Monday, December 24, 2007
In other holiday news, Mary Ellen and her family safely arrived Saturday night. It's been so great to see all of them. We've been having so much fun spending time together.
Yesterday we ventured to Syracuse for the day where Kris' sister Kim lives. THeir parents where there too and we had our Christmas with them. It was a really nice visit.
Whoever you're spending your holiday with, have a very Merry Christmas!
Friday, December 21, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Now, three years later, Patrick is about to receive his final chemo treatment. If the tests turn out well -- as they are expected to -- he will have officially beaten cancer!
There was a nice article written about Patrick yesterday in his hometown newspaper. That's where I got this picture of him and his mom, my sister Mary Ellen.
Patrick is now a freshman in college and is considering a career in medicine.
He and his family are coming up north for Christmas. We haven't seen him, his brother Philip or his dad Mark in more than three years. So we're all really excited for their visit.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
He had some trouble breaking through the snow. I eventually had to clear some snow off so he could spring to life.
At first, only this single mitten clutching a candy cane managed to surface. It looked like some horrible Christmas tragedy had taken place!
It reminded me of the end of "Terminator 2" when Arnold gave a thumbs up as he sank into the pit of molten metal.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
I love Christmas music of any variety. But there are some holiday tunes I just can’t handle – like anything by the Carpenters. There must be at least three radio stations in the
But there is one song that I think has the indisputable claim to the Worst Holiday Song of All Time title. I was working out the YMCA recently, listening to seasonal songs on the radio, when “The Christmas Shoes” came on. ARRGGHH!!! When you’re exercising you want energetic music that pumps you up. This song makes you want to slit your wrists. I don’t condone censorship, but I’ll make an exception in this case. This song should be banned from the airwaves forever!
I think my favorite Christmas song on the radio right now is Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan performing “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”
One of my all-time favorites is “O Holy Night.” I’m a sucker for any version of it – except Mariah Carey’s. I always worry the glass in the windows is going to shatter when she shrieks the high notes.
On another note, while thinking about Christmas music recently it dawned on me that the ongoing writers strike is going to rob all of us of one of my favorite holiday traditions: the “Late Show with David Letterman” Christmas episode. You can count on this episode every year for three things:
- Paul Shaffer will do his impression of
Chersinging the aforementioned “O Holy Night” (“OOOooooo HOOOOooooolllly Night, the stars are brightly shiiiiiiiiining!”).
- Jay Thomas will come out, as he has every year since 1998, and tell his classic Lone Ranger story and then he and Dave will take part in the Late Show Quarterback Challenge (you can read the story and an explanation of the QB Challenge in this recap of last year’s show).
- And last, but certainly not least, the great Darlene Love comes out to blow the lid off the dump with a rousing rendition of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).”
Darlene first performed the song for Letterman in 1986 on “Late Night” on NBC. She appeared on “Late Show” on CBS to do the song in 1994 and has returned every year since (except this year).
Of her 14 Letterman appearances singing this song, I found six on YouTube. I wanted to pick one to post here and narrowed it down to two. When I couldn’t decide further, I figured what the hell, let’s post them both. You decide which one is better.
First up is the 2000 appearance. Darlene is backed up by the Singing Sergeants of the U.S. Air Force and the performance was broadcast live to service members overseas.
Next up is last year’s appearance. This slightly extended version (compared to the other clips I found) is another show-stopper, complete with a sleigh on stage and a brief appearance by Late Show’s Grinder Girl and Hula Hoop Girl.
Friday, December 14, 2007
The Dark Knight
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UPDATE: You can now watch and download a much higher quality version here.
But this is just the beginning. We're supposed to get hit with a BIG storm Saturday night and into Sunday. One of the weather guys at work even used the word (potential) blizzard when talking to me about it yesterday.
If you were dreaming of a white Christmas, it looks like you'll get your wish.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
We had a very festive day on Sunday.
It started with a trip to the Dyken Pond Environmental Education Center. This is a beautiful nature preserve that Kris discovered a few months ago. It was the first time the boys and I had been there.
Every year they have a Yule log celebration to mark the start of winter. Somewhere hidden on the miles of trails on the property was large log with a ribbon tied around it. After receiving a few clues, everyone sets out to see who can find it first.
