Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Capri - More Pictures!

Here are a couple of pictures. The first one is of Mrs. TBF at sunset in Capri Town with what we believe is Mount Vesuvio in the background. The picture was taken right before we went to dinner where TBF proceeded to sweat profusely for the entire dinner...nearly ruining Mrs. TBF's dining experience.
The second picture is of TBF enjoying a poolside snack. My hand doesn't fit into the Pringles can, so it's always a hassle getting those chips out of the bottom of the can. Solution??? Just dump them on your chest and cruch away. Oh sure...you're all tsk-tsking right now, but I guarantee that somebody is going to try it after reading about it here! Oh...and note to the Italian lady in the white bathing suit in the background: PUT THE CELLPHONE DOWN!!!! RELAX!!! YOU DON'T NEED TO PACE BACK AND FORTH NEXT TO THE POOL SPEAKING ON YOUR PHONE WHILE YOU'RE ON VACATION!!! NOTHING IS THAT IMPORTANT!!!

Capri - Poolside Reflections...

We have sunk down into extreme relaxation mode. The past two days have been spent next to the pool, and we've decided not to do any more sightseeing in Capri. The "must see" Blue Grotto will have to wait until the next time we visit. We just can't be bothered to do anything at this point except lounge next to the pool. However, I did bring a notepad with me to the pool so that I could make some poolside reflections. Here they are:

Note to Self: The next time you decide to tell Mrs. TBF (who is lounging in the chaise right next to you that "I'm gettin' my tan on!!!", just remember that you have your iPod Shuffle blasting System of a Down into your ears at brain-melting volume, and that you are probably speaking at a volume that enables the people to hear you for a five-mile radius. I glanced over at Mrs. TBF, she was holding her finger over her lips, and I noticed that every person around the pool was staring and that the children were clutching the hems of their mother's wraps. Lesson learned...

Nipple exposure: Let's just say that Mrs. TBF had a bit of a mishap when she was bending over to apply sun tan lotion on my back. Enough said...

16 Euros for a Negroni at poolside is a bit extreme. I don't care if I win a $50 million dollar lotto...I will continue to make the one-minute walk to the little convenience store and buy my refreshments there. Mrs. TBF's Negroni = 16 Euros. TBF's 2 beers, 1.5 liter water, and can of Pringles = 8 Euros from the convenience store.

Mrs. TBF and I have been together for over 21 years, and I never realized before that she has...freaky little ears. The ear buds for her iPod don't fit into her ears. We'll have to search for new ear buds when we get back to Basel.

Oh...by the way...the guy in the room below us wasn't Khadafy (spelling?). I saw him, along with his wife, in the hotel lobby. They were speaking Italian, and while he could have been a "separated at birth twin", he definitely was not Khadafy.

Flop sweat: As most of you know, TBF is a big sweater. But, what the hell happened when we went out to dinner in Capri Town the other night? I was sitting next to an open window with a sea breeze, and I was sweating harder than Albert Brooks in Broadcast News. I've got to investigate some kind of medical treatment for this problem. I'm open to suggestions. As far as I can tell, nobody else in the room was sweating. As a matter of fact, the Italians appeared cold. Some were wearing jackets and scarves. What the heck is the matter with me?

Speaking of the restaurant...we overheard the couple at the table next to us in Capri Town telling the waiter that they were from Chicago. This resulted in Mrs. TBF and I speaking in hushed tones so that they wouldn't ask us where we're from. We hate when that happens. Is that weird? We just want to be alone when we're on vacation. Is that so wrong?

Spotted at poolside: We are staying at the Capri Palace Hotel. It's a five-star hotel, and it's pretty expensive (not trying to be a snob here...). I just bring that up to point out the interesting juxtaposition of the guest next to the pool sipping his 16 Euro Negroni while reading a book called: "The End of Poverty - How We Can Make It Happen In Our Lifetime". Is somebody feeling a bit guilty perhaps???

