Thursday, October 30, 2008

Lost Season 5 Promo!

Oh. My. God.

Couple things to notice here:

1) Several of the clips are of LOST events way in the past: especially the Beechcraft falling from the cliff and someone coming out of what looks like the Swan back entrance. Juliet also finds a very familiar looking Hatch buried in the ground. Are we seeing all round time travel here?

2) Jack's underground with a mining helmet

3) Hurley and Juliet have guns

4) Locke has a compass

5) Interestingly there's no sign of Desmond. Does he have to go back as well?

I can't believe we still have three more months of waiting! Argh!

The Worst Consequence Of The Oceanic Six Leaving The Island

Remember folks, don't go off on a suicidal bender and forget to vote. :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Wedding Props

Em and I just got back from our short, but sweet, honeymoon and went back to the grind yesterday. The wedding was, with no hyperbole whatsoever, pretty much as perfect as can be. The only thing that really was a bit awkward was people getting there early and not wanting to sit outside on a crisp October day while simultaneously the reception hall crew didn't want them in the big room while they were setting up. But this was all easily remedied by a quickly opened open bar in one of the side rooms. :)

Because everything went so well, I wanted to throw a couple props out to a few of our vendors who were so wonderful and helpful on our big day.

1) West Sayville Country Club - One could recommend this on the location and price alone given that, while it's not as elegant as some of the other Lessings venues on Long Island, it still provides a beautiful view of the bay and is considerably cheaper. But the real reason to go with West Sayville is because of their sales manager, Stephen Braun, who is not only one of the most professional, helpful and organized people I've ever met, but he and his staff made putting everything together incredibly easy and took a lot of stress off us on the day itself. He also went out of his way to let us personalize our menu (extra passed apps, less chafing dishes, top shelf liquor of specific brands), but he also spent several hours with us on multiple days to go over everything and get everything right. You can't put a price on that kind of attention, but it was worth it's weight in wedding cake. Going to have a LI wedding? Go with West Sayville, absolutely. Additional big props to Dawn, the maitre d’ at our wedding, who was as fabulous and organized as Steve. The day simply wouldn't have happened if she wasn't there directing everything.

2) A Starry Night - Gabriela was our DJ from A Starry Night, a Manhattan based DJ/Live Music company that also handles weddings on Long Island. We booked Gabriela early (actually she was the first person we called) because she handled my brother's wedding two years ago in Manhattan and was simply fabulous. Our wedding was no different. Everything we wanted her to play, she played. Everything we didn't want her to play she didn't (buh-bye, Chicken Dance). We also needed a microphone for our outside ceremony that she graciously supplied. She was professional and a complete delight to work with and I can't recommend her enough. You can check out her bio here along with all the other Starry Night DJs.

3) Laura Ryan Photography - We haven't gotten back our photos yet from Laura, so this is a bit of an advance plug. But she was such a delight to work with and has such a large portfolio of wonderful brides and grooms, I have no doubt they're going to be spectacular. Laura actually had her own wedding at West Sayville on 07/07/07, which is how we found her, so she knew all the best places to take photos backwards and forwards. We really lucked out with the weather, so she took us down to the marina to get a few sweet shots in the remaining sunlight of the day. Highly recommended, especially if you choose West Sayville. She also has a blog you can check out and comment on.

4) The Boathouse B&B - Okay, this isn't one of our wedding vendors, but it is THE best B&B we've ever stayed in. Our room had a gas fireplace, hot tub and balcony overlooking the water. That alone is terrific, but it's really the little details that made it an incredible stay. The fridge, microwave, sink, glasses for wine, cheese board and knife, a corkscrew and ice bucket - all small things that made our stay perfect. We had brought a bottle of wine and some snacks up for our first evening after the drive, planning to relax in the tub and unwind. It was like everything was set up perfectly for us.

And the breakfasts were fabulous too. Joe and Patti run the place - Joe greets and brings coffee while Patti cooks. Every meal had a fruit starter (we had strawberries and cream, honeydew melon, and yogurt and apples), a main course (breakfast "pizza" with scrambled eggs and bacon over flatbread, a fried pancake with sauteed peaches and apples and a fritatta with hash browns and patty sausage) and a fruity, frozen palate cleanser for dessert. Twas interesting conversation too, since breakfast was only served at one time (9am) , forcing everyone to sit down together in sort of a little social experiment. There were a pair of Australians staying there so we asked them what they thought of the American election. Sparked some very fun discussion.

The Boathouse is also only a ten minute walk from the historic Sagamore Hotel and has an agreement with the place so guests can use the Sagamore facilities (mainly the gym and pool) with a card Joe and Patti provide. It also gives you 10% off any of the other Sagamore services (restaurants, spa, gift shops). We ate at the Grill steakhouse one night (the Trillium restaurant was sadly closed for a private party) and had cocktails on the Veranda. Very cool.

I can't recommend The Boathouse enough. It's not cheap, especially in season, but well worth every penny. And Joe and Patti were simply a delight as our hosts. If you're ever looking for a getaway in upstate NY, check and see if they have any availability.

