OMG! Where did my website go?!?!

I’m experimenting a bit with this site. One thing I’ve learned so far is trying to make just any ol’ plugin work with just any ol’ theme can really suck. That’s one reason the lightboxes for the photos I posted last night were coming out all funky.

So I’ve ditched the Spotlight theme (even though I really liked it) because I don’t feel like debugging someone else’s CSS. Instead I am trying out some very plain looks that I can hopefully adapt to suit my own needs. You should be seeing either a variation of the Sandbox theme or the magnificently named blog.txt.

I know these little “administrivia” posts are just so fascinating that you can barely keep yourself away. I’ll try to keep them to a minimum – just like the CSS… that was terrible…

Cole Alexander

The most important function of this blog is keeping track of nephews and nieces. If only I had this thing back when the oldest of the next generation was born, I’d have a clue as to how old Jack is… I’m kidding, of course, he’s like 23 or 12 or something… I don’t know, the point is that I’m still a lot bigger then him…

Believe it or not, only a quarter of the way through this year and I’m already announcing the birth of another child in my family. Please welcome to this very loud world Cole Alexander Jackson:

It took a few hours of waiting, but he eventually proved that he does have eyes:

I was lucky enough to receive the first hosing down after his circumcision, which I’m sure means I am blessed in certain cultures. In mine it means that I was walking around with a dirty shirt for the rest of the day. I forgive him at this point, because that’s about all a baby can do to amuse himself a day into life (he was born this past Saturday), but this post will help remind me so that I can embarrass him when he starts dating.

To help get my stock as coolest uncle back up, I better rectify the lack of Lily-Anne-centric photos, so check out how big the little beauty has gotten:

Hey, at least I didn’t post the drunk baby ones… Alright, here’s another cute one with here mom:

UPDATE: ARGH! I screwed up the new photo plug-in. Photos will be fixed tonight!

UPDATE: It looks like I got this working now.

Pardon the dust

It’s time I updated this site with the latest WordPress patch, and I think I’ll take advantage of the downtime to clean up some things around here. So don’t worry if the entire site disappears for a little bit. I know it might be difficult to make it through the evening without your nightly Thom fix, but try to be strong…

UPDATE: I zonked out before I could actually do anything. I’m going to work on it before I head out this morning.

UPDATE: Everything seems to have gone well. I even cleaned up the database of left over data from an old plug-in. Expect baby pictures to follow soon…

Viva Atlantic City

Last minute combine bachelor/bachelorette party plans for friends of mine getting married this weekend led us to a whirlwind trip down to Atlantic City – you know, the standard destination for all whirlwind-type trips for people in the Jersey/NYC/Philly area. Oddly enough, having lived in North Jersey basically since ’95 I had never been to AC until maybe 3 years ago. And this was like my 4th trip.

But this was my first trip with a big group of people (we started with 13 – what better number to bring for gambling). And after an awesome dinner at the Irish Pub (yes, awesome even though my stomach woes forced me to order the chop-chop salad rather than the Guinness beef stew), a few people ditched out and the rest of us hit the slots for a night of losing money one nickel at a time.

I did play this kickass sheep game for awhile. After dropping my 20 bucks to under 5 in about 10 minutes, I managed to unlock some magical Sheep-Tac-Toe bonus round. To everyone’s delight I played against the machine trying to place my “O” sheep against its “X” sheep. And the machine kept drawing blanks – to the effect that I ended up taking 8 of the 9 squares. I was pretty psyched thinking I probably would bring myself back up to my 20 dollar beginnings. Instead, it tallied up all of the bonuses and I suddenly found myself with over a hundred bucks! W00t indeed! Hey, that’s big winnings around these parts.

I managed to take it up over $120 and then slowly whittled it back down to $100 over the rest of the evening. That would have been much more exciting if the Woman hadn’t run down her bankroll by the time we left – then again, it’s amazing that she was able to make her money last as long as she did. She was about as even as you could possibly hope for during a night of slots.

Oh yeah, the man-of-the-hour managed to bring home a decent chunk on the roulette table by playing birthdays and the upcoming wedding date. But he didn’t get to use sheep (at least that I’m aware of), so my plus 80 was way cooler. That’s my story, and I’m sticking with it.

Great way to end the week

You know what’s lots of fun? Realizing that the a VIE’s (Very Important Executive) hard drive is dying… on a Thursday afternoon… before a three day weekend. W00T! Don’t worry, lots of backups and folder redirections means that he’s already doing all of his work on another laptop, but the mad scramble to figure out what was wrong is not the way I like to ease into relaxation mode.

Of course the fact that I wasn’t even sure if I had tomorrow off should have made it difficult for me to start relaxing anyway. For once I actually knew that there was a possibility that we would have off (normally some conversation on Thursday ends with “Have a nice weekend!” and that tips me off on the holiday), but I kept forgetting to check until today. And then I did. And then everything went kablooey! Ain’t work grand?

