Monday, January 31, 2005

Quote of the day

Ask a silly question...

Lamb: "The longer you're in this White House, with all those that have gone before you, do you see ghosts of past presidents?"

Bush: "Well, I quit drinking in '86."

- PRESIDENT BUSH, in an interview with BRIAN LAMB of C-SPAN

Friday, January 28, 2005

Work zone

My ultra-professional work environment. Posted by Hello

I happened to have my camera with me at work the other day, so I though I might snap some pictures of my lovely office and take you for a tour.

I've been working in this space for nearly eight years now. It is literally a converted storage closet. Actually, there is still a lot of junk kept in there that has nothing to do with me. About nine years ago or so the station was looking into buying its first non-linear editing system for the news department and work began to turn this old closet into an edit bay. But we wound up not buying the system. When my position was created it was decided to make this "room" my work space.

Note the slanted ceiling. I often joke that I feel like Greg Brady working out of my parents' attic. It's actually because my room is tucked away under the stairs. That of course has prompted comparisons to Harry Potter, who was forced to live in a closet under the stairs.

The main entrance to the World Headquarters. Posted by Hello

There is no door on my office. And the way my desk is situated, I have my back to the doorway, which means that unless I install a rear view mirror, I never know who is sneaking up on me. Fortunately there is a small ramp right outside the doorway that usually makes a noise when someone steps on it. That serves as my early warning system to alert me when someone is approaching.

My gallery of geek art. Posted by Hello

I actually have three computers in my room, although I really only use one of them. The sole purpose of one of the computers is to power the system at the Pepsi Arena that displays headlines from our site over the concession stands. It's an automated system, so I rarely have to do anything with it other than to just jiggle the mouse once a day and make sure it's actually working.

The other computer is probably the oldest in the newsroom and doesn't work very well (ironically it once was one of the best in the newsroom). The only time I really use it is when I need to capture video of whatever is going on on the monitor (e.g.: if we wanted to show moving video of a Web page or transfer an image to tape). It's also the machine people who don't have a desk of their own often use to check their mail when all of the other desks in the newsroom are taken.

You'll note some of the pictures on the wall. The "Raiders of the Lost Ark" poster I purchased in college. When I had my first apartment, this was my idea of nice artwork to hang in the living room. After getting married it moved from the living room to a spare bedroom and eventually to the basement where it started collecting dust. So I brought it here.

The Fox Mulder "I Want to Believe" poster was a gift from our entertainment reporter, who received it in a press kit promoting the final episode of "The X-Files."

The American flag was one of several passed out to employees at the station in the days after 9/11.

There is a poster of a couple of Starfleet ships that came out of a Star Trek calendar a couple years ago. The calendar was given to me as a thank you from one of our anchors. He doesn't have cable at home. So I used to tape "Voyager" and "Enterprise" episodes each week and bring them in for him.

The autographed picture of Bob Costas was a Christmas gift from Michelle Scanlon, one of my best friends from college. After graduating, her first job was working for NBC affiliate relations. She knew I was a Costas fan. So she simply called up his office and said she needed an autographed photo, and presto -- I've got a super-cool Christmas gift. The autograph reads, "Chris, I hope you enjoy this candid, unposed photo. Bob Costas."

The certificates hanging on the wall are Affiliate Excellence Awards I received from MSNBC.

Gumby and friends. Posted by Hello

An assortment of figures hang out on top of my computer. The Derek Jeter bobblehead doll was Christmas gift from Kris' parents. This is a favorite item of mine, despite the fact it looks nothing like Derek Jeter. Andy Petit? Yes. Tino Martinez? Maybe. Derek Jeter? That's a stretch.

The Jason Giambi bobblehead, which doesn't really bobble at all, came in a box of cereal. Personally, I blame the steroids for making its neck too thick and keeping it from bobbling properly.

Gumby and the robot were freebie items sent to the newsroom for one reason or another that I snatched up. The robot used to wind up with a key and walk around, but I lost the key. So now he just kind of stands there and looks grumpy.

