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Wednesday, June 04, 2008 03:48:04 PM
Mood: Content
First Anniversary, Big Bass

mosaicJenny and I have been happily married for a whole year now. Time flies. I can clearly remember standing on the beach in Hawaii saying our I do's. I made the mosaic here on the computer from a selection of our wedding photos for Jenny's anniversary card. If you put your mouse over it you can see the original. It clicks through to a large version where you can see the pictures in the individual tiles.

Tocci Ponders: If you fold a fancy piece of writing paper into a paper airplane and it flies across the room, is it still stationary?

big bassI've been trying to get out on the boat at least once a week and so far I haven't been skunked yet. In fact, a week and a half ago I caught a 5 1/2 pound bass! That pretty much made my year. I actually got her to bite twice. The first time I barely hooked her on a senko but she put shook her softball sized head out of the water and got off. She was under a bridge by a drain pipe so I figured she was still relating to that area. I tried tempting her with other senkos after that but she wanted no part of them. Eventually I flipped in a jig and chunk trailer and got a reaction strike out of her. She couldn't throw the hook that time and before I knew it I had a monster in my hand. I was alone at the time but there was a guy fishing from land nearby so in my excitement I popped the trolling motor into high gear and dragged my anchor over to the bank. Hey, I only have two hands. He was nice enough to snap a couple photos for me with my camera. Then I let her go and she swam back to her little nook under the bridge to get even bigger.

Tocci Ponders: How does my credit card company know that I have outstanding balance? Would they know if I tipped over a lot?

This blog entry will self destruct. Go go gadget links!

Friday, May 09, 2008 11:28:33 PM
Mood: Happy
A Country Adventure

Roselawn HouseJenny and I left last Friday for a long weekend in Keysville, Virginia at the Roselawn Bed & Breakfast, a beautiful house and property owned and operated by my Uncle Paul, Aunt Sherry, and cousin Kiara Robleto. The place is gorgeous and we had a great time outside in the country on our eventful but relaxing mini-vacation. Here are some highlights.

Prior to our arrival, the Robletos rescued three kittens which they found abandoned in the enclosure with their goats and chickens. We spent our first night hanging out on the porch playing with them. Brother and Sister The female was already spoken for when we arrived, so she spent the whole weekend with us waiting to be picked up, but the other two needed homes so we set out for a nearby festival with a little "free kittens" sign. Within 10 minutes of getting there, we were already getting in trouble for the sign and for having pets on the premises, but we also had already found homes for both of the little boys so it didn't matter.

Tocci Ponders: During our trip, we went antique shopping and visited a gift shop or two. But what exactly is a gift shop? Any shop that sells things can be a gift shop if you think about it. By identifying the items as solely gifts they're really saying, "Here's a bunch of stuff that you don't want, but maybe you think someone else might want to throw out in a few years."

In an unexpected turn of events, my truck started making a thumping sound like all the wheels were out of balance on the way down about an hour from the B&B. It turned out that a bushing in the drive shaft went bad and the whole drive shaft had to be replaced. Luckily the only car dealer within 20 miles or so was a Ford dealer and it was a warranty repair. Unfortunately I was left without a vehicle for a couple days until I rented a ford focus (which I dubbed our "dream boat"). Paul and Sherry were having some car trouble too, so consequently we each got the chance to ride in the back of their pickup truck! I don't think a true southern experience is complete without drinking beer in the back of a moving pickup truck.

Tocci Ponders: Why do so many sentences in the South end with the word "now"? "Y'all had enough to eat now?" "You take care now." "Are these kittens free now?"

Kiara and Jenny BoatingThe weather was great for our entire trip. We spent a lot of time outside on the porch and playing with the local kids in the grass. On Sunday we visited Sherry's mother Marion, who lives in an even more rural area with her own private pond and four wheelers on her 40 acres of property. What a great day! I caught more bass than I could count. Jenny landed the biggest fish of the day, weighing in at about three pounds.

More photos on flickr.

The invisible link list:

Tuesday, April 29, 2008 01:23:23 AM
Mood: Happy
WWE Monday Night Raw

us at WWE RawWe went to see WWE Monday Night Raw tonight! It was a really cool experience and Jenny and I had a lot of fun. The photo here is a shot from USA's broadcast at around the 2 hour mark, just before Triple H superplexes Randy Orton from the ropes in the WWE Championship match at the end of the episode. In the storyline, the general manager and newly crowned King of the Ring William Regal felt disrespected by the fans, so he went to the show's control room and took the broadcast off the air before the conclusion of the match, leaving the people at home hanging. Watching the show back at home on my DVR, it seemed like the match continued in the arena, but it didn't. Regal came out to the stage and announced to all of us that he was ending the match without a winner. Triple H didn't like that too much, so he went after Randy Orton anyway and gave him his finisher, the Pedigree. Then there was much rejoicing.

