Gobble Gobble. Well, we sent the folks on their way this morning after a breakfast at the Double ‘T’ on Rt. 40; a great time was had by all. Jen and I got up Thursday morning and simultaneously cooked food, cleaned house, and moved furniture before my folks arrived. We had a 14 lb. bird, harvest stuffing, smashed potatoes, candied yams, fresh snapped beans, and Mom’s gravy (winner and still champ-een, two years running.) It was great to be able to sit and have a real family meal around the new (to us) table in the dining room like grown-ups, as well—the day of the little enamel-top table is done. Dessert was a choice of homemade pecan pumpkin pie or carrot cake (Jen spoils us) and coffee. We all slept very heavy that night.

Friday Jen served us her homemade cinnamon buns for breakfast, and we ventured out into the rain to Home Anthology, where Jen and I cashed in our gift certificate (thanks Nate, Kristen, Heather and Todd) for a beautiful mirror for over the fireplace. We wandered around Ellicott City and had lunch at the brewpub on the hill. Mercifully, we didn’t buy a ton of stuff while we were there.

Saturday we drove to Andy Nelson’s to pick up twelve pounds of barbecue, and got the house ready for Jen’s fambly. They drove up in Big Blue at about 4:30, two hours later than we were planning, but we got them likkered up and built a fire and sat around the living room and told stories. Much better than last year, when we shoehorned everyone into the rowhome and then took them to the typhoid breeding ground for dinner.

Today’s menu is full of leisure, leftovers, and low maintenance. I did rake the rest of the leaves off the back lawn and bagged them when we got home from breakfast, however. And it looks like Isabel, or whatever funky weather pattern we’ve had since then, dropped a branch into the roof of the greenhouse by the top, which I have to figure out how to fix before snowfall.

Date posted: November 30, 2003 | Filed under family, house | Leave a Comment »

Today I got hit with requests for work on three different projects, all due Monday morning. Two of the three were surprises, while the other was something that I was given Monday afternoon for completion COB yesterday…which then bled into today. So already I’m in a wonderful mood. Add to that the utterly craptacular MFC interface two programmers put in front of me, with bright shining smiles. Imagine their horror when I told them, without pity, that it was crap and that I was redesigning everything. Hint to programmers: 1. MFC makes me cranky. 2. Don’t ever tell me “we can’t do that”. 3. Don’t ever tell me that managing three windows on one screen in a game is OK. 4. Quit trying to design and get back to work.

Venturing out to the Baja Fresh with a gaggle of people for lunch, Nate and I were ignored for about ten solid minutes by the manager and assistant manager, who thought it was time better spent yelling at each other and the five guys frantically putting food together behind the counter. We walked out and went to Qdoba, where the act of putting a burrito together is not considered open-heart surgery. Upon returning to the office, Nate bit into his burrito only to find it was my burrito, so I had to settle for a dry, bland collection of rice and beans sprinkled sparingly with dry pieces of steak. (I ordered chicken molé.)

About the only thing that’s gone right so far is the open box of Dunkin’ Donuts in the lunchroom, which was still full.

In other news, class went well last night, I think, with a few exceptions; I was also able to pick up another iMac for a dirt-cheap price to continue the MP3 -> iPod saga. More on that later. Plus, a DOA Apple Pro Mouse for free, which I’m going to do surgery on next week, if I have time.

Date posted: November 26, 2003 | Filed under friends, humor | Leave a Comment »

So I don’t have enough space on the Powerbook for all the songs I’ve got ripped to MP3. I have the iMac, but it doesn’t have a FireWire port. So Jason suggested that I wipe my iTunes preferences, mount the iMac drive as a volume, and then point iTunes to it as the music library folder. All fine and good…except that the Ratings do not transfer from the remote volume to the Powerbook—which negates the full power of Smart Playlists. So I can go through all 6210+ songs and re-rate each individual one again…or find another way of doing this.

Music of the Day: Red Snapper, Making Bones. Good electronic/live instrumental mixture with some soaring vocals over top, just what I like. Imagine the rythym section of Soul Coughing fronted by N’dea Davenport and somebody throwing keyboards in behind. I have to say, if I was to start a band, I’d hire a drummer and play nothing but upright funk bass.

