Jan 262008
 

Yes, the rumors are true. Mom rear-ended me. It’s not so much that she rear-ended me, it’s more that she rear-ended me, tried to act like it wasn’t a big deal (“Oh, did I bump you? My car probably has more damage than yours does.”), and I don’t think she even apologized (I think she was too quickly on the defensive to think of it). If she was a stranger, I would be livid. Since she’s Mom, I’m just annoyed and amused at the never-ending opportunity to torment her about it. I forgot to call her the day after and say things like, “Gee, Ma, our necks really hurt. What are the symptoms of whiplash?”

Anyway, this occurred on the way to Plum Delicious, which was okay (and no better), and definitely a restaurant for retirees and the walking dead. Mom gave us presents (a pretty green hand-made sweater for KrisDi, a t-shirt that says “Descended from Pirates” for me, books, Fat Bastard wine. The seat tried to eat KrisDi’s book, but with some disassembly and grunting, I was able to retrieve it (and a pair of reading glasses).

That was on the day of our final walkthrough, where our ‘concierge’ showed us all the features of the house that we’ve seen about a million times (speaking of which, here are some more pictures after touch up and the beginning of landscaping) and we pointed out things they missed and asked for little changes. We’re supposed to get keys on Thursday (the 31st), and we hope to be sleeping there on Friday. We’ll get a moving truck on Saturday to do all the big stuff. Luckily, this is one of those short moves where we can take a million trips with our cars full of little boxes, and so have nothing but big stuff to put in the truck, which isn’t too bad at all.

I had an interesting lunch at work on Tuesday. Me and two co-workers (the newest Test Engineer and the oldest Test Engineer, both Chinese, both shy and quiet) took out three of our Japanese counterparts (two with limited English, one with a heavy accent). The meal was filled with uncomfortable silences. It turns out that the one with better English is from a smaller town close to Sasebo, where I’ve spent a lot of time, which was neat, and displaced the last few minutes of uncomfortable silence on the drive back to work.

KrisDi made some crazy new chipotle beef and butternut squash concoction, which was excellent and fed us royally for two meals. She claims it’s easy enough that I could make it (I always take such statements with a grain of salt). We also saw this huge bird outside our apartment. I took a couple pictures. Any guesses as to what kind of bird he is?

———– Book and a Movie ———–

Waitress. This was a depressing movie. So much pie, and I didn’t get to eat any of it. That makes me sad.

Lord of the Flies, by William Golding. Yes, it’s the first time I’ve read it. I enjoyed it, but talk about depressing.

Jan 192008
 

I’ll try not to babble too much, although you don’t get to completely avoid my babbling. It’s my website, so screw you. I’ll go from most recent to least recent.

House pictures, from December 1st 2007 to January 18th 2008. We’re supposed to close in two Thursdays. I’m so damn excited. They start getting more interesting around here, one of the nights we broke in after hours. On the 15th we broke in again, and found lots and lots of blue tape all over the place, marking things that need to be touched up or repaired. But we kept finding stuff that needed to be touched up or repaired, but wasn’t marked. So, we tore up some of the pieces of tape into smaller pieces and put them where we thought they needed to work, too.

On January 4th, we saw my step sister’s band, Sick of Sarah, play at the Aquarium in Fargo. My step sister, Brooke, is the drummer. That was an interesting night. I have never in my life seen so many lesbians in one place.

On New Year’s Day, Dad made us dinner. Steak.

It snowed in Chicago on December 28th.

December 22nd, we took more pictures of E-Dubs’ and Pixel Chick’s little dog.

The day we arrived in Chicago, we went to Hopleaf. We only took two pictures: One where KrisDi’s eyes were closed and everyone else was fine, and one where KrisDi’s eyes were open and no one else looked fine. I photoshopped the eyes from one into the other, so if she looks lopsided, it’s due to my lackluster Photoshop skills.

