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Showing posts from February, 2014

Stealing & Recovering a $5 Million Stradivarius in Milwaukee

It's easy to put a romantic spin on a story about the theft of a Stradivarius violin, but it was anything but for Milwaukee Symphony Concertmaster Frank Almond when he found himself tasered and his $5 million "Lipinski" Stradivarius stolen just before he got in his car following a concert.

Indulge me with a moment of levity. I can't help it. I imagine that there are many in my age group who automatically hear the pronunciation offered by Vincent Furnier, known professionally as Alice Cooper, in this movie scene:


Done? Done.

Almond recently told his side of the story to The Violinist's Laurie Niles.

Fortunately, the tale ends positively with the recovery of the violin and the arrest of the two individuals suspected in the case. Almond was back on stage with the "Lipinski" in concert a week after it was recovered.

One of the things I appreciated is that the value of both of the bows that resided in the violin case along with the Stradivarius were divulged:…

Coffee To The Extreme

Caffeine addicts, like me, will joke about needing a mainline of the stuff on particularly rough mornings. It's probably a good thing it never occurred to most of us to try something like this. As the sub title says, Never Ever Do This At Home:


Facebook-Free Month - A Two-Week Update

As of yesterday, I had gone somewhat Facebook-Free for two weeks. The "somewhat" is a bone of contention for me because I still have to log in to do updates to the work Facebook page. In fact, not even a week into my month-long hiatus I got an email full of pictures from my boss asking if they could be uploaded to the work page.

Logging in means there are glances at the top item in my newsfeed. Other times, clicking on shortened-urls in my Twitter feed that have led me to a Facebook post or image. Then there is the dilemma whether to allow 3rd-party apps, like FourSquare or Untappd, to send my update to just Twitter or to both that and Facebook. I'd say I definitely cheated when I used Selective Tweets  to send Matt a Valentine's Day wish to Facebook by adding "#fb" at the end of my tweet.

The negative newsfeed was the big reason why I wanted to take a break from Facebook for awhile. While it feels good to not have that sitting in the background constantly…

Happy Bacon Roses Valentine's Day

I got together with some friends last night for some girl time, wine time, and making bacon roses for Valentine's Day time. My friend, Allison, got the idea off Pinterest. As far as Pinterest projects go, this one wasn't too difficult other than waiting for all the bacon to bake. We call this success! Plus, who wouldn't, other than vegetarians, love bacon for Valentine's Day?

Why Comcast Reportedly Buying Time Warner Cable Isn't Great News

The news has broke that Comcast has reportedly bought Time Warner Cable for $45 Billion. Hat tip to 106.9 Kiss FM for being the first place I heard about this dismal news.

Why isn't great news if you're a Time Warner Cable customer?

First off, you're taking the two largest cable and internet providers in the country and merging them into one. Their service didn't overlap anywhere, but then again there is usually no competition for cable service anywhere that Time Warner or Comcast is located other than going to satellite. On the internet side, the linked article above had this to say:

One likely important factor that would not be as consumer-facing but would still have a huge impact on consumers is the leverage that a combined Comcast/TWC would have with regard to bandwidth. With the recent removal of net neutrality regulations, Internet service providers have the ability to charge whatever they want to — or to block or slow down traffic for — online content prov…

Lemon Sunshine Over Chicken

Endless cold days combined with very little sun has me craving a hometown restaurant staple: Chicken French. I do not think it's a coincidence that the dish has made a reappearance in Wegman's $6 Meal offerings as I noted when I passed through the prepared foods department on Sunday.

The dish didn't originate in Rochester, but that city made it popular. The dish lacks love in certain populations. A friend who worked in catering in Rochester for a stint had no love for the endless plates of lemon-sauce drenched chicken. Despite that, The dish's ubiquitous home on innumerable menus of Italian restaurants in the area means you can taste test around town until you've hit upon the place that makes it just the way you like.

If you want to make this sunny chicken recipe at home, the Artful Gourmet's recipe pairs the chicken with a bright green side. As much as I love pasta, this combo is like a reminder of Spring and Summer in the mouth.

Undercutting Matt

At least one hair stylist and one 1940s-Fan friend on Facebook posted a link to the haircut all men should get. I took a gander and agreed. For a long time, I've wanted Matt to keep his hair longer on top with short sides. Naturally, I schemed with our friend/hair stylist, Martha, about this new look.

On Saturday, he took a chance that we might have a good idea. In the end, we're all pleased with the result.




Stalking Design & DIY

While I might not be the most handy around the house nor have much of a DIY streak in me, I do enjoy reading house/design blogs. I derive great delight in before/after stories, especially when it involves good design overcoming some of the horrific things done to living spaces. Here are the sites I enjoy the most:

Young House Love  - My best friend and I talk about the Petersiks as if we actually know them. In fact, when they announced they were moving my BFF texted me about the news. The Petersiks' enthusiasm for DIY is infectious and it has been fun to be along for the ride as they've moved twice, had a daughter, published a book, and are now expecting a baby boy.

