Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Monday, January 23, 2006

Notes and a Theory

A few observations and clarifications:

  • Note to Oddangel: Yes, the picture is from the Portland Japanese Gardens. Sweetie will never admit to being a good photographer, so allow me to state for the record that my wife rocks.

  • Dad saw his primary care physician last week who pronounced him in very good health considering all that he has been through in the past year. Needless to say, he has relaxed a bit as a result of that diagnosis. Dad has resumed his Saturday volunteering at the Kennedy Center, where he has been welcomed back with open arms and baked goods. And you know how we are on the baked goods!

  • We are averaging higher than normal temperatures this month (scroll down a bit). If you are reading this in the continental United States, then you can probably say the same thing. I'm going to ask a favor of anybody who doesn't believe in global warming: fill your automobile up with snow and/or ice and drive it to the D.C. area. Specifically to the sledding hill by my house on the grounds of Nottingham Elementary School. The kids are champing at the bit to sled and have been bitterly disappointed.

  • Every once in a while I get depressed about my job. Technical Writers are often at the caboose end of the IT train; this has been true for as long as I've been in the industry. Most days it doesn't bother me, but last week was such a dismal week that I seriously began rethinking my career options. I still harbor a burning desire to teach drama, but unless I hit the lottery that ain't happenin'. But I did stumble across this job listing. I sent a cover letter and a resume to them today. I'll keep you updated.

  • The Hirsute Quarterback Theory: Yesterday's NFL conference championship games were disappointing to say the least. I was hoping for some good defensive struggles and low-scoring games. No such luck. But it did remind me of an old theory I had about hirsute quarterbacks not performing well in big games. The Seahawks/Panthers game is an open and shut case:

    Shiny Happy HasselbackSad Hairy DelHomme

    Now the Broncos/Steelers game is a bit trickier, but still falls within the parameters:

    Scruffy Big BenJake the Snake eh?

    Someone really ought to tell Jake the Snake that the "mountain man" look is really bringing his team down (never mind that he appears to be chanelling the ghost of John Holmes!). Cleanshaven is definitely the way to go, just ask Matt Hasselback.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

And the only way to beat it is to bat it down...

I feel as if I'm looking at the world from the bottom of a well...

Ugh. Bad week at work. More later.

Hope you're having a better one.


Something must be in the air this week.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Announcements! Announcements! Announcements!

Or, what a terrible way to die, as the camp song goes.

  • I've joined up with another blog, We Are Out of Focus. (Be sure to check the domain name!) Not sure what I'll be posting there, but I'll try to take a different tone than I do here.

  • This blog may move! Yes, it may. I'm still debating where it will move, but I'm outgrowing blogger. And that's not a criticism of blogger, it's a fine platform. But I want to do other things with this forum, and that means I'll move.

  • Can't wait to watch the Redskins battle Seattle this weekend! I've got a friendly wager with a left-coaster for beverages at a Nats Game To Be Named Later. I'm excited because the 'Skins are back in the playoffs and playing reasonably well. (Yes, I know the offense stunk on toast last weekend. Apparently, that stinky offense was enough to beat the vaunted Buccaneers. Just a thought for all you Seahawks fans...) Sweetie is also excited: she picked out snacks for the game at the grocery store last night.

Enjoy your day!

Friday, January 06, 2006

The Great Kidnapping of 1986

Light a little candle...

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the greatest birthday I've ever had.

It was my senior year of high school (yes, my wife has already established that I am The Oldest Person Ever®), and 1985 had featured three different hijackings: TWA flight 133 by two Shi'ite Muslims, an Egyptian airliner that was stormed by Egyptian troops in Malta, and the passenger ship Achille Lauro by the PLO. My friends and I were sitting around our lockers one morning before Christmas break and someone was reading an end-of-year wrapup in the paper that mentioned these incidents. I then made the following remark: "You know, I've always wanted to be kidnapped." According to lore, my best friend Dave looked at my girlfriend who, in turn, looked at our friend Gail who, in turn, looked at another friend Karen...

And thus, a plan was born.

