Thursday, December 23, 2010

Good King Whats-His-Face

(originally written 12.20.10)

*Not that I don't understand that the holiday is coming up, but does every car owner in Dekalb county need to be out driving around today?? Not that I would usually care, but they're getting in my way.

*Started a couple of new project folders today, one for Eve and one for Amy. Seemed like it might be a good way to keep the series files for ongoing projects organized, but they're just manila folders. It's not like I can put a canvas in there or anything. Guess the best I can hope for is to be able to keep track of what number I'm working on when I switch back and forth between series. Even managed to get some color laid in on a new piece today. Pretty soon I'm going to have to figure out how to do some hard mounts for all these works I have done on paper. Or maybe I'll switch over to working on masonite or some such thing.

*There should be no real way you can injure yourself with an empty, cold teapot. But, somehow, I managed to do just that.

*Finally did some rearranging in the garage so I'm not tripping over stuff in there. Managed to do the same thing down in the studio, as well. There's still a bunch of stuff in the garage I need to get rid of, but that will happen with the annual spring purge. I think I now have the inside space set up decently for carving, so now I just need to figure out what I'm going to work on and when I need to have it done by. I know I'll need some things for the Chef, probably some for Ohana, and if Tropical Tails is happening this year, I'll need something for that as well. And, if I actually intend on building the bar downstairs, that's some more work that will need to get done.

*Managed to pull a couple of nice Treasure Craft fish platters out of the back of a cabinet at CJ's. Unfortunately, they only had the big one and the small one. The mid-sized one was MIA. These are the red/yellow/white ones, not the blue/green/white ones that I really like. Still, they're in really nice shape, and I don't currently have any of them in my collection. That is to say that I didn't have any of them in my collection until I bought these.

*I can't find the picture, and that is making me quite pissed. But, finding the picture would just let me copy the picture, and part of the idea behind the created image is the degradation of memory. You'd think that after 20 some odd year of keeping something that you wouldn't just up and loose it, though.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Haiku 4 u!

Snow comes falling down
People forget how to drive
End up in the ditch

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Playing Ketchup

*Thanksgiving around the old homestead was no big deal this year. The rest of the fam went up to MN to do their thing, and we begged off since I had to work the day after. So it was just the two us and some less than stellar pre-prepared food from Jewel. And that left us with tons of leftovers. The fridge still smelled like turkey the week after Thanksgiving. Not really a good thing. Makes me think that next year will be a Thanksgiving filled with pizza. Or maybe Chinese food.

*The studio is a horrific mess. It has gone beyond that stage of 'interesting clutter' and is rapidly advancing on 'damn near dangerous'. I'm thinking that some of the furniture has to find another home fairly soon.

*Had an absolute blast at Mel and Rog's holiday party. Probably a good thing I had to work the next day, though. I probably would have ended up in that baby monkey video if we had stayed around too much longer than we did. But, the presentation went well, and the Lodges got what was coming to them as well. The Santa in the shower still kinda creeped me out though. And it was also a good thing that we had the foresight to lay in a supply of coconut water beforehand. Looking forward to the next event, and hoping I have the next day off!

*We finally hit that point where we had to make the decision whether we were going to put more money into my car to get it fixed again, or if we were going to look at something new. It all started with a little puddle of antifreeze under the car, which turned into a trip to Motor Works. The trip to Motor Works led to a diagnosis, which led to a repair estimate. The problem was that the repair that needed to be done would have cost about as much as the current Blue Book value of the car. When I shared that little gem of info with Sheri, she said I should start looking for a new ride. Mind you, I hate car shopping. I'd rather spend the day at a Jehovah's Witness revival meeting than shop for cars. Luckily, using the 'net can greatly decrease the amount of time you actually have to spend in direct contact with an actual car salesman. Sheri thought I should look at a small pickup, and I thought that my days of helping people move were long over. I had been thinking of a Subaru Forrester, but the more I looked at them, the less I liked the way they looked. A little more research put me on the trail of the Honda Element. So that's what I have now. A red 2010 Honda Element. And I don't care what Forbes magazine says. I like it.

*Do you ever REALLY need a piece of meat on your plate that's the size of you head??

*OK, taking time off from work is usually a good thing. Taking time off of work and expecting to hit a killer party first thing is even better. But, if the weatherman decides to piss all over your plans, that is not a good thing. And so, I listened to the weatherman and called off on one of the FOM holiday gatherings. AND NOTHING HAPPENED. I was so pissed I couldn't see straight. True, there were blizzard conditions the next day, but we played the part of responsible adults and basically got poked in the eye for our efforts. When we were in college, we would have walked to Chicago from DeKalb while a blizzard was going on for a good party. Now, it would appear that we're just old.

*$6 for a draft beer? $6.50 for a domestic bottle?? Next time I go into the burbs, I am damn sure gonna take my flask with me.

*Survivor's Day is what I'm calling the gathering we're having on Jan 1. I have to work on NYE, so there will most likely be no parties for me that night, which is no big deal. The drunks don't usually start heading for their cars until about 1 AM or so, and I'm usually long gone from work by then. Plus it seems that every year fewer and fewer people are actually going out for NYE. So the thought occurred to me that doping something the next day might be better. And, since NYD is on a Saturday this year, why not give it a try?

*Kinda sucks that when you stop shopping for something you no longer get to spend time with the cute salesperson.

*OK, I managed to design, playtest, and get assembled a game prototype in less than 8 weeks. Why the hell is getting it shifted over to production mode proving to be so damn difficult? As easy as it was to work with the print place who did the prototype, the $100 per unit quote for a production run about made me have a heart attack. Plus, there are a few design things I'd want to get ironed out before actual production starts. Might be able to get some help from FOM folks who are in the printing biz, but that remains to be seen. I am working on getting an estimate friom a place in Chicago that does game printing for independent publishers, but there are some tech aspects that are proving to be difficult to communicate back and forth.

*Our house is slowly turning into a repository for people who are trying to hide gifts from each other. I'm thinking I could make some extra coin if I start charging a fee for storage. Or maybe just for retrieval.

*Had a good time seeing Eve and enjoying some really good Thai food at the same time. Can't believe that it's been a year since we'd seen each other. At least if I get to see Bluegirl in the next week or so, it will have only been about 6 months since we've gotten together. Been quite a while since I've been down Peoria way too. Geez. I really need to get out more.

*As is typical for me at this time of the year, I find myself with a yen to increase the size of my game collection. And just in case you were wondering, the selection of games at Toys-R-Us SUCKS BIG HAIRY ROCKS!! Sheri said I should go check out the place in town, since I haven't been there in a long time. I might. But I may also just grab some things from Funagain. Either way, I will have to wait for some Giftmas fundage to arrive.

*I need to do just a bit of Giftmas shopping. Soon. And a bit of Giftmas designing. Also, soon. Beyond that, I think I'm pretty well covered for this year. Apparently, I got the wife some really nice jewelry. At least that's what she told me. Good to know.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bowling Crustaceans

*The first snowflakes of the season have been spotted. The chickadees and juncos have returned to the feeders. Hard frosts make the windshields sparkly white every night. Time to curl up under the blankets for the next four months. Wake me when it's spring.

*The hunt is on for a Honda Element. New or used, EX or LX, I don't know yet. But, I did test drive one, and I really liked it. The all around visibility is the best I've experienced in a long time, and with the way you can move the seats around, it would be a kick ass flea market vehicle. At first glance, there doesn't seem to be a large number of them out there for sale. Plus, most of them are not the cool orange color that I like (which only comes on the more expensive EX model, of course). But, I haven't even started to ask dealers for quotes and prices yet. Right at the moment, Honda isn't offering any great finance deals either. Not that 1.9% for 36 or 2.9% for 37+ is horrible, but it seems I missed the whole 0% boat. Have I mentioned that I really hate car shopping? I can't get the color I want in the LX model, but I have the stereo that I can pull from the Tribute so I can use the iPod. Now, if I get the EX in the color I want, it comes with an iPod compatible stereo. I really don't want to trade in that stereo, but I also don't really want another blah colored (silver, gray, or black) car. I'm going to have to go over what comes with the different trim packages and see what I can live without (the $1K 'dog friendly' package is one of the things I can do without). Then comes the fun of trying to figure out how to pay for it.

