Sunday, August 29


My cat Che.

While realaxing in bed yesterday, our older cat Mollie decided to use our bedding as a designated protest zone.

Nothing like a little cat pee to motivate one to get the laundry going. Ten minutes later I was down in the basement moving the load of towels into the dryer. Then I started the hot water and the Murphy's Oil Soap in the washing machine for the offending down comforter.

I'll admit it: I'm not the most vigilant cat owner when it comes to litterbox maintenence. I've let it lapse for more than a week on more than one occasion. However, when I checked it after the incident (twitch, twitch), it was not, shall I say, over abuntant with feline-made fruits.

Then, I realized, the box the girls use was least two years old. No matter how often I scrub the bin, there would still be an ammonia overtone.* So, big spender that I am, I determined it was time to spring for a new coverd box.

Once at the Target, I was swayed by an innovative design. A quick shake and a rollover and the cat pellets fall into a removable bin. Voila!

*Come to think of it, I would protest if my facilities were always carrying an air of filth, too.

Thursday, August 26


Why I wear headphones.

The only thing worse than a sixteen-year-old girl speaking in babytalk is a man over forty speaking it. My co-worker is debriefing his girlfriend on the phone this morning, and I can hear every sugary-sweet epithet over the cube wall.

I need some Dead Kennedys or Metallica to offset all of this. Yick.

ADDENDUM: My comment posted four times accidentally. I apologize for the unintended tantrum.

Tuesday, August 24


Let go, already.

I've started a list of songs that seem to appear on Baltimore area radio at least once a day between the classic rock station, the hair metal-era holdout, and any random smattering of stations from Naptown to DC.

Lunatic Fringe - Red Rider
Been Caught Stealing - Jane's Addiction
Highway to Hell - AC/DC
Man in the Box - Alice In Chains
Layla (both versions) - Eric Clapton/ Derek and the Dominoes
More than a Feeling - Boston
Everlong - Foo Fighters
Paradise City - Guns and Roses
Hotel California - Eagles
Whole Lotta Love - Led Zeppelin

Any others?


Death and Food:

Had dinner with Jen and Todd Ward last Friday night at Henninger's Tavern.

Similar to Peter's Inn, it's good food served in a cozy little Fells Point bar.* The menu is nicely split between seafood and chops, with the same amount of appetizers and entrees. All in all, a fine meal. Even though the decor theme seemed to be based in violence and destruction.

A large canvas with three dead cowboys dominates the blood-red burlap covered wall. Behind our table hung twin triptychs of a Naval airship accident, circa 1930. A handpainted WWII era bombshell (for real!) dangled over our table, emblazoned with the word 'Cocktails' in blue script. Black-and-white photographs of amateur boxers peppered all corners of the restaurant. The coup de grace: the mural of the Hindenburg disaster in the men's room.

*Unlike Peter's, there was no nightly drunken tirade from the chef/owner.

Thursday, August 19


And now for something completely different....

Leave it to Eric Idle to beautifully set many frustrations with the Bush Administration practices to a catchy little ditty.

Listen to the MP3 here. (Oh, right. WARNING: Adult language and situations.)

Wednesday, August 18


Mmmmmmm.... sandal-y goodness

After scarfing a quick lunch from the secret Super Fresh, Heather talked me into a trip to the REI store nearby to look at sport sandals. For about two seasons, I'd been rocking the Target specials. Yes, that's one-and-a-half seasons too many.

Truth be told, I was reluctant to shop here. On a previous visit, I was looking for a pair of walking shoes, and was actively ignored by the staff. But, that was four years ago; time to get over my extreme sports store prejudices and start anew.

Once we located the display, Heather just told our man to bring out anything in a size 14. The winner is a pair of Merrell 'Whitewater' sandals in gray. They're big on heel support and feature a neoprene strap under the front velcro assembly for extra grip. Very slick, very comfortable.

