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Monday, November 09, 2009

Unexpected Photo Subject Empowered By Internet

This past Sunday, Dana, Sydney and I went to the Brooklyn Flea under the Brooklyn Bridge. It's a regular event with delicious food and interesting vendors. Throw in unseasonably beautiful weather and you have a perfect outing.

After enjoying some awesome pupusas from the Red Hook food vendors, Dana went in search of some shoes and I gave Sydney a bottle. I was pretty absorbed in playing with Sydney's hand, but for some reason Sydney and I looked up at the same time. I was surprised to see two women taking a photo of us. I didn't mind, and it's surprising that at least one of the photos (pictured) got me before I started laughing.

This afternoon the occurrence popped into my head, and I decided to take a 5 minute break to see if I could find out what happened to those pictures. It took me less than that amount of time to track down this picture as well as (I'm pretty sure) the identity of the other photographer. Could it be that anonymity has disappeared from the Interwebs? This Great Series of Tubes is all connected, after all. And as the Tubes suck up more and more of the 4 dimensional world, anonymity itself begins to disappear. Keep that in mind the next time you rob someone of their diamonds and pause to check your Facebook page.

Some of our shots from the day. See if you can pick yourself out!


*UPDATE: I've just confirmed the identity of the other photographer. I could have a career in research. Or cyber-stalking, if that's a career. OK, I kind of creeped myself out... back to work...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

iPhone Cracked Glass Fix: Fail


A couple of weeks ago, on my birthday, I dropped my phone. It was not from a great height, and I had dropped my phone several times before, each time I picked up an undamaged phone. In this instance, I was very saddened to see that the glass had cracked. Perhaps "shattered" is a better word. I didn't let the event ruin the evening. After all, the phone was working just fine... I was sure I would be able to replace the glass.

When I visited the Apple store in downtown New York (in SoHo, on Prince Street), I was told immediately that cracked glass was not covered by the warranty, and I would have to pay $199 for a new phone. I was literally flabbergasted. My gast was flabbered. Not pretty.

Once I had my gast back in order and had cleaned up all the flabber, I pointed out that the phone was working just fine, all that needed to be replaced was a bit of glass. I spoke with a manager, and he said that Apple does not do parts replacement. What happens if I go home then find out that there was some other damage that was not apparent when the glass was fixed? I said, we deal with it then. If I get into a fender bender in my Honda Fit, Honda doesn't look at my car and say, "Bummer, we have to replace the whole thing."

"This isn't a car - it's a phone."
"It's not just a phone, it's a computer."

The next line was that it's just "easier" to replace the entire phone. I pointed out that it was not easier for me to pay $200 to replace it! And what a waste! To throw away an otherwise perfectly useful phone.

Ultimately, I checked in to see when I would be eligible for an upgrade to the 3GS for $200 (next May), and the manager showed me the web site of some businesses that offer services to replace the glass on a broken iPhone... for $200. I thanked the manager and informed him that I would be undertaking the task myself. The bit of glass can be purchased online for $30 and the tools for $5. This past Sunday I undertook the endeavor.

I laid out my tools as well as some other necessities: a pumpernickel bagel from Bergen Bagelsand a nice cup of Gorilla coffee. Away we go.

First off: on all of the YouTube tutorials, the phone were much less absolutely smashed than mine. Prying off the glass fa├žade is far more difficult when you don't even have an inch of unbroken space on your phone. Once you get in there, it's pretty interesting. It's like a desktop, but much smaller. After about 2 hours of work, I had replaced the glass and digitizer and put the phone back together.

Unfortunately, it would not turn on. That's how it seemed at least, but when I called it, the phone rang. I just couldn't answer it. It seems I didn't get the new glass/digitizer connected properly. My guess is this ribbon labeled 3. I think I pulled it off improperly and was not able to reestablish a good connection. Bummer.

I brought the phone and all the parts back to the Apple store... and was told the replacement would cost me $400. Seems I went off warranty by opening the phone. Yeah, I figured that, but the glass replacement wasn't covered by the warranty anyway! I lost my temper a bit, pointing out that the week before, a manager directed me to a service that would replace the glass for me. They gave in and replaced the phone for $199.