*Done with leaf removal for the year. There now sits a 10' long waist high drift of leaves in front of my house waiting for the city to come and vacuum it up. It's one of those piles of leaves that looks highly tempting to run and leap into. But, since I was the one who collected them, I know there a quite a few dog turds that got raked up with those leaves. And if anything would take the fun out of leaf diving, dog turds would be it. That's all of the leaves I intend to remove from the yard for the year. Not to say there aren't still more out there, but the rest of them are fertilizer as far as I'm concerned. May run the mower around and chop some of them up until the gas tank is empty, but other than that, lawn care is at an end until sometime next year.

*Two weeks left until the formal presentation of my Quest (with a tip of the fez to Ahu for making allowances). After dashing an email off to E59, at least I now know where the party is going to be. The live feed still seems to be in question, but I think I'll be nervous enough about repeating the whole presentation in front of the bulk of the Red Palms without knowing it's going out live to the east coast as well. Also interesting to note that if I was of a mind to, I could party for 3 straight weekends with FOM folks. Thinking I'll try 2 this year and work my way up from there.

*As much as I like swing music, it does seem to be something that's better in small blocks. It's the same thing I found with the Squirrel Nut Zippers-if you're not in the right mood for it, it can come across as kinda frantic. Adding that BBVD disc to my iPod was a good move though. Need to get caught up on all my backlogged podcasts too.

*Gorged yourself to maximum capacity and then some? Vision blurred from hours and hours of non-stop football? Nerves frazzled from the endless stream of half-crazy relatives roaming through your house? Everything you own smell vaguely of turkey? Sounds like you need an adult anti-holiday sanity break! Head on over to the Blue Moai Room Thanksgiving night for cocktails, conversations,
and decompression starting around 6:30.

*The court case I was supposed to go in for next week has been settled! Apparently the accused is taking a plea deal, so that's over and done with. About damn time. Now I need to figure out if I'm gonna bolt out of town for the night on Monday. Even a brief change of scenery sounds like something I could really go for. The current car situation could be an issue in that plan though. Sheri has already mentioned more than once that should be one of my 'in person' car searching days.

*Watched the end of Lost the other day. Wasn't quite what I was expecting. But then again, that could very well be a description of how I felt about the entire run of the show. I was glad that they didn't try and nail down every last detail about the show. Leaves lots of room for interesting discussions that way. Still, I found the last episode vaguely unsatisfactory. Half tempted to restart the series to see if I can make more sense out of it now, but 6 seasons worth of episodes is a lot of time to spend, and I'm way behind in my studio output as it is. Tropical Tails is coning up in short order, and I'm guessing there will be some FOM events that I'll need to contribute things to. Just need to get back into the winter swing of things. Getting all the crap cleared off my drafting table would be a good start.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Brick Is Dead...

*"Leaking head gasket". Not what you want to hear your mechanic say. Even worse than that is when they say it will take some time for them to work up an estimate of what the repair will cost you. This whole thing makes me quite unhappy. And slightly queasy. I don't want to shop for a new car. I don't want to be making a car payment. But, I don't want to write out a massive check to the mechanic. Talk about a lose/lose/lose situation. I need to find ouit what the projected lifespan of the engine would be if I just have them put it all back together. Now that I know about the problem, it makes it real hard for me to not disclose it if I want to trade the car in. And even if it does have <70K miles on it, I don't think the gasket issue would add anything to my trade-in value. But, if I keep driving it and the whole thing just explodes, that would really do bad things to my trade-in value. The really pissy part is that there is a TSB out on the gasket problem (it was a manufacturing issue), but since it's not safety related, the manufacturer isn't covering the repair. That sucks. And shopping for a car sucks. Even if you've got it narrowed down to a model or two. Blech. Just not sure what to do yet.

*Got to run out to F+F and pick up a leaf blower to replace the one of the folks that busted while I was using it. But, before I hand it over, I fully intend to test it out on my yard first. Get all those leaves out of the back yard and be done with it for the year. What a way to spend my day off. Wheeeee. I am SUCH a rock star.

*Supposed to go to court to be a witness Monday for a DUI case from 3 or 4 years ago. This is supposed to take up the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I think this will be at least the 4th time that I have gone over to Sycamore to participate in this case. But it's been rescheduled and postponed more times than I care to remember, and it's really starting to piss me off. I'd kinda like to head out of town on Monday, but I really can't do that if I have to be in court all day and then back again the next morning. To top it all off, I don't even remember the guy. Wouldn't know him if he walked up to me and poked me in the eye. So, if this nonsense ends up mucking up my week, I do think I shall be quite put out.

*Good to know that if nothing else can, Monty Python quotes can always be relied on to derail a forum thread.

*Who would have thought it would have taken me so long to find my freakin NIU diploma? And who would have thought of all the strange stuff that I would have found in the process of looking for that diploma? The tiny blue armadillo was a pretty strange find. I have no idea of the context under which it came into my possession. It's actually kinda cute, though. So, it found it's way into the studio with my other armadillos. The rose from 24 years ago I left where it was. Still not sure what the lesson I was supposed to learn from that situation was. All I know is that it's way too late for me to learn it.

*The Space Car doesn't have a jack for my iPod. WTF??


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Combo Fried Rice

*Hoping I can get away with raking the yard just one more time. The trees in the back yard have finally given up the majority of their leaves, so it's now just a matter of beating the weather and the pick-up deadline.

*Took Saturday night and went out to catch the show at Tiki Terrance with Bart and Steph. Got there a little earlier than usual, so the serveice was a bit better than what we have experienced previously. All in all, I think they only missed one of my drinks this time, which was pretty good for a table of four. The roasted pork was really good, and so was the mahi mahi. Even the kalamari was good, and lacked the after affects that Fred suffered the last time at the Chef.

*Poison and penguins made for a good Sunday evening, except for Sheri having a slight headache and me not counting on the potency of Chimay.

*A good thing to remember is that if you don't go looking, you'll never miss what it is you don't know that you're missing. Had I been thinking in those terms, we wouldn't have gone to the open house on Sunday, and wouldn't have found ourselves in discussions with M1 about the possibility of a new house. The really pissy part about it is that it seems to be a repeat situation of what we went through when we tried to buy the house that we currently live in.

*Finally got that gyro I had been craving for so long. Now I just need to quit burping it.

*Dropped my car off yesterday, and the mechanic called back this morning to say that the water pump was what was making the green puddles in my driveway. That was a goood thing because it didn't involve taking the whole front of the engine apart to get at it. But, the serpentine belt had seen better days, so they recommended changing that at the same time all the rest of it was apart. I said OK, go ahead and do it, and was even pleased when they said it would be done by the end of the day. So then, off to work I go. Then I get a call from Sheri who tells me that the mechanic has since called back and found that the leak was coming form further back than they thought it was, and they would indeed need to disassemble the whole front part of the engine. And, since they already had it apart that far, it would be a good idea to change the timing belt. So, I am no longer as happy as I was when I had left for work. But at least I know where my paycheck for this week is going.

*Almost a foot of snow in some parts of the Minneapolis area this weekend, and people will still ask us why it is we don't live there. There have been recent rumors of flurries being spotted in Rockford, so it appears it's only a short amount of time before we'll be getting our first dusting of the stuff. Can't you just sense how thrilled I am about that?

*I said it last time. There are things you should just leave alone. Some stones should remain unturned. Your memories may be incorrect and incomplete, but they are still usually better than the truth. But, since I've always had a bad habit of picking at things, I now know that there is yet one more aspect of my past where I was completely and totally out of my league without realizing it.

*Gonna kiss the land line goodbye. That's the simplest thing we can do to save a few bucks every month. Beyond that, I'll have to do some digging around to figure out where else we can tighten up the finances. I'm thinking I will end up on a beer budget of some sort. Domestic in cans, probably. Flea market season is over until next spring, so that shouldn't be a problem.


Thursday, November 11, 2010


*While there are parts of me that consider it wrong beyond belief, there are other parts of me that think it would be such an incredible time saver to drink beer while walking on the treadmill.

*I think we have seen the absolute last of the good weather for this year as of yesterday. This morning, a cold wind out of the northwest has swept drizzly cold rain into the area and made it quite unpleasant. Yuck.

Rusty Fungus Bling

*Got one good run-through of yardwork done on Tuesday. Raked, mowed, cut down seasonal plants, and took a whole carload of stuff to the dumpsite. And after all that, I still had the backyard to do, and only a couple of hours of daylight left to do it in. What managed to save the day was when I caught Gray coming home from school and he asked me if I needed him to rake or mow. Having already spent most of the day working on the front yard, I was only too happy to hand off the back to him. So, all in all, the yard looks halfway decent, and it only cost me $20. Still need to tend to the windows, but I might do that this weekend, as long as I have a big-ass bottle of Windex.

