Tuesday, December 29, 2009

'Is this real life?'

EW's PopWatch blog has declared "David After Dentist" as the number one viral video of 2009...

Hard to argue. You should also make sure to check out the parody with Chad Vader...

You can read the rest of PopWatch's list here.

The one I'm surprised wasn't on it was "JK Wedding Entrance Dance." We discovered today that someone here at work was the one person in America who hadn't seen it yet. So after she watched it with the sound cranked up, we've all had the song stuck in our head! (Maybe that's why I have a headache right now)

Also conspicuously absent was Herb Brooks' pregame speech as performed by 4-year-old Rizzo...

What were your favorite videos of the year?

My year in Facebook

I have decided that from now on, I'm just going to read Sarah's blog and rip-off whatever she does.

This time, she's pointed out an app on Facebook that gathers a sample of your status updates from the past year. Looking back over the year's worth of Facebook ramblings I see that I spent a lot of time complimenting my wife's cooking and expressing a desire for more coffee or beer.

Here's a sample of what I had to say in 2009...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hey Ya! It's Christmas again, Charlie Brown!

I first posted this on the blog three years ago. But a discussion today of Rolling Stone's list of the top 100 songs of the decade, where "Hey Ya" placed fourth, has prompted me to bring it back.


iPod Inspection: Holiday edition

I've been wanting to do a Christmas version of the random 10, since I've loaded up so many holiday tunes. Time's running out. So here we go...
  1. "Rock & Roll Christmas" - George Thorogood & the Destroyers
  2. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" - Mannheim Steamroller
  3. "Coventry Carol" - John Denver
  4. "O Holy Night" - Jewel
  5. "Must Be Santa" - Bob Dylan
  6. "Linus and Lucy" - Vince Guaraldi Trio
  7. "Santa Baby" - Eartha Kitt
  8. "Angels We Have Heard on High" - Aretha Franklin
  9. "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" - Elmo & Patsy
  10. "Sleigh Ride" - The Ventures
There you go. I should note that I omitted duplicate artists. So for example, if a second Mannheim Steamroller song came up (I have a lot of their CDs) I skipped over it to whatever was next. There were also duplicates of John Denver and Jewel that got skipped.
What holiday music are you listening to?

Wonderful world of 'Wicked'

On Monday night I joined the tens of thousands of people who will see “Wicked” at Proctors Theatre this month.

It was an amazing show, which tells the backstory of the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch of “The Wizard Oz.” It leaves you seeing the characters in a whole new light. Now I want to watch the movie again to see how well it all fits together.

As much as I liked the show, I don’t know if it quite rises to the level of “Phantom of the Opera.” I still think I liked that better.

Of course, maybe I would have enjoyed “Wicked” more had it not been for the family with giant heads sitting right and front of us and the dad who let his phone ring for about 30 seconds before finally shutting it off.

But it’s great to see shows like this come to Proctors and be successful. When “Wicked” first opened in Schenectady, WNYT reported that the theater had 82,000 seats available and had already sold 70,000 of them before the show’s run had even started. That’s impressive, and it’s great to see so many people enjoying downtown Schenectady.

Have you seen "Wicked" at Proctors? What did you think of it?

Monday, December 21, 2009

Festive funnies

These are perhaps my two all-time favorite "Saturday Night Live" Christmas skits. It turns out they feature the two men who have hosted the show more than anyone else -- Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin.

First up is Steve Martin's Holiday Wish...

Next is Alec Baldwin and the classic Schweddy Balls, including a new introduction recorded for this year's prime time "SNL" Christmas special...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

'Iron Man 2' trailer rocks!

There's nothing like a geektastic super hero movie trailer to bring me back to the blog.

In this case, it's the long awaited first look at "Iron Man 2." The highlights for me were the quick glimpse of Samuel L. Jackson back as Col. Nick Fury (he made a cameo at the end of the first movie) and getting to see War Machine in action.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Tweet addict

UPDATED:My initial score was only 54%. But one of the questions in the quiz asked how many tweets I author in a day. After counting today's tweets, I realized my initial estimate was way low.

So I took the quiz again, changing only that answer. Here's the new result...

How addicted to Twitter are you?

Created by Oatmeal

Monday, November 30, 2009

Joining iPod Nation

Although my birthday is still about a month away, I picked up an early gift over the weekend – a spiffy new iPod Nano (thanks mom and dad Chase).

I spent a good part of the day yesterday filling it up with music, and in the process rediscovering some CDs I forgot I owned.

The cool thing about the Nano, it also has a video camera and an FM radio that allows you to pause and rewind like a DVR.

Believe it or not, this is the first digital music player I’ve ever owned. The boys each have their own mp3 players, but I’ve never had one of my own before.

