Jul 312007

In medical news, all systems are nominal and auxiliary support hardware has been withdrawn. *whew*

Despite being on call, it was a quiet weekend: not a single work page. Saturday roadster_guy and I met our friends Kristen and Adam for breakfast in downtown Detroit, at the Detroit Breakfast House, which was really good. If this place is a sign of Detroit’s renewal, I actually have hope for the city.

In the afternoon we hit the movies to see Sunshine. We’d both been looking forward to it, but Aaron didn’t like it and I thought it was “ok”. It started out really good but, at about the halfway point, the plot holes started accumulating too rapidly. Great visuals though, and of course Cillian Murphy and Chris Evans are always nice to look at.

At 6:30 the three of us (including brokenbryan) had reservations at Europa Bistro in Rochester. We waited an extra half hour for outside seating but, since it overlooks Paint Creek, it was worth the wait. The smoked duck and cranberry ravioli in pecan and port demi-glace did not suck.

Then mrimp, odysseyseven, and _kosh_ joined us at our place for cake, ice cream, and Snatch, which was a great movie. I’d never seen a Guy Ritchie movie before this one. It could have used subtitles though; the English accents were so heavy it was like another language entirely.

Sunday was dedicated to City of Heroes and finishing the last Harry Potter book. Eight of us attempted the Statesman Task Force, and started out strong, but called it quits at the Thorn Tree. We couldn’t seem to get organized enough to weaken all the thorn vines before killing them and the whole mission devolved into constant character deaths. Next time we’ll have a better plan. At least I got a good enhancement recipe (Glimpse of the Abyss) and a piece of rare salvage (Magical Conspiracy). I also respeced Screamcore to drop Siren’s Call (sleep cone) and take Shout (single target attack), since we got a free respec yesterday and the ones given by the devs don’t stack. I’m still not sure if I like it better, since sleep comes in handy when soloing. The higher damage output is nice, but Shout needs a range boost when I hit 33.

HP7 was really good, and almost completely different from the bootleg copy I downloaded a couple months ago. So either I had found a very early draft of the book, or a very well-written piece of fan fiction. There were some similar scenes, and some of the same characters died, but it was really two totally different stories. The problem was that I kept wanting to associate what I’d read in the bootleg with the real story, as if the bootleg was the previous book. Got a bit confusing at times.

Yesterday we found out that my credit card info had been compromised, and multiple charges had been made to various websites to the tune of about $1300. Luckily two of the companies had not posted the charges yet, had already marked them as possibly fraudulent, and were very helpful and responsive. One of the three $109 charges to FamilyAncestry.com has already dropped off, just waiting for the other two plus the $900 charge to iKobo.com. Unfortunately a $100 charge to GlobalRoaming.com has already posted, so I’ll have to sign an affidavit at the bank that we didn’t make the charge so they can investigate and return our money.

Needless to say, I cancelled my card right away and ordered a new one with a different number. In the future I’m going to keep much closer track of which websites have my credit card info, and tighten up our home network security. We do regularly run anti-spyware and anti-phishing tools, but it’s almost impossible to stay ahead of the bad guys.

Jul 242007

Spent a good deal of the last three weekends with my sister and her kids Sydney and Gavin, who made their first trip back to Michigan in about two years. Surprised them at my Mom’s house on Saturday the 7th when they arrived, thinking I had gone to Toronto. We hung out and caught up, and the kids quickly got over their shyness of me, as it had been nearly two years since I’d seen Syd, when Gavin was a newborn.

The following weekend the six of us spent at roadster_guy‘s parents’ beach house near Port Huron, where a fine time was had by all. Despite not getting to the gym for four days, I got plenty of exercise chasing after a 4 year old and a 20 month old: innumerable piggy-back rides across rocky beaches and through waist-high surf; endless overhead presses so they could reach up and touch the ceiling of the house or be splashed through an incoming wave; many laps around the back yard chasing after Sydney the Rock-Star Cheetah; panic-sprints whenever Gavin toddled too far away and straight toward water or roads… The Navy SEALs should add “Child Care” to their physical training curriculum, but I think the dropout rate from exhaustion would become unacceptably high.