I got the impression that for most of the people there, this as been a longstanding holiday tradition. As the newbies, we never stood a chance at finding the log. But that’s okay. We still got to go for a nice winter hike.
Later the log was brought back to the cabin we started at where it was burned on the campfire. Inside the cabin there were snacks and crafts for the kids to work on. There was going to be an outdoor treasure hunt too, but we had to leave as that was getting started.
Afterward we went to mom’s house to help her put up her Christmas tree with my sister Annie and her daughters Helen and Olivia.
We usually help mom put her tree up every year. But there was something special about it this year. My sister Mary Ellen, my brother Tim and their families will all be visiting over the holidays. It will be the first in a long time that we’ve all been together at once. So it was fun helping mom get her house ready for everyone to enjoy.
This picture of Nolan cracks me up because that teeth-gritting smile reminds me so much of my dad. Lately, whenever Nolan poses for a photo, this is how his smile comes out. It’s the exact smile my dad had in every driver’s license or photo ID he ever had.
Obviously, some sort of weird smile gene has been passed down.
Monday, December 10, 2007
USA Today revealed details about the upcoming Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which it said is set in Cold War 1957.
Citing co-producer Frank Marshall, the newspaper said the fourth installment in the hit franchise deals with a quest for South American relics with supernatural powers.
Meanwhile, Indy has settled into a quiet life as a professor, the newspaper reported. But once the archaeologist is thrust back into danger, the adventure will take him to New Mexico, Connecticut, Mexico City and the jungles of Peru.
Indy will face off against operatives from the Soviet Union, including Oscar winner Cate Blanchett as the seductive Agent Spalko.
Ray Winstone (Beowulf) co-stars as an unethical rival archaeologist. Shia LaBeouf sports greaser hair and rides a motorcycle as the hero's sidekick.
Crystal Skull will also revisit bits from other films, including Karen Allen's Marion Ravenwood character from 1981's Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Marshall added that the artifact of the title is inspired by real quartz sculptures of disputed origins that are carved in a way that defies the natural structure of the crystal.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull opens May 22, 2008.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
I loved "Batman Begins." As big a Tim Burton fan as I am, I think it might have been better than his original film. I can't wait to see the next installment.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
We set a new family record yesterday for picking out a tree. We returned to Bob's Trees, where went for the first time last year. After hopping out of the car we all pretty much zeroed in on the same white spruce and agreed it was the one. Within a matter of minutes it was cut down and in the van.
We didn't decorate it until today. Yesterday we just put it up in the stand in the afternoon and strung the lights up after the kids went to bed.
In between we spent some time ringing the bell for the Salvation Army out in front of Price Chopper. This was a Cub Scout activity. We signed up for a four-hour block and got families to commit to spending just one hour standing by the kettle.
It's a really easy thing to do that makes you feel good about helping others. I rang the bell a couple of times a few years ago and have been wanting to do it again ever since. Now we're thinking about making it a family tradition.
'Tis the season for holiday traditions. Hope you and your family enjoy all of yours.
Saturday, December 01, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
On Saturday, the Cub Scouts held a pancake breakfast in the morning. Nolan had basketball in the afternoon. Then we bundled up and went the Schenectady Christmas Parade (excuse me, Holiday Parade) with our friends, the Kirsteins, in the evening.
You're probably asking, "Isn't it a little early for a Christmas parade?" That's what we thought too. But once we were there sipping hot cocoa and watching all of the floats and marching bands go by we got into the spirit of it.
Traditionally the parade is on the Friday night after Thanksgiving. But they moved it this year because of a conflict with Proctor's. They've got a big show playing this week and no one wanted a traffic nightmare on what will hopefully be a busy night for the theater.
This was the first time for the kids to see the parade. Since it was on a Saturday this year, they started it a couple of hours earlier than usual. We were still home in time for everyone's usual bedtime.
Speaking of Cub Scouts, I never got around to blogging about the camp out we want on a couple of weeks ago. We stayed overnight at Rotary Scout Reservation out in Poestenkill. This was the first time Nolan and I stayed overnight on this trip. Last year we just went for the day.