Once we decided on these, we threw out my cheepies on the spot. My sugar-mama paid for them and I wore them out of the store, just like I did in my Pony's in junior high.

Sunday, August 15


That and this (with a tiny rant)

Mostly we kept to ourselves this weekend. No grand plans, no plots to overthrow the government (this week, anyway), no fistfights, no broken bones.

We rented some flicks, but the only one we've seen is Barbershop 2. Mostly it's more of the same, although there is some attempt to give a sense of personal history of the shop, mostly via the character of Eddie. The rest of it is partly a comedic sketch of how brothers cope in South Chicago. Also, Ice Cube gets his Jimmy Stewart swerve on in a pivitol city hall scene.

Sidenote: I thought the opening credits showing the history of modern African-American hairsyles was sorta neat.

Today was some meandering errands. We went to Stebbins-Anderson Hardware out in Towson. It's essentially a variety store with an Ace Hardware in the lower level. We scored a few kitchen gadgets and snagged a few paint chips for the ongoing dilemma of exactly which neutral to paint the bedroom.

We just got back from Whole Foods in Inner Harbor east. (We needed some good cheese in the house.)

With Heather now working out of the area, we'd noticed lots more progress on the hi-rise near the store, plus the complete upscale gentrification of the east side of Fells Point. Brand new luxury condos and converted warehouses ready for retail have engulfed the derelict buildings and weed-covered empty lots.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not exactly a proponent of urban blight, but all this high-dollar turn-around is here exactly for whom? Perhaps the real plan is for that side of Baltimore to become the next commuter town for D.C. As far as I can see, that's the only economic infrastructure I can see the money coming from to afford it all.

Thursday, August 12


I'm keeping my dayjob.

So everybody knows the 'I'm a Little Teapot' nursery rhyme.

It got me wondering why the sugar bowl never gets any love. So I tried to write my own song and hand-dance for it:

"I'm a little sugar bowl, short and stout.
Here is my handle,
Here is my other handle..."

Hmm. I guess it doesn't work out.

Wednesday, August 11


Fatti Maschii, Parole Femine

We went to Chameleon Cafe last night for the first time a while.

When I made the reservation yesterday afternoon, I got Chef Jeff. He told me it was the first night of their new menu.

Actually, the reservation was for four; it took a couple of years, but we got Bill and Leslie to come with.

The menu is a Maryland theme this time. Naturally, there's crabs --- softshells, which Leslie sampled. Heather had a Rockfish with a wild rice pilaf. Bill got the steak. Some sort of really tender cut I'd never heard of. It was served with a goatcheese and leek torte for the starch. How unique. I got the pork chop. As usual, it's a pig extravaganza: a slab of ham on top of the chop and a warm 'tater salad underneath.

Yes, friends, another fine meal. This time with style points. Chameleon treated themselves to new oversized white plates, so the presentation is stepped-up. Mon Dieu! Il est comme Paris et la merde vers le haut dans ce morceau.

Afterward, we finished the night back here with some chat and a nightcap.

Tuesday, August 10



We ran some impromptu errands last night, so dinner prep was bumped in favor of dining out.

A stop at our fave sushi bar proved unfruitful; they were closed. Come to think of it, raw fish most likely from Saturday on a Monday is not the best move.

Driving down York Road, we cursed the Chipotle for not being open yet (it's about a month away.) Resigned to grilling meat from Ceriello, we instead chose to try the corny Irish Pub where the Chili's used to be. We tried this place there first week open, by now, we hoped, the bugs were out of the system.

Heather opted for the Angus burger, which this time was an honest-to-St. Patrick hand-shaped patty. I scored a chicken breast sandwich with ham and cheese. It must have been from a mutant chicken. The thing was huge. Oh, and a good Guiness.

The excitement didn't end there. Driving homeward on Belvedere Avenue I sailed calmly through a green light. A minivan decided their red light on the right side of the intersection wasn't quite to their liking and continued into our path.

