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Tuesday, July 14, 2009 01:40:26 PM
Mood: Spent
All House and No Blog

Well we're all moved in, but this house has kept me busier than a 12 year old in a Nike factory.  We're still unpacking, furnishing, painting, and fixing crap. My new office is up and running though and I'm loving it. Office After This is my first blog entry from the new Tocci HQ, and I just finished my first flash game here, which should be released this week.

I've probably done a million blogworthy things in the past two months but haven't had the time nor energy to write about them. Being a homeowner is a lot of effing work. I haven't even taken my boat out since May 14th, and it's sitting in my own garage now (no longer stored at my father's house). In my last blog entry I joked about going to the Home Depot but I had no idea... For a while I felt like I was there every day... probably because I was. The words you are now reading were written by a semi-skilled electrician, landscaper/gardner, painter, plumber, and handyman. Here's a list of some of the things accomplished since moving in:

  • Wired all the bedrooms, living room, and offices with digital cable lines and cat 6 cable for gigabit ethernet
  • Started a garden with tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant, and basil
  • Filled bare spots in the lawn with sod from the garden
  • Nicked a sprinkler line when digging the garden, creating a nice impromptu fountain
  • Taught myself how to reroute and patch a sprinkler system (which came in handy again in the front yard)
  • Added chair rail and crown moulding to the dining room and caulked the existing crown moulding in the living room
  • Painted the livingroom, diningroom, closets, and my office (so far)
  • Installed an electrical outlet in the upstairs hallway
  • Installed two new phone jacks
  • Rewired the light / fan switches in all bedrooms and the living room
  • Cut the grass every five days or so
  • Killed poison ivy, weeds, and various intruding bugs
  • Installed new blinds
  • Assembled office furniture
  • Changed the kitchen sink faucet set, two bath faucet spouts, and one drain.
  • Opened and cleaned the pool
  • Power washed the patio and the exterior of the house
  • Installed closet systems in the master bedroom
  • Bought a dining set, bedroom set, and office furniture.
  • Cleaned, cleaned, and cleaned some more

There were really only four things we didn't do ourselves: refinishing the hardwood floors (including adding a new wooden bannister), installing recessed lighting in my office, running a new natural gas line for the grill on the patio, and replacing a hot water heater that leaked water all over our basement. Sometimes you have to call in the pros.

Other than keeping us busy, our experiences in the new house have been great. My garden is growing nicely. We've had two robins' nests that produced babies in our bushes (and one whose eggs disappeared). Baby Bunny We also had baby rabbits in the back yard who have just left their little hole. We've broken in the new grill, did some swimming, and we've been sleeping well in our new bed, which is finally big enough so that the cat can't nudge one of us off the edge anymore.

All in all it's great (yet time consuming) to be a new home owner. Now if you'll excuse me, the lake is calling.

 

Friday, April 10, 2009 11:34:18 PM
Mood: Excited
House, The Season Starts, Auto Show

When Tocci blogs you know there's big things poppin', little things stoppin'. (I borrowed that line from MVP.) So here's what's been happening.

homeFirst and foremost, we bought a house! I was getting sick of living in an apartment during the warmer months with no lawn to mow. Plus I haven't been spending nearly enough time at the Home Depot. Seriously though, we're psyched to finally have a house of our own. Our closing date is April 30th. More on Jenny's blog.

Tocci Ponders: Why is it that high-end stores always have very little merchandise on display, while discount stores are overflowing with sale items? I suspect there is some sort of cost of items per unit area rule that all stores must adhere to.

Fishing season has started and I went out three times so far on the boat. My dad and I were skunked on our first trip. Then Chris and I managed a couple of pickerel the second time out. But yesterday with Mike was a very successful day. Among the fish caught were Mike's first bass ever, my biggest pickerel ever, and my first bass on a lipless crank bait. The action is starting to heat up! Photos on flickr.

Tocci Ponders: The other day I saw a sign near an elevator that said, "In Case of Fire Use Stairway". What if the fire is in the stairway? And if there is a fire, how is a stairway going to help put it out? It should say "In Case of Fire, Use a Fire Extinguisher or Call Fire Department". Duh.