*Rule to live by: If they like the box that the gift came in as much as they like the gift itself, that's a double bonus. But, if they like the box better, you're screwed.

*Bart and Steph are going to join us Saturday night as we make what could be our last pilgrimage out to Tiki Terrace on Saturday night. If the service then is no better than it is on the Ohana nights, we may have to scratch this place off our list.

*Could it be that I'm finally getting over this stupid cold? About damn time...

*I'm toying around with the notion of haivng a big mid-winter party. Or late winter. Six months from the end of October would be April. Guess I could make it a combo late winter/birthday thing. Not a whole lot going on at that time of year, so people might be in the mood for a good party.Maybe it could be called the Mid-March Moai Madness Mixer, Meeting, and Mash-up Melee. Or not.

*Sad to hear of yet another friend losing a pet. Condolences to the Pirate Queen.

*Never a good thing when you see a fresh wet spot under your car. Those usually end up costing many many hundreds of dollars. Not to mention that bike season is rapidly coming to a close, so the idea of being without a vehicle really sucks.

*The outdoor studio has been officially disbanded for the year. Still got some things out in the garage that need to be rearranged, but the carving table is in it's winter home, and all the 25's have joined it.The snowshovels have been brought down from the wall, and the snowblower is on it's way for a pre-season tune-up. And I still hate the fact that I need those things at all. But, more importantly, she can now get her car in out of the weather. And I got it done before the stated deadline.

*A quick run to CJ's netted me a cool, one-of-a-kind tiki cookie jar and a nice Hawaiian shirt. I should probably make it a point to check for things there more often.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ceramic Coconut Contacts

*Another entry into the category of 'Songs I Will Never, Ever, Ever, Ever Like' = "The Rose".

*Missed my chance to spend some time with Bluegirl while I was on vacation, and now she's headed back south. Hopefully I can catch up with her the next time she's relatively close to the stateline.

*There are a lot of questions that, on the surface, seem pretty damn simple. Then, when you start thinking about it, the problem ends up being whether or not you really want to know the answer to that question. It's really quite the genie in a bottle, that answer. Whether it's good or bad, once you hear it, you can't unhear it. And there have been several of those questions that I have pursued answers to only to discover, ultimately, that I really didn't want the answers. But the edges of those answers can sometimes be so sparkly and tantalizing that it's really hard to resist digging just a little bit more. Still, the lessons learned at the reunion should remind me that the way I recall things is hardly the most accurate or complete record of what actaully happened. And there were things that were just plain wrong. But there's always that hope that somehow, some element of that memory, some splinter of that feeling, some chunk of that fantasy could still be alive and well. But if I ask the question, do I really want to know the answer? That, my friends, is a really fucking hard thing to wrestle with. Especially when the computer leads you straight to one of those tantalizing, sparkly edges.

*I am letting Netflix take up way too much of my time. Really, how many bad 80's movies do you need to watch before you've had enough? But, I could have a Netflix subscription for several years before I'd reach the cost of what a new TV would run me. So, the dead TV just sits in the living room, and we watch things on the computer.

*"Sanctuary"- A TV show that's a cross between The X-Files and Noah's ark. Not at all impressive.

*"Dead Like Me"- Already seen them all, but still enjoying watching them. Doesn't hurt at all that Ellen Muth is quite the looker. I just think it's a shame that shows like this and Pushing Daisies get cut from the networks while things like Real Housewives and Jersey Shore go on to live disgustingly long lives.

*"Arrested Development"- Another show that while I've already seen them all, stands up really well to being watched, and enjoyed, all over again.

*"RED"- A movie we saw recently that had a really neat (but predictable) story, and a promising cast, but couldn't figure out what it wanted to be. So it wasn't really quite an action movie, wasn't really quite a buddy flick, and wasn't really quite a statement about the usefulness of seniors in our society. Too bad. Probably could have been a really good version of any one of those.

*"Hereafter"- I was intrigued by the notion of Clint Eastwood tackling a subject matter that was beyond his usual range of material. But, after seeing the movie, all I can really say is that I don't get it.

*For the second day in a row, the bone casting that I've been cleaning up has drawn blood. Yesterday, it was my right thumb, today it was my left thumb. I'm thinking that I should put that piece away for a while and work on something else.

*Been a bad couple of months for people loosing their pets to illness and old age. Makes me appreciate my stinky group of idiots.

*Have a small piece currently on the drafting table that's all ready for color. Rather than going with the usual palette, I'm going with purples on this one, just to be different. We'll see how it turns out. Proabaly do a spray mount on board and then drop the whole thing into an inexpensive frame. Might be a little less likely to end up in the pile of stuff under the couch if I do that.

*Is poetry more about rythym or rhyme? Beats me. At what point does poetry become song? Is there a difference between a song and a rap? Beats me x 2. It does seem to take a mindset that I'm not quite in at the moment, though. Or maybe I am in that mindset, but just haven't hit upon the right subject matter.

*Happy belated birthday to Eve! And thanks for the interesting take on what a vampire looks like.

*Good to hear that Kittyluv is getting back on track, and hopefully we'll be able to get together sometime soon.

*Got to see one of the new iPod Nanos close up today. Damn thing isn't even 2 inches square and might be all of 1/2 inch thick. Just way too damn small for someone with hands like mine. I have the Nano with the touch wheel, which isn't large by any stretch of the imagination, and this one is way smaller than that. Makes me think I may need to try and dig up one of the 'big' old iPods. At least that's something that would be easy for me to hang on to. I do like the nice screen on mine, even if it isn't touch sensitive. But (I never thought I'd say this), 8 gigs of storage for music just isn't enough for me. 16 sounds nice, but if I can't get that in a configuration that works for me, I may just have to hang on to what I have for a while longer.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Appaloosa Donuts

*Just as soon as you start to wonder if your carving knife needs sharpening, that's when you lay your thumb open with it. Even then it's hard to say whether or not it needs to be sharpened, really.

*The streaming content of Netflix is highly addictive, and cheaper than purchasing tons and tons of DVDs. It just seems that new and advanced ways to waste time manage to find me.

*As of Monday, I struck the gong and declared my Quest complete. I was quite pleased to have done so a full 10 days before it was actually due, even though I can't take full credit for that. I was even more fortunate that my Sponsor was passing through the area on Thursday and was able to stop by and check out the finished product. I have managed to swap a day of work with someone in order to be able to attend the big Red Palms holiday gathering so it can be presented to a larger audience. After that it all rests in the cloven hooves of the Goat as to what my fate in the FOM will be.

*Big city crime has reared it's ugly head once again in DeKalb.

*I always buy too many limes. What it is that I think I'm going to do with them, I have no idea, but I usually do have a ton of them around.

*Had to dig around in my car to make sure that I had a scraper so I could clear off my windows after work tonight. That's something I really didn't miss doing over the past week or so. Scraping, that is. Not that I have some great affection for digging around in my car, but given a choice, that would be the activity I would choose. The digging, that is.

*I had a to-do list of things I wanted to get done while I was on vacation. I lost it. Have absolutely no idea where it went. Makes me wonder if 'loose this list' was on the list somewhere. Not that I can't figure out what needs to be done eventually, but vacation's over as of today, so it's time to make a new list, I guess. I know I need to do all the screens and windows. And check the gutters. I'm pretty sure the dogs were supposed to have a bath a month or so ago. Wheeeee. I think the mysterious disappearance of the list is starting to make some sense.

*The number of for sale, empty, and foreclosed houses in the subdivision around us continues to increase.

*The H'ween gathering was a blast. The process of getting things ready before and then taking things apart after is something I can live without, though. If I could just manage to have the party part without the rest, that would be fine with me. But, it was great that Steve managed to make it up for this one, even if he had to jet out fairly early the next day. Not a single one of the Easties managed to make the trek over, which did nothing to change my opinion of them. Also had quite a few other no shows, but we managed to keep ourselves pretty damn well entertained. Still can't really explain why there was glitter all over the place the next day. The empty cans and bottles? Those were a lot easier to explain.

*Even though the trees in back have only lost about 1/4 of their leaves, I don't think I can put off raking for too much longer. Unless I just plan on prying the leaves up in big frozen slabs.

