31 December 2007

Fake New Year's Eve

Continuing a tradition that may be in its 16th year, a group of old friends got together to celebrate the new year. This time, New Park, PA was the venue, and for various reasons, we celebrated early, and in shifts.

As usual, much fun was had by all. It was also quite nice that Penn State scheduled its bowl win to coincide with the festivities, as did the New England Patriots and their record-breaking-palooza.

Special thanks to Janine and Hugh for taking good care of us and letting us stay in what I still think is the coolest house ever.

Here are some pictures (the complete set, now spanning 2 of the 16 years, can be found on Zooomr.




21 December 2007

Dear Santa - 2007

Just like last year, the kids have written to the jolliest man at the North Pole to share their thoughts and requests.

Dear Santa-
Hello. How are you doing Santa Clause? I have been nice to Alex this year. I let other people eat the food I don’t like. I give my dog Charlie bones. I help my Daddy.

Could I please have a Princess kitchen? I’d also like a pink or purple MP3 player to listen to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (please say “Hi” to Rudolph for me). I’d also like an i-Dog that taps his paw. A Princess Jasmine doll and dress would be nice too. I want a bunch more stuff. I also want a princess movie without any little shows like my other two.

You know how to find our house because you’ve been here a hundred times. I’ll leave some of my toys that I don’t like so you can take them to poor children that don’t have toys.

Good-bye Santa Claus.

Dear Santa-
I’ve been a good boy. I’ve let Charlie out. I help get movies started again because they are all messed up and paused in the middle. That’s a lot! I help clean the house. I help my mom and dad.

Can I please have an MP3 player? Can I please have an i-Dog? I would also like a Nintendo DS. I want some Star Wars toys – those things are cool – especially droids.

You can get to my house by looking at my house number which is 2823. I have nine wreaths on my house. There are some green decorations around my porch posts and they might light up when you come.

Love, Alex

05 December 2007

Poetry In Motion?

The year was 1993. I was living in Altoona, PA. I had too much time on my hands in the evenings after work and I had a VHS-C camcorder that I'd received the previous Christmas. This is the result:

16 September 2007

Mr. Roth Goes to Washington

(and Mrs. Roth, too)


A break was definitely needed. A respite from work, from kids, from dishes, from the dog, from laundry. Two days with no agenda and no screen time. Yes, a break was needed, and a break we had.

Thanks to my folks, Shelley and I were able to leave our real-lives behind and visit Washington D.C. as tourists for the weekend. A fairly short drive to Shady Grove followed by a fairly short Metro ride to Dupont Circle (doors open right side), topped off with a fairly short walk had us to our hotel in plenty of time to visit the Brickskeller for a beer before taking advantage of the complimentary wine.

The gentle rain did not detract from a photowalking expedition to some monuments and memorials. Washington and Lincoln were nice, but the World War II memorial was just fantastic. Here are some shots from that night.

Lincoln Side

Fountains and Wreaths

We dinnered at Al Tiramisu, where judging by the photos on the wall, is as popular with famous folk as is Bullock's BBQ in Durham, NC. Despite the fact that they did not ask me to pose, it was still a very good dinner.

On Saturday morning, we walked to Georgetown, stopping along the way for breakfast at Bread and Chocolate European Bakery, where I had both in the form of Pfannkuchen and hot chocolate.

Foamy fun

We headed to the Capitol on Saturday afternoon to see where the magic happens. There were many strange and interesting protesters on the scene, exercising their rights.


There were also soft-pretzel vendors working the crowd, exercising their rights to make money off people exercising their rights. What could be more American? Not dinner, since we ate at The Dubliner Irish pub. It was then back to the Mall for some more nighttime photowalking. All together it was a great and much needed respite. More photos on Zooomr (and Shelley's Zooomr too).

Fire in the House

Washington Sunset


12 September 2007

One To Three

One To Three

Today, Ella began three-year old pre-school at the Onica Prall Child Development Laboratory at Hood College. What is a lab school? It is a place where college students who are considering becoming teachers go to learn that maybe they should pursue a different career path.

Ella was a bit nervous in the days leading up to this milestone, but just after leaving the house this morning, she calmed down, felt ready, and handled it all like a champ. She just got home, and said her favorite part was playing with her new "bestest friend" whose name she can't remember

27 August 2007

Only 2,339 Days To Go

Today Alex started kindergarten. This is of course a big milestone in a child's life, not to mention a day that makes parents feel old and wonder where the time went.

