've hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner for the kids, the X, and her parents, I give money to charities around the holidays as well which brings the holiday to others. This does make me feel good for those I am helping.

For me though this year, now that the kids are older and have less child-like joy with it, and even my daughter is distancing herself from us, there's not that much magic to be had as I really loved their love of it. Sometimes I think nowadays for them it's an occasion to get some gifts and not much else. January can't come soon enough.

Yes, I know, I'm like Charlie Brown; the only person who can take a wonderful season like Christmas and turn it into a problem. Wow, A Charlie Brown Christmas! I love that cartoon! I used to watch that special every year with my brother since it first aired until we moved to Michigan. I watch it every year though.

Anyway, thanks for listening.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

The Militants Take Manhattan

Sunday Morning.... So, there I was locked up in the stockade of the underground militant group I am a part of. I've been accused of cowardice and dereliction of duty, and what they have planned for me in reprisals does not sound pretty at all! I've professed my innocence and had plenty of my fellows backing me up, but, as I've pissed off the right hand man of the Commandant my fate is pretty much sealed.

I am therefor quite surprised when the camp Commandant comes over to the stockade and lets me know that he's heard a lot of unsolicited testimony on my behalf and has decided to let the fates decide my fate!

I am given a paintball gun and told all I must do to win my freedom is succeed in a little war game. I must cross the football field sized area between the stockade and the rail yard and rescue the hostage from one of the many train cars therein. Here's the twist; while I will have a paint gun the 25 or so men of our regiment participating in the exercise will have live ammo. If I tag one of them with a paintball, they will be out of the war game.

The Commandant seems to take some delight in telling me this was his right hand man's idea and he also picked those participating. He also mentions, though I have no idea why, that all the lab animals which include some rats, mice, and cats, are going to be euthanized later this evening.

Without further adieu the Commandant extends his arm into the air and fires his pistol. "GO!" he shouts and pushes me out onto what could easily become the killing field! Expecting to be cut down within my first steps I take off. Shots immediately ring out and I am narrowly missed multiple times as evidenced by impacts in the ground around me. Trying to shield my eyes against the spray of dirt and gravel being kicked up by the incoming shots I am also returning fire as I run madly towards the train cars in the distance.

I am a machine! Moving swiftly and sinuously I am able with shot after shot to take down the majority of my attackers without sustaining a single injury though many shots come close!! No matter how I am approached, no matter how quick the attack, and am always able to get a shot off and stop my attacker!

Panting with effort, my face stung with fragments of rocks from the near misses, I manage to make it to the train yard and begin scurrying between the lines of train cars looking for the car that contains the hostage. I pause for a moment leaning against a passenger car to try and catch my breath. Feeling the hairs on the back of my neck sticking up I drop the ground a split second before a round of bullets throws up sparks as they impact into the side of the train car that I had been standing against. I sprint off and spy (with my little eye?) a car surrounded by guards. I manage to sneak under the car, use the trapdoor on the bottom to gain access, and free the hostage!

I have made it! Shots are being fired madly in the air by my friends in the regiment who did not participate and I can hear them cheering outside! The Commandant tells me I am free to go or stay with the regiment. Some of the others are heading off to the local bar and invite me along. As we are heading off, the Commandant calls after me "Remember the lab animals!"

I am now in some darkly lit business area looking for the bar. My fellows have vanished, and I hear the sound of laughter and clinking glasses ahead. I am drawn to the noise and enter the bar, which has a sign next to the door picturing a mouse, rat, and cat with sad eyes looking at you, with the caption "Remember the Lab Animals Die Tonight!".

I am very disturbed by this news, and after a few drinks decide to do something about it. I head back to the military compound which is now dark and seemingly deserted except for a lone guard or two patrolling, By timing their rounds I am able to easily infiltrate the lab area. There are easily 100 animals. They all appear to be clean and healthy. I begin opening the cages and I hear a familiar voice say "I'm so glad you came to help!"

I look over and discover Kermit the Frog is talking to me. Looking back at the cages I see while some of the animals appear the same, some are now comical Muppets! Kermit and I lead them out of the complex and all of a sudden we are in a run down area of (yes, I hate to say it) Manhattan. "We have to find a place for everyone!" exclaims Kermit! We approach an old brownstone apartment building. Inside it is clearly run down and dilapidated, but it is sound as far as having a roof over ones head. The animals all begin cavorting around. I hear a squeaky noise down near my feet and an adorable (real, now Muppet) little white mouse looks up at me and says "Thank you for helping us!"

At that moment a New York City Police Officer bursts in and demands to know what we are doing there! I show him my underground (go figure!) militant ID and state I am going to buy the place for my friends. He thanks me for his time and takes his leave amidst much cheering and applause by the assorted animals.

