Saturday, January 31, 2009

Backup Day

Well, there is Valentine's Day, Memorial Day, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving Day, President's Day, New Years Day and I am adding another day: Backup Day. Yup, I by here now declare January 31st, Backup Day.

Backup Day you ask? Yes, Backup Day. What do you do on backup day? You backup your music, your documents, your pictures, your e-mail and anything else that might be impossible to or really arduous to replace or recreate.

As many of you know, I am a computer guy... and well, these things even happen to me. Yes, I went to turn my computer on and I got the dreaded message, "Winodws cannot find c:\winnt\system32\blah blah blah and cannot boot your system into Windows. Please insert your repair cd into the drive and hit R"

Hit R? Insert Repair CD? What repair CD? I NEVER got one of those but my computer is telling me I did!! So, like any end user, I reboot thinking this will solve the problem... and well, it doesn't. So I hit F8 and get a menu. I tried safe mode... nope. I tried the whole, choose this option for the last time your computer worked and same FREAKIN' message. Oh-oh!

My wife comes to me and says, "You lost everything?" I reply, "Um, it hasn't bothered you the last 5 years." This is how long my machine has been running. Just to give you an idea, I was still running Windows 2000. I kept saying, I should probably back this stuff up as I was getting a few error messages but I dismissed as everyone always does cause I could still get on to the internet... and get mail, so my machine was working just fine for me. Plus, I have like 4000 songs... thousands more pictures and LOTS of video I have yet to edit and put onto DVD. That takes time and well, I want to waste my time on the internet instead of being productive right now.

Well, right now, I can't get the internet or ANYTHING else. And I have 5+ years of pictures I really would like.

So, I spent 3+ hours installing Windows Xp (I am NOT a fan of Vista and Microsoft is already working on a replacement) loading all the basic programs I feel I need and all the drivers for what seems like tons of external devices. Can't find my video card? Where did I put that disk, it's got to be here somewhere. I wonder if it made the last move. And then I had to transfer all my data from my old hard drive onto my new one. Phew! All my pictures, music, documents and video made it over.

Now, its time to back it up. Yes, it will take a few hours and although I might be a little luckier then others when it comes to salvaging files and fixing computers, it's still a pain and sometimes, there are things I can't save or fix. So, I am taking Backup day just to do that. You can have more then one backup day a year. Maybe I will do August 31st as well... since I seem to take the most pictures and video during the summer and at Christmas.

Plus, look at it this way, I can put all my pictures on one DVD and have a slide show on my TV. That might be cool to sit back and see thousands of pictures on my home TV and watch what I did the last 5 years and see my kids grow and think of all the good times. I can make a couple music cd's for the car. Heck, I might even make copies. This could be fun.

So, get those Flash drives, cd-r's and Dvd-r's out and back stuff up. I guarantee, maybe not today or even a year from now, but at some point, you'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

High Expectations

You know, tonight, I went to one of my sons and asked if he had any homework. His response was, "No." I asked if he had studied his spelling? He said, "Yes." So, I asked him to get his words and I would quiz him. It didn't take long before I found out that he really hadn't studied but merely went through the exercise to write the words once as required and no more. He told me that I didn't give him long enough to answer. I told him to write the words three times each. He continued to tell me that I wasn't being fair and so I told him ten times each and asked if he wanted to make it fifteen.

I asked my oldest if he had any homework and he said, "No." I asked him if he had read for 20 minutes. He was like, "Why? When did I have to start reading for 20 minutes daily?" I replied, "When did I tell you, you didn't have too?"

High expectations? Maybe.

The rule for as long as I can remember in my house and when I say my house, I literally mean: My House. The one I pay for the mortgage for every month. The one where I am known as Dad... has been when you get home, before anything else, barring going to the bathroom is doing homework and nothing else until it is done. If you have sports after school and you come home late, then you can eat, but then homework. Granted, I make exceptions for some nights but generally, the above applies.

Homework consists of stuff that is due tomorrow or by the end of the week, say a spelling test. I ask that my boys do there homeowrk in smaller doses. Obviously, my 14 year old may have a math assignment due the next day and that comes first and say the book report due in two weeks, well, if he reads for 20 minutes a day, might actually enjoy the book and finish early without having to read and write it all in one night.