He left this morning very excited with his Spider-Man backpack full of supplies and his lunch box full of lunch. I think he was just a tiny bit more nervous than he was letting on. He arrived home this afternoon tired, but proud to have completed this rite of passage. The first thing he told me when running home from the bus stop was "Dad, I wasn't even bored very much!" All in all, a good first day. We can only hope that the next 2,339 days are so interesting.

firstDay walkToSchool

13 August 2007

Andy Simpson

So, this is what I would look like if I were part of the Simpson's universe. Now before all you clever people say something to be witty, let me take care of that for you:

  • "Hmm, don't see much difference"

  • "You mean that's not an actual photo of you?"

  • "You wish your goatee was that thick"

  • "You wish your eyes were that small"

  • "I always thought you were rather two dimmensional"

  • "Its spelled 'dimensional' with just one m, Genius"

  • "If I looked like that, I wouldn't be smiling"

  • "Doh!"

So, you got anything else?

If you'd like to create your own Simpson-you, you can visit the Simponize web site

04 August 2007

A Dog Days Night

On the first Saturday of every month, the town of Frederick MD hosts a First Saturday Gallery Walk. Because Sirius, the dog star, is prominent in the summer, The August Gallery Walk is held in honor of the Dog Days. Popularly believed to be an evil time "when the seas boiled, wine turned sour, dogs grew mad, and all creatures became languid, causing to man burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies" (from Brady’s Clavis Calendarium, 1813)." Frederick decided to play down the boiling seas angle and instead made it a day where dogs were welcome in downtown shops and restaurants.
We loaded Charlie into the Subaru, headed into town, met with Grammy and Grandad, and enjoyed the sights and tastes of the town. Dinner at La Paz was muy bien, dessert at Ben & Jerry's muy biener, and I got two free stickers from Two Paws Up (since I had no cash and they did not want to bother with my credit card - I told them I would return another day to buy something, and give them a bonus mention on my blog, like that is worth something.)
The best part of the night, however, was the dogs. We saw them in all shapes and sizes. The kids felt obliged to pet every dog they met (add dogs to the list of things the kids cannot just walk past), but I only took pictures of a few. These were some of my favorites:

hatDog hippyDog

For whatever reason, my most favorite dog only made it into one shot, along with my most favorite daughter:


All in all, it was a great outing for both man and beast. And, as far as I know, there were no burning fevers, hysterics, or phrensies.

A Week In West Virginia

Last week, 14 Roths from Pennsylvania, Illinois, North Carolina, and Maryland converged in Canaan Valley, West Virginia for our annual family vacation. The focus of the week was relaxation for the older generations, and running around, swimming, and singing variations of the Underdog theme song for the younger generation.

Rather than go into details, I'll instead share some pictures of the trip. You can see the whole set (and more if Dave tags his the same way) on Zooomr.


25 July 2007

Awesomeness on Zooomr

I am a heavy user and big fan of Zooomr for all my photo sharing needs. One cool new feature they have is the ability to sort photos by "awesomeness". The secret sauce algorithm is, well, secret, but probably has at least a little to do with how many views the shot has, how many people have called it a favorite, and the number of comments on it.
Just for fun, I share with you a screen shot of my most awesome photos, as determined by Zooomr:


21 July 2007

The Police in Hershey

Thanks to some much needed and much appreciated overnight babysitting from Grammy and Grandad, Shelley and I were able to travel to Hershey, PA to see Andy Summers, Stewart Copeland, and a fellow with the unlikely name of Sting - better known as together as The Police. This was a concert I never thought I would see given that they broke-up just before I was the concert going age. I've seen Sting at least 4 times since then, but to see them all together was a whole different ball of wax.

But before I talk about The Police, let me first say a little about another trio with another Sumner on bass and vocals - namely Fiction Plane. This hard driving trio from London, led by Joe Sumner opened the show, and let me say I went from "Who are these guys?" to "Hey, that guy looks like Sting!" to "We need to buy their CD!" (Left Side of the Brain) They were quite good and had the energy and agnst that The Police had back in the 70's. Shelley said that Joe sounds just like his dad, and though I did not hear it, she knows more about this kind of stuff than I do, so there you go.

But on to the main act. When the Police finally took the stage, my first impressions were:

1) Sting looks not too different and way better than I expect to at that age.

2) Stewart looks like an older, wrinklier version of Stewart Copeland.

3) Andy Summer's hands (especailly on close-up) looked as wrinkled as though he just got out of the tub, but he still has his chops.

They kicked off the show with Message in a Bottle, then went right into Synchonicity II. Of course they did Roxanne, Every Little Thing She Does is Magic, and Every Breath You Take. I was more surprised and pleased to hear songs like Voices Inside My Head, Truth Hits Everybody, The Beds Too Big Without You, and Next to You. I was also suprised that the songs were as similar to the recorded versions as they were, and I should know since I've been listening to these songs on records, cassettes, CD's, and MP3's for 20+ years. That being said, they were still able to bring a freshness and energy to the songs that made it all worthwhile.

