Archive for June, 2007

Slight Changes – Movies

For those that have been following my “Recently Viewed” listing, I’ve made a couple of small changes. You may notice (now), and will continue to see a “key” to designate some of the movies on the list.

I am only designating “premium” viewings – either those seen in the theater, or that I have received from a subscription service. I’m not sweating the designation of movies seen on TV/cable channels, that are in personal collections, or other people have ordered – if I’ve paid for it, I’m listing it. With that said, the “T” stands for “Theatre”, and anything designated with an “N” is from “Netflix”… and will cover any other services, should I decide to add or change to them in the future.

I do have some TV series that I will cycle through my Netflix queue, so I may make some notes (as posts) as I cycle through them… or I might not (honestly, it all depends on how I’m struck by the shows, and any affiliated hype)

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Weekend Update… the Move

Soon after the concert was planned, my sister-in-law was approved for a transfer with her company, and the timing worked out that she wanted to move the same weekend of the concert. I took a few extra days off of work to help her get everything taken care of.

Sunday was crazy… The SiL had been making some phone calls on Saturday to confirm the arrangements for the truck, only to be told that the truck: a) would not be available until 12:30 (instead of hte 10am, as was requested), and b) Would have to be picked up from a different location than was originally requested (the “new” location” being about 20-30 miles away from where we were actually needing to load it, and in the opposite direction of where we would be going when we left…)

Sunday morning, we went to the local U-Haul (not the one with the truck) to get some extra boxes and packing supplies to finish the last minute items that had not yet been packed. Afterwards, we returned to the apartment to handle some of the other items before going to get the truck around noon.

The U-Haul location was located with a “Peace Frogs” outlet – a tilt up tin siding styled garage building, with some mini-storage units in an adjacent lot (sharing the same driveway). We had initially passed right by it when we were looking for it (I saw the truck, but the SiL had been given the directions, and lived in the area). In her defense, however, the directions were not very clear – “get to highway x and we’ll be a couple of miles down on the left”. If there had been something a little more specific, like, I dunno, “Look for the big ‘Peace Frogs’ sign” we probably would not have shot so far past it. The advantage to the extra detour, though, was there were a couple of sweet, old school roadsters in a yard that we passed – and I’m really curious if they were up for sale. The first two images that crossed my mind when I first saw the longer of the two cars was: 1) like something that would be driven in Great Gatsby, or 2) a model used for Toad’s car from the animated Wind in the Willows. I would have enjoyed a chance to check out the cars, if it weren’t for the time crunch that we were on.

SiL had some of the football players from William & Mary lined up to help load the truck, and they arrived while we were out looking for the hippie Kermits. By the time that I arrived with the truck, most of the boxes and smaller pieces of furniture had already been carried downstairs and stacked on the sidewalk to be loaded into the truck. That’s when I started having fun.

I see moving, and packing, as a big puzzle, a study in theoretical/spatial geometry (read: based on the size of space X, what kind of pieces & shapes can I use to fill the volume of space). Despite a few sprinkles (literally… a few random drops, no actual showers), we had the truck loaded in a little under two hours… and it was a 26 foot truck! There were still a few things in the apartment that would be needed during the night, but would be loaded up first thing in the morning.

Monday, after finishing the small, general cleaning and hauling off the last bits of trash, we drove over to the cable company to turn in her cable box and terminate service (after a breakfast at Chic-Fil-A) before retuning to the apartment to load up the last few items, get her dogs, turn in her keys and get on the road. We were rolling out by ten o’clock in the morning.

While we were driving across the state there were a couple of sprinkles and grey clouds, but the weather would hold (if anything, we traded the chance of showers for higher humidity). One little spot that we passed through had a shop that boasted “Digital Viewing Booths” – and I’m still trying to figure out what the point of those is supposed to be? (And, for the record, I do know WHAT they are for, but what is the point of a digital booth?)

