Friday, February 27



Like was telling BIll and Nate yesterday at lunch, I'm ready for Spring but I'm in no way prepared for Spring.

I'm ready for all the warm weather, the fresh smells and general feeling of well-being I get at this time of year. But I'm not prepared for yardwork: leftover leaves from last Fall, the English Ivy interloping on my hostas, and (ugh!) the growth spurt from the evil bamboo.

Thursday, February 26


A century of poop.

It's no secret the hundred-year-old sewer system and water mains underneath my neighborhood need repair. Just last year, there was the horrible discovery of raw sewage gurgling into the Herring Run just down the road. Without warning, yesterday the renovation work began.

A large flatbed squeaked down the avenue as another worker pulled off lengths of pipe. By the time I got home, the temporary water solution was connected. Where it crossed every driveway it had a fresh mound of macadam. This morning the fun really began: pneumatic jackhammering at 8 A.M.

Maybe this will all go quickly and peace will be restored by May.

...Or June. Or August. Or November.

Wednesday, February 25


Ding! Ding! Sarcasm Alert!

Is anybody in favor of 'gay divorce'? Has anybody thought this out?

Let's face it, hetero marriage statistics don't look so good, so one could make the argument many gay unions may go south as well. I find it a surprise some enterprising lawyer hasn't seen the burgeoning industry available in a few years.

Just think of it: nasty gay custody battles and cut-throat appeals for alimony. And why stop there? Homosexual pre-nuptial agreements can become the norm among well-to-do gay professionals, too. Think of it. An entire business structure based on mistrust and the breakdown of relationships.

...Or does that threaten the "fundamental institution of civilization" too much?

Tuesday, February 24


"My alphabet of Hell" or "All I wanted was a Pepsi*"

Yesterday afternoon I went to the project's lead programmer to troubleshoot a mapping solution I was working on. Foolishly, I thought this meeting would be quick and to the point.

Before I continue, I should mention that these offices have a large picture window looking into the corridor.

So, as I'm talking about (A), the art lead walks by, comes in, and talks about (A), but brings up (B) and (C), totally unrelated to my original issue. Next thing I know, the lead (terribly argumentative) designer walks by, and brings up (D) and (E) for us to chew on. Still later, our second designer stumbles on our impromptu meeting, and adds his two pennies into the mix.

So, now we must review: my one-on-one five minute meeting became a group discussion that lasted 45 minutes.

Today I'll call a meeting to resolve the longstanding issue of removing our collective head out of our proverbial ass. I can guarantee, no one will show.


Monday, February 23


Sunday! Sunday! SUNDAY!!!

We had a little get-together yesterday afternoon to celebrate my birthday, even though I've been a cranky old bastard for more than two weeks.

Speaking of little, our guests of honor were baby Cate and little Clara. Oh, right. Um, their parents came by, too. Even thought they're toddlers, they sure know how to give gifts. Catie got me an electric chainsaw to tame the bamboo this Spring. Clara scored me a DVD of Baby Snakes, the totally weird Frank Zappa movie. Very cool.

For chow, Heather made the best macaroni and cheese in the world*, fresh fruit salad, mixed greens, and two pineapple upside-down cakes. That's right... TWO of 'em! Ahh, ahh, ahhhhhhh....

The second wave of Rob and Nini came by about 6:30. They gave me a six of Hoegaarden, quite possibly the finest Belgian beer I've ever tasted. Mmmmmmm....

*If I could e-mail you a portion I would.

Sunday, February 22


The envelope please...

Thanks to Defective Yeti, you can prove me wrong on Oscar night.

Just click this link to send me your picks for the winners. Here's my predictions:

Best Picture: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Best Actor: Bill Murray for Lost in Translation
Visual Effects: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Best Actress: Charlize Theron for Monster
Art Direction: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Best Animated Feature: Finding Nemo
Best Supporting Actor: Alec Baldwin for The Cooler
Costume Design: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Best Supporting Actress: Holly Hunter for Thirteen
Makeup: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
Best Director: Peter Jackson for Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

On March 1, I'll list the results to see which of y'all are prognosticating geniuses like me.

Friday, February 20


That'll learn me for posting about a boring work life.