So what impressed me most about the show? Two words, Stewart Copeland. Sting was fine, even if he lowered the key or lowered his part on many of the songs., Andy was great too, though it often felt like he was not aware he was at a concert. But it was simply stunning how much energy Stewart has, but he manages to channel it all into something that sounds more like music than anything I've heard from a drummer. This really stood out on Walking in Your Footsteps and Wrapped Around Your Finger, on both of which Stewart played all kinds of hanging junk that I can't even guess the names of. I should have known Stewart would steal the show when he kicked off the concert with a big gong blast.

A great concert and a great concert experience. Here is the set list as well as I can reconstruct it:
Message in a Bottle
Synchronicity II
Voices Inside My Head / When the World Is Running Down
Don't Stand So Close to Me
Driven to Tears
Walking on the Moon
Truth Hits Everybody
Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
Wrapped Around Your Finger
The Bed's Too Big Without
De Do Do Do De Da Da Da
Invisible Sun
Walking in Your Footsteps
Can't Stand Losing You
First encore:
King of Pain
So Lonely
Second encore:
Every Breath You Take
Third encore:
Next to You

20 July 2007

39 Down, 11 To Go

Another life goal is to visit all 50 states. I have 11 left that include some gems like Hawaii and Alaska, and some others to drive through quickly like Mississippi and Alabama.

create your own visited states map

11 Down, 14 To Go

One of my life goals is to visit at least 25 countires. So far, I have visited 11:

United States
Virgin Islands
United Kingdom (but only England)

create your own visited countries map

So, what's next? We don't have any trips outside of the U.S. planned, but new some countries near the top of my to-visit list would include:

Scotland (though part of the UK so I don't know if that counts)
Costa Rica
New Zealand

02 July 2007

A Little Trip


If the mind starts to go, could the body be far behind?

The four of us and Charlie journeyed to PA this past weekend. Friday night we visited with the Lamberts and the Flickingers for some burgers, dogs and remember whens. The thing I did not remember was to bring along a memory card for my camera, thus no pictures. Even so, we had a great time catching up with our old friends and their young children.

On Saturday morning, we took the short drive to St. Peter's Village. I recalled many an adventure I had as a youth jumping on the big rocks across the creek. What I did not recall was how much more slippery these rocks are when wet. Ella was attempting to cross between a rock and another hard place when she started to slip. Trying to save her, I slipped too. We both got wet, but for me, that was not all. As I smashed my knee into a very hard rock, I realized my Super Hero days might be behind me.

Before this learning experience, we took some shots:

onTheRocks meAndShelley

The adventure continued with a visit to Great Mom's, and a stop at Zern's. At the former, the power went out for about 30 minutes, and at the latter we learned you can no longer buy boxes of purple Swedish fish. Saturday night we left the kids and the dog with Oma and Opa and saw Knocked Up then had a fairly decent dinner at Ludwigs Inn & Oyster Bar.

All in all it was a pretty good trip

25 June 2007

Duck Brown Goes to San Francisco

Night Lights

Duck Brown and I spent most of last week in San Francisco for a business trip. I managed to keep waking up in EDT, so had a few chances to shoot some pictures in the morning before getting busy with work.

So, here are some of the shots. Click through for bigger versions and some explanations of what they are.

Blue Guy in San Fran Red Fire Light Bay Bird Bird By Bay Bridge

Duck Brown and Ghandi's Foot Passive Resistance Duck Brown Reflects on MoMA Duck Brown Money Shot

15 June 2007

Here Comes The Big Parade

The 53 Annual Carroll Manor Fire Company Carnival kicked off yesterday with the yearly parade through the streets of Adamstown. The parade is a big hit with the kids since they love them some candy. Here are some shots. Click through for larger versions.

upInTheSky ellaWaves


smiles missed

08 June 2007

Pictures From NC

I realize it is two weeks later, but here are some shots from our Memorial Day trip to North Carolina. To read more about the actual Pig Pickin', read Dave's post. Don't blog like my brother.

The cousins pose on the porch on Sunday morning.

A rare shot where Alex's head seems small.

Ella and Thomas - her all time favorite fur-friend of the week.

Seeing Spider-Man 3 made Alex want to climb.

Dave was more than half-lit in this shot.

Why not play some golf at the baseball game?

Here's Lookin at Sue
I blame Dave Hill for this picture.

Unlike Alex, Zoe has crazy good climbing skills