Didn't learn my lesson: Blurted out some loud comment to Mrs. TBF with the Shuffle blasting U2's "Achtung Baby". Damn! When will I ever learn?

Note to self for the rooftop garden: Plant an olive tree in a pot next spring. It's a nice plant, and a nice reminder of a sunny vacation....especially when it's gloomy and rainy in Basel.


Sunday, August 28, 2005

Capri - Hot Time In The City...

On Saturday morning we went up and down Mount Solaris. Time to hit the pool you say? No! Mrs. TBF suggested that we take a taxi down from Anacapri to Capri (the main town on the island). The sun was shining, I wasn't feeling quite so bloated by this point from the breakfast buffet, and we were kind of feeling like doing a little exploring, so off we went.
We got to the taxi stand (also the bus stop), and we found that our choices were to take a standing room only little bus where we'd be crammed like sardines for probably a couple of Euros (not really sure how much it costs) after waiting in line for a minimum of fifteen minutes.....OR....jump into a taxi which cost 15 Euros. Oh...I forgot to mention that the taxi is like an open sided mini-van with a rag top. For us it was a no-brainer. We jumped into the taxi and enjoyed the breezy ride down the switch-back, and incredibly narrow, road down to Capri.
Compared to Anacapri, Capri is pretty crowded and bustling. Also, it's quite a bit warmer. Luckily, we were wearing shorts and t-shirts. Mrs. TBF seemed very comfortable - I, on the other hand, was not. But, despite the beads of sweat forming on my chrome dome, we forged ahead.
We did some shopping, walked down some really narrow streets, and eventually made our way to a nice garden area that had another really nice view of the coastline (first picture). We stopped a couple of times for granita (kind of like an Italian Slurpee...but much better), I made a pit-stop in a public bathroom where I encountered a bathroom attendant mopping the floor who kept muttering "mamma-mia" over and over again (very cool!), and we eventually made our way back to the taxi stand, and back up the switch-back road to our hotel.
Once back in the room, I looked out our window at the person who's staying in the room below us (second picture), and I swear that it was none other than Moamer Kadhafi enjoying a snooze. Mrs. TBF says no, but I'm saying...YES! I'll have to do some snooping around.
We showered up, took this self-portrait of us in our hotel bathrobes (third picture), and went out for a nice dinner at a nearby restaurant where a lot of the locals dine. We had great food, plus the added bonus of great people watching. Italians are DEFINITELY great for people watching. But, maybe more about that a little later...

Capri - Riding High!

One of the things I enjoy best about going on vacation is the hotel breakfast buffet. It seems that hotels throughout Europe pretty much tailor the breakfast buffet to suit English and American tastebuds, so you'll always find plenty of good stuff like scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages, smoked salmon, etc. You also find the stuff that Mrs. TBF likes to eat like fruit, yogurt, and all the other lame, non-fattening stuff that TBF tends to avoid. So, yesterday morning, we woke up to our first full day in Capri, got ready in a hurry, and went down to the buffet...with gusto!
Mrs. TBF, as always, showed much self-restraint, and pretty much stuck to the healthy stuff. I, on the other hand, gorged on something like ten scrambled eggs, more bacon than a human should eat in a lifetime, and enough sausages to send the kitchen staff into a frenzy defrosting frozen sausages from the freezer to keep the rest of the buffeters (is that a word?) from rioting.
I rolled out of the dining room with a nicely bloated belly, and I would have been perfectly content heading back to bed. But...Mrs. TBF reminded me that we had planned to ride the chairlift up to Mount Solaro.
Fortunately, the chairlift station is right next to our hotel. If it had been much more than the one-minute walk from our hotel lobby, I doubt I could have made it. So we paid our six Euros each, and up we went.
As any regular reader of The Big Finn's Big Blog already knows, I have a penchant for taking self-portraits. Saturday morning was no exception. The first picture is a self-portrait I took on the chairlift with the ever-shrinking Anacapri disappearing in the background. In the second picture, I snapped a picture of Mrs. TBF enjoying the scenery on the way up to the highest point on Capri. The final picture is of Mrs. TBF standing with hazy, but still rather impressive, scenery in the background.
I was happy to find that there is a café at the top of Mount Solaro. Maybe it was the altitude, or maybe it was the massive amounts of salt I must have consumed at the breakfast buffet, but I was rather parched by the time we had spent a few minutes viewing Capri from above. After a quick drink, we jumped back on the chairlift, and were back in Anacapri a short ride later.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Up and Running In Capri!