So, if the glass on your iPhone 3G is cracked, but everything else is working fine, and you are thinking about replacing the glass yourself... here are a few things to consider:

  • Even though cracked glass replacement is not covered by the warranty, if you attempt to replace it yourself, you will "go off warranty" and the cost of replacement will double.
  • You may very well succeed in replacing the glass. I screwed up somehow, and the glass was in especially bad shape... but you may have better luck.
  • If you try this and fail, perhaps the way around dealing with Apple's insane policy is to put the old glass back on, then throw it against a brick wall. And/or drive over it with a Humvee. Anything to cover your tracks. The tracks you left when you tried to salvage an otherwise perfectly useful phone from a landfill.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Saturday's Rainbow


Dana caught this excellent shot from the passenger side window of our Fit as we made our way back to Brooklyn on Saturday. After nearly a full month of rain in June, it was fantastic to have such a lovely day crowned with rainbows. And it just happened to be the day of the Gay Pride Parade in NYC!

Many great photos were taken Saturday. Check out this one taken in Bushwick.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Baby Cooking

Last week I took a class on how to cook for baby humans.

Please forgive the little Simpsons/Twilight Zone reference... I had to make it.

In a little over a week, we will get our first share from our CSA: Brooklyn Beet CSA. I'm pretty excited and looking forward to preparing little meals for Sydney to eat... so when my friend Randyhate clued me into a class at The Brooklyn Kitchen, I jumped at it.

I attended the Cooking For Baby class last Wednesday. The Brooklyn Kitchen is located on the corner of Lorimer & Skillman, in Williamsburg, just off the Lorimer/Metropolitan stop of the G/L. The shop maintains the perfect merchandise for city chefs.

The class was taught by a chef, and her child was strapped to her chest for most of the time. Good form. It reminded me of chopping up salad while Sydney was in the Baby Bjorn. The focus of the class was technique for cooking for both a couple and baby. She prepared several meals, from which all students snacked upon. I was the only male in the class, so I held back on devouring entire plates until others had their fill. Seriously, no one was eating! If that class were full of men, we'd be breaking each other's kneecaps for a tablespoon of pureed carrots & dates.

The class gave me some extra confidence that I am able to cook for Sydney, so I recommend it for any parent looking to prepare baby food. Keep in mind that the class does seem to be geared towards those without much cooking experience to begin with.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sydney Laughing - Really This Time

OK, the last post was a bit of a joke. Here's the real thing:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Sydney's First Laugh

Sydney's very first laugh, cpatured on video!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Play Sydney Off, Keyboard Cat

A remix of a Sydney Classic:

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Learning to Laugh

I've been enthralled by Sydney's growth since before she was projected from the womb, but this latest bit is the biggest crack-up.

Seriously, I would stare in awe at the black and white pictures of the little one growing from the size of a kidney bean to the size of a head of Swiss chard. Though I never did get the food obsession when it comes to size comparisons. We subscribed to BabyCenter.com's updates, and I think the last email that came before Sydney's birth said that she was the size of a leek.

A leek? Really? I understand that it's hard to find a an object that most Americans would be able to relate to, but picking a vegetable most of us probably remember from studying Chaucer doesn't help. How about, "By now, you're baby is about as long as a MacBook Pro." And the heads reading this would nod, "ahhh, I see... 15 inch or 17 inch?"

I digress. Of course. I'm always digressing. Must I now regress?

So, while Sydney was progressing in utero through the various kingdoms, divisions and classes of the culinary world, we were expecting a little human. Thankfully, this is what we got, not a head of Chinese cabbage (week 28).

I guess I should not have been surprised by the fact that she wasn't born fully up to speed, given the fact that she was used to living upside-down in a liquid-filled belly, and we are used to arguing over morning radio and laughing at people who ride Segways. I was still amazed by the things could not do and how she learned to do them. For example, I remember the day that her tear ducts began functioning. A baby's cry is alarming, but with tears streaming down...

It was really enjoyable to watch the smile develop, but the laugh takes the cake (so far). About a week ago, Sydney giggled. Now she'll laugh if you can do something that she really finds amusing. She's a tough critic. Usually she looks at you like Jackie Mason looked at me when he said, "It that the best joke you got?"