Basically I was in a development meeting that ate my entire day.

I have now come to realize the designer on the project is possibly one of the most argumentative people I've ever worked with.* Despite his good-natured-aging-hippie appearance, Mr. M. is a hellion when his base ideals of design and game structure are challenged. Sheesh, what a grouch.

The upshot is we've (finally?) identified the scope of this project. The largest question is whether making it a 3D-based game is pertinent to is core, or does it merely become window dressing. That's a big no-no with computer game design; don't get all gung-ho for the technology and have that override it's playability. We may have to armwrestle the director of development to see of this game, which is actually a training tool, is best served with a 2D game engine. We'll see.

*Yes, even more than Beans.

Thursday, February 19


Thursday Three

Thurday Three is brought to you by Rock Haus. Proudly serving your snarky needs for over three years.

1. Favourite show ever

Hmmm. I'd say Six Feet Under. I really got wrapped-up in it the second season. So much so I would talk about the characters as if they were real people with Heather. I once commented I was worried about Nate and she thought I meant a co-worker of mine. Yeah, I was a little into it. We'll see this season.

2. Favourite show that you're ashamed to admit you watch

Rarely am I ashamed about my TV watching* . Honestly, I like a lot of childrens' programs and cartoons: Spongebob, Dexter's Lab, Powerpuffs, Kim Possible,and The Proud Family. For years, I've enjoyed Rugrats, and, more recently , the All Growed-Up series.

*especially working for a computer game company; all bets are off, pal.

3. Favourite show that was canceled and you're STILL pissed about it.

I have to second Lis with Freaks and Geeks. A lot of people I know who got into it miss it too. For a lot of us, it was completely our generation and we knew (or were) those characters.


My unshattered Earth.

It's true. My world is a little boring these days.

Our plans for our Monday off didn't pan out. Mainly due a dip in the temperature, also I was sporting a sinus-y sniffle. Walking around Georgetown in near-freezing temperatures didn't have the same zing as when I posted the possiblities on Saturday. Plus, we're really not in the market for designer home furnishings, so it was a silly daytrip plan to begin with. Really, I'm not-so-silly in the cold.

My work week is not too spectacular, either. The non-violent protest game is back from design and now I'm re- hashing the scale of the 3D city views. It's about as exciting as, well, geometry class. That's essentially what I'm doing at this point: plotting-out street grids.

Not every game can have the big, shiny robot.

Sunday, February 15


from the heart.

Valentine's was very sweet and low-key.

Heather gave me a framed enlargement from our wedding photos. Since about a month after our wedding, we've had large contact sheets from our photographer, Eve Morra. Since then, we've had every intention of choosing our favorite shots for our album, plus a few enlargements for framing. But we never could seem to get our act together and just get it done.

Heather used our HP all-in-one and scanned one of my favorites from that day; freshly married, were walking up the stairs, Heather and I laughing at the bug that flew into the folds of her skirt. It's very candid, completely spontaneous, and we both look relaxed and natural, a rarity for one's wedding day.

Earlier this week I snuck to Sutton Place Gourmet in Pikesville and bought a host of Balducci's products: apple-grape cider, arborio rice, some jams, pasta, fancy olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Balducci's is the grocery store in Manhattan where Heather had a formative experience in her early teens. Since I can't afford a weekend in N.Y.C., I figured Manhattan could come to us in this small way.

Saturday, February 14


last night.

Last night Rob and Nini paid us a visit for dinner. We ordered some scrumptious Indian take-out and a white pizza from Mt. Everest. It's not as icky as you might think; a good garlicy pizza works well with samosas and lamb korma sauce.

Then, over brownies, we chatted about a bunch of things: the gawkiness of Paris Hilton, Danish Chairs, the recent press H.A. got in the Sunday Sun, etc.

They also turned us onto some great sites for some designers and shops in Georgetown. In fact, Heather and I are considering a daytrip on this coming President's Day. We haven't been to that part of the district since our Dean and Deluca binge the Summer before our wedding, so I'd say we're due.

Ni also let it slip she's a rgular reader here at TIYS, the little dickens.

