The foliage is coming, the foliage is coming!

I love fall, and I'm glad it is here, but I really, really, REALLY love that this map includes the word patchy, which I believe is only ever used to describe fog.



Is it wrong...

...that watching the National Parks on PBS just makes me want to buy a helicopter?

(Don't get me wrong, I enjoy watching Ken Burns films, but I also like trying to identify the voice talent used. Tom Hanks, Sam Waterston, Tom Bodett, etc. in the last few evenings...)


My people are Nordic...

Hmm...not a single t-shirt sale yet. Must be the lousy design. Maybe I'll just put a picture of this on a shirt with the "My people are Nordic" tagline.


SALMON, one of my favorite foodstuffs, is also one of the easiest fish to prepare, and I think we all agree, one of the most delicious. This fine specimen was seasoned ever so sparingly with salt, olive oil and dried dill, and left under the broiler for 10 minutes. It was then flipped, automagicaly removing the skin, and returned to the firey flames of the broiler for 5 more minutes. Before this all began I had been boiling baby red potatoes for 10 minutes or so. So nice. The salmon holds up well to broiling/grilling, with or without marinade/seasoning, but is also tasty baked at lower heat, and even, believe it or not, boiled, which we like to call poached. For some reason "poached" sounds better than "boiled" when you're talking about fish. To poach, which might just be the easiest technique, place fillet in a pot, add poaching liquid (I use W-A-T-E-R) just to cover, and apply high heat on the stove top. Pay attention, and when the liquid begins to boil, remove the heat and start a timer for 10 minutes or so. After ten minutes, drain the pot and you have some tasty boiled poached salmon. Some of the fat will boil into what looks like sea foam (or maybe worse?) but it can just be blotted away with a paper towel, or you can rinse the fillet after cooking. Serve warm, or better yet, chill and serve the next morning with bagels and cream cheese. Beware of cats.

cats want salmon



This fix does not inspire confidence in the utilities of New Haven.

messy 11

The pole is attached to an adjacent pole, but then "leveled" with some additional bits of wood...

messy 6

Clearly, this is a busy junction, and there are obvious signs that the work has been done recently, and perhaps as a temporary fix, but it sure looks bad.

messy 2

I'll drive by again in the near future to see if anything has improved.



We went to Ikea. We went through Ikea. We got to the warehouey section before the checkout, and noticed the big ass fans up on the ceiling!

Big Ass Fans in Ikea

I stopped to take a picture while noticing what big ass fans they were!

Big Ass Fan in Ikea

Upon even closer inspection of the big ass fans, I noticed that they were, in fact, Big Ass Fans®

Big Ass Fan in Ikea



Minor pallirondack chair update

Primered Pallirondack

Just completed the primer coat for the main chair. This weekend I will figure out the arms and start the final painting phase. I hope to have this project done before it snows, but If not, I will sit in the chair in the snow, I promise.


It's time...

...to revisit a specific book sale treasure!

Library Exhibits

You may recall bulletin boards from your school years, in classrooms, in hallways, and in the library. This book is specifically about library displays, both in schools and public, or even private libraries.

Baseball For Boys

In addition to examples of display boards, there is information about lighting, spacing and materials and techniques. Including "LIGHT DISTRIBUTION ON A VERTICAL SURFACE."

angle of light


spot vs. flood

Also, ideas for seasonal favorites such as SEED CATALOG TIME!

Seed Catalog Time!

And who could forget NATIONAL NEWSPAPER WEEK? Coming right up in October!

National Newspaper Week



Vikings in the grocery store

I stopped by the Stop and Shop on my way home for quesadilla supplies, and I ran into these two fellows.

Playmobil Vikings

Playmobil Vikings

Let's call them Dørg Hårmënskjarn and Svëntil Jørmgrüns, respectively. They come two to a package and in case you didn't recognize underneath all that regalia, they are made by the Playmobil toy company.

Playmobil Vikings

I grew up with Playmobil, and along with Lego sets and Fisher Price Adventure People, they were some of my favorite toys, often all at the same time, with buildings made out of Legos for the Playmobil and Fisher Price people to live in.

They are still some of the best made plastic toys in my opinion, and I just noticed that even though they all retain the same classic Playmobil faces underneath all their costuming, it does appear that Dørg could stand to lose a little weight, at least based on Svëntil's slim and trim figure...

Playmobil Vikings

That's right, Fatmobil. I guess in 1986 (thanks internet!) they added new molds to offer larger and smaller body types, besides the adult and child sizes of figures.

I'm glad Playmobil is still going strong, and still offering interesting sets. The little catalog that came with Misters Hårmënskjarn and Jørmgrüns shows an ancient Egypt series of playsets including an entire pyramid set. I also appreciate that they offer amazing sets that are just about modern everyday life. Like when your crazy cat lady wife complains that you didn't grill enough hot dogs to feed all the kittens...




This bridge that I drive under nearly every weekday has had some strange "repairs" done to it...


The support structures all seem to have been patched with very rectangular patches for some reason. My pictures aren't very good, but one of these jammy, trafficy, rush-hour mornings I'll roll by nice and slow and you'll see the crazy shapes. If you look at the far end of this one, you'll get the idea.


I like the way they look, but I'm not sure why they're there, or why the whole pillar structure wasn't just resurfaced entirely. Mysterious.