Anyway, this allows me to take part in a meme Sarah used to feature on her blog – the “Random 10.” I’ll shuffle the tunes and see what comes out. Here’s our first installment:
  1.  “Everybody Has the Blues” – James Taylor
  2. “Get Up Jack” – Hair of the Dog
  3. “The Power of Love” – Huey Lewis & the News
  4. “Spirit in the Sky” – Norman Greenbaum
  5. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” – Paul Simon
  6. “All or Nothing at All” – Frank Sinatra
  7. “Shower the People” – James Taylor
  8. “Pride (In the Name of Love)” – U2
  9. “Not Even the Trees” – Hootie & the Blowfish
  10. “Hannah Jane” – Hootie & the Blowfish

Surprised I got a couple of repeats with James Taylor and Hootie. I loaded up a ton of songs, so I thought my first Random 10 would be a little more…random.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I want my baby back ribs

Nolan's assignment in class was to write a persuasive argument. Here's what he came up with...
Ribs Not Turkey

If you like turkey, this should be a bad story for you. If you like ribs, this should be a perfect story for you

First of all, ribs can have barbecue sauce (BBQ) and turkey doesn’t. Everything is good with barbecue sauce. That’s my first reason why you should have ribs not turkey.

Ribs are from pigs and pigs have really good food. So, try eating more pig not turkey, ok? If you check, pigs have more meat than turkey. Everyone loves meat. That’s my second reason why you should have ribs not turkey.

Ribs really taste good, and it’s even my favorite food. The secret is barbecue sauce (Explained in second paragraph). Another way to make them taste good is to cook them on the grill. That’s my third reason to have ribs not turkey.

A lot of people love turkey because it is traditional and healthy, but ribs are better.

Kris e-mailed this to me when he came home from school and I laughed out loud.

When I got home I told him he made a very good case...but we're still having turkey.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mashup mania

Here's another from the Too Much Free Time Department.

I don't know what the point of this video is. I just know that it's AWESOME!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

40 years of manipulative Muppets

We all grew up with "Sesame Street." Share your favorite socialist brainwashing tactic of theirs in comments below...

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Piling up the leaves

We raked a ton of leaves this weekend.

Ordinarily I hate, hate, HATE raking leaves. Honestly, I think I’d rather be shoveling snow than raking leaves (I know, be careful what you wish for). I’ll usually do whatever I can to avoid the job and make Kris do it (there, my secret is out).

But with Kris being a little under the weather this past weekend, I stepped up and tackled the yard. She was feeling a little better Sunday. So she did come out and help. I’d say we split the work together.

When it was all done, I could not believe the amount of leaves we moved.

We’re not done. There are still more leaves to fall. And the way it often goes, the snow won’t be far behind them.

Running around

With the encouragement of my coach – Kris – I’ve taken up running. Last weekend I did my first 5K.

Well, my first 5K in a long time. I ran one once before in 2002, but then I kind of gave up after that.

Kris and I started run-walking in September. She steadily increased my running/decreased my walking until I was eventually running a full 30 minutes. Then we started running a full 5K in anticipation of me running a race – the annual Alplaus Run-Around.

The good news is I ran a time that, while not setting the world on fire, was pretty good for me. I only did a full 5K with a Kris a couple of times before the race. Both times it took me about 40 minutes. But when I ran the race I improved to 38:04.

The bad news is I came in dead last – except for Kris, but she doesn’t count because she purposely held back to take my picture. For a while I was pretty grumpy about placing last, but eventually got over it. After all, my time was good for me and it was a small race. There were only about 30 runners and most of them were die hards.

Although I’m trying to get better, I tend to complain a lot while I’m running. I don’t really enjoy the act of running itself. But I do like the way I feel afterward. So I’m not giving up. I’ll keep plugging away at it and I think I will tackle another race one of these days.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

'I'm Batman...or am I?'

I'm a couple of weeks behind on one of my favorite new shows, "Community."

I just watched the Halloween episode tonight and LOVED the impersonation Danny Pudi, as the wonderfully wacky Abed, did of Christian Bale's version of Batman...

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Yankees win, thheeee Yankees win!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

'We're going to have to leave it there'

Loved this segment on "The Daily Show" last night...

Blogger help needed

I've made a lot of alterations to my Blogger template over the years, but there is one that has always eluded me.

Does anyone out there have any clue how I can move the "Newer Posts - Home - Older Posts" links from the bottom of post pages to the top? Any enlightenment you can share would be GREATLY appreciated!

UPDATE: Big thanks to Vin "The Blog Doctor" who spotted my tweet on the subject and pointed me to the tip I needed. It was quick and easy to pull off!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Tape deck flashback

I fished out an old mix tape and popped it into the tape deck while driving home from work tonight. I made it in 1995. Here's what was on it:

  • Blues Traveler: "Run-Around"
  • Spin Doctors: "Jimmy Olsen's Blues"
  • Sophie B. Hawkins: "Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover"
  • Counting Crows: "Mr. Jones"
  • Hootie and the Blowfish: "Drowning"
  • 10,000 Maniacs: "These Are Days"
  • R.E.M.: "Man on the Moon"
  • Genesis: "Driving the Last Spike"
  • Jan Hammer: "Too Far"
That was side A. Side B had Queen's Greatest Hits.

That damn Rally Monkey

So the Yankees will face the Angels in the ALCS. I spotted SportsCenter promo on ESPN that I hope will prove prophetic for the series...

