Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Stocking Full of Links to Browse

Hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas! Here are some links I have found interesting over the past week. Grab a coffee (with Peppermint Mocha) and enjoy:

Here: 57 Different Way to Say "Merry Christmas". Feliz Natal!

A little late, but here is a comic book version of "A Christmas Carol", to read online.

Also late, 10 Bizarre Christmas Traditions, 10 Unintentionally Scary Santas and the 10 Most Underrated Christmas Specials.

From the FOX network, Happy Fringemas!

Some geeky Christmas trees. I like the LEGO one the best.

This looks very cool and we may be getting one ourselves. Fun & easy works!

My son got one of these for Christmas, to help create a new tradition. Very cool.

Looking towards the new year, I can't wait to see the documentary "His Name Was Jason". Here is the newly released trailer.

Interesting Pile has a rundown of the marathons airing on New Year's Eve & Day.

Hope everyone has a great week, a Happy New Year and a healthy, happy and fine 2009!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Links... No two are alike!

Some more links to share:

First off, a page with even more photos from the ice storm the Northeast has been dealing with since last week.

Viennetta is back! Do you remember it?

For the doubting little Sheldon or Leonard in your life, here is the Science Behind Santa's Magic.

Not sure I would want to live next door to any of these 17 Jaw-Dropping Christmas Light Shows, but they are very cool.

VERY cool gingerbread houses.

Horror Hacker's guide to the Saint Nicks of Horror.

Disney lets you add someone you know to Santa's Naughty or Nice list.

Classic TV Sitcom Christmas episodes. Love to see some of these again.

Even more classic TV Christmas episodes remembered. Love some of the pics they have here.

The 6 Best TV Show Rip-Offs of "A Christmas Carol". Don't remember "The Six-Million Dollar Man" doing it, but I SO want to see it now.

This site counts the 5 Best & 5 Worst Christmas specials. I remember the Star Wars Christmas Special. Sadly.

This Christmas, there are some marathons on TV. And this site is doing it's best to list them all!

And this page lists the specials you can view online and where to view them! Can it get any easier???

Addictive/frustrating "Guide Lines" game.

Another addictive game, this one involves throwing people... into buckets.

Identify the five differences.

An interesting personality test.

Handy site to check if your ID is registered on lots of sites all at once.

The cast of "How I Met Your Mother" recreating some highlights from 2008. Hilarious.

A cool holiday card from the offical website of the Boston Red Sox.

Lastly, have you ever seen a more bizarre Christmas ornament?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ice Storm


The ice storm - wow. What can I say? It was amazing and horrible at the same time. We went to bed Thursday night hearing the ice fall and thinking it was a normal, winter-y storm. We woke up to what I can only describe as our entire area broken.

We made out MUCH better than almost everyone we know. We haven't lost power, and our only damage is the far end of our wooden fence was split in two by the fallen top of a tree. We had a lot more branches and limbs down, large and small, but none caused any further damage, including the one that landed askew on our GLASS patio table. I am not kidding, it did not break. Wow.

The house next door to us lost power and has had a generator running. They have a huge, old tree in their large yard, and it lost a major chunk, which pushed on a pole and, I guess, knocked their power out. National Grid was outside for at least a full day, and yet I still hear the generator running this morning.

My brother-in-law lost power, as well, and had many, many trees down all over his yard. He finally got his power restored around 4:30 this morning. He said he has at least a day with the chainsaw in his yard alone.

Our 'niece' and her family also live in town, and have lost power, as well. They found a generator at Home Depot (luckily), but are still waiting for the lights to go back on.

Our good friends in Holden, which was one of the hardest hit areas, have a ton of issues. They are without power, had one tree uprooted, a basketball hoop smashed, a car rear windshield shattered and a flooded cellar. Luckily, a neighbor loaned them a generator to get their sump pump working, and their niece offered them shelter.

The amount of trees and downed power and phone lines is just amazing. As my other brother-in-law said, you thought people were exaggerating until you actually drove around a bit and saw for yourself. It looks more like a tornado blew through town than an ice storm. Trees and poles and wires, everywhere. Unreal.

School was cancelled on Friday and again for today. I know my daughter's school is being used as the shelter for our town, and I imagine that will continue until all power is restored. To give you an idea of what it looks like out there, my youngest son said he would have rather have had school than have it be like it is outside.

Estimates for power resortation vary. Some parts of town are nearly out-of-reach like my brother-in-law's, but he got power back this morning. So, I guess it all depends on what the repair people are able to do and when they are able to do it. Kudos to everyone who has been out there since Thursday night. The cold makes their job even worse, but they have been at it all this time, working to bring things back to normal. Smaller storms are due in the next couple of days, here's to hoping they don't make things worse.

Our best to everyone, take care & stay safe.

Some links:

Thousands Still Without Power Three Days After Storm

Local people sent in their own photos

List of area closings

Home slowly regain power

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Links to Share (anyone got a better title?)

Okay, here are some sites I came across over the past week. Anyone got a better title for my link posts? I was thinking something like "Coffee Beans", but it just sounded ... meh ...

