|:: off on the wrong foot ::||...some kind of awkward journey|
::.. photostream ..::
feeddemon this morning. or as bb might call it, rss zen.
~ some VA history
~ the real cucumber melon (yankee candle, eat your heart out)
~ completely ridiculous (detailed thoughts on this some time in the future)
~ a rockin' cameo
~ summer reading suggestions
should have done this yesterday when i caught up on all the new stuff. anyway, more non-fudged posts soon.
1. "love is love" - tortoise and bonnie prince billy - the brave and the bold
2. "rubber bands" - the fire theft - the fire theft
3. " a sunday mystery" - rjd2 - magnificent city instrumentals
4. "the hangover (remixed by mr. reliable)" - tuatara - the loading program
5. "the bagman's gambit" - the decemberists - picaresque
i wonder how long it will keep this up. i'm tempted to skip forward to see, but i don't want to miss any of these great songs.
hope your ipod helps with your case of the mondays!
new camera before our trip, so we have a ton of photos. (m is a great photographer; he used to have his own dark room.) we usually take about 10 photos per vacation, so we definitely outdid ourselves this time. as soon as we get them edited they'll go online and i'll write about the trip. it's a long, strange story. :) well, not always so strange but lots of blogworthy things did happen.
i have a million ideas for entries, but i just haven't been able to put them down. i'm home sick today, so maybe i'll sketch a bunch down later to use over the next few weeks. i also told myself that i would build a new site before my 30th birthday, which is 6 weeks from today. (!!!) i haven't thought of a new name, much less a design. so much to do!
5 days before my birthday will mark 6 months of living in our house. m and i were talking this weekend, and we both wondered how we lived in that tiny house in richmond. the fan was great, but we love having all of the space we have now. we like our neighbors, the neighborhood, and the amenities of the suburbs without the congestion. we have farms across the street from our subdivision. horses are big in this area for some reason.
we've come to terms with the fact that we are yuppies. well, really we're closer to "yindies" or "grups". but we have found ourselves doing things that we would never have done 10 years ago. like having 3 dogs. i had 2 dogs (consecutively) growing up, but they were always outside and i was never really interested in taking care of them or playing with them. i didn't dislike dogs, but i just wasn't a dog person. m will admit that he used to hate dogs, but he's had a change of heart. we got huygens and lucy within 6 months of each other. we always said we wanted a big dog, and we got sasha 2 months after moving to a big house. sure they can be a lot of work at times, but i couldn't imagine coming home from work and not having them around to be the goofy, loving dogs they are.
our latest adventure in suburbia was joining the community association. we live in a very large planned community, and there is one association for the whole "town". our neighborhood is on the border, so we don't fall under the laws of the association. but we can join and have all the benefits. this includes 3 gyms and 23 pools, among other things. the cost for us to get the best membership plan was not much more than we paid for the ymca in richmond. there is a pool 5 minutes from our house, and it has a hot tub. we have enjoyed spending a couple of evenings there, especially since the weather was cooler this past weekend. we always love sitting by the pool on vacation, so we're looking forward to having mini-vacations almost every weekend this summer. yep, us, hanging in the 'burbs.
so i guess i can say that life is good. yeah, i feel like that silly happy face, probably this one based on the topics in this post. and i'm really looking forward to 30, but that's another post. one on the list of the many that i'll be writing by the pool, on my oqo. much more to come!
m and i are both busy at work. i'm in the lab almost every day. i have learned a lot and really enjoy what i am doing. m just passed the one year mark on the project that eventually brought us here. maybe our hard work is catching up with us, because we both were sick twice last week (stomach and respiratory: m first, in order of head then tummy, then me in the reverse order). i literally slept for 95% of thursday, saturday, and sunday.
but we're off for a little r&r later this week, something different from what has been our vacation "m.o." in years past. we'll be very "wired" on this trek, so there may be possible live updates; but, if not, then there should be some cool tales to tell.
