It was good to sip coffee this morning, look up, and see the ceiling in the hallway with a second coat of mud dry and ready to be sanded (which made last night’s dry-air nosebleed worthwhile.) It was good to hear this morning that my main freelance client has plenty of work planned for 2005, which means Jen won’t throw my ass out on the corner to shake my moneymaker. It was also good to get a call from a consulting client last night looking for more help (and letting me know that the stuff I’ve already done is working fine.) I may not have two pennies to rub together, but things are still moving along.

Fixing The Little Orange Wagon. As you may or may not know, we at the House Of Cats have a problem child. Penn has been banished up in the office/atrium extention for the better part of eight months while we try various medications to settle him down. (Recap: He began to get aggressive towards Geneva, the lone female, almost immediately after the Tribal Merge, until he was actively seeking her out for fights. Geneva is no pushover, but when the stress level started affecting her eating habits, we separated the two boxers into their respective corners.) We’ve gone through four different meds for Penn, each with its own effects:

  1. Paxil: mellowed his orange ass out for a week, and then gave him a pleasant buzz, like a month-long amphetamine binge. We switched when he started yowling at the wall during the day like a mental pateint.
  2. [forgot the name]: The switchover was a peaceful three or four days, and then it was back to yowling. He slept and ate more at this period, too.
  3. Prozac: this was probably the best of the lot, although he still lunged at Geneva when she walked past. We switched when he began picking out the food with the medicine on it and eating the rest.
  4. Valium: I’d heard through second-hand sources that the Big V was supposed to be King Daddy of chillout drugs, but this is LIES! Valium is sort of like a kitty crystal meth for Penn—he paces the room constantly. When he hears my voice, he starts a methodical clawing of the door that sounds like we have the Mother Under The Bed from that X-Files episode trapped upstairs.

So, we brought him back in for $450 worth of bloodwork, having his anal glands unclogged (eccchh) and a bag of special kitty food worth its weight in gold. The diagnosis now is that he has some kind of inflamed bowel syndrome (an abnormally high white blood cell count), which means he needs steroids, expensive steroids, and we haven’t even paid off the bloodwork bill yet.

The bottom line here is that he’s not gotten any better. He wants to be the Alpha cat, but Geneva has already locked up the nomination and crushed all other opposition. He can’t be out in the general population while he’s aggressive, and we can’t condemn him to a solitary life in the Penn-itentiary upstairs. We’re going to give him the steroids and then try whatever medicine worked the best (probably the Prozac again) for one last shot at feline harmony; if he can’t fit in we’re going to have to put him up for adoption in a single-kitty home.

Gift. When I do get some bucks together, I am totally buying this T-Shirt for my wife.

Date posted: January 28, 2005 | Filed under house | Leave a Comment »

Jen and I met a friend for drinks last night down the street at Bar, where the atmosphere was basketball, the PBR was $2, and the cigarette smoke was thicker than week-old fudge. It was good to get out and visit after our voluntary two-month timeout. We met at 9pm and wound up getting home at 2am (?!!?!) which is something I’ve not done in years on a school night. Topics of discussion included Work, People We Know From The Scene, Smalltimore (thanx Todd) and Embarassing Ex Stories. This morning it took a little longer than usual to crack open my eyelids, and I got to relive the joy of scrubbing a carton’s worth of nicotine off my skin. Good times.

Date posted: January 27, 2005 | Filed under entertainment, friends | Leave a Comment »

Drywall in place

One evening, two beers, many curses, and a box of drywall screws later, we got the cieling up in place (with the aid of my wife and a homemade deadman stick.)

Date posted: January 27, 2005 | Filed under house | Comments Off on Drywall in Place

Windows XP sucks. That is all.

Link Fun. I’m going to have to try this photoshop filter effect. (via curiouslee) | A crystal meth testimonial. (via kottke) | Turn your mac Mini into a media server. (via macintouch) | Sharing a central iTunes library from multiple computers.

