Sunday, November 30, 2008

Turkey Day Trip, Longer Version

Tonight's the night. I have somehow managed to survive another year of NaBloPoMo. Admittedly, it seemed a lot easier last year.

Anyhow, I said I would go into a little more detail about the recent trip to New York for the Thanksgiving holiday, so here goes.

We all got up around 4:00 AM Wednesday morning (how we pulled that off with 2 teenagers and a pre-teen, I'll never know!) and got on the road by around 5:30. We usually have to stop every couple of hours for the requisite "potty break", but even with that we arrived at our destination of Fowler, New York at around 12:30 that afternoon. For those of you who haven't the foggiest idea where Fowler is (which would be the vast majority of you), it is a tiny "don't blink or you'll miss it" town about 7 miles south of Gouverneur. As to where Gouverneur is - it is about halfway between Watertown and Potsdam, in the St. Lawrence River area (go up to the Canadian border, and hang a left).

We stayed at the home of Patti's brother, Jeff, and his wife Debbie, and their two kids, Tom and Katie. All five kids (I don't care how old the teens are, they are still 'kids') had fun there, and the adults enjoyed sitting around talking, having our drinks (Smirnoff Ice, thank you), and watching a little television (nice change of pace for us, since we haven't had cable since February!).

In the two-and-a-half years since we were up there last, Jeff and Debbie had gotten a dog named Dixie. She's a brown mix-breed that kinda looks like a cross between a golden retriever and a collie. Cute as could be and very smart. Patti's other brother, Jamie, and his wife Laurie, live next door and also acquired a dog - this one a Siberian husky named Maya. Also very adorable (but I might be a bit biased since I had a couple of of huskies growing up and just love 'em to pieces). Was fun watching the two of them playing outside.

Thanksgiving consisted of watching the Macy's parade, and munching down cheese, crackers, pepperoni, and Croghan bologna (that will need to be explained another time), plus more Smirnoff Ice (I'm seeing a pattern emerging here!). Debbie's folks came over, plus another one of Patti's brothers, Larry (a non-practicing priest who teaches at one of the area schools). We all chowed down on turkey, ham, and all the assorted goodies that go with them. And pie. Later we paid a visit to some more relatives in the area - Patti's aunt and uncle, and the cousins from that side of the family. Plus more animals: a half-witted beagle, a cat, and two rabbits. And more pie.
We get back to Jeff and Debbie's after that and caught the tail end of a Jeff Dunham show on Comedy Central, which was freakin' hilarious (this guy's a riot!)

Friday brought more hanging out, plus a visit from Patti's former babysitter (I'm not going into how long ago that might have been).

We left on Saturday morning (almost not, because the Blazer decided not to start at one point; turned out there was a short somewhere. After a jump start, things started working again - mental note to get the short checked out). We made it back to Fitchburg at 4:30 in the afternoon.

All in all, a good trip.

All in all, a good month of blogging. Then again, any month that I actually get some blogging done is a good month.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Turkey Day Trip, Short Version

Well, we're back home from our holiday trip to upstate New York! Of course, there is plenty to blog about - the food, the dogs (both of Patti's brothers have acquired dogs since we were up there last), so on and so forth. Short version - we had a good, relaxing time.

Long version? Well, that will have to wait until tomorrow because I've been starting at the blank text box in Blogger for the past 20-25 minutes, eyes and mind glazing over as I succumb to exhaustion.

I will try to wrap up NaBloPoMo tomorrow with a recap of the holiday goings-on.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Florida Court Set Atheist Holy Day

This was too good not to share!

In Florida, an atheist created a case against the upcoming Easter and Passover holy days. He hired an attorney to bring a discrimination case against Christians, Jews & observances of their holy days. The argument was: it is unfair that atheists had no such recognized day(s).

The case was brought before a judge. After listening to the passionate presentation by the lawyer, the judge banged his gavel declaring, "Case dismissed."

