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 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 automatically sent you to 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
  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, 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.