Apple Wireless Keyboard and Magic Mouse

SCENE: Wonder Woman and I talking to each other while at a recent holiday party. Aaaaaaaand … action!

Me: I can’t even tell you how psyched I am that I got that new wireless keyboard and mouse. That other mouse was driving me crazy, and that extended keyboard just took up way too much space. Now I have plenty of room, and that mouse is so much better. I told you that it’s touch-sensitive, right? You just move your finger across it to scroll. It’s awesome. That other one I had, the mouse cursor was just all over the damn screen, and I knew it was going to drive me batshit while I was working on that project this weekend. And the other great thing is, because they both connect using Bluetooth, it frees up a USB port on my hub; I thought I was going to have to buy a new hub, because I have too many devices to connect now.

Wonder Woman: I don’t talk to you this much about my work, right?

Me: Sorry.

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Posted in Marriage | 12 Responses

Finally, the world realizes what a tastemaker I am. (OK, maybe not ‘the world,’ but at least one nice lady marketing a new TV show.)

As you can imagine, a big-time blogger such as myself gets inundated with marketing pitches day in and day out … because, when it comes to setting trends and moving product, there’s no better place to reach the world a few people than right here.

OK, so maybe “inundated” is a bit of an overstatement. More like “occasionally sent a form letter that starts with ‘Dear Mr.,’ but then the part after ‘Mr.’ where my name should be is blank, and nothing makes me want to keep reading about your product more than that type of heartfelt correspondence. Unfortunately, however, no, I don’t really want to help sell your chewing-gum remover anyway, regardless of the salutation you’ve employed.”

And then, along came the lovely woman at YouCast who sent me an email that not only began with my name, but also included a reference to one of my blog entries that she had actually read. (You had me at “Hello,” Mary Ann.)

In addition to her letter being an attention-getter, she was actually promoting something in which I already had an interest: the new TBS show “Men of a Certain Age.” I had seen the commercials for the series (over and over (and over) again) during the MLB playoffs this fall, and as a man who is only slightly more than a month away from 40, a male-centric program about three middle-aged friends taking stock of their lives is right in my wheelhouse, so to speak.

So I took the bait, and, soon after, received this box:

"Men of a Certain Age" box

"Men of a Certain Age" box open

which contained this unbelievably clever little 2GB memory stick:

"Men of a Certain Age" USB drive

which housed a 20-minute preview of the show.

So here I am, shilling for The Man. Or Woman. Or YouCast. Actually, Ray Romano is the co-creator and executive producer, so I guess you could kinda say that I’m working for Ray. Doing him a favor, really. Basically, Ray fucking owes me.

"Men of a Certain Age," starring Scott Bakula, Ray Romano and Andre BraugherAnd now to the show, which stars Romano, Scott Bakula and Andre Braugher.

A 20-minute preview isn’t enough for me to say “This show will knock your socks off,” but it’s enough for me to say that I definitely plan to watch the full premiere episode.

If you’re looking for non-stop, heart-pounding action, you won’t find it here. This show feels much more like real life (except for an unfortunate visual punchline involving a possum, but I’m spotting them that one). The interaction between the friends is the most engaging element, and their individual foibles create plenty of opportunities for a good mix of poignancy and humor when they all get together. (PS: For my money, Braugher is the most convincing, compelling and charismatic; he’s the kind of actor who I’d watch read the phonebook.) If they can continue to develop the characters as well as they’ve started off doing, and can keep things from getting overly shticky, I’d say they have a winning formula here … at least with viewers who prefer nuance and intellect to pyrotechnics and cat fights (always a tough sell in a country that worships the so-called “real life” drama of “reality” television *gag*).

There’s plenty more info about the show (which debuts tonight, Monday, December 7th, at 10/9c on TBS) here, including some preview clips.

So there you have it: my first-ever melding of my beautiful little blog and the insidious world of corporate marketing. I hope I’ve done a good job of selling out. And don’t worry: I won’t be making a habit of it. (That is, unless there are more marketers out there who want to send me some really cool shit … or cash … or a gift certificate for a neck rub. Some candy might work, actually.)