The lawyer immediately stood objecting to the ruling saying, "Your honor, how can you possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter & others. The Jews have Passover, Yom Kippur & Hanukkah. Yet my client & all other atheists have no such holidays."

The judge leaned forward in his chair saying, "But you do. Your client, counsel, is woefully ignorant."

The lawyer said, "Your Honor, we are unaware of any special observance or holiday for atheists."

The judge said, "The calendar says April 1st is 'April Fools Day.' Psalm 14:1 states 'The fool says in his heart, there is no God.' Thus, it is the opinion of this court, that if your client says there is no God, then he is a fool. Therefore, April 1st is his day. Court is adjourned."

Thursday, November 27, 2008


A good day was had by all. Full of turkey, ham, and all manner of good stuff. Now we're all chillin' out in front of the tube watching Jeff Dunham.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Kicking Back

Made it to New York, and just in time too! Just as soon as we got up here, the snow started coming down - hard! Time to kick back and have a drink.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Out of Town

The whole crew will be leaving (early!) tomorrow morning to head up to New York (waaay upstate) to visit Patti's family for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Despite the lack of access to the "interwebs" while up in the boondocks, I will try to keep up on my blogging while out of state - either by emailing pics to Blogger from my cellphone (as signal level permits), or by scheduling stuff to be posted (already have something set to go for Friday).

I should be back home on Saturday, and will return to the regularly-scheduled writer's block at that time.

Monday, November 24, 2008


08.11.24 - Year 2, Day 28, originally uploaded by CraftyGuy.

This is me, 28 days into the 365days project, and 24 days into NaBloPoMo. Staring blankly at the computer screen as usual.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

On the Fence

Fencetop, originally uploaded by CraftyGuy.

Okay, maybe I'm not on the fence, which implies not wanting or somehow unable to decide something, or attempting to remain neutral about something.

I have lots of things to blog about, but I am finding that when I am able to sit down to think about blogging about something, it's later in the evening when it's quiet and free of distractions - unfortunately, that's also the time when I have little energy to devote to actually putting words to page (or screen). By this time of day, I'm more inclined to fall asleep at the keyboard, rather than typing at it.

Yeah I know it's the same complaint I've expressed fairly recently, but as you see, I'm still complaining about it.

I guess if there was anything I would be on the fence about regarding this, it would be on the question of whether I should be so frustrated over this. I know I shouldn't let this bother me, but it does.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Dance Photo

Dance 2, originally uploaded by CraftyGuy.

This is one of my current favorite art photos, and I think it is one of the photos I will be putting up in my office.

Friday, November 21, 2008


08.11.21 - Year 2 Day 25, originally uploaded by CraftyGuy.

Here I am, 3 weeks into this year's NaBloPoMo, and 25 days into my second attempt at a second year of 365 daily self-pics. Haven't missed a day yet this time around.

But this has been yet another one of 'those' weeks - although the big difference is that this week I've felt like I've actually gotten things done!

And with that, I'm calling it a night.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's All Greek to Me!

I posted this pic mainly as an experiment, to see how well posting to Blogger via email works. I sent this from my cameraphone; it seems to have worked well enough, though the photos don't show up as large here as they would if I had just sent it to Flickr first, and then blogged it from there, like I usually do. Ah well - at least this gives me another way to post.

The photo is of a sign that I saw walking in downtown Maynard, on my way to work some time ago. This is at the site of what had been the Boston Bean House, a nice little coffee shop. That place had moved down the street, and another - La Matina Cafe - is coming here in its place. On the sign is included greetings in various languages. Including what I thought was Greek. Upon closer examination however, I discovered that it was not Greek for "Good Morning" or anything like that. Oh sure, the letters are definitely those from the Greek alphabet (which I can still remember from my years in Alpha Phi Omega) - but the letters are just being used phonetically; they simply spell out "Opening Soon". Clever, but I was admittedly a little disappointed. But still, if their coffee is at least as good as that at the Boston Bean House, all will be forgiven.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Busy Busy

The New Digs, originally uploaded by CraftyGuy.