UPDATE: Nate Darling informs me on Facebook that this promo is two years old. I just saw for the first time today. I guess I'm not watching enough ESPN.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

New look for 'Who'

When "Doctor Who" begins it's next regular season in 2010, there will be a new Doctor, a new companion, a new creative team behind the scenes -- and a new show logo.

The BBC unveiled the artwork this morning.

With the new logo, it's probably safe to assume there will be a whole new opening title sequence with a another new arrangement of the classic theme song (the current version of which is the ringtone on my phone -- yes, I know I'm a giant geek).

In the meantime, there are three more episodes to go for the current iteration of "Doctor Who." The next is due sometime next month with the final two set for Christmas Day and New Years Day.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Where the music comes from

I mentioned on Twitter earlier today that I dig the music in the ads for the movie version of "Where the Wild Things Are."

Local writer, actor and blogger Kevin Marshall was quick to reply that the song is "Wake Up" by Arcade Fire.

Here's the video:

Thanks, Kevin! (Not to mention Shawn and Sarah who also chimed in with the info)

Actually, I'd be looking forward to "Where the Wild Things Are" either way. It looks like it could be a cool movie the whole family can enjoy without being strictly kiddie fare. I hope that turns out the be the case.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

'Sorry, dude, it's on the calendar'

I just watched the new ABC show "Modern Family." It's kind of an updated version of the 1989 movie "Parenthood" (which, ironically enough, is getting its own update later this season for NBC).

The show wasn't perfect, but it had its moments that made me laugh. I particularly got a kick out of this scene dealing with crazy parental disciplinary policies and busy family schedules...


My dad enjoyed collecting coins. When they first started issuing the 50 state quarters he was excited about collecting them.

Even though I never really picked up the coin collecting bug from him, I thought the idea of the state quarters was pretty cool too. So dad bought me a map to place the quarters in. Nolan had just been born and I thought it would be really fun to work on this with him. It was something to imagine him as an 8-year-old when the final quarters would be issued.

Eventually Kris' Aunt Helen set us up with another map. Nolan wanted the newer one. So Thomas inherited the old one from dad.

Nolan completed his map a few weeks ago. Thomas finally finished filling up dad's map today, with a Washington quarter we got in change this morning at Home Depot. As you can see in the photo, he's pretty proud.

And I'm sure "Pop" would be too.

Before and after

I've always believed in the "If It Ain't Broke Don't Fix It" philosophy. That must be why the last several times I've bought myself new sneakers, I've purchased the exact same pair.

I don't set out to do that. I always go into the store with an open mind. I'll browse around and finally come upon this New Balance model. They serve me well, I like the look of them and the price is right. So why bother changing?

It dawned on me today that this is probably the third or fourth time I've bought these exact sneakers.

Maybe it means I fear change. Maybe subconsciously I'm overwhelmed by all the options. So I just settle for a safe choice.

I prefer to think that I simply know what I like and choose to stick with what works.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The human bowling ball

Kris snapped this photo of Thomas playing with the skateboard in the driveway yesterday and posted it on her blog. But I thought it was too good not to share here too.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Privacy, shmivacy

Worried too much of your personal information is out there? Cringe when you see your house on Google Earth or your front yard on Google Maps street view? The Onion reports the search giant has a solution for you...

New Google Service Lets Privacy Critics Opt-Out, Relocate To Remote Village

Watch the video a second time and make sure to pay attention to the headlines scrolling across the bottom. Among the highlights:
  • Obama to slip universal health care into iTunes user agreement
  • Survey: 8 out of 10 Americans want scientists to say beer is healthy
  • New product from makers of 'Breath Right' nasal strips can be applied to penis for faster urination

Monday, August 10, 2009

Bacon goes with everything

I voted "Yes." I would've tried it in a heart-stopping instant!

Cranky about 'Clunkers'

The more I hear about the federal government’s “Cash for Clunkers” program, the grumpier I get about it.

We were without one of our two cars for most of the summer after Kris was involved in a car accident back in June. No one was hurt – but our beloved Subaru Forrester didn’t fare so well. It took nearly six weeks before it was eventually declared totaled.

We finally replaced it last week. We did plenty of research and worked pretty hard to get the best deal we could get for what our insurance company was offering us. In the end we settled for a 2003 Pontiac Vibe that we’re both pretty pleased with.

We could have gotten a newer, nicer car. But we were adamant that we didn’t want to take on a car loan we weren’t planning on having (the Subaru and my Honda Civic are paid off). You see we’re kind of funny that way – we don’t like debt.

So we paid in cash for the best car we could afford without any help from anyone else.

Why, then, are my tax dollars being used to help the rest of the United States buy a new car?

This isn’t just sour grapes because we didn’t qualify for the program (the Subaru certainly wasn’t in drivable condition, which the “clunkers” need to be). But even if it did, we’d still prefer to go used and not have that extra loan payment.

I wonder how many people jumping on the Cash for Clunkers bandwagon will be stuck with a loan payment they’d be better off without. Isn’t that kind of how we got into this mess in the first place?