We made it with no real issues (except for me backing into a light pole in a Burger King parking lot in Wake Forest – but no damage, no foul, so we kept on truckin’). I called my friend Chris who lives near Raleigh as we got closer to the area, and I called Allen after we had found the place (he was supposed to be in Wilmington for some tests, and headed back to try and help us move, so I was checking in – turns out he didn’t go to Wilmington because he wasn’t feeling too great, but he did come out a while later to help us finish unloading the truck).

Again with the upstairs apartments, so hauling things got to be more tedious (and the mid-day heat wasn’t making things any more pleasant). There was already a washer and dryer in the unit, so we had to arrange for the maintenance guy to come and remove them. They took the washer but did not come back for the dryer (until Wednesday… we left it on the porch, strapped to their dolly since we removed it on the Monday afternoon while unloading). The boxes and smaller furniture went along easily enough, but the living room set (the couch and loveseat specifically) were fun to maneuver, especially due to the way the landing for the apartment is designed.

They were the last two pieces, and I looked at the guys and asked, “Would you rather take care of the bitch, or the beast?” The bitch was the loveseat, which we handled first, and after some juggling (read: holding and sliding at different angles before finally removing the legs). Then came the beast – the couch – which required even more thought, shifting, and eventually leg removal. The truck was finally empty, and everything was in the apartment.

We spent a little bit of time tidying up the apartment (read: staging furniture and getting boxes out of the way so people could actually walk around the space), we got cleaned up ourselves (and I cannot stress how good the shower felt, even if there was no shower curtain to keep the floor dry) before going out for dinner. There was a group of five of us that went to eat (one of the cousins of my wife & SiL who goes to NC State had also come up to visit and help with the move-in process – as was also my ride home) and a Mexican place down across from campus, before going up to a Houka bar with one of the cousin’s friends.

Tuesday, since I slept on the couch I had the peace and quiet of being able to move around without the dogs, so I started unloading book boxes and putting then into the bookcase (a funny aside, my FiL made the comment around Chris, “I can’t believe someone would move with so many books.” Chris looked at him, and as politely an nicely as he could, said, “Um, I have over 1800 books” which makes the SiL’s collection look quite anemic.) and clearing through the boxes. We plowed through and got most of the boxes unpacked, and clothes put away… bigger pictures (paintings) hung and boxes consolidated. By the time we stopped to go get groceries before the cousin and I left, the only boxes that remained were those that contained knick-knacks and pictures/photos to be hung.

The cousin and I made it to the house early enough for me to still go to dinner with someone (the same person I had dogsat for) and still have some fun. A long, whirlwind of a weekend, but it was all good… even if it did take me a few days to really recover from all of the late nights.

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Weekend Update… part 2

The driving force behind the weekend was, of course, the concert – but we had to drive there! The side act for the weekend was a trip to Busch Gardens. This is the brief story of both…

Thursday I got home from the RCIA session around 9:30pm, and proceeded to put together the things I would need for the weekend (laptop, iPod, clothes, HBA items, books, moving supplies, etc.), and went to bed around 11-ish.

Friday morning, I got up fairly early (about my usual 7am) so I could get my oil changed, try to get an inspection, and a few other things before my sister arrived. While I was getting the car worked on, as part of the service check, the technician pointed out a couple of items. It was about time to get a radiator flush, and, “Sir, this is your serpentine belt, and it helps to keep everything running – your AC, alternator, etc. – and it’s looking pretty bad and dried out. I would really suggest getting that taken care of today.” So I did.

It took a little more than an hour, maybe an hour and a half, and it was done and I was ready to roll. I ran to finish my other errands (which included getting breakfast – around 10am) and then headed to the house to finish packing my things for the trip. I was just finishing putting my stuff in the car when my sister and the kids arrived. After transferring bags to the one vehicle, and final pit stops, we were on the road. It was about 12:30.

We’re rolling along, music from the iPod pumping through the speakers – the kids either sleeping or playing their GameBoys, and my sister and I are either talking or she’s trying to read as we roll along. Around two o’clock, my battery light pops on, followed shortly by a spike in the engine’s thermostat. We are in Virginia, just on the north side of Suffolk, and still a good hour away from our destination. I find a spot to pull over and pop the hood open.

