Cyber-shot DSC-T1

Sony Cybershot Sony’s Cyber-shot DSC-T1

One of the great things about the inlaws visiting from Tokyo is that they bring with them the latest techie gadgets from over the horizon. This Christmas was particularly special as they brought with them Sony’s latest and greatest digital camera and, even better, it was a gift!The camera is the size of a thin deck of cards and slides easily into a shirt vest pocket and boots up almost immediately. It’s got a 3x optical zoom and a huge 2.5 inch LCD monitor. Most impressive is the 5 megapixel resolution, ability to shoot MPEG movies, and docking station which makes uploading real easy.

Combined with the iMac, iPhoto, and my .mac account I’ve been able to upload photos and movies with ease – thanks to you Mama Takei, they’ll be more pictures this year than ever before!

Reward

Lost Cat Reward

You know you live in an affluent neighborhood when you see reward amounts like this. The sign is on the way to work and has been the topic of quite a few conversations. For $2,500, you’d think there’d be hoards of people in the woods looking out for the lost feline. Some have thought that it’d be pretty easy to find a passing resemblance of this cat and try and pass it off as the lost kitty – others thought for that amount, you could hire someone to doctor one up, something like kitty plastic surgery. Heck, at that price, it’s worth me taking a week off work and dedicating myself to the search – I’m surprised more corporate types aren’t plying the woods in their overcoats and wingtips shouting “kitty! kitty!”Others wondered why the cat was worth that much of award – you’d think the owner would just post something like “Handsome Reward Awaits” rather than leaning out there with such a specific amount. Does it really take 2.5 G’s to get someone’s attention around here?

Me? I think the cat must have swallowed something of considerable value such as an engagement ring where the reward amount seems inconsequential compared to the emotional or perhaps matrimonial devastation the owner thinks awaits. Perhaps the husband is away on a business trip and while the wife was taking a lengthy bath the spiteful kitten swallowed the ring and bolted. I can see a jealous cat doing that.

iTunes fun

We had a blast after dinner today with a new game we made up using Apple’s iTunes software. Taking turns we all would think of a phrase or a concept to type into the search box and then dance to the 30 second samples that matched that concept.

“Cha Cha Cha” was a good one and that got us grooving onto “mambo” to which we danced to a Tito Puente song called “Hong Kong Mambo” – from there Tyler wanted to try “Green” which didn’t turn out that great but it did bring us to a tune by Fat Boy Slim which led us to . . . you get the idea.

Bunk Bed

We built up a bunk bed for Tyler and Julia this weekend and have moved them into their own room. They’re ready for it and couldn’t wait to hit the sack tonight. Tyler’s up top and Julia is tucked in below.

Rockettes

We went into Manhattan for Christmas Day, waking up early to open presents and then jumping into the Odyssey (dubbed “Flash” by Tyler) for the drive. It was the first time for me to drive in the city and it was a lot easier than I thought. Yeah, it was Christmas and the streets were pretty bare, but as a dry run for another trip next week, I have to say that the disregard the drivers have for the actual lanes on the Avenues makes it even a little fun.

Rockettes

We caught the Rockettes for their Radio City Christmas Spectacular with front section tickets we scored after trading in a bunch of our Amex points. It was quite the show. Kitchy? Most definitely. But also done with a high degree of percision. Those dancers are not any slouches and they even took the opportunity to poke fun at the Nutcracker Suite. I’ve also never experienced 36 people tap dancing in live in perfect unison before – I was certainly entertained. The kids also were most impressed with Tyler dancing through some of the numbers and Julia taking it all in, eyes wide open but arms crossed politely in her lap. Tyler also enjoyed the 3-D movie trailer but was disappointed to find that the glasses didn’t work outside on Times Square.

Snow

Choice shot from the other weekend’s snowstorm.

Julia bundled up

Tyler’s all clued into this Christmas thing. We passed a Santa on the street the other day, the local real estate agent all decked out with a sleigh and posing for pictures with kids. I asked Tyler if he wanted to have a chat with Santa and he said, “Nah, that’s not the real Santa. That’s just some guy dressed up as Santa.”

Julia’s really starting to talk now and can put together simple sentences like, “Here it is!” and “What is this?” She loves to help out around the house and even brought me a beer from the kitchen.

I gave Tyler a glimpse of Izumi’s Christmas present and Tyler was not impressed. After seeing a diamond commercial on television he let out to Izumi that he had seen what I’m giving her and that I really should have gotten the diamond necklace instead!

Tyler is way into NASCAR racing these days and I’m planning on taking him down to see one of the Busch series races in Virginia with Uncle Dave when it gets warm. Of course Tyler was excited when I told him of the plans but he was disheartened to hear that we were only going to watch the races – he was hoping we’d be in the race!

Winter

We got snowed in last weekend with over ten inches. Tyler and I jumped into a neighbor’s 4×4 and hitched a ride up to Belle Mountain, the local sledding hill. We trudged up to the top and faced into the freezing wind to a magnificent view of the entire Hopewell Valley covered in snow. After a brief pause to tuck our legs into the sled and a hearty push from a friendly bystander, we were off. Before I knew it we were hurtling downwards, wonderfully out of control but loving every minute of it. We both were laughing as we tried to aim edge towards a jump but tipped over in the process and wiped out another pair that was walking up from thier run.

We spend an hour or two perfecting our technique and eventually, just as the sun was beginning to pinken, hit that jump and caught some air landing on our butts with a thump and a triumphant cheer. As we headed home that evening, I caught a glimpse of the full moon over a farm field, low in the sky, with a chevron of geese flying South for the Winter.

A perfect afternoon with my son and a newfound appreciation of the joy of simple play.

Leaf Blowers

The last of the leaf-blowers has been put away and the lawns are clear for the first winter snow. The annual blowing of the leaves is a tradition in the neighborhood that I only now begin to appreciate. The first year we were here, I thought that leaf blowers were for wimps. I scoffed at the oversized hairdryers and thought that I’d get back to my roots and do it by hand.

After spending four weekends raking the entire lawn after each successive autumn storm, I began to realize the wisdom of my neighbors with their various labor saving devices. Now that we’ve got our own little electric Toro, I’m part of a mini-arms race as each leaf blower is compared to the next and the neighbor with the biggest, baddest machine is the new king of the block. As always, Albert’s gas powered, backback mounted, 150HP is the trump. Pennington Borough keeps it civil by picking up the leaves blown into great piles on the curb, not like Greenville, NC.