With the help of Mrs. TBF, I (...ahem...we) figured out how to log into the wireless network at our hotel. I only subscribed to 200 minutes of wireless, so I have to use them sparingly.
Here are a couple of pictures for you. The first picture was taken by our waiter upon our arrival at the glamorous Capri Palace in Anacapri, Italy. As I said yesterday, we took many modes of transportation to get to this fabled island - including a hair-raising (for Mrs. TBF, not for TBF...obviously) ride up the hair-pin road to our final destination.
In the second picture - after we had settled in - we decided to go for a walk, and I took a picture of Mrs. TBF at a scenic overlook looking down on Capri at a vantage point not too far from our hotel.
At the current moment, we are sitting in the hotel bar, and I am blogging listening to some "cool bar music" being performed by a man (...probably named Giuseppe like the man who greeted us when we checked in...) at the piano. We leave for dinner in a few minutes, and continue the legendary "good life" that TBF and Mrs. TBF lead.
Ciao bella...

Friday, August 26, 2005

Nueva entrada...

That's "new entry" in Italian, and that's what the prompt on the computer said when I began my blog entry. That's because I'm writing to you from the beautiful, sunny island of Capri, Italy.
We left our house at 7:45 a.m. and took a tram, bus, airplane, taxi, hydrofoil, and van. Seven hours later - at 2:45 p.m. - we were sitting in the lobby of our hotel.
That's all for now. I decided to do a quick blog entry at our hotel's internet kiosk to let you know that we made it safely, but the Italian keyboard is driving me crazy - so I'll stop for now. I did bring my laptop, so I plan on updating the blog regularly with pictures.
Check back often. It's really beautiful here, and I plan on taking A LOT of pictures!

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Things I Can't Live Without (Part II)...

Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing!!!
I'm not a oil and vinegar salad dressing type of person. I like my salad smeared with at least about 1,000 calories worth of creamy salad dressing. Mrs. TBF makes me homemade Thousand Island dressing, but my true love when it comes to salad dressing is the one and only - Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing. It's one of the "things I can't live without"!
For some reason, Ranch dressing does not exist in Europe. I've never seen it in any of my travels. As far as I can tell, it doesn't even exist in the U.K. - which I find odd. So, included amongst my "must-purchase" items whenever I travel to the U.S. are several of the beautiful blue boxes of real Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix.
A couple of weeks ago, I began to worry because Mrs. TBF announced one evening that she had opened the last box of Hidden Valley mix. Fortunately, disaster was avoided because she brought this dilemma to my attention in time for me to ask our friend Tom to bring me a few boxes of THE mix before he left the U.S. for a business trip in Switzerland.
Tom arrived at our house on Friday night. Not only did he bring the Hidden Valley, but he also surprised me with a bag of Fritos. Although I love Fritos (another thing that's not available in Europe...except for in Spain), I've learned to live without them. I've had to. It's just too difficult to pack a bunch of bags of Fritos in a suitcase without crusing them. But, Tom managed to bring me a bag in perfect condition, and it was a very pleasant surprise.
The first picture was the moment Tom presented me with the "booty". The second picture..."I love you man!!!!"

Thursday, August 18, 2005

No Ifs, Ands, Or Butts...

