Thursday, May 31, 2007

Heroes Finale: Derek Vs. Alyssa

Derek and I respectfully disagree - Hannity and Colmes style in this week's podcast. Did you miss it?

Listen to this week's episode.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Coffee talk

The thing about living in New England, which is probably true about living in other places, is that if you’re not a native – you’ll probably never be a native.

I wasn’t born here. Some stuff I’ll never pull off convincingly. I can’t sprinkle “wicked” into my speech with any kind of straight face. I tend to pronounce my Rs. I’ve accepted that for some people I’ll always be Alysser instead of Alyssa.

But yesterday, I was promoted at my local coffee establishment. I stop in at a place a few times a week for a nice cup of joe. Medium, dark roast please. It’s not fancy; it’s just good and cheap. My favorite combination!

I walked into the place, winding past dogs and baby strollers. The woman behind the counter saw me coming and says, “Medium, dark roast?”

I nodded. She handed me the cup and I hand her $1.73.

“You’re a regular now,” she said as she moved on to the next customer.

Ah – just what I needed. There are perks to being a redhead. It’s not all drunk guys and homeless dudes yelling at you, sometimes the people at your favorite coffee place remember you.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

What a Wii-kend

Does it help if I promise that this is the last time I throw Wii into the title of a blog post to make a bad pun?

I promise!

So we had a long weekend - like many in the U.S. - and we played a tremendous amount of virtual tennis. Friday was extremely hot. We got a call around 8 to meet some friends for ice cream. After enjoying in the cool sensations of frozen confections, our friends casually raised the topic of the Wii.

Perhaps they could come over to play?

Of course!

Saturday we invited more friends over to play video games and eat pizza. Very quickly we reverted to our 14-year-old selves. We had a great time.

Then Sunday we podcasted, as usual, and afterwards Derek and Deeps played video games while I edited. I won't go so far as to say Derek was here for a long time - but he showed up for brunch around noonish and we kicked him out around 9 PM. After a late dinner of course.

Yesterday was free of Wii. We went to a cookout and ate too much. Our arms needed a break - I don't want to develop Wii Tennis elbow.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

Podcast Episode 33: Big Spoilers for Three Finales

This week Derek returns to join me and Deeps for discussion of three big TV finales: Heroes, Veronica Mars and LOST. We try to make sense of exploding men, the end of an era, and what happens when you get what you wish for.

Plus Derek and I fight. And I give a very special shout-out to a recovering friend.

Listen to this week's episode.

Subscribe to the podcast with iTunes or your favorite podcatcher. Don't forget to leave us some iTunes feedback.

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Friday, May 25, 2007

I don't like that exploding thermometer graphic

The weather people are all excited because it's going to be wicked hot today. I should note that last Friday it poured and we had a high of about 45. I believe I briefly turned the heat on to boost the interior house temperature to 63 degrees.

Today - just a week later - we're supposed to climb into the mid 90s. And me without my air conditioners installed.


The humidity is already adversely affecting my brain - and my hair. I got a little sunburn yesterday too. I'm not ready yet! So remember people - summer is here and you need to stay sun screened and hydrated.

And keep yourself from being bored - Listen to this week's episode.

Subscribe to the podcast with iTunes or your favorite podcatcher.

I'm going to wait another week before I put away my winter coat. I've been down this road before, New England.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Wii love it

Our five year wedding anniversary is coming up. We've been together a long time - it's a milestone event. And how do we mark this occasion? Well a couple of years ago we went to Italy and bought a house. Last year we ordered pizza.

This year we'll be playing Tennis - Wii Tennis.

When the Wii came out last year I joked that there'd be no problem getting one for our anniversary. I was wrong.

About a month ago while on a trip to Jersey we checked at stores in MA, CT, NY and NJ without luck. I tried online. I listened to the Wicked Good Podcast for tips - I even got some inside scoop from WGP's Steve about when shipments might arrive. But I had no luck.

I'd given up. And frankly, I wasn't totally sure that we were ready for our first video game system. Every time one is introduced, we'd ask our friend who reviews games for a living. He'd tell us about the wonders of the latest system. We'd listen eagerly and then interest would fade out. Mostly, we just played with his stuff.

While we were in Indianapolis, I accidentally found a Wii and snatched it up immediately. It was not too hard to get on the plane, I just told security and they X-rayed it a couple of times.

