By the Christmas season we were in full Family Quality Time mode. After a few years in the desert we had a debt to repay.

Photo Album: Christmas Reading, PA December 2007

Speak Now?

Looks like my mother got to a sign maker. Actually this is a language school in the mostly Brazilian neighborhood in Danbury, CT. For a country renowned for tiny bikinis, these folks know how to eat! One of the joys of my long drives to the Danbury factory are the lunches. There is a local lunch spot on the WCSU campus that makes a burger to put Fatburger to shame! Egg, Bacon, Sauces, Wow!

Everyone feeling the cold here in New England can wish Chuck a Merry Christmas. He and his wife are travelling to Brazil to spend some time with her family. The exact quote was...

"I will be spending Christmas in shorts and SPF-50."

First Storm

The first snow storm of the season is threatening. The company sent us home at noon to cut the risk to employee safety. It started this morning with really small hail. The morning commute was clean and clear but the clouds were looming. By 11 it was coming down fast.

New England is ready for this stuff. The wipers are "up." The plows were already on it when I hit the road. The commute was slow but easy.

Hey, what's outside your window?

Winter Stock

Someone did well for themselves. That's 3 deer all with nice racks! OK All my Arizona readers just vomited in near vegan reaction. The more "country bred" reader will appreciate the amount of food that just drove by me.


December Snow has fallen. Just a few inches now, but it is still coming down. I made the first pass with the shovel, but I expect I will need another before 4:00.

Time for a snowball fight!

Catch and Release

The only thing finer than spotting a supercar on the highway...

is putting it in your mirrors!

Unless of course it is snapping the pictures for Charlie, that is fine, too!

Charlie, have Pip send me a message. I got tons of pictures. He can creatively caption them and get some posting on that bLog!

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I is PHr33kin Ur AXess

My sister was sporting her Cyber Blue Hair while shopping online. I tried to scam her access but I was busted before she auth'd. She even has the keyboard hidden under the desk to avoid the prying eyes.

Yep, most of the family is geek now. It used to be just me with the 99/4a and C64 playing Seven cities of Gold and coding BASIC like it mattered. Now I have 2 geeky Brothers by marriage. So there it is, my sister with Cyber Hair hacking coupons off the net with my father's rig. Nice.

After Turkey

Well, the holiday at home is over. Pictures are still on the camera.


Turkey Day

We had a "just us" Turkey Day last year. This year was full on Family Quality Time!

Photo Album: Thanksgiving Reading, PA November 2007

First Snow

As much of a pain as shoveling and ice avoidance can be, I really missed snow, too.

Photo Album: First Snow Tarrytown, NY November 2007


Well, what can I say. It was an advertisement that made me chuckle. Had to share it.

Fall Foliage

I really missed trees in the desert. I enjoyed and photographed several trees in full leaf drop.

Photo Album: Fall Foliage New England November 2007

5 o'clock Dark!

Yep, the clock reads 5 p. m. and the window reads midnight. It is getting DARK fast. We are still a full moon from Yule. I might even have to consider rising earlier in the day!

Probably not.

Mail Box

One of the many things I missed about "home" when living in AZ was "normal" mail service. Arizona, or at least Scottsdale, is crazy about planned communities. It is nearly impossible to buy a house without a:
  • Home Owner's Association
  • lot measured in square feet (< .01 acres)
  • shoe box in the community mail bank
  • limited range of exterior options
  • Closed Loop Driveway they aggrandize to roads
  • perimeter defense systems of walls around the community and each lot
  • Landscaped Advertisement for the management company at each entrance and the corner of the major intersection

I understand the traditional problems the Home Owner's Association was invented to fix. I don't want a neighbor with cars up on block on his front lawn. I don't want the upwardly mobile domestic partners with the lovely corner Victorian to paint a rainbow into the Gingerbreading. I don't want the old lady across the street to let her house tumble down around her. Unfortunately when the HOA becomes a Management Company, the home owner loses the benefits of home ownership and becomes something between a college dorm resident and a condominium "owner."