Another day, another hopper...


This weekend was all about the backyard campfires, which I'm not sure can be called campfires. Back-fires, maybe? I was invited to a nice little gathering for Saturday night, which I believe was referred to as the burning, a much smaller gathering than the Friday night hotdogs&beer&carnivorousplants festival, but besides The Burning™ it also involved Jiffy-Pop popcorn and full-size smores, which I now believe to be essential back-fire activities.

The weather has been perfect, warm and sunny days followed by crisp and clear nights. This has meant a dramatic decrease in mosquitos, and a rise in the appearance of more interesting insects. Or maybe I'm just noticing more of them because I find them more interesting. Either way, this fine specimen of grasshopper has been on the front window at work lately, sunning in the afternoon.


The window is particularly great if, like me, you are intrigued by how these things are "put together", as you can see the critter from all sides.



Much respect, glasshopper.


Sunday self-portrait

Press button to Alex

One from the archives, this time I even know where I was...Baltimore. After watching all of the episodes of The Wire recently, I have a renewed respect for the place, knowing that it's not all as awful as the series portrayed it. I'm sure it can be that bad, but the whole city isn't like that. It just couldn't be, right?



whoops, missed one...

A busy day shouldn't keep me from posting, but social life trumps blog, I'm afraid.


OJ, (of A DONG fame) had some folks over after work yesterday for a backyard campfire. Hot dogs, snacks and beer all included. Also, X-Files style lighting effects.


It was a beautiful evening, with an interesting cross-section of personalities from OJ's social circles. Also, Olivia's carnivorous plant collection.


There was plenty of great food and drink, but I didn't quite have time to assemble the teeny-tiny ingredients I brought for teeny-tiny dessert. I did re-create the scene this morning, for your viewing pleasure.

mini smores

Them there are some micro-mini smores and them there micro-mini-smores are tricky to put together, or at least I haven't figured out the best method yet. I did try a few minutes in the toaster oven, and it did add the right color and flavor to the marshmallows, but they are notoriously hard to control.

mini smoresplosion

Clearly, more R & D is required.


IRELAND: Connecticut edition

Old Dublin Pub

I do have more Ireland pictures and tales to tell, but tonight I was invited to a birthday gathering at the Old Dublin Pub, right here in Wallingford, CT. Thursday also happens to be the traditional Irish music night and is an open session for musicians.

Old Dublin Pub

The music was an added bonus, and they were even kind enough to play Happy Birthday when the cake came out.

Josh and his cake

The cake, by the way, was homemade by Josh's girlfriend Jenny, and was peanut butter with icing and a layer of fondant with stars. Also, it was amazing.

Josh's PB cake, by Jenny

The session was busy, with at least a dozen different players over the course of the evening, including more than one pennywhistler.

Old Dublin Pub

Old Dublin Pub

That's Old Dublin Pub owner Paul Pender, jammin' on the whistle and running the session in that last pic. Awesome.


Still lost

I ordered a GPS unit on Friday and received it today, but it doesn't seem to be able to find any satellite signals. Lame, not unlike this post complaining about it. I'll try it again tomorrow, and then probably send it back for a replacement.

Other than that, I have yet another weekend to myself as Val is off to NC and I am unable to attend. I was hoping to get lost with my new GPS, but I don't think that will work, so maybe I'll just get lost old fashioned style like I usually do.

On a vaguely related note, here is a blog about strange maps that I enjoy...



tending to craze

Stuck on Mad Men, Netflixing and watching online, struck by a season two line from Betsy Draper. Accused of being "profoundly sad" she replies

"No – it's just my people are Nordic."

Inspired, I turn to t-shirts. This is deserving of a finer design than I have time for this evening, but wanting to set, um, inkjet to cotton(?), I added a cafepress.com store to my roster:


If you're of the Nordic persuasion, and if you'd wear a shirt "explaining" your disposition, GET A SHIRT! Or wait until I have a finer design worked out. Right now it's all about the idea...

(Also, if you like cameras, or motorcycles, or maybe even d.h.w.e., I also have shirts for you. I mean, mostly for me, but also for you.)


Pallirondack update

I'm not sure which Phase I'm on at this point, but progress is still being made, even though things are still a bit rough around the edges, the planning has paid off.

To see the chair, be the chair...

test drive

this project has legs,


and a backbone...


why, it's practically a chair already!


Here, I'll prove it...

hey, look, it's kinda a chair!

Next Phase...ARMS!


Adventures in West Hartford.

There was something for everyone at the book sale. Books to kill your coffee table, for example.

them's big books

From the book sale, we headed to West Hartford with Jesse and Olivia, specifically to visit the largest Asian supermarket in the area, A-DONG!


We started with a late lunch at Pho Boston, which is a few doors down from A DONG, and right next to a Salvation Army Thrift store. Is it the perfect strip mall, you ask? Perhaps.

Pho Boston

I had the chicken pho, but it was still the standard beef-based broth, and it was delicious. We went next door to the thrift store for a while, and then headed to the supermarket.


There were the usual items, but amazing quantities of them, and so much more.

words fail me



Val found this gem in the kitchen items. Now I am a rich man.


Clean and Handy

If we know two things about bird mouths, we know they are clean and handy.

Toothpick Bird!

THANKS OJ! We'll have to go again sometime.