Saturday, July 06, 2013

Noa Family East Coast Trip

We just got back from an amazing trip to the east coast.  Here's what we did!

Wednesday June 26th

·         Drove from Champaign, IL to Annapolis MD
·         730 miles
·         11+ hours
·         Six states
o   Illinois
o   Indiana
o   Ohio
o   West Virginia
o   Pennsylvania
o   Maryland
·         We went over and under the Appalachian Mountains

Thursday June 27th

·         Annapolis, MD
·         My eldest son, Sean Noa, reports to the USNA for induction day where he will become a midshipman.
·         Up at 4:45am
·         Dropped off Sean at the United States NavalAcademy
·         Toured the yard
·         Visited the Naval Museum
o   Saw model ships build by POWs out of beef bones
·         Picnic Lunch
·         Visited downtown Annapolis.
·         Walked the docks and had drinks on the water
·         Watched the Sean’s induction ceremony
·         Saw Sean in his uniform and said goodbye
·         Dinner on the water


Friday June 28th

·         Travelled from Annapolis, MD  to Flemington, NJ then on to Greenlawn, NY on Long Island
o   307 miles
o   7 hours
o   Five States
§  Maryland
§  Delaware
§  Pennsylvania
§  New Jersey
§  New York
·         Drove on beautiful country road, route 29 in New Jersey
·         Visited Aunt Chris and Uncle Lou. 
·         Visited the horse farm
·         We met Lexi
·         Ate at the Blue Fish Grill, saw Jennifer and met Karim. 
·         Travelled Greenlawn, NY
·         Crossed the Geothals Bridge and Verrazano Bridge
·         Took the BQE (Brooklyn Queens Expressway) by NYC
·         Experience epic New York traffic.
·         Shannon saw her first Bodega
·         Arrived at Jeri and Josh Weitman’s in Centerport, New York
·         Ate Carvel Ice Cream.

Saturday June 29th

·         Hot New York Bagels for breakfast at Cup O’ Joe’s. 
·         Took the train to Penn Station in New York City
·         Visited the observation deck of the Empire StateBuilding
·         Walked by the NYC Public Library
·         Visited Times Square and met the Metz Family; Chris, Louis, Jennifer, Karim and Lexis
·         Spent time at a 4 story Toys R Us with a Ferris Wheel inside
·         Ate lunch at Carmine’s, NYCs Legendary Family Style Italian Restaurant
·         Took the subway uptown
·         Visited the Museum of Natural History
·         Visited Central Park
·         Ate a NYC Street Pretzel
·         Ice Cream in NYC!!!
·         Road downtown in a crowded 110 degree subway!
·         Returned to Greenlawn
·         Ate at Tim’s Pizza in Centerport, NY (First NY slice in many years)

Sunday June 30th

·         Went to Church down by the water,
·         More hot New York Bagels! (the kids were hooked)
·         Visited Northport
·         Fabulous BBQ at Eric and Monica Mayer’s house. 
o   Met their children Ingrid and Hans.
o   Eric singing “C is for Cookie” and other Sesame Street songs with his son Hans was a heartwarming highlight. 
o   Met’s Monica’s friend Natasha from Australia
·         Visited Ernie’s old houses where he grew up on Lowell Ave and Stratford Ave
o   We were invited to look around both homes by the owners.  It was a wonderful experience
·         Visited Ernie’s schools
o   Thomas J Lahey Elementary School
o   Oldfield Middle School
o   Harborfield’s High School
·         Visited Greenlawn
·         Visited Huntington
·         Visited Asharoken Beach
·         Went to the  Jellyfish for seafood in Centerport.
o   3.5 star resturaunt.
o   Alex and Josh met the chef, Danny Gagnon, a former Top Chef contestant.

Monday July 1st

·         More hot New York Bagel’s (we’ve got some addicts on our hands)
·         Visited Robert Moses State Park on the south shore of Long Island.
o   Swam in the Atlantic Ocean.
o   Kids played in big ocean waves
o   Crazy birds tried to steal our food.          
·         Visited Northport, NY
·         Ate a Sicilian pizza at Jimmy’s Pizza in Greenlawn

Tuesday July 2nd

·         Travelled from Greenlawn NY to Syracuse, NY
o   290 miles
o   5 hours
o   Three states
§  New York
§  New Jersey
§  Pennsylvania
·         Last Batch of hot New York Bagels at Cup O’ Joes
·         Stopped at the Delaware Water Gap and hiked on the Appalachian Trail
·         Arrived at Uncle Murray and Aunt Ellen home
o   Their buildings on their property were built between 1812 and 1840 and have a very rich history
·         Alex and Josh cooked an amazing dinner on the ‘BigGreen Egg’ with Uncle Murray.
·         The Noa clan enjoyed a clawfoot tub on legs in the guest house

