Archive for the 'Shutter' Category

RIP Tranq Bear

Saturday, May 5th, 2012

Rest in Peace, you magnificent animal. We hardly knew ye. Complete story here.

Perspective …

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

You probably don’t remember what you were doing exactly 6 years ago, but that’s because you weren’t lying in a hospital ICU bed freshly missing half a lung — which is what I was doing on this night in 2006. My wife also remembers where she was: In the emergency room of that same hospital, because she fainted at my bedside just moments after being allowed in to see me, and had somehow broken her leg in the process. We’re both better now, but it was touch and go at the time.

My gallery of memories of that time of my life is here.

Another Year, Another Birthday Greeting for the Spook

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Yes, if you’ve been reading this blog all these years [and who hasn’t?!], you’re familiar with with my colorful ol’ college buddy that we called The Spook, and you know that every year I struggle to think of a different was to announce his birthday (which is actually tomorrow, April 11). This year, it occurs to me that I still haven’t posted the song that country singer Jake Kellen wrote about him [seriously!], so here’s the amateur music video that accompanies the song:

The Mother’s Day Gift Conundrum

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

Like most people, I find Mother’s Day to be a source of annual consternation: My mom doesn’t need anything, but I can’t let that stop me from getting her something. On top of that, she doesn’t want us spending anything on her since I was out of work so long.

This year, though, I’ve found a nice solution: I’ve discovered that Staples does 24″ by 36″ black and white poster prints for only $2.99!

And as luck would have it, I scanned a lot of my mom’s old family pictures — most of them in black and white, conveniently enough — so it occurred to me to put together a collage of some of those photos and print it out at a mind-boggling two feet by three feet, and the results are seen here.

Also, she recently sent me her favorite picture of my dad, in his Army uniform from WWII, so I scanned it in, fixed all the cracks, creases and holes, and made a huge poster of that one as well.

I think she just might enjoy this more than something she could put on her shelf to gather dust.

Update #1: A Death in the Family

Friday, April 10th, 2009

As promised, I’ll start catching up on important developments I haven’t been able to blog about over the past six months, starting with the most recent and the one that’s most affected our lives: The sudden loss of our sweet Molly last week.

Molly, in January 2009

We had gotten Molly almost exactly 5 years earlier and nursed her back to health following two surgeries and a possible lack of nutrition due to being fostered in a house with several other dogs.

Molly was the sweetest puppy you could ever hope to know, and was the perfect big sister, first to Schotzy, and, after he passed away in July 2006, to bratty little Bristol.

Last Wednesday morning she seemed fine, but in the afternoon she was having trouble standing, and by the time I left for my evening shift at work, she had no energy and wouldn’t even stand on her own. She was unresponsive when my wife came home from work, and the vets kept her for observation and did all that they could, but by 7 PM, she was gone.

The vet told us the next day that she had had a tumor on her spleen, and that tumor had ruptured. There was nothing that could be done.

We were devastated, of course, but we loved every minute of the five years we had with Molly, and we’d like to think she felt the same. She’ll be in our hearts forever.

You can help us celebrate her life and honor her memory by checking out Molly’s photo gallery on Flickr.

I think I’ll go cry now …

Get a (Second) Life

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

Aside from the usual jobhunting, I’ve mostly just been DJing in Second Life (hey, it’s free, plus I’ve been earning some miniscule tips), which is not only teaching me new skills, but also serves an informal networking functionality.

I’m currently DJing four regular shifts at three clubs right now: Rockers, Club Siren and Belar Inshan Social Club, with the Orion available any time I want to open it up, and an offer pending for the club I previously managed, Midnight at the Forum. (The reason I quit managing was because I was trying to fill 2 clubs — and they just gave me a third — in exchange for a small (virtual) house. Now I just DJ for tips, and I takes me just two shows to pay rent on a house that’s twice as big!)

As I’ve mentioned, I used to DJ in college, and never imagined I’d be doing it again, but thanks to the miracle of internet, I can inflict my musical tastes on the musical public! I’m also meeting a lot of interesting folks from all over.

One of the coolest new people I’ve met is Tamra Hayden, the real-life Broadway actress/singer/songwriter. She performs live concerts in Second Life, reaching a worldwide audience thanks to, you guessed it, the miracle of the internet.

Here’s a video of her singing in REAL life, performing “Eden Will Bloom”:

And Tamra’s not the only musician I’ve met in the virtual realm: At my DJ gig Monday night, several of us noticed a young lady hanging around on the fringes of the dance floor, unsure what to make of everything, and it turned out that it was her first night in Second Life. A few of us at the club began talking to her and giving her things we had previously gotten for free, and letting her know some good places to get more.

