Thursday, August 31, 2006

Crash course

I was already running late to get home from work last night. I wound up being even later after getting rear-ended.

I was on Route 7 near Lisha Kill Road when the car in front of me braked suddenly. I quickly hit my brakes and avoided hitting the car. Then I remembered to check for that minivan that was tailgating me. I glanced in the rearview mirror and instantly knew what was going to happen next…CRASH!

No body was hurt. I had a little headache last night. That’s about it.

The car has a couple of gashes in the back bumper. That will have to be replaced. Near as I can tell, everything else seems fine.

This is the third time in less than a year my car has been involved in some sort of collision. In December someone backed into it when it was parked on the side of the road. In February a woman stepped out in front of me during a snowstorm, causing me to swerve and hit a guardrail. Now this. Needless to say, I’m on a first name basis with the guy at the body shop.

Just to add insult to injury, when I got home I was a little flustered getting out of the car and wound up locking the keys in it. We only have one key for my car. It’s one of those keys with a microchip in it and it costs about $60 to get a copy. We’ve never got around to doing that. Anyway, we wound up having to call AAA to get to get the car open.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Tigers vs. Yankees

The Tigers are playing the Yankees in a day-night double header today. That has Nolan excited.

At some point earlier in the season I told him that the Tigers were really good this year. Not long after that he decided he was a Tigers fan in addition to being a Yankee fan.

So who is he rooting for today? He insists he's rooting for both teams.

Meanwhile, the cable is out here in Menands. So I guess I'll have to actually do some work.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Blame Canada

"South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, while speaking at the Edinburgh International Television Festival in Scotland, said they have it on good authority the Marines guarding Saddam Hussein have been making him watch their movie "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut."

In a subplot to the hysterical 1999 movie, Saddam dies and goes to Hell where he engages in a homosexual relationship with Satan.

Fender-bender, shmender-bender

How does a big league ball player smash his brand new Porche into a county-owned garbage truck without anyone finding out about it?!?

Nature vs Nurture

So I had a dentist appointment today and my good friend Marlene watched the kids so I could go. I was having a busy day with lots of work at home in the morning (still recuperating from camping) and rushing to this appointment. I get back to her house and her daughter Stephanie was crying like she had been hurt. Thomas had just finished wacking her with a metal pole. Poor Marlene blames herself for having the pole out! Of course, Thomas is tired and he gets himself in trouble when that happens. What's a mom to do? We apologized and decided we won't do that next time (how many times have I heard that one?). I can't tell you how many times I have said no hitting, please listen to me, be nice to your friends, ... And I'm as nonviolent and noncompetitive as they come. But I tell you, Thomas definately pushes the envelope with me. He teaches me constantly what it is to be patient and non-impulsive, things he still has yet to grasp. And Chris is laid back and calm, while Thomas is all about the drama. Thomas impresses me with his ability to laugh when being yelled at and defying for the fun of it; these ideas never occurred to me when I was little, Miss Goody-goody. So are we as parents at fault? Is the nurture part of the arguement to blame? Or is it his nature and personality, things we can't really control? As a matter of fact, the more I do try to be strict and control him, the worse it is. Having a "home-grown" child and an adopted one does make me think a lot more about the nature vs. nurture debate, especially because they are so different. Of course, Thomas is only 3 and I just keep hoping these challenging traits will serve him well as an adult. In the end, he is an adorable, intelligent, little imp that I love to pieces. Even when I do yell at him and have bad parent moments at times, I hope he always knows that.

Monday, August 28, 2006

New widget

You may have noticed the box on the right side of this blog labeled “Things That Caught My Eye.” Here’s where that came from…

I had been using Pluck as my RSS reader. However, I recently switched to Google Reader.

Both readers have their pros and cons. But one of the nice things about Google Reader is that it can generate a little customizable piece of code I can drop into my blog. Now with a single click I can send headlines from Google Reader to this space.

Sometimes I stumble across interesting articles, but I don’t have the time to write something up to provide a link with. This will make it easier to share some of the items I find interesting with all of my loyal readers.

Back from the woods

We returned from our final camping trip of summer 2006 yesterday afternoon.