I can’t help but laugh at the sight that hits me as I peer into the open front end. The brand new belt, replaced a mere few hours before, had broken. Fortunately, we happened to be close to a used parts yard (“Everything sold at auctions, no sales on site”), so I navigated the median and crossed the “business” route to get to the shop and seek some help. They contacted a local shop (“Are you looking to just get it towed, or towed and fixed?” Fixed… Duh!) where we were taken, and eventually fixed (they had to wait for the new belt to be delivered). It was also discovered that there was still some of the flush fluid in the radiator (as it was still clear to white – virtually no green).

We were back on the road around 4pm, and I opted to head for the venue, just to make sure we were there for the entire show, instead of backtracking as I would have if we had made it earlier (we would be staying the night in Yorktown, and the show was in Virginia Beach). My bearings were all out of whack (partial dehydration, and partial frustration at the kink in the schedule, and partial stupidity in the fact that I hadn’t eaten since 10am, and not having taken that direct route to Virginia Beach in a long time).

The youngest was needing to go to the bathroom, and I was getting hungry, and it was a little after 5pm. I picked an exit looking for food, and happened to catch sight of an “Ampitheatre” sign on the same exit, so I followed it, eventually stopping at a Chic-Fil-A. I asked about the location, and was told that yes, we were headed the right way – it was just another couple of miles. We ate, made it to the show with time to spare (we were standing in line waiting for them to open) and watched the show.

After the show, we hung out in the parking lot for a little bit, waiting for the lines to die down a bit before leaving. Since I hadn’t driven the route to Virginia Beach, my bearing were a little fuzzy (that, and three hours of a rock concert :o) and it took a bit longer to make it to Yorktown than it would have if I knew (well) where I was trying to go…

Saturday, we were up kind of early (around 8am) for breakfast, and to coordinate meeting other people at Busch Gardens around 10am. The temperature was warm, the sun was bright, and Busch Gardens can be a big place when you’re walking and back-tracking between “countries”. I rode the Griphon – the first of the rides for the day, around 11am. It was, by far, the most popular, and it was a good thing I got in line when I did (around 10:30-ish) – things moved quickly, but it definitely would have been a longer wait if I tried going later in the afternoon.

I also hit Alpengeist, Loch Ness and the Big Bad Wolf, as well as a lot of walking through the park. Lunch was at the Festhaus (one of the sampler plates). All told, we were there until almost six before we left, returning to Yorktown. My sister and the kids packed up and returned (with no noticable problems from the car) while I tried to recover and recharge the batteries – preparing for “the exodus” of moving someone over the next couple of days.

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Weekend Adventures… The Concert…

So, I mentioned the Rush concert – and it was great! The seats ended up being about 6-7 seats off of center stage, and about 20 rows back. My sister (who had last seen them on the Roll the Bones tour in 1991-ish) commented that the seats were “much better” then the ones she had for the other show. We could actually see the band – not as dots on a far off stage, but as real people – facial expressions and everything!

And, being the musical goober that I am, I also took notes. I wrote down the set list as they played to possibly recreate the concert later (it was the first concert [period] for my nephews, and they could get a kick out of it). When we got into the car after the show, the eldest (9) commented, “We were just listening to this. They were just playing.”

I’ll put up the setlist later, once I actually have it in front of me.

UPDATE: Well, I had actually tried this part earlier this week (like, on 1 July) but for some reason the stupid thing didn’t feel like cooperating when I tried to post it. Well, here goes again…

About the stage setup and opening video. During the last two tours, Geddy has had dryers on his side of the stage to balance out Alex’s amp stack (for R30, Geddy had 2 dryers and a deli-style cake display that he would put various souveniers in). Neil’s drum kit (complete with the rotating riser) was in center stage.