Wednesday July 3rd

·         Day Trip to Niagra Falls
o   320 miles round trip
o   5 hours round trip
·         Visited Cave of the Winds and touched Niagara Falls
·         Road on Maid of the Mist
·         A huge tree fell near the guest house back at Uncle Murray an Aunt Ellen’s tearing the power lines away from the guest house.  This resulted in a 911 call to make sure the site was safe and then a lot of work to restore the power.
·         Another fabulous dinner with Uncle Murray and Aunt Ellen featuring burgers and Syracuse’s famous ‘Hoffman’s Hot Dogs

Thursday July 4th

·         Saw the house my Grandmother Gould grew up in, built by my Great Grandfather in Syracuse New York.
·         Visited Oswego, NY
o   Visited Grandma Gould’s house in Oswego which I visited frequently as a child.
o   Visited Fort Ontario, originally built in 1755
§  Climbed the ramparts and explored the fort
§  Visited the nearby cemetery with graves of fallen soldiers
o   Ate at Rudy’s, a popular Oswego lakeside restaurant on the shore of Lake Ontario
o   Drove by the site of Grandma Gould’s old store.
o   Uncle Murray showed us many sites around Oswego related to our family history.  (amazing)
o   Visited a tug boat at the H. Lee White Marine Museum, that shot down a Nazi plane on D-Day in WW II.  The tour was given by a WW II vet who served in the pacific.  Josh walked up to him, shook his hand and thanked him for his service.  The veteran told Josh he did it for him.  The veteran spoke to the boys directly while we toured the ship about World War II and the sacrifices that were made.  It was a very powerful and emotionally intense  visit. 
o   Ate at Stone’s Ice Cream, which my mother loved when she was a child.
o   Purchased Italian Sausage from ‘Bosco &Greers’, a butcher founded in 1959 to bring home to Champaign, IL
o   Visited the graveyard where my Grandmother Gould, and other members of the Gould family are buried.
·         Back at Uncle Murray’s and Aunt Ellen’s. 
o   Everyone made giant man sized bubbles
o   Uncle Murray and the boys made homemade ice cream
o   Had fabulous smoked pulled pork BBQ
o   Big bonfire

Friday July 5th

·         Said goodbye to Uncle Murray and Aunt Ellen and their amazing home.
·         Travelled home from Syracuse, NY to Champaign, IL
o   765 miles
o   12 hours
o   5 states
§  New York
§  Pennsylvania
§  Ohio
§  Indiana
§  Illinois
o   Saw Lake Erie on the way home.
·         Home Sweet Home. 

Thursday, April 04, 2013

R.I.P Roger Ebert

I’m not usually interested in celebrities and rarely post about them, but I am sad to learn about passing of film critic Roger Ebert.   I am a huge fan of movies and films.   I have even made a few amateur movies.  I remember watching “At the Movies” with Siskel and Ebert when I was young and later enjoyed Ebert’s reviews and books.  I’m even lucky enough to live in Champaign, IL, home of Ebert’s Overlooked Film Festival.   I will miss Roger Ebert.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Les Miserables

I went to Les Miserables with my wife last night.  I'm a huge fan of the musicial and I've seen it on stage four or five times.  I really enjoyed the movie and would recommend it.  Parts of it were really good, even great.  Other bits were distracting and didn't quite work for me.  Although Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway did a decent job, others like Russel Crowe were distracting.  I'm a huge fan for Russel Crowe, but he's not a great singer.  I think I would have preferred to have the movie full of singers who can act, rather than actors who can sing.  If you haven't ever seen Les Miserables, I think you'll love it.  If you have seen it on stage and are familiar with it, you'll enjoy it, but bits of it are going to bother you a little.

My wife, Shannon Noa , has the 25th anniversary performance playing right now. There is really no comparing the two. Is the movie enjoyable. Does it have merit? Is it like stage production. Nope.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Problems Burning a BluRay

Does anyone out there have experience burning bluray discs? I've prepped many videos and can burn DVDs easily, but I'm having trouble burning blurays. They play fine on my computers, but not on my bluray players. I'm guessing it's a compatibility issue with my slightly older, entry level bluray players, but I'm not sure. Send me a message if you have any experience with this. I've been googling this for weeks, but I'm not making much headway.

I have been fiddling with the encoding and other output options. I finally rendered a blu-ray disc that plays properly on my blu-ray problem, but despite being rendered in 1080p I can only get it to play in 480i. UGH! I suppose that's progress. I have another burn rendered differently, hopefully that will work a little better.

