Monday, December 30, 2013

The George Awards: Getting More Relaxed

This post contains bad, foul, filthy and unacceptable language - the words that “will curve your spine, grow hair on your hands and maybe, even bring us, God help us, peace without honor.”

This is not a post for children.  Kids, take a hike.
This is also not a post for those adults who are offended by this type of language.  Do yourself a favor, and go read some of my cute stuff before moral outrage can kick in.
End of Warning.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

It’s like Pinocchio Meets Reanimator

There is a great advantage to having absolutely terrible taste in film.  Stopping at the five dollar rack in the supermarket can frequently provide hours of bargain priced entertainment.

A recent quick stop at the A&P yielded some essentials:
The set of the first three Puppet Master movies.

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Hobbit: A Destination of Smaug

It’s hard to find anything new to say about the fifth foray into Middle Earth by Peter Jackson and “company. “

Ha ha, get it, Tolkien geeks?

I’ve covered it all before.  Once again we are invited into their version of Tolkien’s world, and it continues to be filled with amazing visuals, compelling characters, and thrilling action.

The Hobbit story remains a less oppressive adventure than the dark times of Lord of the Rings, but includes much more serious elements than the original novel. The film makers have, yet again, made the right choices about what to leave untouched, and what to alter, to both keep the audience’s interest, and have the story line fit within the world established in the previous trilogy.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas Village 2013

“Lovely Weather for a Slay Night Together With You”
“Merry Christmas, mein Joe”- By the Royal Crimson Guardsmen

The annual winter struggles for Tabletop Plateau continue once more this year.

But what’s this?

Something very strange is occurring.

Monday, December 16, 2013

George Awards: The Word You Save for the End of the Argument

This post contains bad, foul, filthy and unacceptable language - the words that “will curve your spine, grow hair on your hands and maybe, even bring us, God help us, peace without honor.”

This is not a post for children.  Kids, take a hike. 
This is also not a post for those adults who are offended by this type of language.  Do yourself a favor, and go read some of my cute stuff before moral outrage can kick in.
End of Warning.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Carnivore's Guide To Cardiology: Wow! My Blood's Famous!

Hey there everyone.  

Back at the end of July I had a second stent put in.

The good news was my arteries looked as good or better than when I needed the first stent, except for the bit of probably pre-existing plaque that ruptured.

I mentioned there was a photo crew from Cardiology Today there, because my cardiologist was awesome and one of the leading radial users in the state.

Guess what?  The article was published.
Concidentally there was a tattoo themed advertisement on the inside cover of the print version for the devices I've worked for 20 years in R&D on.

I'm not sure if they always look for the human interest side, they were entertained by my obsession with getting to Disney World, or they were just happy to find a patient who understood what was being done to him, but they talked to me for quite a while both that day and afterwards through e-mails.

Either way, it means I get to take today off from finding something to write.

I need to publicly thank the crew that was there.  They were, at all times, courteous, professional, and respectful. Their questions and comments actually made me feel more comfortable and at ease on what was a pretty stressful day.

Click here to see the article. 

Click here to see the second page of the article, if you couldn't figure out the "1" and "2" at the page bottom. 

Warning:  There's blood.  
But since it didn't upset me, and it used to be inside me, it shouldn't upset you either.

Also, I'm in better physical shape than I looked in that photo taken staring into the sun during an EPCOT death march, but it was really hard to find a shot from the Disney trip where we weren't standing in front of something copyrighty.

Update:  Hey, the article won an award!

Monday, December 9, 2013

George Awards: It’s a Proud Word

This post contains bad, foul, filthy and unacceptable language - the words that “will curve your spine, grow hair on your hands and maybe, even bring us, God help us, peace without honor.”

This is not a post for children.  Kids, take a hike.
This is also not a post for those adults who are offended by this type of language.  Do yourself a favor, and go read some of my cute stuff before moral outrage can kick in.
End of Warning.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

What Does the Spock Say?

Yeah, this one got stuck in my head too.  Here’s the inexplicably catchy Ylvis smash, "The Fox," mangled into a Star Trek setting.

