Birthday!

Ian had a birthday!

Funfetti Birthday Cake

Pictured above is a funfetti cake we made for my birthday. A few days later my family came over to continue the celebration!

Birthday Cake-1

Yummy chocolate cheesecake!

Val got me the greatest gift! A nice new digital SLR camera! Sweetness! Here are some pictures I took on my first outing with my new camera! You’ll probably be seeing more pictures uploaded to our Flickr account than I post about here.

Thanksgiving

Hi there,

In case you were wondering, last month was Thanksgiving! We went over my parents house this year and went to Val’s parents house over the weekend for a second meal. Yum yum!

We baked an apple pie and chocolate chocolate chip cookies!

Thanksgiving Dinner

Apple Pie (Baked)

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

And a couple more pictures are on flickr too.

Getting ready for Halloween

Everyone getting ready for Halloween on Friday? I have to decide if I’m dressing up during work and if so what to wear! My brother was at our apartment the other day and counted 43 Halloween decorations! Can you tell we like Halloween???

Note that we like cute halloween things. Not so much the zombies and stuff.

And the count of 43 was before the pumpkins! Val and I had my co-worker/friend Aaron over for some good ol’ fashioned pumpkin carving fun!

Jack-O-Lanterns

The cat silhouette, on the top, was made by Val.

The witch with her bubbling brew, in the middle, was made by Ian.

The Aaron, on the bottom, was made by Aaron.

What’s new pussy cat?

Mustard with mustard

Sometimes you just have to write “mustard” with mustard, if you know what I mean.

Boy, do I have updates to share with you. Can you believe it’s already mid-October? Let’s take it back and talk about what’s happened in the last month.

The Jewish high holidays came and went. Did some temple, eating, and a bit o’ fasting. Val came sometimes and I got to meet my sister’s boyfriend. Fasting wasn’t too bad, but sometimes I feel that it just makes me focus on how much I want to eat. At one point Val really wanted an apple kugel snack:

Val liked the kugel

Val’s dad had a birthday, so we headed out to celebrate that. They made us food and showed us their mushroom village. Yeah, you heard me.

Gnomes and mushrooms

Apparently some massive mushrooms sprouted on their front yard and the next thing they knew, a family of gnomes moved in! This really got me thinking though, how can smurfs live in mushrooms, but be three apples tall???

While we were visiting Val’s family in the “country-side” we decided to go apple picking. Unfortunately, Val’s sister couldn’t attend because she got a job!

Chris and Ellen were able to come. Here’s Chris taking time for sharing his standard photo pose with us:

Chris in apples orchard

Sue was able to come, so that was alot of fun. It’s nice when we can pull her out of her hectic life to take a little time for apples. I think she had a nice relaxing time. Here’s Sue smiling so that we give her an apple and stop taking her picture:
Sue smiling for apples

And, lastly Kat and Lily were able to attend. Lily seemed to enjoy wearing the pumpkin hat Val made her, but mostly enjoyed gnawing on apples!

Lily in hat

At one point, after seeing Lily eat so many apples, Kat really needed to have a quick snack.

Kat eating Lily

Of course, who can resist being in a giant apple orchard and not sneaking a quick snack?!?

Val apple snack

Oh, also just and FYI. 20lbs is a real lot of apples, especially for two people. Just a heads up.

Chris, Ellen, Adam, Val and me had an adventure in Carver, MA too when we went to King Richard’s Faire! Feel free to search IanAndVal.com to find out about our past visits to ye olde faire.

On posting the following picture, I just noticed that Val’s brother is giving my brother “bunny ears” — how random!

KRF

I think we all had a good time. Val at least enjoyed playing (additional dress-up) in the vendor’s shops. Unfortunately the hat was too expensive!

Val in hat

Although Chris says that should could wear that hat “anywhere.” Anyways, there are a few more pictures of our King Richard’s Faire visit on our Flickr page.

That just about brings you up to speed with where we’re currently at. But, I don’t want to abandon you yet. Instead I’ll leave you with three points:

1) With the presidential election quickly approaching I want you to know whenever I see John McCain’s signs/stickers with his name and a star I think of pizza and french fries.

McCain

2) Jungle pancakes. Is it just me or does that sound dirty?

Jungle Pancakes

3) We got a teapot. On the bottom of the box there is a warning.

Teapot warning

Yes, that’s right: “Boiling water and children should be kept apart.” Thanks for the tip, teapot!

Cookout

This past Saturday there was a little get together at Val’s aunt Cindy and uncle Tony’s house in NH. Cindy and Tony were amazing. Cindy is quite the hostess!

Cindy with Cake

Val’s brother Chris was also a big help. He just really likes setting things up. One of his official tasks was getting the frozen margarita machine up and running.

Chris and frozen margarita machine

Yes, that’s right. A frozen margarita machine!

And if that’s not enough, Val’s uncle Tim did a little ad-hoc rewiring for the frozen (virgin) daiquiri and piña colada machine (it needed 220 volts).

The party was a lot of fun. It was a little family get together with a few friends too.

if ( you were invited and came ) {

Thanks for coming! It was great to see you!

}

else if ( you were invited and didn’t come ) {

I’m sorry you couldn’t make it. It would have been nice to see you.

}

else {

Umm….this is awkward. Maybe we can just hang out sometime?

}

The weather was great and Val and I were happy to see people and eat their food. We supplied the music, which surprisingly people seemed to enjoy (it was quite eclectic!). Feel free to check out the playlist (exported from iTunes).