Door Sixteen - Anna Dorfman embodies cool. She's a book cover designer who renovated the Victorian row house she and her husband own in Newburgh, NY and rents an apartment in the Cobblestone part of NYC. She loves Morrissey. Need I say more?

Manhattan Nest - Daniel is a friend/DIY Partner-In-Crime of Anna Dorfman.…

The Rochester-Jamestown Vortex

I've lived in Jamestown, NY for nearly 15 years now. A few years after I moved here, I started realizing all these odd connections between people who had moved to Rochester or people who came here from my hometown. I've jokingly called it the "Rochester-Jamestown Vortex," saying it's like our own little Twilight Zone or Bermuda Triangle.

My favorite experience with this was taking Matt, before we knew he had a seafood allergy, to my preferred sushi joint in Rochester for the first time. I had mentioned to Matt that one of the Sushi Chefs at the time had lived in Jamestown once. As we sat down at the bar and I started to make introductions, Matt says,

"Barry??"

Turns out Barry and Matt had taken a critical thinking class together at Jamestown Community College. What I thought would have been a possible "Oh, do you know so and so from back there?" conversation was more of a, "Remember in class when this happened?" and "Remember th…

The Love Tour Comes To Jamestown

Jim Brickman is bringing "The Love Tour" to Jamestown tonight at the Reg Lenna Civic Center.

I honestly hadn't heard of this Cleveland-native until people started talking about his tour coming to town. Turns out that SE-93 carries his syndicated show on Saturday mornings. The morning thing on a weekend could be why I've been in the dark. Anyway, to promo tonight's show Jim is on the air live with Morning Show Host Lee John until 9am.

I mention this because you might want to tune into 93.3 around 8am to listen when some special guests join him on air (cough cough the Mayor ahem ahem Matt). I don't see a way to listen to them online so this is aimed at the local folks.

Also, Matt and I will be slinging drinks tonight at the Reg, so say hello if you're at the show!

Green Mountain Conversion

While on a trip to Vermont this past summer with Matt and my parents, we dropped into Green Mountain Coffee's Visitor Center in Waterbury for a caffeine boost and to learn a little more about the company.

After a tour of the center which included a tasting of a delicious, but expensive reserve blend, we grabbed an empty table outside the station to plot our next stop for the day. I decided to take some pictures and wandered into a park across the street where I came upon a couple ladies who asked if I wanted to do a coffee taste test/survey. Never to turn down a chance to taste coffee, I agreed as did my mom and Matt. Of the 3 coffees we tried in a blind taste test, we all picked "B" which turned out to be a Green Mountain Coffee's Vermont Country Blend. The losers were Maxwell House and Starbucks.

Since that trip, Matt and I have switched up our brand of coffee at home to mainly Green Mountain. It also helps that we inherited on Keurig and bought another Keurig fo…

There Is Violins in "Annie Get Your Gun"

I did my first run through of the music with the pit ensemble for Falconer High School's production of "Annie Get Your Gun" last night. Initial ensemble run-throughs are always interesting because you're not only getting a chance to hear how your part fits in with everyone else but you also get to find out just how different some of your music markings are from the Conductor's score. The only issues that seemed to come up tonight were whether we were in 4/4 or 2/4 time since it wasn't always written in the instrumental part if the time signature had changed. Our conductor loved that one!

The fun thing about playing in musicals for high schools is that there are usually a couple students on in the ensemble. FHS's pit orchestra is hampered this year by a lot of would-be-pit members being part of the actual stage show. Still though, it was good to see the return of one of the flutists who had performed in the pit for "Cinderella" last year. As the …

First Time In The Rain

It would be inaccurate to say we had snow fall on us today across Jamestown. It was more of a snow dump with how much fell in a short period of time. It kind of snuck up on us even though the Winter Storm Warning had been announced and was in effect. It caused quite a few headaches for people trying to drive around, keep their driveways and sidewalks clear, or just trying to walk to lunch. It's easy to sneer at the weather and get disgruntled with day after day or cold by February. It's easy to forget the sheer joy of that first snow fall and of waking up to see frost decorating the windows in a intricate patterns.

This video is of a toddler experiencing her first rain fall on her terms. We should all strive to be open to how wonderful nature can be even when it's soaking us, making us cold, or seemingly melting the skin off our bones.
Kayden + Rain from Nicole Byon on Vimeo.

Tea Time All The Time

I love tea. As I've gotten older, my body seems more susceptible to getting colds or having sinus issues when it's cold and dry out. My main way of keeping myself healthy has been running a warm mist humidifier at night in our bedroom and during the day at work along with drinking less caffeine. A side benefit is that this has greatly expanded my tea collection both at home and work:































Where once I was a solid, black tea only imbiber I now have a variety of flavors to tantalize my palate: Chai! Country Peach! Raspberry Zinger! Pumpkin Spice!

I've also allowed other flavors into my caffeinated beverages including more chai or cinnamon spices along with vanilla. I'm a dessert fiend so it's nice to be able to enjoy some of the same sweet taste in a calorie-free beverage. I do feel my tea collection is getting slightly out of hand as it's taking up an entire bottom shelf of a kitchen cupboard. The collection of coffee between whole beans, ground, and K-cups is a whol…

Dogs & Cats Living Together! Mass Hysteria!