Yeah, Jackie Mason said that to me what I was 14 and thought it would be a good joke to bump into him in the cafeteria of a Catskills retreat and drop a bunch of silverware, as if he were trying to steal them. As Alf once said, "I kill me." (Jackie Mason = Mrs. Ochmonek)

Sydney's laugh is taking form... I started to think about the laugh and realized that her laugh will likely stay pretty much the same for her entire life. The pitch will change, of course, but the underlying nature of it will stay the same. Sydney's laugh is a big belly laugh. A "heh-heh" as her stomach bounces. It takes some work to get a laugh... usually when one of us repeats a line from the Great Master, Jim Henson.

"mahna-mahna" is a good one, as is "do-do-dee-oo" from "Rubber Ducky."

She squeels and smiles plenty, but the laugh... working on the video...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Ryan Victor's Senior Thesis - Part 1

Back in 1998, while a junior at the University of Notre Dame, Jeff Spoonhower and I made a mockumentary entitled Ryan Victor's Senior Thesis. The short film, which was also accepted into the prestigious Notre Dame Student Film Festival in 1999, is about a fictional student film maker named Ryan Victor, his obsession with movies, film history and himself. And ten years later I am blogging about it.

I've decided to break it into segments. Here is part 1:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Brooklyn Beet CSA

Last month, Dana and I signed up to join a newly-formed CSA that was accepting members from Boerum Hill locals: Brooklyn Beet CSA.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Members buy a share or half share and pay for the season up-front or in installments throughout the season. This arrangements ensures that the farmer will have some money in hand during spring and a guaranteed income during the summer and early fall. CSA members take on some risk, since the season's crops may not yield as much as expected, but they also benefit from healthy crops. Not to mention the benefit of weekly deliveries of fresh, local produce.

I had been looking for a CSA to join since we moved back to Brooklyn. Our diet had been evolving for a while - far less meat and much more fruits and vegetables. Whole Foods is great, but can get a bit pricey when the right things are not on sale. Farmer's markets are awesome, and fun to peruse, but we can't get to them frequently enough to get all the produce we need. Plus, CSA have the added benefit of the community of members along with the farmers.

It seems lots of people were reaching the same conclusion, and no CSAs were accepting additional members, so joining Brooklyn Beet was a no-brainer.

We opted into a full share of vegetables, which come from the Angel Family Farm in Goshen, NY. The veggies are not certified organic, but they are grown pesticide-free. (Besides, as Mark Bittman has pointed out in the New York Times, "certified organic" means less and less.) I've read that the farm is featured in the documentary What's On Your Plate, but I have not yet seen the film. The family was at the initial sign-up meeting, and they seemed enthusiastic.

And went for a full share of fruit, from Hepworth Farms. This farm is also up the Hudson, in Milton, but has been around for much longer. Amy Hepworth, an interesting personality, is a seventh generation farmer, and her farm has been around since 1818. Amy was also at the sign-up meeting - she said she had cleaned her fingernails for the event. Word on the street is that their fruit is amazing, so I can't wait. (Photo from NY Mag)

We'll be picking up our share just a few blocks away at the YWCA, and the fun begins in just a few weeks. I'll be posting about the food that comes in, the recipes that come to mind, and the meals that come out.

Also, our baby girl, Sydney, will start eating solids very soon. I'll be making much of her food from the goods we pick of from the CSA. I'll be posting comments and notes about this as well.

Leftover fruits and vegetables - if there are any - will be pickled or jammed... stay tuned! ...If your interested.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sydney & Friends

Here's a rather large gallery of Sydney with some of the many interesting people she has met. Can you pick out The Transvestite Spock?


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Sydney Makes Her Demands

Sydney is 4 months old, and she has decided to make her needs clear:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Cheeks

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ayden Tries to Eat Sydney

Sydney with her cousin, Ayden:

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sydney Working Out

Syd isn't the biggest fan of belly time, but she's starting to get the hang of it:

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Day With Danny & Ciara

Last Saturday we spent with Sydney's cousins. They got on just grand!

