Saturday, November 29

 

Still not much.

We managed to tear ourselves out of the house to catch a 'manatee' at the local Loews. We went to see Timeline. Trust me, you can wait for video. It's not the best piece of cinema, but, hey, they can't all be A Knight's Tale. (Yeah, I went and saw that when it was still in the theatres, too.)

Afterward, Heather and I took a short trip to the paint store. We didn't actully buy any paint, we just added to our ever-growing collection of paint chips. Were considering a mocha-cum-khaki-sorta-brown-but-not-too-dark-kinda color. Got it? I'm certain we'll take weeks to chose the color we first picked out anyway. Next we darkened Blockbuster's doorstep and rented a few tapes for the next week. Then, we spent a moment at Mastellone's for takeout sandwiches and ingredients for a puttanesca.

But what's for dinner, you ask? Turkey breast. We still have far too many Thanksgiving side dishes in the fridge, so, we gotta eat 'em with something.

Friday, November 28

 

A whole lot of nothing

Got up about 8:30 and brewed a huge pot of coffee to see Harry off this morning. Then Heather and I loafed until the early afternoon. However, it wasn't completely fruitless. Heather managed to track down the artisan who made one of our favorite lamps.

After making ourselves pretty, we brought lunch to eat with Rob and Ni at their shop. Apparently we missed Bill and Jen who were shopping there a little earlier. As always, there were a few new finds. I took their Eames chair for a test drive.

After leaving, we hit the Target, tucked away just minutes from Main Street. After getting a few necessities, we treated ourselves to an early Christmas treat: some very mod flatware. Shagadellic, baby! Yeah!

Thursday, November 27

 

It was Colonel Mustard in the dining room with the turkey.

Oy! My stomach!

I've eaten so much damn good food I can't see straight. Meg's turkey was free range and cooked perfectly. I've had far too many side dishes to remember (but Harry did) --- and the stuffing. Oh, the stuffing.

 

Home, sweet Anthology

I've been hyping Rob and Nini's shop Home Anthology for months. Their site, done by friend Jon at Glows In the Dark, is up and quite beautiful, I think.

What they're showing is just a small sample of their brilliant aesthetic. If you're able to visit Historic Oella, the added bonus of actually seeing their space is really quite spectacular. (Bring your checkbook.)

 

Operator's Manual

Hat's off to Harry for teaching me to drive our intrepid green Maxima. After breakfast we hit the the mall parking lot for a couple of fun-filled hours of stalling, bucking and, eventually, rocking the proverbial mic. Har was a regular Zen master and Mr. Miyagi rolled into a six-foot-plus frame:

"Be the clutch, Young Grasshopper. Show me first-a, second-a!"

Wednesday, November 26

 

Waiting for the turkey.

No, I'm not a day early. I'm waitng for Harry to show up on our doorstep later tonight. I spoke with him this afternoon as he was on his way through Connecticut. He ballparks his arrival around ten.

Heather and I got our last chance shopping today: disposable baking pans, cream, kosher salt, nog, beer for tonight and wine for tomorrow. Heather is currently whipping-up pumpkin pies, and boiling sweet potatoes. Tomorrow the real fun begins with two pans of stuffing, The World's Greatest corn pudding, and that white trash treat, green bean cassrole. Oh, yes, I'm ready to get my feast on.

Tuesday, November 25

 

The Jackass patrol checks in

Our art director just came by with a story about an intruding job seeker who came by this afternoon. (Let's call him Mr. Jackass.)

First, it seems he was incredulous to the fact we work on PC machines here in the graphic department, rather than Macintosh machines. Um, I assume he was aware we create gaming software for PC's, right? Then it gets better...

Then, allegedly, this guy brings-up a well-known commercial program called SoftImage. Now, being a Canadian-based company, or, perhaps just to be pretentious, all their company representatives pronounce it: soft ih-mahge. If anyone has any experience in the CG industry, it's a fairly well-known fact. So, according to Steve, Mr. Jackass pronounces it soft im-idj, and feels the need to correct him.

S: "I used to think it was called that too. But, when I was at the convention, all the people who work for the company pronounce it soft ih-mahge."

JA: "Oh, so you go along with what everybody else in the crowd does..."

Here's why I'd not make a good manager: At this point my shoe would fly over the other side of the desk and hit Mr. Jackass right in the kih-ser.

After enduring another few minutes of this, Steve sends Mr. Jackass to the self-important, sweatshop game developer down the road. tee-hee!