I expect the absolute best out of my boys academically. Neither one of them have a learning disability nor a weakness in any subject matter, at least for right now. Matter of fact they both excel at Math and Science. My oldest actually took the SAT's as a 7th grader as part of the John Hopkins Talent Search for Gifted Students and scored higher then 23% of the seniors that took it that year. He qualified for their enrichment program. Basically, he can take classes in the Math and Science's at his pace online in conjunction with his normal class load. I have not yet pushed this because he also plays three sports: Football, Basketball and Baseball. Not to mention he plays in a jazz band (trombone) and takes guitar lessons once a week. He is for the most part a well rounded kid and I would be wrong to not say that I am not proud of him because I am. I am VERY proud.

His younger brother is also smart. He looks at things in ways that most nine year olds don't. He had an arguemnet with his mother over wearing a coat on a most frigid day as he just wanted to wear a sweatshirt. She was like, "No, um, it's cold out and I say you are going to wear your jacket." He came back with: "Well, people fought and fight for my rights. They developed this thing called the constitution to protect my rights and its my right whether I want to wear a coat or not." Yeah, this can definitely be construed as being a smart ass but I also like to look at as an above average answer and ingenious comeback.

Okay, I don't accept anything less than a B. I use to be all A's. Why? Because I see the potential in my kids to do that high level of work. As a kid, my parents wanted me to do well, but they never made a huge deal as long as I had a B average. So, I coasted through high school, doing whatever it took to get a B average. However, today, I really wished I had paid a lot more attention in school.

Although, a few things made me lift that lofty expectation of all A's. My kids, most notably my oldest was trying so hard to meet that expectation in fear of letting me down, he was driving himself insane and when he took Algebra as a 7th grader, had his work cut out for him especially during football season where it was 6 days a week. Also, I have an extremely intelligent cousin who when as a kid, his father expected nothing less than a A and he talked about how badly he wanted to rebel. Although, I will never know and its really not my place, but I do wonder at times, did that rigid stance allow him to excel as he does today in music among other things. He may not see it as exceling but he can do things that a lot of people just couldn't, period.

I don't want either of my sons to rebel, so I give them a little breathing room. Let me clarify that my oldest takes Trombone and Guitar on his own. I offered to pay for rental and lessons. He accepted. Also, he took the SAT's on his own as well. I told him I thought it was a good idea but if he didn't want to, because it was a 5 hour test on a Saturday, that he didn't have too. As far as the sports, I don't pressure him into playing... okay so maybe I lobbied for baseball, but nothing is a mandate, well, except for homework. Although, if he asks, I will practice with him on the sports until he cannot take it anymore. Just the other day, I took him and his friend to shoot 100 Foul shots and a 100 regular shots. If they hit less then 50%, 5 out of 10, they ran a lap. They both missed 5 only like 3 times. I will help either of my kids on any of their school work, they just have to ask.

My oldest is really hard on himself and part of that I know is me and I do try to tell him over and over, as long as he does his absolute best academically, I can accept that and as well with the sports. If he leaves it all on the floor/field and has fun, then the results don't matter. He should be proud of himself and know that I am proud of him. But why do anything if you're not going to give your all? I won't lie, I do live vicariously through him a little but I often ask my wife to make sure I never cross that line because this is his/their life, not mine.

I just want as many opportunities available to them. I don't want them to never try and maybe miss that opportunity that later down the line never becomes one because they didn't give themselves the chance. I want them to expose themselves to as many things academically and athletically as possible. I believe strongly that during these first 8 years of school, they build a foundation which allows them to start focusing on things they truly like. And maybe they go a whole different route when they are done high school. All I care is that in the end, they are happy but I am going to do everything in my power to make sure they have the skills to pick their own way and succeed in whatever they choose.

High expectations? Maybe. High Hopes? Definitely. Can they ever Fail in my eyes? No. But I don't want them to ever think I failed them but not pushing or nuturing them. And I don't want them to ever think they cannot do something but rather know, if you want something bad enough and try hard enough, I will be there every step of they way to get you to realize your dreams.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Torch Has Been Passed...

...from the 43rd President, George W. Bush to the 44th President of The United States, Barack Obama. This has been a relay race of 200+ years and I would have to say on whole, we have done well as a Nation to run a pretty steady race.

I must say I was kind of Awestuck with the transfer of power. I mean think about it, where else in the world could you hand over power of this nature in front of 2+ million people and hundreds of millions watching by way of TV or the Internet and have a peaceful environment.

Today, listening to President's Obama speech during the inauguration, I truly felt his words were more than just rhetoric. I felt a sense of hope, of change. He told us how it is today, what he hopes for tomorrow and most importantly, that we have to take responsibility for our future. And today, January, 20th, 2009 was a historic day for America. We elected the first African-American to lead our country.

