Jun 232008

Visited Mom on Saturday. She's getting around great now, and has all but stopped using the cane. She still has to take stairs slowly, but otherwise the surgery pain is all gone but for her kneecap (which was split open to do the knee replacement). The original pain from the bad knee is completely gone and she can walk without limping. I helped her haul many bags of trash to the dumpster; the aftereffects of major redecorating, painting, and reorganization. Now that she's fully mobile again, she's been using the time off work to catch up on all her projects, and the house is looking great. She starts back to work tomorrow, however.

I also got to spend more time working on her iMac. Mom needed a refresher course and some fixes to things that had seemingly changed on their own (translation: user error), and I wanted playtime on it. That thing is such a joy to use that it keeps me motivated to keep saving for my own. I ran some updates that hadn't been caught by the automatic updater yet, installed the trial of Comic Life, showed her the cool screensavers (including the mindblowing RSS feed display), and, in a "Duh!" moment, found that iPhoto does indeed have basic editing functions. What it doesn't have, at least that I could find, was a way to add keywords to multiple photos at once. Very annoying.

After I left, I decided to finally stop at the Sonic in Southgate to see what all the fuss was about. Aaron was put out that I was going without him, but said that I may as well, since he has no idea when he'll be able to get down there.
I pulled into the Meijer parking lot to access the Sonic and encountered a sign in the road saying "Sonic traffic right turn only". The Sonic was to my left, and I didn't see anything to my right except the vast expanse of Meijer's parking lot, so I turned left anyway. The first of the two entrances/exits was blocked off with sawhorses, so I had to go in the further entrance and make a complete orbit of the parking lot to get in the drive-thru lane. There were two high school/college kids hanging around the entrance, getting in the way, and twice tried to tell me something but I ignored them, figuring they were gonna ask for money, or to buy them something so they could skip the line.

I got my food (double cheeseburger, jalapeno poppers, cheesecake bites with cinnamon caramel sauce, and cranberry slushie), pulled out of the lot, and discovered what it was the kids were trying to tell me: the line to get in was actually in the Meijer parking lot, where there were two columns of cars waiting their turn to be allowed into the Sonic lot. I had accidentally jumped ahead of about a dozen cars. I felt like a bastard, but if Sonic has people managing the parking, they should have them dressed in something other than scrubby shorts and tank tops so people KNOW they're actually working. Another sign of the place's popularity is that they had an entire refrigerated semi trailer on the lot to restock the store from, and I saw a couple employees coming out of it loaded with boxes of food. The place is a zoo, but the food is very tasty.

Most of yesterday was spent (after our usual Dim Sum Sunday) clearing out junk from the basement. The broken refrigerator which had sat there for about three years was emptied out, the Lovecraftian horror in the produce drawer banished through the use of an Elder Sign, the doors removed, and the whole thing hauled up the small square staircase accompanied by much swearing, sweating, gouging of walls, and cursing of the laws of geometry.

Also disposed of were the old wrought iron patio chairs, the chimenea (used once, followed by a cease & desist letter from the condo association), and boxing bag and stand, which was claimed by our cute neighbor two doors down. The Jawas* had claimed the chairs, the chimenea, the fridge doors(?!), and its copper tubing and coils, by the end of the evening. Wish they would have taken the whole fridge, and spared the garbage men the effort.

After buying some cheap metal shelving from Home Depot and organizing the camping and homebrew equipment, the laundry room is now a thing of wonder. I discovered that it does indeed have a floor that reaches all four walls, despite years of evidence to the contrary. Clouds of dust and lint no longer swirl at our feet like a Depression-era dustbowl. I finally found that damn sock. Next on the list is the basement's main room, which should go much more smoothly now that there's room to actually store things.

In order to actually start lifting weights again, I decided to give the Body for Life program another shot (but not the actual contest). The first attempt, years ago, was a failure because I didn't plan well, didn't buy enough food, didn't have good equipment, and wasn't used to the method. Now that I've spent a couple years doing something similar with the trainer, I've got a feel for how it's done, which should help my progress.

I prepped all my food and clothes last night, turned out the light at 10:15, and was actually out of bed and headed for the gym by 5 a.m. I miscalculated how long exercises would take me, and ended up cutting the last one short (bicep curls) so I could shower and change, and that took less time than expected, so I was in the office 10 minutes early.

We'll see if I can keep this up, but if I can get through the first two weeks, it should be ingrained enough to have become a habit. The change in sleeping times will be a killer, but I've found that working out first thing in the morning makes me feel good for the rest of the day, instead of sitting in the cube for 8-10 hours, then facing the prospect of the gym afterward, when my energy is low.

* Jawas are my term for the neighborhood scavengers who cruise the streets the night before trash pickup day, hauling away any "treasures" they find. I'm all for it, as I'd rather see someone else get use from my old stuff instead of it ending up in a trash dump.