Once again, launching model rockets was the big activity. The night before, the kids occupied themselves by poking the fire with sticks and running around like crazy people in the cabin. You know, boys will be boys and all that. Actually, the highlight for me was watching Nolan sit down by the fire and read aloud to some of his friends from a book of scary stories he had. That was very cool.
Here are some photos from the excursion...
Friday, November 16, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
This one is my favorite, just for the slogan. Look closely under the MSNBC logo and you'll see that it says "Now with more cow bell!"
Friday, November 09, 2007
Unfortunately, the folks from Dunder Mifflin won't be around much longer. Production on the show has shut down due to the Writers Guild of America strike. I believe next week's episode will be the last original episode and then the show will go back into reruns until the strike is settled.
In this video, some of the show's writing staff -- many of whom are also cast members -- outline their case. I first saw this a couple of days ago and wanted to post it then. Alas, it's been a busy week and now this clip has spread everywhere. You've probably seen it by now. If not, here it is...
In the meantime, we've finally learned what it takes to stop Jack Bauer -- a WGA strike. Remember that "24" trailer I posted? Enjoy that, because it's all the "24" we'll get for a while. Fox has pulled the planned January season premiere from their schedule -- delaying the show indefinitely. They want to wait until they're sure they can run all 24 episodes in Day 7 consecutively.
I fear the strike is also going to doom the new "Star Trek" movie, which began shooting this week. Director/producer/writer J.J. Abrams agreed to start production on schedule, but is refusing to take part in any rewrites along the way. So if a scene isn't working out as well as it seemed on paper, they're stuck with it. Actually, I'm sure someone will do the script tinkering, but it probably won't be any of the original writers who worked on the script, but rather some studio hack.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Rick Lamparelli, the owner of Garcia's Mexican Restaurant, doesn't like seeing them either. So until Nov. 16 you can bring in a campaign sign and exchange it for a free appetizer!
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
Mean Automakers Dash Nation's Hope For Flying Cars
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Friday, November 02, 2007
In case you didn't realize, he's an incredibly arrogant SOB.
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
A very long and busy Halloween has come to an end. The kids are now in bed and the doorbell hasn't rung in a while.
Everybody had a good day. Here's some shots of the kids in costume at Nolan's school earlier. Thomas was Superman and Nolan was a ghost...
Although, it's actually not very good. If I had it to do over again, I think I see ways now that I could make it much better.
But it's still cool that they posted it anyway.
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
For an in-depth discussion of what might have gone wrong, check out EW's Pop Watch blog.
Monday, October 29, 2007
They promised to give away free tacos if there was a stolen base during the World Series. They called the promotion "Steal a Base. Steal a Taco."
The good news, it looks like Joe Girardi is going to be the next manager of the Yankees. He’s the guy I’ve been hoping would land the position…
Of course, it will be weird not having Joe Torre in the dugout, no matter who winds up with the job. I’d love to see Torre’s No. 6 retired (do they retire numbers for managers?), but after they way his exit was handled, I’m not holding my breath.
The bad news is the apparent departure of Alex Rodriguez. I can’t say I’m surprised that he’s opting out of his contract, but I’m certainly disappointed. He had his ups and downs in New York and it took a while for many fans to accept him. But I was always rooting for him to succeed, to prove his worth and shut up the Yankee-haters.
I think A-Rod certainly earned his stripes this year when he put up amazing numbers and helped drag the Yankees out of the cellar. Who wouldn’t want him back? It became apparent this year that if he remains healthy, Barry Bonds won’t be the home run king for long. I would have loved to have seen him break that record in a Yankee uniform. Oh well, that's me -- the eternal optimist.
BTW, it was not cool at all for his agent to try to upstage the World Series by making the announcement A-Rod was opting out of his contrat during Game 4. I understand he wants to get as much attention for his client as possible, but c'mon. Taking the focus off the game on the field is pretty low class.
Now we’ll have to wait and see what becomes of Jorge Posada, Andy Petite and Mariano Rivera. Next year, it’s going to be a whole new ball game.
SIDE NOTE: How cool is it that you can now embed ESPN video?!?
Thursday, October 25, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
If you prefer, there is a better quality version here.
Here's a brief description of the plotline...
