Monday, March 30, 2009

ShamPow! Slap! Chop!

Regular readers may have noticed I've written a couple posts (here and here) about Vince Offer, the pitchman behind the ShamWOW cloths and the ubiquitous Slap Chop kitchen device. For whatever reason, the guy both annoys me and fascinates me at the same time.

Well, it seems Offer (his real last name is actually Shlomi), has gotten himself into a bit of trouble. Here's a clip from an article that ran on the Smoking Gun a few days ago:
Shlomi, 44, was arrested last month on a felony battery charge following a violent confrontation with a prostitute in his South Beach hotel room. According to an arrest affidavit, Shlomi met Sasha Harris, 26, at a Miami Beach nightclub on February 7 and subsequently retired with her to his $750 room at the lavish Setai hotel . . . Shlomi said that when he kissed Harris, she suddenly "bit his tongue and would not let go." Shlomi then punched Harris several times until she released his tongue.
Wow, what a great guy! Now I really want to buy his crummy products! And he's 44? Dude looks good for 44.

You can read the full article over here at the Smoking Gun's website.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Maybe there won't be another empty store in Bishop's Corner

A couple of weeks ago, news dropped that the Whole Foods in Bishop's Corner, due to a settlement with the FTC, would have to be sold. This news lead some, including myself, to wonder if this would mean another empty storefront in the already spotty shopping district, where empty buildings are becoming a very common sight.

But while shopping at Whole Foods today, I came across the market's official press release on the subject. And, while the company does need to try to sell the space to another vendor, there's a very good chance Whole Foods will be around in the space for many years to come. From the release:
If no buyer comes forward within the next six months, then Whole Foods Market will continue to serve you at this store and will offer the great products and customer service you have come to expect from us.
I suppose time will tell in this situation.

Vanishing sidewalk goldrush

This will be the last vanishing sidewalk post for a bit. I think I may be going a bit overboard lately. I need to curtail the curb hunt. Tuck away the footway.

Until then, let me leave you with two more discoveries. The first is probably the only vanishing sidewalk that makes a whole lot of sense. It's located on Park Road, right before the on-ramp for 84:

At least here I can see the reasoning behind the decision to end the path where they did.

"What're you doing over there? You're gonna make people walk straight onto the highway!"

"Dang, you're right. What should I do?"

"Just stop your work where you are. They'll know not to go any further."

"Should I pull up what I started? I think -"

"I ain't paying you to think!"

Anyway . . .

The second location just may be the motherload of vanishing sidewalks: Fairfield Road. The good folks over at Connecticut Museum Quest pointed me in the right direction here. Wow, there are a lot of vanishing sidewalks in this area!

Here's the corner of Fairfield with Plainfield Road (what boring names for streets. "Hey, what're you going to name your road? Mine's Fairfield." "Oh, I don't know . . . Plain . . . field?" "Man, you're a genius."):

(I should note that all of the images in this post are from Google Street View. It's too rainy here in West Hartford today to go out with the camera.)

A little further up Fairfield, at the intersection with Longlane Road (another brilliantly named stretch of pavement), you get a vanishing sidewalk on three corners. Here's just one:

When Fairfield ends at Lostbrook Road (finally, a cool road name), there's another vanishing sidewalk:

That's a lot of vanishing sidewalks for one road.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Good intentions

I swear I intended to post earlier today. I really did. Cross my heart. 

It was going to be a wonderful little piece about my reconnaissance visit to our new plot at the community garden. How the Professor and I discovered what the previous renter planted. How we walked around Westmoor Park and listened to the tree frogs as the sun slowly hovered on the horizon.

It was going to be a good little post.

But I instead went up to Massachusetts to help my father-in-law de-nail (technical term?) lumber. And my hands are now raw and pained as I type. The back of my neck is crisp. My eyelids are heavy. My eyeballs sting.

I swear some of the boards I was pulling nails from had been used for crucifixions centuries ago. The nails looked older than time.

So, in lieu of a nice post about discovering our new garden space, I will leave you with this picture. It isn't much to look at, but I hope it becomes something nice over the next few months:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Things thought at 3:45 AM

Rough time sleeping last night. The bacon cheeseburger from Plan B did me in. I found myself awake at 3:45 a.m., my mind wandering.