Old pictures my parents took in 1991. I don’t think I’ll be cute in any of the pictures to follow this set. Out of these, I remember two in particular:

  • This one, of Northwood with a snake. I can’t remember for sure, but I think that’s actually a rattlesnake. As I recall, we were camping in Mobridge, SD, in a pretty regularly-visited campground, and this big old rattler came slithering through. Northwood saw it and went running to Dad, who didn’t believe him until he saw the snake. Then Dad grabbed a shovel and killed it. Didn’t Northwood attempt to tan it or something? I remember him skinning it, pinning the skin out, and putting salt or something all over it. Leedle Brudda, can you verify? If that wasn’t the snake I’m talking about, then it must have been a bull snake or something, I suppose.
  • And this one, in which evil Eldest is seen delighting in torturing me. You see the horrible glee on Eldest’s face — he got me all excited by marking this gigantic box for me from Santa, and loaded it with bricks or something in the bottom to make it seem heavy, and then stuffed it with newspaper and…drum roll…a can of peas. I hate peas. What a terrible person.

Old pictures my parents took in 1990. I remember this BB gun: Eldest sawed off the stock and most of the barrel, then covered it in electrical tape. Afterward, it was suspiciously easy to conceal in a sleeve, and difficult to see in the dark.

I hope that eventually I’ll get some pictures that are actually of the New Year’s Shindig that I can put up here. That would be neat… 🙂

Jan 162008
 

Hello! The evilly thoughtful SkaYoYo and Tufty have given me a late Christmas present: Untersocks. SkaYoYo seems to think it’s funny to torment me. I guess I can’t blame him; he’s hardly the only person to think that. Anyway, I haven’t opened the socks yet. I’m seriously considering a sock-off: Buy six pairs of brand new ubersocks, serialize them 1-6, serialize SkaYoYo’s untersocks to match, wear untersock 1 with ubersock 1, untersock 2 with ubersock 2, etc, and just keep going with them, and see which socks wear out first. But I already have a lot of socks. Perhaps I will perform this worthy experiment when I haven’t quite so many socks.

Speaking of which, my cunning plan is finally paying off! I’ve discarded a few of my untersocks! Bwahahaha!

Let’s see…worthy GirlAndi was tasked with sending me a CD of pictures from Wilmy’s Annual New Year’s Extravaganza. She got the CD and a picture…of her kid (LaRyantrelle) NOT at the Extravaganza. Which is adorable. Nothing like feeding a baby a healthy mixture of Jack Daniel’s Old No 7 and coffee beans. But that’s okay. She’s still a sweetie for trying. However, it might be her ‘subtle’ way of telling me that I don’t really want to see that video of me ‘pretending’ to be drunk.

Our house is getting close to done! I’ll put a bunch of pictures up soon! My next post, in fact, I intend to pretty much just post pictures. Anyway, as of yesterday’s nocturnal break-in (sometimes we sneak in after hours) and this afternoon’s drive by, they’re basically done inside the house besides touching up in the approximately 10,000 locations designated by little pieces of blue painters’ tape (KrisDi and I kept finding unmarked scratches/marks/damage, so we’d tear the big pieces of blue tape in half and put part of it on what we found), putting in the water heater, finishing up some of the vents and lights, and putting the last two burners into the range. Outside, they’ve started painting finally, and they’ve started doing the landscaping. They tore the crap out of that backyard. It’ll be interesting to see what it looks like when they think they’re done with it.

Oh, and in other news, Mom started paying people to maul her.

———- Books I read and movies I watched ———-

Marginal Man by Chad Oliver. This is a short story about an anthropologist who goes to other human-inhabited planets to turn them into markets (“So, you guys make things by hand and hunt with bows and arrows, eh? Try these sewing machines and rifles!”). Then he runs into a ‘primitive’ society which apparently has no interest in ‘improving’ their situation, which does not help his innate doubts about the equivalence of ‘progress’ and ‘improvement’. Not too shabby. And the nice thing about short stories is that they’re short. If he’d tried to extend it into a whole book, it wouldn’t have worked.