24 is back, unlike ever before. Set in Washington, DC, “Day 7” opens with CTU dismantled and JACK BAUER (Kiefer Sutherland) on trial. Bauer’s day takes an unexpected turn when former colleague TONY ALMEIDA (Carlos Bernard) returns. Meanwhile, President ALLISON TAYLOR (Cherry Jones) leads the country alongside White House Chief of Staff ETHAN KANIN (Bob Gunton) and First Gentleman HENRY TAYLOR (Colm Feore).
A national security crisis prompts an investigation by a team of FBI agents including Agent JANIS GOLD (Janeane Garofalo), Agent RENEE WALKER (Annie Wersching), Agent LARRY MOSS (Jeffrey Nordling), Agent SEAN HILLINGER (Rhys Coiro) and security specialist MICHAEL LATHAM (John Billingsley). Although CTU is no longer, CHLOE O’BRIAN (Mary Lynn Rajskub) and BILL BUCHANAN (James Morrison) are back for another momentous day of shocking events.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
The two Doctors will pair up for a special mini-episode that will air as part of the BBC's annual Children in Need telethon next month. The episode is titled "Time Crash" and will be written by none other than Steven Moffat, who has written some of the very best episodes of the new "Doctor Who" show.
I was a big fan of Davison's Doctor. So it will be cool to see him back.
Meanwhile, the BBC has not confirmed the rumor that Sylvester McCoy will also be popping up as the seventh Doctor. Time will tell.
I caught Drew Carey as the new host of “The Price is Right” for the first time. He seemed pretty rusty. The highlight was when a contestant called him “Bob.”
I also got to watch “Psycho” in the middle of the afternoon. I always enjoy that movie. I love Hitchcock’s less is more approach compared to most modern slasher flicks. It’s what you don’t see that’s most scary!
Thursday, October 18, 2007
"It doesn't happen, so who cares? There's always next year. It's not like it's the end of the world."
So Sox fans, are you outraged? Or are you just shrugging this off as "Manny being Manny?"
Personally, I would find a public somment like that unacceptable.
It was the hot topic on Mike & Mike this morning, with lots of people chiming in. Reggie Jackson didn't have a problem with it. Wade Boggs hopes the team pulled him aside to give him talking to.
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Nolan loves Frog and Toad. When he was a baby a friend of Kris' family gave us “The Frog and Toad Treasury,” which includes three of the Frog and Toad books. It sat on a shelf for several years until he got into first grade last year and his reading really took off. He picked it up one day and could not put it down. It was the first book he ever read on his own and really, truly loved.
Since then he’s been an avid reader and has read lots and lots of books. But I believe he’ll always have a special place for Frog and Toad.
So when we heard this Broadway version of Frog and Toad was coming to town, we knew he’d love it. He’s been excited ever since Kris surprised him with the tickets last week.
I’m anxious to get his review of the show.
By the way, Arnold Lobel, the man who wrote and illustrated the Frog and Toad books in the 1970s was from Schenectady!
UPDATE: Nolan loved the show! Kris says he laughed through the whole thing and it sounds like all of his favorite parts from the books were in there. I'm really glad he got to go.
I got my free McMuffin courtesry of the McDonald's Monopoly game. Nolan is holding out hope we'll win big money so he can get a Wii. But if you ask me, I already hit the jackpot (I'm so easy to please).
Saturday, October 13, 2007
Anyway, here are some highlights I’ve been meaning to post for a week now of our pumpkin picking excursion at the Pick a Pumpkin Pumpkin Patch in Schoharie. This place is great, with all sorts of fun activities besides just pumpkin picking. We spent more than two hours hanging out there enjoying the beautiful weather. It was sunny and in the 80s that day.
Meanwhile, Cub Scouts is now in full swing. Today we attended the annual Cub Scout Fall Family Fun Day at Camp Boyhaven. Nolan took his first crack at archery, which was pretty cool. But I think his favorite part was the kickball game with all of the other scouts.
I’ll try to do a better job of keeping up with things.
Friday, October 05, 2007
But he still had a good time. It was all very exciting for him. And it helped that he bumped into a few classmates and that a local car dealership was handing out free mini footballs.