Here's what I remember thinking about:

1. New issue of the West Hartford News to look forward to tomorrow. Will the writing will still be horrible?

The answer, as I just learned when I got my mail, is yes. Well, maybe not as bad as two weeks ago, but still pretty poor.

2. I really don't want to break up with my landlord.

The Professor and I made the decision to move, even though we hate the thought of packing everything up to move a mile away. 

On my way home from work today I decided to make the phone call and tell our landlord the bad news. I hate making that phone call. But I followed through with it. I even went into a "it's not you, it's me" run. Not fun. 

But, like a band-aid, I tore it quickly.

She was completely blind-sided by the news.

3. How can one tell if they are in an Italian horror film?

Yes, this was something I was thinking about at 4 o'clock this morning. And I came up with a five-point yes/no checklist. Essentially, if you can answer 'yes' to at least three of these statements, you may actually be part of an Italian horror film:
1. I live or work in a building that has enough space for a hidden room, where someone may be conducting experiments or planning horrible actions against me or my roommates/co-workers.
2. I speak Italian and am an attractive female (or the boyfriend of an attractive female).
3. My life seems to have a heavy metal soundtrack that is heavy on Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Goblin.
4. I live in a Technicolor wonderland.
5. Someone is trying to kill me. 

I am bleary-eyed. I'm going to go crash for a bit.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Farmer trailing spouse

The Professor went out this morning and got us a 20' x 20' (I just had a Spinal Tap Stonehenge moment there for a second) community garden space over at Westmoor Park. She has big plans. Lots of vegetables. She's already mapped it all out. 

Me? I'm just looking forward to breaking out my overalls and saying things like  "thick as ticks on a dog's back."

$25 for the plot. Pretty good deal. If anyone out there is interested, they should move fast. Spaces are getting snapped up quickly.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The green mile

I sent a friend over to the other side today.

It was my 13" Orion TV/VCR combo unit that my parents gave me as my high school graduation gift.

Sad day. In a very odd way, it was like losing a friend. I'd had it for 13 years.

The death of the Orion was slow and painful. About two or three years ago, it started to eat videotapes. Then, shortly after moving to Connecticut, it started to hum in a strange way. 

A month or so later, it wouldn't turn on. The hum turned to a scarier, electric buzz. That's when I unplugged it for good.

I spent a day looking online to try to diagnose the problem. I looked at parts to fix it, but the truth is I would have no idea what to do if I did get the right pieces.

So it was time to let the Orion go. And I wasn't about to ditch it in the bottom of a trash barrel.

I strapped it into the passenger seat. Buckled it in for safety. Then I started the drive to Best Buy.

Along the way, we reminisced about the good times. The group that huddled around the television's glow for Super Bowl XXXI, when the Patriots got crushed. The mass amount of movies my budding cinephile mind watched over that tiny tube. The travels it made. Dorms. Apartments. Different states.

No more. Now the Orion was to be eCycled.

As I watched the Geek Squad tech carry the Orion away, I gave it a little salute. It's in a better place now. Maybe the plastic from its shell will become something important.

So long, friend.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Peeps show

I love marshmallow Peeps. I know most people find them disgusting, but there's something about a stiff Peep, left out of the package for a day or two, that brings me back to childhood.

And if there's one thing I like more than a tasty Peep, it's a contest using the little sugar wonders.

Just in time for Easter, the West Hartford Library is holding their first annual Peeps diorama contest. Sadly, it's only for kids. Nevertheless, I'm sure there will be some great and inventive entries. I have to assume the winners will be on display at some point.

If you've got a young Peep lover who is also into arts and crafts, follow this link to learn more.

If you just want to see cool Peep dioramas, check out this link to the Washington Post.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

News and Mexican food follow-up

  • With sentences like "The town received good news as regards current litigation this past Tuesday night . . ." the West Hartford News continues to be in the throes of a terrible bout with unprofessionalism.

    Here's another example:

    "It was perhaps the most discussed resolution by the Town Council, but once it passed by a 7-2 vote, the standing rules of the town council for the 2007-2009 term were revised."

    And another:

    "A person who owned a median-size home could expect a rise of approximately $400 for the taxpayer in annual taxes with that proposed increase."

