Sunday, October 31

halloween

A wise man (Peter Steele) once said, "Every day is Halloween." While this might be true for some people all of the time, it was certainly true for everyone today. But, it was apparently true for less people this year than last--we have a ton of candy left over. I wonder if it was because trick or treat night was on a Sunday this year. Normally, it is on a Thursday.

Jake was "Batman Beyond". Whatever that is. You be the judge--view our Halloween pictures here. The kid was so anxious to get home and eat his candy that he hardly went to any houses. Sooner or later, he'll learn the lesson of Halloween: the longer you stay out, the more candy you get. And while this might delay the instant gratification of eating your candy at 6:15 on Halloween, you will be eating candy for many more days. And, that makes it all worthwhile.

Saturday, October 30

attic project, part 2

Since Jake was at the grandparent's today, Brian and I spent the day working on our on-going attic project. We*** inserted baffles in order to keep the insulation off of the roof deck and to improve ventilation for the soffits we previously installed (see attic project, part 1 for details). We also tripled our available storage space by putting more flooring down in the eaves.

So, half of the attic is now completed. We're slated to do the other half next month. Of course, the other half will be a bigger pain because there's more stuff stored in that part. And to make it even more of a challenge, there's ductwork and pipes running all over the place.

At least the job went quickly. It probably only took 3 to 3 1/2 hours, which is better than I would have guessed. Either way, I'm still beat. I could really use a nap right about now, but we're off to pick up Jake soon, so I guess I can forget about that idea. At least I'll get an extra hour of sleep tonight--don't forget to turn back those clocks!

***When I say 'we', I mean Brian. He got to roll around in insulation all day, while I mostly handed him stuff. But, he wasn't complaining. Some help is better than no help, I guess.

Friday, October 29

bass and keys

Jake is staying at Brian's parent's tonight so this evening was dedicated to rottenstone. I completed the bass and Brian completed the keys for our latest song, (a)pathetic. It sounds pretty cool, if I do say so myself. Brian hasn't written the lyrics for the song yet and I have yet to write my first guitar solo (think: Kurt Cobain), so the song probably won't be done for a bit since Jake isn't scheduled at the grandparent's again till the weekend after Thanksgiving. So, we'll have to see if we can squeeze some rottenstone time in before then.

Wednesday, October 27

vampires need not apply

This afternoon, I planted 216 cloves of garlic in my garden. Just in time for Halloween--our whole neighborhood should be vampire-free thanks to my efforts.

That might sound like a lot, but it's about the same amount I planted last year (and I've been tearing through that supply at an alarming pace. I guess making a recipe that has 46 cloves of garlic in it isn't exactly helping to ration the supply). I planted four varieties, two of which are new (to me). I'm trying to determine which varieties grow the best in our soil. That will give me a little more flexibility when ordering my garlic for planting. Sometimes I forget to order early and the choices are limited.

It's kind of cool to plant stuff in the fall. Once spring arrives and the garlic plants start shooting up, it's like an instant garden. We haven't even gotten any snow yet and I'm already looking forward to spring. It's going to be a long winter...Remind me again why I live in Western PA?

Tuesday, October 26

baseball

'Brian, do you like baseball? I hate baseball.'

For almost 11 years I've known Brian. Not once have I had to watch a baseball game. Suddenly, we're watching baseball every night. And, he's enjoying it. You think you know someone...

Monday, October 25

political rant

I don't know why the current election pisses me off so much (well, ok, I have some ideas), but when I see a Bush/Cheney sign in someone's yard or a sticker on their car, I make a mental note to not like that person. I'm anxious for the election to be over so I can stop judging everyone on earth.

And, no matter how it turns out, I'm sure I'll live. I mean, I got through the past four years, didn't I? Kerry certainly wasn't my first choice for a Democratic contender, but I'll take him. And if/when Bush gets re-elected, at least there's a silver-lining to that cloud...Hillary in 2008!

Did I just say that? Uh oh. For reasons such as this, I don't have comments turned on in my blog. That is, I don't care about YOUR opinion.

This message was brought to you by riesling-gewurztraminer.

got wood?

As you might remember, Brian bought a bunch of lumber at an auction on Saturday. All of the loading/unloading of the truck must've affected his brain. That night, as we were going to bed, I asked him a question about the project he's currently working on in the shop. His response was "I have enough wood." Needless to say, that wasn't a valid answer for my question. Apparently he was drifting off to sleep and thinking about the day's activities while I was talking. Indeed, we have enough wood.