 

Charlie

It was a year ago my grandfather died, age ninety-three.

His last few years were a little difficult. First, he had a slight stroke. That made him yell less and stop driving. As his appetite decreased and had come to find out he had stomach cancer. He had an operation that removed the illness. Two years later, it re-emerged, and, by this point, he was too thin and too frail to keep going.

I try not to remember him that way. This was the man who gave me my first sip of beer, let me have that extra Breakfast Treat, and was always sweet under his cranky, too-damn-Italian-for-the-room style.

His reliable phrase was, "Get the hell out of here!"

"Hey Gramp, could you drive us to the Bergen Mall?"

"Can we watch the K.C. and the Sunshine band on T.V.?"

"Can I have some money for __________ ?"

"...Get the hell out of here!"

Like music to my ears. Rock on, Gramp.


Monday, November 24

 

Random Quote

"I don't know karate, but I know ka-razy!"
-James Brown, The Payback

Sunday, November 23

 

There can be only one.

One of my favorite character actors was inescapable on cable TV this weekend. It was a Clancy Brown tour de force.

Saturday night, I caught the Bravo broadcast of that '86 classic Highlander in all it's early MTV splendor. Clancy chewed the medieval scenery (right along with Sean Connery) as The Kurgan. The church scene is still the high melodrama I remember, and still just as quotable. This afternoon I surfed past TNT, as they were showing the gajillionth rebroadcast of Shawshank, where Clancy plays the evil head C.O. at the prison. Sort of a "Kurgan-lite", but still a dispicable black-hat.

Tonight was my appointment with Carnivale on HBO. If any of you are fans of the show, you know Clancy is doing his Lynchian best as Brother Justin on the mini-series. For those not familiar with the show, his character is a church leader who may or may not be the Antichrist. Yeah, it's that cool.

Saturday, November 22

 

Slack rules.

After the garbage truck alarm clock woke me at 6:30 (!), I lazed in bed until about 9. After a second cup of coffee, we called Mike and Meg to discuss Thanksgiving. With every intention to pound out a menu and divvy-up the cooking duties quickly, we wound up chatting and staying for grilled cheese past noon.

Afterward, Heather and I retired for some downtime. With the TV on, I caught about the first hour of Close Encounters. Strangely, just yesterday at lunch we were talking about movies that would spook us out. As a kid, the very thought of this movie would scare the bejeesus out of me. Not anymore; it's actually kinda tedious buiding-up to that Devil's Tower scene. At about 4, we forced ourselves to Trader Joe's to put a dent in the holiday grocery list.

Friday, November 21

 

King of Peds

It's over Michael.

Heard about your little trouble you couldn't buy off this time. Now that the train is rolling, I have a few thoughts about what will happen next.

It goes without saying, your career is history. Let's face it, your star was falling pretty fast already. And all those bullshit humanitarian awards you get for TV appearances won't erase the fact that your a sick man who needed therapy.

I think you will get punished to the fullest extent of the law. Your kids (they are your kids, right?) will be taken away from you and you'll never see them again. Then Neverland will be auctioned off. After that, your zoo will be set free, your amusement park dismantled and your mansion burned to the ground.

Prison's gonna be a nightmare. Once you get shanked, or kill yourself, the Dahmer Suite is waiting for you in Hell. That's gonna be a blast.

 

Loose Ends.

The end of another work week and I have a few things hanging in the air:

The BTM brochure. So much for getting it to press before Chris went to New Zealand. He's there now tattooing and, um, doing Kiwi-like things with no brochures showing all the glory that is the BTM. I got positive feedback from Bill earlier in the week, however I'm still waiting for final adjustments and specifics for the printer.

Car shit. For now the Subaru will live in the drive way until we can send it out to pasture and procure another vehicle. All that depends on....

Financial high-jinx. Yep. Gotta raid the 401(k) I had with EA for some immediate debts. While I'm at it, I'm setting up a new 401(k) account with work to rollover the remaider monies into.

Thanksgiving plans. Heather and I need to hash-out the planning and menu with Mike and Meg. Plus, Teasley is planning to visit, so I've been trying to get in touch with him to know when I'll see him on our doorstep.

Leaves. Leaves. Leaves.

Thursday, November 20

 

Thursday Three

Thanks to Miss Lis, we're strolling down Memory Turnpike and dishing dirt about being 16-years-old.