For those of you who have isolated yourselves from the internet, TV, radio and most other human contact an instrumental version of the music is embedded below to help with the sing along.

Monday, December 2, 2013


This post contains bad, foul, filthy and unacceptable language - the words that “will curve your spine, grow hair on your hands and maybe, even bring us, God help us, peace without honor.”

This is not a post for children.  Kids, take a hike. 
This is also not a post for those adults who are offended by this type of language.  Do yourself a favor, and go read some of my cute stuff before moral outrage can kick in.
End of Warning.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Doctor Who: Revisiting the Revisting

Note: I'm going to contune to use classic Doctor numbering.  click here for an excellent explanation why that is the proper choice.

As we close in on the final month of the momentous Fiftieth Anniversary year of Doctor Who, all of the "Doctors Revisited" specials have aired.  I had already planned to look at their choices compared to mine for each incarnation at this time. However, I got bonus material this past weekend.

The "Day of the Doctor" was all about revisiting.

And, yes, I love the round things too!

Therefore today will not only recap each Doctor's chosen and re-aired adventure, but great moments in revisiting from the Anniversary Special as well.

Before continuing, I'd like to apologize to every Doctor Who fan in the United Kingdom on behalf of my country, the United States. I don't know where they find the people to host BBC America Doctor Who events, but they need to search a little harder and find some who are aware of ANY aspect of the classic series.  One of the only mentions it got (aside from multiple "wouldn't it be cool if"s referencing things the classic series did years ago) was the woman who seemed amazed and full of scoffing that people she knew actually listed Tom Baker or Sylvester McCoy as their favorite Doctor.   Whovians across the pond, sorry for my countrymen's lack of connection to historical significance.

Monday, November 25, 2013

New Who Views: Young Doctors and Love or Romantic Moments

With the passing of the Fiftieth Anniversary, this week’s peek into my rather deranged head had to be about Doctor Who.  However, if I start talking about “The Day of The Doctor”, I will quickly disintegrate into a pile of incoherent squees and cheers, benefiting no one.

There’s something magical about having first heavily gotten into the show around the time of “The Five Doctors” 20th Anniversary special, and being able to share the 50th Anniversary special with my family when the franchise is at least as much fun as it was thirty years ago, and probably healthier.

One totally groovy thought before I continue:  when the time of the 100th Anniversary Doctor Who in home holographic special, complete with smellio and fondlevision, comes around – Matt Smith will be about the same age that Tom Baker is now!

Comparing the anniversaries is a good starting point for today’s post.

Yes, I’m actually starting now, sorry for the loss of nerdly control there.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Jeff's Books to open your mind: Stranger in a Strange Land

Robert Heinlein’s 1961 novel was ground breaking, pioneering in science fiction, and filled with social and psychological concepts about religion, politics and all levels of human interaction.

And I honestly don’t care if anyone reads it or not.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thor: the Dark and Awesome World

First, to get the review out of the way:

It was awesome, go see it!

Yes, I'm over using awesome again.  I know, big shock.
Why was it awesome?

Two reasons, for two sets of viewers
Three if you count my sister as her own group.
(Yes, there is more shirtless Thor.)

No spoilers – I don’t count stuff in the trailers as spoilers.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Disney World 2013 Planning: Phase 5 - All Systems Go

August 20, 2013: T-13
Thor to appear in Disneyland Innoventions, just like the Stark Expo did last year. Seriously, Disney, you’re killing me here.  Work harder on getting Marvel out of Universal in Florida.

The Magic Bands come, but we have more Pass Plus troubles.  After losing the link for a while, having the login not work, and confusing which deals apply how long before the trip we think we missed the window for pre-ordering PhotoPass Plus. We plot out the second day of FastPass Plus, which once again works things around non-existent, and non-constant, meal times.  Tragedy appears to strike as we start on the third day and see “Ariel’s Grotto” listed as closed for refurbishment the whole time we’re there.  This corresponds with nothing listed anywhere else. We barely notice Space Mountain is closed for much of our visit while trying to console our daughter, who missed her favorite princess in Mermaid form last trip as well.  Rosa makes the second call to Happy Disney People caused by FastPass Plus and learns the Grotto isn’t on any refurbishing list, what we’re seeing is likely an error. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

I'm Always the Last to Know

At a random meeting one day, the Director of Quality Assurance said my name came up in a recent meeting in one of the other divisions.  They were trying to devise a test fixture similar to the ones we used, and he had given the engineer tasked with the action item my contact information.