Val and Ian

And I think Adam had a good time playing with balloons. This one matched his shirt:

Family @ night

I think everyone who came had a good time and it made me want a house with a yard! More pictures on Flickr.

Digital Transition plans to kill my portable (“pocket”) television!

Years ago I received, as a present from my parents, my very own portable television (I use the term “portable” loosely). It was great! I could study for a spelling test while watching 90201. More importantly it allowed me to feel special when the power goes out — I’m ready to watch the news!

Check it out its beautiful 1.5″ screen in its portable 5″ x 3.5″ x 1.5″ body!

Good ol' pocket tv

Unfortunately with the upcoming digital TV transition in February of 2009, this TV will most likely become a brick (it’s the perfect size to be a brick too). While it mostly sits on my shelf, it still works, so I was sad to hear of its fate. I decided to take action and email the FCC!

The FCC sent me a prompt reply (which I later found is posted in their FAQ). Here are my thoughts mixed into their reply…

FCC: “Portable, battery-powered analog televisions may be able to receive over-the-air programming after February 17, 2009″

Me: Great!

FCC: “if they are connected to a digital-to-analog converter box”

Me: Okay, I understand. But there’s something that will work? Will the converter box run on batteries too?

FCC: “an external power source would also be required”

Me: Well, that doesn’t help! What if the power goes out? Or I want to use my portable TV somewhere that doesn’t have an outlet?

FCC:  “If local utility power service is not available, an external battery power station or an emergency power generator may be able to supply the necessary power for the converter box.”

Me: …

Great! So if I want to watch TV on my “portable” television I need a converter box and a generator and that “may” work?

Will converter boxes really work through my external antenna jack that looks about 1/8″? Most likely even if it were possible, I’m not going to buy a converter and a generator for a portable TV.

But, I’m really going to miss extending my TV’s antenna to its full 22″.

Check out that antenna

My question to the FCC and you, my readers, is this: Do you have any recommendations for donating or recycling my soon-to-be-tv-brick?

UPDATE FROM FCC:

I am unaware of any  battery operated converter box on the market as of yet however they are making battery powered digital portable TV’s now.  I believe Radio Shack carries one.

Identifying resources and locations for electronics recycling does not constitute EPA’s endorsement of the services.

Earth 911 www.earth911.com/electronics Earth 911’s zip-code based search engine enables you to find recycling and reuse options in your community for a variety of products.

National Recycling Coalition www.nrc-recycle.org/localresources.aspx This page provides links to state recycling resources. Many communities have special collection and recycling days that are highlighted on their Web sites.

My Green Electronics www.mygreenelectronics.org On this Consumer Electronics Association site, you can learn more about purchasing “green” electronic products and search for recycling opportunities.

For many working electronic products, donation is a good option because it facilitates reuse and extends the product life. However, with the switch to digital broadcasting, many charitable organizations may no longer be accepting analog TVs. Please check with the organization before you drop off your analog TV.

Cecil/Ajit and Sindhu Are Married!

Our friends Cecil/Ajit and Sindhu are married! Val and I attended the lovely ceremony and reception last night (July 19th). We were both really happy we got to attend. The wedding was huge (must have been around 350 guests!).

They looked very cute!

Cecil and Sindhu

The picture quality isn’t that great because it was taken in a relatively dark room on my cell phone! But, you can see how cute and happy they are! This was taken after Sindhu changed outfits during the reception. But, I think one of my favorite parts was when her new husband serenaded her in front of everyone!

Vacationland

From Tuesday-Friday Val and I spent nice relaxing days off in Maine’s Acadia National Park. We camped at Blackwoods campground and spent some time in Bar Harbor. We made some camping meals and of course s’mores over campfires (my best ones yet!).

Campfire
We hiked up Cadillac Mountain and spent time enjoying the view on the summit.

Ian and Val on Cadillac Mountain Summit

I was scared to see a common garter snake, but we were excited to see peregrine falcons and an otter!

Otter in Jordan Pond

You can view some pictures we took on Flickr.

Florida

Last weekend Val and I traveled down south to Florida to visit my grandmother and attend the unveiling for my grandfather’s gravestone.

We arrived Friday night we arrived at went straight to our hotel room. Next door the the hotel was a place (a store?) called the bedding barn, which surprisingly looked like a barn.

Bedding Barn

On Saturday we met up with my parents and brother and drove down to Key Largo. I’ve only been to the keys once before and Val’s never been, so that was nice. We all went on a glass bottomed boat to view fish and coral. I’m not the biggest fan of watching fish, nor was I thrilled to go on a boat, but I did it (good for me!).

Ian and Val on Boat

On Sunday we attened the unveiling and spent time with family (my grandmother, aunt, uncle, and cousin Monica). It was nice to see them all.

Then before we knew it, it was Monday and time to head back home. Val and I were happy to leave the humidity and to sleep in our own bed. We packed and then re-packed for our next adventure…

Happy Birthday America

It’s really cute hearing the little kids say “Happy Birthday America!” on TV.

Val and I celebrated the fourth by basically just relaxing. Ran a few errands and took a nice walk along the Charles.

We had a little cookout on our $15 grill which was fun. Then when it started getting dark, we took a small journey over to Newton to see their fireworks display.

Val @ Newton Fireworks

Newton actually puts on quite the show. There was a big crowd there, music, fried dough, etc.

Firetruck and flag

And the fireworks were great. There was one part that I thought was the finale

But that ended up being just part of the middle of the show, so yeah, they went all out!