As usual, work's been keeping me really busy lately.

So busy, in fact, that I've had to relinquish some vacation days I had planned between now and the end of the year, in order to be sure that I can get my testing done prior to whenever we end up shipping our next release (even though the release day keeps getting further and further out). I've already logged those upcoming vacation days with Payroll, but that just means that I can take some 'comp time' later.

The release will be over soon enough though, and then onto the next project.

By the way - the photo is of my new office space. What you can't see in the photo is how bare the walls are (other than a calendar, a framed beach scene, and some photos of the kids, that is). I used to have a bunch of assorted posters on the walls in my old office, but I've had those things for a long time (going on 20 years), so it's time for a change. I'm thinking of getting some of my better photography (what of it there is) matted and framed, and hanging some of them up at work.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Another Quote

I know - this is two in a row. No more quotes after tonight (for a little while), I promise.

No people will tamely surrender their Liberties, nor can any be easily subdued, when knowledge is diffused and Virtue is preserved. On the Contrary, when People are universally ignorant, and debauched in their Manners, they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders.
  • Samuel Adams (letter to James Warren, 4 November 1775)

Monday, November 17, 2008


For good or ill, this quote is very apt for our current point in history...
"It should be the highest ambition of every American to extend his views beyond himself, and to bear in mind that his conduct will not only affect himself, his country, and his immediate posterity; but that its influence may be co-extensive with the world, and stamp political happiness or misery on ages yet unborn."
  • George Washington, letter to the Legislature of Pennsylvania, September 5, 1789

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Tomorrow's Monday, the weekend's nearly over, and I currently don't have any neurons to spare to get a proper blog entry done tonight.

Just thought I'd share that.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

7 Things for NaBloPoMo Hump Day

Here it is, day 15 of NaBloPoMo - halfway done with the month already! It's Hump Day, baby!

I've seen on any number of blog sites at one time or another a list of 7 things the reader may not know about the writer. Somehow, I've managed to get by without having done this as well.

Tonight however, I thought I'd break from trend and share with you my "7 things" list.

7 Things You May Not Have Known About CraftyGuy (Or Maybe You Did Know, Or Maybe You Didn't Really Want to Know, But Tough Crap - Here They Are Anyway)
  1. I don't do mornings. Morning is just that nasty thing you have to endure in order to get to the afternoon.
  2. Coffee and I are good friends; we go waaay back (to when I was 6 or 7 years-old or thereabouts). Coffee is what keeps me from making Damien (of the "Omen" movies) look like Papa Smurf [See item #1]. Coffee is the difference between teddy bear and grizzly bear.
  3. I am a former band geek. Concert band, jazz ensemble, marching band, field band - you name it. From 4th grade through high school. During that time, I've played clarinet, tenor sax, glockenspiel, and dabbled a little with trumpet and french horn. Plus on the side, I've tooled around with guitar and piano a wee bit.
  4. I have 5 brothers, the youngest of which is 15 years older than me. As such, the oldest of my nieces and nephews (12 of 'em!) is only 3 years younger than me. And now I have more grandnieces and grandnephews than I have been able to keep track of, and a couple of great-grandnieces as well! [For the record, I'm 41].
  5. According to Myers-Briggs, I am an INTP.
  6. I have a hatred of writing (just ask my high school English teacher) - I get writer's block at the drop of a hat. But somehow despite that, I rather much enjoy blogging.
  7. I speak my mind, and do not give a flaming rat's behind about political correctness. I won't go out of my way just to offend someone, but I sure as heck won't walk on eggshells just to avoid upsetting a person's delicate sensitivities, either. If you are of the easily-offended persuasion, I would suggest that you go to Wal-Mart and purchase a thicker skin. I'll gladly tell you what I think, but don't expect me to blow sunshine up your ass in the process. ;-)

There ya go. I have more I could probably list, but I will save those to inflict upon you for another time.

