Friday, January 30

 

oh, by the way...

After a couple of missed appointments, I finally met with Rob yesterday for lunch. We hit the killer buffet at India Palace with a friend of his and his co-worker. Even after the meal, Rob and I shot the bull for a while longer. It's nice to put a face and personality to the blog, knowwhatimsayin'?

Through his site, I found this story about somone who put PC hardware in a Mac G5 case. This got me all riled-up with the PC vs. Mac steel-cage grudge match that's been going on for nearly 20 years. I started a firey post about it before I left for work this morning, spitting venom and shaking with rage. Then I let it sit until this evening's recap.

At this point it dawned on me: who gives a crap, anyway?

Thursday, January 29

 

"That doesn't look good."

I got to the office this morning, checked some e-mail then got the 'blue screen of death'.

Basically, the hard drive stopped spinning. Once the mighty Dan of the IT planet cracked it open, he discovered lots of dust, a faulty fan and the temperature running about 90 degrees. After a cool down, dan kept working on repairs. Everything should be hunky-dork tomorrow.

 

Celebrity watch

Ben, oh, Ben. Why must you try to recapture the magic of former glory. Face it: you are 'indie Ben' no more.

"Gonna beat my wife, heeeeeeeeaaayyy!"

Gotta have Faith. It makes me wonder: W.W.B.D.?

Wednesday, January 28

 

Snow, clear, repeat.

Yep, we had a dusting last night, on top of the freezing drizzle from yesterday. After I finish my coffee and fart around some more, I'll don the parka, scrape the car, and re-shovel the walk.

This morning I've decided I need to have some beer tonight. Maybe it's because of the drinking stories I've read recently, maybe it's a symptom of snow-inspired exile, or maybe I just wanna beer. If only we had a decent watering hole near the homestead. Right now, we're hedging our bets on the soon-to-open Ryan's Daughter. Maybe if I pathetically knock on the window I can get a stout...

Tuesday, January 27

 

Snowed in.

So it snowed yesterday, about 6 inches, just enough for most things to shut down. The standing policy for Breakaway is to "use your best judgement", or, more specifically, if Baltimore County schools are closed, so is work. It was a no-brainer there. Now, Heather's work is a trickier play to call. But a phone call to her supervisor shocked us; AAT was actually closed.

Monday, January 26

 

Weekend review.

Saturday night we trucked down to The Ram's Head in Annapolis The loose plan was to meet Nate and Kristen, with their friends from Northern Virginiain tow, and get a table about 6:30. Rolling-in at seven, we were still the first folks there, with Bill and Jen five minutes behind.

We soon found out the crowded pub tables were first come/first served and all tables in the dining room were booked til about ten. By seven-thirty, when all persons were present, a plan of action was needed. His royal Billness took the reins, getting us a reservation at the Irish Bar next door. In the meantime, we slowly overtook stools at the bar, noshing on quality fried appetizers and house-brewed stout.

Seated at dinner, Heather and I acquainted ourselves with Steve and Carol. Mainly, we chatted about cats, weddings, North Jersey, Coastal Virginia, and finding a technology-realated job through great timing and sheer luck.

---

Sunday was a lazy start. Eventually venturing-out about 10:30, we treated ourselves to two "novas" at Golberg's New York Bagels out in Pikesville. We also nabbed a baker's dozen to go, taking the kosher joy with us.

"We're near Sutton Place Gourmet," Heather mentioned. Heading up Reisterstown Road, just past the beltway, we checked it out. It's a very nice place; not as pachouli-soaked hippie as Whole Foods and, my God, not as snooty as Eddie's. Here was the first I'd seen of Balducci's products. Heather mentioned a Manhattan trip to one of their stores was a formative experience, so, it must be good stuff.

We treated ourselves to some goodies from the cheese counter, a pint of specialty chocolate ice cream, and some lavender countertop spray. All in all, a nice little luxury trip. I'd do it again.

Then for grins, we took the long way home via Greenspring Valley Road. It's a pretty drive when it's covered in snow.

Saturday, January 24

 

Smalltimore.

I know before I'd mentioned the local e-zine The Mobtown Shank. It's mainly a listing of goings-on in the music scene, but it's blown monstrous proportions; movie reviews, bad drunken poetry, a question of the week, and, most recently, classified ads. Bill pointed out this particular ad that ran this week: (I edited the names to protect the guilty.)