Netflix queue review (March 2007)

It’s time to unleash yet another “feature” for this website. There’s no way I can bother with a whole write-up of every movie I get from Netflix, but I want to start doing a round-up with some quick blurbs about each film at the end of the month. What genius! Who else could come up with such an original idea? Here we go:

The Departed – So we start off with the big Oscar winner – picture, writing, and directing. And I have to say that it was very deserving. Scorsese does a masterful job of stringing together a twisted tale of deceit played out by some of the best actors of our time. I was completely engrossed in the film and never questioned its realism.

Schulze Gets the Blues – Here’s an interesting one – retired German salt miner picks up his accordion and forgoes his traditional polka when he discovers zydeco. It’s very slow-moving, and far more subtle than the trailer might suggest, but wonderful nevertheless. A very satisfying look at a guy very set in his ways who finds out it’s never too late to explore new passions.

Raging Bull – The Departed got me on a Scorsese kick, and I figured it was time to finally watch this classic. My first thought while watching it was, “how did Scorsese not win best director for this”? Absolutely brilliant direction. He uses every trick in the book to show us Jake LaMotta’s torturous world and the abuse he laid out in and out of the ring. This is a must-see movie.

Blood Diamond – Don’t watch this before you go jewelry shopping. Seriously, this movie does for diamonds what The Constant Gardener did for pharmaceuticals. It is an intense, gripping and action-filled drama that shows the horrors that exist in third world countries ruled by governments and rebels so eager to sell their souls for weapons. Leonardo DiCaprio puts on another stellar performance that tops even The Departed and is only overshadowed by the intensity of Djimon Hounsou.

Touch of Evil – What a bizarre and twisted film. It’s the kind of plot that I would expect from some 90s indie attempt at film noir, not from the 50s. Definitely a film to check out if you’re into Orson Welles or noir, as his direction pushes this dark story almost over the edge into madness.

Babel – We went pretty heavy with the “critically acclaimed” movies this month, and Babel certainly had its share of praise… and criticism. Looking back at it, I think the film was overly ambitious. There are four main storylines all tied together, but some of them a little too loosely. Each sequence is very well done, but maybe just focusing on the tragedy that strikes Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett and the Moroccan family directly involved would have been better. Of the other two parts, the story of the deaf Japanese girl was magnificent, but felt out of place while the one involving the housekeeper and Pitt and Blanchett’s kids just gets a tad ridiculous. It’s like a cross between Syriana and Crash, but not quite as good as either. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy it, it’s just that looking back on it the flaws become more apparent.

Childen of Men – Rent this! Now! Absolutely stunning, brilliant, intense, captivating, creative, engaging… I think you get the idea. This was severely overlooked when it came to Best Picture. The concept of a struggling world that has lost the ability to procreate is delivered in such gritty realism, the it frightens you with the possibilities – not just with that specific problem, but the way in which people handle wars and epidemics. It was a wonderful film. I cannot stress that enough.

I’d honestly suggest all of these films, with Children of Men, Raging Bull, Blood Diamond, and The Departed all being heavy recommendations for any movie lovers.

The tale of the orange water

Back from vacation… getting things done around work… getting finances in order… gee, what could possibly go wrong now? How about some dirty water coming out our faucets? It all started Sunday morning. After spending a lovely afternoon with my Mom and some other family members (including the requisite lunch at Chick-fil-A) the day before, I was doing some laundry before heading out to see the in-laws and decided to take care of flushing the furnace while down in the basement. I should have known better than to try to accomplish anything.

After getting the water in the furnace clean enough that you could bath in it… you know, if you could bath in water that’s over 200 degrees… The Woman (hey, let’s use my proper nickname for Lisa) noticed water taking on more of an orangish color than usual. And as much as I love the color orange, I try to avoid it in water. Fortunately it was only the hot water taps pumping out our new rainbow water – so all I had to do was figure out how to make the cold water taps also provide hot water…

In reality I knew this meant we should flush the water heater. I consulted the Internet – provider of all answers for questions normally unsolvable by alcohol – to make sure flushing it was as simple a process as I thought. And sure enough it was – attach hose, put hose in sink, open valve, and let ‘er rip. Seeing what came out made me feel like I needed a shower… at someone else’s house.

We repeated this process a couple of times and then again when we got home that night. And nothing went wrong and we all lived happily ever after… yeah, right.

Unfortunately the pressure of the water in the tank prevented me from fully closing the drain valve. At first it was just a slight drip, but pretty soon I realized we would need to empty the bucket I was using every hour – and that’s just not conducive to our schedules. So now I find myself reading manuals, home improvement sites, etc. trying to figure out what to do next. Hey, why not just empty the damn thing and then close it up! And what do you know? It works! Of course re-filling the tank kicks up all of the sediment that didn’t come out while draining. So now we have orange water again…

The Woman wants a new water heater. I say orange isn’t such a bad color…