So how's the Wii for nearly middle aged folks like us? Fantastic. Deeps has knocked over a glass and crashed into a wall playing tennis. We haven't smacked each other yet, which I've heard is a problem. Deeps likes Tennis, I prefer Boxing.

Last night we played each other for the first time. He proclaimed that he has "an awesome forehand." He was so proud. I snickered a little.

He hasn't quite figured out that I'm stealthily inserting exercise into his media consumption. Wait until DDR for the Wii comes out. He'll be unstoppable.

And I'll probably need a new coffee table.

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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Partay All The Time

We flew to Indianapolis this weekend for my Dad's big retirement party. It was a very short trip - less than 48 hours, but it was filled with good times.

Nobody threw up on me, which was good. And only one kid fell into the ornamental fish pond. It was the first time all eight kids were together in a while. I believe my husband was on swing set duty for a while, then switched to hiding in the guest room.

The party itself was well-attended. Lots of family and friends made the trip to salute my father for his years of service. Including a gentle roasting of my dad made up of incidents from his permanent record. Who knew the old man was such a rebel?

Most important to the day - the cake. It was great. The country club people started cutting it pretty early. I think they made a good decision. With four-six toddlers running around, it was only a matter of time before disaster struck.

I noticed that my nephews were particularly entranced with "Grandpa's Cake". They spent a lot of time staring at it longingly and talking about it.

A few minutes later I picked up a piece of cake - it was oddly misshapen. It looked a lot like a little hand.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Podcasts: Two for Tuesday

Right - so we recorded Episode 32 last night before the Heroes finale. That's probably good, since I could spend another hour complaining about it.

Anyway, we talk about How I Met Your Mother, penultimate episodes for Veronica, Heroes and LOST, and discuss the Boehm Body Count Rule.

Listen to this week's episode.

Subscribe to the podcast with iTunes or your favorite podcatcher.

And I've also posted the special bonus episode in the feed - so if you are a subscriber you'll get a sort of stream of consciousness podcast with our friends at the House of Burdens.

Listen to BRP/HOB podcast.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

But where's my podcast?

My apologies, regular listeners. We were out of town for a big shindig back in Indianapolis. So we couldn't record the podcast last night. But we're on it tonight. I'll have to edit around Heroes or something.

Not to worry - your podcast will be on, just a little late.

But you can always listen to last week's episode.

Subscribe to the podcast with iTunes or your favorite podcatcher.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Unexpected hostility translates to 10%

Right - so we're back after a whirlwind trip to Indiana. We were gone about 50 hours, 14 of which were spent in airports or on planes.

I'm a little beat.

But we did have an odd experience on the way home. We took a taxi and the back seat was so low that I couldn't see over driver partition. And the guy couldn't hear me - what? What? You want what? So Deeps and I were alternating in yelling instructions over the barrier.

Apparently we offended the guy, so he was vaguely menacing to us when he dropped us at home. I guess he didn't like our tone. I'm not sure what tone we struck - we couldn't see and he couldn't hear us. And when we got in the cab we told him where we were headed and got the "in Massachusetts?" question.

I've gotten in taxis all over the country and most of the time people don't really know where they are headed and you have to spend a lot of time giving directions. So when I get the "in Massachusetts?" question I start running through the directions in my head. Of course, it's harder when I can't see where I am.

Anyway, the guy wouldn't speak to me (guess it's because I've got lady parts) and then was all "Do you speak to people like this at work?" to Deeps. What? Deeps is incredibly polite. In fact, sometimes he bows when he meets people. Weird.

So if someone eggs our house or leaves an old fish on the steps, I have a suspect.

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Friday, May 18, 2007

A vampire, a cop and a necromancer walk into a bar

As we saw earlier in the week at upfronts, the fantastic and the weird will be cluttering up our televisions come fall. That is - if you watch network television. I still do, but sometimes I watch other stuff.

Among the trends - fours, the undead and more reality. Hurrah! Fox is throwing a bunch of stuff at the wall. And CBS is trying to throw off the ol' cops and robbers mantle. I'm not sure they'll be successful, but whatever. They're still the number one network.

What does this all mean for you? There'll be more coverage online and we'll do a little upfronts round up in the podcast. It's a busy week around here - perhaps you've heard about finales? We'll cover it all on a special Monday podcast. In the meantime, please enjoy the latest podcast.

Listen to this week's episode.

Subscribe to the podcast with iTunes or your favorite podcatcher.