I turn to Kermit and ask how this whole thing started. "That's easy!" hey says and claps his flippers together. Now, everything is gone and Kermit and I are in some very ritzy house, and I am saying farewell to someone who I evidently care for (but have never seen before). It's evident to me that she cares for me as well and we are both crying. With tears streaming down her face so proclaims that she understands how I must save the animals that have been sent for lab testing, but she cannot come with me. I kiss her goodbye, and turn to leave. I take a single step and . . . . .

I awake. After rising I spent some time and reflect how this has to be one of the strangest dreams I have ever had in my life! Obviously the military aspect is from playing way too much Borderlands this past week, and I of course love the Muppets and my favorite Muppet movie has always been "The Muppets Take Manhattan". The girl obviously symbolizes my lost love. What a dream this was to start off my Sunday with! What a way these elements combined into one dream!

Go figure!

Picture Of The Day 11/03/09

This morning on the way to work. I thought the power pole made a nice contrast against the sunrise.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Picture Of The Day 10/25/09

Saturday's healthy peanut butter flavored noodles with chicken, peas, and scallions. About 400 calories.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A funny thing happened to me on the way to the office

So Friday was one of the rainiest, if not the rainiest day of 2009. The wind was howling and the rain was coming down fiercely! There was flooding and many roads had accident and varying amounts of water on their surfaces.

Imagine my surprise as an accident had happened to the left me, and someone who was obviously blissfully free of the ravages of intelligence tried to go around it and came at me head on as seen in the picture below. I had the camera out to take a picture of the accident so I was able to snag this shot as this fool decided to come into my lane instead of waiting until the oncoming traffic had passed.

What a way to start the morning and test one's underwear is all I've got to say! At least I managed to avoid this idiot who kept going without even slowing down as I narrowly avoided him.

California Dreaming

So, I'm on an airplane headed to California. With me are Scott, Danielle, the X, and my friend David. It's a long flight. The kids are playing their hand held video games and texting, the X is on the phone, and David and I are watching video on our portable computers. Mine is an old beat up 7" Internet Media Tablet, and David's is a thin and light weight 15" flat panel device with an incredible picture. I have never seen the likes of this device before but I know immediately I want one. He passes it over to me and the kids are impressed as we watch a scene from Heroes featuring the character Hiro.

Obviously we are annoying the other passengers in the immediate area with our chattering and the volume from David's flat panel device. The X and I get into a bit of an argument and spend some time discussing some things including proper behavior on an airplane. When we are done the X heads off to see about a beverage and an older women behind me taps me on the shoulder and tells me not to worry about the fight, obviously that lovely lady cares for me very deeply. "That's no lady, lady" I reply, "That's my X wife!" As I deliver the punch line I press the button on my iPhone that delivers the traditional rim shot sound effect. The causes some light laughter of the surrounding passengers and my kids.

The pilot announces we are getting ready to land, the X returns, and we can see the airport outside the windows. There is a lot of turbulence which seems strange considering its a sunny day, and some people seem to be frightened by this.

We land without incident, retrieve our luggage, and head to the hotel in Hollywood where we are all staying. The hotel is something to see! It is huge, towering up into the sky! It takes 10 minutes to walk across the cavernous lobby to the front desk. Thank goodness the bellmen had taken all our bags in the parking lot. We check in and split up. The X and I arrive at our lavish hotel room. The room is immense!! The honor bar is the size of a double wide fridge and freezer and is stocked with gourmet items and beverages. There is a 70" plasma display mounted on the wall of the living room. The bathroom is a polished marble wonderland with two huge tubs, one with leather seating, a TV in front of it, and a device for aeration and the depositing of warm foamy soap reminiscent of an espresso machine gone wild! There is a huge assortment of toys for the kids, who are nowhere to be seen. The rooms are arranged around a central court, and looking off the balcony of our room, which is pretty high up, I am amazed at the sheer size of this establishment.

I start talking with the X about the trip and my puzzlement as to why the kids and I, and my friend David who already lives in California, flew out to Hollywood from Michigan with her who has a trade show to attend. I mention that the old woman on the plane thought we were a lovely couple and she cared deeply for me. The X then informed me that was someone else in her company and she was supposed to say just the opposite so I would not be pining away over her any more. "Well, then why invite me to come to California with you then?" I ask.

At that point the lighting in the room dims considerably and she looks at me ominously and whispers "Well, if you must know, it's because you won't be coming back from this trip my dear!" The hairs on the back of my neck stand up as I sense someone come up from behind me and...