WANT A FREE TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE? Find Earl ___ and tell him you’ve come to claim your Triumph. I have the title, it’s clean, and most importantly still in my name. I f*cking hate the hassle that the bike has put me through and never want to see it again, but even less do I want Earl to have it for free. My loss can be your gain, I’m out of state and can’t be bothered, but at least I can have a little fun for my waste of 2 grand. You find the bike and it’s yours, no lie.
More info needed? You can reach me at: b___@___.com


How small is this town? Not only do I know both parties involved, but the motorcycle in question was first owned by a former roommate.

"Ain't dat sumfin', hon?"

Friday, January 23

 

(My) people in the news.

Congratulations to Connie for working hard to get this bill into the Kentucky Senate. Great work, girl.

Many thanks to Heather for providing me with a top quality in-law.

 

Another reason why I'm still fat.

I got the new menu from Chameleon Cafe e-mailed to me. I immediately started salivating and forwarded it to all friends who've been here and know how great it can be, and to a few who should find out.

 

Stop me before I rock again!

Just before Christmas, Harry informed me about a band called The Darkness. I hadn't heard note one until I caught one of their space opera videos one morning on MTV2.

Oh. My. GOD!

I find it a brilliant fusion of both parody and tribute to Seventies' arena rock. Unlike many bands with a punchline, this is no Green Jelly or Dread Zeppelin. Much like The Upper Crust or Turbonegro, somewhere there's a real band underneath the shtick.

Earlier this week I found their streaming videos via Vh-1.com and haven't put the air guitar down since.

Thursday, January 22

 

And so it goes.

This afternoon I got the word from Foertsch Automotive about the Subaru. It turns out the trouble wasn't the transmission, as I'd first feared.

The timing problem was linked to old plug wires, amongst old plugs as well. Add to that the laundry list of minor repairs linked to a 14-year-old car, and the cost is still more than I want to pay, but less than I was first expecting to shell-out. (Shit, I want to pay nothing, but that ain't gonna happen.) We'll pick her up tomorrow, and Heather will be reunited with the old gal.

Then, when I opened the mail this evening, according to the City of Baltimore I owe them property taxes --- and pronto.

At first I thought perhaps my mortgage holder was slow on the draw with the payment last year. That's not right; a call to customer service and a review of this month's statement shows the payment was made in December. The city offices are closed until tomorrow, so in the meantime I'll be battling insomnia until I can talk to somebody and figure out what the f*ck is going on.

Wednesday, January 21

 

I'm horrified... yet, intrigued

Found this film review via Google News.

After reading Fast Food Nation a few years ago, I had a hunch my love affair with big, mass-made, greasy cheesy burgers would dwindle. Now, with mad cow lurking in Washington state, I haven't indulged in any thing remotely made with ground beef since the news broke. It's quite possible if I see this movie, it may be the personal coffin nail for ever eating corporate fast food again. (Who am I kidding?)

Tuesday, January 20

 

Does the fun ever stop?

Since before Christmas, the Subaru has sat in the driveway awaiting its fate. Last time I drove it, it seemed like the cylinders were misfiring. Since we're not sure of repairabliity, we've decided to get her looked at. Hopefully tomorrow, we'll limp up Harford Road or have it towed to Foertsch Automotive for a final diagnosis.

Best case scenario: it only needs the $2.75 doohickey to make it run like a champ. Then we can squeeze a few more months out of 'er.

Worst case scenario: the transmission is toast, and would cost more than the value of the car itself to repair. Then we're a one car family for sure.

...stay tuned, kids.

Monday, January 19

 

Read the fine print.

I rolled into work this morning and, just as I was settling-in at my workstation, a burly delivery/service technician guy walks past my cube. He turns to me and asks:

Him: Uh, you got any new G.T.A.'s coming out soon?
Me: Excuse me? G.T.A.'s?
Him: Yeah, you know, Grand Theft Auto.
Me: Oh. No, were mostly P.C. simulator development here, arright?
Him: Okay, thanks.

*sigh...* Since I've been in this industry, there are some folks who just assume any game company either makes every single game they've seen for any game system or personal computer. Or were just like people in Hollywood; we obviously must know everybody else in the business and what they're up to.

...and I've never met Mr. Nintendo either.


Friday, January 16

 

You can't front on that...

Yesterday at lunch, Bill made a reference to The Blue Nun from the Beastie's Check Your Head. ("Mmmmm! It does go well with the chicken!") Frankly, I hadn't thought about how truly genius this album is, especially when it first hit in (ulp!) 1992. Back then, it was required listening among my crew back in MPS Labs.

So this morning I grabbed it out of the collection and brought it into work. Near lunchtime, Nate dropped by the Ubicle and chimed along as Bill and I were running the skits from The Maestro and Professor Booty. It's brilliant to find a common culture between us via three Jewish kids from Brooklyn.

 

Suspicious Minds.