I've been comparing the blu-ray to the DVD I prepped. The video on the DVD is smoother, the blu-ray is jittery. Hmmm..... Hopefully the other compression on my next burn will help. There isn't a lot of clear info out there. I suspect I am fighting the two blu-ray players I own as much as anything else.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Netflix and Comcast

I watch netflix instant regularly on my two roku devices and on my PC.  I've enjoyed HD  video for over a year. Two weeks ago the picture degraded and is worse than SD.  It's not a bandwidth issue or a wireless signal issue.  I've eliminated both.  I called netflix twice.  They believe comcast, my cable company is throttling them.   This fits, since I have ample bandwidth and other services, like Amazon still produce a good HD signal.  Netflix will email me data they have used to determine this.  I will share it with Comcast and see where I can get.  Wish me luck.

I had an online chat with a support person at Comcast.  Comcast believes netflix is as fault.  Although the issue has not been resolved, Comcast agreed to work directly with netflix to resolve the issue.  I was pleased they were willing to take this step.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Mental Fish

My youngest two sons were having an epic battle royale, they type that only two brothers can have.  I separated them and sent them each to their own rooms.  While talking with one of them they told me their brother thought a long list of unkind and hurtful things.  I told him he didn’t know what his brother was thinking only what he was thinking.  He told me I was wrong, because he had mental tilapia.  

I wonder if he intertied mental fish from me or his mother?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Kerf Fitted Weatherstripping for a Ceco Entergy Door

I own an home built in 1985 with Ceco Entergy doors. The door has kerf fitted weatherstripping, but the stripping is very thin, and doesn't have the bulb found on most kerf fitted weatherstripping I can purchase a local hardware stores. The doors are difficult to close and lock with the kerf fitted weatherstripping I can find.

The product I can find is available all over town.  Here's a link to the product on the Menards Web Site.   It's got a decent picture.

The folks at Alexander Lumber in Champaign were very helpful, but could not find a suitable product.  Still I'd recommend paying them a visit, they were knowledgeable and took time to answer all of my questions. 

The folks at Pella Windows and Doors have also spent time offering advice and corresponding via email.

The bottom line I am really stuck.  I've contacted the original manufacturer, who referred me to various distributors and business who carry their products.  I've reached out to those folks via email and phone.  Most have been quite helpful, but I still haven't found a suitable replacement.

I am open to suggestions. Here are photos of the replacement product and what I used to have.   The replacement product on the left side and is white.  The old product is on the right and is black.

The new product is filled with a foam or padding, and the original is hollow.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Miscues and Misperception

I went grocery shopping with my two youngest sons.  They were mostly well behaved, but I did need to keep them focused and moving.   They were oblivious to the fact they were blocking an entire aisle, so I sternly said, “Single file please, heads up, there are people trying to get through.”   Ahead of us a mom and her teenage daughter quickly complied, nervously jumping into single file formation.  I was so preoccupied with my kids that I walked three of four paces past them before I realized they thought I was lecturing them.  I was incredibly embarrassed and apologized profusely to the woman and her daughter.  As we walked away my middle son accused me of ‘liking’ the lady who thought I was yelling at her and he also told me “Mom will be mad at you.”   That’s a whole lot o’ miscues and misperception crammed into about 30 seconds.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New Toothpaste?

A sign that my wonderful might be too busy. The kids needed a lot tonight. They were pleasant, but kept us hopping. My wife decided to take a minute to run in the bathroom and brush my teeth after dinner and homework were done. 

She brushed my teeth for about 60 seconds. All of the sudden she had a horrible taste in her mouth--truly awful. She then realized that when she reached into the bathroom drawer without looking, she had grabbed a tube of desitin rather than the tooth paste. She has tried mouthwash, lemons, and cannot get that taste (or feeling) out of her mouth!

Look Dad, it's a distraction!

My wife had president’s day off and was home with our kids.   Our younger two boys were fighting and called me at work.  I settled the argument as best I could from the office and asked them to put their mother on the phone.  My middle son said, “You’re breaking up dad.  I can’t hear you.”  His younger brother said, “No you’re not.  You sound fine.”

This morning I was horsing around with my middle son.  I was getting the best of him and he pointed to the other end of the house and yelled, “Look dad, it’s a distraction.”


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Roku 1080p and Vizio 1080p

The two roku boxes we have at home work great.  They support 720p for most streamed television. 1080p support is available but only for a handful of video feeds, and not for major services like Netflix or Hulu.  There are now a handful of devices that support 1080p for Netflix.

According to this page on the roku website, the Roku 2 supports 1080p for Netflix.   However the roku 2 has changed their lineup.  Only the top two models the XD and XS support 1080p.   All units support wireless, but only the XS has an Ethernet port, which is ideal if you have access to an Ethernet port. 

