Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006 In Review

If you recall around here last year (don't bother looking for it -- it died in the great Blogger crap-out of '06 -- stoopid computers!), I did a year-in-review post at the end of the year. A summary of the year's events for everyone.

For 2006, expect no less! After all, you get what you pay for ;-)

Here we go...

In January, Blogger died on me and in early February I moved this site to .Mac and used iWeb to craft it, but it got too big and sluggish, so I switched back in July.

In February, I wrote a nice article on my favorite email application (and it's not!), and found out that Apple doesn't want me anymore.

March brought a bought of the flu, and I brought some members of my extended family over to the Mac from Windows (my wife and her grandfather).

April found me working full-time again, and finding little time to blog about it all, because I was still working at Pier 1 part-time.

May was a month of hard work, hard play, and breaking away from Pier 1. The stress of working 7 days a week for 2 months was too much on me and my family. My anger and stress levels dropped precipitously.

June meant a triple vacation, and I started a new blog, Five Things.

July brought strange emails from stranger, umm, strangers, an article on Space Shuttle Discovery, new words in the dictionary, my 4th wedding anniversary, my triumphant return to Blogger, and the sad realization that my grandmother is not "coming back" any time soon.

In August, I won an online contest, my dad became "un-retired", and Blackberry the Cat left us for greener pastures... only to return the next day because my wife missed him so much. We said Peace Out to Pluto, and to the low gas prices we had in New Jersey.

In September, I got my new iMac, went to the movies with Mason, mourned the loss of Steve Irwin, complained about my favorite email program, complained about Windows XP, the late nights at work, all while remembering to have fun with Photo Booth and our new convertible.

October found me ruminating over Olive's (my favorite sandwich shop when I was working in SOHO, NYC), taking a drive near my wife's school, going through some old pictures, making some meatballs the way my grandma used to, and worrying about a consultant who came to see what all the fuss was at work.

In November, I rejoiced over Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld being shown the door, picking up stray kittens for adoption at the shelter, getting ready for Thanksgiving turkey with my parents, and putting up a "secret" collection of Apple's Desktop Pictures from OS 8 and 9.

December was the month where I found glass in my mouth after drinking a Snapple, getting upgraded to the "New" Blogger, watching Mason and Sarah perform at a recital, trying not to shoot my eye out, wearing all kinds of hats, being reflective at year's end. I was scolded by Santa Claus, I found fun things to do with Office 2004 for the Mac, sucked up all the sleep I could during my last week of vacation time, and got scolded by my wife for not being jolly enough.

We toughed it out as a family this year. Mason's not as sick as he used to be since the tonsillectomy (the week or so with pneumonia aside...), nor were there any emergency room visits necessary for my wife (other than the stomach virus she kindly gave me in the waiting room). Sonia got all A's in school, and Mason also kicked major butt in school. Hope your 2006 was just as good as ours was!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Well, 'Bah! Humbug!' to you, too!

My wife claims that I am not in the holiday spirit. I would like to disagree.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Please, Please, Please, Please....

Mere words cannot express the sorrow:
James Brown, the dynamic, pompadoured ''Godfather of Soul,'' whose revolutionary rhythms, rough voice and flashing footwork influenced generations of musicians from rock to rap, died early Christmas morning. He was 73.
NY Times obituary here.

Rest In Peace.

Sunday, December 24, 2006


Paw, originally uploaded by macfixer.

Treo's mighty paw


I love vacations!

One of the things that suck about bouncing from job to job was the lack of equity in that job for time off. For example, when you've spent 6 months looking for a job, and you get that job, the last thing you'd want to do is schedule time off, in my opinion.

Unfortunately, that lack-of-vacation thing snowballed, plus those same 6 months I'd spend looking for a job weren't exactly relaxing. Even though I was unemployed, 8 hours a day I was looking for work. As a result, it was years before I thought about taking a break from either working or looking for work. It was, in a word, amazing!