Friday, February 13



For centuries I've been meaning to add wordsimageslife to the sidebar. But I keep forgetting.

So now I remembered to not forget to welcome Rob Bennett to the fold. I hope he's still reading.


Valentine's Three

The triumphant return of Miss Lis has brought a specialized Thursday Three, um, here on Friday. (It's gotta be Thursday somewhere, yes?)

1. Has anyone anywhere ever actually had a GREAT Valentines Day?

I'd have to say the first Valentine's Day I had with Heather was pretty great. At the time, we'd been together for about three months, and she'd taken to calling me Bibo*. For the unintiated, Archie McPhee used to sell a kooky plastic figure with an alarm clock in his belly. When the alarm hit, the ugly little bastard would scream "BI-bo! BI-bo!" as the light on his forehead would blink. ANy way, that first year I surprised my lady with said clock. The rest is history (and chemistry).

2. Ever had a completely awful Valentines day?

Oh yes, circa 1996. The overpriced prix-fixe dinner at the near-deserted, cheesy downtown billiard club I spent with a coke-head girlfriend sucked pretty bad. We split soon afterward.

3. Best thing about Valentines day?

If you have somebody, it's a day to show your affection. If you don't, it'll be over soon, mmm-kay?

*I don't believe I'm actually writing this in a public forum. sigh. Let the torrent of taunting e-mails** begin!

** Yes, Beans, I mean you.

Thursday, February 12


A valid point.

Me: "Don't forget, you gotta be careful tomorrow."
Her: "What for?"
Me: "'Cause it's Friday the 13th. Bad things might happen?"
Her: "My ass! Nothing bad ever happenned to me on Friday the 13th before."
Me: "But I'm superstitious."
Her: "What for?"
Me: "It gives me something to do."
Her: "Making love to your wife and rubbing her feet is something to do."
Me: "..."


No, that's not corny at all.


Wednesday, February 11


Once more, with feeling.

I'm not a traditional Valentine's guy. I reckon because for the longest time, I never really had anyone to share it with.

In grade school, Valentine's Day was simply handing-out a stack of mass produced greetings. Everyone got one, everyone gave one. In upper grades, I never had a girlfriend. So I just sneered at all the young lovers giving and receiving red carnations in the halls. In college and afterward, I've had opportunities to do the usual pedestrian gift-giving scenarios. Trust me, it sucked. So, red roses and the trappings never held the same appeal as most folks.

Naturally, I married a woman who fits the same profile: screw Russell Stover and his heart-shaped box; put some thought into it, man! So, these past years with Heather have had me bring her personalized gifts: a bibo clock, home-designed cards, a framed love poem, and purple calla lily bouquets.

But, this year I feel I must raise the bar a smidge. To avoid the risk of repeating myself, I've gone into my usual gift-mode tactics. I review all the casual hints dropped in my ear on our weekend shopping trips*. Plus, the clock is ticking. I gotta move fast.

*Sorry, babe, I draw the line at the insane massage chair by the Sharper Image.

Monday, February 9


weekend nutshell

Friday night had my brother visiting for the evening, as he was on his way to visit friends in Northern Virginia Saturday morning. We went out to Cafe Zen for some familiar comfy food. I stuck with the chicken stringbean roll. Heather was looking for a spicy, yet sweet entree. She was talked into a chicken dish that was just spicy. Hmm. At least the eggrolls are always on.

Saturday morning was running errands early to Trader Joe's and a quick look through Barnes & Noble in Towson. Most of Heather's afternoon was preparing for Sunday brunch. Jeff and Brenda, of Chameleon fame, came over for a feast of asparagus frittata, thick-sliced bacon, scratch biscuits, and a tasty home made berry coffeecake. Afterward, we sat and chatted in the living room (while Brenda took a short nap ), then played some high-spirited card games.

Friday, February 6


a new frontier

Iced-in this morning, Heather and I got in each other's hair until we braved the roads near 1 o'clock. Let's face it: daytime TV, especialy cable, is just awful. We felt it was time to explore other home entertainment options...

We schlepped to our favorite downmarket mecca to play with some game systems. Unfortunately, there were several unruly, ill-behaved children about, so we bought snackfoods, photo paper and some cheep storage bins. We then drove to the other side of the shopping center to the Toys 'R Us.