I also learned about a new Vizio streaming box for about the same price as the roku that supposedly supports 1080p.   It doesn’t seem to have better services available, but it does have Ethernet and WiFi connectivity, two HDMI ports and DLNA support.

Finally roku has announced a new device for TVs with a high-definition port, a new port available on a growing number of new TVs.  It’s about the size of a flash drive and fits into a computers USB outlet.  The finger size device fill function like a roku box, but will be much smaller and won’t require an independent power source.  Sounds exciting!

Now if I could only get ESPN and the Big 10 network on my roku, I’d cut the cord from cable.   Lack of sports, football specifically, remains the missing link for me.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Locatelli Cheese

I love locatelli cheese, it’s a high quality romano cheese. Very dear family friends are nice enough to bring me a wedge of it every time they visit from the east coast. I love it. My two youngest sons love it. My folks love it. My brother and sister love it. My wonderful wife and eldest son hate it and call it ‘foot cheese’, because they think it smells like feet. I couldn’t disagree more. I’m going to have linguini with white clam sauce for dinner and I thought a little fresh grated locatelli on top would be perfect. I offered a little taste of cheese to my darlin’ wife who said she’d rather lick my foot.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Foot Surgery - the sequel

Last Tuesday I had foot surgery. I had more extensive work done on my right foot three years ago, this was restricted to the toe. The procedure basically straightened my right toe, removed an anchor from the first surgery and removed or restructured the bump on the side of my foot. It had been causing some mild to moderate pain, hopefully this gives me long term relief and a little more power from my toe\foot. I've been on some serious pain killers. It's left me extremely tired, but otherwise I am none the worse for wear. Here is the 'damage'. At least I can get around fairly well in the boot.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Tom Clancy - Dead or Alive

My father in law loaned me 'Dead or Alive' one of Tom Clancy's latest books. I've always been a fan of the Jack Ryan series of Clancy novels, but I stopped reading them after 'Bear and the Dragon', when Clancy switched from Jack Ryan to Jack Ryan Jr. I have to say how pleasantly surprised by 'Dead or Alive' It's well written (which is no surprise for a Clancy novel), exciting and relevant for the current time period, as opposed to his early books like, "The Hunt for Red October". All of the old characters I remember are there, just as vivid as ever. It feels very much as if I am revisiting an old friend. I have about 200 pages to go, and I've borrowed 'Teeth of the Tiger', the first Jack Ryan Jr book which I skipped. In December the Next Jack Ryan book is coming out. I am eagerly looking forward to it.

Lots of cooking and lots of kids

Lots of cooking and lots of kids this weekend. Yesterday I made Italian Beef and Risotto. Today I am making turkey and beef chili. I'm using up a lot of leftovers and things in the cupboard. It's funny with three young boys we seem to go through food at an alarming rate, yet it's also spilling off the counters on the floors with regularity. When I moved into my current house I thought the kitchen and house were huge and would never be filled. Now it feels like we are bursting at the seems. Despite all the food I picked up four pizzas this afternoon. My eldest son has two classmates over. They are trying to build a bridge out of toothpicks for science class. My two younger sons each have a friend over. Grabbing a couple of pizzas seemed like a good move, but no one is hungry. I guess we'll have even more leftovers.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The Captains

This week I watched, ‘The Captains’ a new documentary by William Shatner about the five actors who played captains in the various incarnations of Star Trek. I really enjoyed the documentary and although I am an avid Star Trek fan I learned a few new things and enjoyed hearing each of the actors reflect on their experiences. William Shatner has a strong and unusual personality and he is admittedly an acquired taste. I tend to like Shatner’s eccentricities, but others may find it a bit distracting. William Shatner interviewed each of the actors one at a time, interspersed with interludes of his own travels and visits to Star Trek conventions. He appears to have a realy friendship with Patrick Stuart, and their interaction felt the most natural. The interview with Kate Mulgrew was good, and he seemed they seemed to get along well enough, although Shatner went off on a bizarre tangent about women not being able to hold high political office. It appeared to be the first time he met Scott Bakula and Chris Pine. I’ve always liked Scott Bakula as an actor, but he seemed to be a genuinely interesting guy and a real fan of classic Start Trek. William Shatner’s interaction with Avery Brooks was very odd, mildly uncomfortable and in some ways it stole the show. Avery Brooks is an accomplished jazz musician and instead of answering interview style he played light jazz on the piano interspersed with answer in song and ‘spoken word’. Shatner couldn’t resist and started interjecting his own improvised song and lyrics. They worked out an uneasy style by the end of the interview, but I swear Avery Brooks was ready irritated and ready to deck Shatner early on. If you are a die hard or causal Star Trek fan, put his on your list. It’s worth a look.