Tag Archives: tiff

October 2013 @Woopop Twitter Archive


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Mini Vacation Roundup

We’ve returned from our long weekend mini-vacation down in Tampa for Dave and Michaela’s wedding, and we had a blast! We left Friday morning, arriving in Tampa around 10:45, and since it was so close, we took a quick spin over to the St. Pete Times Forum, which is the home of the Lightning. Obviously, we couldn’t see the rink, but we poked into the team store and wandered around the outside of the building for a bit.
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We then began our half-hour drive to Palm Harbor. Since we were on vacation, we made it a point over the weekend to try to find meals at “local” places, not at chains. Lunch found us at a fun little Mexican place called Aunt Chilada’s Cantina, which was fairly close to our destination. Very tasty taco bar! Just a shade up the road was our goal, the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club, which is where the wedding would take place, and not coincidentally, where we’d be staying. We checked in and made our way to our suite in the Killarney building, which was a stone’s throw from one of the clubhouses and the centrally-located Loch Ness pool. We made our way down to said pool, met up with some other wedding people, and relaxed. Tiff and I then ran to the supermarket for a couple things, but more importantly foraged for dinner, when by accident we found a microbrewery/restaurant called the Lager Haus. Jackpot! Tiff got their Old Porch Dog (Hoppy Ale), and I tried their Fischer Dunkelweizen (dark wheat). Both were excellent! The beer & cheese bratwurst hoagie I got was fantastic as well.
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Okay, enough about the food for now! We got back to the resort, and headed to the Osprey clubhouse for a couple pops and to watch Dave’s friend Ben play acoustically at the bar. As the night wore on, more and more wedding attendees filtered in, many of whom we’re friends with, so we had quite the party going. Nothing more noteworthy, however, than the one slightly older woman who began dancing in front of Ben. To say this lady was a cougar is the understatement of the century. More like *textbook definition*. Leopard print dress, bleached blond hair, the whole nine yards. Just, wow. So needless to say, Ben wasn’t the only entertainment that night! Certainly a good time had by all, and we retired a bit early so we could get at it Saturday.
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Tiff hung out with Michaela and some of the other girls Saturday morning, so I had a little time to go exploring around the area. Thank God for the rental car! We got back together after the girls’ manicure session, I met up with Ben to give him some tunes for the reception (he was also playing DJ!), and Tiff and I set sail for our lunch date. Off the beaten path just a bit, we got some real seafood at Molly Goodhead’s Raw Bar in nearby Ozona. The place had a very cool vibe, much like a Dino BBQ or Sticky Lips type feel and decor. The food was good too, my fried Grouper sandwich was yummy, and Tiff was all about her crabcakes. We got there just before the bikers did, as the place was a stop for a charity poker run! One of guys running the stop remarked on my Sabres shirt and subsequently mentioned he was 15 years removed from Rochester! We’re everywhere, apparently!
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We got back to the resort, and prepped for the wedding and reception by lounging around the pool again! Best part of it? Watching the Sabres game from the tiki hut, right by the pool! (Not so good that they lost, but the venue couldn’t be beat!) A little hot tub, a little water slide, a little sun, and we were ready to go for the wedding!

And what a wedding it was. A beautiful ceremony just off the 10th hole of the Island Course (did I mention Dave and Michaela are avid golfers?!) saw the happy couple tie the knot (of which I took no pictures. Booooo.). The reception took place outside, behind the Island clubhouse, around the pool. An awesome setting, with awesome people. And awesome food, naturally. (The pasta station was To. Die. For. That good.) Ben kept the party rockin’ all night, some of the families’ little nephews cut a rug on the dance floor, a couple eager guests jumped into the pool a little later on, and yours truly even tossed off a Jump Around at the behest of the newlyweds! We had a blast at the reception, gave Dave and Michaela the first tram back to their place while a bunch of us hoofed it across the resort back to the other clubhouse for a nightcap. Good times.

