Monday, February 28


Did you feel something?

For the past week or so, Heather's been feeling the kids move around inside her. This weekend she told me she's seen them move under the surface of her skin.

Just about a minute ago, I saw it for myself.

Dude, it's freaking me out.


The envelope please...

Oscar Night found us at the Sweetney household. We went over for homemade felafel and stayed for the awards broadcast.

Ms. Sweetney held an Oscar night challenge via her blog to pick the major award winners. My sweet patootie took the proverbial golden statuette by nailing eleven of the fourteen categories on the contest.

Dammit. I had a whole acceptance speech planned which included standing on the back of the chair in front of me, planting one on Halle Berry, and then sending a fake Native-American princess to accept in my stead. Oh well.

Congratulations, Honey. Now I know how Chad Lowe feels...

Saturday, February 26


New floor

Originally uploaded by ExLionTamer.

Sorry I don't have a "before" photo. Now, just imagine a never-clean, red-and-yellow, asbestos tile floor. That's what resides under this fine specimen of Armstrong industrial vinyl tile. It really brightens our little kitchen.

And with all that light bouncing around, it shows just how dingy the cabinets, appliances and work island really are. I spent my late morning making friends with a bottle of bleach gel and a sponge.

Friday, February 25


Sorry, Honey.

When the flooring company called me yesterday, I thought they were only coming by the house today for a final measure and consultation. Well, I got that wrong. Heather calls me this morning saying it's happening for real.

Dammit. This means I didn't take the preparation time to move our kitchen island out of there. Heather sure as hell ain't gonna do it herself. Most likely the installers will either work around it or move it themselves, which means more $$$, I'm sure.

Add to that, our cats are stressing like mad from all the added activity. They're taking it out on each other by scrapping like Ali and Frazier. Swell. For now I'm told they've found individual rooms to sulk in. Hopefully, by the time I get home, the fur will stop flying and again we'll have our peaceable kingdom once more.

...with a new kitchen floor.

Thursday, February 24


Go snow.

It appears it's officially a snow day. I just called work and nobody was there to answer the phone.

It isn't the snow that's falling now that's the issue, it's the snow accumulation later that's the bite-the-ass. The last place I want to be is driving in this mess at five-o-clock. Ick.

We just got in from the Super-Fresh, so we're well stocked on the snowstorm essentials. I can also catch up on the pile of housework I usually ignore weeknights: laundry, vacuuming, bathrooms, dusting.

Until the nap hits. I predict a good nap.

ADDENDUM: *yawn* Oy. What a nap.

I should mention that I was wrong; it was an officiial work day. I got a call back from the art lead about ten minutes after my original post. After fifteen years of full-time residence the verdict is in. I don't wanna go anywhere once that first flake hits.* I must be a local now.

*Except to snag me a six of Boh in the can...

Wednesday, February 23


We dig mommy chix.

I'd like to pause for a moment and take this time to thank everyone for all the solicited baby advice. Dang! Y'all had a lot to say.

Thanks to Kristen K., Claire, Sweetney, Jen L., and Melissa R. for the quick response here on the Signal and a special shout-out to Molly for making my cause postworthy.

I'm just curious why I only got the women to drop knowledge? I was expecting at least one Daddy perspective.


Tuesday, February 22


Meanwhile, back in 'meatspace'

Thanks to the Blogsphere, we met Ms. Sweetney (and the rest of the Sweetney gang) yesterday at Red Emmas. Once we had a cup of Proletarian java, we met 'em back at the ranch for some more conversation and vino.

Nice folks. And really good vino.


Death from natural effects

It seems the world is shocked - SHOCKED, I tell you, at the death of Hunter S. Thompson this weekend.

Am I the only one who isn't? Am I such a complete and utter assh*le to shrug my shoulders when I hear a gun nut, known for his ingestation of a pharmocopia of drugs that would level an adult bull rhinoceros, shoots himself and dies?

I'm having the same reaction I did over Cobain when he did the deed: "Typical. You just had to end the legend the way Hollywood would write the screenplay."

But, come to think of it, death from natural causes just wasn't H.S.T.'s style, I suppose.

Rest, you bastard.

Sunday, February 20


Really asking for it.