1. Favourite Band at 16?
--- Everyone's favorite Canadian power trio (that isn't Triumph), Rush. As an instant fan in 1981, by 1985 I owned every album (on cassette), several posters, and a bunch of 3/4 sleeve baseball jerseys. A few years ago I was talking about high school music with a friend who accurately coined Rush as "chick repellent". Damn straight. If that wasn't enough, my dog-eared copy of Dieties and Demigods and my constant quoting of The Holy Grail were the nail in the coffin.

2. Best thing that happened when you were 16?
--- Hmm. Nothing truly outstanding really springs to mind. However, it was the year I got my first job at the local garden center. I worked with some cool folks and got to earn my own spending money.

3. Did you have a favourite clothing item? is it still around?
--- For my birthday I got this very comfortable and colorful cotton sweater. It wasn't too Miami Vice and it wasn't too Cosby. I wore the hell out of it until I outgrew it in Sophmore year of MICA. I think at that point I gave it to my girlfriend at the time. I doubt it's still around.


Wednesday, November 19

 

Fun with cars

AAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGRRRRRRRRRRGGGGH!

The Subaru started it's death rattle this morning as I was at the stoplight around the corner. Just to make sure it wasn't a cough because it was running cold, I spun around the neighborhood 'til the temp gauge was above "C". No luck. It's dying a slow, terrible death.

I imposed on an ailing Heather to drive me to work. (Note to self: Learn to drive a standard transmission, jackass.) On the way, we spoke about muddling through the short-term with auto logisics and finance. Hopefully It'll iron out by early December.

Not feeling her best, Heather stuck around the office 'til lunch. We went to Qdoba with Bill and Nathan, blissfully unaware of the severe thunderstorm watch in the area.

Tuesday, November 18

 

The annoyance list

- This broad from Evanescence. First of all, if God rocked, he wouldn't rock like you (or Creed either). Secondly, thanks to you, every god-goth-chirpcore bunny will run to the nearest tattoo shop and ruin her chances for employability, dammit.

- Rod Stewart relaunching his carreer as keeper of the American Songbook. Wake up, Rod, I think you've sunk lower than your late Seventies disco hit. What is up with that? I thought Tom Jones cornered the market for collecting granny panties. Oy! Tony Bennett, you ain't.

- Limbaugh. Let the spin begin. Rush, I don't care if you're a cuddly changed man with a moment of clarity, or a new life outlook, or any of that twelve-step bullcrap. Plain and simple, I hope you get nailed to the wall on drug charges, you prick.

Monday, November 17

 

Ain't it funky?

The wife is under the weather today. After a weekend of maybe allergies/maybe illness malaise, she told me she's rocking the bronchitis. Luckily she sees the doc today.

Here at work I need to make sure Bill doesn't do a faceplant into his keyboard, thanks to stain fumes.

My prescription: quality pulled pork and James Brown at an aerobic volume. Heeyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! Jump back, kiss myself!

Sunday, November 16

 

A full day before noon.

Waking up just after seven, we hit the JFX market good and early. Hot coffee and a rare pit beef with horseradish will make you remember what it's like to be alive. That and bags heavy with potatoes, and ten pounds of apples. With the remaining budget, we treated ourselves to organic produce and two beautiful steaks from Whole Foods.

Coming home, I hit the kitchen like a man possessed. Starting on the base cabinets and completely losing control with scrubbing the stove top, over and under. There's still a few dishes in the sink and four bags of laundry in the basement, but I'll get to that on my second wind.

Saturday, November 15

 

...I'm sorry. I can't come to the phone right now.

It seems the lone phone jack here at Tyndale Avenue is on the fritz. Luckily, I can still get online, but the voice line will die in mid-conversation. Good for me my Verizon plan covers wiring and jacks. They'll be here to fix it on Tuesday. So, in the meantime, hit me on the hip, yo.

 

Product from The Factory

1. "Bite me" to most, but "Sea Rooooooogggggue" for you, Toad.

2. Golden Throats, Volume 3.

3. Beef.


Friday, November 14

 

Another envelope

This time from Molly:

1. The strongest epithet I hurl at dear friends is "goofball".

2. Allan Sherman's "My Son the Folk Singer"

3. Lamb...not on the list? Tough!

 

The envelope please...

