Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

Our Christmas Eve was filled with a small breakfast with our friend Karen and her mom, last minute shopping, a hunt for firewood that actually burns (only a little bit of luck here), lots of wrapping, football and some initial prep for Christmas dinner. Pretty action packed day.

We finally got a good fire going; my wife is proving to be the one who is more patient in this matter. It takes about 2 hours for us to get this apparently damp firewood to catch and stay caught. As soon as we succeed, we babysit that flame closely. No way we want that to go out! Here she is wrapping some gifts by the fireplace as her mom does some wrapping in the kitchen.

My mom is in town as well - great to be able to spend time with her and she will be here for a whole week! Pretty cool. Jozy has spotted her for someone who just might give in and give her a Christmas cookie or two. As a result, she just sits there and stares with patience.

To be honest, it's tough to resist Jozy sometimes...she's got the sad, begging eyes down to a science.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Making a list...

Had to run out to the liquor store today and stock up on the essentials. I think we are almost officially ready for all 11 family members. The only question is how long until the supply runs out...

Thursday, December 15, 2011


I was walking past the Verizon Center tonight doing some Christmas shopping (I find myself unusually inspired to get this done early this year) and this song was being played live by a band on a small stage there. Beautiful night, beautiful song. The only thing missing was someone to share it with so here, I share it with you. This is a  great cover of Cohen's song being performed by 4 performers from Norway. They do this song more than just justice. Enjoy.

Saturday, December 10, 2011


We are welcoming winter this evening with the first fire in our fireplace since we bought the house almost 6 years ago. Jozy is a fan.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Are you kidding me?

Congrats to my nephew! His team won the Western Mass Superbowl yesterday in Gillette Stadium 35-7. During the course of the game, Frankie ran for 123 yards, scored two touchdowns, and completed 5 of 5 passes for 89 yards and a pair of TDs. Somewhere in there was a fumble recovery as well (he played both cornerback and quarterback). Gotta love this quote from his coach:

'[He was] out of this world," said head coach Alex Rotsko of Elder. "Are you kidding me? He's a running back three weeks ago and now he's the starting quarterback at Gillette Stadium.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

A Jets fan in Gillette!

Check out this interview below. This is my nephew in Longmeadow, MA - he stepped in as the surprise quarterback for this team two months ago due to injuries and has helped lead his team to the Western Massachusetts Division 1 Super Bowl. Pretty awesome.

Even better. They are playing the Super Bowl in Gillette stadium this Saturday. When asked if he was excited about playing on the same field as Brady he had this to say:
“I am a Jets fan,” he said when asked about playing on the same surface as Tom Brady. “Maybe it will be more like (Jets quarterback) Mark Sanchez.”
Good luck to my nephew Frankie - Go Lancers!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Defender of the Idea

Well, I am a little more than 25% of the way through Michael Lewis' book The Big Short and find it fascinating. I will admit that the occasional financial derivative will befuddle me (which is disappointing because I studied finance back in the day), but so be it. As much of a story about the machine that is greed, it is filled with other random insights into human character as well. This paragraph is a good example (written about the man who invented credit default swaps on sub prime mortgage bonds):

"Inadvertently, he'd opened up a debate with his own investors, which he counted among his least favorite activities. "I hated discussing ideas with investors," he said, "because I then become a Defender of the Idea, and that influences your thought process." Once you became an idea's defender you had a harder time changing your mind about it. "

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

We've had a wonderful day out in Hot Springs Village, great company, food, weather and stories - there is more to be thankful for than I can list. I consider myself truly lucky. Thank you for being a reader...despite the lack of posts these days.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I've been neglecting this space recently...and it is making Jozy sad.

Friday, November 04, 2011

My Oh My....

I've been meaning to post this for a while (Macklemore & Ryan Lewis - My Oh My). Quite honestly, I think it is fantastic. You won't hear me say that about many rap or hip hop songs so let me provide a few contextual reasons:

1. I love great sport moments and in general, any passion around sport. This has that. And if you're a baseball fan, I think it will give you chills.
2. It's nostalgic. I grew up playing soccer and baseball in the back yard and being one of those kids asking for one more inning. This has that.
3. I took up an independent study in college on cognitive science and one of the areas we dove into was the analogy, comparison and insight into American culture that baseball provides. The last verse of this song, it has that.

So honestly, I can't recommend enough that you check this out if you think any of these concepts will resonate with you. What more could you ask from music, even if you don't like hip hop?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

JJ Grey & Mofro

Been listening to and exploring the music of JJ Grey & Mofro recently. They hail from rural Florida and I guess their music can be described as a southern rock, soul, funk combination. I got turned onto these guys by watching the video below and as soon as I heard/saw the song that he is singing at 1:40 I knew I needed to dig a little deeper. Check it out.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bayou Brothers

Tried some Bayou Brothers BBQ Sauce this evening. Nothing fancy, just threw it on some burgers that were grilled over some hickory wood. I've been thinking about making my own sauce for a little while now but until I do, a local all natural alternative like this is going to be more than just fine. Check it out at Rouse's or Fresh Market...or if you don't live around here, go to Cajun Grocer.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Make Gumbo, Not War

I had the chance to drive down to New Iberia, LA today for the 2011 World Championship Gumbo Cook Off. The event pitches 90 different professional and amateur gumbo chefs against each other, pairs it with some local music, and throws in some Cajun hospitality making it a great place to kill a few hours on a weekend. I had a couple different gumbos, both of which were finalists and were excellent. Here are a few photos.