Yes, Sydney decided that for the entire trip to Michigan she was a rock-star cheetah, and I was the designated cheetah chaser. Granted, she had never even seen a cheetah until I showed her some pictures and video on the intartubes, but no matter! There was a permanent catch-and-release program in effect all weekend. Sadly, however, I was informed that upon returning to California she will assume the form of a horsey and leave her cheetah days behind. Alas, Acinonyx jubatus, we hardly knew ye.

Last Tuesday Mollie and I went out to dinner at Mongolian BBQ, which she had no access to in the Mojave Desert (shocked I am!), then saw the new Harry Potter movie, which we both really liked. The first half did kind of drag a bit, but once the action picked up toward the end it was worth the wait. The battle in the Department of Mysteries, especially between Dumbledore and Voldemort, just rocked. On that note, agent00groovey stopped by last night to drop off HP7: “Harry Potter and the Truckload of Money”. I wasn’t really going to read it anytime soon, because I had found a bootleg copy of a draft of the book about a month ago and read it already. However, after reading a couple spoilers posted by my flist, turns out that the version I have has significant differences from the final version, so I need to actually read it now.

Saturday we had planned to have the family come up to our place, then go on to Quake on the Lake (hydroplane races) at some friends’ parents’ beach house. That fell through when Mom had to work that day and had no ride home if Mollie had the car. Aaron was disappointed, but we canceled going and I spent the day with them while he stayed home. We went to Bishop Park in Wyandotte and met up with Mollie’s friends Kelly and her sister Lisa, plus Lisa’s kid. I hadn’t seen Kelly since our wedding reception, where she was the date of my buddy Jim. We chased the kids around the park for awhile, then went to Stroh’s for ice cream, finally stopping at the fountain on the corner of Biddle and Eureka. Everyone got soaking wet running through and around it, but it was a blast.

Sunday I trekked back down to Brownstown to go with them to the airport, and got a gate pass so I could help haul their stuff to the plane. I didn’t even know it was possible to go to the gate without a ticket, but apparently they make exceptions for one person under certain circumstances (like being five months pregnant and traveling with two small children). After endless questioning, Sydney now knows nearly everything there is to know about airports and airplanes, and how they work, and probably repeated it all to my sister throughout the entire flight. You’re welcome, Sis. :o)

I was overeager to get home and got busted doing 75 mph in a 60 mph construction zone. Fortunately, the cop didn’t give me an actual speeding ticket, as that would have been double fines and double points, but instead gave me one for “impeding traffic”. Coincidentally, the $150 fine is equal to the birthday money I got from my in-laws, so happy birthday to me. I didn’t REALLY need new clothes for work, or a contribution to my Mac fund, did I? :o(

Warning: Medical TMI Ahead! You have been warned!

Apr 052007

 is off at the NY auto show this week, then staying with

 for the weekend. I’m usually ok with him being out of town for a couple days, but more than that and the silence and emptiness of the house starts to get to me, and I start getting depressed and morbid. So, I’ve been keeping busy in order to stave that off.

Been playing a lot of CoH, both with

 on the main servers (Screamcore hit 23, and is now only one level behind Submissivus!) and on the testing server, trying out the features of the upcoming Issue 9 content patch. Tuesday, I took the bike out for a nine mile ride, not quite making it back to the house before getting soaked by the rainstorm that blew up.