on a sidebar, i finally started toting my OQO around. in fact, i composed this entire entry via stylus + tablet pc. i am really impressed with the handwriting recognition, as mine is fairly sloppy. if only my lab notebook could do the same!
let's start off with m's surprise for me. he called me on friday afternoon and left a crazy message about how he was planning something for me and had to run a million errands. he also asked me to stay at work (late on a friday?!?) so that he could get everything in order. now i had no idea what was going on, because he's really good at planning things but keeping them secret. for example, both of our families knew about his plans to propose to me for several weeks before he popped the question. when i came in, we played a game of him giving me real clues and false clues and me trying to guess what the surprise was. i did pretty well, getting it right on the 3rd guess. m explained that he wanted to get something for me because he loves me so much and because i have been so supportive of him in moving up here, etc. that i deserve to have something nice. it was a wonderful, heart-felt conversation; we both felt like little kids excited about Christmas. we talked for at least an hour before even looking at the gift because we were enjoying the anticipation so much.
so what is it? well, here it is. i couldn't find either of our cameras this weekend, so that's a stock photo. but that is the correct color. it's just so sweet. it was absolutely the perfect gift, and m is definitely the best husband that i could have ever asked for.
i called this post "trifecta" because of the 3 great "gifts" that i received in the past few days. while m's gift is definitely the tops and will rank as one of the best gifts of all time, m's parents were incredibly thoughtful and brought us something that we desperately needed. i'm sure i mentioned it before - our dishwasher broke a few weeks after moving into our new home. it was a cheap model, so we planned on replacing it soon and have been washing by hand in the meantime. m's parents were at a yard sale last weekend, where they found a relatively new maytag dishwasher for $50. it was being replaced b/c the previous owner had remodeled her kitchen and got new appliances that matched. m's dad installed the dishwasher yesterday, and we ran 2 loads already. it has all electronic controls, lots of cycle options 2 sprayers, tons of room, and runs quietly.
the 3rd "gift" that i received really isn't a gift, but it is greatly appreciated. i came in and found a new computer on my desk at work this morning. it's not completely new, but it's a huge improvement over the first machine i had when i started here (only had 128 MB RAM, slow!!!). now i don't have to cry every time i try to open an email or document. hooray!
that's all for now. hope ya'll had as good of a weekend as i did!
tool, m's favorite band of all time (followed closely by a perfect circle, a.k.a. APC), which arrives next tuesday. like i said, m loves tool and i like them a lot. i have very fond memories of driving home from high school, listening to the college radio station, and screaming along to sober. we saw tool in 2002, which was an incredible show. we also saw APC twice - once in 2003, once in 2004. we were hoping for another tour with the new album. unfortunately we found out about the ticket sales too late, assuming we could have gotten some anyway since they sold out in minutes.
the show we wanted to go to is on may 17 in philadelphia. as many of you know, 5/17 is our anniversary and this year we celebrate 3 years of being husband and wife. so what better way to celebrate than to see one of our favorite bands in what could possibly be their last tour (they're getting older, and their albums always have a large interval between their releases). since ticketmaster was sold out, we checked stubhub and ebay. our eyes popped at the prices on some of the tickets. but we accepted the fact that we were going to have to spend some money to attend the concert, because non-attendance was completely unacceptable to us. we ended up buying 2 front row tickets, because if you're going to spend a lot of money on a show you might as well sit somewhere really freakin' good. i think we both still have a good amount of sticker shock, but it's going to be so worth it to spend our anniversary in the front row watching one of the greatest bands in the world. there will definitely be a big post after this event!
more later, but here are some "coming home" pics for you to get a look at our new fuzzball. enjoy!
