Today I was in the middle of a meeting with a couple of programmers about the project I’m working on, and I needed to describe a particular detail of the UI I’m designing. I grabbed the nearest dry-erase marker and began sketching my idea on the whiteboard (this was not my cube) when I lost my train of thought. For some reason, I was thinking about a trip Jen and I took to Houston.
A brief note here: My wife will no doubt add in clarifications to the record after I post this; My intent is not to lie, obfuscate or mislead, but merely to spin a good yarn.
We were in town to attend the wedding of her roommate from college, and staying at another house across town with her friend J.P. They’ve also been friends since college, and as college friends often do, they share the collective knowledge and experience of being friends in one of the more formative times of one’s life. Fortunately, unlike many college friends, they haven’t fallen out of touch, so when we met up with J.P., they settled into a comfortable banter with one another, and I played quiet man, enjoying their company.
The wedding was beautiful, the bride and groom radiant; the reception was gracious and the families charming. We sipped wine, ate some food, and chatted with folks until the reception broke up at an early four or five PM. There was talk of gathering people together in town for drinks in the evening, so we made plans, returned to our host’s house, and invited him out with us.
After changing, we met up with a bunch of folks at the prescribed bar and continued drinking and chatting with folks. Because we were at a Mexican-themed restaurant, I ordered Margaritas for Jen and I, and we got pleasantly squiffed in short order.
Now, J.P. is a connoisseur of many fine things, and on this trip I learned that one of them was tequila. Not your regular rotgut drink-the-worm kind, but the sipping, $100+ a bottle kind. I had never known about expensive tequila, much less try it, so I decided to have some when J.P. offered to buy a round of shots for the table. (Courting one of his best friends, I didn’t want to come off like a milquetoast; sadly, this was a strategic mistake.)
My opinion on fine sipping tequila is that it’s much like fine Kentucky bourbon: Other people like it, but the sensation of drinking 95-octane gasoline is not so much for me. Unfortunately, this realization (and my sense of better judgement) showed up after four or five shots of the stuff, so by the time our “dinner” arrived, I was righteously shitfaced.
I don’t remember much about the meal, other than that I was hungry, but Jen tells me I ate everything that was put down in front of me. Then I ate everything else on the table, until it was all gone. I figured, in my state, that eating would be good to pad my stomach. This too was a strategic mistake. The cheesy, greasy food we ordered had the opposite effect, so I left the table and quietly (I think) walked outside for some air when the room begain spinning.
Fortunately for me, the party broke up soon after this point, and we all headed to our cars. I walked to J.P.’s new Chevy truck and waited for he and Jen to catch up, and I felt the first of several waves of green wash over me. Not wanting to blow chunks on J.P.’s shiny paint job, I walked to an adjoining fence and prepared for the worst. Somewhere at this point I realized there were two angry dogs on the other side of the fence, mere inches from my face, and I remember thinking that I would aim my puke for their snarling heads until Jen grabbed the scruff of my neck and threw me into the back seat of the truck.
The ride home is a blur, but here’s a breakdown of my mental state:
don’tpukeontheleather don’tpukeontheleather don’tpukeontheleather don’tpukeontheleather don’tpukeontheleather don’tpukeontheleather
Reaching J.P.’s house, I scrambled upstairs to the third floor bathroom, where, out of sight, I hoped to alleviate my problem and rid myself of dinner. Here again that trickster Murphy decided to fuck with your humble, bumbling correspondent, and after I had purged myself of several gallons of the cheesy gloop, the toilet backed up. Now, in my sober moments, nobody is faster with a shutoff valve than the Idiot, here. In my sick, drunk, embarrased, panicked state, it took several crucial moments to find the valve, while the floor puddled with a good inch or so of bile. And, as we all know, that particular smell does not play well with one’s already tenuous grip on recovery. What does one do in this situation? One throws up again, as if one had any choice in the matter. I think I might have used the sink for this part, but I’m not sure. Things get fuzzy around this point.
I do remember Jen knocking on the door (i’d locked it) and asking me if I was alright. I opened it, and she good-naturedly got me into bed, cleaned up my mess, and returned downstairs to sip expensive tequila with J.P. while I slept the restless sleep of the hopelessly drunk.
At the end of the weekend, I left Houston with a monumental hangover, a new nickname (“Tequila Sunrise”), a vow to never again touch the vile poison, and another chapter of embarassment to add to my life’s novel.