Sydney Finds the Camera

The other morning we heard some rustling coming from the monitor. (The morning before I mistook a flock of migrating geese for Sydney.) When we flipped on the screen, we saw this kind of creepy scene: 

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easter Chocolate

That's Sydney in her first (of three) Easter outfits. Isn't she a cute little Easter egg of a baby human? Yes, and she's really testing the gross-out limits of her daddy.

On the Saturday before Easter, Sydney was much fussier than usual. I held her little legs in place while Dana took her temperature - Sydney thanked me with a full cloud of butt-breath to the face after Dana removed the thermometer. No fever, but something was up. Thankfully, she was in much better spirits come Sunday morning.

About ten minutes before dinner at Tracy & Alan's, Sydney was acting up again. Diaper change needed. Location: Tracy & Alan's couch (Their kids, Brendan & Brianna are way past diaper age.)

Dana: "Do you want me to take care of the diaper change?"
Me: "Nah, I'll take care of it."

Sure enough, Lil Sydster had a good load in her pants. No problem. I started the standard procedure, and with a new diaper in place, the unloading began again. Seriously, this was like a volcanic tube of shitty toothpaste. We had wipes nearby, and I was catching the load with fresh wipe after wipe as it was unleashed, creating a pile of nasty naps in my left hand until it became overwhelming. It was like the scene in I Love Lucy when Lucy and Ethel get the job at the chocolate factory. No, I did not resort to that, but my left hand was full, and I did resort to holding out an open right palm to the onslaught. All the while, Sydney smiled and cooed.

After boiling my hands for several days, I am back to normal. Of course I'm joking - I have had my hands replaced with bionic hands. No, actually, I was susprisingly still-stomached throughout this adventure. I suppose this is because this is my little Baby Being, and I would do whatever necessary for her without flinching. Ask me again in 16 years.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Saturday, April 04, 2009

A Sydney Double Header

The old one-two punch:

Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy 2 Month Birthday, Sydney!

We let Syd relax with a nice cigar to celebrate.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Syd's Attempt at Saying Good Morning

Sydney's First Great Book

I understand that it's important to read to your child, so tonight I've begun reading a great work to Sydney. I know it will take me a while to complete this particular book, but we have begun... "Wordsworth Classics presents, War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy - Complete and Unabridged."

We decided to skip the Introduction, General Introduction, Bibliography, and and Notes on the Translation and go straight to the Names of the Principal Characters, then on to the Dates of Principal Events and, finally, Chapter 1 of Volume 1.

Sydney seemed interested in the story at first - spitting out her pacifier in (I guess) surprise at the way Anna spoke to Prince Vasili, and falling asleep when the drama peaked at the end of the first chapter.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Grammy & Sydney


Last month I posted a gallery of photos of Sydney with various friends and family... somehow, and I have no idea how, I committed one of the worst offenses to family possible: I did not include a photo of Sydney with her Grammy, my mother-in-law.

While in days past, a man in my position would have found himself on the unfriendly end of a sharp spear or the contents of an otherwise vegetarian giant pot of soup, the point was simply brought up several times in gentle ribbing... and finally I am righting my wrong. Here are five wonderful shots of the ultra-photogenic Susette holding Sydney.

I promise it won't happen again ;)

A Serious Conversation

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sydney Up Close


While I spend plenty of time with Sydney with no camera in hand, she has already grown accustomed to the camera's presence. I try to take most video and photos with the camera next to my head, so that she doesn't see the camera's lens in place of her daddy's eyes. The photo above is an exception - but the resulting photo was worth it. Here's a gallery of some shots of Sydney up close.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

That New Dad Smell

Sydney is seven weeks old today. (49 days... I guess memorizing those times-tables was good for something.)

I've had a hard time expressing the feelings that go along with new parenthood, but I think I'm gonna take a stab at it right now. This is part one...