Lately, with news of three-at-once arriving here on Tyndale Avenue, I've been getting advice from just about anyone I know who has children. (And, surprisingly, some who don't.*)

I may regret this later, but now I'm sincerely looking for practical advice on parenting. But first, some groundrules:

1. You should be talking about your own children. No FOAF stories or, "What I'd heard is...", please. No. I'm looking for real-world answers (or questions) you got when the stork came a knockin' at your doorstep. This leads me to point 2...

2. Tell me something you found out on your own. Some truism no book or website has written in it. Give me the honest-to-God told-over-a-beer story you've got about what you learned when it happenned to you.

3. Get the one-liners out of the way. Sure, use me as your sad-sack pinata all you want. Just give me some payoff with the goods, mmmkay Sparky?

4. Sweet Jeebus, don't tell me to get out to movies or catch-up on sleep while I can. The first bit sucked glaciers a few weeks back. The sleep thing? Yeah, well. DUH!

All sarcasm aside, I really hope you'll take the time to bend my proverbial ear.**


*...which reminds me, ask me about bungee jumping, alligator wrasslin' or demonic exorsism any time you like!

** Especially from you lurkers out there who never comment.

Saturday, February 19


What's up with THAT, Doc?

I first caught wind of this from Walter at work.

It seems that the execs at the WB felt it would be a good idea to mess with the classic Looney Toons for a new TV series.

Listen to this load of crap:

"We all flipped for it," David Janollari, president of the Kids' WB, said this week. "We just said, `Wow, what a great way to take the classic Looney Tunes franchise that has been huge with audiences for decades and bring it into the new millennium.'"

Um, no. Bad idea. You don't repaint the Mona Lisa, every century, do you, Jackass? Urrgh! It's gonna be Space Jam all over again. I also find it convenient that this update happens after the last of the great originators of the genre isn't here to call you out on this blasphemy and kick your sorry ass for the new millennium.

Thursday, February 17


So it goes...

Heard from a good friend today. The local business he's worked for for about a decade has been sold and the operation is moving to Northern Virginia.

He's opted not to go with it; the position offered is essentially being a delivery man.


"Many thanks, indeed!"

Wallace & Gromit
Wallace & Gromit,
originally uploaded by ExLionTamer.
I've been a big fan of Wallace and Gromit ever since I bought The Wrong Trousers on VHS years ago. I'd heard that Aardman was working on a feature-length W&G film since Chicken Run was out. Thanks to Eric, I got a link to the making-of trailer. (Quicktime).

Monday, February 14


This and that.

First: Okay, I'm *sure* you're awaiting with baited breath to find out how my debacle at work panned out. It's fine. I re-ran that thing through the doohickey and it worked. 'Nuff said.

Rockfish: Thursday night I had some dinner at Chameleon. Glad to say their still running their 'A' game. Try the salmon.

Afterward I went to Steve's house to listen to his band practice. I was familiar with a few of their tunes, thanks to their myspace page. Those sounded nice and tight; they've been playing them for over a year. Some of the newer ones still have the branding of their influence. There's the AC/DC one, the Black Sabbath one, the Horton Heat one, and one that sounds like The Supersuckers. Then, of course, the half-done songs that begin with a riff and trail-off into a noodling mass of Natty Boh-fueled guitar noise. Yeah, good times.

Consumer Report: Yesterday we finally got the car washed. On a neighbor's recommendation, we went to the Wash Works on Howard street. For ten bucks we got a vacuum, exterior wash and a clean interior. And fast. Not even twenty minutes. While in the neighborhood, we found the location of Molly's Public House. Now I just need to get there during business hours.

Thursday, February 10



Not the best day at work yesterday. Let's just say I overpromised and underdelivered.

I burned all day on trying to improve the project, graphically speaking. But, when it came time to add my work to the archive, it simply wouldn't take. And I have no real clue why. I'm using a recently created homegrown editing tool, and either I don't know how to use it, or it has a bug. It may have to sit until next week when the programmer returns from holiday.

My main anxiety is that I'm still trying to prove myself to my new art lead. Lucky for me, he's very levelheaded and extremely understanding. But, eventually, he'll have a bearing on my performance review and this incident paired with my earlier high-jinks might result in a negative report.

This morning I'm back on the ranch. I've got to break this wild horse of a program to ride. Hopefully I'll come through it without any saddlesores or broken bones.

Monday, February 7


Capicola - The Great Communicator.

