29 March 2008

The Day Two Years In The Making

So here it was, the first professional baseball game ever played in the just-finished Nationals Park, and I am glad to report that the place is beautiful. There is still some work to do, such as installing televisions where "Future Site of Television" signs currently hang and working out those concessions issues, but all-in-all the ballpark is a success.

You can see the pictures, but they really don't do the place justice. It truly is a diamond in the crown of Washington DC (pun intended), and those involved in making it happen - the politicians who approved it, the business owners who are being taxed for it, the planners who designed it, the construction workers who built it - should feel very proud of their achievement.

26 March 2008

Star Wars Stuff We (Sort Of) Wish We Had

NPR has a short article about Star Wars merchandise that never saw the light of day. You will find the audio slide show right here.

It's a shame, honestly. I mean, who wouldn't want Princess Leia AM/FM stereo headphones?

UPDATE: You can find the whole rejected bunch at the bottom of this Ottertorials post. Each picture is clickable so that you can get a good up-close look, much like the picture featured on this post.

(God, I want a Jedi Mood Ring ...)

To The Brim

I generally have control of my emotions and everything that goes with them, but right now ... at this moment ... with everything with which I am dealing ... I'm having a difficult time. I have moments when I just can't contain them, when they have to run loose. And right now, when I can't sleep, is one of them.

24 March 2008

My Horoscope For Today

I read horoscopes on occassion but I don't bet any money on them. They're usually generic tripe that has nothing to do with my life. But today's is actually quite apropos:
You may be buzzing on all the energy you feel, but a deeper flow of emotions can catch you off guard, possibly even sending you into a temporary tailspin. Don't worry; you'll quickly recover as long as you acknowledge the progress you have made. Looking within doesn't necessarily require looking back. Imagine your future rather than dreaming of your past.

The Countdown Begins

Five more days and I'm free of this place. This place that I've spent the last thirty months working my butt off to make some semblance of order out of the chaos that existed before my arrival. In my time here I helped write the handbook, single-handedly wrote the operations guide, helped flesh out and documented the procedures that we use to do our day-to-day jobs here, and trained a countless people within and without my team on how to do this job. Oh, and actualy do the job at the same time.

It's been thankless and it's been stressful and it's been miserable.

But in five more days. Freedom. Sweet freedom.

18 March 2008

The Past Week - New York City

New York City - The Big Apple - The City That Never Sleeps. If you've never been, shame on you. Everyone should go at least once in their life. I enjoy the place. But then, I'm a city mouse.

So, we went up to NYC, where my *former* roommate had worked out lodging for the evening. Now, I've been to NYC a few times. Once I stayed at a friend's small one-bedroom with my ex and two friends of ours. Once I stayed in a tiny hotel room a block from Times Square. Once I stayed at my ex's friend's sister's flat in the Fashion District. Of all the places I stayed, that last place was the one that made me pause and think "Holy shit, this is nice!"

I had no idea what I was talking about.

But we'll get to that in a few.

After the show we met Mr. NYC, his husband, and a friend of theirs at a restaurant a couple blocks down the street. The food was good, as was the wine. After dinner, we followed him back to his place. We unloaded our overnight bags and Mr. NYC asked if we wanted to go out. (Any city that you can go out to a jumping bar that is open until 4 AM on a Monday is my kind of town.) Of course we said yes. He offered to drive and we didn't object. Let's face it, how could anyone object to having the opportunity to ride in one of these, even if only for a few minutes? We all get in and he decides to show us what his ride could do.

Let me tell you what it could do ... it could do 128 MPH in Midtown Manhattan ... that's what it could do.

Now this was all good and fine except police apparently discourage driving at such high speeds in the city. Yes, we were busted by the fuzz. Who had us sit on the rear bumper of the ride while they searched the car. (To make sure we didn't have any illegal substances. Which we did not.) They give Mr. NYC a warning (a warning after getting caught doing 90 MPH) and allow us to leave. And we do. We get to a bar in Chelsea just as the drag show was finishing, fortunately. We get a round of drinks and, just as we sit in the lounge area, we were joined by some college kids who were visiting from Indiana. Good kids, all in all. We hang out until closing (at 4 AM. Did I mention that already?) and head back to the condo ... Mr. NYC, me, my *former* roommate, and our mutual friend ... and the college kids. I went immediately to bed because I was friggin' exhausted. They all stayed up until who knows when.

We woke up late on Tuesday (sans college kids, who had left at some point during the wee hours of the morning, and Mr. NYC, who had gone to work), went walking around NYC for a few hours, then headed home. Nothing terribly exciting, because we didn't really plan for it. Next time will be better.

Now about that condo -- total swank. What do I mean exactly? In this photo set, you can see pictures of the view from his condominium (the first five) and pictures of the first floor of his condominium (the next ten).

I try very hard to remain unimpressed by titles and money and things. In the end, people are people and stuff is stuff. But I have to admit that I was overwhelmed by it all. I felt so small, so insignificant. I don't ever want to have that kind of money, but I'd like to have maybe half of that kind of money. Staying there really brought home the fact that I'm so, so far away from that.

Mr. NYC was much more down-to-earth and far more gracious than his surroundings would have one believe. I'm glad I got to experience that, especially with my boys, but I don't think I would want to go through that again. Unless the person was actually a friend of mine. Then it's game on.

17 March 2008

The Past Week - Mario Spinetti

Last Monday my *former* roommate, a mutual friend of ours, and I drove up to New York City to see a live performance by our favorite new up-and-coming artist.