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Good Behavior

Man - we've set the bar pretty low, huh? Normally I wouldn't blog about something like this because it's pretty lame. But I can hardly stop myself.

Paris Hilton's jail sentence is cut in half because she's demonstrated good behavior. Such as showing up for a court appearance.


I'm hoping to win the Nobel Prize for paying my taxes. Maybe I can get the Congressional Medal Of Honor for not parking my car in a handicap spot.

I must now go back to grumbling about other dumb stuff - like LOST and the salon hatch.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Burning Down the Park

Boston Public Garden
Originally uploaded by nopity.
Last night a spectacular thunderstorm rolled overhead. I had kind of dozed off around 11ish and by 11:45 I was rocked out of bed by the crash of loud thunder. It was warm and steamy, so I left the windows open. I didn't expect to be kept awake from the noise.

It was a gully washer - fast, loud and violent.

We needed the rain because it has been pretty dry here in Massachusetts. We've been under brush fire warnings for the past few days. Even Harvard Square had some problems.

Yesterday, I was minding my own business when Salena rolled into my office to ask if I'd talked to our colleague Joe*. Apparently Joe had gone for a walk at lunch and encountered a smoldering pile of mulch and a burning bush.

He stamped it out and saved the Boston Public Garden. That's right - he strolls through parks to aid in digestion. Who doesn't?

I was very curious, so we swooped in on the unsuspecting Joe. He smelled a bit like a campfire.

Joe said he was walking when he noticed a lot of smoke. Someone had left a large, burning cigar in the mulch by a shrub. Joe took matters into his own hands - or feet - and spent a few minutes putting out the fire.

It's always good to know when your co-workers are action-oriented. And it's always good to reward such behavior.

So now I call him Smokey.

* changed for privacy.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A bit about upfronts

New Fall TV schedules are being announced. Since we cover pop culture in our weekly podcast, we have some interest in these developments.

So NBC is tilting towards the science fiction realm. I'm most excited about the Bionic Woman - mostly because she was on my first lunch box. With the Bionic Dog of course.

Anyway, here's more about NBC's new shows. And CBS is up today. ABC is making announcements. And the CW won't present it's new season until Thursday. I hope Veronica Mars makes it!

Listen to this week's episode.

Subscribe to the podcast with iTunes or your favorite podcatcher.

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Alyssa Vs. The Squirrels

I'd say right now the squirrels and I are even. Sure, they've killed some of my pepper plants. And my basil may never be the same. And it appears as though they've eaten 275 of the 300 bulbs I planted last year.

Yesterday I was busted for trying to "out think a squirrel." I don't know how squirrel brains work. I just shoo them out of the yard and put up things that discourage them - like a net over the veggie patch.

Sure, maybe I investigated buying some cougar urine. But I haven't. And I can't get Deeps to go pee around the yard. I thought that was more cost effective. He did not.

Right now, I'm using the best tools at my disposal - the neighborhood cats. I'm going to plant some cat nip so that the kitties hang out a little longer. And last night I gave the Poopus a little TLC. A few minutes of light grooming resulted in a good pile of cat fur that I spread around my container veggies.

So far so good.

Tomorrow we'll return to my regularly scheduled randomness.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Episode 31: I don't know what episode I'm on

This week I insist - several times - that we're doing episode 30. We're not. We're on 31. This is typical of me, I still think I'm not 32. Whatever.

Deeps and I analyze the run ups to finales for Heroes and LOST; we talk about Paul Rudd on Veronica Mars; and we take a look at the new ABC series Traveler.

I also beg for donations for Donors Choose. I'm not above begging.

Listen to this week's episode.

Subscribe to the podcast with iTunes or your favorite podcatcher.

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Friday, May 11, 2007

The running of the squirrels

I've been keeping watch over the back veggie patch and chasing off squirrels whenever possible.

I have this vague recollection about squirrels and feeding grounds and something I saw on Animal Planet. I think if you disrupt the squirrels at a feeding spot several times they aren't inclined to return. I could be wrong.

Sometimes I think I read or saw something, but I just dreamed it - like the other night when I was yelling. Turns out Deeps was coming to bed around the same time as I was dreaming about yelling at Gene Simmons. Yes, that Gene Simmons.

Why? Who knows. But I guess I was actually yelling at Simmons to, "Get out of here," and then saying "What?" over and over again. Apparently it was very confusing to my husband.

I'll be honest, it's confusing to me.