Fast forward to 2006, and I am now able to take two vacations! One was over the summer, to visit family in Pennsylvania and in Florida. The second is this last week of December. It's an awesome feeling to turn off the alarm and sleep late for once.

Today my wife even reminded me that I could take an hour-long nap. I took her up on it, and I'm glad I did. It's a deep down 'in your bones' relaxing feeling.



Friday, December 22, 2006

Microsoft Office 2004 Easter Egg

Not quite "Flight Simulator hidden in Excel 97", but "Asteroids hidden in Office 2004" can be mighty cool as well.

To reach it, navigate to ./Applications/Microsoft Office 2004/Microsoft Office Notifications. Launch it.

Hold down control-option-Command and select "About Office Notifications".

See the image on the left? You'll notice the Asteroids icon. If you don't see it, try again -- making sure you're holding down all three buttons.

Click on it, and you're in (the image on the right). Click 'OK' or hit Enter to quit (or when the Boss is coming towards your desk).


Unnecessary, originally uploaded by macfixer.

While chatting with Santa Claus (add to your MSN Live Messenger), Santa stepped up, and got checked by yours truly.

My pimp hand is strong.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Don't Shoot Your Eye Out! (part II)

Don't Shoot Your Eye Out, originally uploaded by macfixer.

I'm getting much better at this game:
Bounces: 450
Accidents: 11 (what were you expecting?)
Final Score: 7076696

Try it for yourself:

Quiet Time

One of the things I've noticed while working at a college, is that there is an ebb and flow throughout the year. The frantic pace of September is gone, and as we wrap up for the year, and the students have all pretty much left for the holiday break, there's a certain peace throughout the campus.

Kinda quiet, kinda relaxing...


A Revelation

I am a geek, and that's okay with me


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Happy Christmas (War Ain't Over)!

Angel, originally uploaded by macfixer.

Looks like a quiet, reflective Christmas for us at home this year, as Mason is battling pneumonia, and we don't want to get anybody sick. I felt bad about missing the holiday on Long Island with my folks, but then I found out my sister is sick, and my dad is catching whatever she has.

Now I'm kind of glad that we'll catch up in '07! Am I going to miss all the noise? Sure. Am I going to miss the holiday traffic trying to navigate through NYC? Heck no!

Make A (Virtual) Snowflake!

This is cool: all the fun of folding paper and cutting out paper snowflakes without the crooked angles, snippets of paper to clean up, screwed-up cuts and ripped artwork.

Loads of fun, and you can email them, too! Head to

Here's one I made:

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Flickr Easter Eggs!

Easter eggs? At Holiday time? Well...

Flickr Easter Eggs

Go to any Flickr photo and try posting a note on any of your photos using the following words

ho ho ho hat : you’ll get a Santa hat which you can drag around to put on anyone :).

ho ho ho beard : you’ll get a Santa beard

You have your orders, now roll out!

Don't Shoot Your Eye Out!

Have you played this game yet? It's called "Don't Shoot Your Eye Out" and it's based on the Christmas Classic, "A Christmas Story". It requires a pretty zippy computer to play, and may I recommend cranking up the audio?

Play it here

Friday, December 08, 2006

Sarah Blue

Sarah Blue, originally uploaded by macfixer.

My sister-in-law jamming on guitar. The flash never went off, and as a result came out sorta blue and underexposed.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Fully Beta-ized!

Just got word today that my blog has been chosen to upgrade to the new Blogspot beta! This means more stability, more features, and more stuff to add.

Love this technology stuff!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Snapple Surprise!

Iced Tea Surprise!
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

Drinking my Snapple Lemon Tea from the bottle the other day, I came across a nice, jagged surprise! It wasn't from my bottle. Where could it have come from?

The funny/scary thing is that this wasn't the first time this has happened to me -- I was sent to the emergency room one night when the Arizona Iced Tea bottle had shards of glass in it (apparently the bottle had shattered and was held intact by that asinine shrink wrap.

