Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Time to Focus on the New Year

Another year and another Christmas has finally come and gone. Now don't get me wrong I enjoy spending time with the family and such, but really the whole being stressed out for no real good reason just drives me crazy. It had been a few years since I felt the Christmas stress, but this year I nearly went crazy. It was the first year I didn't completely give out photos as gifts, there were a couple reasons for this including lack of truly great photos, time constraints and I figured you can only have space for so many photos. So this year I joined the rest of the world in the regular shopping world and had a difficult time. Thankfully I was able to do most of my shopping online, which made things a whole lot easier, but it didn't make it easier to find gifts for people. Either way it is over now and everybody got gifts they hopefully enjoyed and will have a use for.

The actual holiday itself wasn't very stressful, we did have to drive all over the place, but the time was spaced out nicely and allowed for some relaxation between journeys. On Friday night we went to my mom's house and then went to dinner at the Barking Dog before returning to the house and opening presents.

On Saturday morning we woke up and drove down to Jennifer's parents house in Connecticut. We didn't encounter any traffic and were there in no time. Since we were staying down there for a couple of days it was nice to kick back, relax and actually enjoy the holiday. I learned all about the Riebe Christmas tradition, such as lighting luminaries along the driveway, paella on Christmas eve, waking up at 5 o'clock to open presents and then going through stockings first?!?! and many other great traditions. On Monday the extended family from NJ came up for a meet and greet. Everybody was great and I think I fit in rather well with the whole bunch. We took off soon afterwards because we had to go up to my dad's for dinner.

Unfortunately we didn't have the same luck with traffic as we did on the way down. There was traffic in Waterbury and then near Hartford and again as we neared the Mass Pike. The entire drive we had been testing out a new GPS device I had received for Christmas that plugs into my laptop and gives directions. Once we hit the last bit of traffic we decided to truly test out the GPS. First we turned off the highway and it told us to make turns to get back on, but eventually it realized what we were doing and recalculated with a new route. It's a pretty cool little toy and I can't wait until I am in the passenger seat and really play around with it.

We eventually made it to my dad's, but too late for dinner. Instead we just hung out, exchanged gifts and then went home. It was nice to be back in our place for the first time after the holidays. I made up a rule that all of our new stuff had to go into the back room until we found a place for each thing. On Monday morning I woke up and put most of the stuff away before leaving for work and Jennifer put hers away not longer after I left. Finally last night we removed all of the Christmas stuff including the tree and now our house is back to normal with a few new things here and there. Phew we made it through another Christmas.

Brickett Christmas Photos

Riebe Christmas Photos

Now moving on 2006!!!! Wedding planning is now the topic of conversation as well as the primary activity in our house. I think Jennifer sat at the computer for six hours yesterday looking for places online. Finally at ten last night I made her shut the computer off and join me in the living room for a break. Things are slowly coming together and hopefully after checking out some places today we will have a where and a when. We are definitely shooting for somewhere around Boston in September or October. While this won't allow us to go on a honeymoon aftewards it is probably the best chance we have for getting married this year. I will keep you posted on all goings on and put up the wedding date as soon as I know. Who needs Save The Date cards when you have an LJ?

Happy New Year!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Brrrrrrr its cold

I can't believe how cold it has been the last few days. It is starting to make me nervous about January, because I know it is usually the coldest month. For a minute I began to think I hated the cold and then I remembered how miserable I was in the summer. When you are hot there isn't much you can do to cool down, but at least in the winter you can put on more and more layers. I hear it will be warming up in the next couple of days to the mid 30's which is very exciting. This weekend I plan to pick up my new skis and take them up to Sunday River.

I am really excited about tonight because one Dave Matthews Band is in town performing at the TD BankNorth Garden. As expected I will be in attendance at the show in the third row. For those keeping score it is my 48th show, which means sometime next summer I will be attending my 50th show. I can't wait.

Stay warm out there!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A Question of Seven Words and An Answer of Just One

Last night Jennifer and I were strolling through the Public Garden in Boston and we stopped on the bridge over the lagoon, she thought we were stopping because of her request for a kiss on the bridge. Little did she know I had been thinking about this moment and in my mind stopping on the bridge hundreds of times over the last two days. As we stopped I kept looking around making sure we were completely alone, which is a tall order when you are standing on such a heavily traveled foot bridge. Finally when the last pedestrian had left the bridge and was no longer within earshot, I reached into my pocket and pulled out a small white box, bent down on one knee, opened the box and asked, "Jennifer Rose Riebe will you marry me?"

In a state of shock and surprise she realized what was actually taking place in front of her and answered, "Yes!!"

Now I suppose I should go back to the beginning of the story, so you can all have a better picture of how all of this went down. So about a month and a half ago I hinted about asking Jennifer to my mother and asked about the diamond from her engagement ring from my dad. Now this diamond has enough stories behind it that it warrants its own livejournal entry. Anyway eventually she gave me the diamond on the one condition that I was not allowed to show Jennifer the stone. Since I am bad a keeping a secret I immediately made Jennifer aware of the passing down of the diamond, but obeyed my mother's rule and did not show it to her.

The next weekend Jennifer was up in Vermont and I called her sister, Melissa, to see if she would like to go on a shopping trip with me to Brockton. Now for years at State Street I had listened to WBCN and everyday they would play these quirky commercials from Romm and Co. jewelers. Now I reasoned that maybe if there ads were awkward it was a good sign of how good they might be as jewelers, sort of in the same way that athletes are bad at acting, but good at sports. So I decided to try out Romm and we drove down to their little store in Brockton. Once inside I told the sales person what I was looking for an antique setting for my pear shaped diamond. She immediately went over to the case and pulled out a beautiful setting and I knew it was exactly what Jennifer wanted. However since it was such a big purchase I asked to see others, but they didn't compare to this one. With the help of Melissa we debated different metals and different versions of the ring and I finally came to a decision. The next step was to look at the diamond so I could know it whenever I saw it in the future. At first glance the diamond didn't have the shine of all the diamonds I have typically seen on women's fingers, but I just figured it was because it was from the late 70's. The salesperson took it off to clean it and came back with one of the shiniest diamonds I had ever seen. Turns out it wasn't out of date, but just a little dirty. I learned about my diamond and it was wrapped up to be shipped off to Chicago for its custom made setting. It was supposed to take about four weeks, so the waiting game began.

I told a few people about my purchase, but for the most part kept it quiet, well at least I tried. Time passed and I began to think about how I would actually "pop the question". I knew a couple things, first I wanted to do it outside, second I wanted it to be a place we had been before and finally I wanted it to be a public place so we could always go back there again and again. My initial thought was Odiorne Point State Park where we went on our second date, then I thought about Plum Island since it was an important commonality on our profiles, but the more I thought about these places the more I realized that the current weather and short days would limit the times when it would be possible. Then I began to think locally, there aren't many nice places outside in Somerville or Cambridge for that matter, where we had been together. However Boston had a few nice spots and one in particular stood out for me, the Public Garden.

Earlier in the year we had taken a wine class on Comm Ave and one night after the class it was snowing and we were walking through the Public Garden. It was a magical scene, with snow falling, the skyscrapers lit up all around and I remember being so happy and so in love with this amazing person. We stopped on the bridge, giggled a bit at just how happy we both were and decided that it was such a wonderful night we should go get some dinner instead of just going back home. Looking back it was almost like a scene right out of a movie.

Back in the present I decided this is where I would ask her to marry me, now all I needed was for the ring to get back from Chicago. The wait continued and life went on, and things were wonderful. We did notice though that with BoCaNO being on a Thursday we only had two week nights together, and following in the footsteps of two of my closest friends, we decided to start a date night. The first date night was supposed to happen last night. The original plan was to go skating on the frog pond and then go out for dinner. I thought the ring might be in for last night, but wasn't sure and then got concerned that somehow people might draw parallels between my proposal and the proposal on my favorite sitcom, Mad About You. Paul actually proposed to Jamie while skating at Rockefeller Center in New York. Luckily for me the forecast turned bitterly cold and we ruled out skating as a viable option and settled on a nice dinner.

I got the call from Gladys at Romm on Monday morning. She said the ring was beautiful and more importantly ready to be picked up. I was so excited I couldn't help but tell somebody and Miguel was the first person to know about it. I left work early and drove in traffic down to Brockton. The whole time I was thinking of what I would tell Jennifer if she called and asked where I was. I picked up the ring and headed for home and realized I had one more thing left to do before I could actually give her the ring, I needed to ask for her father's blessing. The whole way home I thought about how the conversation would go, I know Jen's family really well and definitely had nothing to be nervous about, but it is still a huge thing to ask a father for his daughter's hand. Once I made it home I hid the ring in my desk and dialed Jennifer's parents house. I easily got the question out and was given the green light for the final step in this oddly stressful endeavour. Jennifer finally came home from work and I tried my best to act normal and more or less accomplished the goal, although I was a bit hyper all night long. I slept fairly well considering all of the things that were going on in my head. I was concerned about the ring, wondering if the location was right, thinking about what I was going to say and worrying about how I would focus at work the next day.