  • It seems the mysterious "Mexican Restaurant" moving into the old BK space on Park Road (I wrote about it back in February) is actually a tavern:

   And, judging by the sign, it also appears that this tavern is owned by the Berenstain Bears:

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Vanishing sidewalk x 4

This may be a bit of a controversial awarding, but I'm calling vanishing sidewalk on Trout Brook Terrace. The jug handle road, conveniently located off of Trout Brook Drive, not only has vanishing sidewalks on one end, but the other, as well.

Yes, some may say that these little nubs of sidewalk that hook off of Trout Brook Drive don't count as true vanishing sidewalks, but the fact that they begin at all makes it seem like a sidewalk should be where it isn't.

Sorry for the bad photos. You don't realize how awkward taking photos of the ground is until you catch someone watching you do it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Something I can show you

While out and about today, I parked behind a car that made me laugh. Some people like to put hats in the back window of their cars. Some put little stuffed animals. But the owner of this vehicle, well, they like bath sponges:

My favorite part of this are the two sponges that hang from the hooks over the rear passenger doors.

Bravo, sponge lover!

Things I wish you could see

Connecticut has some really horribly produced local commercials. Some, like the Fast Eddy and Good Old Tom commercials I posted a couple weeks ago, are goofy fun. But some, by God, are genuinely, and oftentimes unintentionally, hilarious.

The problem is that I can't find them online anywhere, which means I can't share them with you.

This is understandable, I suppose. If I was responsible for making these laughers, I probably wouldn't be posting them on my website, either.

But I so want to have them on this blog!

I suppose I must resort to description.

There are two that stand out. The first is for Assisted Living, Inc., a . . . wait for it . . . assisted living facility here in the state. The spot opens on Mom calling her children downstairs. The kids, typical moppet-types, come halfway down the stairs and Mom says, "We're going to visit Grandma." And the kids, in a way only television commercial children can, respond in unison, "Grandma's house! YAYYYYYYYY!" Oh, it kills me every time they say it. I can just see the director saying, "Now, this time I want you two to hold the 'yay' for four seconds. Really draw it out." 

The commercial then delves into dark and scary territory, as apparently Grandma isn't quite as spry as she used to be and has to be moved out of "Grandma's House." How will Mom explain this to the children?

I know, this description really doesn't do much, but, man, if only you could see it.

The second spot is for Porter and Chester, an occupational training school. It highlights the school's HVAC repair training program and features this guy who talks to the camera as if the viewer is a complete moron. "You like working with your hands?" he asks in the most condescending of all possible ways. He sneers as he tells you how wonderful and rewarding a career in HVAC repair is for him. There's a certain point where you almost wait for him to say "Hey dummy" before continuing on.

Here's an example of a normal Porter and Chester commercial:

Now imagine this commercial done by a surly man who thinks you're an idiot. That's pretty much what I'm talking about

Argh! I wish I could find these to post.

Though, the truth is, all was not lost in my search. While spelunking deep into the heart of YouTube, I did come across this commercial for something called Testa's Sauce. I've never witnessed it on television, but it's pretty entertaining. And, to top it off, it's from right here in Connecticut.

I could watch this guy tell his Nana how much he loves her sauce all day:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Off-season acting classes?

Could it be? Has Dustin Pedroia, MVP of my beloved Boston Red Sox, been taking acting lessons this off-season?

I recently caught his new ad for MLB 2009, and it seems he may have gotten this acting thing down a bit more than he did last year:

In case you've forgotten, here's pre-MVP Pedroia in action:

Much better, yes? 

Friday, March 13, 2009

Murky West Hartford News

"The buzz at the Pond House Cafe early morning on March 4 amongst the women business leaders in West Hartford was naturally, concerns about the economy."

This is the opening sentence from a front page article in this week's West Hartford News.


Another article, on page 4, begins with the following: "In an era where economic certainty grows and grows, it is a timely exhibition hosted at Saint Joseph College at the Bruyette Athenaeum."

What? What are you talking about? Was there some other sentence that appeared before this that somehow didn't make it to print? And, regardless, should you be telling us that we're in an era where economic certainty grows and grows? Doesn't that contradict the semi-sentence that opened the other article, where there was "naturally, concerns about the economy"?