Lorelei of the Red Mist by Ray Bradbury and Leigh Brackett. Another short story, this one about a thief on Venus dying and having his personality implanted into the brain-dead body of Conan in a barbarian culture located in Venus’ upper atmosphere. It’s a very strange premise for a story, but it wasn’t too shabby. Although I don’t recall the name “Lorelei” showing up anywhere in the story.

Journey to Ixtlan by Carlos Castaneda. Wow, it seems like it’s been a long time since I read this. Because it has. Maybe two months or so. Anyway, this was an interesting book, lent to me by a co-working who seems to think highly of the philosophies described in the book. I can see where some of them would be appealing in some ways, and some of them might even be beneficial, but a lot of it just seemed like crap to me. However, as just a light story to read, there are still some interesting little stories and characters, so I did like it.

I, Robot by Isaac Asimov. I got about half way through this when I figured out that there couldn’t possibly be a connection to the movie, which I’ve never seen. You can tell from the previews that there are evil robots attempting to kill humans, which never happens in any of the stories in the book. There is one case where a robot begins to try to attack a human, but fails to do so. Anyway, there are nine short stories tied together by mechanism of a single storyteller speaking to a single reporter audience, and they get progressively heavier. The first couple were funny, and then semi-funny, and so on. I enjoyed it. I guess maybe Asimov earned his reputation.

The Hogfather. I finally watched this made-for-TV-movie with Mom. KrisDi got sick of it and left the room after about five minutes (if that). It was silly. I’ve never read the book. I think I enjoyed it.

Love Actually. I’ve seen this before. It was the first movie I took KrisDi to see when we first started dating. We liked it and bought it, and then we brought it back to her parents’ place for Christmas and watched it with them. Somehow, we managed to forget all the nudity and cursing. I still like it. “Remember kids, don’t buy drugs. Become a pop star and they’ll give ’em to you for free!”

Sweeney Todd. It’s a musical. It’s dark. I liked it. It was funny, and actually creepy. “Nothing’s going to harm you, not while I’m around…Toby…where are you?” Mom pointed out the little segment with the broken mirror, and yes, that was some very cool imagery. She was also right that the repetitive violence was unnecessary. After the first couple explicit throat-cuttings, implicit throat-cuttings would have been just as (if not more) effective. I really liked the sequence where Mrs. Lovett was fantasizing about her future with Sweeney Todd, and kept imagining them in various normal situations, but they were so terribly out of place…anyway, yes, I liked it.

Juno. A comedy about a 16-year-old who gets pregnant and decides to give the kid up for adoption. I liked Juno’s character a lot, she was hilarious. I liked this movie more than I liked Sweeney Todd. “Can’t we just like kick this old school. You know, like I stick the baby in a basket, send it your way, like Moses and the reeds?” “I am a sacred vessel; all you got in your stomach is Taco Bell.”

Superbad. Meh. There were funny parts. I hated Seth. I liked McLovin/Fogle and the cops. Jonah was kinda boring.

Jan 082008
 

So, I’ve been gone for a while. I’m just going to kind of ramble today. In the next couple days, I’ll post some pictures and write about my boring old books and movies and whatnot.

I don’t think I remembered to mention it, but I got sick of Christmas the day before Thanksgiving. I don’t remember anymore what keyed me off. It was probably the third or fourth commercial in a row that did a bad job of ripping off the same damn Christmas song. Boy am I glad that season’s over.

Anyway, we got back from our break on Saturday (after the usual travel tribulations). No lost bags, but we did drag poor, ailing Ben down to the airport to wait for an hour for United‘s baggage handlers to finish their mandatory tea time/union break/nap/recuperatory recess before taking a single bag from our flight and sticking it onto the infernal baggage belt. *sigh* I don’t miss traveling. KrisDi has more choice words about the situation, but as far as I’m concerned, lateness isn’t a serious issue. But mucho thanks to Ben again. We’ll make him some chicken tortilla soup soon and cram it down his throat. Gently, of course.