Yesterday we woke up and I once again tried to contain myself so I didn't give Jennifer any clues as to what was going to be going down that evening. All day at work I couldn't stop thinking about what I was going to do and was sweating profusely. I made reservations at Via Matta near Park Plaza so we would have a warm place to go after. I left and went home to prepare for our first date night. I took a shower and shaved, which I feared would make her suspicious, but I made up a great excuse as to why. Finally she came home from tutoring and we were on our way into the city. I had the ring in my blazer pocket and kept a hand on it the entire ride in on the subway. Once in the city we began walking through the Common, her first comment was about how it reminded her of the night we walked in the snow after the wine tasting. I breathed a sigh of relief, because my plans were starting to line up perfectly. We walked across the Common and chatted about school, work and regular things, just like a couple might do on a date night. After crossing Charles Street we entered the Public Garden and walked towards the bridge. My brain began racing about a mile a minute as we approached the bridge. Jennifer then pointed out just how beautiful the Garden looked with all of the snow and lights on the trees. Once at the middle of the bridge she asked me if I would stop and give her a kiss. Once again as in our first date when she pulled me in for the first kiss, I was thankful that she had acted so I wouldn't have to. So she thought we were stopping because of her request for a kiss on the bridge. Little did she know I had been thinking about this moment and in my mind stopping on the bridge hundreds of times over the last two days. As we stopped I kept looking around making sure we were completely alone, which is a tall order when you are standing on such a heavily traveled foot bridge. Finally when the last pedestrian had left the bridge and was no longer within earshot, I reached into my pocket and pulled out a small white box, bent down on one knee, opened the box and asked, "Jennifer Rose Riebe will you marry me?"

In a state of shock and surprise she realized what was actually taking place in front of her and answered, "Yes!!"

We embraced and mumbled things I can't exactly remember right now, it all happened very quickly. After about a minute I asked her if she wanted to put the ring on or not. She was so caught up in the moment that she forgot to even look at the ring. I placed it on her finger and she let out a squeal of delight. We enjoyed the moment for a little while before I told her we had reservations at Via Matta and should start walking over towards Park Plaza. I also told her that she would not be allowed to call anybody until after dinner, because we needed to enjoy the moment for ourselves. Before we left the bridge though we stopped a guy walking along and asked him if he would take our picture. I felt I have been so good at documenting everything with my camera that this moment should not be missed. The smile on her face was priceless and could see just how happy she was, which made me extremely happy. The entire way to the restaurant we laughed about the future and how we were getting married and all of the silly things people talk about after such an event.

We happily walked into the restaurant and were quickly seated. The meal was wonderful and certainly a perfect fit for our wonderful evening. Jennifer couldn't stop looking at her ring and giggling. Let me tell you, once a woman gets one of those things on her fingers, they go a little wacky. We finished our dinner with some delicious desserts, I wanted to spare no expenses on such an important day. Once outside I told Jennifer we could start calling people and we both set out calling our parents as we walked back to the subway. Everybody was ecstatic and the phones were passed around both between us and between parents. We finally made it back home and even the apartment felt different. It will definitely be a night I remember for the rest of my life, one of those once in a lifetime moments and you know what I wouldn't change a thing.

Click to zoom.

Monday, December 12, 2005

No Skiing

I had originally planned to go skiing this past weekend, but when I woke up to my alarm at 6AM I realized it wouldn't be worth the 7 hour round trip drive to ski for around seven hours. So I have decided in the future to spend the night in Amesbury and put myself an hour head start. So instead I dropped my new skis off at REI to get them hooked up with tele bindings. Afterwards we went to my mom's house and then did some shopping in Salem. On Sunday I spent most of the day online shopping for Christmas presents and became extremely stressed about gift giving. After spending a couple hundred dollars and only being halfway done I wondered what it was all for. I wish we could all just agree to spend quality time together on the holidays instead of all this damn shopping. Luckily Jennifer came home and calmed me down and amazingly enough my stress level went down quite a bit.

To further relieve my stress I worked on a little electronics project. You see I had two of those "tape on a rope" units. The white one had a good cable, but the tape part was very loud. The black one had a quiet tape part, but a faulty cable. So I did a little cutting and taping to form a multi colored "tape on a rope." It took me a couple of trips out to the car before I perfected it, but it works.

I did another constructive thing this evening. You see I was looking for a wine balance holder for a yankee swap on Friday night, but was unable to find one anywhere. If you don't know what I am talking about it is a piece of wood with a hole in it. A wine bottle can be inserted into it and it will balance parallel to the table. So I set out to make my own and after a little hand sawing, drilling and sanding, the thing worked. I couldn't believe it.

Okay thats it for today.

Monday, December 5, 2005

Return to St. Louis

St. Louis Sightseeing

St. Louis Zoo

Busch Stadium Demolition

The Wedding

Our Christmas Tree

Another busy long weekend, which involved lots of walking and surprisingly a lot of video game playing. First let me get everybody up to speed Jennifer and I had to attend a wedding in St. Louis of Jennifer's co-teacher from last year. The wedding was on a Friday, but since Jennifer was reading at the wedding we needed to show up on Thursday night for the rehearsal dinner. I took the last two days of the week off and we left for Manchester airport early on Thursday morning.

I flew Southwest for the first time and was introduced to general admission plane seating, this is where you get to pick your own seat as soon as you walk on the plane. Now in theory this would be a good thing, but the reality of it is that people go sit in line forty five minutes before the flight, so it doesn't give much flexibility in how you spend the hour before the flight, you can't just wander around the terminal to pass the time. Anyway we boarded the flight and noticed a few small children at the front and I insisted we get back to at least the seventh row to avoid any screaming babies. So we sat down in a nice seat, I grabbed the window because Jennifer is kind enough to let me have my way in situations like this. We look across the aisle and notice two women, the one against the window is rather old and frail, while the one on the aisle is younger, but rather obese. After looking closely at the pair we notice two things, first is a black dog, which was probably a little bigger than the average housecat and second is a clear plastic storage bin between the two which contained a decent sized parrot. My first thought is we need to move, because its going to get crazy over there, however at this point we might end up sitting in aisle seats of different rows back in the plane. I argue that we need to stay there and not risk getting a bad seat. Jennifer agrees and we sit and watch as the show across from us begins. Once the doors are closed the heavier woman takes out two surgical masks and puts one on before helping the older woman put hers on. Now the parrot comes out of his storage bin and the heavier woman is playing with its beak, all the while the other woman is trying to hold the dog. Right before take off the aisle seated woman decides to take a photo with her camera phone of the other woman and bosses her into smiling. Finally the plane starts down the runway and the woman buries the parrot into her over sized chest and carefully rubs his head. Once in the air for a little while you might think things would settle down, but it just gets wackier. The animals are now moving all about. One minute I look over and the woman has the parrot on top of her head and the next she has the dog behind her like a pillow. The flight attendants keep stopping by and talking, but I don't really know what they were talking to them about. When the in flight food was served the larger woman doesn't remove her mask, but instead just lifts it up while she eats or drinks. It was truly a priceless flight. After we landed in Chicago, they stayed on the plane, because they were continuing on to Phoenix, now I thought this was the last I would see of them, but I was wrong. After telling my mom the story on the phone I looked over and saw the heavier woman running back towards the plane carrying a McDonald's bag. Later we walked by the McDonald's it was in a completely different wing of the airport, all I could think at that point was "I'm lovin' it."

Once the show from above ended we learned that our flight to St. Louis had been cancelled and we were put on a later flight, which meant we wouldn't be able to check in to the hotel before the rehearsal dinner. We walked around Chicago Midway airport searching for some Chicago pizza, but oddly enough there weren't any places serving pizza. After eating some lunch I played Mario 64 for about two hours. I downloaded it onto my laptop and have now managed to gather over 70 of the 120 stars you can get in the game. We finally boarded the plane and made it to St. Louis, unfortunately our luggage didn't catch the flight. We stood around for a while waiting and then stood around some more waiting for the next flight from Chicago. No luggage!! So we just went to the rehearsal dinner in our jeans, thanfully it was casual and we didn't really stand out. Later that night we found our luggage waiting for us at the hotel. We stayed downtown in a really nice hotel, which we got for the low low price of 40 dollars thanks to Hotwire. We were on the 16th floor overlooking the new and old Busch Stadium. Yes this is the stadium where the Red Sox won the World Series last year, unfortunately it been nearly completely demolished to make room for the new stadium. Notice I said nearly because every night while we were there they were doing the demolition with a wrecking ball until 3AM. Now at first this seemed cool, but once I tried to fall asleep it wasn't as much fun. The wrecking ball was crazy, the entire hotel shook with each wing of the ball. It makes you wonder just how loud it was at Ground Zero when the World Trade Center towers collapsed.