But back to the squirrels - I'm watching them closely, the hose is hooked up and my trigger finger is ready.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Maybe you have a little time...

Got a big trip coming up? Maybe you're going to the dentist and could kill some time. Load up the MP3 player of your choice with the delicious stylings of the Big Red Podcast.

Each week we spend 30 minutes covering pop culture. We don't get to everything, but we try to be thoughtful about what we do discuss. Except for this week - this week we make some double entendres and giggle. We mix it up.

Listen to this week's episode.

Or go one step further and subscribe! Tell your friends!

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Monologue for two

Yesterday I went to the dentist. I was a little nervous because the last time I was at the dentist I had to get some very expensive and somewhat painful work done. Guess who has her own gold pirate tooth?

After my cleaning, the hygienist told me that I was due for my x-rays. Off I went to another room to meet the x-ray dude, the monologist - I'll call him Job.

Job covered me with the x-ray bib and then started chit-chatting with me. About my hair.

Job: I really dig your orange hair.
Me: Thanks.

I guess that technically my hair is orange - I prefer to think of it as copper and auburn. But whatever.

Job keeps rambling on about redheads, whom he insists on calling orange heads. To me redheads mean Rita Hayworth and Lucille Ball. Orange heads are like... I dunno - Bozo the clown?

He shares his deep admiration for Reba McEntire's hair. He like short, funky, orange hair. He doesn't like Debra Messing.

At this point, I'm really started to think this guy is hot for clowns. Thankfully my dentist arrived. He kicked me out with a new toothbrush and a blog entry.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I eat your stuff

Spare a dollar?
Originally uploaded by nopity.
Attention squirrels - leave my tiny veggie patch alone!

Last year floods destroyed it three times. And since Saturday, one of your filthy brethren has dug up most of my tiny plants. You killed a jalapeno plant and a bell pepper plant. And the basil may never recover.

This is your last warning. I'm busting out coyote urine next.

Or better - I'll grow cat nip and the neighborhood cats will be on the case. That might be a good idea.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Fresh Meats

Dem Apples
Originally uploaded by nopity.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Episode 30: My clothes are burning my skin edition

It's sweeps time - so I've called in some special guests: Salena and Erin! They join me and Derek to talk about the wonders of Heroes, LOST, Grey's Anatomy and speculation about an Addison spin-off, Veronica Mars' return (we debate whether or not it was triumphant) and the horrible majesty of The Office.

Plus we talk about why so many men are shirtless. Off color jokes are made, but no Dereks were harmed in the making of this podcast.

Listen to this week's episode.

Subscribe to the podcast with iTunes or your favorite podcatcher.

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Point of order

Sandal season is upon us and I finally caved in. Sure, it's like 40 degrees in the morning, but by the afternoon we're well into the 60s. Sandals ahoy!

I got a delightful pedicure. I'm not constantly running out for one - although I could devote a whole post to the ladies at the pedicure place. "Can you break a hundred?" one woman asked.

You know, you have to go into the bank and make a special request to get hundreds. What's the point? Also - who carries that much cash? Her purse cost more than my monthly mortgage payment.

Anyway, my feet are always being abused. At least, that's what one pedicure lady told me.

"Your feet will never be beautiful," she said. "You walk too much."

Really? I'm in close proximity to America's Walking City - of course I hoof it. That's also why I have a small collection of shoes at my office. I truck around in my sneakers (or if you're from Indiana, tennis shoes).

What does this have to do with anything? Well - not everyone has addressed their feet for summer footwear. I don't think you have to go get a pedicure. You should just do a little bit of basic maintenance - trim a snaggly toenail. Maybe throw on a little foot lotion.

You're worth it. And if you won't do it for yourself, do it for me. Oh - this applies to dudes too.

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Friday, May 04, 2007

Fun with Wonders

Sometimes we go on walks after dinner. It's pretty easy to lure Deeps out of the house with the promise of ice cream.

A few nights ago we walked around the center and popped into our local frogurtorium. In line in front of us was a lady with her toddler age daughter. The girl was at the beginning of a melt-down (get it!) over ice cream. She was kind of writhing around and ended up pulling her dress over her head.

We've all been there. I can't begin to tell you what I'm like when I don't get my frogurts. Deeps and I stifled giggles.

A moment later a lady with a cat carrier rolled in. The cat was not happy - and let us all know about it by several sad wails.