Also, Time Warner Cable was carrying the game live. So Kris got to see us on TV during one of the crowd shots.
I should also add that it was a little strange seeing all of the people wearing shorts and T-shirts to a nighttime football game in October. But I'm not complaining!
Thursday, October 04, 2007
I took advantage of NBC’s free download of this show’s pilot episode and watched it before it hit TV. I enjoyed it – just the right mix of comedy, action and sci-fi. And of course, there is plenty of geek humor. I was walking around for a couple of days with Prince’s “Batdance” in my head. I haven’t seen the second episode yet, but I plan to catch it online.
I’m still waiting for this show to heat back up. I thought the first two episodes were a little blah. It started like this last year and built slowly, but that was ok then because it was new. Now we know all of these characters. So we want to see them actually doing something worthwhile. After a few episodes last year, they were already building on the whole “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World” storyline, which reached its crescendo in November. So maybe there will be something big coming soon this year. I’m still waiting for Uhura to show up. And do you really think Hiro’s father is dead? Me neither.
The jury is still out on this one. I thought the pilot was a little interesting. I skipped the second one, but I haven’t given up on the show altogether. I may stick around to see where it’s going.
Dr. Gregory House remains one of the best characters on TV. Although I can’t figure out how they’re going to work Foreman, Chase and Cameron back into the show as regulars. Presumably that’s coming since their names still appear in the opening credits each week. If not handled properly, their return could be a jump-the-shark moment. In the meantime, it’s fun to watch House try to pick a new team. And I welcome the addition of Kal Penn as a series regular.
Law & Order: SVU
A few weeks ago, Entertainment Weekly’s PopWatch blog wondered how this show had become “especially heinous.” I’ve always enjoyed “SVU” (not to mention original recipe “L&O” – I never got into “L&O: Criminal Intent”), but perhaps EW is on to something. The season premiere, with a phony psycho Cynthia Nixon, was pretty good. But this past week’s show that revolved around a spoof of Second Life was way over the top.
Back to You
Generally I can’t stand movies and TV shows about TV news. They feed into every stereotype about the business and are completely unreal (I’m sure doctors hate “ER” and lawyers probably can’t stand “Boston Legal”). But I like Kelsey Grammar and Patricia Heaton. Also, I read an article where several news anchors from Pittsburgh (where the show takes place) sat down together to watch the pilot and offer their reviews. They didn’t hate it – some actually liked it. So I decided to check it out. I need to trust my gut on these things. This show is AWFUL!
Here’s my most pleasant surprise so far this year. I had heard the title tossed around and heard some people saying it was supposed to be a good show. But I wasn’t really paying attention and had no idea what it was about. Last night I stumbled across it while flipping channels and was hooked! It has a delightful “Tim Burtonish” quality (although the episode was actually directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, who was behind the camera for the “Men In Black” and “Addams Family” movies). It’s possibly one of the most original shows I’ve seen on TV in a while.
I mentioned here how I got an early look at this show. I watched the pilot again with Kris when it came on TV. The early version I saw was a little different. Mainly, the character of Becca, Jaime’s kid sister, had been re-cast. In the early version, besides being played by a different actress, Becca was also deaf. I thought that could have been an interesting angle down the road (why can’t she get her ears repaired?), but I guess the powers that be felt like going in a different direction. While the early version moved right along and held my interest, it felt like it was dragging a little with commercials added in. Seeing it for the first time, Kris made two observations. “How long until this chick is selling us Sleep Number beds?” she wondered. Later, when Jaime and fellow bionic babe Sarah Corvus were duking it out in the rain, Kris rolled her eyes declared that the show was so obviously made for men.
I watched the first 10 minutes of the first episode, but it didn’t hold my interest. On Wednesdays at 10 p.m. I’ll probably either be watching “South Park” or going to bed early.
NBC Thursday Night Line-up
I still enjoy “My Name Is Earl.” “The Office” remains the best comedy on television – hands down! I’m anxious for tonight’s premiere of “30 Rock” and the eventual return of “Scrubs.” However, can someone explain to me why I’m still watching “ER?” It remains one of Kris’ favorite shows, but for the last few years I think I’ve just been watching it out of habit. I find very few of the characters to be likable – particularly those played by John Stamos and new addition Stanley Tucci. When they butt heads it’s hard to care since I don’t feel like rooting for either of them. The glory days of George Clooney and Anthony Edwards are long gone. I think the breaking point had to be when they dropped the helicopter on Dr. Romano. The Army tank rolling down the street a few years ago was pretty dumb too.