Lastly, in case you're curious, we do have two sets of wedding photos already online by a couple of our terrific shutterbug guests. Now it's back to the grind again, although it's so nice not to have to talk about wedding planning anymore. Only one more month until the LOST Season 4 DVD! :)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Random Thoughts (and a Mets postmortem)

Sheesh, it's been a while since I posted. My wedding's in a week and I'm buried trying to do wedding stuff and preparing at work for my time off. Few random things on my mind, pop culture and entertainment-wise:

* Em and I are almost finished with the fourth season of "House" and IMHO it's really the best season we've been treated to since the first. And while I'm a bit sad at the diminished role Chase, Cameron and Foreman have, I love all the new characters immensely. :)

* Watched Persepolis the other day too. Terrific, highly recommended.

* Now that my wounds from the Mets' second last-day-of-the-season elimination in a row have scabbed over, I thought I'd revisit my Mets thoughts I posted back in June before Willie was fired. Here's a bit of what I posted along with some current commentary:
Pelfrey is starting to look like a bust to me, since he still can't throw a breaking pitch for a strike, but he's young, cheap and doesn't come with a giant, expensive boot on his foot *seething anger at Omar*.
Shortly after I wrote this, Mike discovered how to throw a breaking pitch for a strike and started challenging hitters. He ended up having a terrific season (13-11, 3.72, 200IP) and is really one of the brightest spots of the entire season for the Mets, who now have a solid 25-year-old #2, #3 workhorse starting pitcher under their control for the next four years. Couldn't have been more wrong about Mike.

The Mets do, however, need to purge all the old bench scrubs on their team. Since they currently sport one of the worst benches in baseball, why not bring up a bunch of young guys and give them a chance? It'll certainly be more entertaining to watch them fail than Fernando Tatis and Raul Casanova. Who knows, it might give the team some badly needed energy. Did anyone have any faith in Marlon Anderson when he came up last night in the ninth? I certainly didn't - he's been injured and awful this year. Seems the shine's off Endy too, dead last on the team with a -7.3 VORP (although he at least can still play defense).
Despite Tatis' resurgence (and hustle, have to give him that), I still stand by this. Anderson was awful all year long, Casanova and Endy hit a bit, but got far too many at bats with the injuries to Church and Castro. Their return and the development of Dan Murphy and Nick Evans, however, rectifies this a bit for next season. Anderson will certainly be gone, Tatis and Casanova possibly and rumor is Omar's going to attempt to find some sucker to take Luis Castillo off our hands. Teh bench will be stronger (and younger) next year.

Delgado should just be cut outright and Mike Carp should be brought up. Even if he fails, it's still better than watching Carlos' corpse flail at another double down the line.
Um, yeah. Well, to be fair, everyone else was wrong on Delgado too.

If I were Wilpons, I'd get rid of Omar too. I'm not a huge Willie fan, but I'm convinced Omar is more of the problem than Randolph. Omar simply places too much value on players he's familiar with and is obsessed with going with experienced veterans instead of youngsters. Yes, yes, he can sign the big-name free agent and maybe without him we wouldn't have Beltran or Santana. The trade for John Maine was also a steal. But think about this bench he's assembled. Think about the contract he handed to Castillo this offseason, El Duque last season. Think about Heath Bell, Brian Bannister, Ruben Gotay. Think about his fascinations with Brian Lawrence, Chan Ho Park, and... *shudder*... Jose Lima. I really think the main reason this team is struggling is because of how it's been assembled, not how it's being managed.
I stand by this as well. It infuriates me that Omar was given a contract extension. Omar excels at one thing, luring and signing the big free agent. That's it. His eye for talent is horrible and his fascination with experience over youth backfires more often than not (Castillo, Alou, El Duque, his fifth starter merry-go-rounds). Jerry Manuel did a fine job, but Omar shares a large portion of the blame for constructing an old, expensive roster that kept breaking down all season long.

So what do the Mets do for next year? Well, we know Alou and El Duque's contracts will be up - that frees up about 14.5 million in salary right there. Then they have make decisions on three players: Pedro, Delgado and Oliver Perez. I think Delgado will be back, Pedro will be gone and it's 50/50 whether they re-sign Oliver. If Church is okay and the front office is okay with the Murphy/Evans platoon in left (and I think they are) then the priorities in the offseason will be:

1) Find a pitcher or three for the starting rotation (depending on the status of John Maine and whether they re-sign Perez).
2) Shore up the bullpen (and figure out who's going to close).

If Omar's able to trade Castillo so Murphy can play second, even better, but I'm not holding my breath. Personally, I'd throw everything I had at Sabathia before I gave Oliver a huge contract, but I certainly wouldn't be broken up if they re-signed him.

* Haven't really been following the Lost ARG and though I occasionally click over to Lostpedia's summary page, there really doesn't seem to be much there aside from the Pierre Chang video. Anyone following?

* I haven't seen another "Fringe" episode since the first. How's the season going? Anyone still watching? :(

Hope everyone's having a good fall. Hopefully my life will slow down a bit in a couple (very happy) weeks. Cheers!