Thursday, December 30

 

It's the end of the year as we know it. (And I feel fine.)

So, with 2004 drawing to a close, it's customary for top ten lists. Top ten movies, top ten CD's, top ten books, news events, scandals, whatever.

Partly because I'm lazy and partly because I'm too scattered to think of ten things, I'll give you my...

TOP FIVE EVENTS OF 2004

5. The discovery of Hoegaarden beer. The host of a New Year's Day party had the fridge stocked with this fine little gem from our crafty friends, the Belgians. Hoppy, robust and slightly sweet, I've been an advocate of this white ale and made a few converts along the way.

4. The relocated Golden West. Locally known for having the hottest green chile breakfast burrito, the old space was a cramped converted Hampden rowhome on The Avenue. It was not unusual to wait forty minutes or more for a seat at a table the size of a tea tray. Then, early February, they relocated to an enormous former clothing store at least tripling their capacity. Plus, their menu expanded to things more eclectic and substantial. Ahhhhh! Elbow room while eating is a wonderful thing.

3. Pittsburgh. Dear friend Sylvie got her doctorate. So we trucked a few hours Northwest to see her float across the stage, grab her Ph.D. and then have a little soiree at a local gallery. I know Pittsburgh is not everyone's ideal weekend out-of-town, but I had a blast. Like Baltimore, it's a blue-collar city with hidden jewel neighborhoods with cute houses, funky shops and Yuppies. (There are still Yuppies, right?) Plus I fulfilled my dream of pounding down a genuine Primanti Bros. sandwich.

2a. Cicadas. They were noisy and kinda ugly and for about a month this Summer they were everywhere. Our friends Bill and Jen even had them as guests of honor at their wedding reception. Brood X camped out in trees and on houses all over town and then made sweet, sweet love to make way for Brood XI. Then they all died. See you in 2021, you magificent bastards!

2b. The Election. *sigh.* Frankly, I'm too tired to rant again. You know what happenned, you were there, too.

1. Heather's pregnancy. Yeah, I've been keeping a little secret from you all for a little over three months now. Late September, we got the good news from our reproductive endocrinologist that my Darling was with child. At six weeks, we found out via ultrasound that there were two embryos, so we were expecting twins. (But wait, there's more.) Just after Thanksgiving, the twelve week images revealed one set of twins and a separate baby.

That's right. Triplets. :)


Monday, December 27

 

Welcome back.

Went back to work fo rthe first time since last Monday.

We're still in the horse lattitudes between Christmas and New Year's. It seems more than half of the office is out. Very quiet, very chill.

Today I was stuck in the Department of Redundancy Department. I was making more complex meshes where simpler ones used to be; it seems the programmers are ready to program, so I prepped 3D files for their magic. Lots of niggling naming conventions and numbers.

I also stacked more personal items in plasic bins. Screw it. I'll move it at the last possible minute. It was cold as balls today. I wasn't humping nothin' to the car today 'cept my lazy-ass bones.



Sunday, December 26

 

Gifty.

Yesterday was a quiet time .

As usual, we woke up early. After a first cup of coffee and tea, we were ready to open gifts. Over the past week we'd amassed a sizable stack from folks out of town. There were a few usual suspects: pepper jelly, novelty boxer shorts, scented candles, gift food, et. al. And a few pleasant surprises: 90's Trivial Pursuit, a lovely glass ornament, and a shiny new teakettle. Toot-toot!

Lots of clothing was exchanged between the two of us. I got some fine 'loungewear', slip-on all-weather shoes, and some new corduroys. Voop-voop! I got Heather a hooded robe, a velour hoodie, and socks! Yeah! ...SOCKS, beee-yatch!

Our big gift now places us on the cutting edge of technology. For 1996. My in-laws sent us a VCR/DVD player for the bedroom.

Ahhhhh! A snooze and a flick, please.



Wednesday, December 22

 

In the air there's a feeling of panic.

This past Sunday we got Part II of the corporate holiday events out of the way. Breakaway had the soiree at The Cloisters out on Falls Road. As a tudor-style mansion, it lends an air of sophistication for the likes of us computer geeks.

The food was rather decent, I thought, until my wife reminded me of exactly how many microbes actually live inside room-temperature lamb. What can I say; I like to live a little dangerously at the Yuletide.

So since Tuesday I've been having a busman's holiday. By no means has it been bon-bons and Oprah. Lots of laundry, moving various boxes to and fro, (finally) getting another air conditioner downstairs, clearing out the guestroom and Christmas shopping.

Actually, today I finished the last of it. Stockings to stuff are a new thing for me. Usually the ones I had as a kid were for show on the mantle. But in her family, it's all about some stockings.

So, running through the Target at 8 AM, I made the circuit around the place twice, just to make sure I got my mid-range discount swerve on.

I also scored a pack of lunch bags for luminarias for Chrismas Eve. Oooooh! Pretty!


Friday, December 17

 

I don't wanna.

We're moving the offices for real on the seventh.