A couple of the booths. All of them had their own flair, boasting some specialty or another. Never knew that you could get gumbo with eggs in it...guess I am a rookie. 

Wayne Toups was in town this afternoon. If you are looking for some genuine local music from around here, you can't go wrong with a little WT. 

Gotta love the hippie theme of this year's cook off. People were dressed up in 70's garb all over the place. There were of course, the required set of tie-die t-shirts.

Let's Run Away

Playing a little catch up here. Been keeping up with monthly mixes this year, just not in posting or mailing any of them...oops.Got a decent variety of pop, hip hop, americana, jazz, you name it. All over the map for some reason from July.

  1. Someone Else Can Make A Work Of Art  *  First Rate People
  2. Shuffle  *  Bombay Bicycle Club
  3. Running Away from Me  *  Release The Sunbird
  4. Accidental Thief  *  Matt the Electrician
  5. Goddamn Lonely Love  *  Drive-By Truckers
  6. Widower's Heart  *  Trampled By Turtles
  7. Worrisome Heart  *  Melody Gardot
  8. 04 135  *  Two Cow Garage
  9. This Light  *  Dan Andriano in the Emergency Room
  10. Time Spent in Los Angeles  *  Dawes
  11. Elizabeth  *  The Hickman-Dalton Gang
  12. Long Gone  *  Matt The Electrician
  13. Someday Baby (outtake version)  *  Bob Dylan
  14. White Days  *  The Lighthouse And The Whaler
  15. Pumped Up Kicks  *  Foster The People
  16. Mind Your Manners (feat. Icona Pop)  *  Chiddy Bang & Icona Pop
  17. Somos Pacifico  *  ChocQuibTown
  18. The Show Goes On  *  Lupe Fiasco
  19. Say Yeah (Mikey Fresh Remix)  *  Wiz Khalifa & Beirut

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Still the best decision I have ever made...

 Six years ago today!
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

      - Khalil Gibran

Monday, October 03, 2011

Nicki Bluhm - Jetplane

A little Americana/country-ish folk for all the road warriors out there...

Sunday, October 02, 2011


I've been meaning to get some of these photos up for a while but it wasn't until today that I was able to grab them from our good friend Mrs. Janenne (an awesome photographer who I hope doesn't mind me sharing). My wife and I were honored to be a part of the annual July 4th deClouet Croquet tournament. I believe we may have been the first non-family members allowed to join the event...and to top it off, I had the crazy enough luck to win the tournament! There is an entire album of these photographs available here. I picked a few of my favorites.

There is a trophy that comes with this win...and my name is officially engraved on it. I am allowed to have it in my house for 1 week this year so I figure I will host it the week of Christmas so I can show it off to my family.

This is a photo of the participants getting a tour of the course.

My wife and I discussing strategic options.

My wife scouting out a shot with our friend Mark.

Our host, Mr. Mark congratulating me after the win.

The tournament participants...

My wife and I toasting my victory!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Cave Singers - Haller Lake

Here's a little bit of The Cave Singers for you playing a song called Haller Lake. Cool tune from a band that keeps growing on me.

(Playing with a new blog template, complain or praise away; seems like my twitter feed is lost in this format.)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Thinking about that plate...

Been a while since I posted a picture of Jozy up here. Took this the other night after having some dessert. She was a bit jealous, turned on the charm but to no avail.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Becoming a big fan of this band these days. Dawes is from Los Angeles and just does stuff like this that is full of lyrical genius.

There were moments of dreams I was offered to save
I live less like a workhorse more like a slave
I thought that one quick moment that was noble or brave
Would be worth the most of my life.

So I pointed my fingers and shout a few quotes I knew
As if something that´s written should be taken as true
But every path I have taken and conclusion I drew
Would put truth back under the knife.

And now the only piece of advice that continues to help:
Is anyone that´s making anything new only breaks something else.


And then there are songs like this where your realize that not only can they turn lyrics like the above into catchy songs, but into what I what I would consider great poetry.

Cause it’s a little bit of everything,
The way you choke, the way you ache,
It is waking up before you,
So I can watch you as you wake.
So in the day in late September,
It’s not some stupid little ring,
I’m giving a little bit of everything.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Family visit includes pilfering from Buddha...

This post is a bit overdue but I wanted to share a couple family related photos. My aunt and uncle from Texas stopped by for a visit recently and it was awesome to be able to spend a little bit of time with family. It's not often that we get to visit with these two so it was a real treat.

Here is a photo of the group of us after having an amazing Sunday Cajun brunch at The French Press.

We went on a quick tour of Jungle Gardens at Avery Island (where Tabasco sauce is made), a favorite place for people coming to our neck of the woods due to the opportunity to see some really beautiful live oaks, gators and tons of migratory birds.


