March 31, 2013


So last night while we were at Destiny USA we stopped at the Apple store. I spent a few moments lusting over my next computer, which is a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. Earl outlined the budgetary concerns with such a purchase and told me when I will be able to buy it. I can at least say, “at least there’s hope.”

But I digress from my original intent of this post.

During our last couple of visits to the Apple store we have looked at the Philips Hue Lighting “system” (for lack of a better word).

The Philips Hue Personal Wireless Lighting starter kit consists of a puck-sized controller that connects to your home network. This puck can control up to 50 LED light bulbs that have the ability to communicate with the puck. The puck communicates with your home network via an iPhone, iPad or Android app. You can also communicate with the light bulbs via the Hue webpage.

So what’s the deal? Well, these LED bulbs can be programmed to throw off any color you can imagine. The apps let you program “scenes”; press a button and it looks like sunset in your room. Press another button and it looks like you’re sitting in the beach. There’s millions of combinations and some that are suppose to give you a “therapeutic” light, such as lighting to urge better concentration or destress you before hitting the hay for the night. You can set an alarm and wake up to a simulated sunrise. It’s all quite nifty.

The starter kit comes with the aforementioned puck and three light bulbs. And it costs $200. Additional lightbulbs are $59.99.


However, remember that these are LED lightbulbs and they’re allegedly going to last a very, very long time. Regular LED lightbulbs at Lowe’s or Home Depot are in the $35-$45 range, so this isn’t completely out of whack but it’s definitely an expensive toy.

The system took less than three minutes to install. I have installed apps on my iPhone and iPad and on Earl’s iPhone. You don’t have to use your smartphone or whatnot to control the lights, turning the lights off and on with the switch make them behavior as expected, however, they “dim up” and “dim down” instead of just snapping on and off, which I think is wicked cool. If we want to use the simulated sunrise approach in the morning we have to leave the light switch on and turn them off via the app. I can handle that since I sleep with my phone anyway.

All in all it’s a nifty gadget albeit and expensive one. But I like it a lot and it was actually Earl’s suggestion that we get the lights.

If you’re in the neighborhood you’ll have to see our simulated disco in the bedroom. It’s a hoot!


We have lived in our house for nearly 10 years. Our kitchen has twice the amount of cupboard space as what we had in the old house. Still, we managed to find the need for just a little more space. There was a section of wall in the kitchen that was just begging for a baker’s rack or a small cabinet.

Thursday night we finally found what we were looking for. We found a 36-inch cabinet at the local Target, which could only mean one thing.

Some assembly required.

Earl and I spent our Easter morning assembling our new cabinet and getting it into place. Having been together for nearly 17 years, we’re pretty good at doing this sort of thing without killing each other, though I did ask Earl once if we were ever going to be rich enough to have a houseboy do this sort of thing for us. He said “yes, now get back to work.”

In the meanwhile, we are enjoying the new cabinet. We used all the parts and everything!

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So yesterday morning Earl and I woke up at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Buffalo. We had driven to Buffalo the afternoon before for Jamie’s big photo book and gallery debut, which was a great success. It is always good to be amongst friends and family.

Normally the drive from Buffalo to home is a little over three hours.  Yesterday it took us around 11 hours to get home. And it was wonderful.

Our first stop was at the Buffalo haunt of Anderson’s for Beef on Weck. A western New York staple, it is one of my favorite sandwiches.  A pretzel type roll with some pretzel salt.  Delish.

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From Anderson’s we should have headed east on the Thruway but instead we headed south on US Route 219? Why? Because they extended the US 219 freeway by a mile or two a couple of years ago and I hadn’t seen the completed work yet. Eventually the freeway will make it all the way to the Pennsylvania state line but the progress is slow.

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When we got down to Ellicotville, the quaint little town that is home to the Holiday Valley Ski Resort, we finally turned east and started heading in a general direction towards home. The ride took us through the little town where, in 1990, I narrowly missed a cow, went into a ditch and was rescued by a guy that kind of changed my life, even though I only saw him only one more time after that encounter. Here’s the sign that standards where I went off the ditch. The man didn’t remember my name the second time I saw him, so he just called me Machias. 

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North of Machias we ended up in Arcade and drove on my second favorite stretch of road in the Empire State, NY Route 39 from Arcade to the little hamlet of Pike.  It is much like my favorite road, NY Route 177, in that it passes through nothing but farmland, has an “open” feeling to it and it even goes through a wind farm!  Look close and you’ll see two farms in this photo.

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We then stopped in the college town of Geneseo, where we had a little snack at Tim Hortons and we washed the car. It is spring, after all!

We continued our trek through the Finger Lakes, driving through the small cities of Canandaigua, Geneva and Auburn, where we finally ended up at Destiny USA in Syracuse. Syracuse had just made it into the Final Four, so the mood was celebratory at the Gordon Biersch at Destiny USA. To celebrate, I tried their Golden Export while Earl tried a sampler flight of each of their beers.

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We then walked all three floors of all of Destiny USA, making an obligatory stop at the Apple Store, where we bought a new toy. (That will be highlighted in a separate post).  Sam the Apple store genius was very helpful. I really like the folks at the Destiny USA Apple Store. They are always courteous, always helpful and the facial hair on the guys is quite impressive. Unfortunately I didn’t feel assertive enough to take a photo of some of the impressive beards, so instead you get to look at my smiling face.

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After touring the mall until its closing, we decided we should head home, but not without a stop at Turning Stone Casino to meet our step count for the day and perhaps have a little dessert. Surprisingly, we didn’t gamble at all!

We finally made it home around midnight. We were exhausted but happy. Earl called it our “date day” and quite frankly, it was relaxing and very enjoyable.

We both feel recharged.

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