I don’t feel like going into great detail about everything we did, here are some highlights: Hopleaf with Weesh and the Chicagoans (Chicagomers? Who can say!); lots of pool, beer, and dessert at the Almost-In-Laws’ sweet pad in swank suburbia; two separate armies of friendly and generous Polish relatives in quantities large enough to conquer small countries; some shopping and lots of relaxing; and a touch of Matlab (this time I was writing a program to read *.mp3s and *.wavs in and then introduce reverberation based on a couple parameters).

Presents, of course. KrisDi and I didn’t get each other anything, because we’re blowing all our cash on this silly house thing. We didn’t get anybody any big presents. Which sucks. I like giving people presents. I’m just no good at picking out presents. I got a wallet (exactly what I was looking for about three months ago, when I bought one. Now I have a spare!) from Weesh’s folks and a sweater with a zipper from Weesh (I’m wearing it right now because we NEVER turn the heat on — we saw our breath when we came home), Northwood gave me Simpsons Season 10, and KrisDi’s fambly gave me a Media Center remote control (which is pretty slick). Lots of people gave us gift cards and money (which is good, because we’ll need them when we close in a few weeks). KrisDi got a little squirrel Christmas decoration, and I got a t-shirt calling squirrels “Nature’s little speed bumps.” And a laser-level/stud-finder, which will be handy when we put together shelving in the garage. KrisDi got a signed Luis Aparicio picture, some clothes, a little blender thing, a picture frame, a White Sox toy truck thing. Lots of good stuff. And Dad made us one of his laser-engraved plaques that says, “Welcome to KrisDi and snaotheus’ House”, which is very nice. I’ll use my laser level when I put that up. We’re going to have the levelest house on the whole damn block (assuming the house doesn’t slide down the incline before they actually bring in some dirt).

Right. So, next we went from the frozen tundra of Chicago to the yet-more-frozen tundra of North Dakota, where I got to spend somewhere between 12 and 16 hours with my brothers before they began departing. Eldest’s Girlfriend’s Daughter J decided she could only be nice to me OR to Northwood, but not both. I was the lucky one. Northwood was given drawings describing him as “poop and pee”. Then Grandma decided to chastise him (baselessly) for being too rough with Dad, and then his car remained broken on what sounded like the third attempt to fix it. So I felt bad for him. And all I gave him for Christmas was a pair of t-shirts (he wanted one of them really bad, though). Eldest and I stayed up until 4:30, drinking and talking. Northwood, Eldest, and I actually had a fairly long conversation about engineering courses and teachers, which is kinda neat. We almost never have something (besides childhood) to engage all three of us at once.

After my brothers left, I think KrisDi was thoroughly bored. We mostly hung out with Wilmy, visited my step-brother’s house (damn has he fixed it up nice — but that figures, since he runs a flooring company). Dad grilled in the snow (again, pictures later), we slept late and drank lots and chilled out. We went to Wilmy’s Annual New Year’s Bash, where Wilmy’s relations arrived in numbers rivaling the Polacks in Chicago. Man, that would make a pretty spectacular battle — Wilmy relatives versus KrisDi relatives. I think everyone would win. They’re all so gosh-darn friendly. We drank (of course) large volumes of alcoholic beverages, and TRAGICALLY the EGG BAKE WAS CANCELLED! It’s the only egg breakfast I EVER look forward to. You can ask KrisDi. It’s for real.

We got to see GirlAndi’s little critter (LaRyantrelle Notryan for internet purposes) for a little bit before Mr. and Mrs. GirlAndi ditched her with the grandparents. That was probably KrisDi’s highlight of the North Dakota portion of the vacation. OH! And I’ve recently learned that Mr. GirlAndi gained his Professional Engineer certificate! That’s one hell of an accomplishment! Let me tell you, a lot fewer people have done that than squeezed out babies! Congratulations to him!

That’s all for now.