We also found out that she is the lead singer of the North Carolina band, The Situationals. They’ve got some really great music, and she’s got a good powerful voice, reminiscent of The Motels and Pat Benatar — but the songs (and the band) are much better than those too. Here’s a sample of their work:

And finally, I’ve previously mentioned Mazzie, the young lady from Australia whom I met on my first day in Second Life.

The reason I’m mentioning her today is that she recently sent me this joke:

St. Peter is at the Pearly Gates checking up on the people waiting to enter Heaven. He asks the next one in line, ‘So, who are you, and what did you do on Earth?’ The fellow says, ‘I’m Barack Obama, and I was the first black to be elected President of the United States ‘ St. Peter says, ‘The U.S.? A black President? You gotta be kidding me! When did this happen?’ Obama says, ‘About twenty minutes ago.’

She also added that McCain “is a right cock”, and that Hilary “needs a good beating”.

It’s good to know that the people in other countries take an interest in our democracy …

DJ Report

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

Well, I’m happy to report that my debut in my regular slot as a DJ in Second Life went very well in spite of technical glitches (stupid Winamp ate one-and-a-half of my playlists just hours before the show) and accidents of nature (our power went off 15 minutes before the end of my show due to wind storms in our area).

Other than that, though, the music I picked to play was solid, I got a lot of great comments, and the club had a nice-sized crowd (mostly with people that *I* knew and asked to come, further illustrating my value as a DJ).

My “fan club” (okay, okay, it’s really just a mailing list, but still it’s a measure of my popularity) is up to 50 people now (after just one complete show!), and three more club owners are wanting me to do regular slots this week or next.

Ha! I knew that once I could finally get in to do a show, my musical tastes and networking skills would do the rest.

By the way, the picture above is my avatar (yeah, yeah, it’s based on the Japanese hipster kid, or harajuku archetype, because all the other male archetypes in SL are these big musclebound apes), but that’s not the club where I worked my DJ magic … yet.

I just wanted to post a shot of me posing in the smoking hot DJ booth of Club Orion, the club owned by Kelly Yap Studios in SL and the next club where I’ll be entertaining the masses, such as they are.

And because that picture didn’t do justice to the club or the booth, here’s a wider shot of my little throne room:

Pretty sweet, huh? It gives the illusion that I know what I’m doing …

Anyway, I need to get back to whipping my thousands of MP3’s into workable playlists …

Birthday Notes

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

First off, thanks to everybody for the birthday greetings! Kim, Pam and Renny were the first to check in, even though I had given them a pass on having to remember anything this week. Then Todn8r commented, then The Spook, 2 days fashionably late, then Gigglechick.

The gang’s all here!

Also, my wonderful ex-co-worker Misty sent me an email and an Amazon gift card, and my former supervisor (Elma, the good one — not Daffy, the blithering idiot) sent me a birthday card AND called me.

As the family goes, I got cards from my mom, my wife’s mom, and my Aunt Lucille.

And then there’s the automated emails I got from the various message boards and other organizations I’m registered with: KDGE-FM, FileFront Network, My Coke Rewards, BuddyTV Forums,, Family Tree DNA, Tech Support Guy Forums, and Ubuntu Forums (those Linux folk were the first I heard from).

Of course, it could be said that the robo-greetings don’t mean as much as the personal ones, but seeing them all at once makes for an interesting portrait of my interests.

Plus, it’s better than no greeting at all, which what I got from a lot of the humans I know, almost a whole week after announcing it.

But it was a good birthday, my wife always works hard to make sure of that. We went to see Iron Man (excellent movie, more about that later), and took some pictures of the promotional stuff in the lobby (my wife is seen here with her new special friend), then we went to the Outback Steakhouse (overpriced, but we had a gift card that someone had given her a couple of years ago, and that we wanted to use before it unexpectedly expired, as those things tend to do).

The only downer to the birthday was that I had a bit of a sunburn from our two-day pre-birthday yard sale (pictures of that some other time) that we had with our friends Stephen and Deb. Even my scalp was sunburned, and I hadn’t sunburned in years.

But on the up side of the yard sale: You know how when you have a yard sale with other people, you always end up with each other’s stuff? Well, we mostly refrained from that, with one notable exception. Stephen was getting rid of a slightly defective bike, and since nobody expressed interest, they gave it to me as an early birthday present (don’t worry, we’ll make it up to them).