In the morning we did a bunch of sightseeing which included going up in the Gateway Arch and a trip out to the Central West End. St. Louis was okay, there were still a couple things we didn't get to do, but they really need to get some cool things to draw in tourists. We went to one part of town that was supposed to be like Newbury Street and there was really nothing there. It was a great day and all, but it was also kind of boring. They do have a subway line, but it seems a bit unnecessary since there are parking spaces and parking garages on every corner. The only people that actually take the subway are people who can't afford cars, which made it a bit sketchy (think Ashmont train). We went to the wedding which was really beautiful. I mean it was a wedding so you know what went on. The reception was a little interesting though, thanks to the DJ. The guy was Adam Sandler straight out of the Wedding Singer, well except he didn't sing. He was dressed up in his tux and had disco lights, police lights and a disco ball. The music started off okay with the couples first dance, then father-daughter, followed by mother-son, but then the guy went right into the chicken dance. Haha I couldn't believe it. Next up you guessed it the Hokey Pokey and then Celebrate. He couldn't have been more cliche with the music. Celebrate was then followed by none other than the electric slide. At this point the bride and groom stepped in and asked him to play some newer stuff. So begrudgingly he played some "newer more upbeat" songs. He actually made a passive aggressive remark about having to play the songs. The music improved from that point on although every once in a while the DJ would make a random comment here or there that would make you shake your head in amazement. We left the wedding and made it back to the hotel in a timely manner.

On Saturday morning we started off the day by going to the Soulard Farmer's Market, because Jennifer always likes to check out the local markets. In the past we haven't had much luck with this (Roanoke, Asheville), but we had time to waste. The market turned out to be pretty cool and was really big. They were selling all sorts of fruits, vegetables and other foods. My favorite booth at the place was selling raccoons and beavers, how strange. After buying some tangerines and strawberries we shot over to the St. Louis Zoo, because everybody told us we just had to see it. They were right it was amazing. We started in the penguin-puffin house, where you are literally inches away from the penguins. Jennifer was mesmerized by the close proximity of the penguins and kept greeting each one as they swam buy with a quick and peppy "hi". I eventually dragged her away from them and we continued walking around the park. Some of the animals had gone south for the winter, but we still saw, lions and tigers and bears (oh my) and camels, leopards, cheetahs, camels and zebras. At one point we went in to see the snakes and turtles. Jennifer noticed an Egyptian Tortoise that had tipped over and couldn't right himself. Despite my telling her he would be fine she stood there watching him trying to coach him about how to flip over. Finally after about fifteen minutes he managed to rock himself over and we were on our way.

The flight home was uneventful except for me playing a lot more Mario 64. Yesterday we did some decorating for Christmas, instead of driving up to Amesbury in the snow, I came up with the great idea of walking to the local Christmas tree seller, buying a tree and carrying it home. It was pretty cool carrying the tree the half mile home, plus since there were sidewalks it was much easier than carrying through the forest, plus my car doesn't have a scratches on the roof or a pine needle inside. Only 20 more days to go.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Thanksgiving Weekend

I haven't forgotten about this LJ and I am currently working on the entry for Thanksgiving weekend. In order to get something out there here are three slideshows from my long holiday weekend.
Thanksgiving Snowmen
Riebe Christmas Tree Search
10 Year AHS Reunion

More details later.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Quick Entry

Mark, Kate and I have finally had our day on the Sunday River website. Go to this website to see us in the middle and background of the photo. Of course we weren't on the main page, but this is a good start.

Last night we had our annual BoCaNO Thanksgiving at our house. We cooked the turkey (okay Jennifer did) and it turned out really well. My responsibility was making gravy and carving the turkey. Here are some photos from last night BoCaNO Thanksgiving Photos. It was a fantastic time.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Bird Flu Coming Soon to a human near you

I just wanted to report this now since in a couple years when the pandemic is in full force I can say I remember when I first reported this on my LJ. You can read the article, but I will summarize by saying that at least two people in China have contracted the bird flu. Both were children a nine year old boy and a twelve year old girl. Apparently the girl died from the flu. My biggest fear is that the kids contracted it in October and China denied it, I wonder how many people actually have contracted the flu. I just don't feel the Chinese government will be super forthcoming with the information. Oh well good luck everybody and keep your hands off of those subway poles.
Bird Flu Found In Humans article

Monday, November 14, 2005

My Girlfriend Is Crying

I am sitting on the couch right now next to Jennifer and she is just plain bawling her eyes out. Now at first you might think something terrible has happened but in actuality they are tears of laughter. What is she laughing at? We are watching the ridiculous show called America's Funniest Videos and they just had a segment where one person after another got knocked down, bonked with or whacked with some sort of ball. Yes its true she is a sucker for these shows and always ends up with tears in her eyes. I must say it is quite a sight.

I forgot to make an entry about my weekend. On Saturday I got into a car accident within a block of my house, only adding to the statistic about most accidents happening within a mile of your house. I was rear-ended by some guy and luckily Precious was okay. Unfortunately Jennifer and I have had sore necks for the last two days. On Saturday night we invited some friends over and had a great turn out of three people. We still had a great time, but I am coming to the conclusion that I should stop sending invitations to things, because nobody every shows up. It seems like nobody shows up for the BoCaNO's when I send the email. Oh well maybe its just coincidence.

Sunday was a momentous day for me, because my dad and Anne came to Somerville to see our house. My parents don't have a good history of visiting places I have lived. However since it really isn't a competition I won't post the totals, but I can say between my mom and dad the total number of visits to some place I have lived is less than five. Maybe I just need to move closer to Amesbury for better results.

Okay I am tired and need to get a little rest.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Breaking News Podcast

I put up some photos from the hike on Sunday.

I also put out a new podcast (see the link below). In this podcast you can hear the outcome of Mark's recent trip to a Maine courthouse to refute his speeding ticket. Once again I played some music, to break up all of my talking. I also recount the hike of Mt. Tripyramid. I think its super funny, but then again I made it. Check it out!
Listen to the Breaking News Podcast

Monday, November 7, 2005

What a Weekend?

I had a rather busy weekend. On Saturday I went shopping in the morning and then came home and helped our landlord cut a limb off the tree in front of the house. I took a nap and then met Andy in Davis Square. We went over the Jillian's on Landsdowne street to watch the Penn State game. It was a great game and I was surprised to see all of the PSU fans in Boston. I estimate that there were around 100 fans at the bar. After each touchdown the place would erupt with cheering followed by a repeat cheer. After the game I went home and did a bunch of laundry and dishes.

On Sunday Andy and I went up to climb Mt. Tripyramid. The hike started off really well and was pretty easy until we turned on to the Mt. Tripyramid Loop trail. We crossed a river and then struggled through six inches of snow and poorly marked trails for about forty five minutes before getting to the hard part of the hike. We finally got to the bottom of the north face of the mountain which was a trail straight up the steepest side of the mountain. Since it was the north face the snow was really deep, which when combined with the steepness made for a difficult ascent. We struggled up the side of the mountain and finally made it to the top of the slide an hour or so later. We continued up what we thought was the trail only to find it was a dead end. After scrambling back down a little we found the actual trail and were at the top within 15 minutes. Once at the top I quickly took off one of my wet boots and warmed my toes in my fleece vest. They warmed up a little, but were still a little numb when we set off back down the mountain. The trail we descended on was much easier than the trail on the way up. It was a really tough hike, but I definitely feel like I earned that 4000 footer.

Photos and a podcast to come later in the day.

Thursday, November 3, 2005

New Podcast Episode

I have a new podcast episode. And if you don't want to add the rss feed or subsribe to it in iTunes. Just click on this link Episode 3: Little More Music and your computer will figure out the rest.

My podcast is now officially listed in the iTunes music store. Click Here

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

New Podcast

Hi everybody,

I have added a new episode to my podcast. In an effort to get people listening instead of reading I am going to keep the text short for now.

To make it easier for you all to listen here are some other ways besides using iTunes. All I have really done is set up an RSS feed. You will probably see RSS feeds on all your favorite websites. It is basically a way of packaging content that is easily read regardless of the type of content or where it is from. You can do the iTunes thing or you can use any RSS reader you want. For the most lightweight version I would use the google reader (setup instructions below). It allows you to play the audio without requiring a download. You can also add other feeds to the google reader such as the livejournal.

If you have a gmail account go to
Log in using your gmail account and password.
Once on the reader page click the "Your Subscriptions" tab.
Click add a feed.
Paste into the box and click Preview.
My podcast will automatically load.
Now click the Subscribe button.
The feed has now been added.
Now if you go to the My Subscriptions tab again you can see the feed and if you click on it you can see all the episodes below.
Click on play to hear the episodes.

If you want to add this Livejournal to the google reader here is the path

Monday, October 31, 2005

First Podcast

Hi everybody, I have exciting news. I am going to begin providing podcasts for you all to listen to as an addition to the regular livejournal content. I have submitted it to the iTunes music store, so those of you with iTunes can subscribe to it and have it automatically downloaded whenever you open iTunes. If you have an iPod this will mean it will be added to your iPod also. Here is the link for the First Keeg's World Podcast. Let me know what you think.