*Even though I was offered a freshly cut down maple tree, I just don't have the room to store more stock wood. That means I've been gathering raw materials for too long and not doing enough in the area of production. It's also fairly obvious if you take a peek in my garage and see how much crap I have piled up in there. Not that now is a good time to be looking in my garage, since my current effort is focused on getting things cleaned up so Sheri can get her car in for the winter. Thus far, it just looks like a landfill exploded in there, and not much else. I am not greatly encouraged by this turn of events. And I haven't even begun to try and move anything to the indoor studio yet. Maybe setting yet another massive pile of stuff out for the garbage man would be a good way to start.

*Why in the world would I even be thinking about buying new game software when I have so many games that I already own that I've never finished?


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Too Early on A Thursday...

*OK, so what the Hell is wrong with me? (waits for chorus of shouted answers to die down) You don't dig up something that died years ago. You leave it alone. Period. End of story. But, for some reason, I can't do that. Just have to keep picking at the edges of that scab until it starts to bleed some more. If nothing else, I should have learned at the reunion how fleeting my presence was. So why the fuck do I keep chasing this around? What is there that I need to learn from this that hasn't sunk in quite yet? And why does seeing her picture after all these years still make my heart fall into the pit of my stomach? But it's like I never existed. One more thing I can just pull my hair out over. Fuck me. There is no logical reason for this. None. But dammit, there she is. I have too much going on this week to be getting distracted, but after who knows how many years, seeing a goddamn picture of her made my head spin. And it was the eyes. I knew it was her when I saw the eyes. Shit. Yet another good sign that I need to kick up my dosage several notches. The rest of my outside life is in the hands of the printer right now, which makes me quite uneasy. And, I've been cooped up in this house too long. Maybe I'll see if Bart wants to head out for a while tomorrow. The concept of the Mid-Life crisis has been a subject of contemplation lately. Can I put aside my love of stuff and be what I think I should be, or do I submit to the system and be a good little drone? Soylent Green is made of people. Nobody wants to hear that though. Once again, kicking rocks over the edge of the precipice wondering what they feel when they hit the bottom. Is there any satisfaction beyond creating? Are they watching from their shadowy corners? Has my fate been decided for me? Should I get food from Portillo's or Schnuck's for the event this weekend? I get why I couldn't be with her then, and I am still fighting that same fucking war right now. What is wrong with me?? Are the meds the issue, or is it some part of me that's afraid to die? What did Bill manage to scar that badly? Do my parents ever wonder about me? Why can't I figure out what it is that I'm supposed to be? And more importantly, when does the clock run out?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bunion Flavored Vodka

*I think I can easily say that this month has, thus far, not been a shining example of my greatest of days.

*Off to the Chef this weekend to spend some time with my FOM family! Since I won't be able to make it to the next meeting, I guess I'll have to make this one count for double. And, since 88 is all torn up with late season construction, Sheri wants to find another way to get there. She had mentioned taking 90, but that's WAY out of the way. So, I'll be doing some Mapquesting before we head out tomorrow. I figure there's gotta be a way to take 39 over to some common N/S highway. And, depending on when we get back into town, we might just head over to the after party over at Leslie's. It's looking more and more like I'm going to be writing off a large chunk of my Sunday morning to napping and dosing with Tylenol.

*I now have my first art piece hanging in a semi-public place. Response thus far has been minimal, but fairly positive. The comparisons to Van Gogh I don't get.

*What's a party without a little drama, eh? Guess I'll find out before too long. But, as I tend to be Captain Oblivious most of the time, I probably wouldn't know it if I saw it. Maybe if I tripped over it, but not so much if I just kinda glanced at it from across the room.

*Once again I feel that I must stress how ridiculous it is that I am having a hard time finding H'ween decorations, yet the holiday is still more than 2 weeks away. Not to mention that the selections I have run across have been sparse, repetitive, and of low quality. Have picked up a few things, but just nothing really amazing.

*I really don't get why people are so crazy about Fat Tire. It's really not all that great. Neither is Hex from Magic Hat. Not that they're horrible, just more that I put them in the 'Blah Beer' file. Krankshaft Kolsch Ale is good, but I actually like the Dundee Kolsch a little bit better. Now I just have to find an IPA that I really like. And I need to try some Chimay as well. Storm King Imperial Stout is still at the top of my list, though.

*It really sucks when you have a great practical joke you could play on one of your neighbors, but they also just so happen to be the most highly armed people in the neighborhood.

*My vacation time for next year has been approved! Ohana 2011, here I come!! SWEEEEEET!!!

*This weekend is not only DeKalb HS homecoming, but NIU's homecoming as well. I'm betting there will be non-stop police and paramedic action all weekend. Bars open at 0600 on Saturday, so that should help. Makes me glad I won't be at work. I also plan to avoid the entire SW corner of town until at least Monday morning.

*Why would it be inconceivable that I would send someone flowers??

*It never fails to amaze me how some things are even more tasty when seen close up. Head swimmingly so, at times.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Paper Clips and String Cheese

*Red Palms FOM chapter meeting this Saturday at Chef Shangri-La in North Riverside!! Drop by for a Dr. Fong, some awesome hot and sour soup, the free raffle, and live music from Hillbilly Idle!

*October 30. That's the day to drop by and hang out for a while in the Blue Moai Lounge. Meet some new folks, have some interesting conversations (whether you want to or not), and enjoy some rum-based cocktails. What's not to like?

*How can you not love it when a free bottle of rum appears on your doorstep?

*Three of the six elements are basically complete. That didn't stop me from having a mild panic attack the other day after being sideswiped by an overwhelming sense of impossibility.

*The TV is slowly dying, leading me/us to say that we will NEVERNEVERNEVERNEVERNEVER ever again buy a Westinghouse TV. Frickin piece of crap. It has also lead to the possibility of a sooner-rather-than-later redesign of the entire living room. That does not make me overly happy on any front.

*Between the swift change in the temperature and the recent visit by Teminix, the are things dropping all over the place outside the house, be it leaves or dead box elder bugs. You just can't walk anywhere without something crunching underfoot.

*There are some people who just can't wear yellow. I like the ones that can.

*Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout used to be the greatest beer in the world to me. The one I had last night I found to be rather disappointing. As usual, in my haste and youth, I was most likely incorrect. I have recently discovered that the greatest beer in the world could most likely be Victory Brewing's Storm King Imperial Stout. Feel free to try and prove me wrong.

*I have come to the conclusion that I really dislike 90+% of the perfumes out on the market right now. That covers both male and female perfumes. I also find that I dislike 90+% of the people who have no concept of just how much of their rancid smelling perfume they are actually wearing.

*I need to go get some more dust masks.Or I need to get some new lungs. One of those two choices I know I can get one at Menard's.

*Got the costume selected for H'ween. I did see a great idea for one online today, but I simply do not have the time to get it done. Maybe I'll just make it for kicks. Anyway, the one I selected for this year involves having facial hair. Now, there's 2 ways to go with that: grow your own, or glue some on. I hate spirit gum. I hate working with fake beards. Therefore, I also have to put up with the hateful itchy period of beard growth. And now there's an awful lot of gray in there too.

*"Get Him to the Greek" was fricking hilarious. Even Sheri was laughing out loud in spite of herself. Between that and "The Hangover" I'm beginning to wonder what's going on. Have R rated comedies gotten better, or are my standards tumbling?

*Do three thumbs up balance out a rousing round of indifference? Haven't quite decided yet.



(Originally written October 4, 2010)

*Had a pretty decent weekend, not taking the weather into account. Cruised the H'ween stores in St. Charles, which was pretty much a let-down. Lots and lots of costumes. We came to the decision that they just need to have a 'Slutty' section. Not a lot of neat decor stuff. The gargantuan spider got nixed, as did the wide variety of zombie babies. Found out that the stuff used in the foggers gives her a headache and makes me short of breath, so it's good we didn't get one of those last year. All this anamatronic stuff they have out now is just expensive, loud, and annoying. Some of it to the tune of $300+. I came to the comclusion that I do pretty well with skeletons and jack-o-lanterns.

*The Tag-Alongs have finally resurfaced, albeit briefly.Good to know they survived their transplant.

*Had a string of good days lately, only to be followed up by finding out that I only have a partial refill left on my meds. That makes an encounter with Mike in the near future a certainty. Yay.

*Got to do the artwork on the boards, after which comes the box. Along the way, proofs should be being approved and things should be rolling along.

*Can't be a beatnik without bongos, right? Therefore, I will be getting some bongos. And since I had to do some extra downtime Sunday morning thanks to my run-in with Bart's blender, I missed the flea market. Therefore, I will be getting a new set. Coolsville, daddy-o!

