Memorial day weekend

May 29th, 2008

Weekend went quickly. Stayed at the beach. We took down the 2 decks the previous weekend and had to install the railings this weekend. Luckily we have a friend who helped out that really knew what he was doing. Here’s George and the 45.5 lb striper he could on Memorial day weekend.

George and large striper

With George, Joe, and Wally, the decks went up well, but it was allot of work. The composite decking and PVC railing really look good and should last a while, even in the shore environment.  I was banned from going on any ladder over 6 ft, and we were all spared from any injuries. Took a ride to Atlantic City on Monday. Mike and Steve were shocked that I didn’t play a single game. Had a great meal at Carmine’s and watched the Lakers game at the Irish pub. The house purchase, and lack of June summer rentals, has made me have to think twice about buying toys I don’t need, and from playing any games at the casino. First time in a very long time that I’ve had to think about my spending habits.

Daniel’s First Communion

May 4th, 2008

Went to a first communion for a friend’s son. Was a big BBQ, with a carnival type slide for the kids. Great turnout, and was alot of fun. Besides making sure all the kids understood all the catholic sacraments, we made sure they started to understand the finer points of gambling… there were some strict rules, like no text messaging, or you lose a dollar. Based on the picture being a little blurry, I think the Jameson shots were making my hand shake.

kids playing LCR Dice game

New House

May 4th, 2008

For as far back as I can remember, I’d change something significantly every couple years. Whether it’s a new job, new house, beach house investment, or something else,  I need some variety.  Something that’s a big enough step/change to be a little scary and shake things up.  Job has been the same for a little too long, and not likely to change soon.  I started looking at real estate recently.  Couldn’t find a slightly bigger house downtown, and got laughed at when I tried to find a small house, close to mine, that I could make into a “game house” and move things like foosball, pool table, poker table, and shuffle bowling into it and free up my kitchen and dining room.  Came across a ranch in princeton that’s 2miles from the center of town.  Was able to negotiate a deal and am in attorney review right now.  House is big enough to fit all my toys and has some fun features, like an indoor pool, jacuzzi, and is isolated from neighbors.  A little crazy right now, trying to work out the finances and paperwork, but is fun….

Spring Break week

April 26th, 2008

This week my nephew had the week off, and I offered to have him come down for a couple days. He jumped at the opportunity quickly and I almost had to rethink what I was saying. Last time he stayed over we ran into a couple issues and a key quote was “Uncle Peter, you can’t leave me alone!” as I was getting ready to leave for some pizza. His new shoe ripped into his foot and he could walk. All worked out, as I gave him a flip flop and he walked around town with one show and one size 11 flip flop. This visit was less eventful and he had fun playing shuffle bowling, Nintendo-DS, foosball, and a trip to the library. Starting to concern me that my place is much more fun for an 8 year old, than to 40 year olds….

Greek Easter

April 26th, 2008

Greek Easter varies from Catholic Easter because of the way the calendar is determined. Greek Easter will always be after passover, and every couple years it falls on the same date. There’s a great blog entry from Rita Wilson from last year that describes many of the traditions and differences. Mom and Dad are having about 40 people over, hope the weather holds up….

Update: added picture from easter. Not the entire family, or people at the house made it into the picture. don’t see my sister in-law, favorite nieces, or god daughter.  Still an impressive turnout.

Easter 2008

Back in NJ

April 5th, 2008

Been busier now that I’m back in NJ.  Nothing very interesting to write about.  My cousin was featured in the March 23rd issue of “the artist’s magazine”.  Here’s a link to a small blurb and some drawings I’m always amazed that some parts of the family have artistic and musical skills and I can’t draw a stick figure, or play a tambourine.

Ready to spend some time in NJ again.

February 27th, 2008

After 8 weeks I’m starting to miss things about being home More not being able to go out with friends or visit family. Thought I’d have more issues not having access to my “stuff”. That’s actually been a non-issue. I noticed I started getting many random acknowledgements of things I’m buying from buy.com, or amazon, which is a good sign there’s times I’m bored. Talking to random people in restaurants, or bars is ok for a while, but not the same as home.

The tournament backgammon set came today. Looks pretty good and I’ll break it in tomorrow night.
Crisloid Backgammon set

Some other purchases this week

KVM switch

Carry on luggage

Computer Thought Dad might want this, but doesn’t need it. So I’ll upgrade the living room machine, or primary desktop in the den.

I head back to NJ Friday and stay there for a while. Looking forward to it.

New Hosting site

February 24th, 2008

Spent some of the weekend to move my blog and web site to Dreamhost. Price is good, with shell access and 500G of space. They throw in a domain registration as part of the service, so I have them hosting http://www.kostakis.com and http://beachhaven-rental.com. This should eliminate people getting blocked trying to get to my home server on port 8080 and is overall a better setup. Migration was easy and the add ons like photo galleries, and genealogy programs are easy to fire up. Didn’t hit many snags, but it ended up eating more time than I planned. I’ll need to find a reasonable publishing program. Tried Microsoft Publish 2003, but as with most Microsoft products, it’s got too many bells and whistles.   Trying to get some simple html code out there, isn’t easy. There has to be something in between using vi to hand code html and publisher.

Made another batch of cold brewed coffee. Since it doesn’t involve using any kitchen appliances, it worked out ok for me 🙂

CoffeeProcess Coffee

Started planning for at least a week on the East Coast next week. Hit a minor snag that I somehow ended up with all my luggage in NJ. May be traveling with clothes in a big trash bag….

Made it to the semifinals in backgammon on Thursday. I do enjoy playing and will miss not being able to play when I go back home. One gripe with the format is that it’s double elimination until you get to the semis. I’ve made it 3 times to 3rd place for 1/2 a point in the tournament (2 points for 1st). Someone who lost in an earlier bracket has a chance to get 2nd place. This week I got some lucky roles and beat Dave (the tournament director), who is a much better player than I am. I then lost to Ralph. Dave went on to get 1 point for 2nd place after the loss to me. I understand the logic to make the tournament finish in a reasonable time frame, but to get 0.5 point in 3 tournaments, with a single loss each time, is not fun. Especially when that position is on the bubble and doesn’t get paid. My new set should also be delivered this week. Think I do have a problem in this area. If I total it up, I’ve bought 3 sets this year, for over $700, and already had 3 boards.

Attempt at cooking

February 12th, 2008

Not sure why, but thought I’d try to cook something tonight. Got some pasta with shrimp that looked easy. The package said under 10 minutes. I followed the instructions line by line and cooked them on the stove until the sauce boiled. Poured it into a bowl, left the pan on the counter, and started eating. About 30 seconds later there was a very loud bang, where the pan shattered into a million pieces. Why in the world do they make pans out of glass if you can use them to cook?

Accidentally caught it on video, but me being startled and jumping is a little too embarrassing to post.

Here’s how the pan ended up.

pan

Luckily the food was out of the pan before the explosion.

plate.jpg

Learned my lesson again, no more cooking for me…

Anthony’s robot

February 11th, 2008

My nephew sent me a picture of his robot project.

Anthony's school project