Jan 072009

My company shut down for the holidays, from 12/23 to 01/05, which on the one hand was great because it gave me a free vacation, but not as great on the other because my contract house only pays for Christmas Day and New Year's Day. I claimed unemployment for the rest, but it only pays about half my normal check.

mrimp and odysseyseven joined us Christmas Eve for dinner and presents, with jamie95 and his boyfriend Todd joining us later in the evening. The otters got me a very cool t-shirt, jockbdboy sent me a book on Cocoa programming for the Mac, and I opened the big box Aaron had for me to discover…

Seems that the new SteelSeries World of Warcraft mouse was still on pre-order, so Aaron bought me a proxy mouse, which I promptly hung on the tree. Since then I've found that there have been many complaints about the quality of the Steelseries mouse, so I had Aaron cancel the order and get me a Logitech G9 instead.

My sister sent us a God of War edition Sony PSP with four games, but so far I've only been playing Daxter.

Mom came over Christmas Day since she had to work the night before. Aaron reprised the great dinner from the night before, and we just spent a quiet enjoyable day at home. Aaron got the soundtracks to the mini-series and all three seasons of Battlestar Galactica, and I got a charging dock for my iPhone, Aussie Bum undies, and the Griffin Clarifi iPhone case with the sliding macro lens, which makes a huge difference when taking close up pics, especially for Evernote's character recognition feature.

After a few days recovering and playing endless amounts of World of Warcraft, we drove to Chicago on the 30th for New Year's. chgolthr was kind enough to put us up in his very sweet high-rise condo for a couple days and we spent the time wandering around Chicago, visiting folks, eating too much good food and, of course, the New Year's party put on by John Krongard, which was a fun time. Unfortunately we had to come home on New Year's day, as I went on call Friday morning. The last few days off were spent cleaning, gaming, learning Objective-C programming, and just basically wringing the last out of the vacation.

Aaron went to both the Detroit and Toronto motorcycle shows, and came home with gloves, a new helmet (just like mine but silver vs. red), and a fresh motivation to lose more weight. He wants a sportbike, not a cruiser, and "cruisers are for fat guys who can't fit on a sportbike. He's been to the gym twice in a row so far (yay!), so it looks promising. 😀

Work has been pretty quiet so far, with a few busy spots, but not much backlog to catch up on, since there was no one here to generate any. I was pleased to discover my badge still worked and the lights were still on so that's a good sign. I've been assured that the new job I'm hoping for is still in the works, but the contract is taking longer to finalize than expected. I still don't quite trust that it's really going to happen, but I'll act as if it will, so we'll see.

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Jan 022008

(blows away the dust and cobwebs)

Hmm, I think I remember how to work this LJ thing…

Testing, testing…is this thing on?

In the interest of not writing a novel-length LJ entry describing everything that’s happened since my last post, I’ll just hit the highlights as I remember them, in no particular order.

– Got some phat lewt for Festivus: The remote car starter from roadster_guy I mentioned previously; from brokenbryan a very cool shirt from H&M and My Little Cthulhu toy (picture to follow); two Jim Butcher novels and some Magic cards from the Hotters mrimp and odysseyseven; Dragon-Blooded for Exalted from reddywhp; The Orange Box from jockbdboy (I miss my Weighted Companion Cube!); a bunch of Really Useful Boxes and new tree ornaments from my mom; weightlifting gloves and (I suspect, though they’re lost in transit) Under Armour Boxerjocks from my sister.

– Had a great pre-Christmas with brokenbryan, before he was off to his parents for the actual holiday, then an unexpected overnight return when he was turned away from the Canadian border for commenting on how indifferent he was to hockey or something.

– The actual Christmas Eve with Mom, the Hotters, and thafuzz was a great time and, after all the buildup, preparation, and cleaning, I was sorry it was over so soon. This was the first year in many that I really got into the whole holiday thing.

– Alex is visiting for a week, arriving on the 28th and staying until tomorrow. While he’s been here we wiped my mom’s computer and replaced her copy of Windows XP with Ubuntu Linux. The Microsoft Police had managed to install their Windows Genuine “Advantage” anti-piracy tattleware on her PC and were giving her constant, politely insistent reminders that they suspected her of shenanigans. After a crash course in Ubuntu, she’s thrilled with it. It’s perfect for her needs, which primarily consist of email, surfing, and browser games, and I enjoyed giving Microsoft the finger. Metaphorically, of course.

– After the main event, I became a near-total slug for the rest of my temporary layoff: never went to the gym, spent a few entire days in sweats or shorts, played a lot of WoW (after finishing Portal of course). Despite all that, I managed to lose about 3 lbs until around New Year’s, when Aaron went on a cookie baking binge after Alex arrived.