*Sheri woke to let the dogs out the other morning, and reported a good covering of frost on everything. That lead me to ask when I had to be out of the garage. The answer was no later than Thanksgiving, which was nmore generous than I was expecting.

*If your mind is elsewhere when you're stropping a chisel, you will most likely cut yourself. Trust me, I know this.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Slowly Sinking Slanted Sunlight

*Good luck to the Tag-a-Longs with their downstate relocation. Be sure to rub Abe's nose for me, guys!

*OK, with a big project in the works with a short timeline, I should not be spending time playing video games. The basement already looks like Milton Bradley and the Parker Brothers exploded down there, and there's no sign it's going to get any better any time soon. But, I have found that when doing editing on the computer in the office, I can be working on my project, listening to my I-Pod, drinking beer, and downloading Puzzle Quest 2 all at the same time. The bad part is that after the download was done I found myself doing nothing but playing PQ2. Not really a good thing. So, I guess it's back to the basement for me.

*Slowly but surely it seems the hair in my eyebrows is turning into something reminiscent of animal whiskers. In a year or so, I should be able to find my way around in the dark with them if this trend continues. It's a shame they aren't prehensile.

*Good to hear from Kittyluv and Eve this week.

*There is not a single movie out in the theater that I would pay to go see. Worse than that, there is not a single movie out in the theater that I would make anyone else pay for me to go see. Rental market is looking pretty uninteresting as well. Maybe Iron Man 2. Maybe not.

*I had already made the comment that the spider population was bordering on freakishly huge this year, which is a sentiment I have heard from others as well. What I failed to realize was that this must also be the year that spiders are determined put forth that extra ounce of web building effort. I knew this to be the case when I looked out the kitchen window the other day and saw a spider web shining in the sun that was attached to either the gutter or the eave of the roof. Not a big deal, I thought, since ballooning spiders tend to get hung up on all sorts of things depending on how the wind is blowing on any given day. But this strand wasn't moving in the breeze. So I lean over the sink to take a better look, and I can see this strand of web is going from the bottom of the gutter alll the way down to the bush over by the air conditioner. And down by the bush was this nice triangular web. This is 12, maybe 15 feet or so that this thing spans vertically. It's ridiculous. I just hope that spider isn't compensating for something.

*Starting next week, it's Paula up, and Denise down. Another changing of the guard on second shift.

*I had kinda noticed how far the sun has been coming into the house lately, but it must have never really sunk in what that meant. Sunday night was the first night when I left work and I could see me breath outside. The squirrels are just crazy active all over the place. If Fall isn't officially here, it's right around the corner. Makes sense when I look at the past month or so in retrospect. Don't wanna do much other than sleep. Sheri and I are arguing more often. No appetite, no motivation, no interests, no nothing. She's been asking if I'm taking my meds. Moods are intermittent and unpredictable. I can just see Mike sitting there with that look on his face as he tells me we have plenty of room to go up on my dosage. I really used to like fall. Now it seems more like my brain wants me dead at this time of year. It's just too early for this to be happening already. I could just crawl under the table right now and sleep for who knows how long. Not a good sign. If I bottom out this early in the year...

*I thought my I-Pod was having issues, but now I'm thinking that when I was using that CD-ROM drive that was on it's way to the boneyard it screwed up the file transfer. If that isn't the case it means that I have listened to that Damn Yankess CD so much over the past 2 decades that I wore it out.

*The cartoon was called Justice Friends. Apparently it was a subset of Dexter's Laboratory. I had thought it was it's own show. Anyway, the characters were Major Glory, Valhallen, and Crunk. Yes, Crunk. Why I didn't remember that before this week, I have no idea.


Friday, September 24, 2010

Further thoughts on "The City"

*Given my general level of discomfort during the couple of days we spent in Chicago, Sheri asked the fairly obvious question of 'do you ever think you could live in the city?' My instant thought was that no, I couldn't. More accurately, I wouldn't want to. Of course, this question was asked while we were in the heart of the Loop in Chicago, so I'm trying to think my way around this as L trains are rumbling overhead, cars are honking, and bellmen are blowing their whistles, none of which is anything I'd want to deal with on a daily basis. I know I'd get used to it, but for now I really don't like it. But that's what it's like in the Loop. And, the Loop does not necessarily represent what comprises Chicago as a whole. So, maybe it would be better said that I wouldn't really care to live in the Loop. Not that I'd ever be able to afford to live in the Loop. Much less be an artist in the loop living in a loft space in a converted factory/warehouse with an overhead winch system, a freight elevator, access to a nearby scrap yard, a forklift, and all the welding equipment I could ever use. I might be able to afford a 2 room, 10th floor walkup 'apartment' with one window that overlooks the alley where the dumpsters are and access to all the roaches and rats I could ever kill. So, from a fiscal angle, "The City" would most likely not be a good match for my bank account. Especially if there was an art supply store nearby. but if you put aside all the noise and ridiculous expenses, I could see myself doing "The City" thing. The sheer number of museums and theaters could keep me occupied for years. Barring all that, being as visual as I tend to be, just walking down the street can be quite a stimulating experience. It could also been seen as highly distracting. So, from an artistic angle, it would be a mixed bag. But, alas, the mysteries and possibilities involved with being an artist in "The City", will remain unknown to me. Unless, of course, I do indeed start crapping money in the near future.

*Barely a month into the semester, and the atheists and the religous are already banging heads over on the NIU campus. I love it.

*Why am I spending all this time yammering to myself when I have so much work to do?? Which reminds me, I need to check in with Bart tomorrow and see if he can do the woodworking I need done. Which means I actually need to have a prototype ready, which means I actually need to do some work when I get home tonight. But here I am, still yammering away. Did I happen to mention all the work I need to get done?


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Just Thursday...

*While I think the deck could support 8 players, the pace of the game seemed to bog down with 6.

*Spent a nice couple of days in Chicago last weekend. The Palmer House was pretty nice, but in the rooms, it's starting to show it's age. I get the history and such that's wrapped up in the place, so I guess the reason for the cost was the location. Beyond that, I wasn't horribly impressed. Got to see the new Eye sculpture, which was kinda cool. I'm betting that it looks even cooler from the L. Made my first trip in to Millennium Park, so I got to see the "Bean" up close and personal. The giant water spitting fountain thing I didn't quite get. Buckingham fountain was neat, if not strangely devoid of sightseers. I also discovered that it's a good thing that there isn't a Blick's Art Supply store anywhere near me. I also managed to confirm that the slow death of the shopping mall is a nearly universal phenomenon. Had a lot fun going out to Trader Vic's with Dave and Coalbe, and only managed to pick up a slight hangover from that expedition. The cab that we took to get there smelled ever so slightly of vomit, and the cab we took home was driven by one of the funniest cabbies I can recall ever having. Saturday was grey and cool, and it rained on us like crazy while we were standing outside the Art Institute waiting to get in. Got to check out their new wing and see some really neat art and have some pretty good lunch, even if it was a task trying to get to the restaurant. Met a nice bulldog while taking our elevator back to our room, then spent some time just lounging around the lobby of the hotel, waiting until we hit our time window for heading out to the Chef. When we got out there, it was great to enjoy good company, good music, and good beverages with our FOM friends. Until Sheri popped a migraine, which called an end to the evening's festivities. Beyond that, it was a fun, if expensive, weekend.

*Finally got that nice old flask I picked up at the flea market cleaned out. So, now all I need to do is figure out what to load it up with. And maybe find a funnel.

*The SIL and family were in town last night and will be coming back through on Sunday. Not any real big deal in my book, except that it did let me get some 6 person playtesting in. I also managed to figure out that the SIL is the closest thing I think I will get to having a drunk test subject, even though she's stone sober. At least I think she is. Hard to tell most of the time.

*Got a flyer in the mail from DeKalb Lawn and Garden the other day advertising snowblower tune-ups, even though I am in need of mowing the yard. But why the heck not? The stores already have Giftmas stuff out.

*Looks like I may be hosting a H'ween gathering of sorts after all. Not like I don't have enough on my plate right now, I might as well throw some party planning on top of everything else. But, as long as I keep it casualish, Sheri has given it the green light. Not sure if I want to commit to doing it or not. We'll see what comes of the appointment I have on Monday first.

