They can charge money for that? Pt 2

Seen at the local PETCOPetmate® Cat Crazies®:

Cat Crazies

“Cats go CRAZY over these specially designed toys!” If only the inventor of the cap on plastic milk cartons thought of this. My step-dad walks into 7-11 in the morning and gets a dozen of these for free.

But cats do go crazy for them. Both of my cats fetch the milk-cap rings. Indy or Jinx will come up to either Katherine or me and drop one by our feet. Then he or she will meow until we throw it. Then he or she will chase it and bring it back, until the other one gets involved, and then it’s no fun anymore.

In a pinch, the ring left from unsealing a vitamin bottle will work too, but those are a stiffer plastic and subject to quicker destruction via kitty teeth. It isn’t pretty. But it sure is cheap.

A quick summary

So Katherine and I married last Friday, October 19. Everything went great, except for the weather, but we managed. Here’s a quick rundown of things that I’d like to note:

  • I started the day very stressed. I wasn’t so much worried about getting married, as I was about the actual process. We heard that the weather was going to get really bad, which it eventually did, but even before that, when I was waiting at the apartment for Katherine to return from the hairdressers (we saw each other before the ceremony), and the videographers were already there, along with the makeup artist, our power went out. For a minute or two, I thought Katherine had run away, and that everything was going to fall apart. When Katherine came back, she was smiling, and said everything was going to be fine, and 90% of my stress fell away. I was still too nervous about other things going wrong, which didn’t go away until the ceremony, but I felt much better once I saw her.

  • Ironically, Katherine had, very early on, put the kibosh on not seeing each other before the ceremony, because she thought that she’d be too stressed out without me there. Turns out, I needed to see her. Still, (advice to prospective brides and grooms) ditch the unnecessary separation before the ceremony. Dancing Queen!


  • Wild Rose Video. Excellent. We were hesitant to get a video of the wedding. We’ve never been too impressed with the final result, but at the same time, we didn’t want to miss all the stuff that the couple does miss at their own wedding. We went to see Wild Rose and they’re product is simply wonderful. They had Katherine tearing up at total stranger’s wedding videos. The folks there, including the videographers, have been wonderful to deal with. Pete, the videographer, who spent the entire reception with us, was friendly and helpful. We highly recommend them.

  • North Island Photography. So far, so good. Michael, the photographer, was great, and very relaxed. Of course, the proof is in the proofs, so to speak, which we will get to see when we return from our honeymoon. His gallery and samples are fantastic, so we’re really excited to see what he’s done. I look like a goof-ball in about 3/4 of all photographs, so if I look like one only 50% of the time, than Michael is the genius that we thought he was when we booked him.

  • Flowerfield. We had a great cocktail hour and reception. The food was amazing, and they set up the cocktail hour with pumpkins and other fall flourishes that simply complemented our wedding theme without us ever asking for it. Andy, our Maitre’d, and Joette, the bridal attendant, were out of this world. They were fixing things before we knew that they needed fixing. We’re sure the rest service was great, but, honestly, we only ever had to deal with Andy and Joette. They were constantly by our sides.

  • Audrey’s Bakery. Our cake was gorgeous and tasted great.

  • Long Island Sound. Great work by the MC, Andy, and the DJ crew. We got complements on the DJ throughout the evening. MC Andy kept the crowd going, without badgering them. Our last song was “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” by Simple Minds, from the movie, The Breakfast Club. As it played, Andy spoke the soliloquy that was read by Anthony Michael Hall at the end of the movie. Great stuff. Highly recommended.

  • Stacey, Katherine’s makeup artist was very nice, and very patient, since we lost power when she came over. Katherine is always beautiful to me, but Katherine, herself, was very impressed with Stacey’s work. A plus: There wasn’t a ton of makeup to make Katherine feel like clay was applied to her face.

  • There was a problem with the wedding dress, which was not taken care of by the store where we purchased it. That is a note for another time.

  • We have a bunch of photos from our guests at our wedding page.

  • There are thank-yous that I wanted to specifically point out. Mom and Steve and Katherine’s parents–thank you for all your help. Thanks to Deb and Karen for the amazing flowers and centerpieces. How many groomsmen get complimented on their boutonnieres? Thank you to Rich and Melissa for your design advice and help in getting the invites and various printed materials out. Thank you to my Uncle Frank for the hotel accommodations and setting up the wonderful brunch the next day. Thank you to Michele and Aunt Joyce for readings, and again, with Jennifer and Danielle, for setting up the shower. Thank you to all our generous and wonderful friends and family for making the wedding a tremendously enjoyable time for us.

