Monthly Archives: September 2004

Pennies, Nickels, Dimes and Quarters

Welcome one and all to our new Website! We were feeling a need for something new. That something turned out to be simple, crisp, and uncluttered look.

You’ll notice that we have lost the ads, the large link buttons, extra boxes and colors. By doing away with those extras we’ve really cleaned up the format. All your favorite links are still here, though. We’ve gone with the uber popular “alphabetical links” style for all our friends and then kinda grouped everything else by topic. Enjoy getting used to the location of your most used links.

The Gallery link is still here. Just click on the little rectangular picture!

I hope that you like the change. We always enjoy feedback so lay it on us!

**Special note to those who are reading via RSS** Make sure you stop by and check out the new look. Your RSS feed won’t reflect the great new changes!


If you’re viewing our website, you might notice that it has been, well, beheaded. Our photo on the left has been chopped off. This is my fault, and it is an accidental side-effect of the website redesign that Becky and I are working on right now. I usually make separate copies of our site code to work on so that we can see the new design without messing up the old design. Well, I accidentally edited one of the files for our old design instead of the corresponding file for the new design, and saved the file before I realized what I had done. I could easily have my host restore the old version of our page from a backup, but I’d rather just get the redesign done soon. At which point we won’t be needing that photo anymore. I hope you’re all okay with that for the next few days. 🙂

Keep your eyes peeled for our new look, coming soon to a web browser near you!

Rain Check

This weekend, amidst all of the travel and adventure, there were a few mundane tasks to be done. Certainly the most mundane of all was buying toilet paper. We had a coupon to get two 12-roll packs of Angel Soft bathroom tissue from Walgreen’s for just $5! That’s just $0.21 per roll! Quite a bargain, and not one we could pass up.

So we went into Walgreens with the coupon, only to discover that the particular brand of toilet paper was sold out! Oh no! What to do? Since it was the last day of the coupon’s validity, we decided to get a rain check. This would enable us to come back in when the product was in stock, and receive it for the same sale price. At the cash register, however, I had an interesting encounter with a teen-aged cashier:

Cashier: Rain check?
Me: Yes, please.
Cashier: Ok. Starts filling out a slip of paperwork. How old are you?
Me: Huh?
Cashier: Only old people get rain checks!
Me: I’m 25, that’s not old!

What is so wrong with wanting to save money? Are all consumers our age expected to buy the most expensive, heavily marketed products at full retail price? Why, I tell you, kids these days, with their hair and their clothes and their hippity-hop music…

A public service announcement

Don’t break the bank on weekend entertainment

As 20-somethings, living in the over priced Boston area, Peter and I are always on the look out for good deals, bargains and free events. Sometimes it is hard to pass up the pricey activities, but the savings in the end is worth it. I would like to give some encouragement to any one else that might find themselves in the same position.

We spent this weekend doing some great things around New England. All of it, with the exception of gas and food, was FREE FREE FREE. We scored ourselves a free $35 whale watch which was fantastic. In addition to seeing whales we learned a ton about them and also about Stellwagen Bank, a national marine sanctuary. From there we toured the Cape Pond Ice Company and learned all about the ice and fishing industries. Saturday was a very educational day.

On Sunday we got up early and drove to Mt Washington and climbed the nearby Imp Face Trail. Not only did we get a great, natural workout, but we got to spend the whole day with Dad and Corey and see some FANTASTIC views of New Hampshire’s Presidential mountain range.
Also we saw a bear. Imagine that!

Sometimes it is hard to believe that there are free things to do outside of watching cable (which really isn’t free, is it?) Luckily for those of us strapped of cash there are ways of finding exciting, free activites. So, check out the web, the newspapers and signs posted on local telephone poles and get out there without spending a fortune!

Gallery Re-Org

I am now finished with the reorganization of our photo gallery.

Hopefully it will be more manageable for me and easier to browse for you. You can browse an album called ‘Events and Gatherings’ if you’re looking for party photos, event photos, or that sort of thing. Or, you can wander around the globe by using the ‘Travels’ album. Admittedly, some of the ‘Travels’ albums are contrived… I created a France album, but the only thing in it is the photos I took when we were at Charles de Gaulle airport for half a day on our honeymoon. Of course, that can just serve as an incentive to go there ‘for real’ some day. 🙂 (Becky has been there with her family, and is much more travelled than I in general. But we don’t have any of her “pre-us” photos online. Yet.)

As always, you may also use the search box at the top of the main gallery page to find specific albums or photos. I’m sure there must be a way to put the search box on every gallery page, so I’ll look into that.

I’ve also attempted to make some album names more uniform, and I’ve split up some albums that were previously together in order to make the fit in the new scheme. If you think something is missing, just let me know.

Go check it out!

They like you very much, but they are not the hell your whales.

Who can identify the source of the quote in the title of this post? It was one thing that came to mind today as we enjoyed Captain Bill’s Whale Watch.