*October 4th. That's when my boss at work will start accepting vacation requests for 2011. Yup, you heard that right. It's September, 2010, and if I don't want to get locked out of some particular time that I'd like to have off next year, I need to figure out my entire schedule for 2011. Right now. Maybe I should just go ahead and do 2012 while I'm at it.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Off To "The City"

*Teetering on the brink of having 4 days off, half of which will no doubt be endlessly busy. Plan on spending a day and a half or so in Chicago, and on our way back towards home, we'll be stopping to hit the monthly Red Palms get-together at the Chef. The whole Chicago part is in place of the trip we were planning to take in October, which we decided to nix in favor of hopefully geting to Hawaii in the next few years. And it's also going to be an early celebration of Sheri's birthday. So, we're going to the Art Institute on Friday afternoon followed by drinks and chow at Trader Vic's with the 'Lodges. Might wander over to Blue Chicago after that, depending on how things go at TV's. Saturday, we're just hoping to wander around the Loop for a while. Go check out the Eye in Pritzker Park, and then go look at the Bean. Maybe vice versa if we're feeling saucy. Lunch is going to be at the Twisted Kilt, and then who knows what after that until we head out for North Riverside. Planning to enjoy a bunch of the usual shenanigans with all the Red Palms folk, with the added bonus of 13 Tikis playing two live sets. Now, all I have to do is keep her from getting a migraine, or having that hip of hers lock up for the next two and a half days. Could be a daunting task, especially if the cool, windy weather tries to dump some rain on the festivities. I will be keeping my fingers crossed...

*Reka recently had her 15th birthday. I'm pretty sure that's the oldest dog I have ever personaly owned. Makes me feel just a little bit guilty leaving her at home while we go into Chicago, especially since the Hilton is pet friendly (for a fee, of course). The one thought that occurred to me was the same thing that caused issues when we took her to Michigan, that being she won't do her business on anything but grass. And I don't remember seeing a whole lot of that in the Loop. So, Gramda will be dog-sitting for Friday and Saturday.

*Good to spend some time hanging out at BWW after work with Glassy, even if it is only a temporary situation.

*Before I yield to the temptation of pulling my hair out in frustration, I should remember that it's only a working model, and to have moved along this far in less than a week is not bad progress. Still, less internet time would have let me get further along than I am, and the timeline for completion isn't getting any longer.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Just Not Quite Right...

*In the process of straightening out my clothes closet the other day, I ran across some old T-shirts of mine. One was from the time Steve and I went to go see Kiss at the civic center in Peoria back in '91. After deciding to wear it, I was told that no one want to see a 40 year old in a belly shirt. As rude as that statement may have been, the truth of it is quite evident. I also ran across my seemingly endless stack of Jimmy Buffett shirts. But the thing that knocked me most off center was a black T-shirt that was printed with simple white block lettering. This shirt came into existence somewhere between '87 and '89 or so, as best I can recall. Back in the days when the T-shirt shop at the mall was right around the corner from Garcia's Pizza in a Pan. It was something I had done in an attempt to find a cute/charming way around what seemed to be a simple question. Four words are all that are there. And even for all it's economy, that simple phrase was nothing more than a smokescreen on my part. The shirt did nothing more than to let me not say what I was really feeling at the time, because I was afraid to. Now it's 20+ years later, and that shirt still haunts me. Why? Why can't it just get tossed into the bin for donation to Goodwill without any further thought? Why have I kept it all these years? And why, after a conversation with someone, would the person that brought me to the point of having this shirt made suddenly reappear in a dream? Something must not be right in my head. And still, that series of events digs and pokes at my mind. Two decades. That's the amount of time gone by. I couldn't begin to comprehend the amount of material that I've forgotten in that time frame, but this refuses to go away. Of course, I'm not really letting go of it, either. The question was asked, all those years ago, on a bright, sunny day in the parking lot of a McDonald's near the EIU campus, 'She wants to know why you're so interested in her'. There was an answer on the tip of my tongue in a flash, but I held it back out of fear. So I did my usual dance of avoidance and hemmed and hawed until I came up with the genius answer of "I don't know why". And that's what the shirt says on it. Should it have said "I think I love you"? Maybe. That would have been the bold thing to do. Most likely pretty stupid as well, but I am amazed at how effective the combination of bold and stupid can be. Did I really love her at that time? Looking back, that's the label I put on that collection of emotions and actions. And maybe I did know it then. And even if I did, would that shirt have made any more difference in the outcome of the situation than the one that I actually had made? Just too many questions left scattered around. Is this what obsessive behavior is like? I mean, it's not like I'm camped out in front of her house or anything, but why should this still have such a pull on me after all this time? Do you just never get over the loss of a 'first love'? Or is it that I so regret my handling of the situation that my memory refuses to let it die? All that storm, all that mess, from finding a T-shirt. And even though I found the shirt, the answers remain as distant as they ever were.

*The 4' X 18" oak log is pretty much flattened out on the back and is about ready to start receiving some abuse on the front side. Who would have thought that a year and a half wouldn't be enough time for something like that to dry out completely.

*There are two phrases that have have haunted me for years and years and years: "You're a nice guy, but..." and "We need to talk."

*Nice to be chatting with Eve again, even though after all this time it's still just business as usual.

*The folks went up to spend time at some resort/campground in MN with the SIL's family, and it sounds pretty much like the weather crapped on them the whole time. Makes me pretty glad we didn't end up going up there.

*The top of the heap for me in the various beers I've sampled lately would have to be Breckenridge Brewery's Oatmeal Stout. Way way down at the bottom would be Lienenkugel's Creamy Dark and Berghoff Midnight Dark.

*Been getting some previews of rather fall-like weather around here lately. Guess it had to start happening sooner or later, even though I disapprove.

*Moving through the past few days in full-bore Quest mode has left me feeling a bit frayed around the edges.

*Sheri's b-day is 5 days away and the plans for what we're going to do still remain quite nebulous. It does somehow involve Chicago, that much is certain. We know what hotel we're going to stay at, but beyond that, no real decisions have been made. Be nice to get that squared away tomorrow, if possible.

*It wasn't quite lime green, and it wasn't quite neon green, but it was somewhat close to both of those colors. Fortunately for me, it wasn't quite opaque, either.

*Whatever cold bug it was that knocked Sheri flat for four days seems to have only given me a glancing blow on the way out the door. Good for me, bad for her. A weekend lost to illness is never a fun thing.

*I've never really worked a lot with glass. Mostly because I don't know how to. And I'm really not fond enough of being cut by glass to go through a prolonged experimental stage. About the only way I had found to do any type of shaping or cutting was to use a rod saw and to keep everything wet. Tried heat splitting, but didn't have a lot of luck with that either. So, I kinda gave up on glass. Until last night. I'd had some ideas for a couple of projects that involved including some glass bits, and a couple that involved bone. Neither material is one that has a dust that you really want to be breathing. After thinking about it for a while, I decided to drag out the wet grinder and see what it could do with both of these materials. Turns out that it doesn't work badly on either. Just not something you want to have to use for removing large amounts of material, since it takes forever. But, the constant water bath keeps the material cool, and eliminates just about all the dust generated in the grinding process. The one thing to really remember, though, is that glass slurry is still an incredibly abrasive and irritating material. Which explains exactly how I managed to grind a big patch of skin off my finger in the blink of an eye.

*Been having a yen to play Memoir '44 lately, so maybe I'll do that tomorrow. I think I'll run the Normandy Beach scenario and see what happens if I play the Allied side this time around.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mopey Salamander Tablets

(originally written August 19, 2010)

*Another day, and one more time that I forgot to get a hold of Mr. Harley to see if he can make it out tomorrow. Also have to run to the store, do some cleaning, and reassemble the basement before people start showing up. But, since I really have no idea of how many people are coming, things may be all right as they are. Not very likely, though.

*Gracie has an appointment to see the vet in the morning because she's just not acting like herself. Hoping she doesn't have a stick or something like that stuck in her digestive tract somewhere. Not sure what else it could be. She's up to date on all her shots and stuff, so it isn't likely to be that. That tends to weed out the less expensive diagnoses. Guess I should go ahead and get the checkbook all warmed up.

*Still can't figure out why it smells like low tide in blood bank tonight. My shoes are starting to sport a definite aroma of hot swamp, but that's not what people are smelling (as far as I know). This is more fish-like. Literally.

*The idea of hosting a get-together for Nik when she swings through town sounds like it could be fun. Of course, the Old Gang has sprouted a lot of offspring in the years since we all hung out together, and accommodating the little ones is not really what I had the place set up for. Of course, before I go all crazy with wrapping the house in bubble wrap and such I should at least clue the wife in to what might be going on under her own roof in a month or so. She might just have something to say about the whole idea.