We are going to be heading to Bright Nights with the kids very soon!

EW.com has 100 Great Christmas Bummers. Sometimes, there is nothing like a sad Christmas song. UPDATE: EW.com posted this list again this year, with pictures!

Amazon.com has 25 days of Free Christmas Music Downloads!

Interesting 'Tree of Knowledge', from The Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia.

I quote: "Forget Adam Sandler's Hanukkah Song, Here's the Atheism Song"

Create a Santa's Elf ID Card for your little helper.

Dr. Forrest's Cheeze Factory has a kitchsy piece of Christmas past.

kindertrauma has a list of some good, winter horror/thriller flicks. I love "Dead of Winter".

Cool new poster for the Friday the 13th remake. Here is the trailer, too.

The Aquaman Shrine posted a custom-made Aquaman set that is just too awesome for words!

A really great interactive map of Springfield, from "The Simpsons".

Lastly, my brother found this very cool, very short (less than 3 minutes) YouTube movie, "The Black Hole".

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Why I, as an Atheist, celebrate the Christmas season

I wrote this awhile ago, but I figured it beared repeating, especially on this new blog.


Why I, as an Atheist, celebrate the Christmas season.

Being an atheist at this time of the year, I am sometimes asked why I celebrate Christmas. This is my attempt to explain it.

To be honest, my family celebrated Christmas in a non-religious way. In fact, the only thing I remember that had religious meaning was a Nativity scene my parents had. I knew what it represented, but that was it. We never went to church for Christmas. Santa Claus was the reason for our season.

Now that I am married with children of my own, our Christmas is religion-free. My wife does have a Nativity scene, but she sets it up only in honor of her family. My children know who Jesus is, but they also know that I do not believe he is the “son of God”, or that there even is a God. But they do respect that others do believe.

Christmas, as I have tried to teach my children, is a time of good will and friendship, of spending time with family and friends. We enjoy the "Christmas Season", instead of just one day. From the Friday after Thanksgiving to New Year's, we enjoy it as a month long celebration. We enjoy the television specials, the music and the lit-up, decorated houses. And, of course, the food!

I guess I still celebrate the same way I did as a kid, although I consciously avoid religious allusions, whereas my parents were just lax. I suppose I could thank them for that, although I doubt they would find it amusing. While they, perhaps reluctantly, know I am an Atheist, they are more religious now than when I was a child. My father more so than my mother.

For some reason, when many people hear the word “Atheist”, they automatically assume “immoral”. This always amazes me. I lead a very moral, very traditional life. I teach my children to be good human beings. I just do not believe in a “superior being”.

I also do not force my views on my children. They are exposed to my beliefs, as well as the beliefs of the varied family members and friends around them. They are related to, or are friends with, not only Christians, but also people who are Jewish and Muslim. And other Atheists. When they are old enough, they can decide for themselves what they believe in.

Most of all, my family and I wish everyone a good, happy month, full of friends, family and fun. Oh yeah, and food!


This is a link to the original piece.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Wow! Huh? Ugh.

A bunch of sites I stumbled across over the past two weeks that piqued my interest, confused my brain or made me roll my eyes.

Ankle replacement surgery. I might need this down the road, and it makes me wonder when the scales will tip and I will become more artificial than biological?

And this lady has an interesting idea. Bet someone will figure it out in no time.

Five poems everyone should read.

Friday the 13th: The Series Season 2 is scheduled for release in February, 2009! Yay!

Made for TV Mayhem has The Top Ten Creepiest Characters of the Made for TV Horror Films of the 70s - Wow, that is a long blog entry title.

1o Huge Retail Rip-Offs. Number one, the wine, goes for hotel rooms, too. A bottle marked over $20 in our menu was $4 at the store.

Fun Disney.com Christmas site, with old and new holiday cartoons.

IconNicholson's Snowcraft is 10 years old this Christmas. Still fun, especially if you picture the little twerps as people who ticked you off!

OfficeMax is letting you go Elf Yourself again this year.

Starzbunnies.com does Christmas Vacation.

This Christmas card is actually pretty clever.

And this Christmas ad isn't new, but still makes me chuckle. Although it should be Leatherface with the chainsaw, not Jason.

Cool, but ultimately a waste, I think. The urn is better, at least people will be able to see SEE it! And they also have Star Trek items.

Meh.

And now... The End.

Monday, December 1, 2008

NaNoWriMo 2008


Well, it's over. Last night was the end of this year's National Novel Writing Month. And I finished in time! In one month I wrote a little over 50,000 words (50,102 to be exact) and I now have a 2nd novel done. Well, a first draft done, at least.

It wasn't easy, but with some late nights and A LOT of support from my wonderful wife, I was able to get it done, AND get to bed at a decent time.

So, thank you to Nancy, and to everyone who offered encouragement along the way. It is appreciated.

And I will be doing it all over again next November! Heck, I may even do my own personal NaNoWriMo in January, if I can come up with a good story.

Congrats to all the other winners, and to everyone who even attempted it. Whether you wrote 500 or 50,000 words, at least you were writing!