Happy Halloween!


MUAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA! What's got crazy fangs and is terrifying? Besides that pumpkin?! That's right...A SHARK!


Ok, maybe not my particular shark costume. Actually looks kind of cuddly with those cardboard fangs now that I see it from the outside, but the kids liked it, especially one chubby little Spiderman™ who came to our door and exclaimed "YOU'RE A SHARK!", all excited-style. We gave out all our candy once again, so I consider this another Halloween success. AND (!) this makes 31 daily posts in a row for one whole MO of BLOPO. Tomorrow starts NaNoWriMo, which I may or may not be taking part in, I haven't decided yet. Have to sleep on it. With an extra hour to think about it.


P.S. If you want jack-o-lantern lighting tips involving no open flames (gale-force winds, anyone?) just let me know.


Happy All Hallows' Even Eve!

I have no grand plans for Halloween, but if the weather holds we should have children in the neighborhood and the dispensing of candy is what it's all about, right? I do have a costume idea that has percolated in the last 72 hours or so, but I'm not sure I can pull it together tomorrow. We'll see, and if I do, you'll see...


Something Scarry for Halloween

hangin' with Lowly, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.

Look, it's me and Lowly Worm hangin' in his Apple Car!

Golly I love Richard Scarry.



Tonight I had dinner with someone I've known since I was, um, 6 years old. Since 1979. Someone I've known for 30 years. The guy pictured with me above, who is this guy, actually. I'm not a name dropper (and the chances you know his name anyway are slim, unless you are into nerdcore and/or a rabid NPR listener) I just think it's cool that we have had sporadic run-ins and infrequent emails over the past, um, 18 years or so since high school, but then ACTUALLY ended up living about 30 miles away from each other, about 1,200 miles away from where we first met. And had dinner. At this place. Names were dropped all over that place, and a fine time was had by all.


What's your Frantasy?

What's your Frantasy?, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.

That is a frantastic license plate.


Must be fall...

The leaves in the trees are on fire...

...and the leaves on the ground are frozen.


Halloween Trial Run

Farmer Lex

Had a little party to attend this evening, so I pulled together The Farmer™. I think it worked, so it'll probably work next weekend.

Val had different inspiration for her costume...

...our little friend Stella!


Soda Pop

Lime Rickey

A strange institution in CT, and perhaps New England, seems to be small regional soda producers. Today we visited Avery's Beverages of New Britain.


Avery's celebrated their 100th anniversary in 2004, according to the banner outside the building, and from the looks of the operation, little has changed since their humble beginnings.

Avery's Beverages

Soda flavors are available in new or old bottles, and you can purchase mix-and-match singles, six-packs, or cases. We even scored a half-case price, which was slightly cheaper than the price of two six-packs.

Avery's Beverages

There are a few other Connecticut specific bottlers, but I'll have to report on them as I check them out. For now, Always Ask For Avery's.




OOPS, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.

Forgive me Nintendo...it has been 184 days since my last Wii Fit session.



BUCKLES! I love watching Project Runway, but I do occasionally get distracted.


Haven't kicked the tires yet...

...but here's a new "adventure" search engine to try out.


for finding events in an area near you!


For some reason...

...on October 1, 2009, someone or someweb or somebot posted a non-referencing link to this photo of mine on flickr.

Internet delivery truck - a series of tubes

It had 95 views that day for some reason. I took the picture in April of 2007, in honor of Senator Ted Stevens and his amazing internet speech against net neutrality where he insisted that the internet is "not a big truck" but it is a "series of tubes."

There was even a techno remix of highlights from his speech. Ah, that never gets old.

Anyway, mysterious non-links to my flickr images are mysterious...


Fall in Connecticut

the fallen, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.

As per usual (in my 3.8 years experience), fall has involved magnificent foliage, a bit of snow and sleet, cold, cold rain, and some beautiful blue sky days. We're hitting the critical weeks where the leaves will become extra-gorgeous and then drop en masse from the trees. Today was the first day that it really smelled like fall outside, with the slightest hint of "leaf rot" in the air, as the first of the fallen start to pile up in the streets and various outdoor corners.



Grandpaw Teddy

We paid a visit to Teddy at his temporary foster home, where he has settled in nicely, and relaxed enough for a polydactyl toe count.

Grandpaw Teddy

He's got paws like a yeti! Seven toes on each of the front paws and six on each of the rear. Thankfully he won't need them in the snow this year.

Grandpaw Teddy


Kittens are cute. Fact.