Not pictured is my lightsaber pen that really lights up. That was part of a set of pens sent to the newsroom with a box of "Attack of the Clones" cereal three years ago.

Photos and works of fine art. Posted by Hello

Along with some family photos, I also have a picture of Rudy Giuliani shoving Hillary Clinton in front of a subway train, a chart comparing Johnny Damon of the Red Sox to a caveman and one of Nolan's earliest works of art.

The ever-watchful eyes of the baseball Silly Slammer. Posted by Hello

My baseball Silly Slammer is always a hit with any kids visiting the newsroom. Whenever you slam him he says one of three exciting phrases: "Play ball!" "You're outta here!" "Going, going, gone!" It also plays the "Charge!" music.

I complain a lot about my office. For a long time I've been dropping hints that I would love it if we could have the room remodeled to look more like an office and less like a storage closet.

And yet there are plenty of people at work who tell me often how much they like my room. They seem to think it has a certain "charm."

I just have to keep reminding myself that there are still plenty of people in the news department who don't have a desk of their own, and even those who do are all sitting together in cubicles. So I should be appreciative of my own little space, even if it is a closet under the stairs.

Manly man

Ok, according to ESPN's "Are You a Metrosexual?" quiz, I am not one. I scored somewhere between "Go buy the latest GQ and study up!" and "Keep it up, you have serious potential!"

Confessions of a cable TV viewer

Ok...I admit it. I enjoy watching TLC's "What Not To Wear" and Bravo's "Queer Eye For the Straight Guy." Does that make me any less of a man?

I also find myself increasingly asking Kris for her opinion of my appearance before leaving for work in the morning. Perhaps I'm getting in touch with my inner metrosexual.

Don't worry. I'm not planning any trips to the spa anytime soon!

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Home Improvement, Part 1

Here's the before shot. Posted by Hello

And so it begins...

We're getting half of our basement finished off this year. We've simply run out of space for toys, games etc. When this room is all finished it will be a playroom for the kids.

It will also be a nice TV room. If all goes according to plan, I'd love to get a widescreen LCD TV to put down there.

We're also hoping to get a pull-out couch or futon so the room can serve as a nice, private guest room.

Our contractor dropped some materials off this morning. Work wasn't supposed to begin until the spring. However, he wanted to have some stuff down there now. That way if we get another really cold day (they've all been really cold days lately) and he has an outside job that he can't do, he can come to our house and work indoors instead.

The 'Episode III' opening crawl

Episode III: How It Begins has published the opening crawl (or roll or scroll or whatever you want to call it) to "Revenge of the Sith" and the rest of the movies. There is also an article on how the effect is made.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

'Enterprise' grapsing at straws?

Frakes And Sirtis To Appear In 'Enterprise' Finale?
"Star Trek: Enterprise" saw its ratings improve from "dismal" to "lukewarm" with the three episodes it ran last November featuring Brent Spiner of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Now comes word the producers are trying to line up "TNG" stars Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis to appear in this year's season finale.

Apparently the producers feel that if it worked once, why not do it again? Does this strike anyone else as a desparate move when you consider there is a very good chance the season finale could turn out to be the series finale. Plans to being in William Shatner have fallen through over a salary disoute, so I guess the powers that be think this is the next best thing.

"Enterprise" has improved this year. However, I agree with Viacom honcho Les Moonves, who seems to think it might be time give "Star Trek" a rest for a while.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Waiter, there's sheep's brain in my salad

Here's a follow-up to this earlier post:

Student charged in sheep brain prank

VESTAL, N.Y. (AP) - There's been an arrest in the sheep's brain caper at an upstate high school.
A student at Vestal High School near Binghamton has been charged with putting parts of a sheep's brain in the cafeteria salad dressing.
Authorities say 17-year-old Michael Walker faces two misdemeanor counts in connection with the January 12th incident.
Walker is charged with petit larceny and tampering with a consumer product. He's to appear in a town court next Tuesday.
Police say Walker is accused of stealing a sheep's brain from a chemistry lab in the morning and placing it in a bowl of salad dressing that was to be served at lunch time.
Investigators say they don't believe anyone actually consumed the tainted dressing before another student discovered the material in a salad dressing bin.
No illnesses were reported by school officials.