In sort-of related wood news, we celebrated "Law Arbor Day 2004" yesterday by planting a dogwood tree, a white spruce, and four more yews (hedges). We've been planting stuff every fall for the past four years. I hope to finally finish off the hedges next year (we need around 6-8 more plants). Other than that, we're good on the tree count. The only major landscaping I have left is around the shed and to create a herb garden. The herb garden is planned for next spring, but I think I might drag the shed thing out for a few years.

Sunday, October 24

21 grams

21 grams is supposedly the weight of the human soul. It is also one cool movie. Brian and I caught it on Starz last night.

It was 30 minutes into the movie before I could figure out what the heck was going on. It was rather Memento-like in that the scenes were played in a different order than they happened. Once I figured that out, the movie started to make some sense. And, Brian and I really like Naomi Watts--she's such a great actress. Whenever I want to see a movie again as soon as it's over, that's how I know it was good. It's on again Wednesday, so we're going to catch it again then. There were a lot of interruptions (i.e. Jake) during the viewing last night, so I'm sure we missed some cool stuff.

Strangely enough, the Flick Filosopher didn't have anything to say about the movie.

Saturday, October 23

with visions of cherry furniture dancing in my head

Well, we finally won the lottery today--the auction lottery. In the past few years, Brian has attended the occasional auction in an attempt to get some cheap lumber. The only thing he ever won the bid on was a small pile of oak.

Today there was an auction that had some cherry and maple--the two types of wood we need. So, Brian went and won the motherlode--two truckloads of wood (mostly cherry). His friend John was there (unfortunately for him) and had his truck. And being the nice guy that he is, he offered to help Brian haul the lumber home.

Of course, we don't have any place to store that much lumber, so into the shed it went. It's sitting in the spot reserved for the motorcycle! motorcycle! motorcycle!. Looks like Brian has a lot of work to do before next spring in order to reclaim his spot...

Thursday, October 21

sponge bob the second

I almost forgot to mention the new addition to the family, Jake's new betta fish, Sponge Bob II. Hopefully this betta will live longer than the original Sponge Bob's 5 days. He ate a bunch of fish food today, so he's already ahead of the game. I think I might buy him a larger home tomorrow, perhaps a nice goldfish bowl would do the trick. We'll see if he's still alive in the morning and then I'll decide.

the karate kid

Brian and I always vowed that if we ever had children, they would take karate. This revelation came after watching a bunch of little kids expending all of their energy while we went to watch a friend practice karate a number of years ago.

With much apprehension and even a few tears in anticipation of, Jacob had his first karate lesson this evening at Joe Goss Karate. Jacob takes a while to warm up to situations in general, so this was no different. He was all freaked out about going and has been talking about it for days now. But, once we got there and all of the kids started to arrive, I knew everything was going to go well. After the lesson was over, he came out to the waiting room and proclaimed "I love karate!"

I knew he would.

Wednesday, October 20

busted

I tried to cash one of Brian's expense checks this afternoon (for the whopping amount of $5.88) and was reprimanded by the bank teller: "Angela, did you sign both names on this check?" Duh.

So, instead of cashing it, they had to deposit the darned thing. I've only been signing Brian's checks for about 8 years now. It must've been a new teller, because all of the other ones I've gone to sure didn't care. Jake's more pissed than I am, though--he didn't get a lollipop.

Tuesday, October 19

i'm angela law and I had prunes for breakfast

Maybe if the politicians were saying that instead of their usual spiel, they wouldn't be so full of shit.

At any rate, the election is two weeks away. Make sure you exercise your right to vote--even if it is for the wrong candidate (I think we all know who I'm talking about). I'll need someone to blame if/when the world goes to hell in the next four years.

my first haiku

I hope the rain ends
Before the winter arrives
I do not like snow.

Let's just say that this was inspired by the weather. If you live in western PA, you know what I'm talking about.

Monday, October 18

bushisms

Surely everyone has heard about these before. But, they're worth another look since the election is so close. They always crack me up until I realize that the guy who is saying these funny things is the leader of the free world. Yikes.

Sunday, October 17

here we go steelers

Here we go.

Hooray--the Steelers beat Dallas today. Sometimes I watch Dallas games just so I can root against them. It's always sweeter when a team I like beats them, though.

