Chez Shaffner

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A Blog in Need of Renaming

The time has come to strip this blog of its obnoxious (and misleading title). Although my “full retirement” in reality lasted a mere five months, now that I’ll be toiling every day from 8am to 6pm on a new project in Cambridge, I suppose I have to stop living a lie… So what to call this blog of miscellany and navel gazing?

I’m excited for my return to the rank-and-file of working men. And fret not about the writing. Three agents have my novel right now, and the new project is 35,000 words and counting (for you non-writers out there, that’s approx. 40% complete).

I welcome any and all suggestions for a new title. Winner gets a copy of my unpublished manuscript... :)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

By Popular Demand...

Keryn is going to kill me, but I’ve had a few requests for pics from the “Boston Prom” held last weekend. In case you missed it over at the other website, here is my take on the event, and here is Keryn’s….

When we walked up for the pictures, we asked him to remind us what the “cheesiest” pose is. He arranged us and started snapping away. Here’s a sample of what happened…

Just in case the “official” pictures didn’t come out so well, my trusty Canon PowerShot came with us to the event…

My ten-year-old tuxedo still fits me like a glove, don’t you think? Good think I convinced Tony V. to sell me trousers with an adjustable waist!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Going to the Prom! (Seriously)

Hey, look who’s in the Boston Globe. Right after I said those words, the dude from 6one7 Productions informed me that I was going to be quoted in the paper, and pointed to a reporter on the couch. “Hey,” I said, “all press is good press.”

About this event… : basically it’s the Senior Prom for grown-ups, complete with cheesy photographs and a Prom Court of local socialites. Naturally, Keryn and I couldn’t resist its charms.

Like many Harvard alumni, I own my own tuxedo. Thanks in no small part to my inspired decision to procure adjustable pants back in 1996, the tuxedo still fits. The shirt… not so much. Yesterday I visited Classic Tuxedo to complete my ensemble.

The salesman clearly thought I was making up my story about this “Prom.” Then he proceeded to fleece me. Turns out that they charge a premium on luxurywear. He looked at me like I had five head when I produced a dyed-blue shoe from my messenger bag. Apparently the Newbury Street location doesn’t rent vets on such short notice, especially during prom season. Instead he pitched the classic black vest ($68) and the silver necktie ($50). For that much I could have rented the whole mess. Maybe owning your own tuxedo doesn’t pay off in the long run after all… [Damn you, Tony V. at Classic Tuxedo in Harvard Square! You lied to me!]

Expect lots of fun pictures (and stories) after we get back!


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Parkour and Me

The New Yorker comes out with several themed issues each year. For my taste, the “Style” issue represents the annual nadir, the one issue each year that I do not even attempt to read from cover to cover. But when the spine reads “Journeys” I expect to learn two dozen new things that I can subsequently sprinkle into suppertime conversation. This spring’s installment lived up to my expectations. Although it came out several weeks back, but I remain fascinated by the article on parkour. Rather than attempt to define it, check out this YouTube flick.

I remember seeing one of the Nike ads a couple years back, but I had no idea there was an entire movement…

You know, a few years ago I was playing too much Tony Hawk Pro Skater on the Xbox and started to notice rails and curbs in a way I had never seen them before. Never mind that I have never stood on a skateboard… Now I find myself looking at parking garage ramps and ledges in a whole new way. No worries, though -- I never attempted any of those potential high-scoring rail slides and I’m not planning any cat leaps in the near future.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Edwin McCain and Low Stars Reviews

More concert reviews live today at Being There. Today’s review covers the April 19th show from Edwin McCain and opening act Low Stars.

“Those who expected a laid-back acoustic set at The Paradise Rock Club on April 19 may have felt pangs of disappointment during Edwin McCain’s energetic (and electric) set. But anyone who left the venue without a smile dressing their face must not have been listening. Simply put, McCain and his band put on one hell of a show.”

Check out the rest of my review here, and be sure to let me know what you think.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Tiësto Review Live

I ought to preface this by saying that Tiësto is my favorite “techno” maestro. A year ago next week, they closed down Lansdowne Street in Boston so he could play an afternoon set on the street. Keryn and I went (it was her first trance show) and danced in the rain to “Traffic” and “Adagio For Strings.” I was saddened to find he isn’t returning to Boston until the autumn this year…

As of this afternoon, my review of his new album, Elements of Life, is live at Being There.

“Although uneven at times, Elements of Life offers a thoroughly entertaining blend of sounds, tempos, and styles. It is far stronger than the average DJ artist album, but a few paces short of brilliance.” To read more, click here.

Please let me know what you think!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Before You Go “Office Space” on Your LaserJet

I have a soft spot for my LaserJet 4L. It may be thirteen years old, but in the three days before Christmas 2006 it managed to print 3000 pages with something like two jams, which beats the hell out of most state-of-the-art jobs they’ve had at my office through the years. Sure, the paper tray only holds sixty leaves. So what if the thing prints only four pages a minute. The fact remains that HP made the damn thing when I was sixteen, and it’s still running...

Until last Friday afternoon, about forty-five minutes after I received requests from two agents for the full manuscript of my novel. One hundred pages into the job, the printer jammed. I cleared the jam and heard the most awful grinding noise I’ve ever heard coming from a machine. “Damn it!” I said, and thought about walking down to Staples to buy a new one.

Fortunately, I did a quick Google search and found these guys at For $24.95 plus shipping, they would send me the part I needed, and an instructional CD-ROM to explain how to open the machine.

I figured it was worth the gamble, and ordered the part. It shipped on Saturday, arrived on Monday (that’s California to Boston by Priority Mail), and within fifteen minutes of its delivery my toner-loving darling was online again... And now I can redirect the $400 I would have spent on a newfangled printer to rent the chocolate fountain at our wedding.

So before you go all Office Space on your printer (if you don’t know what I mean, rent the movie), check out FixYourOwnPrinter.