So here’s where I try to bring this rambling tale home for you:
I’m standing in front of two blinking programmers, struggling to finish my sentence (and remember just what it was that I was talking about), holding a stupid dry-erase marker. I held it close to my nose, took a sniff, and held it out to them.
“Does this smell like tequila to you?”
I swear to god. It smelled just like tequila. I wouldn’t make any of this up.
Now that my wife is working from the house, she’s going to need a color printer for proofing files. Instead of running ot the stupid Kinko’s every five minues, I found a review of the Minolta/Magicolor 2450 online, which apparently has PostScript support, an Ethernet jack, and also supports PictureBridge connectivity, which means we could theoretically just hook our cameras straight to the printer and make prints. Drawbacks: it’s only 8.5×14″, which makes tabloid-sized printing, or letter-size with bleeds impossible. It’s also $700, which is pricey, but the alternative is a $500 11×17″ inkjet and a $300 software RIP to emulate PostScript (blech). I’ll have to keep an eye on this.
Whoa-wait a minute, what’s this? An external, 160GB hard drive with three FireWire ports and four USB ports on the back? (Brand name: MicroNet MiniMate) All in the same form factor and ready to roll, for $138? Here’s a larger sibling, the 250GB version, for $190. I may be looking at a $700 Mini instead of a $2K iMac after all…
This weekend Jen and I ventured up to the Towson mall to get replacements for our glasses, which were responsible for seven of the last ten Richter-scale headaches recorded in the greater Baltimore area this summer. Jen has an inner ear more sensitive than a baby’s bottom, and she’s been fighting the urge to puke for about the last three weeks now. Repeated adjustments to her frames have left them bent and her eyes completely fucked up.
My own glasses have been a travesty for longer than I care to admit. Two years ago, I paid top dollar for Ray-Ban frames, and the plastic on them has been delaminating and flaking off for the last year. The expensive lenses have gotten increasingly cloudy and hazed over; when I put on the new glasses, I felt like I’d just had sucessful cataract surgery. The new frames are much the same as the old ones, although they’re a different manufacturer and not tortoise-shell. Jen found a pair of frames that have highlights of gold and blue which accent her eyes and skin tone perfectly. She’s still on the fence about the prescription, but she sure does look durn pretty.
While we waited for the lenses to be cut, we ventured over to the Apple store to lay hands on a Nano, which is about the most beautiful little piece of hardware I’ve ever seen. Apparently there are some issues about scratching screens, but overall it’s very sexy. I also looked at the larger hardware, and realized that I’m better off waiting to pick up a 17″ or 20″ iMac than spending money on a Mini and another monitor—I wasn’t aware that iMacs had full-size harddrives, which is crucial to our home upgrading plans. So I’ll have to wait out a few more checks for that to happen. (a 20″ model with a gig of RAM is roughly $2K.)
This weekend I finally got to the two projects that have been bugging me for weeks now. The upstairs bedroom (The Cream room) has been closed up for months, waiting for an electrician to come and hook up the wiring. Since that got accomplished two weeks ago, It’s been waiting for me to cut new baseboards and reinstall everything I ripped out. After I ran data, phone and cable to the basement and made several trips to the Lowe’s for lumber, I put in new shims and tacked the boards back into place for fit. Everything checked out, so the baseboards and cap molding are in and ready for primer.
Downstairs in the kitchen, the sticky mess on the floor that’s been collecting cat hair and dust finally got addressed this afternoon. I started at about 3 and by the third quarter of the Patriots/Steelers game I had everything on the east side of the kitchen up and clean. Observe:
There’s more under the cabinets and under the range, and the perimeter of the floor needs to be hand-scraped, but it’s beginning to shape up. After a good drum sanding to the point where it’s all an even tone, it’ll look much nicer.
As for the installation, we had a brief freakout with the cabinet colors. The color we thought was “red” was actually a sort of yellowish brown, and that was definitely not cool. After cancelling the original order, we got a pair of full-size cabinet fronts and compared colors with a sample of granite (the color is called Bianco Romano), and finally decided on the red. This set everything back by about two weeks, but that’s fine—we can use the time to get all the other stuff organized. The other good news is that the quote for the granite is actually a couple hundred dollars cheaper than the original ballpark I’d been given.