Let's Dish". one of m's co-workers told him about it, and i am sure glad that he did. basically, Let's Dish has one menu every month with about 14 different "dishes". you sign up for one of the sessions (they fill quickly!), picking 8 or 12 dishes. when you get to the store, they have a prep station (like in a restaurant) for each of the dishes. you go to the station of the dishes that you selected, and they have instructions on how to put together each dish. all of the ingredients are fresh. so you might start with a large freezer bag, put in some seasonings and sauces, your meat, rice, veggies, whatever is in the recipe. some things go all in one container, some are split (seasoning separate from the meat). each dish serves 4 - 6 people, so if you don't have that many family members, you can split your dish (1 dish becomes 2, 12 become 24). then you wrap the bags, label them (with a pre-printed label and cooking instructions), then stick them in the freezer. some of the dishes can be cooked straight from the freezer, while others need to thaw overnight in the fridge. most of them are prepared in 30 minutes. they even suggest sides to prepare, although some of the dishes are "one-pot" meals.
i have to say that this is probably the best idea i've ever seen, and we will be going back for sure, maybe every month. this is perfect for busy couples or families. we both get home after 6 from work, and by the time we unwind, do the prep work for a meal and cook, it is 8 or 9 o'clock. i don't know if we'll eat a "dish" every night, but since we split our dishes then we have enough for the entire month (weeknights). we've tried 3 dishes so far, and they were incredible. this is not only a time-saver, but a great value as well. it works out to be $16/meal, or less than $3/serving. there aren't a lot of these stores yet, but keep an eye out for one in your area.
so onto non-work related topics. so i don't copy m's posts, be sure to check out his entries on his gadget habit and our new addition. for the first topic, i have to say that the u3 drive is very cool. using firefox at work is awesome, especially since i can't install any pop-up blockers in IE (no admin rights). also, tabbed browsing is essential for looking at patents, articles, and using google to find out about equipment and the like. i can't wait until feed demon is available for the drive. that will just make my day.
now onto the second topic; if you read m's blog you'll know that our new addition is of the canine species, more specifically a giant alaskan malamute. we're going to pick her up on saturday, and neither of us can wait to get her home. it will be crazy to see how lucy and huygens react to her, especially when she is full grown (and 6 times their weight!). m has always wanted a malamute, and i have always thought they were cool. my college-friend jill had one, and we used to eat lunch at her house near campus and howl with the dog. now that m and i are out in "the country", it will be fun to bay at the moon with our new furry family member. now we just need a name. suggestions are welcome!
oh, some advice. if you don't have one, buy an Xbox 360 and then buy Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter. the 3rd game in the series is the best ever. we hosted 14 players the other night, on our wireless signal. best game ever (okay, so far, since 360 games are just now really starting to be released). Fight Night is also good, if you like that sort of game.
okay, back to the grind for me. lunch is over. hopefully time will slow down a little before my next entry.
while i am proud of the medals that our athletes brought home, i am completely embarrassed by the un-sportsmanlike behavior exhibited by such contenders as bode miller and the dueling duo of shani davis and chad hedrick. way to confirm the world's suspicions that the u.s. is full of spoiled brats who just want their own way. i'm not saying that this type of behavior was limited to american athletes, ours just seemed to be the worst.
also, i bit off more than i could chew with the whole trying to record the olympic broadcasts on our media center. i did not realize that each 4-hour block of programming would take 8-10 GB, which resulted in our 600 GB of storage filling up quickly. i may still burn the opening and closing ceremonies, but frankly i don't have much of a desire to re-live many of the other events.
it was great to end on a high note on saturday with apollo anton ohno winning gold. mike and i watched him a lot in the salt lake games, so it was cool to see him come out on top at the end of the games.
the house is definitely cool, as is our neighborhood. i know i said "tales of suburbia" earlier, but it really doesn't feel that way. i drive through mostly farmland on my way to work in the morning. we have rabbits and deer in our back yard. and i saw a red fox crossing the road a few weeks ago. i don't think i've ever seen a fox in the wild before. it's been colder up here than in richmond, but m and i both prefer cold weather to hot. and we got a ton of snow a few weeks ago. it was so cool to watch it accumulate to over 2' that day (and night). our neighbors are very friendly and helped us shovel the driveway the next day, and the roads were very clear by the time we had to go to work on monday. best part of all - watching the dogs (boston terriers, remember) try to get around in snow that came up above their chins. i even took them out a few times without the leash, because they really couldn't go anywhere except under the deck where it was clear.