Date posted: January 26, 2005 | Filed under general | Leave a Comment »

Before demolition, 1.17

What we wound up with, 1.20

Drywall in place (the dark patch is just one sheet hung upside-down), 1.24

Postcards From The Beltway. Somebody upstairs always knows when I have a meeting at work to attend, because they schedule an accident on the beltway for those days. Here are some brief notes from my hour-long commute this morning:

To the woman in the red Kia minivan: Your lack of purchasing intelligence is evident in your choice of vehicle, but you showed how ignorant you truly are when the shrieking, flashing, honking ambulance pulled up directly behind you (and beside me) and you sat there like a hump without pulling into the breakdown lane. Nice going.

To the man in the Boxster with the dog: Thank you for the belly laugh you and your puppy gave me while I sat waiting. There’s nothing funnier than the beautiful lines of a German sportscar interrupted by the homely face of a panting english bulldog hanging out the window.

Finally, to the brain surgeon in the Jeep who passed us all in the breakdown lane with your hazards on: Many times I’ve cursed people like you, who feel that their need to get to the dentist’s appointment, bingo parlor, or afternoon quickie supercedes everybody else’s. Not content to just drive illegally on the left shoulder, usually you’re doing mach 5 while yammering on your cellphone. Many times, I’ve wished I was an unmarked State Trooper with a big D.I. hat and an even bigger citation booklet, so that I could pull your ass over and tow your car away. Today, I got a front-row seat to watch you get stopped by that very cop. SWEET REVENGE! I think the best part about it was the fact that you looked pissed. Have a nice day, jackass.

Date posted: January 25, 2005 | Filed under house, humor | Leave a Comment »

When there is a blip on the weather radar here in Maryland, people tend to get all freaky. The accredited, schooled, certified, experienced Weather-Scientist Guys on the news wring their hands with glee, fire up the high-techlology toys (usually called something like SuperStormTracker Doppler Radar®), send a few interns out into the snow, and then hole up in the SuperStormTracker Headquarters with a fresh suit and a fifth of Jack Daniels. Every channel features a helpful info graphic and a crawl on the bottom of the screen. The shocking twist at the end of Law&Order is broken in on at 10:45 by the news desk, who helpfully tell us that absolutely nothing has changed. We then see an hour of file footage featuring panicked citizens looting the SuperFresh for toilet paper and Hot Pockets; “Team Coverage” of cub reporters interviewing bored tow truck drivers, and ten minutes with a moron on top of the news building, measuring the snow with a yardstick.

Usually, the predictions are wrong, and like this weekend, the “foot to a foot and a half of snow” turns out to be 4″. Jen and I usually shop in advance for our snow survival kit, which includes a generous helping of booze, snacks, and food, in the hopes that we’ll get snowed in and have to camp out for a few days. Even though the snow stopped mid-afternoon on Saturday, we pretended it was window-high and played hooky. Jen made all kinds of tasty food while I finished the prep work in the hallway—fixture pots and wiring for two new hallway lights, as well as a new lead for a porch light and switch—and we said goodbye to the Ugliest Chandelier Known To Man. Sunday I finished up this work and we began hanging drywall, and by 11pm had all but a 4’x14″ section covered. Now we have three weeks of white dust ahead while I smooth the whole thing out, and then it’s time for paint.

P.S. Props to my folks, for giving me that laser level for Christmas two years ago. It just paid for itself.

Date posted: January 24, 2005 | Filed under house | Leave a Comment »

Take a look at this presentation on inspiration and let me know if it speaks to you. (BIG download—make sure you have a broadband connection and 45 min. to watch.)

It’s All In My Head. Asleep At The Trigger, Autolux. Endlessly, for the last week. (Hey, at least it’s drowning out the voices, kids.)