Once again, money is taken from those of us who behave responsibly to prop up everyone else. Ugh.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Teenage wasteland

I haven't commented here yet on the passing of John Hughes. But at this point, what is left to say? So many have so eloquently summed up what his films meant to my generation.

Suffice it to say, at some point when my kids want to know what it was like being a teenager in the 1980s, I'll show them some John Hughes movies. I swear, I think I went to school with every character in every one of his teen movies. Except for Ferris Bueller -- he's the one we all wished we knew.

An amazing writer, here is just a sample of the dialogue we children of the 80s will never forget.

What's your favorite John Hughes moment? Share it in comments below -- and also check out these excellent tribute videos...

How the mighty have fallen

What's in a username?

When Facebook first offered custom URLs a couple of months ago, I was one of the millions sitting by their computer, ready to pounce on their username of choice at 12:01 a.m. on June 13.

I have long been annoyed that ChrisRooney.com is taken. That's why I jumped at the chance to register @ChrisRooney on Twitter and was anxious to stake a similar claim on Facebook before any other Chris Rooney out there could beat me to it.

As many of you may recall, Facebook offered several suggested usernames and then gave the option to make up your own. "ChrisRooney" was not one of the names initially offered. I checked and it was available, but for reasons unknown to me I opted to instead use the default suggestion "chris.rooney."

I instantly regretted the move because, of course, Facebook was not allowing you to change your name once you set it. You were stuck with it (which is also why I'll never get a tattoo).

But I soon discovered something odd. Going to facebook.com/ChrisRooney automatically sent you to facebook.com/chris.rooney. So somehow I got both names?

Today I read on Mashable that Facebook quietly relented and now will allow people to change their usernames in their account settings. So I figured I'd officially make it "ChrisRooney" -- except Facebook told me that name was not available. Bummer, I thought, someone else must have claimed it. I plugged in the URL and surprise! It still forwards to me. Huh?!?

If Facebook wants to let me have both names, who am I to complain. But it doesn't make a whole lot of sense. And I'd still feel better if I could officially change it.

UPDATE: Sarah explains in comments that Facebook (and Gmail for that matter) doesn't differentiate between usernames with a dot and those without one. So if you own John.Doe then you also automatically own JohnDoe. Thanks for clearing that up, Sarah!

Thursday, August 06, 2009


Twitter has been down all morning. In related news, worker productivity worldwide is soaring.

There appears to be something nefarious at work since there are reports Live Journal is down as well and many have observed Facebook acting sluggish.

Meanwhile, if you need to find something to do with all of your sudden free time, TechCruch has this convenient list (I immediately went to the second option and obviously I've now completed option 8)...
  1. Talk about Twitter being down on FriendFeed
  2. Talk about Twitter being down on Facebook
  3. Talk about Twitter being down over IM
  4. Leave a comment on a blog post about Twitter being down (preferably this one)
  5. Talk about Twitter being down via text message
  6. Talk about Twitter being down over email
  7. Tip TechCrunch that Twitter is down
  8. Write your own blog post about Twitter being down (for an example, see this blog post)
  9. Talk about Twitter being down on Pownce Plurk
  10. Talk about Twitter being down on Identi.ca
  11. Talk about Twitter being down internally on Yammer
  12. Think about Twitter being down
  13. Call an actual friend to talk about Twitter being down
  14. Invite an actual friend over to talk about Twitter being down
  15. Go outside
h/t Sarah

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Mad Me

I've only caught AMC's "Mad Men" a couple of times, but it seems like a show I'd like to get into. With the new season set to begin on Aug. 16 maybe this is a good time to start.

Anyway, to promote the upcoming season, AMC has launched MadMenYourself.com, where you can create a 1960s-style cartoon version of yourself that may look like it would fit in with the cast of the show.

After seeing it put to use on Sweetpea's Garden and Little Lost Robot, I decided to give it a try myself. Here's what I came up with. I'm not sure if I'm quite this portly, but the next option down looked a little too well built to pass for me (maybe I'm selling myself short). What do you think?

Happy Bloggiversary to Me

I allowed my bloggiversary to quietly slip by unnoticed last week. I've officially been blogging for half a decade now. "Off the Top of My Head" launched on July 26, 2004.

In recent years, Facebook and Twitter have eaten into the amount of attention I've given to the blog. But I have no intention to give up on it all together any time soon.

Reunion Season

Two weekends, two reunions – first the high school gang and then some friends from college.

Some of my friends from Niskayuna High School gathered at Saratoga Spa State Park the weekend before last for an afternoon cookout.

We had a similar get together last year and decided to do it again. Especially since this time our friend Chris Johnson and his family would be in town visiting from Norway where they live.

Next year will be our big 20-year reunion!

This past weekend we went on a camping trip to Green Lakes State Park near Syracuse with some friends from SUNY Plattsburgh.

We were there with our dear friends the Reeds, who we see a few times a year. But we also got together with Jon and Christine Kio, who we haven’t seen in 16 years, and Tim Casey, who we had lost touch with after he transferred to Buffalo in 1991.