Luckily I wasn't hurt either time, but what a fright!

I ought to pour my Snapples into a cup next time.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Psst! Can you keep a secret?

Blueberry Union-(16x10).jpg
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

I've been looking for these for years: those great wallpapers (whoops! I mean Desktop Pictures) that used to come bundled on Apple's Mac OS CDs -- if you knew where to look. Mac OS X has cool Desktop Pictures, but not the depth or breadth of the earlier collections. Flickr and Google Images searches usually came up empty.

Until now.

I discovered a stash at work of old Mac CDs. We're talking a mother-lode of them. I was even able to convert some really old desktop patterns to modern gif format.

As long as I don't get stymied by The Man, you can find them here at my Flickr group.


Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Are you ready for some turkey?

I am totally ready for some turkey and just the right amount of family (too little time spent with my family, and I feel guilty for not staying longer; too much time and I start looking at the clock wondering when we can leave). I am ready for some mashed potatoes, some gravy, some wicked good sandwiches the next day.

However, what I am not in the mood for is the holiday shopping. Here in Connecticut, we're already getting carpet-bombed by the ads touting the shop-til-you-drop specials that start at an ungodly hour the day after Thanksgiving. The only time I had to drag my sorry ass out to a store for one of these specials was when I used to have to work at one of these specials.

Working aside, my family has never taken part in one of these events, although I believe we're in the minority. Does anyone out there skip over "Black Friday" either?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Smitten By Kitten

Smitten By Kitten
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

Sonia heard the pleating cry of a stranded kitten outside. We're baby-sitting this one until tomorrow, when he'll be picked up and adopted by someone loving and deserving. He's named Philly, since he likes the cream cheese so much.

Update: Philly has left the building! He was picked up by the local no-kill adoption agency.

Friday, November 10, 2006


"As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, The ones we don’t know we don’t know." - Donald Rumsfeld

Wow, Rumsfeld is really gone. Didn't see that coming!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Mean squirrel attacks Pa. letter carrier

I tell ya, those squirrels are shifty. Can't trust 'em.

From Yahoo! News:Mean squirrel attacks Pa. letter carrier:
Wed Nov 1, 5:12 PM ET

Letter carriers occasionally have to deal with angry dogs or maybe even a spider's nest in a mailbox, but a mean squirrel? Barb Dougherty, a 30-year Postal Service employee, said she was attacked and bitten Monday by a squirrel while delivering mail in Oil City, about 75 miles north of Pittsburgh.

"It was a freak thing. It was traumatic," Dougherty told The Derrick in Oil City. "I saw it there on the porch, put the mail in the box and turned to walk away and it jumped on me."

The animal ran up her leg and onto her back, she said.

"I eventually got a hold of the tail and pulled it off me," Dougherty said. "No one was home at the house where I was delivering the mail, but the neighbor lady heard me screaming and came over."

An ambulance took Dougherty to the hospital, where she was treated for cuts and scratches. The squirrel was killed with a BB gun and sent to a lab to be tested for rabies. Dougherty was given the first series of rabies shots as a precaution.

Postal officials said the attack is extraordinary.

"In about 230 years of postal history, I bet it is not the first, but I've personally never heard of another squirrel biting," said Steve Kochersperger, spokesman for the Erie district.

Squirrels do not frequently bite people, said Regis Senko, who works for the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Steve Jolley, a Postal Service manager in Oil City, said, "We are not issuing a squirrel alert, but everyone is aware of the incident."

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Define "A Form Of Payment"

Define "A Form Of Payment"
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

Does this mean that, instead of cash or credit, I could pay with a chicken or goat? Just curious.

Sunday, October 29, 2006


Originally uploaded by macfixer.

Picked up a pair of Oakleys from my local gas station for $6 cash money. This can mean only one thing, they're totally authentic.

Yeah, right.

update: They broke already. Crap.

Wonder Twin Powers Activate!!!

Wonder Twin Powers Activate!!!
Originally uploaded by zencorners.