The original plan was to go up, spend a few hours in the city, see the show, then drive back home. My *former* roommate managed somehow to befriend a New Yorker while he was working the Friday night before our adventure and secure a place for us to sleep that Monday night after the show. (You work it, boy!) (And more on that in a separate post a bit later today.)

So, yes, we make the drive up to NYC last Monday morning (in about 3.5 hours - go me!) and spend a few hours walking around the city. Hilarity and hijinx ensue, because we crack ourselves up. That happens when three people who share the same mind are together.

We get to Drom a bit too early. (Hey, we were expecting a crowd. And Mario said to show up early. And Mario wouldn't lie to us.) We walk in just as they began setting up for the show. At the "box office" (read: a dinner table) was who we think was Mario's manager (or he could have been the Drom manager) and ... is that? ... yes, Mario himself. We said hello and wished him luck but didn't hold a conversation. As someone who's performed in front of an audience, trust me, before a show is not the time to talk to a performer. So we grab our seats at a table front-and-center and settled in for the show.

I'm not going to go into detail about everything. I'll just say the following:

  • Amature photographers at the foot of the stage snapping pictures left and right is never a good idea. Rethink the promo shots in future shows.
  • The new music worked very well with the already-recorded music. The whole bunch would make a solid first LP.
  • The live performances of the already-recorded music was spot on. It really did justice to the music we came to know and love.
  • His band was most excellent. The live introduction to "I Was There", with the lead guitarist and the keyboardist, was incredibly moving.
  • Despite the fact that my *former* roommate had to almost tackle him, once he did sit and talk with us after the show, Mario was warm and engaging. He asked for our opinions and seemed to take them to heart.
  • Mario is a major hottie.
The show itself was worth the trip to NYC. We'll probably continue to make the occassional trek back up there to see future performances ... that is until he starts booking shows down here.

You can see pictures of the show here.

13 March 2008

The Past Week - Books And Strings And Things

So, last week the PowerBook crapped out. I had to have the hard drive and the SDRAM replaced. Fortunately, the total cost (parts, labor, and shipping) was under $350. Not bad. It's still a little flakey so I'll have to take it back in to have them check the OS. (I think it may not be installed properly.)

I've been job hunting for over a year. It has only been in the past month, knowing that I would become unemployed at the end of the month, that my contacts have been working hard to help me find something. I'm sure they were working hard before (*cough cough*). After many stressful days, I can proudly say that I will have continuing employment. I've accepted a position that will challenge me and continue my growth in the IT security field. Celebrating will start tonight and continue to the end of the month. (Woo-hoo!)

Monday and Tuesday, I was in New York City with my roommate and a friend of ours. We went up to see a singer/songwriter who is pretty much just starting out in a show up there. There is much to say about that trip, which will be done in a separate post.

I also have some personal shtuff to vent. That will also be done in yet another separate post.

For now, rejoice in the return of the newly improved PowerBook and the landing of a new job.

Wish Me Luck

I haven't forgotten about telling you of this past weekend. I spent last night rebuilding my laptop and preparing for what I hope to be my final interview (where I currently am, waiting for everyone to arrive). I'll fill you in ... generically ... on this too. But for now, wish me luck.

12 March 2008

Place-Holder Post

My-oh-my, I have a few things to discuss. There's the PowerBook, the job hunt, the weekend, and getting busted in a prostitution ring scandal ... no, wait, that wasn't me.

In any case, posts explaining everything will be done tonight. Right now, I'm up to Shaq's nipples in work.

05 March 2008

Early Morning Smile

I love Tim Gunn. I was also once the object of romantic attention of Christian in a Baltimore bar one night last year (when he was still an undiscovered and underaged local talent) and enjoyed his company. Seeing this clip brought a much-needed smile to my face this morning. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I did.

04 March 2008

Talk Of The Town

I like attention. I like having all eyes on me. I like being the topic of conversation. Except when it's for reasons other than my rugged good looks, my smarmy charm, and my disarming humor.

Let me just put this out there for whomever it may concern:
I am glad to discuss things of utmost importance. I will talk about the demons between us that should be exorcised. (Because, let's face it, who wants fat demons?) I will be happy to kick about the various ways we can end world hunger, join all religions in the ultimate Kumbaya, and be the salve for the pains of all people. I would even consider opining at length about the state of politics, finance, and health care in the world today. We can hold these debates at any coffee shop or restaurant of our choosing.

But I will never again have a serious conversation within the confines of a House of Music. I am there to enjoy a drink (or four), forget my daily stresses, and *perhaps* dance a bit. If approached on a serious topic, I will simply walk away.
I hope we are all clear on this.

03 March 2008

Ten Thoughts to Ponder

  1. Life is sexually transmitted.
  2. Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.
  3. Men have two emotions, hungry and horny. If you see him without an erection, make him a sandwich.
  4. Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day. Teach a person to use the Internet and they won't bother you for weeks.
  5. Some people are like a Slinky - not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.
  6. Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.
  7. All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.
  8. Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200 and a substantial tax cut saves you $30?
  9. In the 60's, people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.
  10. We know exactly where one cow with Mad Cow Disease is located among millions and millions of cows in America, but we haven't got a clue as to where millions of illegal immigrants and terrorists are located. Maybe we should put the Department of Agriculture in charge of Immigration?

Bonus Thought:
Life is like a jar of JalapeƱo peppers - what you do today might burn your ass tomorrow.

Study Shows That ... Zzz ...

I would share my thoughts about this story but I'm just too tired right now.

If only I had done this ...