I was driving toward John and Rammy's house yesterday afternoon to drop off their key, and I noticed this sign at a fork in the road right by their house. Not only is this fork in the road close to John and Rammy's house, it's also close to the home of the Expatters. As a matter of fact, the Expatters' home is just one big-ass stone's throw away from this sign.
I'm beginning to wonder if there has been some buzz about a possible franchise location of the "Anus Bar" moving into the neighborhood. That would really stink!
By the way - please note the beautiful blue sky in the background. As per usual, the weather in the middle of the week is picture perfect, and the weekend forecast is calling for rain. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 15, 2005

More Cow Cleavage...

Mrs. TBF pointed out to me that this picture shows the cow bra a little bit better than the one I posted earlier. I knew it, but I just wanted to post the picture of me WITH the cow.

Finnish Reflections (Part III)...Got Milk?

Seeing that it's been pissing down rain (as my British friends like to say) all morning, I took the time to do something from my indoor "Things to Do" list that I've been putting off for a long time. I spent the morning backing up all my photos from the PC onto CDs. I have to say that I'm incredibly lucky that nothing's happened to cause me to lose these photos since I hadn't backed any up since I backed up all my 2003 photos.
After copying all the photos, I loaded the photos from our recent trip to Finland into the Mac so that I can share some with you - the valued readers of The Big Finn's Big Blog.

Here's one of my faves... My dad kept telling me that cows in Finland wear bras when their udders are really weighed down with milk. Now, my dad can be a bit of a kidder sometime, and I just went along with it and said something like, "...wow, that's really interesting." So, imagine my surprise when we were pulling out of his sister Liisa's driveway one day and he told me that we were going to go to the farm next-door so I could see "...kun ne lehmät pitää rinta liivit" (when the cow's wear bras). We pulled into the driveway, my dad told them who he was, and he said that his son wanted to see a cow wearing a bra. The farmer's wife and farmer's daughter brought us out to the field and pointed to this cow wearing...well...a bra! I decided to get a closer look, but first I had to negotiate the electric fence.
Now, normally this wouldn't be a big deal. But, since my father was standing there next to the fence, I knew I had to be on my guard. See, my father tends to like to show-off how he can grab a hold of an electric fence without it seeming to have any negative effect whatsoever. If I touch the thing for a millionth of a second - I'm in full-blown arryhthmia. My dad touches it? Nada! He doesn't even flinch. What's worse is that I can tell by the twinkle in his eye that if I get too close to him while going under the fence (there's no chance I'm going to try to hurdle the thing...guys know why!) that he's going to grab a hold of the fence...then grab my forearm with a Kung Fu grip so that I can feel the voltage until my eyes start to bleed. I have to clarify that it's not that my dad's being mean. I think it's just that he feels that his son should be able to withstand voltage equivalent to San Quentin's electric chair. I let him talk me into the old "...let me grab the fence and then grab a hold of you" thing twenty years ago when we were in Kauhava. And...there's no way I'm going to fall for that one twice. I even seem to recall him trying to talk me into peeing onto the fence - but that might have just been me hallucinating after acting as conduit for a million volts of electricity.
So, after making my dad stand about twenty yards away from the fence, I made my way under the fence (very quickly!) so that I could go look at the cow bra. Then, I had my dad take a picture of me actually touching the cow so that I could say that I've touched a cow recently.
It's too bad I wasn't heading straight to the U.S. after this trip. You know how they always make you fill out that form on the plane, and one of the questions is something like "Have you been at a farm or near livestock recently"? I kind of have this desire to answer yes and see what happens. Do they bring you in a room and spray you with some kind of disinfectant? Do they send you back to from where you came? Does anybody know? If so, let me know.
Also, I'd like to point out that not only did I touch a cow - but I also drank unpasteurized milk that had been milked from a cow just a few hours earlier. Unfortunately, my aunt doesn't have cows anymore, so I couldn't have her squirt milk right from the udder into my mouth like she did twenty years ago. But, I'm happy with the fresh, unpasteurized milk.
And...what did YOU do this summer?