Wired Magazine has a pool started for all kinds of geeky halloween costumes. Nope, none of my costumes have been photographed. Phew!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Scream Incorporated

Scream Incorporated
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

Just in time for Halloween, a freaked-out picture of me, tweaked using Image Tricks.

Friday, October 27, 2006


We received news that someone's stopping by work next week. I'd be more candid about it, but I cannot. Suffice to say, rent yourself a copy of "Office Space" and fast forward to "the Bobs" section for a clue. Weirder things have happened, but this seems to be somewhat -- weirderer.

Hopefully, I'm just paranoid.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Grandma's Meatballs

Grandma's Meatballs
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

My grandma came to America from Lithuania. She was married, and -- in her words -- couldn't cook to save her life. Luckily for her, her Italian landlord in Brooklyn taught her how to make all these meals. As a result, my Grandfather wouldn't be subjected to scrambled eggs for every meal for the rest of his life.

This recipe was passed from her to me verbally, with absolutely no measuring involved ("a pinch of this, some of that"). They come out yummy every time.

Thank you, Grandma!

Morning 'fro

Morning 'fro
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

This is what greets me every morning, and why I need to shower and 'goop up' my hair before leaving the house.

Perhaps this is why I cut all of hair off.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Packaged For Fine Restaurants

Packaged For Fine Restaurants
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

Call me weird, but I've always found this statement on the back of the Heinz Ketchup bottle to be amusing.

It makes me wonder if:
1) Which restaurants are not considered 'Fine'
2) Those restaurants that are NOT 'Fine' -- does their ketchup come unpackaged?
3) Is Heinz trying to say only the 'Fine' places get Heinz ketchup, and the rest get Hunts or some other off-brand?
4) Are un-'Fine' restaurants responsible for packaging their own ketchup?
5) Who determines the 'Fine'-ness of restaurants, anyway?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wedding Day Jitters

Wedding Day Jitters
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

Another old shot I found on my wife's computer. While killing time waiting for my friend Brandon to show, I took a few practice swings with the Bishop's crook.

I'm sure I'm going to hell for it.

George Washington Bridge September 2001

George Washington Bridge September 2001
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

Found this old picture sitting on my wife's computer. It was taken shortly after September 11th, and all of the Tri-State area (and probably the whole country, I'm sure) was in the throes of patriotism. This flag was huge!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Old Guy Butt On The Mountain

Old Guy Butt On The Mountain
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

My co-worker, Mike shot this picture of this old dude hiking on some Upstate New York mountain. His butt was hanging out of his pants, and it brings us great joy to look at.

Go old man, go!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Monday, October 09, 2006

Postcard Perfect

Originally uploaded by macfixer.

One of the things that I'm starting to like about driving around in a convertible (at least in nice weather), is the view. With a regular car, you're stuck looking mostly straight ahead, sometimes to the left and right. In a convertible, you can see 180º in all directions. It's very liberating.

This past weekend, while at a red light, I grabbed this shot. Reminds me of a 5¢ postcard you'd pick up with the words "Wish you were here" on it. Glad I was able to capture the moment.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Knack is Tricky

You'll love this:

1970s one-hit-wonder The Knack had suddenly noticed that Run DMC had sampled their 1979 song "My Sharona" in Run DMC's 1986 hit "It's Tricky." So, even though this was twenty years after that had happened, they decided to sue for copyright infringement.

When companies do this, they call it a "submarine patent" -- when bands do it, should they call it a "submarine royalty"?

Sunday, October 01, 2006


Olive's, Soho
Originally uploaded by felsull.

I used to work in Manhattan, until the events of 9/11 caused me to lose my job as a technician at a nearby Ad Agency. Anyway...

The local 'joint' that Daren, Marshall, and I used to go to was this place, Olive's. Expensive as hell, but man, those were some awesome sandwiches.

In fact, the sandwiches were so legendary in my family, I have since tried to compare future sandwiches to them.