(Bob Joseph, WNBF, Binghamton)

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Monday, January 24, 2005

Busy weekend

We had quite the weekend.

First there was the "Blizzard of '05," which dumped about one foot of snow at our house. I put blizzard in quotes because we were under a blizzard warning for 24 hours Saturday and Sunday, but I never personally saw any blizzard-like conditions. It's the wind more than the snow that makes a blizzard, and it never got that windy where we live (unless all the wind was overnight while we were sleeping). I've been caught outside in a blizzard before and this didn't compare.

But it was enough to keep me busy. I spent a lot of time over the weekend helping to keep the storm coverage up-to-date on

Just as the clouds cleared Sunday came the news about Johnny Carson. There is nothing I can say that hasn't already been said by EVERYONE. The man was a legend, an institution, and David Letterman was right when he said in a statement Sunday, "We will not see the likes of him again." It seems so strange to be talking about Johnny's passing when I just blogged days earlier about how he was still passing jokes to Letterman.

And then there were the NFC and AFC championship games. I watched as much as I could of both. I had no vested interest in either of the NFC teams, but I guess I'm glad the Eagles won. I'll probably root for them in the Super Bowl. In the AFC game, as I tried to blog Firday, I was rooting for the Steelers because A) I was a Steelers fan when I was a kid (due mainly to the Mean Joe Green Coke commercial) and B) I hold the Pats guilty be association -- Boston shouldn't be allowed to have that much success in one year (although someone was work pointed out to me that their presidential candidate did lose).


Nolan signed a new Wiggles DVD out from the library Saturday, which we watched multilpe times between then and this morning. As a result, I've had the songs "Lights, Camera, Action, Wiggles!" "Anthony's Workshop" and "Where's Jeff?" stuck in my head all day.


'Trading Spaces' turns a Paige

Host of "Trading Spaces" leaving show, format changing
Paige Davis (aka Mindy Paige Davis Page) is leaving "Trading Spaces."

We used to be devoted fans of this show, but haven't watched it for a while. I think it jumped the shark a while ago -- and now this news definitely confirms it.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Tim Burton strikes again

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride
It's been about 10 years since Tim Burton brought us "The Nightmare Before Christmas" (and "James and the Giant Peach," which I've never seen).

If you've ever seen "Nightmare Before Christmas" and loved it (and how could you not?) then you must watch the trailer for his latest stop-motion animation feature: "The Corpse Bride."

Blogger blunder

Sometimes Blogger really gets on my nerves. I just got done typing up a fairly lengthy post and now --POOF -- it's gone and I'm back at square one.

Then again, I guess I have to remind myself what I'm paying for the service.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

The King of Late Night is still at work

Johnny Carson and David Letterman seen back when they were both still on NBC.

Does Jay Leno know? CBS senior veep Peter Lassally revealed Tuesday at the TCA press tour that some of the jokes David Letterman tells during his Late Show monologues are written by none other than Leno's Tonight Show predecessor, Johnny Carson. "He gets a big kick out of [hearing Letterman pull his punch lines]," Lassally said. Jay, dude, that's gotta hurt. (Michael Ausiello - TV Guide Online)

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

'24' spoilers

Learn who will be making a comeback on "24" -- the spoiler is in invisotext below:

The Hollywood Reporter says Dennis Haysbert will return as former President David Palmer in the final six hours of Day 4. Additionally, AICN says Tony "Soul Patch" Almeida and Michelle Dressler will also be popping up before the day is out.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Heart of Gold crew

My "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" kick continues...

Tonight I came across this photo of Sam Rockwell as Zaphod Beeblebrox, Zooey Deschanel as Trillian, Marvin the Robot and Mos Def as Ford Prefect.