UPDATE!!!! They haven't added the podcast to the iTunes Music Library yet, but I know the easy steps you need to take to subscribe to the podcast.
1) Go to and download iTunes. Click here to download
2) Install iTunes.
3) Once it is installed go to the Advanced menu and select Subscribe to Podcast.
4) Enter as the podcast URL.
5) After hitting okay iTunes will automatically load your podcasts window.
6) You should see an entry called Keeg's World. Right click on it and choose Update Podcast.
7) The most recent episode will download to your computer.
8) In the future new episodes will automatically load for you.

If you have an iPod the episodes will be transferred to it.


Fells Foliage Hike

Fells Foliage Photos

Jennifer and I took advantage of the beautiful weather yesterday afternoon and went for a little hike in the Fells. The hike didn't start out so well due to my stepping in a big pile of dog poo, but after that everything was wonderful. I had never actually been there before, but I really liked the trails, except for the general lack of blazes. We went up to Wright's tower and saw a great view of the city. The tower was covered in lady bugs which I thought was strange, and the longer you stood next to it the more ladybugs attached on to your clothing. We wandered aimlessly for a little while and then stopped next to a brook. I spent a few minutes redirecting the water before deciding I should just leave it the way it was when I got there. Finally we stopped at the Panther Cave and did a little spelunking.

Today was halloween and I bought a bunch of candy to hand out to trick or treaters. Only about 20 kids showed up so I started handing candy out to adults walking by, but only one adult accepted the offer. At least I know how much candy to by next year.

Happy Halloween everybody!!!!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Happy Halloween

On Friday night we all got together for Amy's annual pumpkin carving party. Two things changed this year though, it was in Concord and costumes were preferred. For weeks I tried to come up with a costume, first I was going to be Napoleon Dynamite, but my hair just isn't long enough for that right now, then I was going to be The Greatest American Hero, but once again it would have been better with longer hair. I searched online and came across some video game characters and almost decided on Link from the legend of Zelda, but instead decided to call Andy and see if he wanted to be one of the Mario Brothers. He was down with it and my search for overalls began. I never realized how hard it was to find something out of style. I looked all over the place with no luck, finally on Thursday afternoon I went to Work 'n' Gear and picked up a pair for thirty dollars. They were perfect and now I have a great pair of denim overalls.

The party was once again great and I have to say I think Mark definitely took the top costume prize with his CDC worker costume (see photos). The award for the best pumpkin once again goes to Amy, for an intricate design of a ghost. I did a bat, but instead of using the actual pattern did it free hand from the picture on the book, and I think it turned out okay. It's amazing how hard it is to draw symmetrical shapes, one side of the bat ear was huge while the other was small and his feet were a real mess.

Yesterday Jennifer and I spent the day at home watching tv and doing nothing really, when all of a sudden we looked out and it was snowing. That's right it wasn't even Halloween yet and snow was falling from the sky. I assumed it was just going to flurry all day, but by four o'clock it was starting to stick on the grass and cars. We went for a walk in our new Autumn Wonderland and I decided to take photos. Today the weather has returned to normal though, there isn't a cloud in the sky and the temperature is supposed to reach 65.

First Snow of the Season Photos

Friday, October 28, 2005

Laguna Beach

I have to say Laguna Beach on MTV is one of my new favorite shows. I wasn't really into it during the first season, but the second season has been captivating. For those of you not in the know, Laguna Beach is a show that follows a group of real high school students around for an entire year documenting all aspects of their lives. It's billed as the real Orange County. I was just on the MTV Overdrive website watching the post show review and wished my friends knew the show so I could dress up as one of the characters for Halloween. So check it out on Monday night at 10PM.


Thursday, October 27, 2005

Halloween Preparation

I have been busy the last couple of days scouring the area for my halloween costume. I came up with the idea on Sunday night and finally found the hardest part of the whole thing yesterday. It annoys me sometimes how hard it is to find certain things in stores. I had a list of specific things I wanted and no matter where I went they just didn't seem to have it. In this day and age it is frustrating to know something exists out there in mass production, but still you are unable to find it. On top of that living in Somerville can sometimes be challenging when it comes to shopping. You would think living in the city would provide you with plenty of places to buy things, but I have found that usually the places I want to shop or eat just aren't in such an urban setting, I have even found that Waltham is lacking the amenities I seem to need. The worst part about Waltham though is that within ten miles there are tons of places to shop such as Framingham and the Burlington Mall, but the traffic is so bad its not feasible to actually go. I guess I am complaining because I felt so spoiled back in Salem, when I could drive ten minutes and be in Peabody where they have basically every store you could possibly want to go to.

Okay thats all for now here are some photos from last weekend. Head Of The Charles Photos

Monday, October 24, 2005

More Rain

Another washout of a weekend hit the New England area and at this point I have given the hope of spending another weekend outside in the sun. The worst part about this weekend's rain was that it was so nice out all week long and as soon as Saturday came around the sky clouded up. On Saturday I spent some of the day doing work and then went to the mall to try and straighten out my phone situation. Basically my replacement phone is a piece of garbage and I need the insurance company to send me another phone. More on that later. I didn't end up getting a new phone at the mall, but instead bought this great wool blazer. Now the first time you see me you will probably chuckle about it, but I really like it. I'll get a picture of it up soon. On Saturday night Jennifer and I went to babysit one of my coworkers kids. It was a fun night, 19 month olds are so busy and hard to understand.

Sunday morning involved more work and a trip to the cafe. Afterward Amy, Any and Melissa met at our house before we went down to watch the Head of the Charles. Just like last year it was a raw damp cold, but we survived for a couple hours. At one point we took a snack break at John Harvard's and downed a plate of nachos. Unfortunately the spinach and artichoke dip was extra oily, so we sent it back to the kitchen a couple times before they gave us a gift card for a free appetizer next time. Despite the cold and wet it was a great day.

Now back to the phone situation. I called up the insurance company again today and explained the situation with my replacement phone. After talking to a half dozen people I finally convinced a guy that my phone was not working. He kept questioning me about it and I kept explaining to him that the phone would just stop working if I didn't press it firmly against my head. After ten minutes he was convinced and said he would sent out a new phone and should get it tomorrow. What a freaking nightmare?!?!?! On the bright side Verizon said I am eligible for a discount on a new phone in February. Hopefully they will get some cool phones by then.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

An entry for the sake of making an entry

Here is my entry for no apparent reason. I am currently at work and just returned to my desk from a meeting. I need to get back into my hard working mode. Yesterday I came in early and left around four and it was fantastic. It is so great to get home early in the afternoon although I didn't really do much and didn't go to the gym. My gym attendance lately has been poor and I am going to try to change that this week.

Okay I don't really have anything else to say for now.


Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Sun has returned!!!!

After over a week of cloudy rainy weather the sun finally appeared in the eastern sky this morning. It's amazing how different the world looks now basked in the bright glow of sunshine. In honor of the return of Sol I have compiled some quotes and photos for your viewing and reading pleasure.

Just living is not enough... One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.
Hans Christian Anderson

I've been waiting for that bright sunshine to show up and shine in my back door someday.
Luther Allison

October gave a party; The leaves by hundreds came - The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples, And leaves of every name. The Sunshine spread a carpet, And everything was grand, Miss Weather led the dancing, Professor Wind the band.
George Cooper

Sunshine is a welcome thing. It brings a lot of brightness.
Jimmie Davis

Pleasantly, between the pelting showers, the sunshine gushes down.
William Cullen Bryant

The glorious lamp of heaven, the radiant sun, Is Nature's eye.
John Dryden

Following the light of the sun, we left the Old World.
Christopher Columbus

Finally we shall place the Sun himself at the center of the Universe. All this is suggested by the systematic procession of events and the harmony of the whole Universe, if only we face the facts, as they say, 'with both eyes open'.
Nicolaus Copernicus

The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do.
Galileo Galilei

The mid-day sun is too much for most eyes; one is dazzled even with its reflection. Be careful that too broad and high an aim does not paralyze your effort and clog your springs of action.
Learned Hand

Today a new sun rises for me; everything lives, everything is animated, everything seems to speak to me of my passion, everything invites me to cherish it.
Ninon de L'Enclos

I'm gonna soak up the sun
Sheryl Crow

Here comes the sun.
The Beatles

I need to laugh, and when the sun is out
I've got something I can laugh about
I feel good, in a special way
I'm in love and it's a sunny day
Good day sunshine
The Beatles

The dawn is breaking. A light shining through.
Howie Day

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Rent A Bag?