Jake, however, was not rooting for the Steelers (don't tell Pappy Law). He decided that he "likes that team Shawn likes". Just don't quiz him on the name of the team...

The Dark Tower VII

"The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed." So began the greatest literary series in history. I finished The Dark Tower VII this afternoon and was not disappointed. It seems that I've been reading the series for about as long as Roland has been searching for the tower. What an incredible journey. Reading the last book in the series only makes me want to start over again!

Thankee-sai Stephen King. I can only hope your retirement is a temporary distraction.

Saturday, October 16

my favorite pastime

Vacation is officially over. This afternoon, I finished painting the library. Can I hear an amen?

While I was painting, I also had a mean marinara sauce simmering on the stove. Yum. While it was cooking, Jake remarked how delicious it smelled. Then, when it was time to eat supper, he said, "You were cooking sauce?!? I thought you were making food!" Needless to say, he ate his pasta plain.

(a)pathetic

That's the name of the new Rottenstone song, of which I recorded the guitar this evening while drinking a margarita (it is Friday night, you know). It's a song about voter apathy (pretty appropriate for this time of the year). The recording during the first half of the margarita sounded much better than the second half (I start sounding like Jimmy Buffet after a margarita. For those of you who think this is a good thing, sadly, it is not), so we ended up fixing my mistakes rather than trying to re-record the song. I'm anxious to hear what it sounds like to a sober ear tomorrow.

Somehow the recording session took a "Right Turn" into a Stone Rotten session where we jammed on songs like "Doll Parts" for about "Twenty Minutes". It was rather fun. We really need to start the Stone Rotten thing up again. For those of you who don't know, Stone Rotten is our (me & Brian's) acoustic cover "band". We normally play to an audience of none, in case you were hoping to catch one of our performances.

Thursday, October 14

shark tale

This afternoon, Jake shut the TV off long enough for us to go to the movies and see Shark Tale. I was hoping to catch a movie at the Westwood Plaza Theatre, but nothing good was playing so we went to Richland instead. That's the first time I'd been to the new theater--it's very nice.

Anyway, the movie was ok. We all enjoyed it, but I don't think we have to worry about it winning any Oscars or anything. We were the only people in the theater so that was cool. I guess most people are at work on Thursday afternoons...

The Flick Filosopher hated the movie, however: http://www.flickfilosopher.com/flickfilos/archive/2004/sharktale.shtml

TV's back on, of course.

Wednesday, October 13

powerball fantasies

Yeah, I know someone won the powerball last weekend. I also know it wasn't me. But, I was just thinking how nice it would be to never have to go to work again. Brian and I are both off all week, so it's easy to think about such things when you're hanging around the house with nothing better to do.

But, we do have a plan...while we were on our vacation, we played this little game where we'd guess what elevator was going to open (the hotel had six elevators, but only one button controlled them, so you never knew which one was going to open). Guess who won almost every round? Jake, the elevator savant. So, next week, we're going to introduce him to a new game. It's called "pick the winning lottery numbers".

Till then, I'm yearning for the day when weekends don't matter anymore.

Tuesday, October 12

pittsburgh, pa

Brian, Jacob, and I spent a long weekend in Pittsburgh. Sort of a pseudo-vacation if you will. Here are the details:

Saturday:
Carnegie Museum of Natural History & Carnegie Museum of Art

These two places go hand-in-hand because they are in the same building. Basically, the Museum of Natural History is the "dinosaur place" and pretty much the reason we went there. I had forgotten how cool the dinosaurs were. We didn't catch much of the Museum of Art because, as you might recall, we took a 4 year old with us. Though we did manage to walk through the section labelled "Adult Content". We peeked in and saw a bunch of nude statues and said "what's the big deal about that?". Of course while peeking in, we couldn't see the pictures of all of the pole dancers on the walls. Oops. Oh well, it's nothing he hasn't already seen on the Sopranos.

I should preface my next story by saying that there are a ton of glass doors throughout the museums. As we were leaving one area of the art museum, I heard a thunk. It was the sound of Jake's head connecting with the glass door. Apparently the museum window washers do a fine job, because he did not see the door. I turned around to see what was going on and he yelped "Nufin' happened!" That, coupled with the mortified look on his face and Brian choking back a laugh did me in. I couldn't stop laughing. The more I laughed, the madder he got. Poor kid. He'll probably be scarred for life.