Sunday was a lazy morning, and quite the wet one. The rain held off for us Friday and Saturday, but Sunday was quite rainy. Back to the clubhouse for breakfast brunch, where we ended up eating with Dave, Michaela, and Dave’s brother Chuck with his wife Amy. Very nice to see them one more time before they departed for their honeymoon! Tiff and I packed up, checked out, and rolled down the road a bit to the mall to kill some time, as our flight wasn’t until 8pm. Had to go all the way to Tampa to find a mall with an ice rink in it! We actually came back to the resort and hung out with TK and the crew for a bit before we made an excursion to Tarpon Springs. Tarpon is apparently the sponge capital of Florida, if not the world, and are known for their sponge docks. We visited the Tarpon Springs Aquarium, where we caught a couple of the little shows, watched one of the girl helpers feed an alligator (and almost fed it her hand!), and fed some Rays ourselves. Since the population is almost exclusively Greek, there’s a ton of Greek bakeries and restaurants in the area. We stopped into Hella’s Bakery and enjoyed some “dessert”. Walked around a little more, saw some of the shops, and said goodbye to the rest of the crew. We ventured back to the resort one last time to pick up Maggie, headed to the airport, dropped off the car, and flew home.
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A fun-filled weekend for sure, spent with good friends, and a wedding to boot! Dave and Michaela put on a fine party for us, and here’s to a long and happy marriage to the both of them!

Nothing Finer Than Some Keuka Wine'r

Mini wine tours are always fun, and the one we took yesterday was cool for a couple reasons. We’d never done Keuka Lake, so it was exciting to go to wineries that we’ve never visited before. Secondly, going with Scott and his friend Dave was a blast because A) they’re a blast, B) they know what they’re talking about. The focus of the trip was McGregor’s, as Scott and Dave are club members. Another new experience (for me, anyway) was vertical tasting. And what a vertical tasting it was, five vintages of their unique Black Russian Red. ’99, ’00, ’06, ’07, and barrel samples of the ’08. Completely fascinating how the grapes and wine vary from year to year. Another part of the learning experience that I had no idea about, storing the wine upside down in the box so the cork soaks up the wine, and won’t dry-rot while you’re storing it. Sounds like something I should have known already, but hey!

Just down the road to our next stop, Ravines, where the winemaker expanded upon our cork knowledge by explaining that natural cork is still the way to go if you’re going to age the wines, and while he doesn’t use them, synthetic corks and screw caps are fine for wines you’ll be drinking right away. It’s all about the application I suppose!

Around the bottom end of the lake, and next stop was Heron Hill, where we easily had the most excitable host of the day, as evidence by the exclamation point on his nametag (Dave!), but he was also very knowledgeable. Dr. Frank’s was next, and we closed up our tour day with a stop at Hunt Country. I think Tiff and I have found some new favorite wines and wineries, and we’ll certainly do Keuka Lake again in the future.

Naturally, we were starving at this point, so we bid farewell to Dave, and the rest of us went to pig out at Papa Jack’s for dinner. Yeah, pig out. GARBAGE PLATE TIME. Totally hit the spot. Good plate too. The wine, combined with the plate, led to food-coma time when we got home (for me anyway). Conked out on the couch, and that was it for my night. Needless to say I’m a bit more refreshed this morning!

Cold, But I'm Still Here

(With apologies to Evans Blue…)

So the online presence has suffered a bit while we recovered from the holidays. I worked Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, all of which were relatively slow days (I mean, see the monkey? He was chill.). 8 hours of holiday pay on New Years Eve, during the day, was nice. Not like anything goes on during the day anyway, revelry-wise. We kept the night low-key, Pat and Jodi came over for a ton of snacks, good beers, the USA-Canada World Juniors game, some Wii, board games, (oh yeah, the ball drop!), and we called it a night watching the South Park movie. After we awoke in the morning, we soldiered on with our now-annual New Years Day tradition of going to brunch at Cracker Barrel. We started this last year when Dave and Michaela stayed over and suggested it, and this year we continued with Pat, Jodi, Tiff and I meeting Dave and Michaela there for another old-fashioned American fill-your-face-fest. Dayyum!

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After we rolled out of there, Tiff and I came home and started to deconstruct the house a little bit. Putting gifts away, cleaning up, etc. In anticipation of my new computer parts arriving soon (Thanks Mom & Dad for the Newegg GC!), I swapped out the guts of my main rig into another case and re-installed Windows and some apps. (For those scoring at home, the main tower case in the basement is getting the new parts, the AthlonXP went into what used to be the server and now lives in the office, and the old server parts (a 1Ghz P3) are awaiting a case of their own, anyone got an empty ATX case they don’t care about?) All while watching the Winter Classic! Fenway was a great venue, and obviously the last five minutes were the best, but another good job by the league, and by USA Hockey to capitalize on the day by announcing the US Olympic team after the game. After dinner, we watched the Sabres come from behind on the Thrashers, and laid low.