What has the world come to? Look at this article Renting a Handful of Luxury. This has to be a joke. Why would anybody pay up to 175 dollars a month to rent a hand bag? You know what I am just speechless and really have nothing more to say about this whole thing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

410 Dollars Later

My car is finally back after a two day visit to Boston VW. I brought it in for the 60,000 mile service which includes a whole bunch of things I don't care to list right now. If you want to find out you can just google it. Anyway I brought it in the other night and originally intended to get my radio reception fixed, but the guy said it would cost $300 to fix since my warranty has expired. I passed on the radio thing and decided instead to have my reverse lights fixed. They said my car would probably be done by the next morning which shocked me since my appointment really wasn't supposed to be until the next morning. Late yesterday I had checked the status of my repairs online and finally decided to call. The guy on the phone said it was still in the queue and hadn't even been looked at yet. I was so annoyed, but he said he would call me as soon as they had checked it out. The rest of the day went by and then this morning they finally called to tell me that it was going to fix 125 dollars to fix my reverse lights, they weren't working because of faulty wiring near the transmission. I told the guy to fix it and now began to wonder how much this little trip to the dealership was going to cost. They finally called when it was finished and the grand total was around 410 dollars. On one hand I was thankful that more wasn't wrong with it, but I had still just dropped almost a half a g on my car. Hopefully I won't need any major service again for a while. Grrr!!!!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Rain Rain Go Away

Given the amount of rain lately and my recent carpentry conquest, I am considering building an ark. The forecast doesn't look promising, the seven day forecast involves lots of rain. Maybe we should be happy that it will at least be different levels, (showers, light rain, sprinkles, rain, heavy rain). Variety is the spice of life, although I prefer ginger.

I was so tired yesterday and could barely keep focused at work, once home I didn't feel like a nap and just watched some tv before dropping my car off at the shop. I brought it in for a 60,000 mile service. They will also be doing four recall jobs on it. My radio has had poor reception lately, but they said it could be a $300 job to check the antenna out. Since my warranty is over I decided to pass on fixing it for now and will just listen to Cd's. I think the whole warranty thing should be changed. I think I had a five year 60,000 mile warranty. Its unfair that things completely unrelated to the mileage should be excluded if I pass a certain threshold. The radio reception should be covered no matter how many miles are on the car for five years. You would think they could come up with something a little more flexible to try and lure people towards their cars.

Last night we had all sorts of problems with our stove. About a month ago I woke up in the morning and smelled gas. I was able to track it down to the stove and noticed that one of the pilot lights went out. You see on our stove we don't have the clicking noise, but instead there are two pilot lights which stay on all the time. Well one of them went out. So after calling more knowledgeable parental units Jennifer lit the pilot back up and our problem was solved. At about the same time the oven started acting up too but in a different way. After being on for about ten minutes it started making a humming noise, it actually sounded very mechanical. It still worked so we kept using it. Fast forward to last night. I lit the front burner on the stove and it just didn't sound right and the entire burner wasn't lit, so I used the back burner instead. After I was finished I tried the front burner and it wouldn't light because the pilot was out again. We relit it and then watched tv before bed. At 4:30 this morning I woke up and smelled gas. I got up and went to the kitchen and both pilots seemed to be on so I went back to bed. Of course since I am paranoid about things like that I was unable to sleep and finally around six asked Jennifer if she could smell anything. She could not. I was frustrated and just figured I was overreacting, however after her shower she did notice the smell and upon closer examination noticed that the other pilot was out. We again relit the pilot and things have returned to normal. We left a note for the landlord and hopefully she will get somebody to come in and look at it. Now I am super tired again and leave for work in a few short minutes. I can't wait to be a homeowner ;o)

Sunday, October 9, 2005

Unbelievable Concert

Last night Jennifer and I ventured across the Charles River to the BU Agganis arena for a David Gray concert. The ride wasn't nearly as long as we thought (Red line into the city Green line out of the city), which was a welcome surprise. We walked around the area for a little while until they opened the doors. Once inside we found our seats in the middle of the arena only two rows off of the floor. The view from our seats was fantastic and the sound was just right too. David came on stage and was fantastic. He has such an amazing voice, it easily filled the arena and he wasn't off key once. If you haven't heard his new album, Life In Slow Motion, you should definitely go listen to some clips on his website. The show lasted a couple hours and ended with a great version of Babylon. I have to say he is definitely one of my favorite performers to see live.

Afterward we walked out to wait for a Green line train and after about twenty minutes one finally showed up. Of course being the Green line it was packed all the way into town. Luckily the wait for the Red line was much shorter and we were back in Somerville in no time.

My 7 favorite musical artists at this very moment:
7) John Mayer
6) Jason Mraz
5) Jack Johnson
4) Howie Day
3) Coldplay
2) David Gray
1) Dave Matthews Band

Friday, October 7, 2005

Robert Wadlow

At BoCaNO last night I couldn't remember the name of the tallest man ever, but this morning on the way to work the name Robert Wadlow popped into my head. Here is a little info on him Robert Wadlow Official Site.

It's been a good couple of days. Work has been fantastic, I have been busy with new and interesting things. My relationship has also been fantastic. I was walking to the train last night and thinking about how happy I am with everything. I love my job, love where I live, have great friends, and can't express in words how happy I am with Jennifer. Sorry to gush so much, but life is unbelievably good.

Have a great weekend everybody!!! Try to stay dry!!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2005


It has been weeks since I have updated this silly journal and I can't help but feel bad about it. I have been busy doing all sorts of things. First off Jennifer's birthday went well, I have a bunch of pictures, unfortunately they are on my computer at home. Work has finally settled down a bit, we made our release on Monday and now we are working on other projects. It is really nice to go home around five and not stress about what I have to do at work tomorrow. The commute lately has been tough, I can't believe how many cars there are out there and how long it can take one person to drive nine miles. On Monday I did a lot of things on a to do list that had grown out of control. First I phoned my phone insurance company because they claimed they hadn't received my damaged phone, of course they haven't called back yet. I made an appointment for a physical, which is going to be in January. I even scheduled an appointment for my car to have its 60,000 mile service. It was an uber productive day that ended with me exercising at the gym. I do feel that a certain amount of stress has been lifted from my shoulders, at least for the time being. Oh yeah I also got information on where to send my retirement rollover money. I can't believe how much I actually have saved in my 401k at State Street. Thank goodness for automatic pay check deductions.

On Sunday I went over to Amy's new abode to watch the baseball game. It must have been the longest game ever, well next to the huge blow out against the Yankees in last year's ALCS. It was great hanging out with everybody on a weekend and not in a bar. I think I need to make a greater effort in rounding up the troops for weekend get togethers. Especially since I won't have a ski house this winter and won't get to go up every weekend. It is almost time to buy my pass, I have been debating about whether or not I should. My conclusion is that I will probably want to go up at least six times and I don't want to burden friends by asking for free tickets. So this weekend I will drop the 369 dollars and get the pass. I find its harder to part with my money these days, but its just something I have to do. Now I just need to find a cheap pair of 160-170cm skis for telemarking.

Alright time to get to work.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Autumn Arrives

Since my last entry the season has changed and today the weather is definitely reflecting the change. It is now about 60 degrees outside and sunny. I was actually cold this morning with only a t-shirt on and had to grab a long sleeve shirt. I have been concerned recently with the goings on in our country, from the two hurricanes that have slammed into the Gulf Coast over the last two weeks to the emergency plane landing in California. Things are going crazy around here, I wonder what is in store for us in the near future. The news programs can't even keep up with all of the news. I am glad I don't live down where the hurricanes have been hitting, I can't imagine having to evacuate and leave all of my belongings behind to be destroyed by the wind, rain and storm surge.

Aside from it being autumn already, today is also Jennifer's birthday. We have a busy day ahead of us, we are currently at the cafe down the street from our house, afterwards we are going up to Amesbury for an afternoon of apple picking and cider donuts. This evening we will be heading in to the city for a little wine and appetizers at a swanky restaurant/wine bar. Tomorrow we are going to Sturbridge for lunch with the Riebe's at Picadilly Pub. At some point I will be removing part of my desk, so I can realign one set of legs, because I didn't put them on straight. I must have been rushing towards the end and just measured wrong. I also need to add some cross pieces to help keep it from swaying. I will put pictures up once it is all back together.

Monday, September 19, 2005

New Desktop Picture For Fall

I spent most of Saturday trying to get my iPod to work and after about six hours it began to work with normality. So I am bag on track now and can listen to all of my music. I was worried at one point that I would have to buy a brand new one. My technical prowess came through in the end though. On Saturday night Jennifer and I met up with some friends at Ned Devine's in Boston. I wasn't sure about the place at first, but the food was great and the band was great too. From the outside it looks like the type of scene I wouldn't belong in, but once in there it was fantastic.

On Sunday we picked Andy up at 7 and drove up to Crawford notch for a day of hiking. The weather on the way up fluctuated all the way up to the trail head. For the entire hike it rained and misted all over us. Of course this prevented us from seeing anything besides whiteness. It was a fantastic hike and I was happy to bag to 4000 footers. After getting back to the car the sky cleared right up. How annoying?

Since it was a NASCAR Sunday in NH we stopped by Andy's dad's house on the way home and enjoyed a super dinner. A few hours later we drove the rest of the way home and another busy weekend came to an end.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Bye Bye Butterfly

Another long work week has come to an end. We once again managed to do the impossible and finished our project on time. Hopefully things will slow down for at least a little while so I can catch my breath. Maybe I will even find some time to go to the gym, get a haircut and get my car fixed. I haven't taken my car to the shop in such a long time. I know it is going to cost me, but I want to bring it in and have a bunch of things done to it including: an oil change, replacing my seat warmers due to a recall, replace the center console inside that was ruined by a scented pine tree thing, get some new brake pads and new shocks. I figure while I am dumping money into I should have them fix my car alarm so it will actually beep when I lock the car. It needs a lot of work and I want to get it down before winter sets in.