*Neat how someone who already catches your eye goes to full blown WOW with the simple act of letting their hair down. Now, in this particular case I am referring to the physical act of releasing actual hair from confinement. If you were to take that phrase as meaning letting go of their hang-ups and having fun, that would also apply. But not literally in this case. When I say this person let their hair down, I mean their actual physical hair. Not that I wouldn't want to see the other, but that opportunity hasn't presented itself yet.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Splinter Infested Forearms

*I am debating as to whether or not I want to start hanging around on Tiki Central again. Part of me thinks it would be a good way to continue making contacts and such in the tiki community, while another part of me thinks it would just be yet another way for me to waste time online.

*The Top Secret project was finished just in time for it's presentation to Dave and Coalbe at the last Chef get-together. It seemed to go over pretty well with them, which I was quite happy for. There wasn't a whole lot said about Festiki by anyone, which kinda surprised me since it was the weekend before. There weren't a huge number of patrons at the restaurant, either, which ended up putting the raffle on hold till next month. So, even though I got lots of oohs and aahs over what I had made, I won't know who gets it till some other time. Dave also announced that there will be live bands at each of the meetings thru the end of the year, which should make things more interesting on meeting nights. After the meeting, a bunch of us decided to head out to the all-night flea market in Wheaton. We got there a little before midnight, and the place was still hopping. Had I wanted to, I could have gotten the autographs of both Joyce DeWitt and the Honky-Tonk Man. Don't ask me why they were there, because I really couldn't tell you. All I managed to score was a vintage Hawaiian shirt, a really nice (and huge!) hip flask, and a Coco Joe's zodiac pendant I had never seen before. Left there around 2 and got home around 3, which makes for one of our latest evenings out in longer than I can remember.

*Much as I do truly appreciate the various expressions of concern, I feel I should take this time to reassure everyone that the situation being fretted over is well under control.

*Lost a few days last week to an insidious mini-depression. Once a wake-up call had been issued by the Wife, action was taken to control the situation. The resolution (for now, at least) seems to have come with a return to my regularly scheduled medication, and a resumption of regular physical exercise.

*Tried Mike's Hard Mango Punch, and wasn't very impressed with it. While standing behind the bar, I noticed I had something that should, at least in theory, go well with it. I put a splash of that in, and it was indeed quite tasty. Encouraged by that result, I added yet another ingredient which I'm pretty sure is necessary, but have yet to determine the quantity needed. And of course, I put lime in it. It's still on the border of being too sweet, and the flavor isn't overly complex, but for a start it's pretty good. Once I get the final recipe hammered out, this may just become the signature drink of the Blue Moai Room. At the moment though, the drink isn't blue in color, and I don't really care that it isn't. But, it is something that may be accommodated in future versions of the recipe.

*I have yet to find that stupid water control chip. But at least this time I didn't have to go all the way to the Hub to get ropes.

*NIU is back in session! And so, there are loads of people wandering aimlessly all over the SW corner of town, which greatly impacts the aerobic value of my bike riding in a most negative way. This relationship is the direct inverse of the scenic value of my bike riding, however.

*Took a freshly sharpened chisel to a block of wood I've had laying around for a while and after 2 or 3 passes with the 18 maul, the edge was all nicked up. I have no idea what kind of wood it is, but it damn sure is some pretty tough stuff. I really don't feel like having 3 sets of chisels that are all ground to different edges, but something like that may just be in order. I really thought a 30 degree edge was going to be sufficient.

*Speaking of NIU, it has come to my attention that there is now a bar/restaurant open in the VCB commons. I have no idea how the owners managed to pull that one off. Having a bar right across the street from campus has long been the dream of many NIU students (and probably quite a few professors), and now it has come true. Might have to go over there and check it out for myself. The fact that it is a country/sports bar does give me a good reason or two to reconsider that decision. Still, it's something new in town, and I should probably give it at least one try before it dries up and blows away.

*If we nix the fall trip and start watching our pennies here and there, the idea has been put forth that a Hawaii trip might be possible next year. I like that thought, but there is a lot of research that needs to be done in the meantime. I'm thinking that finding an all-inclusive resort might not be a bad way to go.

*"We have met the enemy and they is us." A classic line from Pogo. Look it up.

*Still have no solid plans for what we're going to do for Sheri's birthday. It is highly likely to involve Chicago, but not much more is known beyond that at the present moment. She has graciously offered to go to Trader Vic's for dinner, but I know that's not really her preference and have told her to reconsider her choice. It also leaps to mind that I should be considering what her present is going to be. I got a month or so, so it should be no problem.

*I wonder if I can get a power adapter for my camera...

*The construction of the new bar has been put on hold until winter. Sheri brought up the quite reasonable point that I should be working on things that can only be done in the garage while I have the ability to be working in the garage. The bar is something that can be built over the holiday season, when it's unlikely that we'll be having people over. Plus, I'm thinking that I need to try and rope Bart in as a helper on this one. I think I could likely get Al to come over and lend a hand too. I already know how big it's going to be overall, but there are some less-than-common materials I have to get to give it just the right look. Luckily, I have access to the internet. But even though I know what size I want it to be, the manner in which it will be constructed and exact arrangement of the features is something I haven't figured out yet.

*Sheri's car is back from Motor Works once again, this time with a new oil sending unit. Since this critical little piece of equipment opted to die in our driveway, instead of while we were stuck in traffic on I90, we didn't have to replace the engine. But, if we would have had to, we would have ended up getting a new car. I say 'we' here when I really mean 'she'.

*So far, zero new messages, despite Tim's assurance that something will be arriving soon.

*Physical exercise is not something optional for me. If I want to keep my brain functioning as properly as I can get it to, I have to exercise. Not sure if that means I want to rejoin the Y or not. If I don't, that means I'll be plodding away on the treadmill all winter. If I do, it means I actually have to get up and leave the house when it's cold outside. That is a pretty even trade in my book.

*I wonder what it would take.......and am still wondering, since I have no idea what it was I was wondering about when I started typing this line.

*The Lounge will be open this Friday night, which reminds me that I have yet to call Mr. Harley and let him know.


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Feed Your Elbows

*Do I dare to make a list of things I'd like to get done next week, even though I know full well that I most likely won't be getting it all done? Of course, part of completing a list involves both being able to find said list, as well as referring to it on occasion, neither of which is a great strength of mine. I do think I'll be going over to Bart and Steph's to see if I can scare up another game of cornhole. The dogs need to get their nails clipped. At some point we're going to the folks place for BBQ. And I think it's move-in week for the NIU students, which makes it a good time to avoid that corner of town, even though I need to go over to Lisa's for a couple of things. Cornfest is going on next weekend too. I may just stock up on limes and hide out in the basement for the week.

*Carving away on a mini Moai for the next Chef get-together. I think it's going to be another 70's Coco Joe homage, but I don't know what color jewel I'm going to mount yet. Gonna drill and string this one once it's done too, so it's ready to be worn. Should give me a reason to go over to Michael's and rummage around for some things.

*Sheri rightly pointed out that my lack of attention to the length of the grass could be contributing to the hordes of mosquitoes outside, so I went after the yard and buzzed it off sooner than I would normally do. The patch of weeds (AKA this year's failed garden) by the front door also disappeared as part of the parasite control effort. My reward for all this was to be covered in hives, sweat, dirt, and mosquito bites. Soooo sexy.

*"Insidious Intimidation". Awesome band name? Not bad by my standards. A lot of letters to put on a T-shirt, but it's got that whole alliteration thing going for it. Shame that it's actually a management tool instead. Hey, "Management Tool" would be a pretty good band name, too. Oops. Wait. That was sarcasm, wasn't it? Sarcasm is now verboten.

*The top secret project is coming along nicely, despite the oppressive weather. Color matching has yet to be done, and even though I'm still not thrilled with the choice that was made, I can still appreciate why it was chosen. My ability to replicate that color remains to be seen, though.

*N recently updated her Facebook profile picture, and I was stunned by it. In a very good way, that is. I think that may explain her rather prominent, and extended, appearance in a recent dream. And, much as in real life, where N was, S wasn't far behind. Of course, that led to brief remembrances of Y as well. Liberal application of logic to all involved situations and persons only tended to dull the underlying feelings rather than removing them.

*I am still neglecting to take serial pictures of things I have in progress. I have no doubt that will come back to bite me in the ass someday when I want to replicate a particular project. Plus, it really limits my ability to show off online.