we had our families and some friends over 2 weekends ago for the daytona 500. it was a smashing success, with tons of food (including my award-winning chili) and no lack of screens/monitors carrying the race broadcast. our old house was too small to really have many people over, so it's really nice to have a place to "entertain". also, having the party encouraged us to unpack a bunch of boxes. it feels good to have the kitchen unpacked, and to actually have drawers and cabinets for everything (and being able to find everything easily).
work is good, for both m and me. busy, busy, busy! moving here has definitely rearranged our former daily schedule, with longer commutes and longer work hours (especially for m). my routine of being in bed by 10 pm (11 pm on a "late night) has gone bye-bye. i get to sleep most nights after midnight, but i'm finding that i can really function on 4-5 hours of sleep a night. good to know that's not going to be a problem when we have kids (no, i'm not dropping any hints here). i'm learning a lot and doing a lot of lab work lately, so it's been very exciting. i love a good challenge, and my experience so far just confirms that m and i made the right decision in moving (not that i ever doubted it in the first place).
okay, those paragraphs make me feel a little less "blogger's guilt", and maybe the effect will last for a few weeks. hopefully it won't have to though, and i'll write again soon!
haloscan is supposed to send me notifications when i get new comments, but they've been really half-a$$ed about doing so. anyway, in response to the multiple requests for photos of the new house, i created a set on flickr for the most important rooms in the house. they were the ones that didn't need much unpacking, and they look pretty much the same as when we bought it. so check them out. the plan is to cover the walls in movie memorabilia, so if you have anything you'd like to pass along (or sell) let us know!
last weekend we went to snowshoe for m's company's ski trip. this years was a blast, but i think it always has been and probably always will be. both times we have gone, the weather has not been the greatest. the first time, there was a huge ice storm the first night we were there and the mountain was closed the next day. this time, we awoke to fog and rain on saturday, not good for the already slushy conditions. but everyone had a good time anyway, hanging out, playing the xbox 360 (never leave home without it), and cooking. we had a chili cook-off on saturday night, and i am so proud of the fact that i won. i had been preparing for the competition since the last trip, but i was still very pleasantly surprised that the judges picked mine over 5 others "by a landslide". m contributed to the effort by eating my chili for the past 2 years and giving me good feedback.
so the winter olympics start this weekend. very exciting stuff. m and i were in colorado during the last winter games and watched a lot of the competition while recovering from the huge mountains (and high altitude). i like to watch the olympics, summer and winter, but the winter games are definitely my favorite (particularly hockey and snowboarding). so this year i have decided to compile recordings of the games, my first project on our new HP z558 media center. this thing is a must-have for any home entertainment enthusiast. m even said that microsoft messes up a lot of things, but they got it right with the windows xp media center edition. anyway, i hope i'm not biting off more than i can chew, but it will be awesome to have the finished product complete with the olympic rings etched onto our lightscribe dvds.
m's post title in my last entry. i read it a week ago, and i guess it stuck in my head. and as for the request of pictures, i'll post some as soon as we have things set up and the U-Haul boxes are gone.
now for the big topic of this week, the arrival of our xbox 360. after a very long wait (we pre-ordered last summer), i got a call on monday that our console had arrived. of course we ordered it from a store in richmond, since we had no idea we would be moving at the time. fortunately, the kind folks at eb games allowed my father to pick it up for me, and Dad was kind enough to ship it overnight to us.
in anticipation of the new toy's delivery, m and i purchased two games on monday night as well as the component A/V cables so we could hook the 360 up to our projector. (note: if you ordered the full system, it comes with component A/V cables.) we connected everything on wednesday night, and proceeded to check out our games.