That evening, we were trying to figure out where to eat dinner. Brian didn't want to eat at the hotel, so we went for a walk in order to find a restaurant. A few blocks from the hotel was Max & Erma's. Brian didn't want to eat there either, because we were going there on Sunday before the game. So we walked until we got lost and still hadn't found a decent restaurant. By this point, Max & Erma's sounded pretty good. Once we found our way back and settled in at the restaurant, Jake announced "I never want to eat at this restaurant again!". Little did he know that we were only 2 blocks from the hotel, and not actually one hour away by foot.

Sunday:
Steeler game

We met up with Brian's parents and our niece Erika at Max and Erma's before the game. We trekked over to the stadium on foot. It was a bit of a haul to the stadium, but the Steelers pulled out another victory, so it was well worth it. I hate to say it, but the Steelers almost look good this season. I guess we'll find out what they're made of once they start playing some real teams. Next week: the Cowboys. That will be a good test. I hate the Cowboys, though, so they better win.

We spent the rest of the evening watching football on the tube. Jake busied himself playing with some toys I bought for the (football-watching) occasion. I bought two toys for our trip. We planned on giving one to him on Saturday night and the other Sunday night. Well, we were sitting around talking on Saturday and didn't notice that he was looking through our luggage and he found both toys, so we gave them to him then. Booger. But, they did the job and kept him busy Saturday and Sunday evening.

Monday:
Carnegie Science Center
Station Square

We planned on catching a boat to the science center, but since it's the off-season, the boats only run on weekends. And, the closest bridge to walk over was under construction, so we had to take the long way around. Why we didn't just hop in the car at this point, I have no idea. All of the walking we did to that point must have affected our brains. So we walked over to the Science Center. At first, things didn't look too promising. But once we found the cool stuff upstairs, we practically had to drag Jake out of the place. He had a blast playing with all of the cool stuff and also interacting with the other kids that were there. On thing we all learned is to not go to any more Omnimax theatres. All of us emerged from the movie feeling a bit woozy.

We drove over to Station Square that evening for dinner. I wanted to check out a Japanese Restaurant there, but the menu looked too complicated (I've never had Japanese food before and want to try it, but have no idea what to try first) and they didn't have a kid's menu, so we nixed that idea. We ended up going to the Hard Rock Cafe and that worked out well. Jake was able to watch TV while we ate (albeit music videos were playing, but TV is TV). Jake had $10 that was burning a hole in his pocket, so he bought a toy garbage truck at one of the toy stores. But, that's all of the shopping we did because we were all tired from all of the walking.

Tuesday:
Andy Warhol Museum
Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

The Warhol Museum was pretty cool. We blew through it in about an hour, though because as you might recall, 4 year olds and art museums don't mix. We had planned on eating lunch there, but their cafe hadn't opened yet, so we drove over to the Strip District and ate at a really nice restaurant called Roland's Seafood Grill for lunch.

Next, we made our way to the zoo. Of course, everything was cool there. Unfortunately, seeing the zoo involved more walking. I don't remember the last time I was there, but I'm sure it was at least 20 years ago. The exhibits were great--very natural looking. And, I really loved the PPG Aquarium. Jake's favorite exhibit was the sea lions.

You can view our pictures here.

Friday, October 8

pita

How big of a pain in the ass is this guy's dad?

Thursday, October 7

bringing home the bacon

The bacon was finally ready to be picked up from Froehlich's yesterday. All eight pounds of it. This is precisely the reason that I split the meat with my mom. Eight pounds of bacon is more than three people should consume in a short time period (or maybe even in a long time period). I guess your consumption limit depends on what diet you are following. I happen to follow the "everything in moderation" diet. Eight pounds doesn't happen to translate to "moderate" in my view. Plus, bacon doesn't keep very long (1-2 months in the freezer), so we'll be eating it practically every week until it's gone, anyway. Not that anyone's complaining...

Wednesday, October 6

debatable

Maybe it's just me, but did anyone else see a pair of leathery wings emanating from Dick Cheney's back during last night's debate? His hands kinda looked liked cloven hooves, too, come to think of it. You had to squint to see it...maybe my tv's just on the fritz.

Monday, October 4

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas

I just finished making the last of my Christmas cards this evening. Take that, all you people still getting ready for Halloween! If it's any consolation, it's not like I actually wrote out the cards and addressed the envelopes...yet.