*The length of the new bar has been decided, and that's about all I know for sure. I had wanted to do a two level bar, but I'm wondering if I have enough space to be able to do that. I may have to go with a deeper (front to back), one level bar. I think that would just look too blocky, but I'm trying to not get too hung up on perfection with this first effort. The number of stools has dropped from 4 to 3, and the number of look-throughs may be going up from 2 to 3. All I know about the back bar for sure is that I'm going to have one, and the basic footprint of how big it's going to be. At least all the scale drawings I've been doing are helping me to zero in on potential problems before I start buying supplies and putting things together.

*WTF is up with my computer disc drive?? Or is it my iTunes software? I keep trying to upload discs into my iTunes library, but last 3 or 4 songs on the disc just won't load. I hear the drive speeding up, falling back, speeding up and falling back, but the info never makes it onto the computer. might need to try and find some type of free disc drive diagnostic software or something like that. Not that I want to have to replace it, but that would be a lot cheaper than replacing the whole computer. But if its a software issue, that I should be able to fix for nothing. I hope.

*Sheri's car seems to be dead. Again. Nice little orangey oil light glowing on the dash and a red engine light on as well. No oil on the ground though, and no mess under the hood. I'm thinking dead oil pump. I was also thinking seized engine, but it did crank over and start, so that wasn't the case, at least not yet. No matter how you slice it, looks like we'll be making yet another contribution to Motor Works bottom line. I guess it was good that whatever it is went wrong in our driveway and not while we were out in Des Plains, flying down the interstate, or sitting parked on the interstate. Doesn't change how completely lacking in fun it is to watch your car rolling down the street attached to the back of a tow truck.

*Max Headroom will soon be available on DVD! This was one of the freaking coolest shows to come out of the '80s, in my opinion. I never knew there were so few shows done (only 14). The one weird thing I heard was that in all the DVD extras, there was no commentary or anything else from Matt Frewer. What's up with that? Oh, and if you have no idea who Max Headroom is, turn in your 'Geek' badge (if you have one) and skip ahead to the next section.

*Just about been a week and not word from the liquor store as to whether or not they'll be able to get that Mexican booze I want to try.
*Took a look at the M*A*S*H complete DVD set, since it's a show we both like and could seemingly watch forever. There are 200+ episodes on I think 25 discs, to the tune of $150 or so. But, if you want the very last episode, they sell that one episode separately. Why, I have no idea. Oh, yeah, I know why. To be able to make more money. Does that mean I am disgusted enough with the money grubbing practices of the fat cat Hollywood corporate executives to pass on buying this set? Probably not...


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The End of Funky Wallpaper

*Today's iPod random play guilty pleasure: 'Blinded by the Light' by ELO

*I read today that Van Halen was going to be realeasing a new album with DLR as the lead singer, and EVH's son on bass. I had thought that the last time I heard DLR's voice that it had gotten pretty rough, so I'm not sure if this is going to be something I bother to listen to.

*There are times when someone telling you they are, or were, without panties is a form of punishment.

*The question of the day for tomorrow will be whether I go work in the yard, thereby suffering the wrath of the mosquitoes, or if I stay inside in the air conditioning and bore myself to sleep with paperwork. As of now I am still undecided. I could clean out my car a bit, since even I am starting to think that its too dirty inside, but that almost sounds like work.

*Soometimes I just have to wonder what Aquaman would do in this situation.

*The scope and scale of the bar I'm looking to build is coming into shape. I may have even found somewhere online to get bamboo and thatch for the finishing touches. The also have porcupine fish, but I think I'll not tell Sheri that just yet.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Captain Ahab and the Wailers Live in Concert!!

*I still think True Genius was a better movie than Weird Science, Kelly LeBrock or no
*With the bar rebuild getting ready to start, and Cornfest being the same weekend I had been considering, looks like the Blue Moai Room is going to take the month off.

*Went out to Tiki Terrace on Sunday evening to take the second Ohana night. This is a new event the restaurant is sponsoring to showcase Polynesian dance clubs from all over the Midwest. I never really thought there would be one, much less multiple Polynesian dance clubs in the Midwest. Just goes to show how in touch with things I am. Anyway, I was hoping that this time we'd be seated on the opposite side of the stage from the last time, and we were. So, things were starting off good. We remembered how, let's say, intermittent, the service had been at the last Ohana, so we made sure to get our food orders in early. I opted to try one of the vanilla ginger martinis as an opener. I couldn't find the ginger, but Sheri said she could taste it. I, on the other hand, was quite content to have a glass full of vanilla flavored vodka. So far, so good. OK, now one of the reasons for having these events is to showcase the clubs, and to have other clubs come out to support each other. Hence, 'Ohana', meaning 'family'. Now the place starts filling up with people, and we see that between us and the stage, they have pulled together three tables for one party. Hmmmm. And when that party starts to filter in, it's close to 50% kids. Young kids. Don't think a single one was older than 5. Somehow, the adults in that party were representatives of two other clubs that had come to watch the club that was performing. Anyway, I'm not really liking the looks of the table as a whole. Things continue to move along, and we get our appetizer, which was as good as it was the last time we were there. But by now, the notion of 'ohana' is really starting to show, as practically everyone who walks in the door of the restaurant spends a good 20 minutes wandering around greeting everyone else who's there, us and a few other people excepted. And somewhere along this point in time, it did indeed turn into what I would basically consider a huge family dinner. Kids were running all over the place, the 20-somethings were working on getting loaded, and the general noise level started towards the top of the charts. Sheri was starting to look a bit uncomfortable as the crowd of people started to press up against our table. Our server disappeared shortly after we got our entrees, and from that point on, we were basically on our own. The show was good, when it started, but the PA system was way too loud for the room. By the end of the show, the place had pretty much turned into a house party. A different server took pity on us and tried to take care of us, but by that point I was already fairly pissed. Even though Sheri's anxiety level from the general level of chaos was way up there, she encouraged me to not get too upset about how the evening was going. So I took a second and thought about it. If you took away all the kids, you'd be somewhat close to what happens when the FOM invades the Chef. That put the whole evening in a different light. I would still say that you should go out to Tiki Terrace and soak up some of the mega-over-the-top-tiki atmosphere. And I think you should try the moco loco, which was way too good. And all the wahinis are to die for. You may just want to avoid going on an Ohana night. And I really feel bad for saying that, since the point of the evening is to showcase these groups that are working hard to preserve a part of the heritage of Polynesia. But it really does seem that the staff there hasn't quite ironed out the kinks for this new event. They may just need to close the place to regular customers on those nights. But then that would keep people the general public from being exposed to these dance clubs (forgive me for not using the proper Hawaiian term here, but I can't remember it). I really don't think your average customer would sit through an evening like that, though. We're going to try and go to one of the regular shows, or maybe even a non-show night, and see if things are different. If they aren't, well, this place might get scratched off our list. I really hate to say that, because it is a cool place, but Sheri and I both agree that for what it costs and how far we have to drive to get there, the service needs to be quite a bit better. Still, I'm hoping that we find this past evening to be an anomaly.

*While she may not have come right out and said that a Halloween party isn't going to happen this year, it has been heavily implied. I am of very mixed emotions concerning that.

*Between going down to Peoria and heading up to Des Plaines, I spent what was for me a lot of time on the road. Looking back, it still kinda feels like I didn't really do that much this weekend, even though I covered a lot of ground in the process. I think I would have had more success getting from point A to point B and back again had not IDOT pulled up most of the road surfaces between the two points. Going up and down 39 wasn't too bad, even with it being one lane in both directions for quite a distance. Trying to get back home from Chicago on 90, however was quite a different story. That was quite a mess, to the point of being completely stopped more than once. Luckily when we got off at 47 it was clear sailing from there, at least until Burlington, when we got behind someone who was drunk, sleepy, elderly, or some combination of the above. There was just enough traffic that we couldn't get around them and ended up following them all the way to 89. I just think the universe was telling us that we needed to slow down on Sunday. Or maybe it was just IDOT. Hard to tell, really.

*Compared to the Tiki Terrace event, Steve's b-day get-together was a great success. Aside from the staff not being able to arrange a table for 8 that didn't involve climbing all over each other, things went pretty well. On the drive down to Metamora I did manage to get caught up on my backlog of podcasts, which was a good start. The fact that Steve had basically figured out that I was going to be there took a bit of sparkle off the day, but it was good to see my second family for a bit. I even managed to eke out a victory at dice before the brownies and ice cream marked the end of the evening. I was also quite surprised that the peanuts managed to stay in place for the entire ride home from Metamora.

*No bowling after the next Chef. Going to hit one of the all-night flea markets instead. Should be interesting.