So, fast forward a few weeks. It's the weekend before my birthday, and I've got a TheaterSports tournament to go to that Friday evening. The minute I get home I get a frantic call from my Mom who asks me to pick up a friend of the family at some address I didn't recognize. This friend cannot drive, so I get back in the car and go to the address. For some reason, the fact that a classmate answers the door doesn't tip me off at all. She shows me in and says that her Mom and this friend had stepped out for a moment and would be right back. So we begin to talk about the English class that we share when all of sudden two tall masked men dressed in black explode out of a closet, push me against a counter, pull my arms behind my back, slap handcuffs on my wrists, and finally blindfold and gag me. They then proceed to lead me out of the house and into the backseat of a big rumbling car. They push me down on the seat, and then proceed to drive me around for almost an hour, thoroughly disorienting me. (Did I mention that "Aida" was playing over the speakers and no one said a word to me?)

At long last, the car stops, the engine dies, and the front doors open. My captors get out and then pull me out of the back seat by my feet. They stand me up and then lead me down a grassy hill and into a building of some kind. The threw me into a chair and then removed the handcuffs. "DON'T MOVE," one of them yells at me, and they both back away. At this point, I begin to feel the presence of other people in the room. A LOT of other people. Someone laughs. Then someone else. "ALL RIGHT," the same guy says, "TAKE OFF YOUR BLINDFOLD." So I do. "SURPRISE!!!" cheers the crowd. I looked around the room and saw everyone I knew. I'm not stretching the truth that much: there were over 50 people there and then I was told the following things:

  • EVERYONE I knew was in on this. Even my parents and teachers.
  • They had to improvise that day because one person had to bow out for some reason.
  • I was the easiest person to fool in the world.

After the party, I was bustled off to the TheaterSports tournament that evening (we came in 2nd place!), and then some quiet time with my girlfriend. All in all, a pretty bodacious day!

I don't suspect that today's events will be quite so dramatic, but I did make a bunch of pulled pork "BBQ" for my birthday lunch. I'll be sharing that with some coworkers along with chocolate cream pie.

So, have a great day today! That's the best present you can give me.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Looking Back 2005

Gakked from TRP. (I just love that word, don't you?)

1. What did you do in 2005 that you'd never done before?
Actively plan for a parent's demise.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make any next year?

I never make resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


4. Did anyone close to you die?

5. What countries did you visit?

6. What would you like to have in 2006 that you lacked in 2005?
More money and more responsibility at work.

7. What date from 2005 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
September 13, the day my Dad crashed and wound up in the ICU for over two weeks.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
The loss of 40 pounds of body weight.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not speaking to my Sister for over a month because of a simple misunderstanding.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Probably the Diet and Exercise Assistant I purchased for my Palm.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My beloved Wife, who supported me throughout this trying year.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
President George W. Bush, et al.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Mortgage and other assorted debt.

15. What did you get really excited about?
Baseball's return to D.C.!

16. What song will always remind you of 2005?
"The Man Comes Around" by Johnny Cash.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder?
ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner.
iii. richer or poorer? Richer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Quietly, with family.

22. Did you fall in love in 2005?
Yes. With my Wife. Every day.

23. How many one-night stands?

See #22.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
"Good Eats"

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

26. What was the best book you read?

American Gods by Neil Gaiman.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
"Funeral" a great album by The Arcade Fire.

28. What did you want and get?

My Dad's recovery from a near-fatal infection.

29. What did you want and not get?
The opportunity to dye my hair blonde.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
"Good Night and Good Luck"

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 37 last year and I honestly can't remember what I did.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Dad being healthy!

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005?
Biz cash Fri.

34. What kept you sane?
My wife, bbq, and quiet time.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
George Clooney.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
The appalling reaction of our government to the catastrophe on the Gulf Coast. Truly shameful.

37. Who did you miss?
My Mom.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
Although not a new person (we hired her in 2004), I got to know my coworker Susan* much better this year. I've found her to be quiet, yet thoughtful and very very funny. Not to mention wicked smart.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2005.

Your health is nothing to be taken for granted.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

"Well Mack the Finger said to Louie the King
I got forty red white and blue shoe strings
And a thousand telephones that don't ring
Do you know where I can get rid of these things
And Louie the King said let me think for a minute son
And he said yes I think it can be easily done
Just take everything down to Highway 61."

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.