This is the first year I made Christmas cards. Not knowing how long it was going to take, I wanted to get an early start. It took about three weeks so starting in October should be sufficiently early next year. It's no fun making cards if things are down to the wire, so I want to be sure to do them well ahead of time. If only I had my Christmas shopping done, then I'd be happy. Some people, like Brian and Jake are always easy to shop for. Others, like some of the family members I've been shopping for year after year after year are a bit more difficult.

Sunday, October 3

happy october

Brian's at the Steeler game today with his parents and Shawn so Jake and I thought this might be a good opportunity to get ready for Halloween. First, we (or should I say I) made up the treat bags with what was left of the candy after Jake and I got done with it. Yum! At least Willy Wonka won't have to worry about going out of business this year. Last year we ran out of candy, so I made up a bunch more bags this year. There seem to be a lot more kids in the neighborhood these days. I guess that's a good thing.

Next I got all of the decorations out of the attic and we decorated the house. The clutter is maddening. I'm looking forward to November 1 already. Of course, November marks the first of two months of holidays. That is perhaps my least favorite time of the year, but that is another story for another day.

Saturday, October 2

attic project, part 1

Today, Brian and I removed the plywood ceiling from our front porch and replaced it with vinyl soffit. Doing this provided us with two benefits:
1. ventilation for the attic
2. a maintenance-free porch ceiling (no more painting! paint is my nemesis. but, somehow I always find myself painting something...)

Hopefully this will sufficiently ventilate our attic. If not, we'll need to put vents in the fascia boards next year and that would not be a fun project to say the least. Today's project took about 5 hours and we didn't run into any issues (which is unusual for us), so we'll call it a winner. Eventually, I'd like to cover as much wood as possible outside with vinyl. Up next year: fascia boards.

I've come up with an aggressive 5-year plan that will significantly reduce our remodeling "to do" list. I like to keep Brian busy--it keeps him out of trouble. Also, by the time I'm 40, I don't want to still be dealing with all of this crap. I know there will always be maintenance items to do around the house, but if we could just get everything the way we want it, maintaining it wouldn't be a problem. We've been working on the house for 8 years now and I'm more than ready to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

anger management

Jake is staying at my parent's this weekend, so Brian and I decided to do a "margarita & a movie" night. (Andy Lasky, take note!) Anger Management was on the tube so we watched that. Frankly I was a bit disappointed. It's not like I'm a huge Adam Sandler fan, but his movies usually elicit a few laughs from me. This one just wasn't that funny. I've always been a huge Jack Nicholson fan, but his character in the movie was just too weird--does he have to look insane in every movie?

The Flick Filosopher concurs: http://www.flickfilosopher.com/flickfilos/shortcuts/shortcuts17.shtml#anger

Friday, October 1

annoyance, inc.

That's what Atlantic Broadband should change their name to. While it is great that Brian's ftp issue has resolved itself, we found out this evening that we can't get any of our local channels through the cable box. Argh! We can get them if we bypass the box, though, so at least we can still watch them. I guess I'll wait till Monday and see if this resolves itself, too. I'm not looking forward to talking to their support people. Given the level of support Brian got with his ftp issue, I imagine it will go something like this:

support: "Atlantic Broadband support. How can I help you?"
me: "None of the local channels are coming through the digital cable box. There's a message that says 'to order this service call 1-800-555-5555".
support: "Hmm. Did you buy your tv from us? We can only support the cable box if it's connected to one of our tvs."
me: "No. Do you sell tvs."
support: "No."

Dish Network, anyone?

lost in transition

Time to celebrate--Brian can ftp to his website again from home! Ever since Atlantic Broadband took over Charter in June, he has not been able to ftp from either pc at the house. Interestingly enough, I noticed in my blog stats that the pcs from our house were always showing up as IP addresses. But, other people on Atlantic were showing up as charterpa.com. Then, as of last night, both the pcs in our house and other people on Atlantic started showing up as atlanticbb.net. So, I told him to try it this morning. Lo and behold, it worked.

Of course, Brian contacted Atlantic about this months ago and they were absolutely no help. Since his website wasn't hosted with them, they wouldn't look into the issue. Of course, the weird thing is that he couldn't ftp to any site on catalog.com, but all other sites worked ok. Either way, this was obviously a problem with Atlantic. I'm half-tempted to get satellite tv just so I don't have to give them as much money every month. I'm not giving up my cable modem, though. DSL is not available at our house and I'm certainly not going to use dial-up.