I took in the data, said no problem, and went back to what I thought was my usual work life.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Disney World 2013 Planning: Phase 4 - Deeper Details

July 26, 2013: T-38
Received an e-mail from the Happy Disney People reminding us to plan all the stuff we’ve already planned.  It’s still nice to hear from them!

Found Anabelle’s list of pressed Disney pennies. This will come in very handy in case we can’t remember which ones she has. The list will be placed in the little bag of shiny pennies and quarters, which we inevitably forget any time we go someplace with penny pressing machines.  I should probably save it on my phone too.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Is a Good Scare Bad? Or is a Bad Scare Good?

I've been a horror fan since shortly after, or possibly before, birth.

However, I don't find a lot of modern horror to my taste.

I'm not into the shock for the sake of shock done by cruel humans with no supernatural influence type horror.

I view the Hostel or Saw series, Honey Boo Boo having her own show, and movies about people who spend the whole film overcoming impossible odds for a forbidden romance, until one dies in a non sequitur at the end exactly the same way.

It’s a disturbing idea.
It’s kinda stupid.
And I don't have the time or inclination to bother with it.

I prefer my horror with fantastical elements, and  tinged with fun, where you don't know whether to laugh or scream:

Monday, October 28, 2013

Disney World 2013 Planning: Phase 3 -Challenges Appear

June 26, 2013: T-68
Ohhhh, that’s why Aurora’s cottage isn’t there.  The Seven Dwarves’ Mine Train is taking the place of several individual princess interactive meets, they get a new Fairy Tale Hall together.  I guess the Tangled Play and Greet wasn’t as successful as Belle after all. Nyah Nyah!
(OK, maybe I’m still bitter.)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Alice Cooper: Raise the Dead - Live in Morristown, NJ on Oct 19, 2013

Adding to the list of things Weird Al Yankovic and Alice Cooper have in common, is they were my daughter’s first two major concerts.  There is something amazingly magical about getting to share seeing an act with my child that I have been a fan of since I was her age.  The Weird Al show we saw two years ago was amazingly fun, but lacked some important elements to make it a real rock concert.

It was much more of a light hearted atmosphere.
It was a much more sedate crowd.
The volume of the music wasn’t such that the base line could rattle fillings.

Therefore Alice Cooper’s “Raise the Dead” tour got the distinction of her first true Rock Concert.  I’d call it a heavy metal concert, but Alice predates Heavy Metal by well over a decade, because he’s that awesome.

A warning:  I’m going to overuse the word “awesome” even more than I usually do.  Considering he performed an awesome rock stage show before I was born, and continues to be awesome today, this over use is completely justified.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Disney World 2013 Planning: Phase 2 - Secret Gridding

Click Here for Previous Planning

May 24, 2013: T-101
The new Meal Matrix of Doom, now simply titled “The Grid” has been begun!  The call is acknowledged instead of only dreamt about.  Turns out the cool sounding MGM parade that started after we went last time, ended last month…before we go this time. Well, poop.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Star Tours: The Adventure Continues!

I would definitely review any new Star Wars film upon its release, and I suppose the upgrade of the Disney Theme Park attraction also counts.  The purpose of separating this out is to cater to those who desire to learn of the ride’s changes, without having to wallow through the long, detailed, and stupid joke filled travelogue of the entire trip. (Disney 2013 Trip Index)

Starting at the beginning-

Monday, October 14, 2013

Disney World 2013 Planning: Phase 1 -The Birth of the Call

Since My Disney Experience allows favorite character selection as icons, and my wife graciously and correctly linked me with Buzz Lightyear (She’s Cinderella and Anabelle’s Ariel for those playing at home) the lead up to this trip is in the form of a countdown to blast off.