Last week our new art lead for my project at work started last Tuesday. He's most recently relocated from Illinois to our beloved Cockeysville. A somewhat meticulous sort, he is very calm, and determined to understand the minutiae of an increasingly sprawling project.

And he sounds like Jeff Goldblum. Like, at least to my ear, exactly. The patter of the voice, inflections, tone - the whole bit. I mean it could be worse. It could be Gilbert Gottfried.

I suppose my fast-and-loose regard for protocol may have made me lose face. This morning he busted me working on extra-curricular projects. Then, Heather and I had a Perinatal appointment at 1:30. So, I left at lunchtime, knowing I would remain out of the office for that rest of the day. Unfortunately, I kept Eric out of the loop.

About 5:15 driving back from the grocery I returned his call on my cel. He was afraid something had gone terribly wrong. I assured him things were fine, just that Heather is now on house rest.
I feel like I need to gain some ground with my new lead. Perhaps a one-to-one over a sandwich from Sapori will make us both feel more at home?

Saturday, February 5


feliz cumpleanos a miĀ­.

huevos, originally uploaded by ExLionTamer.

Last night we got together with some folks at The Golden West Cafe for a little dinner to celebrate my thirty-sixth birthday a little early.

I figure this is probably the last one anyone will really make any sort of fuss over. So, I wanted to go out in quiet style. I had the idea of getting two couples we know, but don't know each other. That's usually a fun way to get conversations going.

I dropped Heather at the entrance while I ventured the wilds of Hampden for a parking spot. Time was, Friday in Hampden meant the rednecks were hootin' and hollerin' down at The Red Man's Hall. Now, with the influx of boutique businesses and eateries, I had to fenagle at spot five blocks away at The Wine Source. Sheesh!

I thought I made a reservation earlier in the week, but our hostess had no note of it. So I found Leslie and Heather on the waiting area couch. Bill was closing up the shop, so we just had her company in the meantime. We chatted for a few minutes until Nate and Kristen arrived with little Stellan. He's really big for six months. And was real quiet, too. Introductions were made and we finally sat about 8:40.

Last time we were here, the bar had just opened, and it was breakfast time. Not the best time to induge when you have Target shopping to do. But, last night I was so very pleased to find out that Hoegaarden is on tap. Yummy. I had two of those with my Huevos Montenuelos. Contrary to popular opinion, white Belgian beer complements egg-and-bean dishes with fried bananas beautifully. Don't believe me? Just try it.

Nate and Kristen gave me a complilation of the Jimmy Corrigan comics. I'd always appreciated the retro style. Very reminiscent of George Herriman's Krazy Kat. Can't wait to crack the cover.

Just before the check arrived, Bill came in. He got a chance to meet our other guests, so they had a while to talk about Minneapolis for a bit. All in all, a fantastic little evening.

Thursday, February 3


Much ado about brushing.

Okay. Yesterday I was being a wuss. The folks at Modern Dental were exceedingly kind, professional and, well, modern.

Things have gone all newfangled at the dentist. Well, first I reacquinted myself with my old friend the metal pick for all the necessary tooth scraping. After a round of that, I got a blast with this ultrasonic water-pick machine that blew away years of tartar in couple of shots. The last time I had a cleaning it was still done with a rubber-tipped drill bit. You remember. And you choice of fake-cherry or fake-mint glop. They both tasted like complete ass. Let me tell you, this is much, much better. It's like leaving the horse and cart for a Caddilac. A nice trade.

However, I'm still not done. I go back early next month for another hit.

Oh, and no cavities! Woo-hoo! Go, me!

Wednesday, February 2


The Prodigal Dental Patient

I have to go to the dentist today. I'm really dreading it.

My teeth and I don't really get along. We went through orthodontia together in the late Seventies.* We lived-it-up like Crockett and Tubbs in the Eighties: smoking, coffee and plenty of sugary snacks. The party continued through both terms of the Clinton administration.

Now I'm solidly in my mid-thirties and my mouth is a shambles. Sure, I brush daily, but flossing? Maybe if I got a hunk a' dinner wedged in between my lower molars or something. It always turns into a bloody mess.

Plus, I grind my teeth mercilessly. My lower front teeth are down to tiny little nubs. I can see the custom made Nightguard in my future, and probably some fillings.

Ugh! I hate me some dentistry.

*and my shit still ain't straight.

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