Yesterday when I woke up the chrysalis we have had since returning from Vermont was clear and you could see the newly formed butterfly inside. I had decided to spend my morning at home and a couple hours later I looked inside the tupperware container to find a butterfly dangling upside down drying its wings. It was amazing how quickly the change occurred. Unfortunately I had to go to work and wasn't able to let him out. When I came home Jennifer was out on the back porch and had just put the butterfly onto a vase of flowers. He wouldn't fly away though and stayed on the same flower overnight through the rainstorm. We woke up this morning and checked on him to find him still clinging to the same flower. Jennifer went online and looked up some information about butterflies and learned they can go over a day without finding a food, so we weren't too concerned. In the afternoon we went out to look at him again and he was still sitting on the same flower, so Jennifer had him climb on her finger. He was shaking and started flapping his wings a little bit. About 30 seconds later he took off and flew up into a tree next to the house. It was amazing seeing him fly for the first time. It was also sad to him go. As of about an hour ago he was still sitting in the same tree, he must be getting pysched up for his long trip to Mexico.

One other thing I spent a majority of my down time doing over the last couple days was getting my iPod to load correctly. Ever since we got Jennifer's iPod Shuffle working I have only been able to update my songs once. It has been extremely frustrating and after spending two hours trying to figure it out last night, I drove to my mom's and picked up her iPod to test my set up. So this morning I spent another six hours erasing, charging, restarting, plugging, unplugging and testing all sorts of combinations. Finally after about twenty restarts I was able to update my iPod's software. However I was still getting a big fat error when I tried to copy songs. I was about to give up when I switched firewire cards and was finally able to upload my music. I recently bought a USB2.0/Firewire PCMCIA card so the iPod Shuffle would load in a reasonable amount of time. Unfortunately it only had one Firewire port so when I hooked my iPod up I used the port on the back of my external hard drive instead. I guess by using that port I ended up overloading the firewire port on the card and confused the external drive. Once I switched back to my old Firewire PCMCIA card everything worked. In the end it seems that the problem started because I had bad software on my iPod and then was compounded by the new PCMCIA card. I still need to test my iPod cable, because I think it played a role in this whole mess. Thankfully I didn't lose my music and I don't have to buy a new iPod.

Tomorrow will be a day of hiking up in NH. If anybody is interested let me know.


Sunday, September 11, 2005

I Built Something

The desk you see in the photo above was designed and created by me!!! Yep its true I put my carpentry skills to the test and things turned out really well. It all started a couple months ago when Jennifer decided to bring her computer upstairs. We went back and forth discussing ways to rearrange the room and I had the idea to build my own desk for the corner. Before makinga anything I went and checked out the floor models in a couple of stores to see if they had what I wanted and also to get design ideas. One night I began measuring and doing a whole bunch of geometry on a piece of paper and voila I had plans for the top of the desk. I still had no idea how to do the legs, but I figured that would be the easy part.

Fast forward to this weekend. Since I had a bunch of free time I figured now was the perfect time to put my plans to the test. I narrowed it down to four different lower parts and went to Home Depot with Jennifer. We were there for a while and thankfully she was extremely patient with me and at one point convinced me not to give up. So I bought all of the wood, a saw, and some screws, grand total for the supplies was under 80 dollars. We loaded up the Jetta and came home to begin construction. Since I don't have a skill saw I used a hand saw for the entire job, which turned out to be a rather tedious task. Three hours after starting and I was finished with the sawing.

We picked up Jennifer's drill from her sister and plugged it in to charge. Unfortunately something seems to be wrong with it, because it just doesn't go at full speed. So once again I had to go manual and just use a screwdrive to piece the whole desk together. It slowly came together and after another six hours I had finished it. It is certainly not perfect, because of a couple scratches here and there and it is also a bit wobbly, but I don't think thats too bad for all of the inaccurate manual sawing I did. I am excited to have it finished so I will be able to be more comfortable when working at home.

On Saturday night we met Vanessa, Britt and Ryan at Charlie's Kitchen. We had a hell of a time and I managed to tag three hooes (drink three large Hooegartens) in just a few hours. Needless to say I was quite drunk and don't know how I managed to walk all the way home from Harvard Square.

Well I have to go, its been a busy weekend and I have a very busy week ahead of me.

Looks like a scorcher tomorrow, summer just won't quit.


Friday, September 9, 2005


Another weekend is here after only a few long days and I am excited to be staying in Somerville. I don't think I have spent the entire weekend in town since the middle of August. I have been considering a hike tomorrow, but I am a bit weary of paying 3.50 for a gallon of gas. In my car it comes out to about 10 cents a mile and this is a bit pricy for me. I love hiking and all, but at a cost of $30 it doesn't really seem worth it to me.

I guess that is all for now. I have been working a lot lately so my brain is kind of tired. Hopefully I will find time this weekend to work on my new desk, or at least a temporary test desk. I have the plans all drawn out, but now need to put it together.

Have a great weekend!!!

Monday, September 5, 2005

Next Time I'll Skip The Free Trainer

First of you can see the nice picture I took of another insect. We were up at the Riebe's cabin in Vermont and there were several Monarch caterpillars around, so of course I took a bunch of pictures. To learn more about the Monarch, click here. Jennifer put one into a milk carton and it soon moved into the pupa stage. It was a bit dangly so she decided to take a caterpillar version instead. As soon as we got home it began to curl its body into a J shape and by morning it had completely become moved to the pupa stage. Its amazing how much it changed just in ten short hours. I have tried to convince her that we need to keep it here and the third graders probably wouldn't be interested in something as boring as metamorphosis.

Now for the title. I recently signed up for the gym at Bally's right around the corner in Porter Square. Upon signing up they give you a free trainer session, so I went early in the morning on Thursday to meet my trainer. I haven't exercised much since I was running daily at the beginning of the summer, so I was a bit nervous. The guy proceeded to put me through a bunch of exercises including pull ups, dips, push ups, ab crunches, squats and some weird jumping exercise. Apparently my body couldn't handle so much activity all at once and I nearly passed out. I told him I had to take a little break and then I had to lie down. It was embarrasing and a bit scary. He then told me I should probably leave early and get something to eat. I proceeded to struggle out of the gym and somehow made it back home after only stopping a couple times along the way. Once home I put my feet up and regained my composure a half hour later. The worst was yet to come though. On Friday the pain started in my arms and by Saturday I could barely stretch my arms out. Thankfully I feel much better today and hope to go back tomorrow, but my question is why in the world would the trainer do that to somebody they know hasn't worked out in so long. Ouch!!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Here is the final track listing of the BoCaNO best CD ever.

1Mr. JonesCounting Crows4:32
2Just Like HeavenThe Cure3:32
3Brown Eyed GirlVan Morrison3:05
4Sweet Child o' MineGuns 'n' Roses5:56
5American GirlTom Petty and the Heartbreakers3:33
6The Space BetweenDave Matthews Band4:03
7LingerThe Cranberries4:34
8American WomanThe Guess Who5:07
9In Your EyesPeter Gabriel5:29
11Wonderful TonightEric Clapton3:44
12Pop Song 89R.E.M.3:05
13Gold Dust WomanFleetwood Mac5:04
14Pictures Of YouThe Cure4:48
15The Lady In RedChris De Burgh4:16
16No RainBlind Melon3:37
17A Thousand MilesVanessa Carlton3:57
18Closing TimeSemisonic4:33

In other news I joined the gym.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Weekend In Camden

A year ago Jennifer and I spent a weekend up in Camden, ME at the Nathaniel Hosmer Inn. We had such a great time we decided to go back again this year and once again we had a fantastic time. I took off from work a little early and I stopped in Amesbury to meet Jennifer, because she was going to leave her car at my mom's house. After that we were on our way north to my most favoritest state of Maine. The weather was gorgeous and we had the radio cranking in the old Jetta. Instead of taking the normal way (Route 1) we decided on a more scenic route through the heart of Maine. It truly paid off because not only did we make it to Camden in record time, but we saw some of the most beautiful countryside I have ever seen. At one point we came up over this hill by a farm and you could see for at least fifty miles. The perfect combination of a farm on top of a hill let us see the outlines of the western mountains, it was breathtaking. We continued over narrow bridges, around sharp corners through more farm lands and across dirt roads before regaining the main road about a half hour west of Camden. It's amazing how much we miss by travling the interstates.

Once in Camden we set up residence in the same room as last year and before long were wandering down Main street. All of the memories from last year came rushing back as we peered into the familiar store fronts. Our first stop was a coffee shop where we picked up some baked goods to settle our hungry stomachs. We ate them in Harbor park overlooking the harbor and the Megunticook River waterfall. The sky was cloudless and the streets were filled with tourists going in and out of the little shops. We explored for about an hour before returning to the Mary Wheeler room. We were both quite exhausted from a long busy week and it wasn't long before we were both fast asleep.