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Apr 212008

The antibiotics have run their course, the codeine is almost gone, and other than a little bit of lingering cough, I’d say I’m about 90% recovered. I was pretty active on Saturday, helping Aaron assemble the new grill and driving up to Bay City for dinner and drinks with friends, but I paid for it yesterday. Aaron rousted me out of bed at 10:30 to go to dim sum, but I never really woke up, and spent large chunks of the day sprawled on the bed, or sprawled in my office chair, just staring vacantly into the middle distance. The most productive things I managed were changing the sheets, running my laundry, hauling all the trash out, and making level 36 with my hunter. Aaron was good enough to bring me ribs from The Bone Yard after dinner and mead-bottling with our friend and his fiance’, which I scarfed down while staring at The Stand on Sci-Fi. It was godawful and boring, but my fingers were too greasy to touch the remote.

I discovered an interesting side effect of azithromycin: it’s the ultimate deodorant. Even after spending hours sweating from a 102 degree fever I never smelled. I never even had morning breath. I’ll be sorry to see that effect end now that I’m done with the drugs because, even though I was really sick, I felt clean, which helped offset some of the misery.

Now I’m back in the office, but since I spent most of Friday working from home to catch up on the backlog, I don’t have as much to do as I thought.

Apr 152008

(If this entry seems a bit clipped and stilted, it’s because I’m mildly stoned on codeine cough syrup.)

Friday was mrimp‘s 30th birthday pub crawl, so we gathered at Chez Otter for pre-drinks with Eric, Jamie, Mark (beeftenderloin), and a small horde of women that Eric works with (names to follow).

After a couple of pear vodka & Sprite martinis, we hit the People Mover station and rode to the Renaissance Center. Following a vertigo-inducing glass elevator ride to the top, we piled into Coach Insignia and started downing blueberry mojitos


The plan was to have a few and continue on to Proof, but everyone was hungry, so we stopped at a Coney in Greektown for some tastily unhealthy food, then called it a night.

More pictures HERE.

Saturday afternoon I went to meet my new gaming group that I’m going to be playing Exalted with starting the end of May. They seem like a nice bunch of straight folks, although the “that’s so gay” comments were starting to pile up. I hadn’t told anyone about me yet, so sent the head of the group an email yesterday and we got it straightened out. I’m looking forward to playing; maybe it will help me run the game better. I get to be the Dawn Caste, which is a departure for me. I usually go for either wizard or stealth types, so it’ll be an interesting change to be a flat-out asskicker.

Once we hashed out what we were playing, they started on the game of Orpheus they’re winding up, and I went with Aaron to the Eagle. Met up with a2andy, slippe, and bullmanx, had a few drinks, and got my boots did by Andy’s boyfriend Rich. Finished off the night with chicken rings from White Castle.

Sunday we did dinner at bullmanx‘s with his partner James and slippe, which was a great baked salmon, pasta primavera, cesar salad, and cake. I picked up a slight cough and fever that afternoon, which was getting worse by evening. It wasn’t too bad yesterday at work, but got much worse toward the end of the day. I figured I’d better get over it fast, so took some codeine cough syrup, Tylenol PM, and a nighttime Airborne, then called it a night at 5:30pm. Rolled out of bed at 4:45am this morning, feeling somewhat better. Did my morning system changes for work, played some WoW, and here I am, mildly stoned on codeine, which makes work much easier to deal with.

Mar 312008

Using a laptop without a mouse (having forgotten to put it back in my pack this morning), sucks beyond belief. I LOATHE using a trackpad or keyboard joystick; so frackin slow…

Had a fun visit from

  this weekend. He arrived by train on Thursday afternoon, and I dropped him back off there yesterday around 6pm. We went out to eat a few times, including sushi at Little Tree in Royal Oak, and dim sum yesterday morning at…um…that Chinese place on Long Lake at Rochester Rd. Probably the best dim sum selection we’ve had anywhere so far, even though I can’t remember the name of it at the moment.

Saturday he and Aaron whipped up a great tapas spread, including prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, mini crepes stuffed with goat cheese and covered with a berry sauce, seasoned shrimp cocktail, and a couple other tasty things I can’t remember (seems to be a theme this morning).


 , and

  (with husband Eric) showed up to help us devour all this, with

  arriving later for drinks and Super Smash Bros. on the Wii. Earlier we’d played American Idol Karaoke, but even five martinis weren’t enough to get me on the mic. Speaking of martinis, Hpnotiq and ruby red grapefruit juice makes a fantastic mix.

Other than lots of eating, the weekend was low-key and involved renting Ratatouille through video-on-demand, and lots of sleeping-in. The trip back across the border was an exercise in frustration as Bryan didn’t bring his student visa, having never been told that it was required to cross the border in addition to his passport. He’d always brought it before, just in case, but not this time, and the guard gave him a ration of shit and ordered us over to the Immigration office so they could interrogate and lecture him for a few more minutes before letting us go. I got him to the station about five minutes before the train left. The only things that helped alleviate my steadily mounting rage were the HOT immigration officers; two tall post-twinks, one blond, one dark, who came over to the car, and another hot blond with a goatee inside the office.