before i go into the specifics of the games, i want to make it clear that the 360 lives up to the hype (and is worth the price). the video quality is unbelievable, looking almost like a movie. the game physics are incredible. on our home theater screen, the games almost felt like an imax film. the sound is also very good, and the long waits for loading are pretty much gone.
the first games we bought were amped 3 and madden nfl '06. amped was a big let-down; the technical aspects of the game were awesome, but the actual game-play sucked. at least i thought so. you have a group of friends on the mountain and you have to meet them different places and complete missions. moving around the mountain map was very confusing. i prefer SSX, where you can compete, complete challenges, or just free ride. of course SSX comes from EA Games, while amped comes from 2K Sports. and everyone knows that EA beats 2K every day of the week.
madden is more of m's game, but i watched him play. the detail on the players is phenomenal. madden is also an EA product, and it shows. EA worked closely with microsoft for the 360 games (after so many years of disagreements), so they really utilized the full capabilities of the 360.
last night we returned amped 3 (thank goodness we bought a used copy) and the component A/V cables, and picked up dead or alive 4 and condemned. we only got to play doa4 last night, but it was tons of fun.
more reviews of games and gadgets next week!
as i said, we found the perfect house. the huge kitchen and finished basement are a couple of the best features. well, the basement is really the best feature of the house b/c it contains a full-size pool table (brand new) and a home theater. as soon as m walked into the basement, he said this is "the house" (without even looking upstairs). the theater room is great; two rows of seating (leather recliners) and a screen that i believe is 10' x 12'. (m knows the exact measurements, but i forget.) i really didn't appreciate how cool the theater would be, but after moving in i realized it is freakin' awesome. the projector is a good model, and we can plug our video game systems and computers in as well. our xbox 360 is arriving today, and i can't wait to play amped 3 on the big screen.
our neighborhood is pretty cool. it's a small subdivision. and we're in an area that has a lot of farmland (horses), so it doesn't look very developed. but there are shopping areas within minutes of our house. i like the fact that we feel like we're in the country (once we leave the subdivision). i was dreading leaving the city for suburban sprawl (think fairfax), but it's not like that at all. i think the infrastructure in maryland is very well planned; there are many corridor roads that have a 55 mph speed limit with exits to the more local roads where the shopping areas are located. we ran errands on the weekend, and traffic did not seem congested at all (unlike short pump).
i started a new job at the beginning of the year, at supernus pharmaceuticals. like i said before, i was looking forward to the experience of a smaller company and also the opportunity to learn new technologies. i miss the "luxuries" of a large company (like extensive journal access) a little, but otherwise work is great. i can see already that i will be challenged (in a good way).
all in all, i think i'm really going to like it here.
his company that i'm not going to get into here. to summarize it - he's absolutely loving what he's doing, and we have an opportunity that we can't pass up.
so i have accepted a position in rockville. while i'm sad to leave my first "career" job, there are a lot of good things to look forward to. my new job is at smaller company than where i currently work, so i'm excited about a new work experience. plus the technology that i will be working on is very interesting and a great opportunity to improve my level of experience in pharmaceutics.
we're currently rushing to find a house in maryland. we're looking at howard county, sort of in between rockville and baltimore. i think the worst part of moving is going to be giving up the plush 7 minute commute that i currently have. we're going to look at a bunch of places this weekend and hopefully find something soon. otherwise we'll be staying in the extended stay place where m has been residing for a while. not bad, but definitely cramped (especially with the dogs).
so that's our "big news" for the year. i've lived in virginia my entire life, so it will be nice to try some place new. plus it isn't too far from our families, not like the west coast (which has always been a viable option for m's career).
on an unrelated note, i'm stealing from sarah (whose site is private and therefore not hyperlinked). try out my new daily trivia challenge. there are new questions each day. also, no cheating and looking on the web for answers, because your final score is based not only on the # of correct answers, but the time taken to complete the quiz. i'll also link it on the right so you can keep up with the play.