The fact that West Hartford continues to have a weekly paper is a wonderful and rare thing. It should be embraced by the community. However, sloppy exercises like these make such support difficult. 

It certainly seems as if the staff at the News is quite small (for example, all of the major articles in this week's issue are credited to the same writer). But where's the editor? If you have one person pumping out five articles for each edition, you need someone to be there to make sure it all makes sense. I'm not claiming any great skill, and have written plenty of clumsy sentences right here on this blog, but if the News is spread so thin that a basic grammar check can't happen, then perhaps it's time for the paper to completely be taken over by press releases.

C'mon, West Hartford News. You survived the Journal Register's chopping block back in January, prove to us that you deserve to be around.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Lovely tidbits from the Rollercoaster Cuts press release

I realize others have written about the new Six Flags Rollercoaster Cuts hair salon for children that is opening up here in West Hartford this weekend (yes, Six Flags, the floundering theme park chain, is taking the logical step of opening hair salons). And, to be honest, any business filling storefronts in Blue Back Square is a great thing. However, in reading the press release for Rollercoaster Cuts on Six Flag's website, I can't help but laugh. For a place to get a your tot's locks trimmed, Six Flags seems pretty excited.

Here are a few highlights (with my snarky comments italicized below):

"Rollercoaster Cuts will revolutionize the ordinary task of getting a haircut."

Thank God! If there's one thing massive amounts of money need to be sunk into to solve in this world, it's the ordinary task of getting a haircut.

"Even while shampooing, children will have the option to sit straight up in a traditional chair or lie flat on their backs watching point-of-view camera angles of Six Flags' biggest coaster drops." 

And the stylists have all come equipped with the coolest in Six Flags themed barf bags for those little rugrats who choose to watch those coaster drops.

"Customized kids salon packages like The Glammy, Zoink, Big Kapow and Blama Jama . . ." 

Now, if you were outside and asked for a Blama Jamma, you'd be getting something else altogether. 

"Every haircut will come complete with a FREE photo to capture the moment."

A FREE photo? That's why your stocks are in the toilet Six Flags! You've got to charge for those things!

Of course, I'm just trying to have a bit of fun here. I wish the best for Rollercoaster Cuts and for the stylists who are taking the brave task of dealing with small children all day long. Now, as long as Six Flags doesn't become the sponsor for the Mark Twain House, I think we'll be okay.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A little something from A Little Something Bakery

Take a moment and admire the beauty of the cookie in the above picture. The puffed, craggy surface. The gentle dusting of powdered sugar. The light, golden brown color.

This is an Almond Cloud from A Little Something Bakery. And it is delicious (or, better yet, scrumptulescent).

Beneath the crackled top lies a soft flavor rush of almond, sweet but not too sweet. The cookie only lasts two, maybe three bites. But they are very tasty bites.

A Little Something Bakery is onto something here.

For more proof, read Amy's comments over at the Greater Hartford Real Estate Blog.

I won't even get into the cupcakes . . . oh, the cupcakes! I'm drooling too much as it is (though I will say I was happy to see cupcakes that were actual cupcake-sized. Not gigantic, dry pucks you see at many bakeries).

A Little Something Bakery can be found in West Hartford between Hall's Market and Park Lane Pizza on Park Road.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Vanishing sidewalks 4: The return of vanishing sidewalks

Quite a while has passed since my last report on West Hartford's strange problem with vanishing sidewalks. I suppose the snow has been to blame. Hard to see if a sidewalk vanishes when you can't see the sidewalk in the first place.

Today's vanishing sidewalk comes to us from Trout Brook Drive, right in front of the Children's Museum. Got to give the museum props for using the abrupt end of the walkway to their advantage, as they've place a placard advertising summer camp right where the grass begins.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Where my Foofur people at?

About once a year, Foofur comes up in conversation between myself and my wife. She claims to have never heard of the big blue dog, while I not only plead his existence, but also sing the annoying theme song from his cartoon.

This leads to the question: Do any of you remember Foofur, or was I the sole watcher of this (admittedly poor) Hanna-Barbera offering from the late '80s?