So, after much procrastination, I began stacking things into boxes, cramming books, toys and other random pieces of stuff into flimsy cardboard vessels. I have a framed posters, a lava lamp, coatrack and a bowling pin lamp to cart outta here.

But not just yet. It has to nestle in my dogforsaken basement that I keep ignoring. Dammit, dammit, dammit! I have to move the crap at home to make a temporary spot for the crap from work.

Monday, December 13

 

Thirty years of practice.

Centuries ago, when I was a Kindergartener at Theunis Dey Elementary, I found the best way for me to make friends was to draw pictures for them.

Now, that Summer, I'd learned a few drawing tricks from my older brother. He taught me a way to make stylized faces. Plus I had a healthy obsession with the Poker deck* as it was. So, back in Kindergarten, I was a natural for drawing jacks, queens, and kings for my adoring public like the media whore I am.

Last week at work I was tasked with creating concept art for a card game with a decidedly Middle-Eastern slant. (Don't ask.) Anyway, after a few false starts, my rendition of the classic courts was championed by the designers.

See, Miss Withers, all that work was working toward something.

*"GO FISH!"


Sunday, December 12

 

Cheers.

Friday night had us at Joy America Cafe for the holiday party Heather's work gives for it's employees and their spouses. For her it was a bit strange.

When we first met she was a pastry chef for the cafe owners, who then owned several restaurants all over town. So, the last time she darkened the doorstep here, no doubt she had racks of baked goodies in tow. Now, just five years later, she's a party guest dressed to the nines, as opposed to a wage slave coated in flour.

Heather assured me the food would be tasty. And she was right. Appetizers included tiny spicy crab cakes, shredded pork in pastry, and a raw oyster bar with jumbo shrimp. And, boy howdy, the drinks were strong. The buffet they served was prime rib, crisp green beans and a twice-baked potato that was actually worth a damn.

As far as the social end, for me it was lots of hand-shaking and a flurry of names that whizzed by my head. Folks were very friendly, and some a little friendlier due to the cups of good cheer.


Friday, December 10

 

Avast!

Alumni studio night had three models this past Wednesday. There was one long pose model and two were alternating short poses . I had the foresight to borrow a couple of props from my co-worker Ananda.

He's a student of Wushu, so I came armed with a practice sword and a rattan staff, figuring if the short-posers felt up to it, they could perhaps strike an active stance for a minute or so.

Alas, there was only one round of short-short poses; then it switched to twenty minute intervals. The staff made it into the picture a couple of times, but no sword wielding.


Wednesday, December 8

 

Quite.

This kinda cracks me up.


Monday, December 6

 

Watch your back.

At work, our resident Goth/Radical/teacher/librarian game designer sent me a link to turnyour backonbush.org last week.

While I agree with the sentiment, I fear the impact will not be seen by the public at large or the President himself. With up-front seating going for 4 large, I doubt anyone, regardless of party affiliation, would face the other way when the time comes.

Plus my paranoid mojo is wondering what sort of goon squad deployment Karl Rove has planned for just such an insurgent display.


Friday, December 3

 

Dumb things I gotta do:

- rake leaves. I was gone last week and next week, I'm sure it'll be too cold or too wet. Plus, the Fall winds have blown all the important bits to the ground and nestled them beautifully into one corner of the yard. Piece of cake.
- take air conditioner units out of the window. Yeah, I know. I just wanted to be absolutely certain I wouldn't need them again this year. It's now December; I'm certain.
- consult with his Billness. There are a couple of tasks around the house that require more than that IKEA wrench-thingie. Mostly, I just need somebody with more experience wrecking things and making them all better to give me a pep talk.
- decorate the house. We're keeping it simple. I'm thinking of playing a holiday classic on the stereo and hanging some pine roping and lights. And a wreath. And maybe some more lights. And some ornaments...


Thursday, December 2

 

Music sucks

I finally seperated the musical wheat from the sonic chaff last night and spent the better part of lunchtime at Record and Tape Traders. Some of these were avant garde titles that maybe got the once-around. Some were just carriers of that one cool song that had it's time, and then faded away from overplay. Some, well, I don't know what I was thinking.

But, for years, they sat on the CD tower or languished in the SONY 200-slot carousel, unheard and underappreciated.

Out of around ninety titles, they took half. Got a decent amount of pocket change, too. Some are bound back to Reptilian. The rest are going cheep to my co-workers.



Wednesday, December 1

 

The Winter of my discontent

Meh. Since I've been back from Thanksgiving vacation, it seems I'm getting an early start on my post-holiday blahs.

I'm getting work done at the job, it's just that I've been doing this particular grind for what seems like more than a year. I have a couple of more weeks at Alumni studio night, then I'm back on my own to make any personal art time happen.

I think I should reaquaint myself with our digital camera. It's nestled in the locker cabinets since this Spring. I should dig it out, upload the pix, and refresh the batteries.

Hey, somebody out there. Ask me about it some time next week, wouldja?

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