Random Thoughts. It’s about 30 degrees in Baltimore today, and I can feel it in the finger I broke five years ago (playing football drunk with a friend in Nag’s Head, I caught a pass straight-on with my left ring finger, fracturing both sockets in the middle bone. I did finish the game, though.) Jen is picking up the final groceries for this weekend; my folks are getting into town after noon on Thursday, and we have another pile of food on order from Andy Nelson’s.

Date posted: November 25, 2003 | Filed under music | Leave a Comment »

Recap Busy weekend—in a nutshell: tasting at the Brass Elephant successful, polyurethane on upstairs floors completed (including hallway, whew), mission to Lockard family house for turkey day complete. Lots to do before the break, little time. Details to follow.

This link is one I’m going to keep because I’ve heard of people losing power in their iPods after very short periods of time. Being the tinkering type, though, I don’t have a problem cracking the case on anything.

Date posted: November 24, 2003 | Filed under geek, house, music | Leave a Comment »

that's just super, 11.20.03

Let’s all hear it for Mr. Active Roof Leak, everyone! Thanks.

Album of the Day. The Roots‘ Phrenology. Lots of juicy good tracks on here. I’m not a huge hip-hop or rap fan, although my tastes do run to the DJ genre (see Shadow, RJD2, Cut Chemist, et. al.), but I enjoy the Roots’ sound. In the year 2003 these guys still care about the production and the words; I think the fact that the band acually plays each track is central to the quality of the music.

This morning I posted a bunch of pictures of the rooms that have been stained; in no particular order, here are the pink room, ocean room, and the office. Additionally, I stained the floor in the cream room this morning before leaving for work, because we have a forecast of 60+ degree weather through Monday. Pictures of that room to come tomorrow.

Date posted: November 20, 2003 | Filed under house, music | Leave a Comment »

A friend just sent me this link: It’s a compendium of great client horror stories from the dot-com days. It’s all text, pretty quick, but riotously funny. Reminds me of my days in the saltmine:

Asshole Marketing VP: We want to have a flashy movie on our homepage to showcase how fast the service is.
Me: (considering outside help) Well, OK, how much money do we have to…

AMVP: We don’t have any money. Just do that voodoo thing you do.
Me: But I need stuff like music and video to drop in there…
AMVP: Steal something. Find a song you like and use that.
Me: Uh, that’s illegal.

AMVP: Why are you being difficult? Just get it done.
Me: (pissed.) Alright. When do we need to have it done?

AMVP: Two weeks. And put lots of action in there. Make it edgy.

AMVP: What’s the matter?

…I could go on…

CompUSA gave me a full-price refund for an open box return, so I turned around and ordered a FireWire enclosure for the 28GB drive our friend Rob gave me. Plan B is to dump the MP3 collection on that drive and point iTunes to it via the Powerbook. I’ll find a way to get my songs on the iPod somehow.

Fun for the Whole Family. Check this link. The fan-produced Pokemon video for this song is mind-numbingly funny.

Who’s Bad? Why is it the cops aren’t busting down doors and arresting Michael frickin’ Jackson? Why are they “negotiating” his surrender?

My Old School. So last night I was at MICA at 6:30 and the class actually happened. I met up with the two other teachers and we traded histories; turns out I graduated a couple of years after one and designed a company website for the other. We gave our pitches, and after having practiced mine at least five times, I forgot most of it. However, it seemed to go well, and I think I got the students interested in the project. My group told me I was their first choice (the teachers pitch their projects and the students vote for their choices), which made me feel pretty good. So I’ll post more updates to the class page as it unfolds; I’m going to take pictures of the work as it comes in and try to answer all the questions by adding information as it gets worked out.

One of the students was interested in contacting the government to see if we could propose the final comps as an alternative to the current design, which is something I had considered but ultimately had to shelve while trying to find the samples. I’m going to look back into that and see if there’s somebody who knows somebody who knows the person.