Saturday was more decoration removal, and the start of our winter-time spring cleaning. Kinda went through a bunch of stuff and figured out what we don’t need. Ventured out in the afternoon to do a couple of returns, grab some lunch, and pick up some groceries. Tiff made Spiedies for dinner, we had some nice wine (and some not-so-nice wine!) and then watched one of Tiff’s movies that she received for Christmas. That being the horrifically-bad House IV. So bad it never made it to DVD. I fell asleep and missed all but the beginning and ending 10 minutes. Apparently I didn’t miss anything.

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Sunday I got up early to feed the cat, moved the Ethernet cable and access point from the swapped guest room to the new office, replaced an outlet, helped Tiff rearrange the kitchen, and kinda watched the Bills game. Picked up some other odds and ends, watched the Sabres game, shoveled the driveway, ate dinner, we folded a mountain of laundry, then watched most of the Jets-Bengals game. I thought I scored a sweet deal at Sears online on a snowblower, but it was too good to be true and the order got canceled before it even got out of the gate. Them’s the breaks I guess.

Back to work this morning, and my parts from Newegg arrived, so I’ll be putting most of the new rig together tonight, but I can’t finish because the power supply shipped from California instead and doesn’t get here until tomorrow. Bummer. It’ll look pretty, though! More on that when it’s together and up and running. Promise.

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The Holiday Silly Season

As I write this, the whirlwind Christmas season has come to a close (can’t really say the holidays, as New Years is still ahead of us.), and what a season we had this year. Work ended on Tuesday night, followed up by volleyball. On Wednesday, we made the colossal Wegmans run, prepped the house for the ensuing visitors, and got a good night’s sleep. Woke up Thursday morning, got some last minute wrapping done, and we welcomed Mom and Dad S. to the house. We got them settled, then made another Weggie’s run to get the catering and some last-minute stuff. Came back home, and Tiff and her mom went to work in the kitchen getting food for dinner and Christmas Day ready. We had a very nice dinner and celebrated Tiff’s father’s birthday. Opened a couple stocking stuffers at night to get in the Christmas spirit, and called it a night rather early in anticipation of Christmas Day.

We got the house ready, Tiff and Mom got the food ready, and then the Bonus/Kowalenko caravan rolled in around 12:45. We got them unloaded and in, and commenced with the food, drink, and merriment! Tons of snacks, Amanda’s buffalo wing dip, some good beers, getting full even before dinner. We packed 15 people into the house, and that’s about our limit! We opened a couple gifts, then had Grandma’s perogies and Dad’s mushroom soup as appetizers. Gotta move some of the old traditions to our place! Opened a couple more gifts, and then it was time for the big dinner. Ham, squash, scalloped potatoes, green bean casserole, etc. Excellent. After everyone digested and had their fill, we filled up even more with cookies and the cheesecake my aunt and uncle brought. It was awesome to have everyone up to our place, and thankfully the weather held out so driving for everyone wasn’t a factor. A wonderful Christmas, and for our first time hosting, it went really well.

What to do the day after Christmas? Why, go shopping of course! We hit a couple places in Henrietta, then after lunch at the Distillery and a quick detour to Beers of the World, we trucked out to Eastview to get our shop on. The mall was packed, even more so than any mall I saw before Christmas. A jaunt back to Barnes and Noble in Pittsford, then back home for a dinner of the best leftovers from the night before. Still tasted great. For the nightcap, Tiff and her parents watched the latest Harry Potter movie while I watched the Sabres lose.

We got up early the next morning, and grabbed a really good breakfast at Peppermints on W. Henrietta Rd. Yum. We saw Tiff’s parents off, cleaned up the house a bit, then Pat and Jodi came over. We did our little gift exchange, and went out for a big late lunch at Sticky Lips. One BBQ platter later, we rolled out of there and came back to the house and visited for a little bit. We saw Pat and Jodi off, and then I saw myself off to Buffalo to meet Adam and hit up the Every Time I Die Christmas show at Mohawk Place. Since that didn’t start ’til 9, we grabbed some dinner and pre-gamed a bit at the Thirsty Buffalo on Elmwood. Had a good time there, watched the Jets prevent the Colts from going undefeated, and watched the Sabres beat the Blues. We trekked down to Mohawk, met my buddy Art, and had a great time hanging out at the show. Thankfully, I only had to drive back to NT, not Rochester, and Dad was still up to greet me!