I love the USPS in this corner of the world. I have a mail box. A real one. It is big enough to hold the reams of junk mail I get. It is on my property (Scottsdale translation: my lot) so I can easily check my mail when I get out of my car and walk to my house. I can put stamped mail in the mail box, raise a flag and the "Delivery Specialist" takes it to the post office when they return. If I get a package that is too big for the mailbox, they place it on my porch.

Scottsdale Post Office would routinely:
  • Jam mail into the tiny box and tear, fold or mangle half of it.
  • Fail to deliver our mail
  • Delivery my neighbor's mail to me
  • Drop a card explaining I had too much mail and required me to pick it up at the Post Office
  • Any package, I had to pick up

The mailbox was in a "bank" of mail boxes like I used to have in my college dormitory. There is no flag to raise for outgoing mail. If I put outgoing mail in the mail box they jammed new mail in the box usually folding and mashing the outgoing mail.

The only mail box I could find was 1.2 miles away on the corner of North Thompson Peak Parkway and McDowell Mountain Ranch Road. This is a busy intersection with no parking lots. You needed to pull into the bus stop and hop out before the bus came through. A convenient post box in a grocery store parking lot or a mail box in the community was not to be found. Hey, why not dedicate one of the shoe boxes to outgoing mail?

The community mail bank was only at the end of the block and around the corner. It was just out of the way. It was purposely hidden so as not to detract from the aesthetics of the community. This accomplished 2 things for me. The first was to put it out of mind on my way home so I would routinely fail to check the mailbox. The second was to sanitize my community of any working facility that might indicate actual people lived there. (Heaven and the Management Company forfend!)


Undelivered Mail: I understand that some of my mail did not get delivered because my wife's last name is Oxenford-Melcher. This means her name is not Melcher and can't be delivered to the Melcher mailbox. At least according to the Patriach of the Airpark who explained WHY his people could not seem to deliver the mail. In Tarrytown they READ the address. They understand that Oxenford-Melcher is a Melcher, too. In fact they delivery mail for James Oxenford, knowing what the sender intended. They delivery mail intended for the current occupant even though it may still bear the name of the prior occupant. The route sort code indicates this is the intent of the mailing. They simply cross out the wrong name and write OCCUPANT.

Translation for the New England set: You may think I am exaggerating the Perimeter defense network. I am not joking. They build 60 -75 inch high walls around the entire development. Often they will add a moat they call a wash. Each lot is also surrounded by the same or similar high walls. I am not talking about the quaint farm lot walls of tumble down rocks that surround those country estates in Connecticut. Nor am I confusing fence with wall. These walls are block and mortar covered in stucco. Often they are painted and tiled. Every entrance has a little landscaping and a curved wall featuring a tiled fresco or bronze plaque proclaiming the name of the development and the management company.

Road Name Rage: Another thing, who names a road Thompson Peak Parkway? What was wrong with 94th Street? Do you need to top it off with NORTH? Of course it's north! It is 5 degrees cooler up there! Ever try fitting that in the space provided on most forms? Let's not forget that the numbers out there are in the 15000 range. Who does that? Is it really the intent of the Phoenix Post Master to renumber the United States using Central Avenue as the Prime Meridian? I think Postmaster Francisco Franco needs to consider the value of the ZIP code and restart the numbering every fifth Rancho or so.

Crime: For a city that claims low crime rates, Scottsdale services used crime as the excuse for everything. The dedicated shoebox for outgoing mail? "We can't because the thin aluminum construction of these mailboxes invites thieves to break in to steal mail with checks inside." I am sure it is perfectly safe for my mail, though.

Well, that should draw some comments


Why the heck would anybody need mirror heaters?

I need them. Without them I would not be able to drive on days like today. My view of the other lanes would be similar to my view out the windshield before that Defroster kicks in.

I enjoyed my ass, errr, ummm, seat heater, too!