Today we went to the NY Auto Show to see the latest and greatest that the auto makers have to offer. I always enjoy checking out the concept cars, but lately I've become jaded because I have yet to see a production model car that even remotely resembles any concept car I've ever seen. The concept cars always have awesome super-thin seats, doors that flip open in all kinds of directions, huge rims and ultra-slim profile wheels, and more bells and whistles than a bird caller riding Santa's sleigh. But year after year the new cars come out with the same old seats, same old wheels, and same old doors. Maybe next year... Photos on flickr.

 

Friday, March 06, 2009 03:15:36 PM
Mood: Happy
Fishing Expo

Alton Jones - 2008 Bassmaster Classic Championshaking hands with Alton JonesYesterday, I met Alton Jones at the World Fishing and Outdoor Expo in Suffern, NY. Alton is a professional bass angler and the winner of the 2008 Bassmaster Classic, the Superbowl of pro bass fishing. I've seen him on TV many times, watched his video clips, and read his articles, so it was a real treat to meet him and shake his hand. I'm hoping some of his fish-catching mojo rubbed off on me.

Overall the fishing expo was a good time. Chris and I wandered around for a couple of hours amongst countless guys with long beards wearing camouflage. We browsed the stands, bought some hard-to-find tackle, and watched a reptile show where a guy who was apparently nuttier than squirrel crap played with poisonous snakes and aligators. Photos on flickr.

Random thought: Being cool is a catch 22. You may want to be cool, but anyone who thinks they're cool is not cool, and anyone who tries to be cool is not cool. So basically, you can only be cool if it's not on purpose and if you don't know about it.

Some not cool links:
(Or maybe they are. I don't know. If they are I didn't mean it.)

Monday, February 16, 2009 11:20:03 PM
Mood: Mournful
El Guapo, Flippin' Stick

2007-01-09_betta.jpgThis morning I awoke to the news that my beloved Siamese fighting fish, El Guapo, had passed away. I fed him a few pellets last night before I went to bed and he seemed happy as a clam... or a happy betta. This morning he was motionless. Poor little guy. Sure, he pretty much hated my guts, flaring his gills with malice whenever I caught his eye, but I enjoyed watching him swim around and make bubble nests on my desk. I have fond memories of the way he'd attack the end of my pen through the glass as if it were a rival male, or threaten my cat Leia if she got too close. I'd like to think that he lived a good, happy life, but it still sucks to lose him. So long, El Guapo. We'll miss you.

On a lighter note, I bought a flippin' stick today. I've been looking for a 7'6" medium-heavy rod that I can use to pitch and flip jigs and baits up to 1 1/2 ounces, and I found one today on sale at Sports Authority. Combined with a coupon from CJ and a gift card from the Chens and I practically got it for nothing. Score one for the good guys. Now I just have to get a reel for it and wait for the lakes to melt to try it out.

A Joke by Tocci: Did you hear about the boxer who ruined his own bachelor party? He misunderstood when a stripper asked for a body shot.

It's a bit linky out there. Wear a jacket.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009 05:25:32 PM
Mood: Happy
Much Love for Double Bird Strike, Phelps & Bale

dblbirdstrikeThe NY Times picked up the story of my Double Bird Strike game today and posted an article online with links and everything. It will be in the printed paper tomorrow. A few minutes after the article was published, WCBS 880 radio called me to record a phone interview. How cool is that? They even linked to the game from their "mentioned on air" page on their website. Here's the audio clip. To me, it sounds like my voice was hijacked by a stuttering little girl.

I think I need to practice being interviewed. They only use maybe 5% of what you say, and they try to pick the juiciest stuff without including the reporter's questions which frame the responses. I can't blame them, but it sucks for me because I tend to explain myself after I say things, and those bits don't seem to make the cut. I guess if the interview is not live, it pays to stop and think for a few seconds before speaking to better phrase things. Next time...

Also in the news, and far more prominently, have been Michael Phelps and Christian Bale. Leave Michael Phelps alone. Poor guy can't even have a little fun at a college party without people flipping out on him. What else are you supposed to do with swimmer's lungs in the off season? That guy is definitely the most impressive pull in the cypher. Christian Bale, on the other hand, deserves all the crap he's getting for being a jag to the lighting guy on the Terminator set. That dude needs some anger management.

UPDATE (2/5): MSNBC picked it up now. The article seems to imply the game just came out, even though it was the first one published. And the description of the end screen is off, but hey, any press is good exposure and it's a really nice article. Also, if you have the NY Times today, check page A27 for the story.