Facebook helped bring us all back together, especially in the case of Tim. For the past 16 years (the last time we saw him was at the Kios’ wedding), every time we got together with the Reeds, inevitably at some point the subject of “whatever happened to Tim?” would come up. Kris finally found him on Facebook earlier this year and used the site to help plan the camping trip.

I should mention we used Facebook to help plan the picnic for my high school gang too. The social networking site is my primary means of communicating with Chris Johnson and keeping up on his family, since phone calls to Norway can be a tad expensive. As soon as he announced his vacation plans in the states, we put the wheels into motion to plan the picnic with an event page.

Both gatherings were a success and lots of fun. Although, after all this activity, I have to admit we’re looking forward to this weekend – when we have nothing planned at all!

You can find some photos of our Saratoga picnic here and our Green Lakes trip here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The 11th Doctor is in (soon)

The new season (series, whatever) of "Doctor Who" has begun filming and the BBC has released a first glimpse of Matt Smith in costume as the 11th Doctor.

He's apparently going for some sort of Mayberry look. It's hard to say from this angle, but it looks like something has been done about that atrocious haircut he had in his initial press photos earlier this year.

Smith has some big sneakers to fill. David Tennant still has three episodes left to air. The next installment, "The Waters of Mars," comes in November. His final two-parter will air on Christmas Day and New Year's Day (guest starring Timothy Dalton and featuring the return of John Simm as the Master as well several of Tennant's past companions).

Ain't It Cool News says there are rumors Tennant is in line to play Bilbo Baggins in "The Hobbit."

Saturday, July 18, 2009

ADK Adventures

I've been too busy to provide a full write-up on our vacation since returning a week ago.

Fortunately, Kris took care of that over on the Rooney Train.

I did get around to posting the video up above. I also shared some pictures on Facebook. Note: you don't have to be a registered Facebook user to view them.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Stars & Stripes Forever

Happy Fourth of July (a couple of days early). God bless America -- and keep it safe from weirdos.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Less than meets the eye

I was pretty miffed when the last "Transformers" movie came out in 2007. It seemed pretty obvious that the movie was made for guys in the their 20s or 30s who played with the toys or watched the cartoon when they were kids.

But director Michael Bay and the rest of the people involved with the film seemed to lose sight of the fact that there were still kids playing with the toys today. Nolan and Thomas were 7 and 4 at the time. They both had Transformer toys and kept seeing ads for the movie on Nickelodeon and commercials for Burger King kids meals and tie-in toys in the store.

We skipped the PG-13 movie in theater. Some time later we found it on HBO while visiting Kris' parents and started watching it. It wasn't long before we saw that our first instinct was right -- it wasn't for kids and we flipped the channel.

Now the sequel, "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," is coming out and we're facing the same issues all over again. So far I've seen nothing but negative reviews. This one from Harry Knowles at Ain't It Cool News really jumped out at me:
The filmmakers, studio and toymakers behind this film should be ashamed. To spend this type of money to bring this sort of hurtful and repugnant work to screen - it is an insult to every DREAM that so many have WORKed for, for years.

I'd like to ask you not to support this film, but those of you with young boys, I know there isn't a chance. But realize you'll be taking them to see a film with the lowest forms of humor, stereotypes and racism around. Not only that, but its packaged for our children. Which makes it all the more offensive.

Not only did Harry think "Revenge of the Fallen" was an offensive movie marketed to kids, he also just didn't think it was a very good movie period.

I can't say I'm surprised. After Nolan went to bed that night at Grandma and Grandpa's, I watched a good chunk of the "Transformers," figuring it would be fun to watch giant robots duke it out. I can't say I was impressed. I honestly had no idea what the hell was going on in that movie. It sounds like the sequel is a lot more of the same.

I hate to sound like a square, but it is possible to make an action movie that the whole family can enjoy. It doesn't have to be too kiddified or too full of violence and sexual innuendo. There is a happy medium. Maybe you've heard of a little movie called "Star Wars?"

Fortunately, our kids don't seem to have any expectation of seeing the movie. But how many other parents aren't so lucky. I mean, seriously, what business does Megan Fox have being in any sort of movie for kids?

Yet another disappointment from Hollywood. And the most frustrating kind -- the kind that will probably rake in millions at the box office.
Okay. Old man Rooney is done shaking his fist.

Father's Day fun

So in the end, on Father's Day I did not get around to claiming my free juicy hamburger or having a free 8x10 printed up.

However, we did take advantage of the waived entry fee at the Saratoga Battlefield.

It made for a great Father's Day. I enjoy history and touring sites like the battlefield. So it was fun to get to do something that I enjoy with the whole family. We all had a good time and learned a little bit along the way.

Friday, June 19, 2009

This social media thing is catching on

I attended the first Social Media Breakfast - Tech Valley this morning. It was a gathering of people from all walks of life and all sorts of professional fields to talk about all things social networking-related.

I went partially for business reasons – looking for ways to improve WNYT’s social media standing – and partially for fun as an amateur consumer/producer of blogs, tweets and pointless Facebook junk.