Inside the Marvin suit is Warwick Davis, the miniature actor best known to geeks everywhere for his roles in "Willow" and "Return of the Jedi" (sharp eyed nerds also will have also spotted him making a cameo in "The Phantom Menace" and he plays Professor Flitwick in the Harry Potter movies). As I previously blogged, Marvin will be voiced by Alan Rickman.

H2G2 fans will notice the curious lack of a second head on Sam Rockwell's shoulders. One can only hope it will be a CGI head added in later in post. However, there have also been rumors that in this version Zaphod's second head isn't necessarily on his shoulders, but rather is somewhere else altogether -- although where that might be remains a mystery.

'FF' tailer debuts online

Fantastic Four - July 1, 2005
The first trailer for "The Fatastic Four" showed up online today. It debuted in theaters last weekend with "Elektra."

I don't know why, but I can't say the trailer lit me on fire (so to speak). Maybe I've just been jaded by all of the negative hype the movie has been generating so far.

Don't get me wrong, I really hope this movie turns out to be great. If any Marvel movie is a hit, it should be this one. After all, "The FF" is practically Marvel Comics' flagship title. It's the one that started it all. "The world's greatest comic magazine!"

But I'm just not thrilled with the cast. The only one I really like is Michael Chiklis as the Thing. Jessica Alba wouldn't have been my choice for the Invisible Woman, but I can live with it. However, the actors playing Mr. Fantastic and the Human Torch just don't look right.

Then there's Dr. Doom. He is the top dog of Marvel villains. Nobody else comes close. He is to the Marvel Universe what Darth Vader is to Star Wars. This character should be nailed just right, and instead it looks like they're completely screwing him up.

Anyway, it is just a teaser trailer. Maybe the next trailer will blow me away. One can only hope.

Return of Mr. Steele

Pierce Brosnan set for Remington Steele return?
Would they also bring back Stephanie Zimbalist and Doris Roberts?

Monday, January 17, 2005

Adoption atrocity

Adoptive parents 'numb' after loss in custody battle
Perhaps it's just because I'm an adoptive parent myself, but this story makes me sick to my stomach. My heart goes out to these poor parents and the little boy that was taken from them.

Speaking of acting your age...

I finished re-reading "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" last night, as I psyche myself up for the release of the "Hitchhiker's Guide" movie in May. I first read the book about 20 years ago. Back then I found it very comical, but also sort of deep and insightful. I enjoyed it just as much today.

I'm now on to the next book in the series, "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe," which I think I owned a paperback copy of, but never actually read.

I'm reading from a leather-bound edition of "The More Than Complete Hitchhiker's Guide: Complete and Unabridged." I bought it during my freshman year of college when I had to do a "dramatic" reading for a speech class I was taking, and I selected a passage from "Hitchhiker's Guide." I thought the big leather-bound book would look more impressive when I stood up in front of the class.

This edition also contains the later books, "Life, the Universe and Everything" and "So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish" as well as the short story "Young Zaphod Plays It Safe" -- none of which I've ever read. I've owned this collection for more than 14 years, and I've never gotten around to reading any of it!

Ironically, "The More Than Complete Hitchhiker's Guide" is no longer complete. After this collection was published, the author -- the late, great Douglas Adams -- added one more book to the series called "Mostly Harmless" before his untimely passing in 2001.

Act your age!

Wow, I hit this one right on the money!

You Are 33 Years Old


Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

Thanks, Allie.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Mystery meat

From the EEeeewww Dept.:

Police: Sheep's brain found in school cafeteria dressing

VESTAL, N.Y. (AP) - Talk about gross.

Someone took a piece of sheep's brain from an anatomy class at a Binghamton-area school and placed it in the salad dressing in the school cafeteria.

Police are investigating Wednesday's food-tampering incident at Vestal High School, where officials say a student found the piece of brain at the bottom of a container of dressing at the salad bar.

Students used some of the dressing before the material was discovered, but officials say there's no evidence anyone ate any of the preserved brain matter, and no one has reported getting sick.

Parents were sent a letter informing them about the incident.

Local health department officials say there wasn't enough preservative in the brain matter to cause health problems.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

What's in a name?