Kittens are crazy.


Kittens are sleepy.


Kittens are soft.

pretty kitty

and sometimes a mailbox is MORE than just a mailbox.

You call that a mailbox?

We volunteered for a local cat shelter event today, and we didn't come home with a single kitten. Addiction is hard, but there is hope.



Homeless Teddy came back! He actually was on our back porch the other morning, so I whisked him to the vet for a checkup. He wasn't thrilled to go, but he warmed right up to everyone once we got there.

The downside is that he turns out to be FIV positive, the feline equivalent of HIV, but has the potential to live out many happy healthy years as long as he is indoor-only and well cared for. Right now he is in foster care with a friend of ours, and has potential placement as a solo cat.


When life hands you Canadian cucumbers...

Hendrick's w/cucumber, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.

...make Hendrick's martinis!


Back from the dead!

Halloween is coming right up! Spooky! Scary! And resurrected from the brink of extinct!?!? It's...it's...





supersearedscallopstacker, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.

From the bottom up...
ciabatta slice
brie slice
seared scallop
roasted garlic


Huzzah! The photos return!

Figured out my lack of photos problem AND got a little film processed.

Mom on the Brooklyn Bridge

We had a great day yesterday, hitting O'Rourke's for breakfast and then heading down to NYC to visit the Brooklyn Bridge. Mom had mentioned it as a destination quite a while back and has probably watched the Ken Burns documentary a dozen times on PBS. I told her it was a two hour drive, and that was that. We drove down, drove across the bridge, then parked and walked across the bridge, had lunch, walked back across the bridge and got back in the car. It was crowded on the bridge, but a perfect fall day to be out on it.

All the pictures from Saturday and Sunday adventuring are now over on flickr, of course.



We have been entertaining my mother this weekend, and I think we have her sufficiently wowed. We started off simple with Take-Out-Thai-Thursday after picking her up at the airport, followed by Fiore Friday, which was fine Italian dining. Saturday, however, was FILLED TO THE GILLS with activity. We actually put her to work, digging holes and planting bulbs over on campus for an activity Val organized. We followed that up with picking up Bethany and heading to lunch at Abbott's Lobster in the Rough, after which we sped northward to Cato Corner Farms for some delicious cheeses, THEN even further north to UConn to see an exhibit of various art created by Swedish Women, and ICE CREAM at the UConn Dairy Bar. Home again, after dropping Bethany off and a view of the sunset from the beach. Leftovers and martinis with Julia Child. End Saturday Scene.

Umm, pictures soon, as soon as I can get them outta the camera.


Hooray! More sheep!

(Thanks to a new pogoplug software download, I have easy, reliable access to my external drive, and my Ireland videos, from anywhere I have internet access. Double HOORAY!!)


Fan base

NYC construction, originally uploaded by doctorhectic.

I have always enjoyed knowing that someone, somewhere has enjoyed seeing one of my photos, for whatever reason. I like it even better, I think, when it is a complete stranger. Someone I don't know just "favorited" this photo of mine today, and then when I clicked on the profile name, it turns out their entire photostream on flickr is construction equipment.

The first time this happened to me was way back, pre-blogger, pre-flickr, when I was keeping a simple HTML "online journal" on bitstream.net, and had posted an entry and a photo talking about how different areas of the country have different fire hydrants painted different ways, or even different names (fire plugs, anyone?) and someone contacted me via email saying something about how they enjoyed the post and the photo and were a fire plug fan in general. Somewhere I have that email (and my whole website) archived away, which I would have done anyway, but things like that from random strangers make it mean more as a shared experience, the creation and the consumption, so much more interesting to post, to blog, to share photos and ideas and even to possibly start and continue conversations and relationships that are as real as people I've known forever.

I don't care why you blog, but I know why I do.

It feels great.


Mom's in town

So what do we do? The only real plans have to do with food and foliage, not necessarily together or in that order. Tomorrow is supposed to be a bit drizzly, but other than that it looks like a nice weekend for her visit.

I was hoping to add another Irish video but my spare drive is not cooperating. Anyone else had issues with Western Digital drives not showing up on their Mac desktop? This seems to keep happening with this particular drive. Sigh. Sheep will have to wait.

More updates and photos as the weekend progresses.


I <3 google

Today in 1952, Norman Woodland and Bernard Silver were granted the first patent for the invention of the original bar code.


I was attempting...

...to upload a video of Val herding sheep in Ireland, but as blogger is not cooperating, or at least never completing my upload, I have to post this placeholder apology.