catching a football game. we had planned this trip for a few weeks, and it could have been much less enjoyable if not for the wonder of my favorite cold remedy. m got sick on the previous weekend; and i went home with a sore throat last tuesday and woke up on wednesday feeling like death was coming quickly. but some o.j. and kleenex (thanks to my sis for running the errand for me), some sleep, and my miracle tonic i was reasonably fit for the long weekend. i still have some residual congestion and a raspy voice, but at least i am now functional and at work. and i even got to enjoy the weekend; well, time with m is always enjoyable, but we haven't done the out-of-town thing in a while.
so that's all for now. time to survive a cold and rainy day, tough especially since i decided to drive back from charm city this morning (0430 comes terribly early on a monday). at least the dogs will be tired when i pick them up from the kennel this afternoon, so we can all cuddle together on the couch and rest until an early bedtime. more to come later, and hopefully a new song this week. i have it picked out, just been forgetting to upload it.
make sure you keep the sauce in the squash while you're eating it, because you can keep dipping the squash as you eat it. i used wildflower honey, which is a little bit darker and went really well with the squash. i'm sure other honeys would be just a good. also, you can serve this as a side dish, but i ate it as a main dish with some cheese and crackers (althought some crusty bread would have been awesome). m gave me a cheese of the month club for my birthday, so i had some fromage de savoie. this is a little bit too much like brie to be just a table cheese (good for a fruit and cheese plate though), but it really complemented the meal since the honey sauce was so sweet.
this would be even funnier if it weren't so sad. be sure to read the linked pdf files for the original content. okay, so why is michael brown still on the federal payroll?
coolest gadget the other night when we were at Best Buy. the Slingbox has got to be one of the best new inventions out there right now, and it can only get better. basically, this thing "slings" your cable signal through your router over your internet connection to your laptop, no matter where you are in the world. and the quality of the picture is perfect. there's a delay of a few seconds from the live broadcast, but the buffering is flawless. also, you set up little infrared devices that allow you to control your cable box from your laptop, so you can access all of its features like DVR, OnDemand, etc. now if we are traveling, we will never have to deal with crappy hotel cable again. (yes, we always stay where there is a high-speed connection.) hopefully m won't mess with me and change the channel while he's on the road. (j/k, honey!)
on another good note, i got a new iPod on saturday too. first we went to the mall to the Apple store, which told us over the phone that they had the new 60 gb video iPods in stock (only in white though). the mall's parking lot was as full as it is at Christmas, and i think 75% of the people were in the Apple store. so after fighting my way through the crowd and getting the attention of a very distracted employee, i was informed that they hadn't had any 60 gb video iPods in stock for days. they did have the last generation, 60 gb photo iPod in stock for only $349. i was advised to wait for the video one, and i am glad that i held off on my purchase. when i got home i started to research the video iPod a little bit more. Apple has taken the AC power adapter out of the box, which means you have to purchase it "a la carte" for an additional $30. also, the new iPod is not compatible with most of the earlier accessories, including the iTalk that Mike just purchased as well as some FM transmitters and car chargers. while the video thing would have been cool to watch Lost on, i'm not going to be downloading music videos so i decided to purchase just the photo one after all.
oh yeah, and i got Age of Empires III to try out on my new laptop. this computer is a gamer's dream. the graphics and sound are incredible, and there is no lag at all. i don't think i can ever buy a normal computer again.
we did have some "human" interaction over the weekend. we had dinner at Fleming's with my family on saturday for my dad's birthday. if you like great food (especially steak), i highly recommend this restaurant for any special occasion or just feel like treating yourself to a fantastic meal.
but on some more positive notes, i finally got the clap your hands and say yeah self-titled cd. it is soooooo good. so good in fact that i've linked them as this week's s.o.w. i love the fall, not just for the cooling weather, but also because october brings so many good new music releases.
