Wednesday, June 27, 2007


The "next big thing" is coming out on Friday -- the iPhone. Prepare for the media onslaught -- although I must admit the commercials they have running for it are pretty darn cool. No longer will people have separate devices for their mobile phone, music player, & Internet access.

Here's an early review from Newsweek. Good read.

[T]he bottom line is that the iPhone is a significant leap. It’s a superbly engineered, cleverly designed and imaginatively implemented approach to a problem that no one has cracked to date: merging a phone handset, an Internet navigator and a media player in a package where every component shines, and the features are welcoming rather than foreboding. The iPhone is the rare convergence device where things actually converge.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Summer Read

Last week I experienced a luxury that is unfortunately all too rare around our house these days -- I finished a book. These days mine and Amy's free hands and attention are devoted to entertaining two little guys -- feeding, chasing, playing, etc. So last week I made myself stop & relax with The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. And what a tremendous book it was to read.

The story is of Amir, a boy who comes of age in Afghanistan in a priviliged family. He lives with his father, and they have two Shi'a servants -- Hazaras -- one of which Amir befriends, but only at arms-length due to the social structure in Afghanistan. Amir longs to impress his father, and will do anything to win his affections. An event occurs when Amir is young that haunts him for many years until he gets a chance at personal transformation.

That's all I'll say without ruining it for anyone. If you are looking for a good summer read, I highly recommend it. I know this book has actually been out for four years, and Hosseini actually released his second book recently. But I'm a bit behind on my reading for trying to keep 2 two year-olds from biting each other's arms off.


Monday, June 18, 2007

Little Pink Houses on the OBX

I took the week off of work last week and as it turned out a week off from blogging as well. Amy & I ventured over to the Outer Banks to visit with our friends Chris LeDuc and his fiance Pam Burke at the beach in Kill Devil Hills. Our friends Scott & Christen Krynock also made it over from Apex. This was our first chance to visit with Chris in over a year since he moved from NC to Boston and our first chance to meet Pam, who was charmed enough by Chris's wit that she agreed to marry him next spring.

Our friends were troopers in that being the couples there without children, the gang got to experience the ups and downs of spending 4 days with 2 two-year olds. Although Amy & I were a bit jealous at not being able to sleep past 6 a.m. due to boys waking us up raring to go, for the most part Gus & Owen were really good. They took to everyone really quickly, even bonding so much with Scott that he became "Uncle Scott" for a few days (the boys have an Uncle Scott back in KY).

At the beach Owen is developing into quite the little water bug. He took to the beach like a duck to water, tugging us out of our chairs down to the ocean where the waves crashed at his feet. When he wasn't giggling as the water rushed over his feet, Owen had a grand time dumping sand and shells from his toy dumptruck. Gus was more of a sand fan than a water fan. I think the loud waves scared him a bit. He would run down the sand toward the water like his brother, only to turn back and run when the water got within 10 feet of him. Once he grabbed a handful of sand, ran up to the edge of the water and threw the sand at the water as if to say, "I do not like you water! Take that!" It was pretty amusing.

As for us adults, we had a great time catching up with each other. We all took turns cooking dinners. Chris and Pam brought some Napa valley vino from their trip last year to the wine country. And on Monday night after some rousing games of Sequence, Chris busted out the acoustic for some raucous singalongs (long live Mr. Mellencamp).

The highlight of the trip for me was Monday when the guys ventured out for an eagerly anticipated fishing trip. Keep in mind that neither Scott, Chris nor myself are accomplished fisherman of any sort. This was evidenced by the fact that each of us had to buy a rod & reel, fishing license, hooks, and lures prior to the trip. Another dead giveaway was the fact that it took us 30 minutes from the time we arrived at the pier to even get our lines in the water. By the end of the morning though, everyone around us was so intimidated by our expert fishing abilities that they all moved three stations away from us, giving us ample room to show off our skills. We didn't even get a nibble all day long, but it was a fantastic time anyway. We topped off Man Day 2007 with a trip to the Outer Banks Brewery where we sampled some of their finer microbrews over lunch and discussed the finer things in our lives.

So the trip was a great one and we hope to continue the event as an annual trip. Next year we're locking the boys in their rooms until 7:00am and I'm practicing up on my guitar skills in advance for the inevitable singalong.


Chris and Pam check out the Outer Banks lighthouses.

Bill Dance has nothing on Scott Krynock.

The site of the greatest fishing display on the East coast that people will be telling their grandkids about, the Avalon Fishing Pier (complete with web cam - check it out).

Jockey's Ridge State Park, home of the largest sand dune on the east coast. (View this pic full screen for the best perspective of how big the dunes are.)

"Pull Gus, pull!"

Scott & Christen soak up the sun.

Low Country Pix

As I blogged previously our trip to Charleston took a bit of a U-turn with Gus's incident. However that didn't mean that there wasn't fun going around. Here are some pictures courtesy of GJ that captured some of the moments.