So there’s my viewing summary so far. What’s caught your interest on TV?
I was pretty silent during the most of the season – mainly because for a while, as a Yankee fan, there wasn’t much to write about. I admit, at one point I was one of the naysayers ready to stick a fork in them. I know the ride can’t last forever.
But boy, did they turn things around. It’s very impressive to come back from a 14-game deficit and wind up with a post-season berth. I’d like to go on record now as saying that whatever happens next, I won’t count this season as a disappointment.
That said, a 27th World Series title sure will make it all the more enjoyable!
Gametime tonight is 6:37 p.m.
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
The contract between our union, NABET-CWA Local 21, and WNYT expired at 12:01 a.m. Oct. 1.
Take a moment to visit www.turnoff13.com to learn more about the company's unreasonable demands.
The video below was shot as members of the union gathered outside the station at the contract deadline.
Friday, September 28, 2007
I agree with Moriarty at AICN. The more I hear about Indy IV, the less skpetical I am and the more excited I get!
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
My pirate name is:
Mad Harry Rackham
Every pirate is a little bit crazy. You, though, are more than just a little bit. You have the good fortune of having a good name, since Rackham (pronounced RACKem, not rack-ham) is one of the coolest sounding surnames for a pirate. Arr!
Get your own pirate name from piratequiz.com.
part of the fidius.org network
Saturday, September 15, 2007
Firemen Lift Car With Hose Water - Watch more free videos
Whether you're a NASA buff or not, you've got to check out these pictures from the last shuttle mission. I'm not 100 percent sure if they're legit. But either way -- they're amazing!
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Monday, September 10, 2007
I had a YouTube version the foootage shown at Comic-Con posted here for about a day last month before Paramount had it yanked.
This new trailer is very similar to that. It's not quite as long and is missing some cool stuff -- but at least you can watch it in glorious HD Quicktime.
Enjoy some shots of ol' shell head in action while rocking out to Black Sabbath!
Nolan was already familiar with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd. But he admitted that there were a lot of other Looney Tunes he wasn't familiar with -- like Porky Pig. He hadn't ever seen him before.
Then the Road Runner showed up. Here was a character Nolan knew. He shouted, "Look! It's the Time Warner Cable guy!"
Saturday morning Thomas and I went to a special screening of a Thomas the Tank Engine movie at Crossgates. It was billed as “Thomas & Friends on the Big Screen.” But you could tell it was probably just a DVD being put on the screen with a video projector. Every kid got a $5 Wal-Mart gift card. So we headed over there right after the movie to blow that.
Later that afternoon we attended my union’s annual clambake. After 13 years this was the first time we ever went. I don’t know why we never went before, but we’ll be going again next year. There was lots of good food and Nolan had fun in the bouncy bounce despite the fact it was raining and he got soaked.
I’ve mentioned before our family hobby of Letterboxing. We’ve found more than two dozen letterboxes so far. But now for the first time we’ve planted one of our own (I can’t tell you where – it’s a secret!). I carved a handmade stamp for it and then we packed it all up Saturday afternoon. Then we planted it Sunday morning after church and listed it online. Less than 24 hours later, someone had already gone to find it!
Sunday afternoon we attended our parish picnic, which was lots of fun despite a little bit of rain. Once again there was lots of good food -- and once again I ate far too much of it.
Somewhere in there I managed to watch a little bit of football and baseball.
It doesn’t stop there. We’ve got a busy week ahead of us. Either Kris or I have a meeting of some sort almost every night this week.
Never a dull moment!
Last night during the MTV Video Music Awards, Indy IV co-star Shia LeBeouf announced (and IndianaJones.com later confirmed) that that new movie will officially be titled "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull."
That's a mouthful. I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for a trailer by the holidays, if not sooner.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Here's what Michael, Dwight, Jim, Pam and the others at "The Office" have been up to for the last few months...