Monday, April 28, 2008 04:53:35 AM
Mood: Excited
A Blogworthy Month

So many blogworthy things have happened in the past month. If I had stayed on top of my blog, they might have each received their own entries. But alas, I am not a consistent blogger, or maybe just busy... or lazy... or easily distracted. Let's just call it a combination of the aforementioned excuses.

Tocci Ponders: What does the expression "dirt cheap" really mean? Virtually anything is cheaper than dirt if you're talking about enough dirt.

A month in a nutshell:

  • I installed a cargo net in my Edge. I'm not sure how the Ford engineers expected people to deal with their groceries rolling around the cargo area, but my solution involved a drill, some heavy duty picture hangers, nuts, bolts, and a Ford cargo net from the Escape. The end result looks nice, as if it came with the Edge.
  • For Christmas my father got me a fish finder for my boat, so we recently did a little boat maintenance and installed it. I ordered a removable mount for the transducer, wired the unit it up with a fuse to the marine battery with some clips, and made a mount for the display. My dad helped me with some of the drilling, sealing the wood, installing a new mounting board, etc.
  • fios before and after We got FIOS! I got sick and tired of my unreliable Internet and cable connection from Time Warner. After some research, I determined we could get FIOS Internet, TV, and phone and save us some money each month. The phone sounds great, the TV has a more channels, and our Internet download speed is twice as fast (ten times as fast for uploads). Installation was a bit of a nightmare, and of course there are always minor annoyances (mostly with the channel guide) but overall I'm much happier with our connectivity now. The animated gif here was made from screenshots of the speed test at
  • Dave's daughter Myla had her first birthday (or technically her second if you count the day she was born). She's adorable, and her parents threw her a really nice party. I challenged her little cousin to a hula hoop competition and lost. It wasn't fair though, because the hoop wasn't much bigger than my waist. (It's a little known fact that I'm a multi-time Field Day hula hooping champion from my elementary school days.) Afterwards, we visited Dave's mother Adele's new house, which was probably the nicest house I've ever seen. She lives nextdoor to some Met named Carlos who is apparently a big deal if you're a baseball fan.
  • My mother came up for a visit. We did the flea market thing and for $35 I bought a nice new fishing rod and reel... or so I thought. I snapped the rod in half the first time I used it. The reel still seems really nice though.
  • I had my boys over for a little UFC party and we watched the unstoppable George St. Pierre win his title back from Matt Serra at UFC 83. Jenny made some bangin' ribs and we had a great time watching the fights.
  • Bigger BassI went fishing twice so far. I wish I could go every day but if I can make it out there once a week I'll be thrilled. So far the trips have been pretty successful. The first time out my father and I both had a few bites and caught a couple fish. The second time I caught six pickerel on five different lures, which was pretty amazing.
  • We visited Mark and Lauren at their brand new apartment in New York City, so congratulations to them. Since it was a nice day, we walked around central park for a while and saw Stanley Tucci leaving the Central Park Zoo.

Tocci Ponders: I often hear the colorful expression "I have to pee like a racehorse", but do racehorses really have to pee any worse than other animals? Maybe that's why they run so fast. They're trying to find a bathroom.

Tocci Ponders: "Stranger" is a terrible word to describe someone you don't know. How anti-social. Way to make a judgment before meeting someone... How do you know they're stranger than you? Maybe they're just like you. But I guess calling them "maybe-just-like-me's" would take too much time.

And the month is not over quite yet. In other exciting news...

  • Mario Kart for the Wii is out! I preordered mine so I'm expecting it in the mail any day now. I can't wait! It has online multi-player battle!
  • Last but certainly not least, we're going to see WWE Raw! Anyone who knows me knows I'm a huge WWE fan. Well my favorite wrestling show, Raw, is coming to our neck of the woods and my wonderful wife surprised me with tickets. I'm stoked!

Wow, I'm using a lot of exclamation points. Life must be good. :-)

Tocci Ponders: Today in the mall we saw a watch stand named "Timeless". Isn't that a bad name for a stand that sells watches? It would seem to mean they're out of inventory.

Just one link per week covered this time:

Thursday, March 27, 2008 06:18:01 PM
Mood: Amused
The Wii Has Come Home, Asian Easter Encounter, Edge Modification, etc.