Not a Total Loss...

The weather this past weekend wasn't all bad. But, it was close.
Friday night: rain.
Saturday morning: iffy but clearing.
Saturday afternoon: sunny and warm. As a matter of fact, we even brought King up on the rooftop.
For some reason, he hates going into the stairwell that leads to the rooftop (...probably thinks he's going to the vet!). So, after howling for the entire trip up the stairwell, he acted like it was no big deal as soon as he was outside. He snifffed around a bit, explored a bit, and then made a bee-line to the part of the roof that isn't landscaped (...kind of a prairie planting). He ate some grass, and then about a minute later hurled up a couple of nice hairballs for us. Obviously, hurling up hairballs is exhausting, so he had to take a bit of a nap on the warm tile (above).

After a bit of a nap and feeling like his stomach was a bit empty (now that the hairballs were gone!), it was now time to share the pizza that Mrs. TBF brought upstairs. It's been almost fifteen years since I last ate a pizza without having to share it with/guard it from a pet. I guess it's a small price to pay when sharing a house with the little beasts.
Saturday evening: The weather was clear, and we enjoyed a nice dinner at Mr. and Mrs. Diagnostic Dave's house. I ate too much, started getting groggy, and then struggled to stay awake when making the 8-minute drive home.
Sunday: THE WEATHER SUCKED!!!! It was cool and rainy and we didn't really go outside too much.
Today (Monday) has been pretty much the same as yesterday - rainy, cool, miserable. I can't even get motivated to go to the gym. So...I won't. I'll go out and walk Sam and George in a little while, maybe stop at the grocery store, and that's about it. Sorry this blog is so boring, but that's just the kind of day it's been.
I NEED SOME SUNSHINE...NOW! It's only eleven more days until we leave for Capri - THANK GOD!!!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Because YOU Asked For It (Part 3)!!!

Mrs. TBF requested that I give you a King Health Update. So, seeing that she IS the Sugar Mama, I'm happy to oblige.

King is doing very well thank you. The feline laxative worked wonders on King, and it had no ill-effects on yours truly. He began eating again the next day, and now he's eating us out of house and home. I had to share some of my shrimp dim sum with him tonight for God's sake. TBF doesn't like sharing food, but I'm happy to give it up for the Jig.
The Jig??? Now, for the first time ever, we're disclosing our nickname for King on the blog. We call him Jig. It's short for King-a-ma-jig, which comes from thing-a-ma-jig (duh!). OK, it's another stupid pet-owner thing. Give us a break.
You want more stupid pet owner stuff? OK....King speaks wit a Chicago accent. He calls people...mug. He threatens to "cut us" if he dudn't get his way. He calls Mrs. TBF "legs", and he calls Mrs. Diagnostic Dave "stilts" because she's taller than Mrs. TBF.

King (to TBF): "OK ya mug...put da bottle down! What'sa matta witcha guyses? D'ya tink dat udder people are in-trested in dis stuff?"

Quote of the Day - Part 1.

Here is the quote of the day. It comes from none other than Mrs. TBF.

"I don't need to have my own blog. I'll just comment on other people's blogs."
-Mrs. TBF: August 12, 2005

There you have it!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

3,000 Miles!

While driving to Reinach yesterday to walk Sam and George (they're dogs, not people), MY Jeep's odometer hit 3,000 total miles driven in 2005. I say MY Jeep because it is officially MY Jeep. It was Mrs. TBF's Jeep when we moved it here from the U.S. - the title was in her name only. However, when I went to register the Jeep at the Motorfahrzeugkontrolle, they put the Swiss title in MY name only (AAAHHHH Switzerland - Where men reign supreme!).
So...MY Jeep hit 3,000 miles driven in 2005 on the 222nd day of the year which means that I've averaged about 13.5 miles/day. This figure seemed quite high to me, but then I remembered that we took a driving trip to Burgundy earlier this year, and that must have added a good five-hundred miles to the total.
This is quite a change from the "good old days" when I worked. Back when I worked as a sale rep for Yellow Freight System (1986-1993), it was common for me to drive more than 3,000 miles per MONTH! I used to go to the Oil Express in South Holland, Illinois on the first working day of the month and have the oil changed. Nowadays, I go to Emil Frey in Münchenstein and have the oil changed ONCE PER YEAR (...don't freak out all you motor-heads. I use synthetic oil)!!!
The Big Finn - Friend of the Environment Since 2000!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Vous avez choisi?