It occurs to me that if I had it to do over again, "Bloggerooney" might have been a better name for this blog. But I'm kind of attached to "Off the Top of My Head," so I don't think there will be any name changes any time soon.

The Da Vinci Cast

Reno rings in DA VINCI CODE role
French actor Jean Reno has landed the role of Detective Bezu Fache in the film version of "The Da Vinci Code." Really, was there anyone else that ever had a shot at this part? It seems like it was almost written with Reno in mind.

If you don't recognize Reno's name, you probably would still know him if you saw him. American audiences probably know him best for his roles in films like "The Professional" (great movie -- young Natalie Portman's screen debut) and the first "Mission: Impossible."

Now, if they want to continue being predictable, all they have to do is land either Julie Delpy or Sophie Marceau as Sophie Neveu.

Tom Hanks will be playing the story's hero, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, and Ron Howard will direct. As obvious a choice as Reno is, Tom Hanks is not at all what I imagined when I was reading the book. But I like Hanks a lot, so I'll give it a shot.

Open mouth, insert foot

Priority check
I read this in Mark McGuire's column in today's Times Union:
Here is the bonehead quote of the week, as it appeared in the New York Post:
"For a celebrity weekly, this is our tsunami." -- Kent Brownridge, general manager of Us Weekly parent company Wenner Media, commenting on the Brad Pitt-Jennifer Aniston split. He later apologized.
Also, the bulk of the column talked about the local media blog Albany Eye, which is included in my blogroll. Some people have asked, so let me go on record: I am not Albany Eye. I barely have enough time to keep track of what's going on at one station, let alone watching all of them and reading all of the local papers! Besides, I like my job too much to put it in jeopardy by running that kind of blog.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Welcome back, Blogger

Blogger's user interface has been out of commission, which is why I haven't been posting anything lately. But it looks like we're back in business now.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

Depressing news to be happy about

Ain't It Cool News - View Article
The great Alan Rickman will provide the voice of Marvin the robot in "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." How perfect is that?!?

Now, who will be the voice of those sickeningly chipper doorways on the Heart of Gold?

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Not So Evil Empire

The Yankees will donate $1 million in proceeds from their opening night game against the Red Sox Sunday, April 3 to tsunami relief. The game will be televised nationally (I assume on ESPN).

Bud Selig had some kind words for the team everyone loves to hate:

The Yankees will take advantage of the spotlight game to donate $1 million of the proceeds to relief efforts in behalf of the devastating tsunami in South Asia.

Commissioner Bud Selig expressed his gratitude for the Yankees' gesture.

"Major League Baseball has always appreciated the Yankees' generosity and their commitment to those in need," Selig said. "This reaction to the tsunami disaster is in keeping with their long history of good works. On behalf of baseball, I am grateful to George Steinbrenner and the New York Yankees for this wonderful gesture."

Snow day

Nolan rests up before another run down the hill at Central Park in Schenectady.Posted by Hello

Kris and Thomas enjoy the winter weather. Posted by Hello

It's snowing pretty good here. Last time I checked, the forecast called for three to six inches today. But it started snowing around 9:30 a.m. and has showed any sign of slowing down yet. So I wouldn't be surprised if we wind up with more.

We were going to take the kids swimming at the YMCA this morning, but the snow inspired us. Instead we met up with some of Nolan's friends over at Central Park to go sledding.

I'm going to a Union College hockey game tonight. But between now and then I plan to stay inside and out of the weather for as long as I can.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Lucasfilm leaks
Several promotional images from "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith" have leaked out. You can check out the 25 pictures (no major spoilers) at the link above. That is, at least until Lucasfilm slaps them with a cease and desist order.

You know, my theory is that there are no Lucasfilm "leaks." I think the majority of so-called leaks were put out there by Lucasfilm itself, which then pretends to be upset and thus generate more interest.

Remember the way early review of "Episode II" on AICN three years ago? Lucasfilm supposedly sued the leaker or had charges filed or something, but I wonder...