For this tour, however, Geddy has changed things up. He has ditched the dryers, and replaced them with hig powered bass amps – in the form of two rotisserie chicken ovens! (And yes, during the show people would periodically come on stage during a few moments of downtime between songs and season/basted the rotating birds.) There were even a couple of skewered pieces of poultry down by Alex’s mic stand (revealed just before the band came out).

The opening video was also hilarious, in keeping with previous tours (R30 featured Jerry Stiller introducing the show). There is a collage sequence, and then Alex is shown waking up on the bus/in an RV, freaked out. He rolls over, and nudges the person in the bed next to him, and says, “Honey, wake up: as if he had heard something outside. The figure next to him sits up – and it’s Neil. Then there’s a cut to Geddy waking up to the taunts of a twirked-off Scotsman (also played by Geddy), telling “real” Geddy to “wipe that chiken off yer face, un get up on tha’ stage!” The lights are slowly coming up, Alex entering from Stage Right and hitting the opening chords for Limelight. Neil and Geddy are hurrying to their spots, with Geddy wiping his mouth and throwing the towel off to the side of Stage Left, before fully cranking into the concert.

Set 1

Digital Man
The Space Between
Main Monkey Business
Larger Bowl
Secret Touch
Beneath the Wheels

Set 2
Far Cry
Workin’ Them Angels
Armor & Sword
The Way the Wind Blows
Natural Science
Witch Hunt (?)
Malignant Narcissism
[Drum Solo – reworked]
Summertime Blues
Spirit of Radio
Tom Sawyer

One Little Victory
Passage to Bangcock
Leave That Thing Alone

* A Note About the Videos
What is a great concert without at least a few great videos to either support or accent the songs – or to just give the band a quick moment to towel off or get some water. With a three hour show, you know Rush is going to have a few. Here are the “highlights” – some of the ones that struck me enough that I can stil remember them two weeks later.

Set 1
Geddy introduced Monkey Business, and during the course of the song there was a brief collage (running about three of the songs six minutes) of primate playfulness – doing a variety of activities from archive footage and other locations.

After Monkey wound down, the stage went dark, and a “Bob & Doug McKenzie” flashed onto the screen. They were sitting at a table, snacking, and finally talked about chips. One finally says something to the effect of, “Yeah, he likes eating them [this way], but I like using the Larger Bowl.” At which point, the band started.

I really liked the video that was used as a supporting piece for Larger Bowl. It was beautiful to see the juxtaposition of images like a shot of Klan members on one screen, countered with a shot of a Civil Rights protest. There were also a few CGI spots, including one that showed (on two different screens) and image of a house/building that was, theoretically, the same – but one screen showed the image as a well cared for mansion, while the other image showed a building with bars on the windows, as if it were a prison. (Listen to the song, or read the lyrics then think about the images that I remembered, and you might get why I liked the video so much.)

Set 2

Far Cry – I really liked the video for this one – actually, I would prefer this one over the studio produced video for the single. The “baby carriage” is the principle feature, going all over the countryside & world, and the faceless baby periodically playing with a snake (I think – throwing it, etc – at this point I’m fuzzy on that detail). The coolest part was at the end of the video, when the baby’s arm comes over the side of the carriage, and flicks a “thumbs up” sign.

Angels – This was another one of the “cool concept” videos, like Larger Bowl from Set 1 – taking various stock phot images – anything from 1920’s construction stills (like, skyscraper construction) to modern day soldiers in the “sandbox” – and superimposing angel wings into the images, coming from their backs. Very cool…

Wind Blows – A nice CGI piece, featuring a “family” traveling the country side, walking into the wind. Periodically, the littlest member would be blown backward (rolling), only to be picked up and carried forward again. It fit the music well, but like the video for Bowl would probably take a couple of viewings to get all of the subtleties.

[Solo] – Neil reworked the performance portion, and the “Big Band” video portion received a little tweaking as well to go with the new ending. Some of the same images & video bits are still present, but recut with a some new ones added. Unless you find a pirated a recording, or they cut another DVD, well… your loss!