Upon arriving home from the gym this afternoon, I found that our cat King had left me a nice present of cat vomit. Since he's been working up a hairball for the past twenty four hours ago, it wasn't too big of a surprise. However, what did concern me is that I found little traces of blood in the vomit (...still enjoying reading my blog?). So, being the good "cat dad" that I am, I wiped up the blood-stained slime onto a white paper towel, shoved the paper towel into a Ziploc bag, and headed toward Dr. Buser's office in Reinach.
I felt very "C.S.I.-ish" as I pulled out the Ziploc for Dr. Buser (it's pronounced Boozer...which still kills me after nearly five years!) to examine.
Dr. Buser: "Uzzer zan zee womiting, is he akting nomahly?"

TBF: "Yup - sleeping, eating but not being able to hold it down, and using the litter box. Pretty much the normal life of a cat. Wouldn't you say? Hehehe..." [chuckling]

Dr. Buser: [no laughter whatsoever] "Zen I vood haf to say zat you shood not feed heem for tventy-foh owahs and also gif heem dis herbal laxative."

TBF: "I'm not sure if he'll eat it. He didn't like zee [TBF suddenly developing a German accent] schtuff I bought him at Qualipet."

Dr. Buser: "Don't vorry. Dis is herbal, and he shood like it. Also...it is very impohtant zat you don't force heem to eat it. If he eats it by his own choice, zen he vill eat it for-efer. If you force heem to eat it, zen he vill nefer eat it again!"

TBF: [suddenly having flashbacks of prying open King's jaws and trying to shove laxative down his throat]. I'll take it!

After paying a CHF 363.65 vet bill for King's medicines, blood tests, etc. (they just bill you every couple of months in Switzerland), I said my goodbyes to Dr. and Frau Buser (she's his assistant), and hopped into the Jeep to head home.
I have to say that curiosity got the best of me, and I opened the tube of laxative. I gave it a sniff, and then (I'm a bit ashamed to admit it) TASTED IT! It wasn't disgusting, but it wasn't good either. It kind of tasted like cardboard with just a hint of a toffee flavor.
On the box, they had the description in French, German, and Italian (as you do in Switzerland). I'd just like to point out that in French it is called: Pâte Orale Pour Chats; in German it's: Haarballen-Entferner Für Katzen; and in Italian it's called Pasta Per Gatti Per Uso Orale.

Vous avez choisi? I'm going with the pâte there Pierre. I'd maybe go for the pasta, but I just had some last night. And there's no way in Hell I'm eating something called Entferner. It's just not gonna happen.

As it turned out, I didn't even have to coax King into eating the schtuff....er...stuff. He just sat next to me on the sofa, I squeezed a little out (...suddenly having an odd desire to try it again), and King licked it right from the tube.
I'd say that qualifies as me not forcing him to eat it. As a matter of fact, he just walked up to me and started rubbing against my leg.

...mochtest tu ein bischen Entferner?

Hey Mrs. TBF...

...I'm giving you permission to tell your company to "...take this job, and SHOVE IT!!!" I just checked your I.R.A. account on my MyYahoo! page and the value of the account is listed at over $26 million.
Oh...wait a minute...I'd better double check...

Sorry, I guess I made a typo when entering the number of shares in one of your funds the last time I updated the account. Never mind.

If you already told the boss to shove it....start groveling!