I know there is more I want to point out, but we’re off to Aruba for a few days. We’re staying at the Bucuti resort on the west side of the island. We’ll try to get some photos up from there, too. But for now: Sorry, ladies, he’s married!

Notes from the field

At 11:52 p.m., on Monday, September 24, 2007, a Suffolk Police officer from the second precinct, driving in Car 205 turned on his lights to run the intersection of Commack Road and Jericho Turnpike. He’d been sitting at the light for a few seconds, when I pulled up. He was in the left turning lane, and was clearly chomping at the bit to run this light. The problem? Besides me, there were cars across and perpendicular from him. He kept creeping forward trying to trigger the sensor, but that particular light takes a full minute to turn, no matter what the traffic conditions are.

When Car 205 finally went through, he turned west in front of eastbound oncoming traffic. He didn’t use his siren, just his lights, and promptly turned them off when he made the turn.

Since I got a ticket for turning right on red at that very same intersection in February, I’m gonna report this one, and, of course, post it on the net. I don’t really see why traffic cops shouldn’t follow the same law as everyone else. A few weeks ago, I was about 2 minutes away from witnessing a horrible accident, which highlights how dangerous it is to blow through red lights. And in that incident, the officer was actually pursuing someone, not just feeling inconvenienced by a long traffic light.

Impulsive at Starbucks

I have to make a promise to never walk into a Starbucks alone. When I go in with other people, I’m all business. Let’s get our fruity coffees and leave. Don’t buy the muffins. Don’t buy the mugs. And especially don’t buy the overpriced albums.

But when I’m by myself, I’m much more relaxed. And impulsive. There I am buying my iced coffee, when I see an album called Hail, Brtiannia: The British Invasion 1964–1969. It’s a collection of a bunch of singles of bands like The Kinks and Traffic. It even has a wonderful instrumental from a way-pre-Stevie-Nicks Fleetwood Mac. It was too hard to resist. I mean it was only $14. If I purchased the 16 tracks from iTunes, it would have cost over $15. But I probably wouldn’t have purchased the Lulu track, or the worst Dusty Springfield song, “Wishin’ and Hopin’.”

Seriously, that song sucks. It’s catchy, because it’s written by Burt Bacharach, who writes very catchy but really crappy songs. There I said it. The worst song on The White Stripes Elephant is the one written by Bacharach, “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself.” Of course, when I hear the song, I keep singing it in my head for a day or two. I can hum it now, while listening to something else. And Dusty Springfield’s incredible voice is totally wasted on that damned song. Grumble, grumble.

Anyway, besides “Wishin’ and Hopin'” and “To Sir with Love,” the songs on the album are pretty good and paint a nice picture of what must have been an incredible time to listen to pop music. I had to buy it. And right next to it was a Thelonious Monk compilation. So help me, I’ll never walk into a Starbucks alone again.

On the chalk board at Starbucks, they had a question of the week: “What fruit has the most fat per serving?” I had an answer right away, because I think it’s the only fruit with fat. Every other oily vegetable is either a nut or a seed. What do you think it is?


Steve Jobs just put out an open letter laying out the plans for Apple to become more environmentally-neutral. It’s an interesting read, and it’s great to see that Apple has worked and will work to get a lot of the poisonous garbage out of it’s systems. There were a couple of things that I did not know before. * If you bring your old iPod to any Apple Store to recycle, they’ll take off 10% of a new iPod. They’ll be extending that program this year by allowing you to mail it in. * Apple pretty much eliminate lead from it’s manufacturing chain by eliminating CRT monitors. * This one is obvious, but it never occurred to me before: lighter machines mean less waste. As items get smaller, not only do they take up less material, but they also leave less of a footprint on the environment. Sure this one is kind of a duh moment for me, but I just hadn’t considered it. This was basically a way for Steve to tell Greenpeace to shove it. They’ve been singling out Apple for not being green, and letting other computer companies with future plans for reducing waste to slide. I can’t wait until someone else pisses off Steve.

I’m a lot like you were

For years I had wanted to meet Kurt Vonnegut. Then, about 10 years ago, I saw him on some sort of show. I forget the exact nature of it. Vonnegut must have talking about Hocus Pocus or maybe even Timequake. But the point here is that he was old, an old old man. And there he was only 74. I’ve never really made peace with the old man, in any form. And to see Vonnegut as an old man really bugged me. What time does to us. It’s cruel and pointless and vicious. But that’s my hang up. Anyway, my point is that from that time on, I figured that I would never get to meet Vonnegut. Who knew I’d have 10 years to throw away not meeting him? Still, in that time, I grew to accept that idols only exist in our perception of them. The Kurt Vonnegut that I wanted to meet was already in his books. It’s a trite philosophy, for sure, and one that allows me to rationalize my situation where I will meet nobody whom I idolize. But it is true. I may never be friends with someone like Vonnegut, but all my friends are partially friends with him, because of the huge influence he’s had on me.