November 10, 2010: T-1055
Y’know Anabelle, by your tenth birthday, the Fantasyland Expansion will be completed…

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Double Decade Demolition Date - Part 2

Click here for Part 1
of the celebration of the 20th Anniversary of Demolition Man

6) "I want to run through the streets naked with green Jell-O all over my body reading Playboy magazine. Why? Because I suddenly might feel the need to, okay, pal?" 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Double Decade Demolition Date - Part 1

Twenty years ago tomorrow, an important film premiered.

That film was Demolition Man.   
Masked behind violent Nineties explosions and cheap jokes, It provided introductions, information and insights into society. 

Here are the top ten reasons it remains fun, interesting and important today.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Overly Long, but Amusing Joke

Three guys, a female jockey and a monkey walk into a bar.

The monkey orders a Mai-Tai.

The bartender says:

Read more »

Monday, September 30, 2013

Well, it is Hollow and it Makes me Sleepy…

I thought I had the material for the perfect October Halloweeny post, but I didn’t make it that far.

This is my favorite and oldest t-shirt.

I believe I have had it since junior high, have worn to the Magic Kingdom on every Disney World trip, and subsequently been asked by at least one cast member every time, “Where did you get that? Tell me we have it here!”

You could say I’m a fan of Washington Irving’s tale.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Jeff's Books to Open Your Mind: We Are In a Book

I have talked about Children’s books that serve as great introductions to ignoring the fourth wall before.

However, this Mo Willems entry leaves Grover and company leaning on that wall in an uninteresting fashion while it comes barreling in and smashes through the fourth wall at Mach Seven before slapping the reader in the face.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Parenting Defined

In the back of a church that had no crying room, the zone defense a bunch of us Dads were employing to corral our children completely collapsed. We switched back to man to man coverage, and I had an epiphany while following my daughter, who had just learned to walk.

She toddled aimlessly along, drunken baboon like, appearing for all the world that she was about to pitch onto her face at any moment. For a large majority of the time, she managed to right herself at the last minute and charge ahead.

I walked cautiously behind her trying to maintain the proper balance between:

A) Being far enough back that I wouldn’t interfere with her progress and learning.


B) Being close enough that I could catch her if she fell.

As I tried to locate the impossible perfect point between the two I realized,
“I’m going to experience this sensation about her for the rest of my life.”

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Public Written Apology to Norm Breyfogle

Although I was originally a Marvel collector, it wasn’t long before I added Batman titles to my pull list.

This is because of one fundamental truth of comic books:

There is no better comic than a good Batman story.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Denver 2012: Days at a Distance

July 18th-31st 2012

I got picked up at the airport in the middle of the night (Thanx, mom!) and staggered out into near triple digit heat and humidity that would have slain those two women from the Garden of the Gods where they stood. The house was far worse. After spending half of a brutal July with no air conditioning on at all, the atmosphere inside was nearly solid. What little time there was for sleep before work the next day was fitful, nearly lung collapsing, and quite painful…

As I fell completely out of bed trying to find a comfortable position.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Live Blogging From Walt Disney World! 2013 Edition

Day One: 
Disney World Arrival

This place is so amazingly awesome and so amazingly cool, and is truly the most wonderful place on Earth...

Monday, September 9, 2013

Denver 2012: Day 15

July 17th 2012

The final day of the longest continuous vacation I had taken in my adult life began with a cryptic message taped to our bedroom door. It probably would have been much less cryptic if I had been working harder on remembering Spanish. I got the general gist of it, but had to wait for Rosa for confirmation. There was much pathetic snuggling for most of the morning, alternating with my wife and daughter, until the volume of what was left to do forced us to awaken.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Jeff's Tattoo Rules: #6-#10

Returning to the topics of pain, and learning from my errors:

I thought it would be “cute” to wait a week after the tiger until Thanksgiving for the big reveal and show everyone at once.  I kept my shirt sleeves rolled down whenever people were around. (This, in all honestly should have tipped off anyone who knows me that something was going on.)