also, on the "geek" front, m and i received our shiny new alienware notebooks this week. these things rock harder than we ever imagined. 17" widescreen is the way to go. and the processors are so fast! also, we purchased a new router and new wireless cards and are getting a whopping connection rate of 108 mbps. we were getting 11 mbps on our old . and before m set up the router, we were able to connect to our next-door neighbors network at 54 mbps. we can even get a signal from the house at the end of the block.
and now for something completely different - has anyone noticed how much food costs at arby's? i stopped there to pick up lunch today. i haven't been there for about a year, but what they are charging is close to highway robbery. i paid $7.09 for a beef'n'cheddar sandwich, curly fries, and a regular-sized coke. arby's is good, and i need a horsey sauce fix every once in a while, but it's definitely not worth that price.
that's all, folks!
new iPod looks so cool. mine is a few years old now, it's getting full, and the battery is wearing out. (yeah, i qualified for the class action settlement, but i didn't have my receipt.) m and i just treated ourselves to a couple of new, fully-loaded laptops (arriving next week!), and i think that i will have to upgrade my favorite peripheral just to keep in step with m's new toys.
m for the forwarded email.
web 2.0 kick. so check the sidebar and follow the new link to my yahoo 360 page and the new button to my del.icio.us bookmarks. man, the internet has sure changed a lot since i started using it 11 years ago. and i think it will change about as much in the next 11 months.
my morning jacket's brand new album. this album is a little bit different than their prior work, but it's still very good. i just love the reggae groove in the track i linked. be sure to check it, as always, on the right of the page.
i recently downloaded my monthly quota of music from emusic, and i went on a bit of an iTunes binge yesterday. i don't have time to review or link all of the following new albums, but they are all very much worth checking out.
sufjan stevens - illinoise
devendra banhart - cripple crow
elbow - leaders of the free world
my morning jacket - z
idlewild - warnings/promises
broken social scene - self-titled
franz ferdinand - you could have it so much better
stellastarr* - harmonies for the haunted
bloc party - silent alarm remixed
as for new and exciting things coming in the future, i'm keeping a watch on the following
clap your hands and say yeah - self-titled
great big sea - the hard & the easy
so, while it may have been a dry summer, the fall is definitely not going to have a drought for new music. now if only it would rain . . .
gubernatorial candidates. but i have to speak out against the dumbest political ad i have ever seen. a lot of the "hype" at the beginning of the election season was that the "city" candidate, tim kaine, was trying to make the "country" candidate, jerry kilgore, look like a yokel. this was mostly due to the fact that kilgore has a southwestern VA accent, although it isn't "thick" by any means. i am originally from that area, and i know the accent well. just watch our old family videos and you'll see. but i digress. the ad that i linked above features kilgore's brother, terry, who is a state delegate. the plaid shirt, mustache, lop-sided mouth, and half-slit eyes just make him look goofy. especially in front of a tractor. at first i thought that this was a joke, but as the ad played i became aware that it was all too real. please, campaign managers, don't let your candidate's brother appear in an ad looking like he should be in the movie half baked.
so that's my comment. watch the ad and decide for yourself. it doesn't sway me towards one candidate or the other (or the other), i'm probably not going to vote anyway. yeah, shame on me; i usually do but i am just not inspired this time.
naming new celestial bodies after pulp t.v. show characters. i've already professed my fondness for sci fi, but this is taking it too far.
fiesta americana grand coral beach, which we both agreed is the best caribbean resort we have been to so far. m and i received the trip as a gift, and we are so glad we did because neither of us would have chosen cancun on our own. we both thought it would be just a crazy party town, a la MTV spring break. our vacation was during the off-season though, so things were nice and quiet like we like it. of course if you want to go to clubs at this time of the year, they are still full. but it was perfect for us - plenty of chairs at the beach/pool, no waiting for drinks or dinner, and no raucous crowd.