Here's the opening credits, to jog a few memories:


A funny related story, found on the Foofur Wikipedia page:
Foofur played a role in the case Nationwide Insurance v. Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, 116 F.3d 1154 (7th Cir., 1997). The case dealt with an insurer's duty to defend an insured party in light of the insured's intentional acts of property damage. The insured, a drunken college student, tried to spell out "Foofur" on the football field with lighter fluid, and then burn it permanently into the astroturf. Although he did not manage to spell out more than "Foo", he did succeed in causing $600,000 damage to the astroturf. The court held that such an act was not within the insurance policy's liability coverage.
Guess this means at least one person remembers him.

Another dead store in Bishops Corner?

When we first moved to West Hartford, Bishops Corner was this magical sounding place where everything could be had. "You haven't been over to Bishops Corner yet?" we'd be asked. Folks were shocked when we said no. Truth was, we had no need to go there.

But the dumbfounded questions kept coming, so about a month into our stay, I decided to find this bountiful harvest while out on a run.

It was so disappointing.

For those from out of the area, Bishops Corner is really nothing more than a congested intersection with four shopping plazas. Several storefronts are empty, and the rest are mostly reserved for grocery stores (there are, what 4 different grocery stores in BC?), McDonald's, a Staples, Marshalls, and other smaller establishments. Absolutely nothing life changing.

But, truth be told, the Professor and I have taken to visiting Bishops Corner here and there. We get out pet supplies at the aptly named Pet Supplies Plus, most of our groceries at Waldbaum's.

Which leads me to the story in yesterday's Hartford Courant concerning the Whole Foods in old BC. According to a federal antitrust settlement, it must be closed or sold: 
The store, one of two Whole Foods locations in West Hartford, had been a Wild Oats store until Whole Foods Market Inc. bought Wild Oats Markets Inc. in 2007. It is one of 13 stores — 12 former Wild Oats locations and one that was a Whole Foods before the merger — that Whole Foods must sell within six months under the company's settlement with the Federal Trade Commission.
After reading the full article, this ruling makes sense. I already thought it was pretty ridiculous for the town to have TWO Whole Foods, but if the Bishops Corner store ends up empty or sold to a company that leaves a vacant lot, the area is going to end up looking like a ghost town. 

Or . . . this finally gives me the opportunity to open my long dreamt of (insert silly idea here)!  

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Panic at the drive thru

Last night, on our way home from the movies, the Professor mentioned a craving for french fries. So, being the excellent husband, I pulled into Wendy's to fulfill her want. Rolled up to the outdoor station. Commented on how long it had been since visiting a drive thru.

Then I panicked.

"What can I get you?" the voice asked.

Maybe I'm just rusty with the whole drive thru experience, but that little question seemed to hold an enormous amount of weight. What could they get me? They were offering the world, and all I wanted was a sleeve of fried potatoes.

Seemed like kind of a waste.

My eyes scanned the plastic illuminated menu. I needed to find something else to order. Hamburgers. Salads. Chicken fingers. It was so overwhelming.

"I'll get a medium fries . . . and a chili," I eventually said.

A chili? Why the hell did I order chili? I looked over to the Prof, who gave me an odd look. My face contorted in a I don't know why I said chili either! kind of way. It was just there, on the board, directly under french fries.

We pulled around to the window. I almost gave back the chili. Truth was I didn't want it. But I guess I thought pulling up to a drive thru to get an order of fries wouldn't seem like enough. The kid working didn't seem like much of a talker, though, so I just took the chili and paid my $3.50 or whatever the total came to.

My stomach ached all night from that stuff. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The funny thing about free things

This evening, the Prof and I went to a sneak preview of the new Paul Rudd/Jason Segel movie I Love You, Man. It was entertaining enough, with a few laugh-out-loud moments. Honestly, though, the movie was overloaded with pop culture references. I really don't get why so many modern comedies play this card. Cinema should be timeless. Cheap laughs relying on 2009 vernacular may work today, but no one's going to have a clue what was so funny about Lost gags or Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium jokes 15 years from now (That being said, some worked, especially the Rush reference, which, for fans of Freaks and Geeks, was kind of awesome.).

Anyway . . .