Mist Mountain

This is not a scene from Independence Day, this is New England living! The highway follows a river and this morning the sun had started "burning off" the morning dew. The river is always the last to give up the dew, so there it is, a hill apparently floating on the mist.

I know Charlie* likes his sunsets, but even he has some river shots. I just can't stray too far from a river. Something in me need to know the water is there.
* A link to Charlie’s 2bdaman.com sunset page was here, but the site has met its final sunset since this posting.

Hang the Witch?

From Burning to Hanging, New England has never been kind to witches.

Halloween is upon us in South Sleepy Hollow. The parade was Sunday Night and included a street party with DJ! We were dancing on Main Street. I swear Halloween is bigger than Christmas.

The light posts are decorated with Jack O'Lanterns and ghosts and witches (as above). The air is finally right for October and tomorrow the kids come ringing.

That Thing Got A Hemi?

We caught John Reap and 4 finalists from Last Comic Standing last night. It was good to get out and have some adult fun. We went to the "fancy" Italian place for dinner. We listened to a few hours of comedy. Finished off at the late night bar and wrapped it up. Not bad for a work night!

In case you were counting (Charlie) it was:

1 bottle of Chianti
5 glasses House Red
3 Amstel Lights
2 Franziskaner

for 2 drinkers.

No driving required!

October, Finally

Monday it was still summer. Highs in the 80's, A/C running, shorts, the whole deal.

Tuesday it rained. Biblicly. About 50 hours sometimes with rates of 6 inches per hour. My boss got flooded Thursday night. She has 2 feet of water in the basement. Her neighbor's cars are in it to the steering wheel.

Now it is Autumn. Highs in the 60's, heater running, sweaters, the whole deal. My squirrels warned me.

The Mythic

Perhaps more often in October, but Tarrytown has it's fantastic side. That is a castle on the hill. This view is from the Tappan Zee bridge on a sunny rush hour. Lyndhurst is down below closer to the Hudson

Our high school is Sleepy Hollow and their mascot is the Horseman.

I have often lived in places where Halloween is "bigger than Christmas" and feel very comfortable here.

Web Site: Lyndhurst
Web Site: Caroll Castle
Web Site: The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze
Web Site: Legend Weekends @ Philipsburg Manor

Mac Scare 2

My iMac "ate" a second PMU. So the repair delayed my subtext relaunch a few days.

Good Points:
* Apple knows about the problem with the G5 iMac PMU. This makes "negotiating" a repair a simple matter (unlike Icke's nightmare with Apple Support)
* Parts are readily available
* The turn around is < 4 days
* No charge (Manufacturer's defect)

Bad points:
* They on last about 18-25 months
* 3 days, no Mac (withdrawal)
* Have to walk past the nice new black and aluminum iMacs and NOT buy one

Home (for Now)

Built in 1898, the quaint accommodations for this year are just off the municipal parking lot. The address is Washington Street, but I am behind another (newer) home. Downtown is across the parking lot. Stumbling home after a great night on the town will not involve driving!


In an effort to maintain the posting habits of Mr. Charles Cornish, I took this photograph of my new home in Tarrytown, NY Charlie Style! That is Tarrytown on the Eastern shore of the Hudson River. The river is 3 miles wide here and was considered an inland sea by the Dutch settlers.

That is three lanes of traffic in my mirror. The blur in the Jersey barriers should indicate ~ 65 miles per hour. While taking a photograph.


After a transcontinental move and my second Mac PMU meltdown I have returned to blogging. Look for Pictures ala 2 B Da Man.

Can I Mention Cablevision?

One of the many things I missed after leaving Connecticut was the awesome services of Cablevision. They have the best internet access I ever had the pleasure to use. Now that I am back in the real world, I have Cablevision once again. I just uploaded my entire bLog without having to restart the process because the internet connection failed. 30 months in AZ (Cox land) I could not accomplish this small feat. First time out and I am a happy customer already!

NJ Apartment

As part of the relocation plan I was placed in corporate housing. The apartment was adequate. I did get to live like a bachelor for a few weeks.