That's my wacky conspiracy theory of the day.

3:30 PM UPDATE: The images are gone. Oh well, they were nice while they lasted.

Spacey & Singer...together again

Bosworth & Spacey Confirmed for Superman!
Kevin Spacey, who won an Oscar for director Bryan Singer's fantastic film "The Usual Suspects," will play Lex Luthor in Singer's upcoming Superman movie. I hope he plays it straight on and not campy like Gene Hackman did.

Meanwhile, Kate Bosworth has landed the role of Lois Lane. She's currently co-starring with Spacey in "Beyond the Sea."

Last year relatively unknown actor Brandon Routh was cast as the Man of Steel.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Big Unit coming to Big Apple

Randy Johnson will wear a different set of pinstripes in the 2005 season.

Yankees, Johnson Reach $32M, 2-Year Deal

It's just about official. Randy Johnson will take to the mound for the Yankees this year. All that's left is for Johnson and the other players involved in the deal to pass physicals.

All of you Yankee-haters can now start your complaining about the Evil Empire again...

Lean on me

The three Rooney boys lounging on the couch. Posted by Hello

This picture was actually on one of the last rolls of film taken with our 35mm camera. Kris took it back in November, but we just got the pictures back tonight.

I liked it so much, I wanted to share it. Since I don't have a scanner, I took a picture of the picture with my new digital camera.

File this under Too Much Free Time. I will now go to bed, as I should have hours ago.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

A long time ago in galaxy far, far away...

The Star Wars cast past and present.

Geeks of the world...commence drooling!

I may just have to run out and grab the latest issue of Vanity Fair just to get a copy of this fantastic gatefold cover shot taken by famous photographer Annie Leibovitz. Click on the picture above to see a larger version one of our fellow geeks was kind enough to scan and post on the Internet.

The photo features Hayden Chrstensen, Ewan McGregor, George Lucas, Natalie Portman, Yoda, Darth Vader, R2-D2, C-3Po, Samuel L. Jackson, Jar Jar Binks, Jimmy Smits, Christopher Lee, Liam Neeson, Jake Lloyd, Pernilla August, Ian McDiarmid, General Grievous, Billy Dee Williams, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and, of course, Chewbacca.

Too bad they couldn't somehow work Alec Guiness and Peter Cushing into the shot. And does anyone out there think they also should have included Boba Fett, Jabba the Hutt or Darth Maul?

Say what you will about the prequels, but I am pumped for Episode III. If you haven't watched the trailer yet, what are you waiting for?

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Tsunami relief

Your Help Counts
You've probably noticed the link I set up to more information on how you can donate to the American Red Cross' effort to help those affected by the tsunami in south Asia. I encourage everyone to check it out.

Boggs bound for Cooperstown

Wade Boggs celebrates the Yankees' World Series victory in 1996.

Boggs, Sandberg Elected to Hall of Fame
Congratulations to Wade Boggs and Ryne Sandberg on their election to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Boggs will probably enter the Hall with a Red Sox hat, but Yankee fans will never forget the image of him riding horseback around Yankee Stadium on an October night in 1996.

Back in the swing

Yesterday was my first day back to work after my vacation. I hadn't worked since Dec. 23! As a result, it was a pretty busy day playing catch-up. Things are settling down a bit now and getting back to normal.

We had a great holiday season. We stayed home, except for one day-trip to Syracuse to visit Kris' family.

It was great to have such a long vacation with no big plans. I just spent a lot of time with the kids and did little things around town, like a trip to the library or the Schenectady museum. We had a somewhat impromptu holiday party on Christmas Eve with some friends and got to visit with another close friend of mine from high school while he was in town.

I also received a new digital camera for Christmas (thanks mom and dad Chase). So hopefully I will be posting pictures to the blog much more often.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Big changes in store for Nisky schools

District weighs $115M renovation
The Niskayuna School Distrct is considering renovations and/or additions to every building in the district, including the possibility of building a new high school where Iroquois Middle School is currently located and converting the existing high school into the a single middle school for the district.