I made the mistake of plopping down next to my Mother during a Duke Basketball game the night the secret art was applied. Sitting in this location is a mistake in general, remembering that she carries those “tough old broad from the Bronx” genes.  However, for me, it was excruciating.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Denver 2012: Day 14

July 16th 2012

The plan was to get up early and leave quickly, take the shorter drive to the northern end of the Garden of the Gods Park and enjoy a full day of hiking and sightseeing there. As we left the house at 10:10 AM we vowed to, once and for all, stop making plans that depended on the phrase “get up early and leave quickly.”

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Jeff's Tattoo Rules: #1-#5

Earlier this month was the eighteenth birthday of my first tattoo.

I don’t think it can vote now, but I’ll use this opportunity to create some legislation. 

I didn’t call it my “First Tattoo” at the time.

I called it “my tattoo,” as in, “my only tattoo.”  However, in the case of anyone who had the slightest clue about skin art:

Friends and family who had tattoos,
The artist,
Randomly inked passersby,

They all called it my “First Tattoo.” 

And they were right.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Denver 2012: Day 13

July 15th 2012

Rising on all of our parts was once more slow and reluctant following the unplanned excesses of the previous day. Rosa and her sister were going to climb the 573 steps of the Mother Cabrini shrine and tomb, and then share an early and/or late birthday lunch together at El Rancho.

This left us to have an Anabelle and Daddy day shortly before my leaving. Our first stop was the swimming pool. Since the chlorinated water gave her ear issues the previous year, she was using ear plugs. The issue they caused this year was completely destroying her ability to hear the two kids she met and was playing with. In fact she didn’t even know she was playing Superheroes with them until I told her a couple of days later. We returned and dried off just as the ladies were leaving on their adventure. We’d get the occasional out of breath text message or photo (of steps, candles, cows, whatever) to show their progress.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Why Business Trips Don’t Produce Graceful Travelogues

Day Minus 1
10:30 AM: Wife’s cell phone missing; she borrows my regular one to go to bridal shower.

10:45 AM:  Wife calls home using mother’s cell phone to inform my previously partially damaged phone now inert.

11:00 AM:  Crazy digging up of all contacts that were on my regular phone from old e-mails to add them to work smart phone. Message everyone I’m meeting the next day with smartphone number.

11:30AM -2:30 PM: No clues found on long search of house and car as to wife’s phone.  Panic set in about leaving wife phoneless the following day.  Foolishly refusing daughter’s help to check car a third time would haunt me later.

3:00 PM:  Verizon store suggested best course of action was phone insurance for mail order replacement. Luckily wife’s phone in door pocket of car I didn't know  I had…but daughter did.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Denver 2012: Day 12

July 14th 2012

Following the previous day’s extended wanderings, any and all alarms in the same county as we were got completely ignored. By the time we rejoined the land of the living, Titi LuzMa had already gone out biking. We knew the day’s plan involved a casino buffet, and Waterton Canyon, which the zoo sign indicated had bighorn sheep, but the details would remain fuzzy until we had breakfast and our host returned. Rosa spent some of the intervening time fixing Titi LuzMa’s computer, which I swear I didn’t touch.

Again, after the trail wanderings of the day before, I expected this day to be much more relaxing. A nice buffet lunch before stopping to see the sheep in the Canyon, much like the way we saw the Roadside Ninja Stealth Bison a few days before. The fact that our restful day contained both an accidental six mile hike and extended urban wanderings should surprise no one by this juncture.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Marx Brothers Through a Kid's Eyes: The Paramount Years

As luck would have it, or more accurately as an awesome family would have it, I received the set of the five Paramount Marx Brothers films on DVD for Father’s Day.

My daughter was very excited to see these, as she really liked Zeppo’s name, and he’s not in the later films.  She ended up; once again, reaching the same conclusion I did when I first watched these films: Zeppo makes them better.  He’s basically playing the same role as Alan Jones and others did in the later films, but there’s something about the stage (and family) history he has with the other three that make the chemistry and timing better when he’s around.