Unfortunately, the batteries in our camera died. So I wasn't able to get any good pictures.

But, as always, the kids had a good time in the great outdoors. They really love camping. At home they love their TV and video games like any kid. But once we get to the campground it's as if they forget about all that stuff. They don't even ask for it. All they care about is playing baseball, going on hikes and roasting marshmallows. It's a nice change of pace.

This will likely serve as our farewell to summer. School starts in about a week and a half.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Back to the woods

We're heading off on camping trip number three tomorrow. We'll be in New Hampshire with our friends the Reeds. Cross your fingers and hope we don't get rained on too much.

Picture and recap to follow...

Klingon karaoke

When Worf and General Martok talked about doing deeds worth of song, I don't think this is what they had in mind.

This is a video from little lost robot that I thought was just goofy enough to share. Qapla!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Don't try this at home

Summer is winding down and the fall TV season is right around the corner.  But one of the best things about summer TV is discovering some cool shows on cable that I might otherwise miss the rest of the year.

This summer I’ve really gotten hooked on MythBusters on Discovery Channel.  It’s a bunch of special effects whizzes and science geeks who take various myths and urban legends and put them to the test.

One really good episode tested out the legend that the Confederate Army built a rocket powered-missile during the Civil War.  Could that be true?  Using only materials that would have been available in that era they managed to build and launch a rocket, but it couldn’t go as far as the legend suggested.

This show is a lot fun.  They tackle everything from historical myths to modern day issues, like will your cell phone really interfere with the instruments on an airplane?

The best part is that a lot of the experiments usually involve blowing something up or some other form of destruction.  It really makes me wish I paid more attention in science class!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Snakes on a popcorn bucket

You had to know this was going happen. Some pranksters in Phoenix released two live, venomous rattlesnakes in a movie theater during a showing of "Snakes on a Plane."

Monday, August 21, 2006

Boston Massacre 2006

Wow! Going into this series, I was just hoping the Yankees would take three out of the five games against the Red Sox. A sweep just seemed like too much to ask for. But the Yanks just finished winning five at Fenway. Unbelievable! The last ime that happened was 1943.

Not even the big bat of Big Papi could save the day!

You know this is a series that no one will forget for a while in New York or Boston. What a way to add to the rivalry!

This puts the Yankees 6 ½ games in front of the Red Sox in the AL East. The Sox now also find themselves 4 ½ back in the Wild Card race behind the White Sox and the Twins.

There is still a significant amount of baseball left to be played, including four more games between the Yanks and the Red Sox. Anything can happen. But the Red Sox sure have dug themselves into a hole. BWAHAHA!

RELATED NEWS: Zimmer recalls 1978 Yankees sweep over Boston

ALSO: Celizic: Yankees are best team in baseball now
Mike Celizic's commentary on this evening begins like this...
“We still have a chance.”

That's what Theo Epstein, architect of the Boston Red Sox 2004 World Series championship team, told reporters Sunday — one day before the Yankees completed a five-game sweep at Fenway Park and ballooned their lead in the American League East to 6 1/2 games.

It's probably the same thing Custer said at Little Big Horn.

Trying to remain patient

In case anyone is wondering, I'm withholding comment on the awesome weekend Yankee fans had until after today's game. I just don't want to jinx anything. It's kind of like not talking about a perfect game too early on.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Gotcha Day 2006

We celebrated Gotcha Day on Saturday. Aug. 19 marked the third anniversary of the day we picked Thomas up at the airport and brought him home.

The crazy thing about Gotcha Day this year is that Thomas is now the same age Nolan was three years ago.

We commemorated the occasion by taking the boys and my mom to Hoffman’s Playland. As you might imagine Thomas was most excited about riding on their miniature train.

Unfortunately, we had to dodge the raindrops. We thought it wasn’t supposed to start raining until later in the day, but just as we were walking out the door the sprinkles started falling. For a while they weren’t running all of the rides at Hoffman’s because of the rain (including the train), but eventually the rain let up and all of the rides started.

To top the day off we ordered a pizza for dinner and ate it at mom’s house.