Yesterday I went and got a haircut, then stopped at Kohl’s to find Aaron a replacement jacket for the one he left in a cab in NY. He was out of luck, since they were all out of the style he’d bought recently. This is why he can’t have nice things. I, however, snagged new track pants to replace the ones I’d blown the crotch out of at the gym. I tried on a medium and a large but, oddly, the medium was bigger than the large. I ended up taking the large pair because they didn’t seem as baggy as the medium. I wore them around the house for a bit to get a feel for them, because they fit a bit strangely and seemed to strain at the crotch. I wish I could claim credit for that condition, but I digress. I finally looked more closely at the tags and discovered the reason: I’d accidentally bought womens’ track pants. Why this one pair was hanging on the mens’ rack, when the womens’ section was clear on the other side of the store, I have no idea. Luckily, I had left the tags on them and kept the receipt, so back they go after work. It’s a shame; they made my ass look good.

It was strange going back to the gym last night (in my other track pants) after nearly a three week hiatus. First of all, it was hard to even motivate myself to go after so long away. Second, it was hard to get back in the groove of it. The exercises felt strange, like I was doing them for the first time ever. I waited until 8:30 to go, thinking it would be less crowded, and I could get back in the swing of things with less distraction. HA! The eye candy was still swarming like it was prime time, and I nearly got a neck spasm trying to keep from turning my head at everything that walked by. My Concerta was wearing off by then, which made it even harder to stay focused. I got through it though and, while not a stellar workout, wasn’t too shabby.

Afterwards I watched my favorite scenes from Kung Fu Hustle while I ate, then worked on the Exalted campaign for awhile. Tonight I have the first Tai Chi class that Aaron and I signed up for at the Community Center. Friday and Saturday I’m hanging out with Bryan, and Sunday Mom’s over for brunch at Bon Vie.

Right now I’m trying out a new browser, built on Mozilla, called Flock. It’s got some interesting features, like a photostrip at the top that links directly to Flickr or Photobucket, and a “web snippets” bar at the bottom. You can highlight and right-click text, or an image on a web page, and send it directly to LiveJournal or other blogs, or drag those things to the web snippets strip to build up a collection before posting it. You can also drag and drop thumbnails, or larger versions, right off the photostrip and into a blog entry, like so:

without having to go to Flickr first. You can also open photostrips from anyone else on Flickr, set favorite users, and be notified whenever they post new pictures. Pretty clever. It’s a very new browser, and I’m curious to see how it develops.

Oh, btw, this current cold and snowy weather sucks. I’d mentally switched gears to spring already, teased by last week’s warm weather. Now I had to break out the Ellenwear again, but couldn’t find my gloves. Bleah.

Nov 302006

Turkey Day at the in-laws was a pleasant affair. The drive to Gettysburg took about 8 hours. At night. In the rain. Through steep mountain roads. It was fun, actually. 🙂 My sister-in-law and her husband have a very nice house north of town, and there was plenty of room for all eleven of us for dinner. Aaron had a much bigger kitchen to work in this year, and everyone stayed out from underfoot except for the dog. Dinner was excellent, of course. Lindsay and Chris have a nice home gym and treadmill in the basement, so I was able to keep up on the workouts and burn off the holiday food.
But wait, there’s more…

Oct 052006

This weekend our buddy Jimmy drove up from Ohio and hung out Friday night and Saturday. We finally made our inaugural trip to IKEA on Saturday, long after everyone else. It was worth the trip, and we managed to spend ONLY $100, not including the meatball lunch. So jummi…

Sunday we hit the Renaissance Festival for the last day of the season, and it was unfortunately a bit of a letdown. While the weather was great and the crowds were heavy, our friends we normally attend these things with were pretty worn out from the previous day's drunken RenFest activities. Two of them even left early, without warning. Disappointed and bored, we left around 3:30. It was a good thing we got there when we did (~11am), because when we left the parking field was nearly full, and the line of cars waiting to get in stretched about two miles down Dixie Highway. My red leather breastplate, black kilt, and sandals got a lot of attention, almost more than I could deal with comfortably. Granted, it was less Medieval and more Roman(ish), but hey, the Romans used to rule Medievia! I just claimed I never got the memo that we were moving back to Rome.