Friday, November 14, 2008


The office move is done, and I'm all unpacked. Things are looking really nice, if I do say so myself!

But this has been a long, exhausting week - and I'm dog tired.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Packing, Packing

I spent the better part of today packing up the stuff in my office to get moved. Do you know how much junk accumulates in 10+ years?

Too much.

Way too much.

The dumpster was very well fed today.

At least I'll have a clean slate tomorrow in my new office. That is, of course, after I unpack everything that I just packed.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Coming Soon - A New Office

Not much to report on the work front today, other than I will be moving into a new office on Friday. Not far away from where I am right now, just around the corner in the same building.

I've been wanting to have my office moved for quite a while now. From the time Stratus had moved from Marlborough to Maynard, I have had the same office, right on the main aisle. Talk about a continual parade of distractions - everyone seems to think that the aisle is the perfect place to hold meetings - especially right outside my door! Grrrr.

But oh, happy day - I'm being moved from there to what should hopefully be a much quiet area.

In other news - I *finally* posted another pic to my art photography blog page; the last time I posted there was in June (naughty, naughty). I really need to keep up on that better, before people forget it's there...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I miss TV. There - I said it.

We haven't had television since February. In short, we need to trim expenses, and the cable bill was fair game. Now here it is, nine months later. Things are finally starting to show signs of improvement, but there's still a ways to go before Comcast gets a call.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Today I thought I'd share with you how this particular Monday went.

The alarm clock went off at 5:30 this morning and I woke up with one of those Migraines-from-Hell that I get from time to time. What make this one odd is that I usually only get them in the afternoon or in the evening, and usually when the air pressure is low - neither was the case this time. So today turned into a sick day, and I went back to sleep.

At around 9:45 I finally got out of bed and realized I'd better email in to my manager to let him know I wouldn't be in. Not a problem.

By 11:00 I had a couple of cups of coffee in me and the headache was finally subsided enough that I could at least sort of function. Spent a couple of hours working on a project for Bethanie that I promised I would have finished for her. She is in the chorus at her school this year, and to help her be able to practice her part, I put her sheet music into Allegro (a program that lets you enter music - an entire score if you want - and can create a MIDI file of the piece. I was glad the headache was on its way out by then. Funny how you end up doing stuff even on sick days.

At some point in the afternoon, I made the big mistake of checking my work email. One of the software development managers (not mine) sent me an email with only the subject line "Are you in today?" No message body, just the subject line. (Hello - you walk by my office on the way to yours, and if you see that the lights are out and no one is in there, it's a pretty safe bet that I'm not in). She drives me freaking nuts anyway; she's the type of manager who would schedule a series of daily meetings to discuss the particulars of why things aren't getting done (maybe it's because we're all wasting time attending your stupid meetings!) I'm glad she's not my manager - I would have quit a lonnng time ago. As it is, the only reason I'm still there is because I have bills to pay. I hate my job, and I'm not even there today.

Things picked up after that. MJ had a "date" of sorts. He would be taking his friend (not girlfriend, just a good friend who just happens to be of the female persuasion) to his JR-ROTC dinner dance (he is in the Marine Junior ROTC program at his school). It was kinda neat seeing him all dressed up with his "date" for the evening. A very cute couple indeed (even if they aren't actually dating). I felt both proud and old. They had an enjoyable evening.

11:00pm rolls around and I'm in bed realizing that I had not taken my 365days self-pic nor did my blog entry for today - oh, crap! So I quickly snap a photo with my cameraphone and upload it to Flickr, and sit down and quickly brain dump a blog entry about the first thing that came to mind - how this day went. And now here we are.

Let's see what Tuesday brings...