First trying the Gamecube, we muddled with a Spumco produced skateboard game. Hmmm. Kinda dumb, terribly garish, and a little unsettling. Not so much. Venturing to the X-box, we both enjoyed the Voodoo Vince demo. This was more our speed - quirky, clever and snarky. Spooky lighting, too. Plus the controller seems a little more comfortable. So, in the near future, I see a gleaming (well, okay, matte black) X-box parked in front of the TV.

Thursday, February 5


A good night and a gooder morning.

Last night, we joined Jon and Maria at Ann Marie and Roddy's house. (The weird thing is, it used to be Jon and Maria's house, but then Ann Marie and Roddy bought it.)

Anyway, Roddy is the chef de cuisine at Linwoods. So, even on his night off, he was on. We were treated to garlic-rubbed leg of lamb with roasted vegetables. And not just boring 'carrot-and-potato' roast veggies, my friend. These were 'rutabaga-and-brussel-sprout' kinda special gourmet roasted veggies. Oh yeah, it was that good.

A little bird told tales that my birthday was the following day. So I was surprised with birthday flan, which couldn't have been any tastier.

When we got home that night, I was surprised with a bouquet hand-picked by my very own wife. Awwwwww....

This morning I awoke to fresh pancakes and homemade strawberry syrup. Over morning coffee, Heather gave me my present; a new pair of RayBan Wayfarers.

Life is good.

Tuesday, February 3


A crazy idea.

Now that I have this killer all-in-one printer, I'm seriously considering getting an art project off the ground.

For close to two years, I've been planning a digital art photographic Loteria set. For the unintiated, Loteria is a Mexican bingo game that uses numbered cards, with a garish picture, instead of ping-pong balls. Once you win, I'm certain it's customary for one to scream, "Madre de Dios! Yo tengo Loteria!" Lately loteria imagery crops up in plenty of alterna-culture commodities, so, most likely you've seen at least a few of these images floating around the nearest coffee shop.

Anyway, I figure I could start by putting the word out that I'm looking for willing victims. I have nothing to offer but my undying fealty. Feel free to send an e-mail.

Monday, February 2


Son of the baby alligator.

Perhaps I've learned my lesson, perhaps I haven't. We bought an HP psc 1200 all-in-one at Target yesterday for about a hundred bucks.

My God, what a difference. Compared to the Epson, it's like a Porsche versus a rollerskate. It's quiet, makes a tidy print, and was a snap to install. For a test scan, I popped-in a photo of baby Lola. Two minutes later, I had a clear duplicate on standard bond paper. Nice.

Now I'm all inspired. Last January while visiting Heather's grandmother, she let us borrow several pages of family snapshots. Since then, we've had every intention to bring them to someplace like Techlab for duplicates, and send the originals back. For a year, I hemmed and hawed, uncertain of final quality and, most importantly, price. Now we can do it ourselves for the cost of some photo-grade paper. Woo-hoo!

Sunday, February 1


How to make your son hate you forever.

Nice work, Jackass. That's gay.


My baby alligator story.

I hate our printer.

When we first received our compter from Harry a couple of years ago, we ran to Target for an inexpensive printer. Not knowing thing-one about printers, we snagged an Epson c60 for under a hunderd bucks. It was cute, inexpesive and was styled like a prop from Tron. Little did I know the secret little hell it would bring me.

First of all, this thing eats ink cartriges like a fat man at a Vegas buffet. And these are the 35 dollar non-refillable, Epson-only cartriges, too. Secondly, more often than not, the print-outs had horizontal streaks. After unclogging the nozzles (by pushing-out expensive ink), you'll get a decent print quality. For a print or two. Then it sucks all over again. Our latest issue was a lack of yellow ink in the print. It's kina cool getting these moody, 'blue period' print-outs, but the printer still isn't working like it should. So I hit the interactive troubleshooting guide. Things now go from bad to worse.

Currently, the paper wont load, the lights on this thing are blinking like a Christmas tree, and I've now decided I'm in the market for a new, affordable, desktop-sized inkjet printer.

Any suggstions?

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