As the saying goes, "Math is hard."

This is a test...

of the video to blog posting system. This is only a test...

(Val at the internationally less well-known "Running of the Lambs" in Ireland. Also, thanks to flickr for upload of video when blogger let me down.)


Stray Cat Strut

As happens from time to time, and time again, we have taken an interest in one of the more unfortunate looking stray cats in the neighborhood. At least this one gets an "A+ for attitude", unlike the last one we took in.

"Grandpa" Teddy!

I was calling him "Grandpa" because before he warmed up to us a bit he looked quite old. That was before we got anywhere near him and saw that he probably wasn't that old, just a decidedly homeless cat WITH TOO MANY TOES!!!

"Grandpa" Teddy!

He has probably six or seven toes on each of his front paws, which make them look a lot like mittens. I saw him around last winter, walking across snowbanks with his giant paws, like, no problem. He is incredibly sweet and often very hungry.

"Grandpa" Teddy!

Val has started calling him "Teddy", after Kennedy or Roosevelt I'm not quite sure, but I think I'll just start calling him "Grandpaws". We're going to try to get him in to see the vet one of these days, and then see if we can get him cleaned up and in to somebody's house before winter strikes again.


Good weekend

Watching Julia Child talk about potatoes reallyreallyreally makes one want to eat potatoes.

potato pancake

Shredded potatoes mixed with 4oz. cream cheese, one egg, some diced cheese, and a splash of cream. It might not look like much, but once it finally sets up and you flip it over, like hashbrowns, it's delicious.

Our rainy Saturday evening was spent watching highlights from the first season of The French Chef with Julia Child on DVD. Fascinating, and shocking how every cooking show ever since relies so heavily on the same format. More food please!

gourd decor

Sunday we had a brunch date with Heather at Rose's Berry Farm, after which we stopped at The Old Cider Mill in Glastonbury. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, the DONUT ROBOT (Mark II)!

The Donut Robot!!!

They had cider, but they also had a tiny shack in the back that was busy producing apple cider donuts, pumpkin donuts, and what they called apple fritters, but what looked like this...

apple fritters

Delicious, but not the apple fritters I grew up with. There were also baby chicks and chickens, and goats as cute as puppies! I kid you not!


Well, maybe not as cute as puppies, but pretty cute for a goat. There was also some other equipment besides the Donut Robot (Mark II), so we had to take the tractor photo op.


Val & the tractor

Bethany was a good sport about it, but she was also holding all the bounty of the mill, which we were all pretty excited about.

Bethany's got the goods!

We ended up with some sweet sweets and a perfect afternoon in Connecticut. Thanks Old Cider Mill!

Old Cider Mill

On our way home we explored a bit and located the former brownstone quarry in Portland that has been turned into the Brownstone Water Park. This is but one small section.


According to Val the Public Historian/Librarian, this quarry was internationally "known for it's stone" back when brownstone was all the rage for building fireproof buildings. Many of the Boston and New York brownstones were sourced from here, and even the James Flood Mansion on Nob Hill in San Francisco came from right here in Portland, Connecticut. That dude was rich.


As promised...

Some Harry Potter character actors in other outstanding roles!

Hagrid = Fitz in the BBC series Cracker

Moaning Myrtle = Isobel Sutherland in the BBC Scotland series Hamish Macbeth

Hagrid/Fitz is Robbie Coltrane in real life, and Myrtle/Isobel is Shirley Henderson.

More later!



Just a quick last-minute post to share with you the brilliance that is the crime series "Wire in the Blood", available both in book and video form, and now streaming via Netflix. A bit gory at times, perhaps, but a great Brit drama with cops and criminals and profiling and the like. Check it out if you're into that kind of thing.

Coming up next, things from the UK that I've been watching that have actors from the Harry Potter franchise in them! Hagrid! Moaning Myrtle! The list goes on!



I missed a day last month in my attempt to post every day, so new month, clean slate, here we go again.

Ooh, Heidi just compared an element of a design to a lobster bib.

Hard to stay focused lately. At work, at home, during blog posts...I have always had an interest but not the dedication to stick to a meditation schedule, in order to empty my mind, in order to sharpen my focus. I intend to stick to it this month, in various ways, and I will blog about it, mostly for my own recollection, which is primarily what I started this blog for, lo, these many years ago. Also to share my trials, tribulations and triumphs with friends and family far and near, but mostly to help me remember what happened, when.

Well, goodnight. Time to meditate.