By all accounts the day was great. The weather was great, and we saw about seven fin-back whales, and three humback whales. There was plenty of “fluking” (where the whale’s tail flips up out of the water just before it dives), lots of “spouting” (where the whale blows air and water out of its blowhole), and even one really incredible “breach” (which is where the whale actually jumps completely out of the water and flips over on its back). The breach was amazing to see, and unfortunately it happened at a point when I didn’t have my camera ready. So I didn’t get a photo. But I did get many other photos. At one point, two humpbacks swam right under the bow of our ship! It was really amazing, and certainly well worth the $0 we paid. 🙂 I’d have to say that it would even be worth the $35 to see it once in your life. God’s great whales are truly amazing. Now I want to go get a copy of Hovhaness’s And God Created Great Whales.

After the whale watch, we had lunch at Virgilio’s Bakery & Deli (“Bread of the Fishermen” Since 1961). The sandwiches were big and delicious after a long whale watch. Later in the day, we learned that when George Clooney was in Gloucester filming The Perfect Storm, his favorite sandwich came from Virgilio’s!

After lunch, we walked over to Cape Pond Ice to meet “The Coolest Guys Around”. They were also involved in the Trails & Sails event, and were giving free tours of their facility. We got to see where they stored massive blocks of ice, as well as the port where fishing vessels can take on loads of crushed ice for preserving fish on long voyages. We’ve got some photos of that adventure, too.

By the way, if you haven’t noticed already, I have started to reorganize our photo gallery. Most everything has been moved out of the ‘Year-by-Year’ gallery and into one of two galleries: “Events and Gatherings” and “Travels”. Travels is organized by country and state, and Events and Gatherings is just one big album containing things like graduations, parties, athletic events, etc. Everything from 2004 and 2003 has been moved, and most things from 2002 as well. Still a few albums to go, but I’ll get to it when I have time.

All in all, it has been a very exciting Saturday. Stay tuned for news on the adventures we have planned for tomorrow!

Help Us Decide: Which Whale Watch?

This weekend is Trails and Sails, where a bunch of communities in Essex county hold free events highlighting area history and culture. Many area companies give away a limited number of tickets for attractions on which they normally charge admission. Last year, for example, Becky and I went on a free trip on board the Schooner Lannon. The day was very foggy, but it was still a neat experience!

This weekend, we wanted to try something different, so we’re thinking about going on a whale watch, something neither of us have ever done! The question is, “Which Whale Watch?” There are two competing whale watches giving out 50 free tickets each:

qqq|Search for the Whales, Gloucester

Time: Saturday 8:30am also Sunday at 1:30pm [Note the time change from the online brochure (print brochure is correct)]

Location: Gloucester

Hosted by: Atlantic Yankee Whale Watch

Event length:4 hours

Age requirement: 2 and over

Participant limit: 50

Join Atlantic Yankee Fleet for an exciting whale watch. Through our association with CORE (Center for Oceanic Research and Education), our goal is the preservation of marine life and their habitats through education and stewardship. Leave your harpoon at home and join us to mingle with nature’s gentle giants! Bring sunscreen and rubber-soled shoes, and dress in layers.|qqq

(Yankee Fleet’s website)

… or …

qqq|Whale Watch with Captain Bill, Gloucester

Time: Saturday 8:30am also Sunday at 8:30am

Location: Gloucester

Hosted by: Captain Bill & Sons Whale Watch Fishing and Cruises

Event length: 3.5 hours

Age requirement: All ages

Participant limit: 50

Join Captain Bill and his crew for ed-venture in whale watching that you will never forget! We guarantee sightings and have a whale museum and public education exhibit for you to browse dockside. Captain Bill has been providing exciting and educational whale watching for all ages since 1959. Bring your Non-slip shoes, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a camera.|qqq

(Captain Bill’s website)

Yankee Fleet sounds more professional and scientific, and they have a pretty decent looking website. Captain Bill, on the other hand, sounds much more kooky and fun, and he guarantees sightings! Both places normally charge $34/person for their Whale Watch, so in terms of dollar value they would be the same. Both leave at around the same time from the same location. Yankee Fleet won the “2004 Governor Leadership Award,” whatever that is. Captain Bill’s claims the best whale sighting rate around. Yankee Fleet has a “hydrophone” so that you can hear the sounds of underwater life.

Help us decide, readers – Yankee Fleet, or Captain Bill’s? Leave a comment!

Do you want fries with that?

I should have read it sooner. I know… but I never got around to it. Last week I poked though the book shelves at the Salvation Army and bought a $0.50 copy of ***Fast Food Nation|***.

Eric Schlosser goes all out in his book to air all the dirty laundry of the fast food industry. He includes stories of the foundings of many restaurants, a “Jungle” style report on the meat processing industry, and anything you’d ever want to know about E.coli O157:H7 (and more!)

I don’t consider myself to be one of those staunch social activists who will preach to all who will listen about the evils of Fast Food, but I have to admit, some of the stuff Schlosser brings up is a somewhwhat convincing. If only I could get delicious, addictive french fries for a buck from the organic store!

Whether or not you think you might want to give up fast food I think that this is still a good book to check out. I learned much more about meat packing and french fry making than I ever expected to. There are also some underlying social themes as well. While reading “Fast Food Nation” I was reminded of another book that I read in college, ***The McDonaldization of Society|***. Both books tackle social and economic issues brought about with the introduction of fast food into the American culture.

This is good stuff. It has the potential to spark some long and involved conversations. If I was back at the ***OE|*** I’d be ready to jump in. As it stands, however, I’ll be content to chat about it with Peter…or anyone else who’s interested.