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Posted in TV | 18 Responses

Yeah, I used to party in the big city like a madman, too … you know, back in the late 1900s

Gather ’round, children, and let your ol’ Grandpappy Scratches tell you about the night he realized he was no longer young and hip and cool (and those of you who are saying, “Yeah, like you ever were??”: Shut the hell up. Jerks.).

So last week, I hung out with Bossy and her Blog Posse in Philly, and that was such a hoot (we old people say things like “such a hoot”) that I wondered if a similar Boston get-together might be possible … and when I floated the idea, The Coupon Goddess, whom I met last summer during my first-ever blogger get-together, alerted me to the Boston Blogger Holiday Happy Hour, which took place last night at The Cactus Club. (Their specialty? Margaritas … and if you’ve read this blog for more than five minutes, you know that margaritas and I are tight.)

During both last summer’s BlogHer meet-up and last week’s Philly get-together, I was made painfully aware that I needed to get some business cards, because, over the course of those two functions, I had to repeatedly answer the question “Do you have a card?” with “Duh, um, er, uh … [blink blink].” Thus, I was determined to have some for last night’s soirée … so determined, in fact, that I waited till the last minute to whip some up and order them from Staples, whose Copy & Print Center dude had apparently been under siege all afternoon and still hadn’t gotten to my cards by the time I showed up around 6 o’clock … so I did what anyone would do in that situation: I sat on one of the copiers and started Xeroxing my ass and told him I wasn’t leaving until he filled my order. Works every time.

I have a business card. For a blog. That's either awesome, or ridiculous.

And so it was that my new business cards and I showed up an hour and 45 minutes late for the Boston Blogger Holiday Happy Hour — which, technically, means I missed it. Fortunately, it was more like a Happy Evening, so when I finally entered the establishment at 7:15, there were still plenty of people on hand … young people … young people who live and work in the city and who aren’t married and who don’t have kids and who use their blogs to write about cool things like restaurants and bars and being a young person who lives and works in the city and isn’t married and doesn’t have kids and can therefore go to cool places like restaurants and bars in Boston, and you see how this works?

And then there was me, the Boston Blogger equivalent of Ward Cleaver (you know, if Ward Cleaver said “fuck” alot … and can you believe I’m so old that I actually just made a Ward Cleaver reference? Some of you don’t even know who that is, do you? Here. You’re welcome.)

I think after having gone to two previous blogger meet-ups that were largely populated by either a.) complete families, or b.) moms, and having Wonder Woman on my arm for both, I had been lulled into a false sense of security about my ability to blend in with the crowd. Realizing my error, I did the only sensible thing I could do under the circumstances: I started mainlining tequila.

Fortunately, there was one person there whom I had met at last summer’s BlogHer shindig: the lovely Susan Forshner — who, after I fired off a “someone throw me a lifeline” tweet upon learning that Wonder Woman and The Coupon Goddess both had to bow out, was kind enough to show me the secret handshake. So Susan, lucky gal that she is, got the honor of having me hover over her as I crowbarred my way into her conversation and introduced myself to some of the people with whom she was speaking … people like this (and here’s the part where I go way too crazy with Photoshop, as well as the part where I start referring to everyone by their Twitter handle … which probably is the kind of thing an old person would do in order to seem hip and cool, am I right?):

Boston Blogger peeps

More Boston Blogger peeps

Now, please take particular note of @susiea in the above photo, for she became the catalyst for yet another in a long string of my epically embarrassing moments … which, paradoxically, I am going to relive right now for your entertainment. So don’t say I never did anything for you, Internet.

To make an already long story only slightly less long than it would otherwise be if I rambled on and on about every little detail (which, believe or not, isn’t what I’ve been doing, relatively speaking), I’ll hit the main points:

After arriving and latching on to Susan (not to be confused with @susiea), I spent a good 20 minutes or so talking with her, @susiea, @seeleigha and @25lifestyle. And then I moved about the room, stopping here and there to speak with still more bloggers (which, amazingly, included other male bloggers, and, no, I’m not kidding … in fact, I can prove it:

Male blogger peeps

See? And though I’ve no photographic evidence to back this claim up, I also hung with the very cool @bostontweet and @peteypumpkin, both of whom are male as well. I swear.)