There were certain names I’ve come to recognize from following them on Twitter or reading local blogs and I was looking forward to meeting some of these folks face-to-face.

Much to my surprise, people seemed just as interested in meeting little ol’ me! When I walked into the room, the event organizer, Amy Mengel, spotted me and said, “It’s nice to see more than just the top of your head.” Mary Darcy, one of the people behind All Over Albany, introduced herself to me, saying she follows me on Twitter.

There was another person, Kristen Campbell, who recently started following WNYT’s Twitter feed. When she did, she publicly asked who was doing the tweeting for the station. So I announced who I was to all of our followers. It turns out she was at the event today and upon spotting my name tag, she introduced herself.

Not to go all narcissistic and “yeah, me,” but it really took me aback that anyone would actually know and/or care who I was. I work in a business with people who are easily recognized. I’m not used to being one of them.

It just drives home the point that…people are actually looking at this stuff! It also illustrates the power of social networking to bring people together – not only the people you already know (Facebook friends), but also the new people you don’t know yet (Twitter followers).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Another Father's Day Freebie

This one comes from @amymengel on Twitter. The National Parks Service will waive entrance fees for three weekends this summer. The first will be this coming weekend.

If you can't make it this weekend, the other weekends are July 18-19 and August 15-16.

You can find a list of the parks nearest you here.

If you're a history buff living in the Capital Region and have never been to the Saratoga Battlefield, I highly recommend it.

Keep the freebies coming, folks. I'll keep posting them!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Father's Day Free Stuff

Special thanks to Mike Sussman for tipping me off to another entry in the Free Stuff Files.

It seems CVS is giving away free 8x10 photo prints. Just go to CVSPhoto.com and upload your picture. Make sure you enter the promo code FREE8X10. Then head down to the store to pick up your free print.

The offer is good now through Father's Day (apparently it's already been going on for a while). So if you're still hung up on a gift idea for dad, a nice enlarged picture of the kids might just do the trick.

'In brightest day, in darkest night...'

I know this has been floating around the Internet for a while, but I just saw it again this morning on SCI FI Wire and figured it was worth posting here.

My kudos go to the whoever put this together!

UPDATE: I guess I should clarify that, yes, I realize this is a fan made trailer.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Once upon a time in Albany...

I spotted this nice little recap of recent events at the state Capitol in Albany on CapitalNews9.com...

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cats and dogs

We have now snapped both of the streaks Nolan's baseball team had going this season. They finally got their first win last weekend -- and we got rained out tonight.

We've been lucky and have had reasonably good weather for most of his games, but the luck ran out tonight.

The sky looked pretty ominous as the kids were warming up. Then just before game time, the heavens opened up. We had thunder, lightning and hail.

Oh well. One more game to go. We wrap up the season Saturday afternoon.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Free Stuff Files: Father's Day edition

I've never heard of Juicy Burgers & More in Ballston Spa, but it certainly sounds like a great place.

I may have to check it out on Father's Day, June 21, because on that day dad's eat free with proof of "dadship" (i.e.: bring the kids). You have to register for a coupon online.

Any other great Father's Day deals I should know about?


I kind of dig that Lincoln MKZ commercial with the remake of Peter Schilling's "Major Tom (Coming Home)" just for the music.

So I sat down and searched for a video of the song on YouTube. I found lots of versions in the original German (dig those yellow jumpsuits!) and a few in English.

But I also stumbled across this really cool remix set to images from NASA. Unfortunately, it doesn't use all of the lyrics -- just the chorus over and over. But it's still cool anyway...

By the way, the remake is by Shiny Toy Guns. You can hear their full version here.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Blogger help needed

There's a crucial change I'd like to make to my blog's template, but I haven't been able to figure out how to do it.

If you look at the page for any blog post here (you know, what you see when you click on the headline or comments, not the main page with all of the current posts) at the bottom you'll see links labeled "Older Posts," "Home" and "Newer Posts." I want to move that to the top of the page instead of the bottom.

I've been staring at the template code, but I haven't had any luck making it work. Does anyone out there understand what I'm talking about and know how to pull it off?

Adventures in Cub Scouting

Here's the end of the year Cub Scout video I put together a few weeks ago...

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Free Ice Cream Day

We got our free ice cream yesterday. Did you?

Saturday, June 06, 2009

A little help for Big Papi

The Onion has the solution for Big Papi's batting slump:
MLB Adjusts Drug Policy To Allow David Ortiz To Take Steroids

NEW YORK—Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig announced a new policy on performance-enhancing substances Wednesday that is expected to help former slugger David Ortiz, currently batting a dismal .203, to come out of his slump and return as a league-leading batter. "We have amended the rules of the game to allow David [Ortiz] to use any performance enhancer he can find, as baseball is pretty boring when he's not hitting home runs," said Selig...

Read the rest here...

Friday, June 05, 2009

Join the Disqusion

As you may have noticed, I've set the blog up with a service called Disqus to handle comments.

I've seen it on a few other sites, like Lost Remote and TV Newser. I wondered if it might be a good fit for WNYT.com and figured I'd test it out here first.