Subway? Not really. Blimpie's? Please.

For now, I've settled on Panera Bread. That is the closest I can get to that certain taste that comes from fresh ingredients, fresh bread, and love. Sandwiches need love. That's why Mom's PB&J tasted so good, IMHO.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

An Iowa Town Will Disappear...

I saw this online and thought, "You know, I kind of live in a flood zone. I wonder what it must be like to be told to leave so the government can demolish your entire town."
"Sometimes we get people who drive through town ... and shake their head in disbelief," Bolsinger said.

Workers prepared structures for demolition this week. Next week, bulldozers will seal Elkport's fate.

As many as 27 homes, the old general store and the stone elementary school will be flattened. The historic bank and at least one home must still be cleared for destruction by the state historical society. The future of the church is uncertain.

Read this story, courtesy of

Let Sleeping Cats Lie

Let Sleeping Cats Lie
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

Twinkie, (the oldest cat in our house) in a rare moment of repose. When I see him like this, I am reminded of how he was when he was a kitten: all big feet and big ears.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Out of the Office

Keyboard Closeup
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

I took a day off from work to do 2 (two!) doctor's appointments. One was for me, and one was for my wife. Luckily, she had the idea of doing both of them on the same day, so that it wouldn't disrupt our schedules too much.

In between, I was able to locate a WiFi hotspot and check my work email. I can't imagine life without WiFi now. Whenever I'm in a public space, I bust out the LifeDrive and look for an access point. Fire up the 12-step program: I'm a certified junkie.

Coming Soon...

Where the next-generation Your Friendly Neighborhood Mac Guy is being built:

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Damn, It Feels Good To Be A Gangsta

Nathan Hale
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

One of the things I’ve missed for far too long is my digital camera. I had an old Nikon CoolPix. It was cheap, took a decent picture or two [], and it made me happy to capture life’s little details that so often get forgotten soon after they happen.

Unfortunately, one day my CoolPix died a horrible death. For days afterwards I mourned it’s loss, confident I’d get a replacement for it soon. Well, “soon” turned into 5 long months. I missed some great shots, which made me feel bad.

Gratefully, my last paycheck from Pier 1 was quite hefty, compared to those last few “$0.00” checks. AS a result, I rewarded myself (with my wife’s permission, of course) with a new Canon PowerShot A520. Here is the first picture I took; a statue outside of where I work:

Fun In The Convertible

Fun In The Convertible
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

Sometimes life requires you to drop the top and cruise around with the wind in your hair. We've been suffering for so long with just one car. To make matters worse, that one car is usually with me in New London during the week. With Sonia and Mason going to school, this means a crucial link to the outside world is removed.

In the past, this meant that if Mason missed the bus, he couldn't go to school at all. If he had to go to the doctor or something, that meant I would have to go to work late in order to do it. Both were unacceptable to me.

So, when we were feeling a little flush, we picked up a '94 Saab convertible from a local guy off of Craigslist. It was cheap enough that we could pay cash for it. Now, all we have to do is get the van towed away, and we're good to go!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Fun With Photo Booth

Fun With Photo Booth
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

I have a lot of fun with my new iMac at home.

just around the corner

just around the corner
Originally uploaded by merlinmann.

I didn't write this:

In 3-5 years, the progressively earlier start dates of "Christmas Season" will cause time to curve back on itself in such a way that we will actually be able to prepare for and financially execute two or more Christmases at once.

For consumers, this will be confusing at first, but in time they will grow accustomed to observing overlapping holidays. They are expected to eventually embrace the quickening, learning to enjoy -- even "celebrate," if you will -- the increasing feedback loop that leads to "Triple Christmas All The Time" around May of 2021.

See it here

Friday, September 15, 2006

Glass Cactus (Glasstus?)