Fortunately, my locking-up the brakes changed their mind. We both stopped within a foot of each other, then I continued on our way. It took me to the next signal to realize what really happened, then I got mad.

Mostly 'cause I didn't have my snarky wits about me at the moment to scream a blue streak at our potential villain.

Monday, August 9


Hello, stranger.

Saturday found us at home of new parents Nate and Kristen. Their son Stellan Claes was born Wednesday afternoon. He's a bit tiny, but mom and baby are doing well.

Heather found him this pretty great Lamaze toy. Each hoof on The Moo-sical Cow is also a vanilla scented horn. (No, really!) It even comes with a tiny songbook for some old school, or rather, pre-school tunes. It also plays "Louie,Louie".

This was also our first visit to their cozy house just outside Catonsville. It's Craftsman-era 4 bedroom cottage. Nice backyard, too.

Wednesday, August 4


Some days I should let the brain win.

Usually, I park by the rear entrance at work. But, since I had mail to drop in the box this morning, I used a space by the front entrance for convenience.

As I'm walking throught the lot an older lady, portly and maybe about 70, is walking to an adjoining building. Being friendly, I offer, "Good morning," and go about my postal activites.

As I turn away from the box, I hear, "I heard a lame Michael Jackson joke."

my brain: Okay, just act like you didn't hear her. Trust me, this can't turn out comfortably.

me: to Portly Old Lady (hesitantly) Um, okay.

my brain: Oh, you've asked for it now, jackass.

POL: Why did Michael Jackson call Boyz II Men?

my brain: (exasperated) Aw, Jeebus, no! I remember this crappy joke from the first round of allegations with Jacko.

And how the hell does this Hampden gram'ma of a lady even know who Boyz II Men is? Or how to spell it for real?

I'll bet her redneck eyebrow-pierced grandson told her this joke and, for some reason, this is seen as appropriate for what passes for parking lot banter with complete strangers.

(*sigh*) Just play dumb so we can get the f*ck outta here.

me: to Portly Old Lady Um, why?

POL: He thought it was a delivery service!

my brain: (further exasperated) Okay, asshat, now give this joke-telling troll a fake laugh, then smile, turn and walk away.

me: (smiling and laughing fakely) Ha!

Portly Old Lady lady waddles off to her building. I walk upstairs to work.

my brain: (smugly) Good job, bitch.

me: to brain Aw, shaddap!

Monday, August 2



It seemed like a good idea at the time: going to the movies on a Saturday night.

We scored our tickets early and browsed the Barnes and Noble. While we were there, we asked the non-music-expert behind the music section counter if the new OLD 97's disc that came out this past Tuesday was around. Even after Heather explained how to spell the band name a few times, well, let's just say that there's ten minutes we'll never see again. Only after securing a manager-type savvy to where the new stock lives did we get our copy of Drag it Up.

Scrambling over to the theatre, we only arrived to discover a packed house for The Bourne Supremacy. Swell. So much for thinking waiting a week after a film opens would lessen the crowd on a Saturday. Making the best of it, we nestled in at second row center.

Sitting that close, it's really, really difficult to focus on an action flick big on the quick cuts and shaky-cam. I made it about an hour, fighting nausea and cold sweats until my wife asked if I was okay. Reality check: No, I'm not. With me fighting a case of cinema-induced vertigo, we shuffled past our row-mates. Walking out of the theatre, I tried my best to find my land legs.

Walking into the lobby didn't help much either. The rank smell of burnt popcorn and fake butter added to my distress. After Heather procured a bottled water for me*, I slunk into the reclined passenger seat, bombarded with lifesaving air conditioning.

So, after a recovery Saturday night, we hit the multiplex for the first show Sunday Morning. This time nestled high in the busom of the stadium seating.

Supremacy is a fine little action/suspense/thriller. A good cast and a plot that ties it to the first film nicely. Also a phenomenal car chase the likes I hadn't seen since Ronin.

*from a terribly customer-service challenged staffer.

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