I awake with a start, and ponder over this strange and disturbing dream. Though my head fully realizes that the feelings my heart has towards the X are not reciprocated, stupid dang heart has a mind of its own in this matter though after five years you think it would learn. Oh well, at least my head is in control during waking hours. I've never had a scary dream about the X before.....note to self, do not accompany her to California if she offers!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Video Of The Day - City of Crime

Music Video from the remake of Dragnet. Very funny, particularly if you saw the movie. Features Dan Akroyd and Tom Hanks.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Monday September 28th, 2009

Pauline Falco

Since my mom passed away on my first wedding anniversary, this had always been a rough day for me. Each year it would overshadow the happiness I had for reaching another year on what I then thought was an endless and happy journey being married. Each year until the divorce I tried to carry the burden as silently as I could, though I know the X at the time was aware of it.

At least now I can give over to the dark side and really, really, loath this day! If I could pull myself and my house into a hole and cover it over for the day I would. This year having it fall on a Monday is even worse.... I hate Mondays. And it's a rainy, dank, dark, and chilly Monday to boot. In reflection it is perfect for my mood...though tomorrow will certainly be a much better and brighter day no matter the weather!

I really miss my Mom today! While I miss my folks every day, today for missing my mom it's the worst. Compounding this is I remember the last time I saw my mom she was in the hospital for what would be the last time. She had just finished bad-mouthing my dad, who gave up so much for her when she became sick and stayed by her side for the 10 years her major illness lasted, and I told her off big time. We ended up yelling at each other before I stormed out of her room.

I carry this memory with me to this day, and usually manage to keep it in the back of the closet in the dark most of the year, but today like every 9/28 I remember it all too well. While I'm not sorry I spoke the truth, I am very sad that the last time I saw my mom alive we had to part under such circumstances, never to see each other again.

I think of the good memories too.......

I remember coming down to a home cooked breakfast most mornings, happy time on vacations, my mom walking me (and when he was younger my bother) down to the Bloomfield Center to shop. Sometimes she'd buy us ice cream soda's or Sundays at the counter at K-Mart. I remember one year we were on vacation down at the Jersey Shore. She decided to make Hamburger Helper for dinner. It was the first time she ever made it....and it was almost the last. She used ground chuck as back in those days there was no outcry about fat in ground beef, or 90% lean..... Well, she did not drain the fat out of the frying pain after browning the beef as the directions say to, and while the dinner was delicious, shortly after that the one bathroom in our motel room was highly sought after! We teased her about that quite a bit, it was funny because my mom was such a good cook when it come to home made food, particularly Italian. I can't remember how many times after that whenever she made Hamburger Helper we would all just stare at our plates silently, trying not to crack up, until she mentioned that she drained the ground beef.

I remember how at this time of year she used to love to drive in the more rural areas of New Jersey or update New York to look at the fall foliage change. I remember how much my brother and I hated such weekend trips until we were old enough to stay home. Of course, I'd gladly hop in the car and go now if I could. My brother and I used to call these, and other excursions Joy Rides, but she and my Dad really enjoyed them and I did to depending on where we were and what there was to see.

I remember how she convinced my dad, who was very strict regarding eating your dinner, to let me and my brother skip such really gross things like Liver and Onions. As they had been brought up in households where you literally went to bed hungry some nights because there was not enough food around, my dad felt you should eat whatever was on your plate. She really mellowed him out of some of the stricter after affects he had of living with my very strict grandfather.

I remember when she finally got her drivers license how proud she was.

I remember how she loved Sylvester and Tweety bird on Saturday morning TV! We would watch that together and she would chime in with Tweety echoing his "I tawt I taw a Puddy Tat!" exclamation whenever he spied Sylvester.

I remember her calling out to me anxiously to be careful, when as a young boy I climbed the tree on the other side of the school yard fence next to the house and was higher than the second floor window she was watching me from.

I remember as an even younger boy her bandaging my knees after I fell down roller skating. I remember the Bactine, which was not supposed to sting, did.

I remember how she was too sick to attend my wedding, so we had a friend video tape it and we recorded a personal message to my mom. She cried when she watched the tape.

I remember how much she wanted grandchildren, yet passed away before they were born. I often tell my kids that she would have spoiled them rotten.

I remember....I remember so many things today!

Well, mom, I've got your Virgin Mary statue looking down on me in my Living Room, and after work is done I'll light a candle by her. I apologize for yelling at you; we both should have discussed the issue like adults, but we did not. I miss you, and love you, and am so very sorry our last words with each other had to be in anger. You were a good mom, burdened by health issues for many years, and I know without a doubt how much you loved my brother and I, and our father too, and I want you to know that I miss you so very much!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

Picture Of The Day 09/21/09

Here's an interesting shot of Danielle making a face at me with the reflection of me taking the picture on the left.