There are four different options for how you can post your comment.

  • You can remain unregistered and enter whatever you like for your name and e-mail address (although I'll still be able to see your IP address no matter what).
  • You can create an account for yourself on Disqus.com and login with that when you leave your comment.  Then you can go back to Disqus.com to track all of your comments on any site using Disqus.
  • Use Facebook Connect to tie your activity here to your Facebook profile.  That way, whenever you post a comment here, it will also show up on your wall and in your newsfeed along with a link back to the item here.  It's essentially just like a posted link on Facebook.
  • You can login with your Twitter account.  Like with Facebook Connect, this way your comment here will also appear on Twitter as a reply to @ChrisRooney (my Twitter profile) along with a link back to here.
Of course, none of this does any good if I don't post something worth commenting on.  I'll try to get better at that.  My blogging mojo has been out of whack lately, but I think I'm getting back on track.  It's been tough to find the right balance between blogging and my other social networking (not to mention actual work, family and all the rest of life's activities). 

So please comment away and let me know what you think!

'That's no moon...'

Everyone likes to point out the similarities between today's cell phones and Star Trek's communicators and tri-corders. Well, you ain't seen nothing yet. Get a load of this...

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
We Have a Death Star!
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorKeyboard Cat

What piece of sci-technology would you like to see come to life? I wouldn't mind having a transporter. Although, flying cars would be cool too.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Free Stuff Files: Donut Day!

Tomorrow is National Doughnut Day – and what better way to celebrate than with a free one!

In the past, this holiday would be marked at Krispy Kreme, where they would be giving away free doughnuts.

Krispy Kreme is long gone (at least in our area), but have no fear! Dunkin’ Donuts is taking care of doughnut fans everywhere by offering a free doughy delight of any variety with the purchase of a beverage.

I have to give a shoutout to Wendalicious for bringing this bargain to my attention.

For those wondering, National Doughnut Day is a real holiday. The origins date back to World War I when the Salvation Army “Lassies” traveled to the front lines to cook homemade treats for the troops. The holiday was established in 1938 by the Chicago Salvation Army as a fundraiser during the depression and to honor the WWI Salvation Army volunteers. It’s celebrated on the first Friday of June.

Champ sighting?

Those familiar with the Lake Champlain region have certainly heard of "Champ," the mysterious sea monster many believe lives in the lake. It's New York/Vermont's version of the Loch Ness Monster.

There have been hundreds of Champ sightings over the years, perhaps going all the way back to 1609 when French explorer Samuel de Champlain reportedly spotted a "strange monster" in the lake that would bear his name.

The best photograph of champ was snapped by a woman vacationing in the region in 1977. Experts said the photo appeared to be legitimate and it was later published in the New York Times and Time Magazine.

Now there is a new wrinkle to the champ mystery. Early Sunday morning Eric Olsen of Burlington says he was shooting video of the sunrise with his cell phone when he noticed something strange moving in the water. He posted the video on YouTube, where he was reluctant to claim it was Champ. Instead, he titled the video "Strange Sighting on Lake Champlain."

The Burlington Free Press talked to some cryptozoologists -- people who make a living studying mythical creatures -- who are very interested in studying the video.

However, the newspaper also heard from a biology professor at the University of Vermont who says it could be a young moose in the water.

After hearing that, I can sort of see how it could be a moose when I watch the video. What do you think? Check out the video (embedding has been disabled) and then come back here to share your thoughts.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Han Solo, P.I.

It's well known that Tom Selleck was the first choice for Indiana Jones, but the role ultimately went to Harrison Ford.

Now journey with me to the land of What If and we'll find out what might have happened if things went the other way and the captain of the Millennium Falcon wound up starring in Selleck's most famous TV part...

I bet you didn't realize just how good that mashup really is. Check out the side-by-side comparison with the real "Magnum, P.I." opening...

Socially awkward media

@amymengel passed this along on Twitter this morning. I thought it was just too funny not to share here.

You can get your own T-shirt here.

Run, Conan! Run!

In case you missed it, here's how Conan O'Brien opened his first "Tonight Show." I thought it was pretty funny...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


I'm playing around with using a service called Disqus as a new way to handle comments on the blog. Let me know what you think.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The Rainbow Connection

A nice rainbow appeared beyond left field at Nolan's baseball game tonight. Kris wondered if that was Pop showing up to watch the game.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Do a good turn daily

Here's one of the reasons I hope my kids stay active in Boy Scouts...

Who ya gonna call?

Yeah, I know I recently declared "Indiana Jones and the Staff of Kings" as my must-have video game. But I forgot about "Ghostbusters: The Video Game."

In an interview in today's New York Times, Dan Ackroyd reflects on his career and his fascination with ghosts. He and Harold Ramis and Ivan Reitman also talk about what made "Ghostbusters" work so well in 1984.

There is a lot of discussion of the new video game coming out on June 16. It's hyped as being written by Ackroyd and Ramis, the writers of the original movie, but they both admit that's "marketing bunk." They say they only looked over the script written by the video game folks and offered to punch up a few lines here and there.