I am no way discounting what our last President did or how he handled or didn't handle situations before him during these previous eight years. Love or hate Bush, agree or disagree, being President must be one of the more difficult occupations you could ever encounter. You live in a fish bowl. You become the world's target, you're too soft, you're too hard. You speak for 300+ Million people every time you open your mouth. I got news for you, not everyone is going to agree with the President. Um, not everyone is going to agree with you either.

I think the next six months will tell us a lot of who President Obama is as a leader, as a man. I don't expect miracles just steady progress in fixing our infrastructure: the economy. To keep a strong voice of hope and peace home and abroad. Good Luck and God Bless.

Monday, January 19, 2009


What? 5240? What is that? All-time passing yards for a season from an NFL Quarterback? No. Your pick four for the lottery and you got a feeling you're gonna hit it BIG? No. Okay, I give.

5240 is a project my cousin Shawn Farley is doing. He explains it as a project in which he is going to create, write and play 52 new songs in his 40th year on the planet. I don't know why I am paraphrasing, go watch the video here: 5240. He explains it while being entertaining.

So far in January, he has released a song every Monday morning along with a video explaining a little bit of what he did, answering some feedback posted at his blog regarding the song released the week before and other bits and pieces. I must say that I look forward to every Monday morning for the next song. Not sure if the video was part of the grand scheme but they are truly entertaining, even if you don't know him. I don't know as time goes on, if said time will permit the zany but informative videos but I sure hope so.

He has written and released three songs thus far:

Help Is On The Way

Squandered All My Time

The Last Time We Talked

Just click on the link above and it will download it for ya. Or if that doesn't work, put your mouse cursor over the link and right click and choose save target as and you can download the .mp3 right to your computer and listen to it over and over. I have dedicated a folder on my hard drive and plan to make cd's of my favorite songs.

Okay, so what kind of music is it? Your asking the wrong guy. I am not good at this and you know what, it shouldn't matter. Go click on the above links and check it out for yourself. Let him know what you think. I think I will do that in my next blog.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Who is YOUR Favorite Baseball Player?

My buddy Ron who is an avid card/memorabilia collector and avid Sox fan posed this question at his Blog Section-36. He is having a difficult time picking one this year, as well, all his favorite players aren't with the team anymore. He is trying to decide who will be HIS player of 2009. So, I figured I would write something about favorite players. So here I go. I will say when it comes to sports, I am a pretty big HOMETOWN boy. This would include the Bruins, Patriots, Celtics and most notably the Red Sox. I want to make it clear I was a fan way before Red Sox Nation ever was coined and actually, I hate the whole Red Sox Nation phenomenon... but that is for another blog.

I have always been ennamored by the likes of Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Jim Rice and others. While growing up I was a big Jim Ed Rice fan. I just liked how when he was up at the plate he never took any cheap swings, he was always trying to crush the ball out to the Mass Turnpike. I remember the 86 World Series as it was yesterday, sitting on the floral love seat my parents use to own in front of the TV in our new house which my parents still live in. I use to always pull for the outfield regime of Jim Rice, Tony Armas and Dwight Evans.

However, I fell in LOVE with Nomah. I just liked how he played hard every single day. He would run out every grounder, played with reckless abandon in the field and was quiet. Just wanted to play baseball. My wife bought me a Nomah Authentic home jeresy one year for Christmas and I traced the number 5 as my eyes welled up. Yup, huge Nomah fan. I own his rookie card and even an autographed bat. I was so bummed when they traded him. I can't wait until the day he comes back to Fenway. However, now that Baldelli has his number, who knows if he will ever come back here.

For a spell, I chose Nixon as a guy to watch becasue again, he played hard, all the time but he started getting injured and you knew his time was wanning as a Red Sox, so I jumped on the Jason Varitek fan bus. I am not sure what it is about Jason but there is something.

I will and NEVER have liked Alex Rodriguez!! Ever since his days began back in Seattle, there was something about him, I just think he is fake as a player and as a person. Don't get me wrong, I will never argue that he is NOT a sensational ball player but he has those, I am NOT going to give it my all today moments and nothing IS ever his fault. I was not one pulling for A-rod coming to Boston back in 2004. And when he went to the Yankees I quoted, "The Yankees will NEVER win the World Series as long as he is on the team." He is a selfish, me first kind of guy.

But let me be clear, I do as any loyal Sox fan does, "Chant Yankees Suck!" but I say that about Jeter too... however, when I say Jeter Sucks, as much as it pains me, it is with a sign of respect. He never makes the last out when it matters, NEVER! He always plays the game as if its game 7 of the World Series and he conducts himself in such a professional manner.