Braving serious wind-chill, we got up early today to take care of our bi-annual emissions test. Trucking through some of the most ghetto-fab industrial neighborhoods of East Baltimore, we qued-up at the Erdman Avenue VEIP center. While waiting our turn, Heather wondered aloud how accurate or even necessary this rigamarole is.

Perhaps this is the State of Maryland's compromise in lieu of annual inspections. Most likely as a holdover from more agrarian days, state inspection is needed only when buying or selling a car. Essentially, any clown can legally drive his dangerous jalopy on the open road, shoddy brakes, bad suspension and all. As long as your car is putting-out the legal allowance of filth, things are great.

No matter. I'm certain our fourteen bucks is being spent wisely by the MVA on heating the office this morning.

Wednesday, January 14

 

That's why I have a cel phone...

Today at work we had training for the mew office phone system. Apparently, I can transfer calls, set-up conferences, have my e-mail read over the line, slice, dice and jullienne potatoes.

Oh, puh-lese! If I ever get so busy where I have to do any of that shit, something went horribly, horribly wrong.

Tuesday, January 13

 

Holy Sheepshit!

There's a HUGE tanker fire on Rt. 95.

 

Better now.

Dropped Heather off at AAT and made my merry way to work.

Being out a week, I sifted through about 40 e-mails of varying degrees of dumb. Then I dropped-in on Bob, the producer of the non-violent protest trainer, for an update. The answer: 'not much'. The project is mostly going through a design and programming phase, so anything graphical will be sparse in the short term. Once Nathan arrived, I was informed aside from "Sim-Ghandi", were also on the roster for Incident Commander. This is another hurry-up-and-wait project. Okay. Hmmm. So, in the meantime, I'm back into making rural buildings for the Northrop-Grumman project.

Monday, January 12

 

Rarin' to go.

I feel it. I'm ending my illness. My energy level is up.

Of course, I say this at 8 PM tonight with a belly full of Cafe Zen food. We'll see tomorrow morning if I can hold up.

Saturday, January 10

 

Sick and Tired.

Still getting there. I'm maintaining energy for longer periods of time, but I still feel icky.

But so what? It's like, a degree outside today! Even if I were perfectly healthy, I'd still be inside feeling kinda crappy. The house isn't trashed, but not immaculate. And I'm still too out-of-it to clean. I'm actually tired of being in bed. I've been propped on pillows next to a frigid wall for six days. My neck is killing me.

Right now Heather is sleeping on the couch, poor thing. Even after I got her sick on Tuesday, she's been working double duty taking care of me and her. I'll let her go as long as possible; the nights around here have been feverish and restless.

Thursday, January 8

 

Live, from the Valley of the Shadow of Death...

Okay, okay. So I'm being a little dramatic. I've been fighting this for almost five days, and, like Michael Corleone, just when I think I'm out, they drag me back in.

Basically, if I lie down most of the day and take my meds, eventually I'll expectorate something akin to what was last seen in The Exorcist. Then I feel well enough to walk around the house. For about twenty minutes. Ugh! By the way, if anybody wants some of this fine illness, feel free to drop by anytime. I'm here. All. Fucking. Day.

So, with both of us on the sick wagon, we've drafted our trusty neighbor Meg to hook us up with a run for Tylenol Sinus and Kleenex. Big props out to our homegirl. Tyndale in the heezee, y'all!

Wednesday, January 7

 

Back from the grave. (Well sorta.)

After waking on Monday morning with a sore throat and hacking cough, it was a full-blown illness by that night. Even though Heather got me plenty of medicine, it was too little, too late. Fever! Chills! Phlegm! A visit to my internist yesterday reveled I have bronchitis and an ear infection. I'm now well-stocked with antibiotics and cough syrup with codeine. I'm just starting to feel less like dogshit. Hopefully after another day of meds and rest, I'll be back.

Right on cue, Heather is starting some of the same symptoms --- hacking cough and a slight temperature. Hopefully, our doctor called-in a scrip, so we can nip this in the bud.

Saturday, January 3

 

Jacko parenting seminar.

Suddenly window dangling seems tame, by comparison.

Thursday, January 1

 

The new.

New Year's Eve, well, not so much. Even though we had every intention to visit BIll and Leslie's, the fact is, it didn't pan out. Heather spent her day painting the living room. So, between paint fumes and physical exertion, she was wiped. I was just plain old tired. I rang in 2004 when Heather nudged me as the ball dropped. I kissed her as Guy Lombardo played over the P.A. from Times Square.

New Years Day, yeah, that's more like it. We just got in from Rob and Nini's open house at their home. It was a good time with plenty of good company and lots of food. And some fine beer choices.

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