Monday night [info]mrimp and [info]odysseyseven were over for baked chicken, wild rice, and apple crisp, then watched Heroes while the food coma worked itself out. I'm starting to dig that show; it's interesting, intense, and not afraid to get a bit gruesome. It's also so far avoided the corny cliches that seem to attack any show about superpowers. It's only been two episodes, granted, but it's off to a good start. I do agree with [info]lucifyr's partner that all the male characters are whiners. Not an Apollo or Helo in the bunch so far.

In my virtual lives I've joined an established corporation in EVE: Phoenix Propulsion Labs. They seem like a decent bunch so far, and I spent a couple hours last night in a mining operation near one of their stations. Not terribly exciting but hey, it's mining. Hopefully I'll soon get the Mining Barges skill so I can dig out the asteroids faster. It was kind of funny last night to see me mining in a cruiser next to three barges. Kind of the equivalent of using a shovel to assist three backhoes. I'm trying to get my skills trained up so I can get out of the Logistics division in time for the big new expansion, which will include true exploration. I like the idea of snooping through the uncharted outer regions, finding new things to exploit, er, explore.

City of Heroes is going ok, but my interest has waned a bit. Again. Right now our bases are missing due to some database error, which has yet to be sorted out. They better have it restored before the Halloween event, and Issue 8 is released. Lots of good stuff coming up.

Friday is the BSG premiere party at our place, so if any devoted fans want to come watch it on our personal IMAX, let me know. We can all go "Oh shit!" together with each new mindblowing plot twist.

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Aug 212006

Friday night we had our combined [info]roadster_guy's birthday/graduation/summer drunkfest, and attracted about a dozen guests eager to help demolish the liquor supply, with great success. [info]a2andy, [info]alcadd, [info]brendand, [info]brokenbryan, [info]jamie95, [info]merksamer, [info]mrimp, [info]obmoloceoj, [info]odysseyseven, [info]thafuzz, and Andy's non-LJ friend Ben started arriving around 9:30pm and I finally stumbled to bed around 2:30am, having been up since 5:30am the previous morning. The party continued for about another half hour, so I'm told.

Saturday we woke up at the crack of noon and did nothing in particular for most of the day. I didn't even leave the house until 4:30pm to go to the gym. [info]mrimp and [info]odysseyseven showed up at about 6:30 to go see "Snakes on a Plane" at the AMC in Sterling Heights. I have to say it was a really good bad movie. It was funny, cheesy, sometimes gory, and totally unbelievable, which was the whole point. Afterward we stopped at Fourbuck's to pester [info]brokenbryan and use up our free drink coupons.

Sunday was another sleep-in day, but only til 10:30 this time. We drove into Ferndale about 1pm for crepes on the patio at Josephine (yummy!), and endured the noise of the "band", {SomeNamelessDude} & the Sax Maniacs, playing at the corner of 9 Mile and Woodward, which was still closed off because of Dream Cruise. EDIT: Forgot to mention we ran into [info]thirdreel and his parents at Josephine. :o)

The rest of the afternoon Aaron finished packing for London then we were off to the airport. Had a quick shower when I got back and settled in for the inaugural installment of the monthly Rough Trade group action (in City of Heroes, that is). We had about 11 or 12 people at most, with a few rotating in and out over the course of 4 hours. Unfortunately it took almost an hour to get everyone sorted into two teams with appropriate levels, but once we got rolling it was a great time. Knocked out a bunch of missions and gained half a level. 5 bars to lvl 48 for Wire.

Last night I had a nightmare that Aaron had died enroute to, or in, England, and I was getting a bunch of condolence emails. I kept willing it to not be true, eventually realized I was dreaming, and finally woke up. *whew*

He's apparently having a good time over there so far. The new boss is very cool, as are the other employees there, and he's learned a lot about the job already. He expects he'll be over to England a lot. I'd better get to go at least a couple of times. When I talked to him about an hour ago he was about to go check out a pub for dinner.

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