Monday, November 30, 2009

The Thrones


"The greatest monarch on the proudest throne is obliged to sit upon his own arse."

-Benjamin Franklin

but I bet they never sat on anything like these. I saw them in a display window on Queens Boulevard and had to take a picture. If the store was open I would have went inside and tried one on for size.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Few Shots











Here are a few quick snaps of the new place. Believe it or not, all the dishes you see are actually clean, we just don't have a drying rack yet.






















Sunday, November 22, 2009

On The Move

Well, we’re in. Mostly, anyway. Our kitchen is still in Forest Hills along with a lot of clothes and other small stuff, but we’ve been sleeping here since Thursday.

The painting project turned out to be a hell of a lot bigger than we originally thought. When we first talked about the project Debbie and I thought we would just paint the girl’s room and the living room. After we did our second walk-through it became obvious that we couldn’t paint the living room without doing the dining room and the hall, they all flowed together. Then we decided to add the art room. To make matters worse, I had to sand and prime and all the walls; there was a little too much graffiti from the previous residents to just paint over.

Luckily, the ceilings were in good shape. We ended up only having to do the living room and the art room; we never would have gotten it done in time if we had had to paint all the ceilings. We also decided to defer the trim and the interior doors. There was just no way to get all that done in time and there are phone lines and coaxial cable over about 90% of the trim- I’m not sure I can do anything like a decent job with the cables in place. I still have to do the radiators and some of the window frames, but that can all wait until we’re settled.

A few observations: Spending the extra money for Aura, was worth it. Now, the true test of paint is how well it stands up over the years, but it was easy to apply, went on thick and dried very evenly. I had to do some small touch ups and it covered up everything seamlessly. I did a lot of research using painttalk.com a message board for painting contractors. The videos I found on youtube were even more useful. I was able to cut in a lot of the walls without taping. This saved a lot of time, plus tape can sometimes pull off the paint.

I bought a bunch of supplies from thepaintstore.com, and I highly recommend the Corona Shelby Champagne Nylon brushes I bought- 2 ½ inches and tapered, very easy to work with, I could cut a very fine paint line with no effort at all.

Most important of all was the help I got from two great friends, Gary and Helen, I never could have gotten it done without you!!

Will post some pictures as soon as I can find the camera connection.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Home Improvement

Well, we did it. Yesterday we closed. We are now property owners (well holders of co-op shares) which is almost, but not quite, the same thing. One nice bonus- since a co-op mortgage isn’t actually a “mortgage”, we don’t have to pay the NY City mortgage recording tax. Score. We don’t get the keys until tomorrow after 5:00, but still it’s all ours.

Now comes the fun part, we have to paint, pack and move, all in short order. Debbie and the girls have narrowed down the color choices and we went to J&B Paint and Wallpaper on Metropolitan for some samples. You can actually get small containers of paint rather than just those cards with the colors. Now all we have to do is figure out a way to get it onto the walls during daylight so Debbie can make the final call. I'm glad to find a place like this. Home Depot and Lowe's have their strengths (they're cheap), but I wouldn't take advice from them on anything important. And I'm going to need all the help I can get.




My first order of business is to take measurements- I borrowed a cool laser measuring device. That way I can calculate how much primer and paint to buy. After that I need to prep everything. The walls and ceilings are in pretty good shape, but there will be some spackling in my immediate future, probably some caulking too. Don’t know if any of the cracks will need taping before I spackle. My maternal grandfather was a plasterer, so maybe some of his skill was passed down through my genes (doubt it though). The prior owners have young kids and the walls have been decorated in what looks like crayon, so I’ll need a primer coat for the walls. I need to get all this done by Friday, so my plate is full.

Will post another update tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Rocket Girls Shooting For The Stars






So after a brief (maybe not so brief) delay, we got the rocket airborne!! I had the day off- it's Election Day, gotta love those Civil Service Holidays.






The day didn't start out too well (for Megan anyway), she needed to go to the pediatrician for a follow-up flu shot. After that, I bundled the kids back in the car and headed for Cunningham Park. They have a nice open field near Union Turnpike, perfect for our plans.






The first shot went off without a hitch. We put two orange silicone earplugs into the cargo compartment, but they were jettisoned into the stratosphere, well maybe not the stratosphere, when the nose cone came off. No word on where the payload landed.




All told we made four launches the last two with less powerful engines so we only went up about 100 feet.

Goddard, hah!! VonBraun? PLEASE. Make way for Megan and Devon, the next two Rocket Girls






Monday, October 26, 2009

DIY ME

Sorry for the long gap in posting. I'm sure all my loyal readers have missed me terribly.