Slept in a bit, putzed around in the morning, and then Dad and I grabbed some lunch at Ted’s (mmm, Char-Broiled hotdogs!) before I bounced back to Rochester and Dad took off for the office. Got back home, lounged a bit, made a Weggie’s run, and after dinner I organized the basement, watched some hockey, I’m still watching some football, and barring some disaster, I’ll win my second straight fantasy football title! Not looking forward to getting ready to head back to work tomorrow, but I do have volleyball tomorrow night though, so that oughta be the usual rip-roaring good time! Working Wednesday and Thursday also, and then New Years Eve festivities…

Good Times, Good Friends

We’ve been quite the social butterflies the last couple of days… Thursday night had us out at the Thirsty Turtle, as the Bills game was on NFL Network. We met both Greg & Mindy and Pat & Jodi out there, and had a great time watching a less-than-great game. Friday night we met Greg & Mindy out at Matthews, and then wandered down to Easy on East to watch the More Than Me guys play acoustically.

After that late night, Tiff and I poked around town a bit, then Pat & Jodi joined us for our big Sabres-Rangers hockey trip to Buffalo. We had a great time last night, first stopping at Jim’s Steak-Out for dinner, then we caught the train down to the arena, where despite the Sabres 2-1 loss (and Pat’s gloating, of course!) we had a blast. A pit stop at Tully’s on Main and Transit before heading home for good, and we slept in quite late this morning! As you can see below, one of our stops yesterday was Record Archive, and in addition to my usual CD shopping, Tiff picked up a couple traditional Christmas albums. Are we done with shopping yet? Please? Maybe? Oh um, yeah, yay Christmas!

A Real Blog Post? HAVA at it!

It’s only been forever. I’m trying to get back into this habit as opposed to just syndicating Twitter/FB Status updates. Trying.

So from Thursday night on, I’ve been shuffling computers and AV equipment around a bit, as I picked up a HAVA Titanium HD streamer. This little box sits between my cable box and my router/cable modem, simplified my entire computer/TV/Media Center setup, and eliminated a power-hungry always-on PC in the basement (gotta be green!). If you’re interested in the technical details, read on:

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hava

After doing all the research, and considering I’ve been lusting after a SlingBox for awhile now while fighting with my current setup, I HAVA what? The Titanium won out over a Sling for a couple of reasons. It was cheaper, for one. Buying a factory-direct refurb unit took about 60% off of their price, and about 30% off of anyone else’s online price. It can serve multiple clients at once (obviously only watching the same channel), so you can run the player on multiple PC’s at the same time. In addition to their proprietary player, it also acts like a virtual tuner in Windows Media Center for any PC on the local network (changes the channels on the digital box and everything). Like Sling, it too has a dedicated iPhone app (and also like Sling, wi-fi only, but thanks to 3G Unrestrictor (jailbreak!) it works anywhere). Compared to my prior setup, this is much more streamlined, and now I don’t need to dedicate an always-on PC just to stream TV. I had been using Orb in conjunction with Vista Media Center on a box, and while it worked okay, changing channels on the phone was sometimes a chore, and more importantly, Orb was chained to Vista, as they still don’t have full Win7 support. I eliminated a whole PC, added a virtual remote (changing channels on the phone is way easier now), and now have a legit $30 academic copy of Win7 on the tower (which runs way better than it ever did with a sketchy copy of Vista). This bumped the O.G. Media Center box (the small form factor HP) down into the living room TV cabinet, where it’s now paired with the wireless keyboard so we can surf/watch YouTube/do whatever on a giant 42″ monitor. And now neither of those PC’s are on 24/7 anymore (yay power savings!)
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Other than that? Let’s see…
After our long Cleveland weekend last weekend, the work week, interrupted by volleyball on Tuesday, came and went, which brought us to Friday. Another big Amerks game against the Crunch, in which we had a great time up in our usual section 221 haunt. Jon and Laura were even in town and came and sat with us! Naturally, the night never ends after the game, and it was off to East and Alexander for Mike’s birthday, where we did our usual up and down the street trek, this time with Pete joining us! It culminated in a half-dead A-Pub/Daisy Dukes where the cover band wasn’t half bad. Saturday had me doing computer tinkering, and while Tiff went and saw New Moon, I puttered around town “shopping”, if you can call it that. An early night back home to watch the Sabres lose, and more computer stuff.

Sunday was living room upheaval day, also known as setting up the Christmas tree. We re-arranged the whole room, got the tree up, threw some decorations on it, watched the Bills snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and finally ventured out of the house for a bit. Groceries and the like, more decorations, the usual. Came back and finished putting ornaments on, and cleaned up the place. Needless to say, Wizard has a new favorite spot, behind the tree on the nice new tree skirt. Thank God for rollers.

Long weekend holiday madness coming up this week!