Kurt Vonnegut: 1922 – 2007

Excerpt from Breakfast of Champions, 1973:

Trout accepted the invitation after all. Two days before the Festival was to begin, he delivered Bill into the care of his landlady upstairs, and he hitchhiked to New York City—with five hundred dollars pinned to the inside of his underpants. The rest of the money he had put in a bank. He went to New York first—because he hoped to find some of his books in pornography stores there. He had no copies at home. He despised them, but now he wanted to read out loud from them in Midland City—as a demonstration of a tragedy which was ludicrous as well. He planned to tell people out there what he hoped to have in the way of a tombstone. This was it: SOMEBODY (Sometime to Sometime) He Tried More excerpts and memorials: Jonathan Schwartz at This Modern World Tom Tomorrow at This Modern World Atrios at Eschaton John Gruber at Daring Fireball Skatje at Lacrimae Rerum PZ Myers at Pharyngula poputonian at Hullaballo

Hershey's Heath Cookies

Last night, I tried Hershey’s “Heath Milk Chocolate Layered Cookies.” These are square-shaped sandwich cookies, with a toffee flavored filling. And they’re not good. The first thing that I noticed was the strong buttery scent upon opening the package. It was so strong that it reminded me of margarine, which smells like a parody of butter. But when I tasted it, the scent and flavor mingled into butter cream, super sweet butter cream. Now, I like toffee. It’s not necessarily on my list of favorite flavors, but I do like it. When it is done right it has a butterscotch subtlety–a long, mellow flavor that lingers after it’s consumed. The cookie, on the other hand, tasted like a wedding cake dipped in granulated sugar. It was too sweet. I had just finished a Starbucks Mocha Frappachino, too, so my palate was already desensitized to sweetness. Nothing should be that sugary, with the exception of eating a quarter-cup of plain sugar crystals. The filling has a crunchiness to it, which I assume is meant to imply little toffee flakes, but, instead, it just reinforces the sugariness, as if the cream is so filled with sugar, some it didn’t dissolve. The selling point behind these cookies is that they are made with real milk chocolate; a counterpoint, one presumes, against Nabisco Oreos and their dark chocolate wafers, which apparently the American consumer has been loathing for over 100 years. The problem with Hershey’s solution, though, is that I couldn’t taste the cookie. My taste buds were burnt out from the super sweetness, so that the wafer could have tasted like dry cardboard, and I could not appreciate the fine quality of the milk chocolate that they bake into every cookie. There were two other flavors of these cookies on the shelves. One was a vanilla cream filling, and the other was peanut butter. I doubt I will be trying either one of them.

Hole in my head

Once, several years ago, I punched a hole in my head while working on my piece-of-crap car. I don’t remember if it was the car that leaked transmission fluid, or the one that leaked oil from the faulty head gasket, or if it was the one that needed daily transfusions of coolant. In fact, that may have been a single piece-of-crap car. Time, and a good smack to my head, have mushed many memories together.

In any case, while working on this particular car, I punched a hole into my forehead on the latch that hung down about two inches from the roof of the hood. It hurt like hell. For a second, I didn’t even realize what I did. I went to look at something in the engine block, ducking my head under the hood, thinking I had inches of clearance. I mean, I wailed my head into this thing. It dazed me.

I was out in front of my friends house, and I remember staggering in the doorway. His family was gathered around the kitchen table, and they all looked at me as I held my hand to my head and giggled weakly. I laughed as soon as I realized what I did, looking at the hook that gouged me in my car. I couldn’t believe that I hit it; I just didn’t expect there. So I was still laughing when I walked into my friends kitchen, all ashen and dizzy. The hook left a perfect tiny circle in my forehead, right below the hairline, perfectly in the center of my head. The wound lasted for days.

Good times.

I often laugh when I smack my head into something. It’s funny, after all. If someone saw me do it, hearing the clunk of my big fat head cracking into a corner or hanging lamp, he’d laugh, too. Just because I don’t get to observe it doesn’t mean it’s not funny.

A couple of weeks ago, I cracked my head into the top of a doorway, walking down a low set of stairs into somebody’s basement. Actually, I thought I had cleared that, too, but there was a staple halfway stapled into the lintel. Maybe it was sticking out about 2 millimeters. I thought I just wailed my head into the doorway and that was that, until about 15 minutes later, my friend says, “Your head is bleeding!”

I got a good chuckle out of that one, too, along with a scab that my fiancée thought was a pimple, but instead was another hole in my head.