I wasn't writing this to post about the movie. Instead, I was intending to ramble about the crowds that come out when these sort of sneak previews are offered. The spectacle is really quite something. It's as if the average consumer cannot resist someone giving them something for free, regardless of their interest. There were all kinds of people at the theater. Old, young, reallllllyyyyy old, hip hop, nerdy, chic, college professors, husbands of college professors. All were present, and I bet only about 20% of them would have shown up to pay for a ticket if the movie was already in theaters (Prof and I would have been in that 20%. She's got a Paul Rudd thing, and I have a dumb comedy thing). 

In fact, I'm pretty sure a few attendees hadn't been to a movie in easily a decade, judging by the way they looked around the theater when they entered ("It's like one of them future spaceships! Thank God for these movie passes! Now, is Fred and Ginger in this picture?").

And this hodgepodge of people, old and young, also seemed to carry with them some of the strangest manners. I watched about 7 people just up and leave about halfway through the screening. Now, we weren't watching avant-garde cinema, here. Let's face it, there was a 5 minute joke about farting. It isn't like the material was all that challenging. 

Before tonight, I can probably count on one hand the amount of people I've watched walk out of a theater in the past few years. 

Of course, those were tickets that people paid money for.

Then there were the people who conversed throughout the film, as if, since nobody paid to get in, the event was more of a social gathering than anything. There were a few groups that sounded like they were doing flash cards or math homework or something. And the couple that debated why the main character was having such difficulties making friends. Odd.

I won't even get into the people who, even with free tickets, still smuggled in cans of soda and McDonalds. That sort of thing just blows my mind. I mean, I get bringing your own candy or whatever, but cheeseburgers? Do you realize how awful that odor is when it hovers in a movie theater for 100 minutes? And the movie is already free, so cough up a few bucks for the theater at the concession stand. 

I don't know. I just think it's interesting to see how we react to free entertainment. And, truth is, it was a free night out (though we did spring for the $6.50 kids popcorn/soda/candy box). I guess I can't complain. Better than watching American Idol.

Ramble over. Off to bed.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


Nothing too exciting to report on today. The Professor and I were just debating the correct lyrics to the old "Spoonman" song by Soundgarden while I rattled two spoons against my knee. Turns out we were both wrong. Yup, it's a quiet day.

So, for lack of anything else, here's a picture of my freezer door.

You can learn quite a bit from what people stick on their refrigerators. What this says about me, I'm not quite sure.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Rambles while trapped in the snow

We're snowed in here in West Hartford. The Professor's college has closed. My work will be opening late. What better time than now to ramble on about a few things:

Last night, while watching the newest episode of Rock of Love Bus with Bret Michaels on VH1 (the guiltiest of guilty pleasures, the "I can't look away from this horrible carnage" of guilty pleasures), the Prof and I began to verbally express concern over the carbon footprint Mr. Michaels and his "ladies" are leaving traveling on tour with three large buses (which, at this point, carry only 8 people). Now, my query is this: By questioning the environmental impact left by Bret and the girls, are we, by default, smarter than everyone appearing (combined) on Rock of Love? If so, do we get a prize? Also, bonus points here, does it mean we're thinking too hard about something as stupid and vapid as a program where young women with severe daddy issues throw themselves at a faded, double-their-age rock singer with hair extensions solely to become said faded rock singer's (who, by the by, seems to keep writing songs using the same basic chord progression as his biggest hit) arm candy?

Hey, I just saw someone skiing down the road.

The passing of radio personality Paul Harvey brought back a flood of memories. Sitting in the old Chevy Citation with my Mom. Waiting to pick up my Dad at work. Hearing Harvey crackle over the AM dial (the Citation did not have FM). The rest of the story. Always waiting to hear him say that line. Most of the time I didn't care much for the stories, being as I was 4-years-old. But that voice was like a friend. Mr. Harvey will be missed.

Our upstairs neighbor, the Emperor, did not take kindly to the fact that we called him on his noisy stomping and girlfriend-pleasing. A good natured note left on his door, using words like "please" and "thank you," turned into the Emp calling the Prof "piggish" and stomping off into the night. Of course, since then, he's been quiet as a baby. We'll see where this leads . . .

Happy snow day, New England!