1. What's your favorite insult to hurl at a dear friend?

--- Usually, it'sa quickie, like "Bite me." Then there are two I know, but can never get them out without cracking-up: "Eat a bag of dicks," and "Your breath could knock a buzzard off a shitwagon." (I usually say the latter when I catch a whiff of my cat Mollie's breath.)

2. Is there a lost record album from your past you still need to re-find?

--- Miracle Legion, Surprise, Surprise, Surprise

3. Chicken or Beef?

--- beef.

Miss Lis dialed in with hers:

1. You look like 40 miles of bad road.

2. Flesh For Lulu - Long Live the New Flesh

3. Beef - mmmmmmm cow.

Thursday, November 13

 

My own damn *Thursday Three*

For anybody listening out there.

1. What's your favorite insult to hurl at a dear friend?

2. Is there a lost record album from your past you still need to re-find?

3. Chicken or Beef?

Hit me an e-mail and I'll post your answers for the world.


 

Oy! My aching house.

Rob and Ni came over last night to help place our sitting room furniture. Even before dinner, we were moving pieces downstairs, upstairs, in this room and that. Now that the dust has settled, tonight Heather and I begin living in the spaces to iron-out any details. There's still art to move and holes to patch. Any body wanna come by and help?

Wednesday, November 12

 

Vrooooooooooooom.

This morning Bill clued me in to an old Monterey out in the parking lot. It turns out the new hire here in the art department owns it. It's the exact sister car to my Galaxie; same engine size, trim level and year.

Tuesday, November 11

 

a veteran of psychic wars.

Thanks to all those who served in the armed forces, during times of war and peace, so I can enjoy my freedom...
...to move furniture around the house on my day off.

It seems like the torture never stops. For almost a week we've been setting up, braking down and re-setting our living spaces. This morning, after moving shelving downstairs, I finally put a dent in my piles of tchotchkes and ephemera. I'm just about halfway through the rat's nest , and I've already filled one heaping 25 gallon trashbag. I'm also making piles for next years yard sale and potential consignments for Home Anthology.

Speaking of which, Ni and Rob may come tomorrow to help arrange the front lounge, and just in time, too. We're ready for somebody else to tell us where to put our stuff.

Monday, November 10

 

The doctor is in.

Heather has a touch of a cold this evening. I just delivered a bowl of soup with toast and O.J. with seltzer up to her in bed. Come to think of it, I feel a little sniffly too. I hope I nip this in the bud; I really hate being sick.

About 6 years ago I let a small head cold go unmedicated and it flew out of control. It incubated in my throat and nested there for weeks. I remember (vaguely) being down for the count for two days, drowsily convulsing with a persistent cough in a haze of fever praying for the Angel of Death to take me -- and quickly.

I also recall my girlfriend at the time tried to make me feel better by bringing over some nice crunchy oatmeal cookies she made herself. Not the best thing for one's throat when it's been chafed raw from hacking for most of a week. My real saviour was cans and cans of chicken noodle soup.

I couldn't smoke for about a month. I was never a real serious smoker to begin with; maybe half a pack a day (if I wasn't out drinking). But, when I tried to start up again, that first Camel Light felt like I was breathing lit Kingsford. Yeowch! I really haven't smoked since.

Sunday, November 9

 

I fought the law(n).

Not much happenning today 'round these parts. I raked and bagged the front and back lawn with some help from Heather.

By the way, she makes the best damn grilled cheese sandwich (I ate two for lunch).

Saturday, November 8

 

One haircut and Ikea bookshelf later...

Heather and I trucked out to Home Anthology to give Rob and Ni a shop-warming gift.

I found them a copy of Landmarks of Twentieth-Century Design: An Illustrated Handbook. We figured it was their kind of book; I think of it more as a "field guide" for their delving into the wilds of Baltimore basements.

We wound up hanging out just shooting the bull with them and their visiting family members, checking out their new pieces and coveting their collection of Russell Wright china.

 

Greetings from the 'Media Room'

Heather was a busy bee yesterday; I came home to a re-arranged first floor.

The narrow front room (former Living Room) and square back room (traditionally the Dining Room) are now our main living space. A lounge, complete with "conversation pit" and bar sits in front of the arch. It's really a great way to show off our vintage lounge chairs and the steel barrister bookcase. On the other side of the arch, our TV, couch and PC mingle nicely in the largest room in the house. The third "nook room" was our former computer room. Making the most of the intimate space, our vintage table set nestles in front of the antique wood lockers, with the side board on the adjacent wall.

Today we'll tighten-up the loose ends, and re-hang art.