Date posted: November 19, 2003 | Filed under art/design, geek, humor | Leave a Comment »

are my eyes. We’ve found that the coffee sold by the Metro (a local Maryland chain) is so crappy, you can’t smell the difference between decaf French roast and ‘southern pecan’. So Jen and I have been playing russian roulette with the coffee this past week, and I think I keep losing. Luckily the management at work brought two automatic coffee makers into work for us, and in a rare stroke of luck, there’s half & half in the fridge. So I’m now drinking my third cup of coffee and trying to keep my eyelids open.

…But No Cigar. The FireWire card I bought for the PC worked fine when I put it in the PC, but XPlay did not work the way I hoped it would. I wanted to use iTunes the way I do on the Mac, but XPlay has you managing your music manually, which is what I’m trying to get away from. So it’s back to the drawing board.

Date posted: November 18, 2003 | Filed under geek, humor | Leave a Comment »

sage and his mama (this looks light on a Mac, I swear), 11.14.03

sage and his mama (this looks light on a Mac, I swear), 11.14.03

Because I was paid on time, I think I may treat myself to that $22 FireWire card down at the CompUSA tonight on my way home from work. I used two nifty features of my iPod last night—the sleep timer and the alarm clock—to put myself to sleep with some Thievery Corporation and wake myself up, respectively. It would be grand to get the bulk of my music on this little gizmo. Thanks go to Jen for the bounty of bulk consumer products she stocked us with at the Sam’s this weekend; besides a pallet of toilet paper, we found her a very inexpensive, but stylish cashmere winter coat. Hotcha hotcha! And thanks also to Nate for the bevy of good new music.

I’m Feeling Much Better Now, Thanks. I woke up at seven this morning (OK, 7:15) and made Jen some breakfast; after she left I put on my kneepads and started staining the floors. By 9:15 I had three rooms done and sealed the upstairs in plastic like a hermetic bubble. I made it into work and told Todd that when I pass out and begin twitching under my desk to inform the paramedics that I’ve been huffing glue all morning.

I’m getting some pretty good visuals here.

Date posted: November 17, 2003 | Filed under apple, house, music | Leave a Comment »

Yesterday I tore the built-in shelves out of the office so that we could sand the floors underneath; there was no good way to pull selected parts off without ripping out the whole damn thing. Luckily the shelves behind the doors were less difficult and I didn’t have to demolish them. As of tonight, the pink, blue and office floors are palm-sanded, cleaned, and ready to be stained tomorrow morning. Jen and I agreed on pecan for the color, so we picked up a gallon of it this morning. I’ll rise early tomorrow and see if I can’t get all three rooms done before work.

Found via the mighty Metafilter this evening: The Greatest Album Covers That Never Were.

Date posted: November 16, 2003 | Filed under art/design, house | Leave a Comment »

I have 10.3 running on Jen’s Powerbook; it got the original 12GB drive from my machine with a clean install. Jen’s going to be moving to OSX at some point at work and I want her to be familiar with it as soon as she can be so the IT idiots there don’t get involved. It looks and runs very well on a 400Mhz G3, which is a good sign.

A few things, found via one of my new favorite design sites: Interrobang Letterpress. Tasty and sweet. Also, a racy bit of non-worksafe fun: Motel Fetish.

Grumble Grumble. So last night I got home and the power was out. Again. This makes the third time since we’ve moved in—admittedly the first time was during the hurricane, but this is frickin’ high wind. Everybody else in Catonsville had power, for crying out loud.

So we drove to Kelsey’s Irish pub and had some warm food while the Maryland game played in the background; when the longhaired 40-year-old band began setting up in the corner, we beat feet back to the ice chest. Jen put seventy blankets on the bed while I stoked the fire; our sleep was interrupted repeatedly by the cats, who became punting targets as they jumped on the bed. (try sleeping with five blankets and four cats on one bed. It’s kind of like being covered in warm cement.) Around 4:30 the lights came back on, and the heat slowly returned, thank god.

I’ve learned a couple of new things about the house; apparently the front porch holds absolutely no heat, the chimney damper definitely needs to be fixed, and we are in the market for a generator. Also, there’s a radiator behind the inside front door.

Date posted: November 14, 2003 | Filed under geek, house, humor, links | Leave a Comment »