The Dead Clown
I was on the early shift a couple of weeks ago. This meant that I was giving Dana some time to sleep while I gave Syd a bottle, changed her, got her to sleep, etc. (Dana is doing this most hours of most night and all hours of most days.) It's something I enjoy, and I had a moment of enlightenment this one particular night. After putting Sydney back in the bassinet, I endeavored to fold up the play mat spread out in the middle of the living room floor. Syd loves this thing - it's full of crinkly patches and bells and squeaky squeezing things, but folding it up is not so easy. After a battle that lasted a few minutes, I finally balled it up and dragged it to the corner. It sounded (I imagine) like I had beaten a clown into submission and hauled into a secret hiding place. At this point I looked around our apartment and took in the new furniturial decorations: a swing, a "bouncy" seat," a rubber chewy giraffe on the entertainment center... and I loved it all. And Sydney loves The Dead Clown more each day.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Sydney's Photo Gallery


I know this is probably overkill, but people keep asking me for photos of Sydney... lots of them. So, here are lots of them!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ready to Leave the Hospital

I think Sydney kept sticking her tongue out because she was done with the hospital:


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Baby Hiccups

It's official... I Am That Guy Who Takes Video of His Baby Doing Something Inane Like Hiccuping and Blogs About It.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The January 20th Human (aka Inauguration Day Baby)

After an hour and half of sleep I headed back into Manhattan. That was an hour and a half more sleep than Dana had. Syd was wide awake when I arrived - and all set for the Inauguration. We took it all in on the 7 inch rental TV ($1 per inch per day) before family arrived to partake in joy and photo shoots. 


As everyone pointed out - this was an historic day for her birth. What these folks don't realize is that this day will be on the record book primarily because of the birth of Sydney Pia Hurley. Just you wait.

We meant to pick up a Times with Sydney's birthdate on the cover (and, incidentally, maybe some mention of Barack Obama), but it somehow slipped our minds. If anyone has a spare copy, please do let me know. In return, I promise you the eternal gratitude of The Sydney Pia Hurley. (Or I will at least put in a good word for you.)

Tom is already in her good graces for bringing Smith & Wollensky steak sandwiches for a very hungry new family. 

We do solemnly swear to bring up Sydney faithfully. We do solemnly swear to faithfully bring Sydney up. Faithfully, we - Ah, you get the idea.

Sydney Pia Hurley

Baby Girl Hurley's due date was January 19th, 2009 - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I woke up on that Monday morning at 6AM with an odd feeling in my belly - anticipation? Maybe. But also a stomach bug. As I rushed to the toilet, I thought it was a good thing that Dana's belly had been so small... she'd probably be a week late. I fought the violent bug all morning, but Dana made her way through the frozen subways and streets to her doctor for a check-up. Her midwife said, "See you soon!" Oh boy.

Sure enough, come 6PM, things really started to happen. I managed to straighten myself up with a shower and a couple of slaps to my own face to knock out the 101 fever. Dana was growing certain that this would be the night. Thankfully, she's very tough and patient... by 9PM, with contractions coming every couple of minutes, I had cleaned the snow off of the car and Dana had made her way downstairs.

The drive was not as frantic as I had expected - Atlantic Avenue, the Brooklyn Bridge and the FDR were all pretty clear. NYU Hospital was empty, and soon Dana was admitted. She was moving along quickly. The hospital was a little short-staffed, what with it being a holiday and all. It seems someone forgot to mention this to Baby Girl. Still, even with fewer nurses available, Sydney made her appearance only about 3 hours late: 3:18AM on Tuesday, January 20th. Not too bad.

She was born 8 pounds (3635 grams) and 21 inches long (53 centimeters). We got to see those little skis that were kicking mommy's ribs for so long, and hear the healthy lungs as they cried out for the very first time. Dana was incredible throughout the entire process, and she still looked ready for a night on the town after it was all done.

Even after so many people prepped me for the event with such vague phrases as, "You can't even imagine...," I was blown away by the experience. That little baby... once was in there... now is out here... I can't even explain... ok, now I get it.

Here's a video I took about an hour after Syd was born:


Sydney's first name is in honour of all our friends in Australia. Her middle name is in honor of Dana's maternal grandmother.

Dana was settled into her room by about 6:30AM that morning. I drove back home down the FDR and over the Brooklyn Bridge as cold, winter, morning light was starting to illuminate the city. It was a transcendent moment, and I didn't flip off anyone who cut me off.