Friday, November 7

 

Thanks for the tip.

We had a meeting with Steve York today,further discussing our non-violent project. Fresh from Africa, he gave us all a Zimbabwe 500 dollar bill. (It's worth about a dime.)

Apparently the local slang for these bills are "Ferrari"; they're red and go fast.

Thursday, November 6

 

*Thursday Three*

Thanks to the RockHaus.

1. What's your porn name? (name of first pet + name of first street you lived on)

--- Mittens Adelphia.

2. Favourite local band? (name city also)

--- I haven't seen any local rock in quite some time. But the last Baltimore band I saw that was worth a damn was The Oxes. Despite being populated by jackasses, they are rockers who rock out.

3. What's everyone doing this weekend?

--- I'm certain I'm raking leaves and moving furniture at some point. Plus, the Elvis 'do is fixin' to get chopped Saturday morning, thanks to Tenpachi. But as far as funtimes, Rob and Ni are having their open house for Home Anthology.

 

Shellshocked.

My co-worker (and MPS alum) Mike brought in a poster made of snapshots from the release party for Pacific Air War.

It was strange to see my former self from about nine years ago. At that time I was about 75 pounds lighter and was in the middle of growing my hair out. Plus it was the years of my 'chin shrub' that I kept on the end of my face (because it was before I could grow a proper mustache).

Wednesday, November 5

 

Feel the burn.

Heather and I treated ourselves to lunch at San Sushi. Once again it proves the 'strip-mall ethnic restaurant' theory; despite being wedged between a Notary Public and a cheesey video store, the sushi rocks.

I've been to just about every well-known sushi bar in the area. Where some are long on style and a bit short on quality, San consistently has the plumpest salmon nigiri sushi I've ever had. Yum!

Tuesday, November 4

 

Aw, shit.

The development group once known as MicroProse, now under the Atari banner, is closing down as of 5 pm tomorrow.

This is where I cut my professional teeth way back in 1991. I spent nearly five years in MPS labs, at times working with the best the industry had to offer. Every local development group can trace it's lineage to MPS. Even though rumors of its demise have been circulating for years, it's sad to see the seed to game development around here go away.

My sincerest best wishes to former colleagues still at the Lakefront Drive offices.

 

There must be a strike.

It seems the Factory of Infinite Bliss is M.I.A. these days. I doubt Harry has given up on commentary about our current political administration. (Or anything else, for that matter.)

Har, if you're out there, send me an e-mail and give us the skinny.

Monday, November 3

 

Stand

Hats off to Glen, aka 'the Grump', for selling me his lightly used TV stand. (It's the BENNO from our friends in Scandinavia.) I saw his ad in The Shank.

Forty bones and a short drive later, it awaits a new home in our (re-) re-arranged living room.

Sunday, November 2

 

Boogie with Stew

We went to Daedalus Books yesterday afternoon. It sits in a non-descript warehouse/office park in the wilds of Columbia. Frankly I wasn't expecting much, but it was a tidy, professional operation; two steps over spartan. As far as selection, well, it's decent, but it's not like a really good Borders where you could possibly want an entire display table to take home. After an hour of browsing, we scored $140 worth of books for less than 40 bucks. My indulgence: 1421, The Year China Disovered America, on recommendation from George. While in the neighborhood, we hit Homegoods a mile down the road.

Later that evening we visited with Jon and Maria with a pot roast in tow. We got to see their daughter Clara for a little while. At ten months she's just starting to pull herself up to stand (and shreik with delight). Then it was time to eat (and eat, and eat). Afterward, the ladies chatted in the kitchen while I staved off a food coma in front of the horror show that was Trading Spaces in London.

Oh, Jon also showed me despair.com for a good chuckle.

Saturday, November 1

 

Elvis has left his senses.

Is there an official start time for trick-or-treaters?

As a kid in North Jersey, I remember rushing home from school, adjusting the costume ('cause I wore it to school), grabbing the goody bag and hitting the neighborhood. I may be slightly incorrect, but that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

Going on that personal history, yesterday I left work early to greet the teeming crowds of t-o-t'ers. I got home by 4:30, carved a jack-o-lantern and waited in my semi-Elvis regalia, bowl of candy in hand. Not 'til 6 did anybody come by and no groups of kids 'til 7. Dang, I remember having to be home just after dark and I had kids knocking on the door at 9.

"I reckon that's how the city folk do it 'round here."

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