While we're on the subjected of the fall TV season, I've been meaning to mention that I recently got to see the pilot episode for NBC's updated"Bionic Woman."
When I first heard this classic show from the 1970s was being remade, I was not enthused. I thought it sounded like a lame idea.
But then I watched the BBC's "Jekyll" (great show!), which also featured "Bionic Woman" star Michelle Ryan. I liked her in that. So I decided to check "Bionic Woman" out.
I was pleasantly surprised. They've updated the show very well. It's kind of a cross between the original series and "Alias" (with maybe a little "Buffy" thrown in). I'll probably be back for more...and I think I'm already a Michelle Ryan fan.
Hey, I'm all into the Information Age, but that just seemed like a little sensory overload to me.
But if he's telling the truth and he's innocent, then he's completely handled this situation wrong and shot himself in the foot.
If the allegations against Craig are true, then he turns out to be a big hypocrite. Although I would still feel bad for him since he has remained closeted his entire life and is apparently terrified of his secret getting out. That's kind of sad.
All the same, this re-enactment of his arrest from MSNBC's "Countdown" is quite funny. The dialogue (most of it anyway) comes directly from the Minneapolis police arrest report.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
But we were still interested in VoIP and in time we switched to Vonage. I was pretty pleased the with service most of the time.
Now, a little more than two years later we’ve dumped Vonage and changed to Time Warner’s digital phone service. Here’s what happened…
Back in July we picked up the phone one day and discovered there was no dial tone. Eventually, when I couldn’t solve the problem on my own, I broke down and called tech support. After spending an hour on the phone with a technician, she determined that our phone adapter was dead and needed to be replaced.
For those unfamiliar with VoIP, the adapter is a box that connects to both our phone line in the house and our cable modem.
Anyway, the technician told me that the warranty had expired on our adapter. So we would have to buy and new one ourselves out of our own pocket. They range in price from $50 to about $80.
We kind of felt like we were getting screwed and didn’t want to shell out the money for a new device. So we decided make the switch to Time Warner. But Vonage doesn’t make it easy for their customers to leave and it took about a month for the switch to take effect.
Here’s the kicker. Yesterday we were switched over. Today I got a phone call at work (I don’t know how they got my work number) from Vonage. The woman said she was returning a call from us.
I said, “No, we didn’t call you – in fact we just discontinued your service.” Then I explained why.
So she offered to send me a free adapter and give me a 60-day free trial to lure me back. But I told her that I just got done with the month-long process of switching and didn’t want to start messing with my phone service again.
She assured me that she wasn’t going to switch me now. She was just going to send me the free device. Then if I decided in the next 60 days that I wanted Vonage, all I had to do was just call them and I’d already have the device and be good to go.
Ok. Fine. If it’s free, then what the hell. Go ahead and send me the adapter. Maybe upon further review we would decide Vonage would save us more money and decide to switch back. We could at least think about.
So she starts taking all of my information – address, phone number, etc. – and then tells me she’s going to charge me $14.95 for shipping and a $29.95 activation fee!
Woah! Hold it right there. Forget it, I told her. I didn’t want to give them any money.
She insisted that all of this would be refunded if after 60 days I still didn’t want Vonage. But I still said no. So she offered to waive the activation fee.
That’s when I said, “Look, it’s nice you want to give me a free adapter now. But if you had just given me the free adapter back in July you’d still have me as a customer and we wouldn’t be having this conversation now.”
At this point I reminded her that she had called me at work and that I needed to go. We had been on the phone for almost 10 minutes now. She wouldn’t take no for an answer and continued the hard sell. So I basically hung up on her.
So the moral of the story: take care of your customers when they need your help. If you don’t they’ll move on – and no matter what you try, you might not get them back.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
My name might not be as big as some of the others (Brian Williams, Katie Couric, Tim Russert, Nancy Pelosi) to sign the cast that will be auctioned for charity on eBay, but it's pretty cool nonetheless.
Find out how you can sign the cast and also do your part to your part to raise awareness for wrist health at Colbert Nation.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
MMmmm...it's been too long since I've parked myself in front of a plate of wings. Anyone out there remember Tuesday night Wing Nights in high school? Or how about a heaping order of wings from Monopole in Plattsburgh?