Tom Sawyer – The stage went black, and the projection screens were glowing, focusing on a sign reading “Lil’ Rush”. A few moments later, the camera pans back and it’s South Park, with Kenny on drums, Cartman on keyboards, Stan & Kyle on guitars. And the video dialogue went a little like this:
{They start playing Tom Sawyer}
Cartman: My name’s Tom Sawyer, and I built a raft, and went sailing down a river with a black guy.
Kyle: Dammit Cartman, that’s not the way the song goes. That’s Huck Finn, I’ve read the book.
Cartman: Screw you! I’m Geddy Lee and I sing whatever lyrics I want to sing.
Kyle: Start the song again, and this time play it right.
{someone counts the tempo off} The screens go dark and stage light flare up as the band starts playing the song.

One Little Victory – The dragon video from the Vapor Trails tour.

Bangcock – A montage video with a couple of train shots, as well as a couple of Marijuana plant shots. The other reason I couldn’t help but laugh at this goes back to the R30 tour – Jerry Stiller’s bit in the opening video about, “I hope they play Bangcock… nah, they never play Bangcock.”

Overall, (as usual) it was a great show, and I highly encourage people to check it out. Jenn (my late wife) was never much of one for the studio albums – the way they were mixed, generally – but she went to the R30 show with me and had a blast.

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Irony in Advertising

Okay… not so much in “advertising”, literally, but here’s my point:

Bumper stickers are a subtle form of advertising – while many are fun, and can be quite humerous (“Don’t mess with a dragon, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup”), others can be an insight to the owner/driver of the vehicle.

There are also the ubiquitous “candidate” stickers, or the ones that may actually be promoting certain causes and political stands. (Personally, I can handle the “attitudinal” stands – “It’s a child, not a choice”, etc. but I see no value in actually attaching a political candidate’s bumper sticker to a car… there are still people riding around, years later, with “Kerry/Edwards” stickers on their cars…)

But this is more about the second ones – the “insight to the drivers”. Personally, I have two distinct stickers on my car, sunfaded after about eight years of weather exposure. One (originally) had the word “Whining” with the circular “No” sign over it (think about the Ghostbusters logo, then swap “Whining” for the ghost). The other one, before it started peeling, read “It’s called thinking, you should try it sometimes.” My interpretation (or, why I chose them): “No Whining” – deal with the situation at hand – no amount of P&M-ing is going to change it (at least, not to the positive), and nobody else wants to hear it. As for “Thinking” – I have lived in the service industry for years and have developed a short tolerance for people that have the knowledge on how to do/handle things at work – and don’t.

And the lady-friend of mine (whose dog I watched over the weekend) has a bumper sticker that reads “Coexist”, with the leters being made up of various religious symbols. I mention that as reflection of my disposition as well – as far as theology & religion goes. Mind, this is MY opinion, and MY words, not hers (so :P) – and would really take too long to really lay out, but the core of the message is: “Can’t we all just get along?” But I digress…

Anyway, I’ve tangeted a little (yeah, and?) and here’s the whole thing that started this idea. I was driving back to the office from lunch, and was pulling into a turn lane – and we had the green light (green turn arrow, and all), and the car in front of me was doing the same thing. She (at least, I think it was a she) had about three or four car lengths between her, and the last car that was turning (like, it was already rounding the curve), and she slowed, while still under the green turn arrow.

I shook my head in disbelief, thinking, “You had it, if you had kept going.” While sitting there, I noticed the sticker on the back of the car. It read, “Hang up and drive.” When I looked back at the driver’s seat, the driver had cocked her head a little to the right – and the tell-tale line of a cell phone antenna sticking through her hair. A moment later, she swapped it over to her left.

I couldn’t help but laugh. Hang up and drive… right. It’s called thinking – and following your own advice – maybe she should try it sometime.