I love you, and I'm going to the gym now.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

The Big Boy Grill...

Mrs. TBF and I - along with John, Rammy, and Oliver - went over to Andy, Di, Sam, and Alie's house last night for a nice crown roasted pork prepared on Andy's Big Boy Grill. We call it that because Andy used to have this really small Weber knock-off that was...well...kind of a wuss grill. But now, Andy can hold his head up high while BBQing on the real deal: an authentic Weber kettle grill.
I managed to capture this beautiful father/son moment while Andy showed his son Sam the fine art of grilling animal flesh to mouth-watering perfection. What could be more American (even though it's taking place in Switzerland).
Andy's got THE grill. Now, we have to get to work on that lawn.

It's About Time!!!

I just read in my FHM magazine (I know, I'm a pig!) that "The Blues Brothers: 25th Anniversary Edition" DVD will be hitting the shelves on August 30th. All I can say is: IT'S ABOUT TIME!!!
A Blues Brothers DVD has been on my last few "Things to Buy In the U.S." shopping lists when I've traveled to Chicago. And, much to my disappointment, I haven't been able to find one. I started thinking about it, figured out that the 25th anniversary of the movie was coming up, and suspected that a anniversary DVD might be in the works. Lo and behold, my hunch has become reality.
For me, "The Blues Brothers" is the complete movie - comedy, action, music, and (of course) most of it was filmed in Chicago. As a matter of fact, according to FHM:

"Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne lifted a ban on filming movies in the city for Brothers. She gave the crew such unfettered access to the city that it drew criticism and contributed to her loss in the next election bid."

Who knew? Not only is the movie incredibly entertaining, but it also contributed to the political demise of a big-city mayor. "Now dats an excellent movie!"

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Because YOU Asked For It (Part 2)!!!

I spoke with my mom and dad on the phone yesterday (they're doing fine...thanks for asking!), and TBF's mom requested some pictures of the rooftop. So, because SHE asked for it, I'm-a-gonna-do-it!
One thing I found out is that it's hard to photograph the roof. It has kind of a U-shaped layout, and it's difficult to capture on film. Maybe I'll have to get Diagnostic Dave and Mrs. Diagnostic Dave over here with the fish-eye lens.
Mom and Dad: you may be snoring away in Sudbury, Ontario right now, but your son has been busy at work taking pictures of the rooftop because YOU ASKED FOR IT!!!!

Friday, August 05, 2005

TBF Is Out Of The House!

I'm blogging right now from our balcony overlooking the ever-coursing Birsig River (King decided to get in on the action). We've had a wireless system for some time now, but today, Mrs. TBF procured "bridges" for our wireless network that enable me to blog from a much larger area. Before, the signal didn't reach even up to our living room. Now, who knows? Maybe the rooftop garden???
Anyway, speaking of rooftop garden...My mother requested more pictures of the rooftop garden. So, TBF is happy to oblige. I'm making it my "mission" to capture the aura of the rooftop garden on "digital code". My plan is that the best efforts will grace the blog.
Ciao (practicing for the Amafi Coast later this month)!

P.S. Free gift to the first person who leaves a comment!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Got A Problem Here...

Either I've gained a lot of weight in the past couple of days, my clothes are shrinking, or this isn't my jacket. I'm going with the third option.
So, whoever left this jacket behind at our house this past Monday during our Swiss National Day BBQ, please claim your "little person" jacket so that I can return it to you.
I'm not sure who's jacket it is, but he or she is definitely much smaller than TBF. But, then again, who isn't?

Who'll Stop The Rain?

Maybe at some point in the future, we'll actually have a party on a day when it doesn't rain so that we can use our roof-top in it's full party-potential glory.
On August 1st, we were almost there. But right when the fireworks started (it was Swiss National Day), so did the rain. The picture on the left shows Mrs. TBF at around 6:00 p.m. having a bit of a fret over the clouds. I told her not to worry because the weather forecast only called for a 20% chance of rain. "Besides..." I told her, "...those aren't rain clouds. They're just cloud clouds." She didn't seem too convinced, but the guests began to arrive and the rain held off. Mrs. TBF made some damn fine grub, I grilled some sausages and chicken breasts on the charcoal Weber (we gave "Helmut" the night off), the beer and wine flowed, and all seemed right with the world.