Ok, now my mouth is watering.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Leona Helmsley, the "Queen of Mean," has died of heart failure at the age of 87, surprising since many thought her heart had stopped working long ago.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
It was a low-key event this year. We just hung out around the house today playing in the backyard. But tonight we splurged and went out to dinner.
Here are the annual then-and-now photos...
All of the scouts who came to the game got a patch. But the really cool part was that after the game we got to go down on the field, pitch our tent and spend the night sleeping in the outfield.
It was a late night. We wound up joining an impromptu whiffle ball game in left field. There was also a flag football game going on in right field, and the movie "Garfield" was playing on the jumbo screen. The whiffle ball game broke up a little before midnight, at which point we got in our tent and watched the end of "Garfield."
We had a great time, despite the fact we were the sole representatives of our Pack. We didn't know anyone else there, but fortunately for Nolan he's always been good at making new friends. As long as there is a bunch of kids, that's good enough for him. You could drop him in a foreign country where they don't speak English and he'd do fine as long as there were some other kids willing to share their ball or Frisbee or whatever their playing with. I really admire that about him.
The only other downer on the night was the outcome of the ValleyCats game. The Cats are in last place in the New York-Penn League. They got clobbered by the first place Oneonta Tigers, 14-1.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
A couple of weeks ago we attended a fun event at the Niskayuna Community Center. They put up a big screen outdoors and showed the movie "Happy Feet." People could bring blankets and lawn chairs and watch the movie under the stars.
The movie started once the sun went down. But before the movie, Radio Disney was there with music and all sorts of games and activities for the kids.
One of the games involved hula-hoops. I think we were supposed to see who could keep their hula-hoop going the longest. I couldn't do it very well around my hips. So I opted for the around-the-neck technique.
Anyway, this event was sponsored by the county. Small world that it is, it turns out that a friend we haven't spoken to in a long time was in charge of organizing it. She snapped this picture of me being a goofball and just passed it along yesterday. Thanks, Wendy!
(BTW, although the rest of the family liked it, I wasn't wild about "Happy Feet." I thought it was too preachy. But I still had fun anyway.)
Spencer Elden says he feels like a porn star because so many people have seen him naked.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
We made our final camping trip of the summer over the weekend with a return to Old Forge.
In the five years that we’ve been camping, this is the first time that we’ve ever repeated a campground (not counting our stays at Uncle Rush’s cabin this year and in 2005). Usually we always try to pick a different spot, but we enjoyed Limekiln Lake so much last year that we went back this year.
Our campsite was even better this time. This year we were right on the water. The panoramic shot above is the view from our site.
Being on the water also meant that we had some extra visitors. As soon as we arrived, a duck heard us and swam over to the shore. He came out of the water, hopped up the embankment and then waddled right over to the picnic table where we were eating lunch. We didn’t give him any food, but he was persistent. He returned several times, and with reinforcements. The ducks were obviously used to getting free handouts.
We also made a return visit to Enchanted Forest Water Safari. Once again, I let the family pick any slide in the park for me to go down. This time they wanted me to go down “The Shadow” – a 42-foot-tall twisty, curvy tube that sends you sliding down pretty fast.
Nolan wanted to try to The Shadow too, which really surprised me. I remember how scared he was of most of the rides at Disney World and last year it took us while to convince him to try the kiddy slides at Water Safari. This time he seemed all into it. He stood in line, but had a change of heart at the last minute. That’s probably just was well. The ride was faster and little scarier than I thought it would be.
We were supposed to stay for two nights, but with the end of our busy summer in sight the fatigue is starting to set in. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want summer to end. But we’ve been doing so much that our heart wasn’t completely into this trip. We might have skipped the whole thing, but the kids (ok, and me too) were looking forward to Water Safari. So we only went for one night instead.
Next year we might take a break from tent camping and stick to cabins. But you never know. That’s what we say now. Maybe by next summer we’ll be anxious to break out the camping gear again.
BTW, it was cloudy the one night we stayed (in fact, there was a thunderstorm overnight). So we didn’t see any of the meteor shower. Bummer.
Here are some more photos from the trip…