While I was finishing up Morrissey's autobiography (UK version) on Saturday night our cat, McKinley crawled off my lap and snuggled in next to our almost 2-year old super-mutt, Sammy. This is the most we've ever caught them snuggling together. Damned cute!


United Airlines Cuts Cleveland As Hub

United Airlines has cut Cleveland as a hub. This is more bad news for the Jamestown Airport as its commercial air service is provided by United Airlines with flights to Cleveland.

Last month, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer was in town to advocate for the Jamestown Airport keeping its status in the Essential Air Service (EAS) program. The EAS designation, which equates to $1.9 million in Federal funding, is threatened due to not meeting the minimum passenger rates required to stay in the program.

Here's hoping that all parties involved have something up their sleeve in order to keep the Airport going.

Supressing the Depressing News Feed

Another truth for why I decided to take a break from Facebook is that I've been suffering a bit of depression while reading my feed the last month or more. There is a lot of negativity out there whether it's the same depressing news item posted repeatedly or general ignorance. I can handle news in a radio/tv/print and even news blogs because you know what to anticipate when tuning into those sources whereas with Facebook you can be happily scrolling along, cooing at baby or puppy pictures before being smacked in the face with some new awful truth about how we're destroying earth or how the Republicans hate women.

Unsurprisingly, someone did a study about this and found that Facebook makes us unhappy. Of course, it's not that Facebook is the problem. Psychologist Timothy Wilson had this to say:
"Getting rid of Facebook wouldn’t change the fact that our attention is, more and more frequently, forgetting the path to proper, fulfilling engagement." One c…

Gamers & Math Geeks: A Couple Links

The Super Bowl may be over but the football season can live on through games like Madden NFL. One guy made it his mission to break the game. It's hilarious not just because of how lopsided it is but in how much it mirrored the actual Super Bowl this year.

***

Finding love in the 21st Century no longer simply involves hitting the bar or coffee shop scene. There are mind-bending assortment of online dating sites that are as general as can be to targeting specific subsets of the population like farmers or those of Jewish descent. I personally know of at least two couples who made successful matches online that led to marriage and children. This story is about a mathematician who hacked OK Cupid to find true love.


Philip Seymour Hoffman (1967-2014)

I may be off Facebook but sad news has a way of finding you. There are few details at this moment, but Fairport/Rochester, NY native Philip Seymour Hoffman has been found dead in his NYC apartment. I've enjoyed his films over the years and am saddened that such a great talent is gone at so young an age. Here's his wiki for details about his life and work.


Here's the post I did after Philip won an Oscar for Capote.

Updates:

CNN's initial story before Monday's autopsy

The Atlantic Wire: Philip Seymour Hoffman and the Ethos of the Uncool

Rolling Stone's David Fear's obituary for Philip Seymour Hoffman

Groundhog Day

It's to no surprise, given the two Polar Vortexes that have invaded a good portion of the lower 48 over the past month, that Punxsutawny Phil has predicted six more weeks of winter. Of course, to be contrary, Dunkirk Dave is predicting that warmer days are ahead.

My favorite thing about Groundhog Day is not the prognosticating by rodents but the 1992 movie starring Bill Murray. Here are a series of scenes from the movie (can't imbed video). I learned today that you can live out the movie in the place it was filmed. Woodstock, Illinois is almost 9 hours from Jamestown so that would be a heckuva drive during a time of year that can be truly iffy when it comes to snow and ice.

Growing On Me

Back in August 2011, I got the ultimate haircut by having my hair stylist/friend, Martha, cut my hair in a pixie style. My hair had never been shorter than chin length aside from when it was growing in as a baby. I decided at that point that I'd wear it short for at least a year and then decide whether to grow it back out.

This past August, I made the decision to grow out my hair. It wasn't so much that I disliked having short hair. In fact, the amount of compliments I had received after cutting it all off were almost overwhelming, but very gratifying.

Part of my decision was due to my dreams. I kept dreaming that I'd catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror or be walking somewhere and that my hair was suddenly long again. I'd think in my dream, "How is it that I'm just noticing how long it is. Isn't it great to be able to pull it back?" or "How long it's been since I could feel the wind tossing it around."

The other part of the decisio…

Too Old For Tumblr?

There have been news stories out in recent weeks about studies that are heralding the future demise of Facebook. I asked a few friends with kids where the young ones are now hanging out if Facebook isn't so cool. The answer I've gotten back is Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram. I actively use Twitter, although not as much as I had been using Facebook. I've avoided even creating an account for Instagram because of major privacy and use concerns. Tumblr was something I wasn't quite as familiar with even though I subscribed to a few Tumblr-based sites. I had even looked into starting up my own Tumblr using the name of this blog as a way to move content from one platform to the next, but couldn't find the interest in following through. It occurred to me that I may have just become too old for Tumblr.

Leave me a comment about where you're contributing content or just hanging out social media-wise these days. If you're brave or don't give a toss, tell me your ag…