Baby Corinne gets the Baby Bjorn treatment as she dons her pink cap.

GJ was well acquainted with her granddaughter, shown here in full disguise.

The Rutledge grandparents with their grandchildren at Uncle Dude and Aunt Mel's house.

Owen missed his brother Gus, but had a grand time of his own playing in the sand and ocean at the beach.

A rare shot of both boys looking at the camera at the same time as Pappy teaches them to play in the rocks.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Roger Shmoger

Grand slam tennis returned to the airwaves as the French Open tennis tournament dominates the TV at the Rutledge house this week. Or as Owen calls it, "baseball." Amy's beloved Roger Federer -- for his tennis ability, right Amy B? -- tries to win his first title on the Paris clay. Now that Andre Agassi has retired I watch for the entertainment more than anything. Although I do make sure to sneak in a disparaging comment or two about Amy's hunky Swiss sensation. ;-)

On the kid front Gus has really made some strides since his accident. He is completely 100% back to his normal self physically. Just in the past couple of weeks he has really learned to use more of his words when he wants something instead of throwing one of his trademark tantrums. "Need help please daddy," "Open door please Mommy," and "No Owen, no bite" have emerged in place of his frustrations. The improved communication has made life much easier in la casa de Rutledge. Gus seems to be learning he can pretty much get whatever he wants (within reason) as long as he asks for it nicely.

Owen notices that his brother is getting more positive attention lately. As a result he may have a twinge of jealousy. Owen has a deceptive little streak in him as he will shove or bite Gus and then look innocent as only little Owen can. He has gotten reacquainted with Time Out in the past couple of days. Still, Owen is a relatively easy kid.

On the homefront Amy & I are working on the backyard at our house. Last week we had several small trees and brush removed so you can actually walk back there now. We kept all the big trees -- poplars, oaks, maples -- and got rid of the sweet gums. We have essentially more than doubled our usable space so we hope to get to the point where we can fence it in so the little monsters have a containable area to play. It is really starting to come along. The ticks are hellacious back there -- I pulled 10 off of me yesterday when moving some logs -- but we'll get those under control as we continue to clear out the brush.

An interesting current event this week was Billy Donovan pulling an about face in backing out of his new NBA contract with Orlando and wanting to return to Florida. In terms of quality of basketball in the SEC and for the rivalry's sake between Kentucky & the Gators, I'm glad he came back. Now I just hope Billy G can help UK give Billy D the whipping the Cats haven't been able to deliver in a while. :-)

Finally on the family front, we were visited by GJ and Pappy this past weekend on their return trip from Charleston to Glasgow. Amy & I were certainly glad to see them and put a positive spin on the visit after the drama that pervaded our trip last weekend. The boys were still asking about their dog Sayla and pointing out "Pappy gone" as of yesterday.

For the record I'm willing to bet that although my forehand is pretty weak that Roger Federer can't change two diapers, bathe & dress two boys, and have them in bed by 8:00 to save his life. Cheers!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Speed Racer

Along with Gus showcasing his harmonica skills, this has to be one of my favorite videos of the boys. Recently Owen discovered a racing path at our house on his little fire truck. The track from the driveway down the sidewalk is slightly downhill and led to racing fun, including several wipeouts into the grass & bushes. In true boy fashion though, Owen actually thought it was fun to crash and get back on the plastic horse. Over and over. After about the third or fourth time, I had to catch it on camera.

I'm not sure if my favorite part of this is Amy putting a fearful set of hands to her face like she can barely watch or Gus looking at Dad with the "Well if you're not going to help him up I suppose I will" look on his face.

Riley D

This weekend Amy & I got to meet young Riley Darrin Destasio, who is the new arrival for proud parents Darrin and Courtney. Riley is a champion sleeper and a future Florida Gator season ticket holder. Coupled with the news that Billy Donovan may return to coach the Gators, I think it's safe to say that Darrin D is a happy camper. ;-)

Congratulations to Darrin & Courtney for their little bundle and their dive into the wonderful world of parenthood!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Politico Friday

Eugene Robinson's op-ed in the Washington Post is terrific. I couldn't agree more. We aren't in high school anymore.

"An Egghead for the Oval Office"

One thing that should be clear to anyone who's been paying attention these past few years is that we need to go out and get ourselves the smartest president we can find. We need a brainiac president, a regular Mister or Miss Smarty-Pants. We need to elect the kid you hated in high school, the teacher's pet with perfect grades.


The conventional wisdom says that voters are turned off when candidates put on showy displays of highfalutin brilliance. I hope that's wrong. I hope people understand how complicated and difficult the next president's job will be, and how much of a difference some real candlepower would make.

I don't want the candidates to pretend to be average people, because why would we choose an ordinary person for such an extraordinary job? I want to see what they've got -- how much they know, how readily they absorb new information, how effectively they analyze problems and evaluate solutions. If the next president is almost always the smartest person in the room, I won't mind a bit. After all, we're not in high school anymore.

Hat tip to Chris LeDuc for the link.