– As a side effect of the previous bullet point, I didn’t shave from Christmas until last night, when I turned eleven days of scruff into a short beard. The plan is to keep both hair and beard at the length of a #1 guard on the clipper and see how it looks, but who knows how long it’ll last. I think it’s kinda sexy, but it does make me look older, especially with the grey in the corners of it. I give it two weeks before I lose patience and dispose of it. I’ll post a pic of it later and solicit opinions. :oP
It’s really weird, but it’s completely disrupted my mental self-image for some reason. Just creating the beard set off all these meandering thought-trains about aging, youth, appearances, the perception of manhood, ad nauseum. All that over some facial hair. *rolls eyes*

– New Year’s was a low-key event since I was on-call and couldn’t go anywhere. We really wanted to go to Chicago for jockbdboy‘s party and wherever everyone ended up afterward, but it was not to be. I tried to get Aaron to take Alex and go without me, but he refused to leave here by myself. I loves my man. In a pleasant surprise, a2andy and his boyfriend Rich braved the impending blizzard and joined us from about 11pm to 1am to help guzzle champagne and Aaron’s homemade chocolate chip cookies. We watched the new ball drop in Times Square and cringed in pity every time Dick Clark was on camera and speaking. The stroke was not kind to him. But hey, ya gotta give him credit for toughing it out.

– I haven’t been to the gym since 12/17/07. This is bad. This is bad bad. What with all the Christmas preparation, shopping, cleaning, then the gym being closed for a week for re-carpeting, I’ve been drained and lethargic, and lost all motivation. Today will be my triumphant(?) return, but I would have to start things off with a leg day, wouldn’t I? Ouch.

I’m sure other things will come to mind later, but it’s time to get the hell out of work and go home.

Nov 302007

“I need to take the Cruiser to work tomorrow. I’m driving a bunch of people to the UAW and it would look bad to show up in an Audi.”

“Ok, no problem.”

I think nothing of it and enjoy getting to take the Audi, even though I have to park out in the hinterlands at work because it’s not a Chrysler vehicle. Later he tells me he has to take the car in for two new tires, because the tread looks worn and one has a bulge in the side.

I get home, park, and walk toward the condo when a car suddenly starts up near me. I look around and don’t see anyone in the surrounding cars. “Is that MY car?” I don’t see any exhaust plume, but finally notice that the parking lights are on. Holy shit. He got me a remote starter for my car, something I’ve been wanting for years.

I walked in the house. “New tires huh? Bullshit!”

“Merry Christmas! But I really did get new tires too.”

I love my man. 😀

Dec 052005

Saturday roadster_guy, brokenbryan, and I went to Somerset to get a little shopping done. While we were there we wandered into Urban Outfitters, which just opened recently, and for $10 I picked up a “Magic Tree” off a rack next to the register (they also have a snowman version). It’s two flat pieces of pine tree-shaped cardboard that you slide together at right angles, then slot it into a plastic dish/tree stand. You bend apart the branches, which are dyed green, then pour a packet of what I presume is supersaturated salt solution into the dish. Wicking action draws the solution up the tree and out into the branches, and almost immediately green crystals start to form along them. I can literally see the crystals growing as I watch, and after 1.5 hours so far (poured the solution at 10:30) all the lower branches have crystal blooms on them, and the solution has almost reached the top of the trunk. Like a real pine tree, it’s already dropping needles, as the vibrations on my desk cause some of the tinier clusters to drop off.
It also came with a plastic gold star for the top, a string of shiny red plastic beads to wrap around it, and a package of glitter to sprinkle over it when it’s done (although I could just have hamtramckkid decorate it, since he claims to fart glitter). When I poured out the solution I discovered that an inch-long salt crystal had already formed in the bag, with a small sub-crystal that I broke off and dropped in the dish to see if it would grow further. I love science!

I took a couple pics with my crappy camera phone, but forgot that I’d shut off my media service on it, so I can’t send them anywhere. I’ll have to offload them at home to post. Crap. X-(

Friday night Aaron, jamie95, and I were in the mood for Mexican (but not Baja Fresh) and since our first choice, Maragarita’s, has no liquor licencse and, hence, no actual margaritas, we ended up at Juan’s Hacienda on Dequindre. The food was pretty good, but it was no Xochimilco. Afterward we went back and split a bottle of Framboise raspberry ice wine, which Jamie and I liked (mostly), but Aaron didn’t. It was a bit sour after a couple cordial glasses worth.

Sunday Aaron went shopping while I visited my mom for a few hours and went to lunch. When I got back we met dirtyglamour at his new digs (cool place!) and headed to Beirut Palace for dinner. The chicken shwarma sandwich is far better than anything I ever had at La Shish, so I know where to go when I get the craving. We decided to try Via Novo in Ferndale for dessert, since their chocolate gelatto came highly recommended. Aaron had an assortment of gelatto and sorbet: chocolate, peanut butter, baci, and pumpkin. The chocolate and baci were every bit as good as described. I went with the caramel apple creme brulee, also mighty tasty. The service was…odd. Our waiter was a bit overly familiar, got a little too close, and after I gave him my order he kind of stared at me like he was waiting for an encore. *shrug* It was strange to walk around the place as a restaurant when I’d partied there when it was still Temple. It made for a great club and I was bummed out when it folded.

I decided to do the Body-for-Life program after all. I asked Aaron to pick me up suitable food when he was shopping, and today’s the first gym day. This means I need to take a “before” picture. Ugh. So far for breakfast I had two scoops of Eggbeaters and a cup of yogurt, and managed to NOT buy a diet Pepsi; I got a bottle of lemon ice tea instead. I’m only now getting hungry, which is a good thing. I’m really leery of doing this, because I have this lifelong tendency to not finish projects I start (yay ADD), but I suppose even I can stick with something three months, and hopefully by then it’ll have become habit.

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