Sunday, November 09, 2008


This is frustrating. I have lots of things to blog about, but usually not much energy late in the evening (and often well past my bedtime) to actually type anything. The problem with blogging earlier in the day is that I'm very prone to distractions (oooh, shiny!) so it's difficult to blog with the kids up and about.

So tonight's blog is about not blogging. Grrrr.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

There's Always Room For Cello!

Generally speaking, I'm not a big fan of the group Apocalyptica. However, if you can rock out on the cello, you get my respect! This instrumental version of "Path" is (as they say here in New England) "wicked pissah". And a really cool video to boot!

Friday, November 07, 2008

FUTAB Friday

It's been a lonnnng week, but I've managed to keep with with my daily blogging for NaBloPoMo for a full seven days so far this month.

When I'm less tired (make that exhausted!), like tomorrow hopefully, I will fill you in on the goings on this week. Some crappy, some awesome. But for now, I'm FUTAB (Feet Up, Taking A Break).

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Rain, Rain, You're a Pain

Rainy days - I dislike them. Not just because they're cold and wet and dreary. But mostly because the low air pressure that comes with rainy weather always gives me headaches.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Life Goes On

As I suspected, the election had not gone as I had hoped. And of course the world did not suddenly go careening out of its orbit as a result of this election. The sun still rises and sets. Life goes on.

How do I feel about what might or might not happen over the next 4 or - Heaven forbid! - 8 years? It is far too soon to say. I don't agree with many of our President-Elect's ideas, but I will choose to (at least try to) be circumspect on all of this for now.

Life goes on.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day

I did my civic duty and voted.

I'm not terribly optimistic as to the outcome of this (from the presidential election standpoint), but I'm hopeful that we'll be rid of the state income tax.

Regardless of the outcome, the upside of this is the record number of people coming out to vote this year!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Before You Vote

Please check out this MUST SEE video before you vote.

The Day After

The Day After, originally uploaded by CraftyGuy.

As I've mentioned previously, I don't do Halloween; I have just never really been into it all that much. However, the first workday after Halloween - now that's an entirely different matter!

Co-workers come in that day bearing sacks containing all manner of sugar laden goodness that they were unable to foist upon their evening visitors dressed as ghouls, goblins, Hannah Montanas, and other horrifying creatures.

Let the candy coma commence!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Crafting For a Cause

Every year (well at least for the past couple of years), I have participated in a project called "Warm Up America". What this entails is making a whole bunch of 7x9" crocheted or knitted "squares" which will be made into afghans that are donated to various places (such as women's shelters, nursing homes, preschools, etc.). Not only do you get to use up scrap yarn (which tends to accumulate very quickly), but it helps out those in need. Plus this year, I have the assistance of Patti and Bethanie, both of whom I've taught to crochet over the past few weeks, so now we're really cranking out the squares!

(In other news - at 9:41pm this evening, my photostream on Flickr reached 20,000 views! This of course has absolutely nothing to do with anything, but I though I'd throw that in there.)

Saturday, November 01, 2008

And We're Off (?)

Off and running. Well, sort of...

Today is November 1, the start of National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) - the object of which is to blog every day for an entire month. So here I am at the computer attempting to come up with something to blog about.

Oh sure, there are actually lots of things about which to write: I can play catch-up from the month or so that I was away from blogging because I was too dang busy; I can fill you in on the state of affairs with Montachusett Harmonizers (we're up to a quartet now); I can put in my $0.02 regarding the Presidential race this year (I have a pretty good idea as to the outcome, and I'm none too happy about it!); or I can show you my latest crochet project. The list goes on and on.

Truth be told, however - I'm just too tired tonight. I'm glad for the extra hour of sleep that I'll get because the clocks got turned back - it will be an hour well-spent (Zzzzzz).

I joked in my very first blog entry that this would be a blog about nothing. Well, tonight's the night that I make good on that.

So much to blog about, so little energy.

Stay tuned...