Recently I had to send my Wii in for a warranty repair because of a known problem with some consoles playing the new dual layer game discs. Nintendo, being a stand-up company, offered a free repair service so I took advantage of it, but not without due caution. You see, due to the nature of my site, it is very important that my Wii address book and ID numbers associated with my console are not changed. Those numbers represent over a year of contacts and mii creations, and losing them would be disastrous for me. So, before sending in my Wii for service, I spoke to Nintendo's 800 support and they reassured me that those numbers would not be altered. I even taped a note to the console when I sent it in reminding them of this promise and asking them to do whatever they can to prevent those numbers from changing. Today, I got my console back and hastily opened the box. Inside was a couple sheets of paper entitled "post wii repair instructions" with a list of possible instructions depending on the nature of your repair. The one checked of for my particular case said, among other things, "Your system has a new Wii number." NOOOO!!! That sucks! Do they have any idea how much work it's going to take to get back to where I was? Didn't they see my note? Of course they did, because it's still taped to the freakin' console! I was in denial and decided to hook up my Wii to my TV before flipping out. I turned it on... and... all was well! The number hadn't changed. In fact, the only thing that changed was the system time, and that's easy to fix. Very funny, Nintendo repairs. You got me.

Random Thought: Whenever someone describes a situation as their "worst nightmare", they're really just admitting that they are terribly unimaginative while sleeping.

Here's another little story. This past Sunday we took Jenny's parents out for dim sum for their birthdays which are two days apart, and then went to Easter dinner at my Aunt Annie's house. Yeah, that's a lot of eating, but that's not the point of my story. After dinner we had some time and I had recently discovered a new Asian supermarket nearby so we decided to stop in and check it out. My dad wanted to pick up some sriracha hot sauce so we started walking past each aisle checking the hanging signs for something that said "sauces" or "spices" or something to that effect. asian foodsI passed the sign you see pictured here and it made me smile. I got about one more aisle down and I giggled. Then before I was two aisles away I had turned around to take a picture.

So there I was, giggling with my camera phone in hand pointed at the sign when this older Chinese woman passed by with her shopping cart and slowed down. She looked at me, then at the sign, and then back at me like I was crazy, or stupid, or racist, or maybe a little bit of each.

"It's just so funny!" I said.

"What's funny?" she inquired.

"The sign says 'Asian foods'," I replied, expecting her to see the humor.


"This whole place is Asian foods! So what's in this aisle?"

"Chinese things," she said in an apparent huff. "You know, it's a five thousand year old country..."

Before she could give rattle off some rehearsed history lesson for the ignorant I quickly replied, "Yes, I know. My wife is Chinese."

"Oh!" she said, apparently a little surprised and maybe a little disappointed that she couldn't lecture some random bigot. "OK"

And then she gave a half-hearted smile and walked away.

I later tracked down Jenny who was buying some pork buns and told her the story, and we both had a pretty good laugh at the photo.

Tocci Ponders: Why is it that when you're shopping for a greeting card and browsing the wall of selections you can never find the slot where the card in your hand came from? It's not like you moved since you pulled it from the wall, so the rest of its friends have to be there somewhere. Maybe there are little trap doors under each set of cards and when you're reading one some guy inside the display swaps the stack out for another one, and then laughs as you search for where it came from.

Lately a lot of my time has been spent doing freelance work for a gaming website. Much of the work revolves around a new game called Blast Works. I haven't gotten to play it yet, but it looks pretty cool from my end.

Tocci Ponders: Sending a text message via mobile phone is commonly called texting. Yes, "text" is now a noun and a verb. So what's the past tense? Texted? Text? I usually cop out and say "sent a text".

edge storageIn Ford Edge news, I was not fortunate enough to get the "cargo management" rear storage solution when the dealer located a vehicle for me. (There's a $65 option to get these two wells back there that can hold useful stuff like an umbrella, bungee cords, etc.) Instead, mine came with these big black styrofoam things around the spare tire which do little more than support the rear floor and waste space. I figured I could always add the cargo management stuff later so I wasn't too concerned. Much to my chagrin, I discovered that it costs over $400 in parts to add the option after taking delivery. What a joke! So instead, I used spent part of the time that Jenny was away on business to turn our kitchen into an aftermarket car shop and make my own solution by cutting away some of the honeycomb structure of the styrofoam inserts. I got the idea from a post on a ford edge forum, and I must say it was a brilliant. It came out great!

Why do they call Kraft Macaroni and Cheese "Kraft Macaroni and Cheese Dinner" on the box? I didn't know I wasn't supposed to eat it for lunch. I was some rebel in college...

WrestleMania is this weekend so if you're a wrestling fan make your predictions at WrestlingOracle before it's too late!

Link addiction is a dangerous thing. It all starts with just one link. Then you just have to have another... and another...

  • Awareness Test - This thing blew my mind. Thanks, Forrest.
  • Cooking with Coolio - In case you were wondering what the man who sings Gangsta's Paradise was doing these days. You just can't make this stuff up. Thanks, Nong.
  • Dice Stacking - This is probably the product of some imaginative kid who got Yahtzee for his birthday instead of a video game console.
  • Partial Face Transplants - Some of these pics are crazy!