And of course, there is the Buddhist Temple at the garden, where people leave donations on this little elephant. As you can see, my aunt has a knack for getting into trouble. Here you can see that I caught her red handed trying to pilfer the donations!

Just kidding obviously...I made her pose for that shot.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cajun Signs and Football Fever

We spent a little time out at the UL tailgate this past weekend. UL has a new vibe this season with their new coach and local support is through the roof. Oddly enough, 10 years here and this was my first time out at Cajun Field for pigskin. Didn't stay for the game, but the atmosphere was cool regardless.

Here's a classic Cajun sign. Yes, it reads, "Our drinking team has a football problem."

Here's the Rajun Cajun band playing in front of the stadium, viewed from underneath an old live oak. 

Awesome artwork painted on a sheet and hung in the front of someone's RV. Yeah, that's a crawfish ready for battle. 

After the game we had to swing by the grocery store. Here's the display for the fish monger. Those little things with helmets? Fresh prawns on the line of scrimmage. Gotta love it.

You might catch us out there again, maybe this Jersey boy can get behind the "Wear Red" movement this year.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Homemade Modified Cucumbers

It's been a long long while since I gave an update on the elusive perfect pickle far only found from Steck's in NJ. Where have I turned to in order to satisfy this craving? Homemade pickles. The photo above is my first batch. These were made with Bobby Flay's recipe found here. I don't have the right equipment to made the kind that take 4-6 weeks to achieve pickle-ness, so these are the quick overnight kind. And actually they are pretty good! They have a long way to go to reach Steck quality though. The hunt continues.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Of Monsters and Men - Little Talks

Of Monsters and Men are from Reykjavik, Iceland and apparently draw a lot of comparisons to Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. Personally, they remind me a lot of this song from The Lumineers.  The video below from KEXP is apparently what kick started their fame. I can see why. Cool tune.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Over exposed found family photo...

A couple of years ago I found an old roll of film that was from our old home in NJ that had never been developed. I took it to a place to get developed and all of the photos came out bright orange due to over exposure or age. While taking shelter from the storm this past weekend I tried to restore one or two of them using the photo editor on our mac. Here is the original from the roll of film - this was the best ones on it. The rest were almost indecipherable.

Here is the one that I ended up with after adjusting the color balance. Not sure if it is better or not...

This is an old family photo taken outside of our front house in North Branch, NJ. Looks like around Christmas time. Not sure what year at all but I'm obviously the short one in the front left who looks pretty darn cold. It looks like it was before building out our front stoop area. I remember helping hang those Christmas lights every year. Good old Miller Ave memories.

Things used to be different...

I've spent the last two days cleaning out the closet in my office. It is a treasure trove of trash, memories, office supplies, and souvenirs from trips all over the place. Needless to say I found a ton of old photos and got a particular kick out of this one, which is courtesy of Sineddie who sent it back to me in 2003. The photo itself has to be from 1998 or prior but I am not 100% sure what year. I'm going to guess 1997 but I could be totally off base. These were the college years...back when I was innocent and full of hair...

Update: Now that I take a closer look, I think I can place this photo in Cincinnati. Quite possible that my brother might be able to pinpoint the year (if Sineddie cannot) as I think that is my brother's alpine chair in the background. 

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Tornado Drills...

After we finished securing the items in our back yard in advance of the heavy winds, we decided to do a dry run or two of getting Jozy into tornado readiness. It took a few treats but eventually she got the hang of it...

Hunkering Down...

The weather is pretty calm at this point today but the word is that late tonight is is going to get a little rough in Lafayette with Tropical Storm Lee in the area. It's a slow moving system so we are expecting a ton of rain and we are under a tornado warning for most of the day. Luckily enough, our brand new couch finally arrived yesterday so we are going to set up camp there tonight well away from the frequently falling limbs of our pecan tree that is next to our bedroom. Jozy has already picked out her spot. We're probably being little over cautious in doing so...but I'd rather be safe than under a pecan limb.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Chillin with Mabel

It might be a bit of a stretch to say that we are "chilling" when it is 100+ degrees here in Phoenix but what better way to spend the last day of vacation than with my brother, his wife and our favorite niece, Mabel.

Friday, August 19, 2011

A view from above...

While we were at the Grand Canyon we were lucky enough to go on a helicopter tour. If you are ever in these parts and are able to take this trip, it is absolutely worth it. Breathtaking to the point where it brought a tear to my eye. Not a single picture I took does it justice. From the feeling of flying in a helicopter itself, to the awe inspiring setting of one of the wonders of the natural world, the Grand Canyon defies description.

Obligatory Conquest Photo of Grand Canyon

That was as close to the edge as I was willing to go. I was windy too...

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dove Mountain

Today's stopping point is the Ritz at Dove Mountain in Marana, AZ. On the way here we got to drive through our first dust storm which drove visibility down to near zero. Following the dust storm was a pretty major thunderstorm with some crazy desert lightning. All in all, the drive was worth it; this place looks pretty awesome (the photo is the view from our balcony).

Has anyone seen my....