Okay, so I digress. I think right now, I would probably say Jacoby Ellsbury is my favorite player on the Sox right now. He is so fast, can play all three oufield positions and I am beginning to think he could be something of a shoeless Joe figure in the field where baseballs go to die.

So there you have it. Jacoby is my man for 2009.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Captain meets The Owner of the Ship

So, it has been said that the captain, #33, V-Tek, Jason venerable Varitek is meeting with John Henry, the principal owner of my beloved Red Sox for better or worse. John Henry has supposedly flown down to Atlanta to speak with Jason upon Jason's request to meet with him.

First of all, let me just say after Jason's paltry just above the mendoza line batting average of .220 and in that year, declined in virtually every offensive category imaginable, he has the audacity to decline arbitration which would have guaranteed him somewhere in the $10-12 Million range for one year.

Jason has always been a defensive catcher first which is fine with me. You can't expect to have a Muderer's row 1927 Yankees lineup out there every year. And for all you baseball fans out there defense and pitching always trumps offense. However, Jason does have his flaws in that realm as well. He caught only 16 base runners stealing over 131 games and more than 1,000 innings logged. But in baseball, production is what gets the money and well, he didn't show any production. There are numerous stats that all catchers with age naturally decline becasue of the extensive wear they put their bodies through being in one of the most physically and even mentally demanding positions. That may be.

When people talk about Jason, they don't say, "Wow! He has incredible power!" or "He has a phenomenol arm!" or even "He's blessed with unbelievable speed." You always hear them talk about intangibles, how he handles a pitching staff, that he's always prepared and does his duediligence with the hitters his pitchers will face and how he is respected in the clubhouse and when he speaks, people listen.

I will never forget hearing Curt Shcilling after being one out away of throwing a no-hitter against Oakland on the road... he said he shook off Varitek and threw what he thought would get him that last out and he kicked himself for not trusting Varitek. Or How Beckett became a 20 game winner listening to Tek instead of trying to throw it by everyone every pitch. And lets be honest, do you really think that the power nibbler otherwise known as Dice-K would have been as successful without Varitek? You nly need to look back to the 2001 and 2006 seasons when Varitek was hurt in each of those two years and the pitching staff was woeful. He makes a difference.

In his 10 years with being with the Red Sox, he was traded in 1997 to us with Derek Lowe for a guy you may remember: Heathcliff Slocumb... best trade Dan Duquette ever made aside from the Pedro deal. They made the playoffs 7 out of 10 times and two World Series!! and 2 of 3 years they didn't make it he was injured and well, chalk the third year up to Woeful management and The Kerrigan Experiment. I'm just saying.

Since the season ended, I have said the following. Give Jason an incentive ladened contract worth like 6 million guaranteed a year for two years. Add incentives like a million if he makes the All-Star Team, a million for every 20 game pitcher, a million for advancing through each round of the playoffs, a million if he bats .280 where he could make easily $10 Million or more per year. And hope that their two Minor league catchers can be ready in two to three years.

I see this meeting having two outcomes as it is ONLY John Henry and Jason Vartek, no Theo, No Larry Luccino and thankfully NO Scott Boras. One, John Henry saying, "Hey, we would love to have you back at this number and he accepts" or two, to tell Jason they really valued his service but we are moving on. I hope Jason can swallow his pride and be the captain we have come to love and put the TEAM first.

I mean we have got some pretty good pitchers for our rotation next year: Beckett, Lester, Dice-K, Wakefiled, Smoltz, Masterson, Buckholtz. Lots of promise and it would be great to have an intelligent, hard working, blue collar, in your face, I got your back Gold Glove caliber veteran catcher behind the dish.

Jason called the meeting... I think he wants back. I have my fingers crossed.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The First Blog of 2009

Okay, so like I have really been slacking. However, I have a hard time blogging just to blog. I like to have something worth writing and then well, when I do, it takes a while to write it. Then sometimes I have to censor postings by not posting them at all because I could get myself in trouble. Me, in trouble? Nah. Yadda, yadda, yadda.

So, Happy New Years to one and all... how did you spend yours? I started out all gung-ho. I bought all kinds of munchies. I made Pizza with my 3 year old and really, if nothing ever works out for him, he'll always have a place making pizza! It was impressive, he did a FANTABULOUS job with the pepperoni. I even made my famous rolls with brown sugar. Yummm... and then I started to partake in the beverages and well, all of a sudden I felt awfully ill and was in bed by 7:30. The boys and my wife told me they had a great time watching the ball drop... so not all was lost.