That said, the article says the game is pretty funny and captures the Ghostbusters spirit (pardon the pun).

As great as the Indiana Jones game looks, "Ghostbusters" might have a slight leg up because it features the actual voices of Ackroyd, Ramis, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts and William Atherton (EPA jerk Walter Peck). Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis are not involved, but still, it's an impressive voice cast.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

'Raiders' returns

Some really exciting news was announced today..."Raiders of the Lost Ark" will be screened again at the Palace Theatre in Albany.

The Palace made the announcement this morning on their Twitter feed...
@PalaceAlbany 2009/2010 Classical Movie Series sneak preview: Raiders of the Lost Ark. More to come soon!

The last time I saw "Raiders" on the big screen was at the Palace three years ago. I said at the time, and I'll say it again, I'll take a scratchy 28-year-old print shown at a real theater with an audience over the crystal-clear DVDs in my basement any day.

They run some really great classic films there and it's great that my favorite flick of all time is getting a return engagement.

I hope I can bring Nolan with me this time. I had planned to wait a couple more years before letting Thomas watch the Indy movies, but now I might have to reconsider.

The Friendly Free Stuff Files

Last year I got an urgent text message from good friend Ray Brownell alerting us there was free ice cream at Friendly's. It was a hot day. We were on our way back from a hike and drove straight to the nearest Friendly's for some yummy refreshment.

Friendly's is at it again this year. Walk into a participating Friendly's between noon and 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 6 to get your free single scoop cone!

I'm not sure how many years Friendly's has been hosting Free Ice Cream Day, but I'm glad that they do in light of the fact that there is no longer a Ben & Jerry's scoop shop convenient to where I live. B&J's always has a free cone day in April, but it doesn't do us much good.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Redneck fire alarm

h/t Rocky & Mark

Friday, May 22, 2009

Indiana Jones and the Kick-Ass Game

I have never wanted a video game more in my life!

Stay tuned

With the success of sites like Hulu and the increasing ease of streaming high-quality video straight to your television, one has to wonder what the point will be of the network affiliate in the near future.

Networks used to need local affiliates to broadcast their content. Do they still?

NBC head honcho Jeff Zucker insists the network-affiliate model isn't going anywhere, telling affiliates this week:
“We are not abandoning the business of broadcast network television. We are not going direct to cable. We are renewing affiliation agreements. And we are going to be in business together for a long, long time.”

Well, that's nice to hear. Time will tell how long that holds up.

Marvel meets 'The Onion'

How would President Obama handle a storyline from the pages of "The Uncanny X-Men?" The Onion has the answer...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Here comes the sun

Hands down, this is the photo of the day, showing the shuttle Atlantis silhouetted against the sun. It was taken from Florida, using a sun filter, on Tuesday. Very, very cool.

From the Free Stuff Files...

What's the best kind of Chocolate? Free chocolate!

Okay, you can say that about almost anything.

In this case though, we're talking about a deal from the folks at Mars Snackfood US, the makers of M&Ms, Snickers, 3 Musketeers, Milky Way and other favorites.
They say they use only 100% cocoa butter while their competitors substitute vegetable oil for cocoa butter in their products.

To draw attention to this fact the candy maker has instituted the Mars Real Chocolate Relief Act.

Every Friday, go to RealChocolate.com. If you're one of the first 500,000 people to register that day, they'll send you a coupon for a free candy bar.

I first read about it this morning and promptly went to the site to sign up. See if you can still get yours. If you're too late, you can try again next week.

The Amazing Beer Slogan

The Spider-Man fan in me really likes the slogan for MillerCoors beer. Forgive me if it's been around for a while, but I just noticed it for the first time this morning.

Beer commercials often end some sort of a reminder to drink responsibly. But the Coors commercial I heard on the radio this morning ended with:
"With great beer comes great responsibility."

That's pretty cool. I can just imagine Uncle Ben cracking open a cold one passing it to Peter Parker and giving him that advice as he sips his first beer.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

'Congressman' Tedisco

Assemblyman Jim Tedisco took a jab during last night's gay marriage debate in the Assembly.

When Assemblyman Danny O'Donnell agreed to yield time on the floor to Tedisco, he said, "For the congressman, anything," referencing Tedisco's recent loss to Scott Murphy in the special election in New York's 20th Congressional District.

"I wish," Tedisco replied. "Do you have 700 votes in the back of your trunk?"

"I'm a Democrat from New York City, you bet I do," O'Donnell answered.

"Yeah, and two bodies," Tedisco fired back.

It came from the break room

The headline on MSNBC.com says it all:
Yuck! 7 hospitalized after office fridge cleanup

I've seen some nasty stuff left in the office fridge or encrusted inside the microwave, but fortunately it's never been as bad as the rotting food that caused problems at an AT&T office in San Jose.

Authorities say an enterprising office worker had decided to clean it out, placing the food in a conference room while using two cleaning chemicals to scrub down the mess.

The mixture of old lunches and disinfectant caused 28 people to need treatment for vomiting and nausea.

Go take a look at your office fridge right now. What's the grossest thing in there?