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Say "Good-bye", Mr. Chips…

I just learned some *sad* news. Sad from the perspective of history, and reflecting on the “good ol’ days”… nothing horribly earth-shattering and monumental in the grand scheme of my everyday life, but still profound to bring a few sniffles from the gaming geek that is still off someplace, shopping for more dice, painting miniatures, and churning through pads of graph paper while drawing layer upon layer of ruins for possible future use.

Dungeon and Dragon magazines will cease to exist (in print form) in August. While I have been out of touch with the gaming industry (the last time I actually bought anything related to traditional RPG’s/D&D was at least five years ago, and the last time I actually rolled dice in a game session was at least that long ago), both magazines were staples while I was playing.

Dungeon was a great way to get several modules (mini-adventures) in one shot, or to examine how some adventures were put together – or just to scavenge for ideas! I didn’t always get the latest issues, but the fact that it was always there, always an option, was a wonderful thing.

Dragon, however, is a harder loss to hear. Through its years, there were rule variations, new magic items, sometimes new monsters (or explorations of older monsters!), and just a wealth of possible tools and ideas to make the gaming sessions more interesting. The other side that makes it difficult to hear, is that Dragon included a short story in almost every issue (at least, it did when I was regularly getting it). For years, that was one of my goals and desires – that one day I would submit (and, eventually, sell) a story to the magazine.

Years ago, Dragon was released in a compilation package (the first 250 issues on CD)… It would be nice if they did an updated release, providing all of the printed issues, for both Dragon or Dungeon magazines… great for nostalgia, as well as the random information and ideas to really mess with the head of the gaming group!

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Recap and Fast Forward…

It is Monday… the weather is fine, and all else seems to be fine with the world. Except for a few minor points. The most significant point is, well, that it’s Monday (and I have long sided with a lasagna eating tabby in the disposition of, “Mondays… I hate Mondays.”)… The less obvious point… today would be a great day for a birthday party… or even a quiet dinner out – celebrating someone turning 27.

But enough depression – each day is a new day (even if it is a Monday) – and there’s no way (yet) to turn back the sands of time… reflecting is ok, but dwelling can get dangerous.

Time for the recap: I dog-sat this weekend, threw a party, and did some sorting (and reading).

Reading: As can be noticed, I have finished Heart Shaped Box, and decided to progress to the often discussed (but, admittedly, I’ve actually never read) The Great Gatsby. Not too bad, so far (at two chapters through)…

Admittedly, I went with it due to its length – having only read eight books (ideally, I should be through at least ten if I were staying on target with my reading goal… through thirteen by the end of June to be on even pace. I figured a bit of a shorter work could help me catch up a bit before the end of the month.

Sorting: I go back many years with some things. Not the least of which is card collecting, although I have gotten out of quite a bit of it (I have loads of basketball cards that are just sitting in boxes, languishing in their idleness, remembering days when I could actually tell someone who the players were, or the rough value for the better cards.

My senior year of High School, a friend named Jon got me into these other cards. They were collectible, but they were also designed to have games played with them. This was 1994, and the fledgling craze that would become Magic: The Gathering was in the Revised set. He had stacks of cards, and we put some decks together (stacks, actually, since the rules were rather open – plus we were still green to the idea of a finely tuned, themed deck)… and I was hooked. I played somewhat regularly in college with some other guys in ROTC, and it became amusing for me to discover folks (after I had weened myself from buying boxes and boxes of cards) that were just getting into the game.

I remember one time, when I was working at a furniture store, that a couple of the electronics staff had “discovered” the game. At one point, when I was walking to the back of the store for some reason (check on something in the warehouse, get a drink… who knows, now). At this point, the game was in its fourth or fifth edition. I commented on the game, and they looked at me with the surprised expression of, “Oh, you know about this?” I offered to bring my cards, if they wanted to look through them for possible trade/purchase, and they were even more surprised when I brought back a box – not just any box (for those of you that know card storage boxes), but a “paper” box. Get a case of printer paper from an office supply store, then fill that with various size count boxes… THAT was my collection (some eight years ago).