Maintenance. I cleaned up all the house progress pages this morning after finding they had all gotten corrupted in transfer last week. Yuck. Jen also found a bunch of older pics on her laptop from the original walkthrough that I’ll be posting this afternoon of the Pink room and the hallway, and I have an in-progress shot of the hallway cieling sanding. (The inside of our house actually got about 4″ of dust this weekend, compared to the 2″ of snow we got outside.) Sunday it all got too much for us, so we did what any normal 30-somethings do when they get cabin fever: We drove to IKEA. Now, before you scoff and wag your finger, know that we actually had plans to drive to D.C. to visit a few museums, look at pretty art, and replenish some creativity. The fact that it was snowing until noon sort of pre-empted our cultural plans (stuff closes at 5 on Sundays) so we contented ourselves with BILLY and STRÖGG and LACKVAR and $3 hotdawgs.

It had been rumored through channels that a picture of my wife and her father were featured in some current bridal magazines, so we stopped into the adjacent mall to find a bookstore. After paging through a couple of magazines, we came upon an ad for Documentary Associates, featuring a black-and-white of the two of them dancing. Again, we can’t recommend Shannon and Gunes enough; if you’re getting hitched in the Mid-Atlantic area or in Turkey, give them a call.

Date posted: January 24, 2005 | Filed under house, music, photo | Leave a Comment »

Courtesy of Brian, our resident IT fellow (who we like.) The Hasselhofian Recursion. Click if you dare.

Good news: it looks like the new version of iPhoto has added support for both photos and movies. No more accidentally erasing movies left on the CF card.

Recap. Jen and I have been thinking about where the hell last year went; in some respects it feels like we did nothing, and in other respects, I feel like a whole new person. In no particular order, here are some of the things accomplished in 2004:

  • Planned a wedding. (Jen really took this one on; I can’t take but about 25% of the credit here.)
  • Um, got married.
  • Traveled overseas to Rome, and decided we didn’t want to come home.
  • Painted the outside of the house. (two sides’ worth of windows still to go)
  • Took the better part of two months to nurse Jen’s Mom back out of the hospital.
  • Completed three of four upstairs rooms in the house (sanded/stained/sealed floors, new electrical, paint, trim, and furnishings)
  • Finished the linen closet. w00t!
  • Planted three separate beds of bulbs and flowers, grew tomatoes, cayenne peppers, and five types of herbs on the back porch
  • Left a job over “creative differences”
  • Freelanced our asses off
  • Bought a new (used) car; donated a very used car to charity (RIP, Tortoise)
  • Had an alarm system installed, so now a woman in Pikesville can call to tell us our front door has blown open again
  • Had the roof repaired (ouch)
  • Nursed Jen’s Mom up until her final day, in her own house, and took care of the family
  • Played Santa for the Lockard family.
  • Paid off three separate credit cards and the entire honeymoon

I know I’m forgetting something here. Babe, what did I leave out?

Date posted: January 23, 2005 | Filed under history, humor | Leave a Comment »

Wiring, strips for drywall

This was taken directly before I pulled the wiring for the nasty chandelier down and ripped it out of the cieling. Goodbye, ugly fixture.

Date posted: January 23, 2005 | Filed under house | Comments Off on Preparation For Wiring

Yeah, not a good day for the home team. I want a beer.

Cranky McBitchyPants. Lemme get on a soapbox here and just rant about how fucking pathetic Windows XP is. I have a “new” machine at work which runs moderately well at best to begin with: XP is a resource pig. When I open Internet Explorer, the system grinds to a halt and I’m immediately beset with popup adware and my browser settings are hijacked. Scanning the drive for Malware reveals, on average, about 350 bad files, from actual running processes to cookies I don’t want. I quarantine everything, remove it, and my browser gets hijacked again. All ActiveX permissions are turned off; MS’s “security” settings are all on High, for whatever good it does me. I’ve spent about two hours playing the ‘remove the spyware’ game today, and it’s getting to the point where I want to stab myself in the eye with a pencil. I want to go back to 2000 Server. I never had problems like this on Server.

Before anybody helpfully suggests to “use Mozilla” or “use a Mac,” BEWARE: I already do. Running IE is not something I choose to do; it’s required in my alternate life as a web designer.

Goddamn waste-of-time POS.

Date posted: January 20, 2005 | Filed under geek, politics | Leave a Comment »