The next morning we woke up to the smell of bacon frying. I had slept through the night and didn't wake up once, it had been weeks since the last time that happened. The queen sized bed, quiet street and cool weather made for prime sleeping conditions. At 8:30 we walked into the dining room for breakfast. Only five places were set, which was quite different from the full house we experienced last year. The other guests were a woman from Stratham, who was planning on a day of cycling over in Isleboro, and a couple from Somerville. We chatted with them and the two inn keepers over a "divine" peach cobbler, followed up by a bowl of local fruit. The main course of this little three course breakfast was a crepe, cheese, and bacon creation. I was a bit weary at first, because it looked a lot like egg, and the texture was very similar, but once I made it through the top part the rest was great.

After breakfast we strapped on our hiking boots and drove over to an isolated parking lot I had scouted out the night before. There is an intricate network of hiking trails in the area and I had chosen the least congested routes in advance. Once again we passed up Mt. Battie, the tourist trap mountain with an auto road, and ended up at the top of Zeke's lookout and then Bald Rock mountain. Both spots provided gorgeous views without the crowding of the more popular Battie. The trails weren't well marked, but we did manage to find our way rather easily. One trail in particular seemed to have had few visitors at all because it was very grown in and the spiders had taken over. There webs were strewn across the trail at five and six foot intervals. At one point I ended up with a spider dangling near my head, but instead of backing away in fear I showed it a thing or two and took a dozen photos of him swinging around. Of course only one actually came out clearly, but as with most of my pictures it takes about a dozen bad shots for the one memorable shot you frame and put on your living room wall.

Five hours later we returned to the car with two empty Nalgene bottles, sore legs and an interest in wine. We had heard over breakfast of a small winery over near the trails we would be hiking and decided it was the perfect way to end the hike. We pulled up to the three hundred year old barn and weren't exactly sure what we were in for. Another couple was just about to start a tasting so we joined in and grabbed a couple clean glasses. We tried about eight different wines in all and they were wonderful. The oddest wine they had was a blueberry wine, which was made entirely of blueberries, it had an aroma much like blueberries, however the taste was much like a red wine. It wasn't the best wine ever, but certainly better than one would anticipate upon hearing of such a thing. We purchased two bottles from the winery and drove back to the inn for much needed showers.

With clean clothes on our backs we ventured back downtown in search of some lunch. It was nearly four and we planned on going out for dinner, so we made it a light lunch. We walked into the same sandwich shop from our first day and ordered a bit of food. The woman behind the counter asked for a name on the order and I quickly suggested Janet, and smiled towards Jennifer. Ever since our arrival the inn keeper had been introducing Jennifer as Janet and despite a couple tries to correct the situation, we weren't able to correct her. Finally, the name Janet was called and I paid for lunch, that's what happens when you try to be funny. Again we dined in Harbor Park, but this time the view was slightly different because the sun was brightly shining down upon the harbor. Looking out to sea you could see a fog starting to push its way across Penobscot Bay towards the harbor, I was thankful I wasn't aboard a boat trying to find my way back home.

Since we had time to kill before dinner, we walked around all the shops in the downtown area. As always, I didn't buy one thing. Of course I saw several things I would have liked to take home, but for some reason on vacation I don't tend to buy souvenirs. In the grand scheme of things this could be a good thing, because I don't need a bunch of useless junk lying around the house for years. We strolled down by the water and saw a couple schooners returning to port. They were out for an evening cruise, but the fog had stopped them dead in their tracks. I overheard one of the captain saying, "The fog rolled right over us. It was as thick as pea soup and to top it all of the sun was shining so much it lit the fog right up and you couldn't see a darn thing." It turns out most of the charters for the evening had been cancelled due to fog, much to the disappointment of many tourists. The long hike and afternoon of shopping had worn me out, so we returned to the inn to rest before dinner. Apparently my head was on the pillow for thirty seconds before I fell fast asleep. I awoke an hour later to the sound of a cork coming out of a bottle of wine. We had stopped at a store to buy a cheap bottle of wine to drink before dinner. I was still pretty thirsty and don't think I was able to truly enjoy the Riesling, but given different circumstances I am sure it would have been wonderful.

We walked in to Zaddik's Mexican-Italian restaurant and were surprised to find it so empty. We sat right down and quickly order nachos, which we had planned on ordering ever since we sat atop the acme of Bald Head Mountain. As soon as they were placed on the table we immediately devoured them and only after I was nearly full did I decide it was completely necessary that we finish them. We moved on to the main course which was individual sized pizzas. I was quite full at this time, but somehow managed to finish my mushroom and ham pizza. It wasn't the best pizza I've had, but it filled me up and given the relapse of exhaustion I was feeling I didn't really care. We walked outside and noticed the fog had finally reached town and was making its way up Route 1. It rolled up the street oblivious to the busy scene it was penetrating. Our full stomachs encouraged us to roam around the foggy scene and we obeyed there wishes. First we went on a walk through the airy stone and grass amphitheater at the library. Continuing down towards the water I noticed how the rope hand rails were covered in moisture from the fog. The stores began to close and we new it was time to go back to our room and begin another night of restful sleep.

Ten of the fifteen gongs sounded from the church bells before I woke up only to wonder why it was so light at five o clock in the morning. After glancing at the clock I realized the church was in fact announcing the beginning of mass because it was actually eight in the morning. I began packing my things and showered before we walked over for another full breakfast. Two new people had arrived at the inn overnight and now there was seating for seven. The food was just as delicious as the prior day and probably even better given my trepidation towards the crepe the prior morning. Upon completing our meal, Glen, the inn keeper told us all about the history of the house and the person was named after. He was quite the storyteller and would always try to sneak in impossible tidbits here and there. Following all of the stories I packed the car while Jennifer got a tour of the rest of the house. Once the car was loaded we went back inside and bid farewell to the inn keepers, telling them we would definitely be back next summer and possibly sooner.

We sat in the car looked back at the inn one more time, turned onto Route 1 South and began our long journey home. It was the end of another vacation, but the start of a fun and relaxing tradition. The perfect way to end a summer and begin the wonderful season of autumn.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Online Music Store WTF

I was on the internet the other day looking up information on David Gray and on his website I saw his album can be pre-ordered on iTunes. So I log in to iTunes to check it out and can't find it anywhere. In a moment of confusion I go back to the website and notice that it is only available on the UK iTunes music store. Sure enough I go back to iTunes and switch to the UK store to find it on the main page. Now here is the reason this topic deserves an LJ entry, if you aren't from the UK you can't buy things from iTunes UK store. Now maybe it is just me, but this really seems ridiculous, music is music is music, why should it matter where a person lives. After a little research I learned the different countries music stores might carry different artists as well as music and albums. Have we really progressed so far with technology to limit ourselves by international borders.

It is time for the record companies to step up and let us have our music. A few years ago the record companies were whining and complaining about the Napsters and Kazaas of the world. They have since sued a bunch of teens and slowed the piracy down to a trickle. In the meantime online music stores have popped up and done a killing, especially iTunes. For those of you that are unfamiliar with these online stores they are very convenient and at 99 cents a song I don't mind purchasing a couple songs every now and then. Of course there are some drawbacks, first and foremost is the lack of artists from certain stores because a record company isn't affiliated with the music store. For instance only until recently could you find Dave Matthews Band on iTunes. Other artists missing from the world's largest music store are AC/DC and the Beatles among others. Now I find out the artist restriction is based upon the record label and country of the artist. Why wouldn't they want there music available to everybody? It just seems counterintuitive to sell something and not want it available in every market across the globe. Its time to bring down these musical borders.

In other news my weekend was pretty good although I am still tired from working last week. The weather hasn't exactly helped. Enough of the sticky humid weather already, lets get back to the nice dry weather from early last week. Saw two movies this weekend: Broken Flowers and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Bother were very good, obviously two very different movies, but each great in its own way.


Thursday, August 18, 2005

A Breather

It has been crazy this past week at work and I have been there for about 15 hours a day and I feel completely drained. Thankfully the project we are working on is finished and we just need to make sure everything is working correctly. I can at least say I learned a lot over the last few days.

Besides work I haven't been doing much of anything except sleeping. I had to miss BoCaNO last night, which was trivia again. I hope they did alright.

Jennifer and I were hoping to go up to the mountains this weekend, but it seems like the weather isn't going to cooperate and will be rainy. It really stinks considering how nice it has been around here lately. The last couple of days have me so excited for the fall. It is by far my favorite season. The cool crisp air just brings back such wonderful feelings. I also decided I need to hike as much as possible this fall since I wasn't able to go much in the spring. Time to make up for lost time I guess.

Okay we are heading out for dinner in Arlington.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Another Update

Jennifer is still away so here I sit at 11PM updating my LJ. I am completely exhausted and should be going to sleep, but for some reason I just can't get into bed. It has been a busy week at work and I have already put in three ten hour days with a couple more still left to go. Hopefully by this time next week I will be able to breathe a little easier.