Well, I’ve always picked up a pack here, and a pack there from newer sets, just to see some of what was going on, but recently, I slipped back into some old habits, and got a box from each set of the most recent expansion (Time Spiral)… After they had been staring at me from under my desk for over a month, I finally decided to start breaking open packs and see what was there… I sorted (completely) through two of the boxes, and managed to make it most of the way through the third over the weekend (sorted by color, but I still need to finish, to discover how many of what cards I ended up with. And, coming soon, the “Tenth” edition…

The Party: I had been thinking about it for weeks… After Jenn passed, one of the things her mother mentioned was that she still wanted there to be parties and fun stuff going on up at the house – to open things up and have fun… a great way to honor Jenn.

I had folks over for dinner last Sunday – 10 June- (and I feel like a heel, not having mentioned it before) – a former coworker and his wife, and a lady-friend that I’ve been seeing/hanging-out-with *gasp* for almost two months (who also happens to be the couple’s neighbor). Things went well, then, and I am crediting that as my “reopening” of the house…

Anyway, I had an “old friends” party this past Saturday (16 June) for “the gang” – the folks that Jenn and I (mostly Jenn’s people from high school) would run with. We had dinner and just hung out, talked, watched movies, and just chilled out. Of course, the other side to my planning for the party was as a mini-birthday party for Jenn…

Sitting: The previously mentioned lady-friend has a dog – a cute cocker-pomeranian mix that is the right size to be a lap dog – and has the good temperment of a lap dog as well. While the friend was in Raleigh for a wedding, I was taking care of her dog… and the dog became very popular – the in-laws liked her, and everyone at the party was talking about her. I kept her seperated from the rest of “the brood”, to make sure there would be no issues. All in all, a very easy keep for the weekend.

So that’s my weekend recap… and now the fast-forward section.

This weekend is the Rush concert (going to the Virginia Beach show) – marking my third Rush show (all of them in Virginia Beach). I’m also taking my sister and nephews (it will be my sister’s 2nd show – she last saw them on the Roll the Bones tour, and my nephew’s first real concert). Busch Gardens on Saturday, and then I get to help my sister-in-law move to Raleigh from Virginia next Monday. Fun, fun! But I have three more days to chill, and then I get to kick into some summer fun!!!

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In Which I Specify the Damages…

I mentioned a few days ago that bookstores (specifically the local B&N) are dangerous places for me. Last night was another example of that. I’ve been pondering a Mini Cooper for about a year, and where I work, someone is selling a “vintage” style Mini (1980, canary yellow, with a Euro-style setup – steering wheel on the right!), so I stopped by B&N to see if there was any kind of listing (NADA guide) to let me know what a reasonable price might be… And, of course, no listing could be found (it only listed the “new” Minis – since 2002).

In the process, since I had no other pressing things to do, I roamed… and roaming is the dangerous part! I added about eight more books to the “To Read One Day” list… bringing the one week total of acquired books to somewhere near twenty. Yes, that was twenty (20) books bought in one (1) week. Seven days. Over the course of three visits. And this is on top of the stack of books that I already had assembled to work through.

So, while I don’t have a list of the books already on the stack, here’s the list of ones that I acquired over these recent visits, albeit in no particular order.

F. Scott Fitzgerald – The Great Gatsby (And, no, I’ve never actually read it before.)
Neil Gaiman – Smoke & Mirrors, and Neverwhere
William Goldman – The Princess Bride
Stephen King – Everything’s Eventual (Another of his story collections.)
Eric Garcia – Casual Rex, and Anonymous Rex (As a 2-in-1 combo book.)
Kate Moss – Labyrinth
Michael Blaine – The Midnight Band of Mercy
Chuck Palahniuk – Fight Club
Kevin Brockmier – A Brief History of the Dead
TC Boyle – Inner Circle
W Somerset Maughan – Cakes & Ale, and The Painted Veil
Sheri Holmon – The Dress Lodger
Simon Mower – The Gospel of Judas
Irene Nemirovsky – Suite Francaise

And, I also got two “writing” themed books – Writer’s Guide to Poisons, and Writer’s Book of Matches… for ideas and references at some point down the road. These last two won’t likely be read cover to cover in one stretch, but bits and pieces over time, mostly as needed for projects.

