Home owners again

April 30, 2007

It looks like we are joining the ranks of homeowners again. After renting for a while, we found a place we like. It’s not our dream place. We always wanted the classic Brooklyn brownstone with the garden in the back. But the housing decline isn’t really happening here and those places are either out of our price range or require way too much work.

So we’re getting a nice apartment in a good co-op in our neighborhood. We’re moving really far. Amusingly, the building we are moving to is called the Ex-Lax building. Because it really used to be the Ex-Lax offices and factory. But it was converted to a co-op a while back and it has nice, big (by Brooklyn standards) loft like apartments.

Here are a few pictures (current owner’s furniture). It has big 13 foot ceilings which I love. Makes it seem very roomy.


Cool Google Map mashup

April 30, 2007

I was checking the status of my wife’s flight. She’s flying JetBlue. When you check the status, you get the usual table of actual and estimated times. But if the plane is in flight, there is a View Map link.

This link is a Google Maps mashup, showing the actual position and course of the plane. Simple, but very cool.

Adoption Update

April 23, 2007

I’ve been refraining from posting adoption news for fear of jinxing anything. But we just got some new pictures, so I can’t help myself. The process is in the final stage of the Guatemalan government, but this stage is a total black hole. It could last four more weeks, or eight more weeks or they could decide that they didn’t like the font we used in our application and kick it back to start this part all over. And there’s no feedback at all until a decision is made, so we just wait.

But our baby is doing well. At least as far as we can tell from a thousand miles away. We get a report every month with pictures and a doctor’s report. She’s gaining weight nicely and appears to be a smiley baby. She turned five months old on April 20th. If things turn out well we could have her by the time she turns seven months.

I’ve been holding out on posting pictures for fear of jinxing things, but what the hell. Here are two pictures of hopefully our soon to be adopted daughter.

And here’s her big sister in her new blue cast. She only has to wear the cast for two more weeks.

Fractured news

April 16, 2007

My last post talked about a very enjoyable trip to the circus. I left out the end of the story.

Following the circus we came home and fed Danielle a late lunch. She then had her gymnastics class. We took our nanny and her daughter with us to the circus, so she took Danielle to gymnastics. This allowed my wife and I to have a rare adult dinner. OK, it was at 4:30 in the afternoon, but you take what you can get.

We have a drink and our appetizers in a remarkably empty restaurant (just finding a place that’s open at 4:30 is a challenge). And then the phone rings. Danielle fell in gymnastics and hasn’t stopped crying.

The emergency room was a short sprint from the restaurant. Unfortunately it was mobbed so we had to wait a very long time. Danielle fell asleep on my lap for a while. We waited some more. Finally they saw Danielle. A mild fracture in her right arm, just above the elbow. But they wanted an orthopedic specialist to see her. Unfortunately he had just gone into surgery. So we waited some more. And some more.

About 11:00, we finally see the specialist. He puts her in a plaster splint and a sling. At this point it’s about 3 1/2 hours past Danielle’s bedtime. Remarkably she’s still hanging in there (the nap must have helped).

At this point it seems like about a week ago that we were sitting in a restaurant having an adult meal. Oh well, it’s part of growing up, right?

Danielle has been a trooper with her cast and sling. Here she is in her PJs (no sling at night).

After one week she got upgraded to a full cast (it’s blue) and she doesn’t have to wear the sling. Young bones heal fast so she only needs to wear it for two more weeks. Bathing is an adventure but otherwise she’s doing great.

The Greatest Show on Earth

April 11, 2007

We recently took Danielle to see Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus. It was her first time seeing the circus and the first time I’d been to the circus since I worked for Ringling Bros.

For those who don’t know me well, I was a professional trumpet player prior to CS STARS and I worked for Ringling Bros. for about 9 months. Seeing the circus did give me flashbacks, particularly during the tiger act. I hated the tiger act as a trumpet player. Not that there’s anything wrong with tiger acts, but the next time you are at the circus, listen to what the band is doing during the animal acts.

The band simply loops through whatever music they happen to be playing for the act. Over and over. Endlessly. Because, obviously, you don’t know exactly when the animal will do the trick. Tigers are especially unpredictable (i.e. slow). The bandleader is watching the tiger, the band is watching the bandleader. When the stupid animal graceful creature finally does the trick the bandleader cues the band to do a “ta-da”. And then back to the endless loop for the next trick. Tigers can make a trumpet players lips fall off. The circus is a particularly grueling gig for brass players. We typically iced our lips after the show.

I was with the circus during a tour of Japan. That was very interesting. The ringmaster did not speak Japanese. He opened the show in the traditional manner, which I can still quote:

Ladies and Gentlemen, children of all ages,

Kenneth Feld is proud to present the international edition of Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus,


I think this sticks in my brain because it was the only thing in English. The ringmaster was taught the rest of the show phonetically in Japanese. We would later meet actual Japanese people who went to the show. They couldn’t understand a word he said.

But this was all about Danielle and the circus, not me. You get to go down to where the show will be prior to the show and see clowns and some smaller acts.

Ringling Bros., ever the marketing geniuses, sells cotton candy with a special hat included. How else could you charge $12? At the end of the first act a bunch of confetti was shot out and landed near/on us. Danielle felt obligated to collect as much as possible:

But of course the cotton candy was more important than the hat:

All in all, a very good time was had by all.

Back to blogging

April 3, 2007

I’ve been out of commission lately, dealing with some personal matters. So this is my first blog in a while. I pretty much missed blogging the tournament. Florida played great and totally deserved their championship.

And baseball has begun. The Yankees won and the Red Sox lost. A perfect day. Amusingly the Yankees had to start Carl Pavano for opening day. Here was the best line from the NY Daily News today:

A meteorite didn’t land on him during the first inning, so Carl Pavano’s day already was a success

The article went on to describe Pavano as “working on 643 days rest”. Hilarious. If you aren’t a baseball fan, Pavano was highly paid to come to the Yankees and then proceeded to have a series of injuries for almost two years. He wasn’t great, but the Yankees offense did the trick and the bullpen was strong. Mariano Rivera, greatest closer ever, struck out the side in the 9th. That’s how you end opening day.