During my travels, I made my way down to the other end of the room, from where I had this vantage point:

And even more Boston Blogger peeps

More and more and more Boston Blogger peeps

And again, I shall ask you to pay close attention to the photos above, particularly the person identified as “totally not @susiea” … because, after I made my way up the other side of the crowd, and spent some time talking to some more people, I turned around and saw standing not far from me “totally not @susiea” … or so I thought. Unbeknownst to me, however, @susiea had, while I wasn’t looking, had the fucking audacity to hop off her stool and start walking around all upright and shit, thus confusing my old, addled brain, for I only knew @susiea as a sitter, not a stander, so surely the stander I was now encountering must be “totally not @susiea,” am I right?

Have you ever been around someone who is mentally ill or afflicted with dementia or Alzheimer’s, and they say something that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, and everybody feels a bit awkward for a moment, because they know that the person in question isn’t playing with a full deck anymore? Yeah, that’s the look that spread across @susiea’s face when I reached out to shake her hand and again introduced myself to her … because I thought she was “totally not @susiea” … or, as I like to call her, “@susiea’s goddamn identical twin, so gimme a freakin’ break, people; I’m old and senile and the lighting in here is really dim and my eyesight isn’t what it used to be, and have you seen how much fucking tequila they put in these drinks?” (Granted, that’s a rather long nickname, but it felt right at the time.)

And as I took a step closer, I realized that I had just reintroduced myself to @susiea, and you know how when you’re walking and you kinda trip/stumble over something and you’re like, “Man, I hope nobody saw that”? Or when you accidentally drag your front bumper down the side of an adjacent Mercedes as you’re backing out of a parking spot, and as you hunch down and drive away, you’re all, “Man, I really hope nobody saw that”? That one’s just me? Alright, go with the first one … the tripping thing. Well, as if making an ass out of myself in front of @susiea wasn’t bad enough, I did so right in front of her friend @seeleigha, whose face quickly donned that same look of “What a crazy asshole this guy is.”

Even the life-sized stuffed buffalo mounted above the bar thought I was a douche:

Boston Blogger Bull

So that whole thing was awkward.

Fortunately, @susiea was very sweet and forgiving about it, and even put up with me totally overcompensating for the incident by joking about it for the rest of the night, and by “joking about it,” I mean completely beating it into the ground until there wasn’t a drop of humor left in it.

Still, in true narcissistic blogger fashion, I was again able to find some comfort in the fact that my latest embarrassing moment could at least be used as blog fodder … and, seriously: if you don’t have a blog, you should totally start one, because it’s really helpful when the dumb shit you do that normally would just eat away at you suddenly has an upside. Hey, it’s cheaper than therapy. Believe me. I know.

In closing, I would like thank:

@susanforshner of transient travels,

@susiea & @seeleigha of We Are Not Martha,

@beccajane (who also organized the party, so double thanks, @beccajane),

@peteypumpkin of on a clear day, you can see forever,

@25lifestyle of Quarter Lifestyle,

@bostontweet of BostonTweet,

@smsass of The Oldways Table,

@folkinz of Two Coast Table,

@eatboston of WhereToEat.In Boston!,

@ohhayitskk of oh hay, it’s kk (who, I discovered, has the same birthday as me … and by “same birthday” I mean the calendar date … because I’m pretty sure I could be her great grandfather),

@riss9 of Starving Artist,

and @cicii3 of The Clean Plate Club.

Thanks for letting Father Time hang out with you crazy kids last night.

(And apologies to anyone else I missed; I would have loved to have met you, but I was too busy introducing myself to people I’d already met. Sorry.)

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Posted in Embarrassing, Life | 18 Responses

Tis the season to be jolly …
and by ‘jolly,’ I mean batshit crazy

Well well well, looky who finally decided to update his blog! Sorry, y’all, but it took me this long to recover from my ca-ray-zay in-sane night out with Bossy and company.

Actually, that’s a crock (though it was a whole lotta fun); truth is, I’ve just plain had — and continue to have — way too many plates spinning. Let’s review:

Remember the whole iMac nightmare this past summer, and the brain aneurysm it almost caused me, and the external hard drive that descended from the heavens and saved the day? Well, shortly before we departed for our week-long Thanksgiving visit with the in-laws in Philly, this happened:


Yeah. So that was pretty awesome.

And blah blah bought another one, and blahbadee-blah-blah more geek speak about hard drives and recovering files and yadda yadda yadda and can I please please pretty please have all those lost hours of my life back, please?