Then, just as the fireworks began, the first raindrops began to fall. "Don't worry..." I said, "...I don't think the hard stuff's gonna come down for a couple of hours or so." Andy, on the other hand, played the part of the doomsdayer by predicting a "torrential downpour." Well, as it turns out, it wasn't just a few drops and it was a torrential downpour. But, it turned out to be a steady rain which began a few minutes later and kind of brought the outdoor segment of the party to a grinding halt.
By the way, in the picture on the left you can barely make out the fireworks next to Kirk's head. That's right, THE Kirk of Expatter fame. His wife Gretchen is in Wisconsin visiting friends and family. I did want to point out that he IS married, because I told a few people at one point that he was our gay friend and I can't remember if I ever really added the "just joking" part (...beer, fresh air, roof-top...give me a break!). Of course, that's the beautiful Mrs. TBF in the foreground, and on the right is the back of "The Silver Fox" - our neighbor Corey.

After braving the rain under umbrellas for an hour or so, we got tired of sitting on the cold and damp roof. As soon as we finished our cigars (left: Andy and John) and the kids finished making s'mores on the fireplace, it was time to go inside.
I didn't really know about it until later on, but I saw Sammy with an ice pack on his hand and I came to find out that there had been a s'more mishap.

Apparently, one of the kids (I won't mention who) accidentally lost control of her s'more and burned Sam's hand AND the hand of our neighbor Mrs. The Silver Fox (a.k.a Suzanne). Mrs. TBF told me that Suzanne actually had scorched knuckles. I hope Sam and Suzanne's hands are feeling better, and that Suzanne's manicure wasn't too messed up.
But, despite the rain, I think the party went pretty well. Anyway...I had fun.

By The Way...

...the reason I haven't updated my website is because I've run into a bit of a snafu (...I just love that word!) with Yahoo!. First of all, there is no Mac version of Yahoo!Sitebuilder. So, I just figured I would switch over to the Mac webhosting and just keep updating on Yahoo! with our PC (yeah...it's still hooked up, but I rarely use it) until I figured out how to use the Mac software.
Right after I did the last website update, I had an on-screen message from Yahoo! that said I needed to go to a website and download their new software. So, I did just that. When I began the download, there was a prompt that said I needed to delete the old software first. So, I did that. I then proceeded with downloading the new software and it just froze. I tried it again, and it wouldn't download. So, I no longer have the old software, and I can't download the new software. My webpage will be stuck on it's current page until I figure out how to transfer my domain name (www.thebigfinn.com) over to my mac.com webpage (which I still have to figure out how to use).
In the meantime, I'll just be updating my blog with pictures. So, please, no "When are you going to update the website?" e-mails. Thanks. You can go directly to my blog without going through my website. The address for my blog is: http://thebigfinn.blogspot.com.
Actually, this brings up an internal struggle that has been brewing within The Big Finn for some time now. Should I actually update a website at all? I could just put pictures into the blog and not bother with posting them on a webpage. Mrs. TBF says the public outcry would be just too great. I say nobody cares one way or the other. What do you think? How about leaving a comment? You don't have to register or leave your e-mail address. Just leave me a comment and tell me what you think? I'd love to hear from you. By the way...thanks go to Kirk and Gretchen and The Dictator Princess for your frequent comments. They are greatly appreciated. Also, thanks to Mrs. TBF, The Medium Swede, and Perry (my brother-in-law), and others for your occasional comments. I'd love to get an idea of how many people are checking out my website and my blog on a regular basis. The blog will definitely continue. The website???? I think I need to feel the love!