Glass Cactus (Glasstus?)
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

The stem of a margarita glass is a sight to behold. Sturdy, artistic, and full of a delicious, frothy beverage. I took a picture of it after the drink was gone. Olé!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Windows XP Setup

Windows XP Setup
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

I deal with Windows at work. All day. 5 days a week. When I get home, I love dealing with my Mac. Mainly because I don't have to deal with this kind of crap.

My setup time when I got my new iMac was somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 hour. That was setting it up, transfering the data from my old Mac, and updating the existing stuff.

My wife bought a new Dell. That setup took 4 days, because we had to reformat the hard drive to get rid of the bloatware, transfer the data (which failed to copy properly until we used the iPod), and patch the system.

I am not an expert, nor a zealot. My Mac wins, hands down.

p.s.: for those who can't make it out, this picture basically is the Windows XP not seeing the perfectly fine hard drive that is attached to it. why can it suddenly not see it? better ask the 'developers, developers, developers, developers'

Never Forget.

American Flag Diver Down
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

Thank goodness I didn't lose my Sonia that day. We would have missed so much.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Effing Entourage

Microsoft's Mac Business Unit wanted to be all slick and create this unique format for adding notification sounds for their all-in-one application, Entourage. Most applications allow you to select your own sounds, and they usually use AIFF to do it.

Not Entourage, oh no...

They use 'Sound Sets', which are packaged System 7(!) sounds. Fine and dandy... for the old days when everyone used Classic, and System 7 files were around. A keystone in the Macintosh has been customization. No two Macs seem to be alike. I use my Mac to run my life, and I use Entourage to do so. Fed up with the stock beeps and boops, I whipped up some beeps and boops of my own. In fact, here are some I created.

Here's the rub: Microsoft never published a way to make your own Sound Sets. The Internet being the breeding ground for creativity it is, a website popped up called Soundset Central. This was a place to upload and download Sound Sets made with Soundset Central's own Expression software. Those Sound Sets, and that software went bye-bye when the owner of the site went missing. No real problem, since I still have a copy of that Expression app. All I would need is some sound effects, right?

A quick browse through the official list of supported formats shows that System 7 isn't supported by QuickTime in OS X anymore. Which is a shame, since I have an Intel Mac which can't boot up into OS 9 to convert these files.

So I have no way of making the sounds I need, no way of making a proprietary Sound Set to store them in, and I have no way of publishing them on a site to enable others to use them.

Way to go, MacBU! In the next revision, please use the AIFF standard, so we can continue to customize Entourage!

Ouch! Vista's Not Looking So Hot...

Working Tech: A reality check for Vista - Sep. 8, 2006:
Will Vista Premium be worth the extra cost? Essentially, the features you get with the more expensive version are better security, a prettier user interface, and the audio-video software formerly found in Microsoft's Media Center edition of Windows XP. That doesn't seem like a lot for five years' work, or for $40 extra.

A shame. I know my wife's not looking to upgrade right away. She just got her machine working the way she likes it.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Oh My God, They Killed Steve Irwin!

My wife woke me up early this morning to tell me that Steve Irwin had died. I mumbled something and went back to sleep.

When I was more lucid, I went online with my LifeDrive and looked up some info on what happened. Apparently, he was killed swimming on top of a stingray. The Stingray got spooked and stung him with his barb, which ordinarily hurts but does not kill. Unfortunately for Steve, it had punctured his heart.

From Discovery Channel (Steve's bosses):
Steve was killed during a filming expedition on the Great Barrier Reef. While we are still collecting specific details, it was a rare accident in which Steve swam over a stingray and was stung by its barb in his chest. A doctor on board Croc One, Steve's research vessel, was unable to resuscitate Steve and by the time he was reached by the rescue helicopter he had passed away.

Now he's dealt with man-eating crocs, dangerous snakes, all kinds of deadly critters of all shapes and sizes. To die this way? It's so rare it's bizarre.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Bootleg Cow

Bootleg Cow
Originally uploaded by macfixer.

I took this picture in the theater while watching the movie "Barnyard" at the local megaplex with my son. Why? Because I could!