Anyway, it wasn’t until we returned home from Philly the day before yesterday that I finally was able to finish sorting that mess out, and if all this here computer equipment doesn’t work flawlessly for at least the next six months, I’m going back to parchment and quill (which is a total lie, because I had to write a check today, and my hand cramped up like a distorted claw as I tried to scrawl out the many characters that so easily appear when I simply type them on this here keyboard, so it’s clear to me that I’m on the cutting edge of a human evolutionary cycle whose purpose is to phase out the antiquated motor skills required for writing longhand).

But, hey, enough about that, because LOOK! YUMMY DEAD ANIMAL!

Gobble gobble

Yes, that’s just wrong … but if there is anything more delicious-smelling than a turkey roasting in the oven all day, I’ve yet to discover it, and if there is anything more deliciously satisfying than finally getting to eat that turkey after smelling it all day as you try to tide yourself over with cashews and margaritas and shrimp cocktail and margaritas, plus also margaritas, then my taste buds have yet to experience it. My mouth is watering just from typing this sentence (or maybe that’s just me drooling on myself again; it happens). Suffice to say, the bird was terminated with extreme prejudice, as were the accompanying trimmings, and did I mention yum freakin’ yum?

So, yeah, between the Bossy Bonanza and the Please Touch Museum and the bacchanalian orgy of food and drink that is Thanksgiving, our week with the in-laws was delightful. We even capped it with a visit at my brother- and sister-in-law’s house, during which my poor, deprived son and I got our fix of the Wii.

Yes, we’re, like, the last family on earth to not have a Wii, or any other game system, for that matter … and that might have to do not only with the fact that we were holding out until the kids were old enough for it to make sense to spend the money on one, but perhaps also because a certain Daddy becomes life-alteringly addicted to playing video games when he shares a roof with a game system … which, relatively speaking, is actually a good thing when one considers that I could instead be addicted to booze or heroin or the “Twilight” saga.

But my iron will shall soon be tested, for I have a little secret to share with you: Santa is bringing the Wii this year. Oh yes. In fact, it’s entirely possible that he already has surreptitiously placed it in our basement, along with “Guitar Hero 5” and “Mario Super Sluggers” and “Wii Sports Resort,” and when one considers the gargantuan amount of sheer willpower it has taken me to not one single time during the month-and-a-half or so that all of that video-gaming goodness has been sitting in the basement bust that bad boy out for a test drive, one should be reassured that my willpower may not be a problem. Either way, the games shall soon begin, and the rock shall soon commence, and the neighbors shall soon be blessed with the sights and sounds of an almost-40-year-old man (ugh) going buck wild on a fake guitar while shredding some “Guitar Hero: Van Halen” (free with our purchase of “Guitar Hero 5”! It’s like the damn thing is paying for itself!).

Between now and the morning after the fat man slides down the chimney, however, I will be pulling large patches of hair out of my scalp and sporting some even-larger-than-usual bags under my eyes, for I made the insane decision to take on a hugely complicated side job this month for which I’ve set a series of unrealistic deadlines that already are threatened because of my many other responsibilities, as well as my dedication to this here blog … which, as you can see, I’ve spruced up all pretty like for the holiday season … because I care.

So intimidating was the thought of taking on this job that I gave the client an estimate that was basically a dare, which part of me hoped would scare him off … but, noooooo, Mr. Not Afraid of the Big Fee went for it, and since Santa is kinda leaving it up to Wonder Woman and I to procure all of this year’s gifts, I had to bite the bullet.

And that just barely scratches the surface of the chaos that this month will entail. Stick around. It should be pretty entertaining … for you. For me? Not so much.

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Posted in Life | 12 Responses

Good point

Plablo the Talking Penguin

Scene: Zan and Jayna watching “The Backyardigans.” Penguin character named Pablo is shown sitting atop the bow of a viking ship.

Aaaaaaand … action!

Jayna: “What? Zan, how did Plablo get up there?” [Yes, “Plablo.”]

Zan: “He climbed.”

Jayna: “He’s a penguin. Penguins can’t climb.”

Zan: “Penguins can’t talk either, Jayna. It’s make-believe.”


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Posted in Quoting Jayna, Quoting Zan | 13 Responses