One of the things I like to do on Gotcha Day is take a picture of the boys together so we can compare the then and now. But since it was raining I left the camera in the car, and then I kept forgetting to take a picture later on. So here I’m using another recent picture of Nolan and Thomas.

Baseball Fever

It was all baseball all the time on Friday.

First I had game 1 of the Yankees-Red Sox double header on at work (the first of a five-game series). Then Nolan and I went to a Tri-City Valley Cats game that night. After that I came home and was still able to watch most of the marathon second game in Fenway (it went for a record-setting four hours and 45 minutes).

We went to the Valley Cats game with Ray and Danny. For Nolan and me, it was our first trip to Joe Bruno Stadium. I was pretty impressed with the place, but then my only frame of reference for minor league baseball is Heritage Park.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Snakes on the Top of My Head

Ok, I’m ready to jump on the “Snakes on a Plane” bandwagon. For months now I’ve been completely willing to let myself get sucked in by the Internet hype.

It really is crazy how this movie with perhaps the dumbest title since “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” has generated so much buzz with so little actual studio promotion. All people needed to know was that movie had some snakes…on a plane…and that it stars the great Samuel L. Jackson.

Before you know it, before any footage was released to the public, fans (can they be fans if they haven’t even seen the movie yet?) took to the Net, having all sorts of fun with the premise. Just check out sites like Snakes on a Blog and Snakes on Stuff.

And I’ve got to get one of those cool fan-made T-shirts:

The online buzz was so huge that the studio actually went back re-shot a scene so they could add in a line of fan-created dialogue that everyone seemed to want to hear Samuel L. Jackson say, even though it meant probably pushing the movie from a PG-13 to an R rating (if you’ve ever seen “Pulp Fiction” you can imagine what particular curse word was added in).

Then when the studio did finally start cranking out their official promotions, they came up with the very cool customizable Samuel L. Jackson phone calls you can send to your friends.

Is this movie going to be dumb? Probably. But does it look like a ton of fun? Hell yeah!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Land of Tall Corn

While reading the Upstream blog I stumbled across a link to a blog called York Staters, which has an interesting post on the meaning of the name Niskayuna.

Growing up, I remember being told it meant “Land of Tall Corn.” I’ve also heard that it’s an old Indian word for “High Taxes.”

Breaking ground in the Bronx

Mark your calendars for April 2009. That’s when the new Yankee Stadium is scheduled to open.

Ground was broken a short time ago on the new ballpark in the Bronx. Ironically, we were just talking about the new stadium at dinner last night. My mom and Kris didn’t realize a new stadium was being built and we were saying that we’ll want to make sure we go one more time before the old ballpark closes. At the time I didn’t realize the ground breaking would be this morning.

I’m slowly warming up to the idea of a New Yankee Stadium. Don’t get me wrong…the House That Ruth Built is one of my favorite places on Earth. Once your sitting in your seat and taking in the view of that field you can feel the history and the magic. However, that said, the rest of the stadium on the outside is a tad on the ugly side.

So while a new stadium will be very nice, the really sad part will be seeing the old ballpark destroyed. I had always hoped that somehow, even though the team would be playing in a new stadium across the street, the original baseball cathedral could somehow be preserved. But now I’ve read that the plan is to demolish the old stadium that was first built in 1923.

Apparently the plan is to place three baseball fields in the space occupied by the current stadium. Hopefully one of those fields will actually be the original field that’s there now. Maybe they can tear down the building around it, but leave the grass, the pitcher’s mound and the base path where so many legends have played the game.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Who's new

I’m trying to get back into the swing of things here on the blog with a long overdue dose of geek news…

Good news on two fronts for “Doctor Who” fans. First, the BBC and the Sci-Fi Channel have announced that season (series) two of the show will be coming to Sci-Fi in September. The run will include David Tennant’s introduction as the Doctor in last December’s special episode “The Christmas Invasion” and then continue season two’s first regular episode, “New Earth.”

Meanwhile, filming on this year’s Christmas special, “The Runaway Bride,” is complete. Filming began this week on the rest of the third season, which will debut next spring.