Photo Album: Corporate Housing, August 2007


My mother turned 60. She wanted to go on a cruise. We joined her for our first cruise.

Photo Album: Cruise, August 2007

Sympathy for AG3

Another Gore in the new as he gets stopped and they find "the herb" and other pharmaceuticals in his car. He does not have a prescription for any of them.

Here is a tune that Al Gore 3 needs to learn quickly:

Song: Bong Song

Notes: Sublime (Brad Nowell), "The Bong Song”

Lyrical Celebration

My Christ-Crazed, Umlaut-having, SNOTtsdale-defining neighbors are moving today! I am moved... to song!

PARENTAL WARNING: These lyrics contain sarcasm, religious intolerance and a general disdain for Home Owner's Associations, Conservative Christians Groups and other forms of proselytizing. Sing at your own risk of eternal damnation and Hell fire!

Jesus loves them this I know
Zealous Christians told me so
To their church I must belong
Well I guess I proved them wrong

Yes! Jesus loves them
Yes! Jesus loves them
Yes! Jesus loves them
Zealous Christians told me so

Little Ones they now have four
Sell their cookies at my door
Said they want a bigger yard
New neighbors should be on guard


Teddy's barking at your gate
Hope you were not up too late
Tennis balls and rackets soon
Fill your yard all afternoon.


Debbie has a business plan
In your hand her card she crams
Baskets, flowers, plastic bins
Depends upon, "whatever's in!"


Speeding signs and safety cones
Soon will block your way back home
Who has moved in 'cross the street
Fam'ly from their church they meet


Thursday night the cars all park
'Round their house 'til after dark
Bible Thumpin' is the sound
You will hear them as they pound


Recyclin' goes out to the curb
Herr Sören this will disturb
Bottles, cans of sinful drinks
His look for you, it is distinct


Better have the bin back soon
Well before the stroke of noon
If he notes a small delay
Notifies that H O A


Social skills are weak and wrong
On this block they didn't belong
Hindus, Jews and atheists
None of us they'll ever miss

MIDI: Musical Accompaniment


One of the few benefits of our desert exile was Karen's MBA. Karen graduated from Arizona State University's W. P. Carey Executive M. B. A. program.

We took some pictures at Graduation.

Photos: Graduation Tempe, AZ May 2007

Subway 500

Karen has gone completely NASCARazy since Jason Jones introduced her to the sport. We went to our third race this year. Her favorite driver even won the race.

Photo Album: Subway 500 Phoenix (Avondale), AZ April 2007

Man Rules: What Are You Thinking?

1. Don't ask us, "What are you thinking about?"

Unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as:
  • Sex: Frankly, like an animal.
  • Cars: How great mine feels to drive, how they look, how to make them look a little better or how to get 20 more horsepower
  • Benefits and problems of a recent rule change or phenomenal strategy in the sport we follow
  • Strategies for getting to the next level on our current Video Game Obsession
  • How great a steak would taste right now.


1. If you ask a question but you are not sure you want to hear the answer, expect an answer you don't want to hear.


1. If the answer could be interpreted two ways and one of them makes you sad or angry, we meant it the other way.


1. When we ask you, "What's wrong?" If you reply, "Nothing." We will act like nothing is wrong. We can tell you are lying but pursuing the issue is difficult, will not end well and you just gave us social permission to ignore it by stating, "Nothing" is wrong.

At the Trocadero in Philly

Sometimes you like a song because you get the inside jokes. This is that song. I missed Nerf Herder when I was in and around Philadelphia music. Much later when they scored the Buffy title track I found this nugget. It is a little sad because I miss much of this stuff. I am also surprised I didn't "get into" a band with my sense of humor and Star Wars references in the band name.