A pretty eclectic mix, and virtually all fiction. I was thinking about it last night… since I have a list already of about twelve (12) books already to work through (several of which were ones that Jenn had started, but never finished 😦 ), I figure this puts me at about thirty (30) books. Even if (really, really big if) I can manage a book a week, I figure it will still be February before I clear the stack… Most likely, it will be about this time next year…

Now, I just have to stay away from a bookstore until then… or at least not get anything.

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Here’s a random thought for the morning… I should consider dentistry as a hobby. I’m serious – with the effort that it takes to cradle the patients that come through our facilities – it’s like pulling teeth!

Many will call in with a vary vague purpose – to schedule an appointment, or get a prescription refill – but don’t know what clinic they are supposed to be going to, or what drugs they are supposed to be taking (“I don’t know the name, and I’ve already thrown the bottle out. By the way, it’s my blood pressure pill and my insulin and I’ve been out both for a couple of days. So despite the fact that you ask for up to seventy-two hours to process prescriptions, and it’s currently 4:45 on a Friday afternoon, before a three-day weekend, is there any way you can have that called in today?”)…

So, we go through all of the hoops, and ask all of the questions imaginable for their situation (often repeating them several times since the patient is usually only half paying attention, and also depending on the specific line that was called in the first place)… and it often boils down to the patient having the information (as is the case with a lot of appointment requests) in their hand as to which office they need to speak with, but taking five minutes for them to figure out the text of the letter (especially when they initially want to deny that the information is there).

Dentistry… pulling teeth… gah!!!

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Terrible Tues(day)…

Today, I am confused…

Everything started out well enough… I woke up (which is always a good way to start things out), made to work on time… but everything else seems to have slid slowly downhill from there. I was in bed shortly after eleven last night (which is actually about normal for me), so I got my usual amount of sleep…

My situation has boiled down to this: I am mentally lethargic, and in a general *blah* mood, and have been for most of the morning since coming to work. Here in the last little bit (within the last half-hour or so) part of my mental state has gone completely south – spelunking to dark caverns and places that I haven’t really visited in months. After a brief glance at my watch, I notice the date, and am not really all that surprised by some of the travels my mind has taken, but it is surprising to me how dark some of the journeys have been…

And my motivation is in question, now, as well… There are projects and interests that I have had for years that I’m not sweating now – even having the time to devote to them, I just can’t motivate myself to go to them (writing, working at learning bass & drums, exploring some photography options, cycling…) Hell, I’ve barely been able to motivate myself to clean the house (mostly to make it presentable for people to visit, but not out of my own concerns about being in the space…)

As for the sleep thing… I’m struggling a bit this morning. As I really try to think about it, I’ve cut out most of the (caffinated) sodas, sticking mostly with teas or water (but as I focus, I guess I am a bit on the dehydrated side, which doesn’t help fight the funk), and the occasional non-caf drinks (Sprite or root beer).

Part of the dark thoughts revolver around the last couple of months – reflecting a lot over choices that have been made. While I am comfortable with the more monumental decisions (to start seeing people/going out again, specifically), there are moments when I can’t help but second (and third, and fourth, and fifth, and…) guess myself on the whos and whys, dancing on that razor’s edge of avoiding getting too attached too quickly while still trying to express interest… A delicate dance that can play hell with the psyche, I’m finding out…

The only constant uplifter for my, lately, has been just listening to music – but even that can get dangerous (and I haven’t really even pursued it like I previously had…)

Part depression, part dehydration, part self-dejection… This is the kind of stuff that should be making up a Monday, but it’s kinda fitting (in an ironic twist) that it’s all hitting on a Tuesday… Terrible, isn’t it…?

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