As most of you probably know, we're in the process of buying our first apartment. It's in pretty good shape, at least from what we could tell during the walk through and the appraisal. The one big project we are planning is painting.

Debbie promised the girls that they could pick the color of their room (pink, of course), and it's such a hassle to paint when the place is occupied, we're going to try to take advantage of the gap between closing and moving.

I have been doing all kinds of web surfing, YouTube has some great videos with some useful tips and techniques. This is one of my favorites:




I also found some useful articles on the DIY Network and on Ask This Old House. I am also recording Ask This Old House; it's actually become one of the girls' favorite shows.

Will try to post some photos and keep everyone posted as the project progresses.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Porgies from Greenport

video

Just back from our Father's Day fishing trip. After not one but TWO weather cancellations, we finally got out to Greenport for some porgies. Captain Mike of Captain's Table Charters did a great job. He put us right on the fish, Devon had the first porgy about five seconds after her sinker hit bottom.

We had a steady pick of porgies all day long, everyone got a keeper. We even made a few drifts for blues before we headed back to the dock- Daddy got a couple of nice bluefish- wish I had a video of the first one I caught, it broke the water a couple of times before I pulled it in over the stern.

Best day of fishing EVER.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

ROCKET GIRLS

My latest project with the ladies isn’t exactly Rocket Science. . . well maybe it is. We’re building a couple of rockets. I tried to build an Estes Rocket when I was in the second grade. I got about as far as Step 1 before I realized I was in over my head. For whatever reason I kept the two parts that I managed to glue together in my sock drawer until I went off to college.




I think it’s time to give it another shot. This time I have two helpers, Megan and Devon. I ordered two rockets, a starter set that includes a launching pad and a second rocket that has space for a payload. The girls are already planning what they want to send into orbit.




After an aborted start yesterday, we were able to get going tonight. We glued the engine mount together and put the launch lug on the main body of the rocket. Stay tuned for more progress reports . . .



Sunday, May 17, 2009

Gone Batty








Well, we're back. Last year Devon only made it through the 5th before melting, this year heat was not exactly an issue. But the ladies put up with the cold and damp and had a great Bat Day.

At the last minute we decided to drive to the game rather than take the subway. I didn't adjust our travel time, so we ended up there before the gates even opened at 10:00. Since the first pitch was at 1:05 we had PLENTY of time to visit the Yankee Museum and do Monument Park.

The Stadium itself is a masterpiece. I didn't see all, or even most of the building, but still- it's as impressive as hell. Wide concourses, great views even from our seats ten rows from the top. We could see every part of the field, the seats were spaced far enough apart so that you're not on top of your neighbor.

The Yankees have down an amazing job of tapping into their rich history. Everywhere you look there are vintage photos of old Yankees and past Championship teams. The Yankee museum has a great tribute to the Negro league teams and players that played in the old Stadium. I hate having to explain why that's necessary to the girls, but I'm glad they can't fathom why anyone would discriminate like that.












The rest of the museum is a more or less chronological presentation of the great Yankee Championship runs. It was great fun for all of us to put our hands over a Babe Ruth palmprint. I expected George Herman to have massive mitts, evidently not. His print wasn't much bigger than mine. I also loved the collection of autographed baseballs. The Yankees are attempting to get a signed ball from every player who wore pinstripes. On my next visit I want to search out Celerino Sanchez who briefly replaced Bobby Murcer as my favorite Yankee in 1972.

They let everyone wander around through Monument Park now; they also let you pose for photos throughout the area. I will admit that it does make for a slightly less reverent vibe, but it's still pretty impressive.
















The game itself was a throwback pitcher's duel. Only a couple of hits and no runs through six. Both teams scored two in the Seventh. Johnny Damon homered in the bottom of the Tenth to put the Twinkies away. The girls lasted a full seven, then fell asleep in the car with their new bats safely tucked away.















Stay tuned loyal readers. Today will be the first trip to the (New) Yankee Stadium for the ladies and me. It's also BAT DAY!! Even Debbie is being a good sport and tagging along for the entire show. Megan is insisting on bringing both her T-ball glove and her pink batters helmet- she promises to share both with Devon. We may need a ruling from the Commissioner to settle that one. More details after the game.

Friday, May 8, 2009

First Visit to Shea (Citi)


Made my first visit to the Mets new home last night. Thanks to the Kingman for the ducat. I don't care what they say, I drive on the Triborough and the Interborough and the West Side Highway, not the freakin' RFK Bridge, Jackie Robinson Parkway or Joe DiMaggio Highway. Nothing against Jackie or Joe D (no comment on RFK), but I have become something of a traditionalist in my old age. I see no reason to rename perfectly good bridges and highways. So I am staging my own personal protest against Vikram Pandit and his crew of idiots (I mean bankers).