The new season will introduce a new companion to the show. An actress named Freema Agyeman will be introduced as medical student Martha Jones. This week they released the first publicity photos of the Doctor and Martha.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Wow…this may be the longest I’ve ever gone without blogging here. Sorry for the unexpected absence everyone. I guess life has been pretty busy lately.

I’d like to send out a big thanks to Kris’ sister Kim and her husband John for hosting us this past weekend. We stayed with them in their camper at an RV park in Cooperstown.

While we were there John and I took Nolan on his first pilgrimage to baseball Mecca—the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. I was a little nervous that he might get bored, but he really loved it. He toured through every inch of the place.

He most liked any exhibits that were Yankee related. He was really excited to see some Derek Jeter memorabilia. But he also got a kick out of seeing the bat Babe Ruth used to hit his legendary “called shot.”

On our way out I bought him his first pack of baseball cards (Thomas got some Yankee stickers). You’d think I had given him pure gold.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Party City

So we had an eventful weekend. On Friday, my mom and dad came to visit. The kids were really excited and we went to Applebee's for supper. They have a cool program where if you read 10 books you get a free kid's meal. So that's what Nolan did and he ate every bit. Thomas didn't and left the restaurant screaming because he wanted dessert. So he got ice cream at Gaba's (other grandma) on the way home.

On Saturday we had some errands to do, but in the afternoon my Aunt Helen, Uncle Rush and family came to visit on their way to Silver Lake from New Jersey. Then that night Gaba came over and we had a barbecue in the backyard thanks to steaks from Dad again.

My parents saw the Giants practicing Sunday morning and stopped by on their way home. We went grocery shopping to get ready for another barbecue that night with friends and their kids. That was fun. But we are partied out. We were lucky the weather was beautiful.

In other news, I'm not at all looking forward to fall and school starting. It's been so nice doing fun things and no schedule. As soon as school starts the rat race begins again.

Also, I might be changing my tune with switching from running to walking. I still love walking and don't want to give it up, but I miss running too and the friends I was running with. I think I may find a way to fit in both.

So this weekend we are going to Cooperstown to stay with my sister in her RV. We've never camped that way and I'm anxious to see what it will be like.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Photo flashback

I forgot that a long time ago I entered a picture of Nolan in a photo contest. It didn't win anything.

But then today, five years later, I got a piece of spam trying to sell me a copy of the photo printed on canvas and made to look like an oil painting. Of course, I'm not interested. But it was bizarre to see that picture being sent back after all these years.

Anyway, here is the picture.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The bear basics

When we went camping we experienced something new. We were told that Limekiln Lake was a "Class A campground" for bears. Therefore, every site came equipped with a "bear locker" to store all of our food in.

Normally we keep food and anything else we don't want animals getting into locked up in our car. But this time we had specific instructions to use this locker and not our car.

As a result, Kris was a little nervous about running into a bear during the trip--particularly during a late night run to the bathroom. We never saw a bear in our campground, but one did cross the road in front of us during our drive home.

Anyway, maybe it's just as well we didn't spot this story before our trip:

DEC officers shoot, kill agressive black bear

SARANAC LAKE, N.Y. (AP) - A team of state environmental conservation officers and wildlife experts shot and killed a black bear that had shown aggressive behavior toward people hiking in Adirondack High Peaks region.

The Department of Environmental Conservation say the bear killed early Monday morning was a male who was more than 20 years old and weighed about 350 pounds.

DEC officials say the officers shot the bear when it entered a camp site looking for food. The agency says it was the same bear that had entered lean-tos where people were staying on three different occasions last month.

In one incident, a man lured the bear away from his son after the animal had cornered his son in a lean-to. In another incident, campers had to hit the bear with their hiking sticks when it became aggressive.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Summer snowball fight

Last winter Nolan and I were making snowballs when I told him it would be a great idea to save a couple in the freezer so he and his friend Danny could have a snowball fight in the summer.

Yesterday was the perfect day to break them out. It was easily the hottest day of the year. In our town the temperature topped out at 99 degrees with a heat index well over 100.

So Nolan and Danny threw snowballs around in the backyard for as long as they could. Chester got a hold of one and ate it. The other, I’m sure, quickly melted.

The only problem—today is supposed to be as hot or hotter…and we’re now out of snowballs!