So: Instead of my nightly power walks, I’ve been cutting my time in half by biking around the neighborhood. Of course, having not been on a bike in something like 18 years, I’ve got a minor case of bike-seat butt, but the bike is easier on my tendonitis.

And lastly, on my birthday night some of my Second Life acquaintances came up with a simulated birthday cake on the dance floor, and the let me win two best-dressed contests, so that was a nice end to the day. I think I’ve got screenshots of that somewhere too.

Anyway, that was this year’s birthday, and thanks to everyone for your wishes!

Miscellaneous Things for May 14th

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

My wife says I need to post, but there’s not really any one thing worth posting. So here’s bunches:

1. Since the job I interviewed for is so contingent on my web networking skills, I’ve been spending even more time on those types of sites, including Second Life. If you’ve never experienced Second Life (and I’m really shocked at the number of friends of mine who have never heard of it, you owe it to yourself to check it out. It’s free, and surprisingly it’s not very hardware intensive. He’s a screenshot of one of my favorite hangouts:

2. The new Iron Man movie looks cool, but we’re waiting until Monday (5/19) to go see it.

3. Since I still can’t get my Creative Zen up and running, I got a temporary solution of a 2 GB Sansa Clip (that was on sale) for my evening power walks … except that the music I’m loading on it doesn’t show up. The troubleshooting guide suggests that it might be some DRM crap stopping the files from showing up.

So that’s still up in the air.

4. Lately I’ve gotten hooked on the Discovery Channel’s taxicab quiz show, Cash Cab. It’s amazing how little knowledge New Yorkers can get away with having and still survive in the big city …

Still though, it’s nice to see a game show where the contestants weren’t hand-picked by some control freak producers who thought they would look appropriate on the show. These are just ordinary people who needed a cab ride, and happened to pick the one with the rolling quiz show on board. Bonus points: On today’s show, they had two Nixon related questions. One was about who replaced Agnew as Vice President (duh!), and the other was the name of the cocker spaniel (again: duh!) that Nixon talked about in a televised 1952 speech to try to get public support for his place on the Republican ballot.

5. Oh, and speaking of Nixon’s historically significant dog, I’ll probably be finally giving the links to my RPM Challenge songs very soon. (What does one have to do with the other? Some of you already know, the rest of you will soon see.

Anyway, go to the Cash Cab link above and try your knowledge against some sample questions.

6. My friends will be tested in the next week. I can’t say what the test is, because that would defeat the purpose, but I dropped a subtle hint somewhere above. (I’m hereby exempting Kim, Pam and RennyBA from this test, because they’ve already proven their loyalty by posting comments here on a regular basis. I’m also exempting my wife, of course. But the rest of you are walking a thin line …)

7. And finally: Here’s something new you can try, just in case you haven’t already seen it: When you’re reading a message board, or you’re in a chatroom, and somebody says something incredibly stupid, all you have to say in response is:


People who know what it means will know that you’re hip and smart, and those who don’t can just Google it.

You’re welcome.

I had saved this video some time ago, but YouTube is on the fritz tonight, so it might or might not be visible when you’re reading this. At any rate, it’s pretty funny, and cleverly illustrates the facepalm phenomenom:

Various things

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

Okay, a few things:


Okay, actually, it’s tomorrow (Friday the 11th), but I have to do it now so that he can actually SEE it on time.

In case you’re just tuning in, The Spook is my old college buddy, who sometimes checks in here and comments, and used to send me cool stuff to post, like pictures of the huge pistol-shaped barbeque grill that he designed (Google it, you’ll find it).

So click on the comments box and leave him a happy birthday wish.

Next thing:

I’ve had a really intriguing job interview this week — a well-funded startup that can mold a position around my exact skills, and it would probably be a manager position — and even got called back for a second interview, but for some reason I’m still not entirely hopeful.

Next: You’ve probably heard about the LOLcats phenomenom, also known as the I Can Haz Cheezburger phenomenon (again, Google-image it if you’re not familiar), and now, a couple of years after the fad hit its peak, I’ve finally decided to jump on the rickety old bandwagon and make one of my own:

Again, if you’ve been reading here for a while, you’ll know this is Schotzy, our pomeranian that passed on in July 2006, and this is just one more excuse for me to post this picture again.

And finally, speaking of Friday (I was earlier, keep up, slacker), this is hilarious:

Cincinnati news folks get down and/or funky:

(Via Attack of the Show.)