I'm calling it Shea.


Despite my objections to the name, I was impressed with the place. I like the wide corridors and the Jackie Robinson Pavillion was a nice tribute. I would agree though with Met fans who have complained about the shortage of Mets tributes- there is a hell of a lot of blank wall space that would be perfect for photographs of old Mets, summaries of classic games at Shea, etc. too much grey concrete. They could use some more TV's at the food stands too, but these are all things that can (and probably will) get fixed fairly easily. I think the Mets did a great job with their new home; I might even break down and bring the girls by for a game with their cousins. The wifflle ball cage looks like a blast.

Monday, May 4, 2009

HDTV RULES!!!


Yes, I know it's been a while. I wanted to fill you all in on my repeat trip to Stellwagen Bank, but Mother Nature intervened and we got cancelled. I would have recounted my exploits hauling in stripers (or even flounder) out of City Island, but I couldn't even manage a nibble.


This is worthy of a post.


Our TV crapped out yesterday. I got 19 years out of it. It's the first big ticket item I bought after college- it's the set I was watching when the 'Cuse crushed Kansas for the National Championship.


And I won't miss it at all. I went out tonight, picked up an HD-DVR cable box and a Sharp AQUOS LC-40E67U.


I'm tuned into YES-HD watching the Yanks and the Sox and I can see EVERYTHING. I'm kind of glad David Wells is retired because there are some things I don't want to see in High Definition.


It took me a good hour to figure out how to get the cable box running, and things aren't perfect, but WOW!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wii Rules!!



I had a giftcard for Circuit City left over for Christmas. Since Circuit City is about to go to the great corporate beyond, we were in a hurry to cash it in. The place was packed, but Debbie and I decided to get a Wii (for the kids, of course).




Well there were no consoles on sale, but we picked up three games anyway, and I spent the rest of Saturday and a good chunk of Sunday surfing the web for tips on how to find a console. For those of you living under a rock, Nintendo has adopted a marketing strategy of keeping the Wii consoles in short supply. You can buy and Xbox or a Playstation any time you want, but finding a Wii can take a little effort. In my case, very little.

After all this research, I found one obscure post (which I can't find anymore) saying that Nintendo has a corporate store in Rockefeller Center that puts a couple of dozen Wiis on sale every day. I swung by there yesterday with the girls on our way to visit Debbie at work, and two minutes (and $250), later we walked out with our new Wii.

It took me about an hour or so to hook the thing up, and then the girls were bowling. I tried- no, really I did actually try- to get the High School Musical Sing Along game to work without success, but the girls were happy with bowling and golf. Debbie and I were pretty popular, at least for the day.
After bedtime, Daddy tried out the boxing game. So far I'm undefeated, but haven't reached the pro ranks yet.




Saturday, January 3, 2009

Greatest Movie Ever



















One of the greatest moves we ever made was upgrading our cable service to get a DVR, (patents be damned, everyone calls it a TIVO). The DVR lets us record much easier than the old VCR's, you can set it to record by keyword- Syracuse of course being the most key of words-, or by Series name etc. I like to check out the next few days and record obscure stuff that Debbie and I (OK usually just I) can watch after the kids go to bed. Turner Classic Movies has been rerunning classic silent films for the last week or two and I ran across "Speedy". Speedy was made in 1928 and stars Harold Lloyd and BABE RUTH!! How could I not watch that?


I expected to fast forward through most of it for a glimpse of the Babe, but last night I put it on as the girls were getting ready for bed. Lo and behold they were instantly captivated and watched the first half of the movie before bedtime. As soon as they woke up this morning, they wanted to watch the rest. We read the title cards to Devon, Megan followed on her own.


The hero, Speedy (Harold Lloyd) is a baseball obsessed underemployed everyman who is trying to convince his girlfriend, Jane to marry him. Jane's father, Pops, runs a small streetcar. Some bigshots need to close down Pops streetcar so they can run a central subway through the neighborhood. Speedy battles the thugs hired by the bigshot to win Pops a big buyout and, of course Jane's hand in marriage.











Along the way you get to see Coney Island in its heyday, Babe Ruth handing out baseball to orphans, car chases, a street brawl with septuagenarian Civil War veterans- who are of course on Harold Lloyd's side, and a dog that saves the day. Funny how little has changed in 100 years of filmmaking. I particularly enjoyed the subway scene, it seems that subway "etiquette" hasn't changed much since 1928 either.


Still it was enormous fun, Harold Lloyd was an amazing comedian, sometimes I forget that Charlie Chaplin wasn't the only brilliant artist making silent films. After the movie ended, the girls asked me to record some more Laurel and Hardy who they also love. I think I'll sneak in some Chaplin and Keaton too.