the f.a.g.c.b. is a beautiful hotel, with all ocean-front suites, a huge swimming pool, and many restaurants. a lot of the reviews i read online complained that the food is too expensive. it's pricey, but not outrageous for a 5 star hotel and comparable to any nice restaurant in the U.S. also, the portions are huge so sharing is a good option. also, there is no reason to pay for bottled water in the room as the water at the resort is treated and potable. still, the mini-bar prices were no higher than any hotel in the U.S. the rooms are immaculate, with even the junior suites being of good size. other complaints i read online were that the mattresses were hard; it was firm, but of good quality. (personally i prefer a firm mattress.) and they turn down your bed every night, turning on soft music, putting chocolates on the pillow, and laying out the robes and slippers they provide.
the customer service at the hotel is incredible. they are literally at your beck and call, 24 hours a day. m had sinus problems on the plane which developed into some bad respiratory funk on the first night. i called the front desk to see about getting some cough syrup, and they sent the hotel doctor to our room. the doctor checked him out and called the pharmacy which delivered his prescriptions. even the concierge called to check in on m when she heard he had seen the doctor.
the food at the hotel was delicious. we did not have one thing that we didn't like. the room service menu has lots of selections, and they set up a dining table when they bring your service so you don't have to hunch over the coffee table. even the food at the pool/beach was great, not your typical bar food quality. they have live music in the different restaurants throughout the week. also, the restaurants aim to please - we had dinner one night at the outdoor restaurant where they serve homemade chips and salsa during the day. they don't serve it at night, but the waiter had the chef make a fresh batch of chips just for us.
so i reiterate that we thoroughly enjoyed our trip, and definitely plan to go back to f.a.g.c.b. thanks to those who gave us this respite from the real world. there's so much more that i could talk about, but my free time is up. too much to do at the office when coming back from vacation! photos and more words later.
ESPN2 broadcast of the Drum Corps International finals. marching band never looked so cool. each of the top corps had a cool intro like they do for pro athletes, and there were really nice feature segments too. finally someone recognized the physical effort required to put on a great field show, as one of the features actually measured the heart rate, oxygen intake, and other tests of a snare drummer as he ran through the routine. they even said that his heart rate got up to 180 while he was listening to the rest of the band play, before he even hit the field. i know mine still goes up whenever i hear a good marching band, which is why i had to dvr the rest of the competition so i could get to sleep. so the "geeks" are shown to be athletes. vindication at last!
we tried out m's new camera at our niece's 3rd birthday on saturday. the pictures turned out well, and of course the party was fun. the house was full of kids, and i couldn't help thinking that this will be a normal gathering for m's family, once all 6 siblings are married and with families of their own.
the rest of the weekend was spent watching dvds, namely the first season of House. we just discovered this show last week (upon recommendation from m's dad). i can't believe we didn't watch it sooner. we finished the set, but at least the new season starts next week. i think this is probably the best show on t.v. right now. well, at least one of the best.
lunch is over! more in the next few days.
his site will be running at full speed soon. be sure to watch for some crazy tech talk. he's on a gadget kick, so i'm sure he'll point out some cool things too.
new magazine that m discovered this week. make is pretty freakin' cool, and it comes in digital (for m) and print (for me) versions. i started reading vol. 2 last night and found that some of the same authors from boing boing contribute to the 'zine. good stuff, you can read cover to cover without finding a boring article. i highly recommend if you are a tech-geek of any sort. and it's given m and me a new hobby to pursue - making stuff.
things coming up - our niece's 3rd birthday this weekend (how time flies), richmond races next weekend (great seats at RIR), and a little getaway for the hubby and me. details may be forthcoming.
crazy. even worse than the people who were planning to fly from out of state to buy one of these iBooks.
::.. s.o.w. ..::
::.. features ..::
::.. friends ..::
::.. personal stuff ..::
:: my yahoo 360 [>]
:: wedded bliss [>]
:: richardson's news [>]
:: wishlist [>]
:: wedding photos [>]
:: family photos [>]
:: puppies [>]
:: ava alyse [>]
::.. recommended ..::
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