Friday, December 24, 2010

Not Such Deep Thoughts: Countdown To Christmas Edition

From the Christmas can be dangerous department; This year I only whacked my head once getting the tree and ornaments out of the attic. As I was climbing down with the last load I was thinking that I had gotten out of it a little too easily this year, and sure enough, my load suddenly shifted and a large storage container of breakable ornaments started a slow slide off the top of the pile. Supporting the other container with my knee as I wobbled precariously on one leg on the drop down stairs, I snatched the escaping container before it dropped, and consequently smashed the back of my hand on the metal hinges. Although the knuckles bruised and the back of my hand has swollen up considerably, I still considered it a small victory. I usually end up sporting a bloody gash on my head at Christmas, so a gnarly hand is nothin, I can just keep it in my pocket. Plus, I didn’t smash all the ornaments. Win, win!


Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses are my new holiday favorites. Little crispy chunks of candy canes in them. Mmmm.


The best bang for your buck gift this year is LCD Televisions in the 32 to 46” range. You can find top of the line sets like Samsung, Sharp and Sony on sale from $300 to $800. The Samsung LN46C630 has been on sale for as low as $750, that’s just slightly more than half of what I paid for my 32” 2 years ago. Not bad. I know it’s late to still be shopping for big gifts, but if Santa were to leave you a few gift cards or some of the long green, you might want to think about it. Do your homework first though, cuz if you find a good price online, most places will match it. Also, keep in mind that some places (like Paul’s TV) will deliver and set the TV up, same day, for free. See, there are some good things about a bad economy!


Speaking of bang for your buck, if you’re looking for something less expensive that will still put a smile on your geek’s face, check out both the Roku Box and Apple TV. For under $100, you can stream movies, photos and music from the internet to your TV. The Roku comes in 3 flavors, HD ($59), XD ($79) and XDS ($99). I recommend the XDS, it delivers a 1080p picture, has better WiFi and a wider variety of outputs. You’ll need the additional optical audio output if you listen to your music or home theater soundtrack through a separate stereo system. There’s also the Apple TV device, which is very comparable and similarly priced at $99. It only outputs a 720p picture, but it also has an optical audio out. More importantly, if you’re already an iTunes centric household, this is the device you want. When you turn it on, it will automatically seek out and connect to any iTunes library on your network. How cool is that? It’s chilly, Willy.


And while we’re on the subject of gifts, unexpected ones are always the best. I was tense and uptight yesterday on my way to the mall. Work kept calling, even though I’m out on PTO, the traffic sucked, and I was way behind the curve in the Christmas shopping department. All my troubles melted away though when the CD I was listening to ended and I switched over to the radio. Who would have thought that a straight arrow, no nonsense kind of guy like Rex Ryan would be posting foot fetish videos on the interwebs. For the rest of the afternoon I chuckled every time I thought of him saying “Those are nice feet, Ma’am, would you mind if I smell them?” Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a “whatever floats your boat” kind of guy, but when you’re in the public eye as much as Rex is, you have to be a real dope to post videos of yourself and your wife on an internet fetish site. Oh wait, that’s a redundant statement, isn’t it? Well, as they say, if the shoe fits, smell wear it…


Hershey’s Candy Cane Kisses are no longer my favorites. I’m really likin’ these cherry filled ones.


My favorite holiday albums are “A Christmas Gift for You from Phil Spector” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. Two very different sounds, but both are great in their own right. Phil’s “wall of sound” production is a masterpiece, featuring Darlene Love, Ronnie Spector and The Ronnettes and a cast of literally thousands, infusing some old favorites with his pulsing trademark sound. Vince Guaraldi’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is a must have for your collection and shouldn’t be dismissed as a silly cartoon soundtrack. The man was a true genius, and his piano work floats and soars through each track against a backdrop of incredible jazz bass and percussion. The recording quality is fantastic, to boot. When I listen to it, it feels as if each note reaches in and gently massages the stress centers of my brain.


How about those Patriots? Man, what a surprising turnaround. When they traded Moss I said we’d probably look back on this trade as the moment this year’s team jelled, and it looks like I was right. I love being right. Why did it make such a difference? Because Tom was always trying to force it in to him. Now he has to look to his other receivers, and he’s got quite the bunch. Branch is back in a big way, and Welker is as dependable as always. Add in the rookie tight ends Hernandez and Gronkowski, plus the slippery little Woodhead, and you have a stable full of sure handed overachievers. How do you defend against that? Blitzing is pretty much the sure bet, but with Mankins back, and these big tight ends, it’s not so easy. And if they do get beat, Brady has a bunch of options for the quick out. I love this team.


Update; these caramel filled kisses are pretty good too!


Speaking of sports, another great and unexpected holiday gift came from the Sox, in the form of Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. Good acquisitions for the team, and for the Sox’ bottom line; TV ratings and shirt sales had been trending downward, they needed fresh meat.


On a somber note, I haven’t seen our resident bunny in a while, but I have seen a very large fox. The other night I was out doing the trash and he trotted right by me, not more than 10 feet away. He wasn’t the least bit afraid, which leads me to believe he was hungry and on the hunt. My wife wants me to start bringing my cell phone out with me at night. I can see it now, me trying to dial with one hand with a fox clamped on the other. Yeah, right. I have a better idea. I bring out my short trenching shovel. If old Freddy Fox gets within arms reach, I’m gonna El Kabong him into next Christmas. KABONG!


Never mind the caramel filled kisses, these white and dark chocolate swirled ones are… Oh Sh*t! I think I just ate all of the candy for the stockings! My wife is gonna beat me with a stick, or my trenching tool!

I guess I’m not done Christmas shopping after all. Anything open on Christmas Eve?


Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Turn Out The Lights…

The Party’s Over.

The only thing that could have made tonight’s game better was if Chucky had sung it one last time, for old Dandy Don.

Pats 45, Jets 3

That is all.