Luckily (for him), I didn’t have to endure officer Chang at the US checkpoint on the way back. I don’t know what work program for the retarded they hired him from, but he needs to be returned to it. I’ve had the misfortune of being at his booth three times when bringing Alex for a visit, and each time has been an exercise in the surreal. He asks the most off-the-wall, irrelevant questions, and follows each one with a lengthy session of very slow keyboard presses and peering intently at his monitor from about two inches away.

“Citizenship?”  “US.” “Canadian.”

“How long are you staying?”  “Just the weekend.”

hunt, peck, peer

“Have you ever been arrested?”  “Um, no.”

hunt, peck, hunt, peck, peer

To Alex: “Do you have a sister?”  “Um, no, I have a brother.”

hunt, peck, peck, peer, hunt, peer, peck peck peck

“Has your brother ever been in jail?”  “What…? NO.

LOTS of hunting, pecking, and peering with this one

And so on. FINALLY he gets whatever it is he’s looking for and sends us on our way, but I swear I don’t understand how hiring standards at the DHS can possibly be as low as they are, even for a government agency consisting largely of hired thugs.

Jan 292008

Friday, Aaron and I met right after work at the Palladium in Birmingham to see Cloverfield. We both liked it a lot, although the handheld camera work took some getting used to, and we had to look away from the screen a few times. This was one of those movies where I wish I hadn’t known anything about it; it would have been even more intense. That was how I first saw The Matrix: I’d read a tiny blurb about it in the Detroit Metro Times, when the movie was still a bit of a sleeper and hadn’t exploded on the scene yet, and thought, “Hm, this might be kind of interesting.” Two hours later my jaw was still hanging open. Cloverfield isn’t that caliber, but I still give it a B+. Definitely should be seen on a big screen though.

After the movie we ended up at Dick O’Dow’s, and took notes on how we’d like to eventually make our basement look similar: like an old Irish pub.

Saturday was total laziness, and we didn’t even leave the house til 3:30pm. I at least went to the gym, but mostly it was WoW all day. Around 7pm we picked up mrimp and odysseyseven and went to Xochimilco for fantastic Mexican. My enchiladas were great but, honestly, I would have been perfectly happy just eating baskets of nacho chips and drinking margaritas. Not healthy, but happy. :oP

We took our full bellies back to the Hotters’ place and had some pomegranate martinis. Jamie and I took turns logging into WoW to collect our auction house sales, while Aaron made a Mii on their Wii that looks frighteningly like him. Mine’s a good match, but his is so dead-on it’s scary.

Sunday we met our friends Kristin and Adam at Toast, where I harmed myself with Piña Colada French Toast: Texas Toast-sized bread stuffed with coconut cream cheese and pineapple rum sauce, with bits of coconut shavings and pineapple on top. We followed them to their new house in Ferndale, about a block from their old house. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, being one of the smallest looking places on the street. Until you get inside.

It’s a ranch of about 1800 sq. feet, and originally a Frank Lloyd Wright design built by a different architect. Very retro-cool, with redwood ceilings, solid wood paneling, heated cement floor, and it sits on a frickin’ acre of yard, right smack in the middle of Ferndale. The original owner bought three lots, knocked everything else down, and built the house about 30 feet from the street, so the entire rest of the yard stretches off into the distance behind it. Seriously, you could herd cattle back there and supply your own BBQ parties, or host Cirque de Soleil and have little Chinese boy-girls flipping around up in the trees. Or both at once.

After stopping at home so Aaron could change and grab the camera, we found a nice brick wall to take some publicity portrat shots of him sitting in his car, for his interview in Car Magazine. Those were just ok, so after aborting our decision to head to Henry Ford Museum, we went up to the Chrysler Museum, which was much closer. I’ve worked right next door to the place for over three years and had never been in there. It was pretty interesting, even for a non-car guy like me. We got some good shots, finished our tour, and did some grocery shopping. The rest of the day consisted of laundry, gym, and finishing Academ’s Fury.

Dec 102007

Pü is... Shpanky Droptrou (Guitar), Lionel Trains (Drums), Sly Pennyapple (Bass)

L to R: Shpanky Droptrou (Guitar), Lionel Trains (Drums), Sly Pennyapple (Bass)

During our trip to Chicago this weekend, we made the fateful decision to put the Rock Band back together, after multiple cranberry vodka martinis. Our quickly-drafted official photographer and first groupie,

, really captured the essence of Pü during our sold-out reunion tour, which spanned three virtual bars in Chicago and one in NYC.

Cuz I'm a Creep...Thank you! Goodnight!

Thank you! Goodnight!

More photos and highlights can be found HERE.

In between sets and rounds we found quality time to spend with the Chicago crew, and renewed our commitment to someday relocate there. It’s just too cool of a city to not live in, traffic notwithstanding.

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