We got our ice cream (and frogurt!) and high-tailed it out of the store. We rounded the corner to head home when we nearly ran into a tall women dressed in a black mini dress and white Go-Go boots.

As we walked away we tried to figure out where the Go-Go boots lady was headed. We didn't assume she was meeting up with the cat lady or tantrum girl. I suggested the local school might be doing a non-traditional fund raiser (scandalous!) but Deeps pointed to the theater where a few bands were playing.

We approached our house and started to cross the street when a woman came racing down and did a big U-turn - Starsky and Hutch style - around us. We jumped back on the sidewalk and she ignored us as she went back up the street and whipped into a parking spot.

Deeps and I shook our heads, muttering. Deeps asked if the lady might be Giant Dog lady. I started to reply when the barking started. The giant dog, fond of lunging at me in the most menacing manner, came bounding out of the car. I pushed Deeps up against a tree and we kind of hid.

"If anything goes wrong, throw your ice cream at the dog and run for your life!" I instructed.

The dog eventually wandered into his house while his owner bellowed to someone out of sight. With the dog safely secured we continued on our way.

I think the journey to Mordor took less time.

We encountered a few more dogs - German Short hair Pointers - and they seemed ambivalent to us. A cat jumped out and startled me. Some squirrels scampered by. The evil bluebird called out.

I'm starting to appreciate Deeps' perspective. He doesn't much care for dogs and nature doesn't do much for him either. After our little stroll, I can see why.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

I Want You - For Donors Choose!

We've kind of slowed down on our progress with the fundraiser. We only have a few days to raise another $850! Don't know what I'm talking about, read about Mr. Boehm's Wild Ride.

Unfamiliar with Donors Choose? You can learn more about them and their good work.

Want to donate to our campaign? Click on the big Donors Choose button!

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Household names

Every day Deeps and I have the same conversation. Well, besides the 'What's for dinner?' chat.

We talk about what we read on the Internet.

Over time we talk about the same people and sites. So I guess those people - and their sites - have become household names. For example, I was complaining about how boring Veronica Mars was on Tuesday. Then I invoke support. "Sepinwall agrees with me," I intone. Alan Sepinwall is a TV critic in Newark and he also has a really fantastic blog called What's Alan Watching?

Last week Deeps mentioned something that "my friend, Tim Goodman, said." Tim Goodman is the TV critic at the San Francisco Chronicle and he blogs at The Bastard Machine.

Then there's our local connection. I love Universal Hub - it is a fantastic source for all cool blog happenings in the greater Boston area. Deeps and I both read and talk about UH so frequently that UH inadvertently lead to a little argument.

See, Deeps refuses to allow me to post pictures of him to the blog. So last year there was a snowstorm and I blogged about it - including a picture of Deeps holding a shovel over his head in triumph. We'd shoveled the entire driveway and were feeling good about it. Deeps was completely obscured by his cold-weather gear.

I would have gotten away with it too if not for the Universal Hub. Instead I got a little phone call and a verbal cease and desist.

Who expects these things from her husband? I guess I do.

Someday I'll search out Adam, over at UH and buy him a drink. He's sparked a fight between me and Deeps, so he's practically family.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007


I read this great book about rats last year. So when the news broke that Boston has an alleged rat problem, I wasn't especially surprised. Rats and people go together like peas and carrots. We have food, they want food - presto!

Of course, if a rat runs across my feet I'll be confused and I might scream if I'm startled. I feel the same way about snakes.

Thank God we're not overrun with snakes. I'd never leave my house.


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Tuesday, May 01, 2007


This is the time of year when I start thinking about planting stuff, transplanting stuff and ripping stuff out. It's yard season!

I like to get all the hard work done by early June so that I don't spend the whole summer sweating in the sun. I burn easily!

On Saturday we found a little divot in the lawn. I kind of pushed on it with my foot and my foot sank quickly. I grabbed a shovel and pushed the handle into ground and it sank several feet. I called my neighbor Fred over for a consultation.

He suggested I might have found a burrow of some sort or a sink hole. I thought sink holes only happened in Florida. This is not covered in my home improvement books.

I've poked around a little more and I think I've actually found some kind of exposed well or something. It looks like the hole has a brick mouth or something. Mysterious.

Guess what we'll be doing on Saturday? Excavating! For now, the hole is blocked off with a tomato cage.

Safety first. Now to solve the mystery of who pruned my hydrangeas.

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