Music: New Jersey Girl

I have been to the Trocadero
I know who the Bloodhounds are
I know people from Cherry Hill, some are even girls
I know precisely how cool wicked awesome was.
I know Kenneth Keith Kallenbach can blow smoke through his eyes
I had many Yuenglings probably a few at the Troc
I have called some people Fuckwad

Now you get all the inside jokes, too. Here are some more tracks with more references you can track on your own.

Mr. Spock

She's a Sleestak

Mountain Dew Page - RELAUNCH

My long lust for the yellow green elixir of caffeine power is immortalized on the Mountain Dew Page. The page is older than 3 of my website management tools and keeps getting lost in translation. I restored the page and included it in the current management solution. Hopefully I can make it seamless if i ever change again.

To accompany my morning fill up on 32 ozs. of Diet Dew I listen to a little traveling music:
Mountain Dew

Intro to Blue Man Group

I like the Blue Man Group. I like the physical approach to music. I love the multimedia event that is the show. I actually like the music. I am fascinated by the PVC instruments, Drumbone, Chapman Stick and the sheer force of heavy rhythm from the massive and numerous drums.

Seeing them live is overwhelming. Light, color, illusions, messaging, satire and a poncho section is what it takes to entertain me.

Without all the associated light and magic I think something is lost just listening to the music. I still like it, but the "Men" and the critics seem to think the albums need more "approachable" elements.

The raw stuff is best illustrated by:

To make it approachable the producers add a voice to sing the words that the audience normally sings as they recognize the chords of a song like
White Rabbit

Not that all Blue Man acts are without words, but the audience is usually prompted to participate by a monotone, almost synthetic voice:
Time To Start

Did I remember to warn every reader this would be an Odd Trip into Music?


I recently had an opportunity to reclaim my iPod. I bought one for her, but it got stolen in Jamaica. So the last few flights, work outs, bike rides she has taken mine. Not a problem, except "I have terrible taste in music."

That means I have to dump my playlists and drop her all encompassing library of every song she every actually auditions on the iPod. Well, travel and bike rides are becoming sparse so I reclaimed it. I put my collection of short lists on the iPod.

I do have an odd taste in music. Now you all get to share the madness:

Kill The Wabbit

WPLJ put this nugget on the air years ago. I just never could let it go. I chuckle every time.

And just to remind Pete I hate Bruce: I'm On Fire

Blue Man Group

We got out to see the Blue Man Group while we were in Las Vegas. I love the experience and physical sound. Just being in the room with drums that large you can feel the music. The light play and humor also appeal to me.

Here is a track to enjoy.
Track: Rods and Cones

Calla Lillies

This morning, while we prepared for the day, my wife exclaimed, "calla lilies!"

I am not sure why calla lilies were the top solution on her very busy brain, but we needed calla lilies for the basket above the bathroom cabinet. It was not the big business problems that would face her in less than an hour. It was not the papers, case studies and other projects needed to obtain a Master's degree. It was the emptiness in the basket above our heads.

Man Rule:

1. There are two kinds of flowers in the flower shop: roses and bunches.

What the hell is a calla lily?

We discussed the "other" flowers that I might find at flower shop. She mentioned Orchids, which I knew by name and price tag.

"Three! Three magnificent types of flowers! Ha, Ha Ha, Ha!"

Training New Employees Make Me Fat

We filled two of our open requisitions at work. Training the new employees is turning out to be a full time job. It also encourages me to eat bad food.

I need to get a handle on my schedule. I am off. This leads to breakfast at the fast food joints on the way in or a quick snacky breakfast consisting primarily of an over sized sugar and carbohydrate laden muffin.


Civilization III Ate My bLog

I lost it to a video game. I asked for Civilization III for the holidays. It is the perfect blend of Risk and SimCity I was hoping to find. It is a great deal of fun to play. This is the type of game I like.

Trouble is, each turn takes about a minute and there are about 500 turns in a game. The first game I won was 7 hours, 48 minutes and 13 seconds (468.2 minutes) and 511 turns. When you win it tells you how long you spent on the game. Nice feature to remind you how much of your life is consumed by this diversion.

As a result I have not "bLogged" in months.