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.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Binary Menthol Asparagus Nuclei

*Sheri recently got a promotion calendar from a company that's trying to get her to buy them as gifts for clients, which she has no intention of doing, so that sample found it's way into my hands. Now I have a calendar for 2011. What's the first thing that I put into it? Not my birthday, or Sheri's, or our anniversary, or anything else like that. The first thing to make it onto the calendar for 2011 were the recently released dates for next year's Ohana. Sad? Perhaps. But I am not going to miss it next year. Period. OK, if you want to know something that is either sadder than that or an indication of how good a party this is, depending on how you look at it-there are people who have already reserved their rooms for the 2011 event.

*Heading out to Tiki Terrace again on Sunday evening for the next Ohana Night (not to be confused with the FOM weekend of a similar name). Maybe this time around I'll try their zombie, since I wasn't too impressed with their mai tai. I think I'll ask the bartender for their recipe for that mango colada that Sheri likes while I'm there.

*Not that it's all that surprising, but I have exceeded the storage capacity of my iPod Nano. Guess 8 gigabytes doesn't go as far as it used to. So, that means I'll be putting a full-size (standard) iPod on the wish list for the nearish future.

*Just when I thought that the mosquito population may be on the way down, we get drenched with all this rain, and the so-called 'flood' mosquitoes come out. These are the ones the are even more vicious than your standard mosquito and are active at all times of the day and night, to boot. Hate 'em. Hate 'em, hate 'em, H-A-T-E them. But, it is ever so slightly satisfying to watch a dozen or more of them bounce against the garage screen in a futile attempt to get at me while I work. That is, until I actually have to go outside. I would say that the dogs are getting it far worse than I am, but even though they get swarmed every time they go out, they don't seem to care, so that doesn't really count.

*May have started seeing signs that Reka's age is catching up with her more than we want to admit, or even think about.

*The anniversary party at the Chef was a blast. At least the half of it that I got to go to was. Wasn't quite as packed as I thought it would be (not a bad thing), and the bands weren't quite as loud as I thought they might be (also not a bad thing). I think I like The Concussions better than Wraygun, but that may only be because The Concussions played two sets and had CD's available. Wraygun had a chick playing sax, which is hard to top, though. Tried a Dr Fong, which was pretty good, and a scorpion, which was just OK. Their hot and sour soup continues to be the most mystifying blend of flavors I have ever encountered in any restaurant. Not to say it's bad, or anything like that, but it's just differently flavored than any other soup by the same name that I have had the chance to try. It was also nice to meet some more of the Red Palms family, and I will apologize in advance to each and every one of those whose names I will forget before I see them again. It was nice to see that there was a bit of competition going on for what I had donated, even though Lake Tiki had a whole display of stuff set up at the back to the room. It was also nice that even though TAT teased me more than once, I resisted the urge to go overboard with my beverage consumption. The most mind blowing part of the whole evening was the after-Chef drop-in at the Bamboolodges. The only way I can think of to describe the things I saw in their basement would be to say the it's the Smithsonian Institute of Tiki Culture. Made me feel like a rank-ass amateur collector. Not to say it's going to stop me from getting more stuff, but it sure reminded me of my place in the grand scale of things. All in all, a most wonderful evening. Secret plans were set in motion, alcohol was transported across state lines, and I got Maister Brau-ed for the second time in a week. What more could you ask for?

*Looks like Friday the 20th will be the next time the Blue Moai Room will be open for consumption of beverages, unless I end up demolishing the area in an effort to construct the new bar (keep reading). I was toying with the notion of going out for dinner beforehand, but there's really nowhere tropicalish in the area, and the get-together at the Chef is the next night. Not to mention that I think Sheri is working that night, and she doesn't like being left out of the fun.

*The fate of the Four has been decided. The form it will take for each of them has not.

*The Blue Moai room has gotten a bit stagnant. Time to do a remodel. About 2/3 of the space works really well, so that part I intend to leave alone. It's just that the whole bar area really doesn't work well at all. Or maybe it would be better said that it doesn't work the way I wanted it to. Gonna store a couple pieces of furniture that are over there, and then build a more functional (hopefully) bar area. I have to admit that part of the genesis for this idea came when I heard Sheri mention that we were going to convert the other downstairs room into a library. Oops. That kinda takes my idea for putting a bar in there and tosses it out the window. But, that kinda depends of if she ever gets that room cleaned out, which is looking doubtful at the moment. Still, I think she wants to keep a bit of a foothold in the basement, so I better not get too grabby, lest I end up loosing ground, and good will, in the end. So, I'm thinking that the bar will be on the right at the bottom of the stairs, and the other room will just be another seating area and extra display space for my collection. A tiki-esque library, if you will. And, at the same time I'll be working on that, I'll be trying to come up with an idea for a sign to go in the stairwell. Or maybe at the bottom of the stairs. Not sure which yet.

*A break in the rain and a day of sunshine and warm winds let me finally haul the mower out and tame the wild savanna that my yard had become. Seeing the herds of bison crossing the yard made me think that it was finally time to do something about the grass.

*Just waiting to hear back from Julie on what color she'd like her signs to be, then that project will be done and out of my way. And only a couple of months late (ish). Still have the idea for the fridge project, but I'm still not sold on it. Plus, I haven't been to the shop in a while, so I have no idea what's been changed since I was there last.