Upon watching The Coconuts I was very glad we were forced to start with the MGM entries.  I doubt I would have gotten my daughter to watch a second film after this one.  It is VERY clearly a 1920’s stage play reworked for filming.  The three musical numbers, without any of the Marxes, that open the picture are fairly uncinematic and didn’t hold her attention at all.  The lower quality sound and image, coupled with the slow pacing meant that by the time some classic comedy bits turned up, she was focused on other things and didn’t care, “Why a duck?”    

Monday, August 12, 2013

Denver 2012: Day 11

July 13th 2012

We arose early (for us) in order to get on the road for a completely new journey. We did take the time for an Anniversary call to my Aunt and Uncle. Since she actually keeps her phone both on and with her, it went better than the birthday call.

In order to get to Colorado Springs as soon as possible, we planned to look for a place to grab a quick breakfast after the short trip east on 470 got us to Interstate 25 South. We knew there’d be no trouble finding something for two reasons:

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Marx Brothers Through a Kid's Eyes: The MGM Years

I was introduced to Abbot and Costello first.

The Three Stooges have a much larger body of work, and were more easily accessible on television.

Laurel and Hardy have more critical acclaim.

But my favorite vaudeville team has always been the Marx Brothers.

Their unparalleled anarchic comedy wreaks havoc on both locations and conversations.

Something else I have the Lone Ranger to thank for is making my daughter willing to view these masters of the absurd.  (Watching the classic western series finally convinced her that, sometimes, black and white is worth it.)

We stumbled upon the best order to watch the films by happy happenstance.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Denver 2012: Day 10

July 12th 2012

We slept late on purpose for a change, had a calm breakfast and went to the pool through the now miraculously working garage door. Once we’d been satisfactorily chlorinated, we dried off and ventured out on the day’s adventure.

The Downtown Aquarium was our goal and we reached it in time for lunch. I will admit that I compare every vacation (and in extreme cases every waking moment) to Disney World, but this time wasn’t my fault.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A Carnivore's Guide To Cardiology: The Just In Case Coronary Clearing Conga

Short Version:
I needed another stent due to some shifting of previously existing vessel plaque, but my cardiac health overall is excellent, and my cardiologist continues to be awesome.

Long Version:

Monday, July 29, 2013

Denver 2012: Day 9

July 11th 2012

Not having had nearly enough Dinosaurs on this trip, this day was focused on the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. We actually did get up early, but were very slow in leaving, both from preparing for our “early night” taco dinner, and being worn out from walking a million Mesozoic miles the day before.

We were very brave venturing forth, using two GPS’s and no notes or printed directions. Therefore, I ignored both of them as much as possible and followed signs to get to the parking lot.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Big Brother Story

Hey folks.
I’m handing the reins off to “Cousin Michael from Florida” today. Below you’ll find an awesome and heartfelt tribute to his big brother.

Just goes to show:

A) The writing bug runs rampant through my family.

B) Placing those descended from Italians in the Bronx into wilderness settings leads to entertaining chaos both North and South of the Mason Dixon Line.

C) We take our family bonds seriously.

Take it away, Mike-

There is no other bond like the relationship between siblings. For many of us its simply the comfort of knowing you can depend on somebody for things in times of need. I don't mean material things. I mean the things that can't be measured. The intangibles. Things like advice, consolation, sharing and most of all laughter and love.

Recently I lost my only sibling. My brother died in his sleep. He was older than me. It's been very hard to get over. Part of the reason may be because I've only known life with him. Now I have to learn what life is like for the first time without him. So far the only thing I've learned is that I don't think I'll ever get over his passing. I just have to learn to live without him.

My family has been extremely supportive. One of my cousins told me he thought it might do me some good to recall some of the memories of times I've spent with my brother. Putting them on paper might act as a sort of therapy. I agreed and I'm glad I did. It was fun reliving the old fun times we had. I would challenge anybody that has a sibling to do the same thing. Do it now and don't wait until they're no longer with us. Chances are they need a laugh too.

The following story is a recall of just one of the many great times we spent together. I hope you enjoy it.