Tonight for BoCaNO we went to the Hatchshell for a free classical music concert. It was great to lie in the grass and look up at the stars. It was also nice to be hanging out with friends, so very relaxing. Afterwards we went to Cold Stone, but I had to pass since I had already eaten so much all day long. I suppose it is time to hit the hay and get some rest in preparation for another long day. Man do I spend a lot of time in front of a compute screen now.

Peace out!!!

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

My New Commute

Back in my car and finally starting to enjoy the commute. It has been almost two months and I think I have found the most efficient way to Waltham from Somerville. Of course I am not going to disclose my secret route, because it won't be long before word spreads to the rest of the Waltham commuters and it will be back to the drawing board. At first I took the obvious path to Route 2, but it was just driving me crazy. So I hopped on Google Maps and began experimenting with different back roads. The key is to find as few stoplights and more importantly try to find stoplights where you will rarely have to sit through more than one light. My final route might be a little longer, but I don't end up sitting through three or four lights. It's all about average speed, for the three lights your average speed is zero, but if you drive an extra mile at 30 MPH you are doing much better. The average speed also comes into consideration when driving on 95 North. The traffic on highways can be very deceiving, it looks like it is going much slower than it really is. I can now consistently get to and from work in 20 minutes, that is down from up to 45 minutes in my trial phase.

One thing about my commute that does kill me is the voluntary "toll" near Alewife station. Most of you probably don't know about this "toll", but I have to deal with it everyday. The "toll" comes in the form of three beggars who pace back and forth and pester people for money. They make me crazy every time I drive to work. They are making a killing, so I guess I can't blame them for doing it, heck they make a couple bucks on each red light. One guy in particular is always carrying a huge wad of bills, but to his credit he has perfected his limp.

Okay enough ranting and raving. Good night all. Sleep well!!!


Sunday, August 7, 2005

Gem Island Vacation

I'm back to make an entry. You may be wondering where I was since I never update my LJ anymore and didn't let you in on my plans. Well starting last Saturday I went up to Maine to spend a week at a house Jennifer's parents rented. The house was on its own island called Gem Island in South Bristol. The house rental comes with a small boat so you can get back and forth from your car to the island. Let me start by saying I had a fantastic and relaxing week. Jen's dad and sister were only there for the first day, and from that point on it was just Jennifer, her mom and me. We kept busy all week doing all sorts of random things including reading, crosswords, kayaking, hiking, shopping, espresso drinking, boating, swimming, a little bit of working and a lot of just hangin out.

I took a bunch of pictures you can see by clicking on the sunset picture above. There were a few interesting sunsets so you will see a few pictures of the same portion of sky, but on different days. The weather was good all week, except for a cloudy day early in the week and a thunderstorm here and there. I was a little freaked out during Wednesday night's storm, but I think it had a little to do with how asleep I was when this happened. Two days later, we had another storm and I sat out on the porch through the entire thing. Towards the end of that storm the rain had stopped and Jennifer and I saw a bright flash of light, followed by a huge crack of thunder. It was weird how close it was given the fact that the storm had already passed.

As I said above I did work a little bit early in the week. It basically involved me checking my email on a super slow internet connection and then staying on the phone for a ninety minute conference call. On the bright side I did get a better idea of the requirements for our upcoming project. Oddly enough I am looking forward to going to work on Monday and closing out our big project. I have a week and a half to finish, but hope I can wrap everything up by Friday.

Okay it is getting late and I need to go to bed. I can't squander all of the extra sleep I was able to get over the past week. Tomorrow may involve a trip to Plymouth or a day of work with a trip to the movies thrown in to mix things up. I haven't quite decided yet. See how I feel in the morning I guess. Of course I could go on forever about my wonderful vacation, but a picture is worth a thousand words and I think there are about 40 pictures for you to check out.

Hope everybody is doing well!!

PS - Here is a slideshow from a recent trip to Plymouth

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Alive and Well

Hi, yes it is true I am still alive. I haven't updated in weeks, but somebody made a comment on my LJ wondering where I was, so here is the answer.
Things I have done since my last entry:
1) Attended two Dave Matthews shows. At the first one the band played a song they haven't played live in twelve years, #34. Jennifer finally got to go to her first show and she loved every minute of it. The next day I brought Mark and we sat up in the fourth row on the right side. Both shows were fantastic. It brings my grand total of shows attended up to 47.
2) Fourth of July weekend was extremely busy for me. On the Friday before I went to Quincy for a BoCaNO get together. Good times good times!!! On Saturday morning I shot down to Plymouth for the day and enjoyed a little swimming and relaxing. I love going down there and just chilling. Afterwards I drove up to Wakefield for Scottie's birthday party. On Sunday I stayed around Somerville, cleaned the house and stained the shelves we bought back in April. Amy came over and we went to Dr. Mark's party, where I stepped in dog poo. On the actual holiday I once again drove down to Plymouth for the Independence Day festivities. Afterwards I drove back to Somerville because Jennifer was back from Vermont. We walked down to Cambridge and watched the fireworks. I finally got to see fireworks in Boston.
3) Jennifer and I celebrated our first year together on Friday night. We went back to Dali and enjoyed a quiet evening at home afterwards. It is hard to believe a year has passed already. It has been an amazing year and I can't put into words how happy I am with her.
4) Last Saturday I woke up bright and early so I could go pick up the new Harry Potter book. I found one right away at Stop and Shop and started reading at 7:30. I kept reading and reading throughout the day. At one point we went to our cafe where I read some more and then we went up to Amesbury for Brendan's birthday. I just kept reading though and finished it a little after midnight, the book had 650 or so pages. It probably falls to third in my list of Harry Potter books.
5) Hamlet in the Common. Jennifer's mom came up on Sunday and we went to the free Shakespeare show at Boston Common. I didn't know anything about the play so it was fresh and new for me. I was blown away, we were able to sit really close and I could actually here what was going on. The guy who played Hamlet kicked ass, he actually reminded me of John Rapoza (see my Friends link). I think John could definitely be his understudy. All y'all collage girls go check it out and see what you think.

Besides the above story life has been pretty normal or at least as normal as it gets for me. I still love my job and look forward to working everyday. I don't necessarily look forward to commuting to work, but the actual work part is good. You see now I don't get to just walk to the T and read my Metro as I coast to work. Now I have to navigate my way out of Somerville, which is no small task between eight and nine. I have experimented with all sorts of different routes and finally settled on a favorite. While it may take a little longer, I don't have to sit in traffic for ten minutes straight just to get through one light. It has been so long since I commuted in traffic, that I forgot just how much I hated it. This week I have been attempting a go in early or go in late policy and it seems to be working in my favor. The go in early works the best, but since it is so hot I haven't been sleeping so well. Once the weather settles down I think it will be easier to do the early thing. Who knows though?

Before I started typing this today I was considering joining the PodCast community. It would basically be me recording a little radio show and uploading it to the internet. I could then take the link to it and put it on the iTunes Music Store. It would be a good way to stay on the cutting edge of technology and also once again allow me a creative outlet. Oh yeah I also have not forgotten about making the Best CD ever. Hopefully I will have it done by the end of the summer.

I hope this satisfies all of you eager readers.

Hope all is well,

Friday, July 8, 2005

Shame On Me

I have been really busy lately and haven't had much time to update and I am really lazy so that doesn't help either.

Fourth of July was good, I spent most of it on the road or at parties.

Have a great day!!!

Monday, June 27, 2005

Hot Weekend

Hi everybody it is your favorite tired, hot LJ writer. As most of you know it was a hot weekend in New England, but lucky for Jennifer and I we spent a measly 100 bucks and bought an air conditioner. Definitely the best money I have spent in a while. Since we don't have a three prong outlet in the bedroom, the back room has been converted into a temporary bedroom.

What else did I do this weekend? Went to see Meme in Kingston and then went to Amesbury to chill by the pool and chat with the family. Afterwards we went to the beach to watch the sunset. Yesterday we did a little shopping and I scoped out desks for the one I plan to build in the coming months. We came home and put together Jennifer's desk and computer, so she could have her own little workstation. It turned out pretty good.

I am extremely tired and now I must go make dinner. Work is wonderful, although all this new stuff in my brain is keeping me up nights. You should see the bags under my eyes, haven't seen bags like this since I worked at four in the morning at Shaw's.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Decent Weather

It is Wednesday and I have had a busy week so far. First of all somehow I caught Jen's stomach virus and was sick for 24 hours, starting early Monday morning. It all coincided with my first day of work, but I made it through without any problems. Luckily I woke up yesterday and felt 100% better. Since I was feeling better I rollerbladed over to Andy's house for work. We installed some more software and then went to Matt's to work for the afternoon. I learned a ton of stuff, mostly watching Andy walk through some modifications. It was a good day. Last night we had some people over for dinner and had a great time. Jennifer cooked up some chicken and we had tacos. This morning I will be working from home for the morning and then meeting up with Andy later to finish up the project from yesterday. I had some mySQL issues, but have since resolved them. Now on to bigger and tougher problems.