Saturday, March 31

chiefs 6 storm 1

It was a blowout tonight at the War Memorial Arena. The Chiefs showed up and played some hockey. Judy was kind enough to use some of her unused tickets to get us free seats (thanks again!) and we met her there this evening to watch the game. Jake was being shy and wouldn't speak to Judy all evening. Sometimes, I don't know what gets into him.

Today completed my trifecta of socialization for the week. Yesterday, I went out for happy hour. One of my former coworkers quit and everyone was getting together to celebrate that (of course, most Thursdays, they simply celebrate the fact that it's 5:00). And, Wednesday, I met some of my other former coworkers for lunch. So, I guess it would've been even more of a trifecta had some of my former coworkers been at tonight's game. Better luck next time.

Monday, March 26

bookin' it

The stack of books in our "library" finally hit Brian's tipping point last month, so he sat down and finalized some bookcase designs for the room. And, then he started constructing them. While he has a long way to go, the first six cases were completed last week (that's probably 1/3 to 1/4 of the final count). After I spent almost a week finishing them, they are now ready to be installed. Brian's working on that right now. I can hardly wait to fill them with books. Unfortunately, filling them up won't take long, but at least it's a start.

This project is expected to drag on for a while, though his goal is to complete it by the end of the year. No offense to Brian, but I will be surprised if it gets completed this year only because we have a number of projects in the works. And, building the bookcases is more than just making the cases. Once all of the cases are done, they will be outfitted with face frames (which is basically solid wood framing to cover up the plywood of which the bookcases are made). Next will come the doors, which will be fitted with glass. And, at some point in the construction, a solid wood top will be made to tie all of the cases together. And if that weren't enough, we're also going to do some custom lighting. Phew! So, you can see why this might not be done this year.

And, the second best part of the project is this...If there's one thing I like to do, it's make lists. As we put our books away, we are going to catalog them on this nifty little site my mom sent me, bibliophil.org. Why? For one thing, it will allow us to mark which ones we haven't read. Because, frankly, I have no idea at this point--that mental list got away from me years ago. And, secondly, I GET TO MAKE A LIST!

Saturday, March 24

beer butt chicken

I made this dish last summer and Jake must've eaten half of the chicken. He's been asking about it ever since, so since the weather finally got a little warmer this week, I put it on the menu. He enjoyed it just as much this time as the first. Jake's not what I'd call a picky eater, but he doesn't usually eat with as much gusto as when he's eating beer butt chicken. I have a theory about this--it all goes back to the name of the recipe. I don't think dinner would've been half as interesting to him had it been called something like "Grilled Beer Basted Chicken". That just doesn't sound exciting. So, I think I need to pull a Calvin's mom on him and start naming the recipes something that would appeal to a six year old. Perhaps I will pull a recipe from the Calvin & Hobbes file and make stewed monkey heads soon.

friday night

Last night, a couple Brian used to work with came over for a visit. I had met both of them before on an occasion or two, but this is the first time we all got to sit down and talk. And, talk we did. Jake happened to be at my parents last night, so it was nice to have an evening with adult-only conversations going on. His stay at my parent's was not planned specifically for the evening, but it worked out nonetheless. I guess this fulfills our socialization quota for the week, though we did not leave the house.

Thursday, March 22

the godfather: part iii

We finished the Godfather series last night. The third movie in the series wasn't as good as the first two, but it was still worth watching. There were a number of scenes (particularly the opera one) that dragged on longer than seemed necessary. Part of the problem was that we watched it over two evenings, so we kind of lost some momentum in the passing 24 hours. Luckily, the Sopranos start back up in a few weeks, so we'll get a good mafia fix in April.

some days you eat the worm, some days the worm eats you

In my new job, I'm learning all sorts of stuff. I started off with SQL and now I'm working in ASP.NET. Throw in a little ADO.NET with the two other things and that adds up to a lot of Google time. I was checking out an article on the GridView control today and proceeded to read the comments on it so that I might glean some more information. One person used the salutation "Worm Regards" to sign off on their comment. He/She wasn't trying to be funny, but it sure gave me a chuckle.

Sunday, March 18

ocean's 11

Despite the fact that this film starred Brad Pitt, I didn't like it. I had high hopes for it, too, but I guess it just wasn't my kind of movie. Or maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it. Or maybe it was because Brad Pitt was fully clothed the whole time. I don't really know. Brian wasn't into it, either. So, I guess I can remove Ocean's 12 and Ocean's 13 from my list.

Saturday, March 17

pinewood derby

Jake competed in his cub scout pack's Pinewood Derby today. Preparation for the derby started at last month's den meeting, which was hosted at our house. None of the other dads had a means to cut out the cars, so Brian offered up his woodshop for the evening. As a bonus, the boys got a lesson in shop safety. Jake did the shaping and sanding for his car. Brian filled the car with some weights and did more sanding. Then the car came to my department--the finishing department. After that was completed, Brian installed the wheels. This week, Jake and I ran up to Michael's and picked up some decals. Jake put those on the car and it was ready to go.

For the first phase of the derby, the dens competed amongst themselves. Jake placed 2nd in his den. Then the finals were next and it was a double elimination match. Unfortunately, Jake lost his first two races. But, on a good note, the 1st place kid from his den went on and took 1st place overall. Here are some pictures from today.

man on the moon

This movie told the story of Andy Kaufman. It starred Jim Carrey. I don't know if I would've found Andy interesting from an entertainment perspective beyond Taxi, but it sure made for an interesting movie. Jim Carrey did a great job in his portrayal. Courtney Love played Andy's girlfriend. Unfortunately, her role was very small. I thought she did a great job in The People vs. Larry Flynt, so I was hoping to see her in another role like that. Regardless, two thumbs up from us.

Tuesday, March 13

stranger than fiction

We watched this one last night. Brian really liked it. I thought it was OK. Frankly, I thought it was going to be funnier. I'm starting to see a pattern here--every time I watch a Will Ferrell movie, I think it's going to be funnier than it turns out to be. Hmm. I have yet to watch Elf, though--that looks really funny (ha). Since Jake has it on DVD, I'll catch it at some point. Then, I might have to give up on the Will Ferrell movies. This one at least had a unique plot. Surely you've heard about it by now, so I won't rehash it. The movie's worth watching, but not worth thinking about beyond the viewing. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but that's how it is.

Sunday, March 11

donnie brasco

Another mobster movie. I don't know what I'm going to do after the Sopranos are over--we'll have already watched all of the mobster movies out there in the meantime. Where will I get my fix? This movie was quite good--but it was a lot different than most of the mobster movies that we've watched. This one followed an undercover FBI agent (played by Johnny Depp) who infiltrated the mob and had the lines blurred between his real life and his life with the mob. Al Pacino was the other main character. He played the guy who got Depp into the mob. It was a pretty interesting story. As a side note, there was this one totally disgusting scene where they had to chop up some bodies in order to dispose of them. Nothing we haven't seen before, but this one had some cringe-worthy details in it.

Two thumbs up.

Saturday, March 10

lisey's story

I could not wait to read this story, but it was definitely not as fulfilling as I hoped it would be. I've been reading Stephen King since I was 10. He is my favorite author. This is one of my least favorite novels from him. It ranks right up there with Insomnia (otherwise known as the cure for insomnia). It's been so long since I read Insomnia, that I'm not sure if this one is my least favorite or if Insomnia is. At any rate, I did not like this book. I didn't care about any of the characters and the story was just so weird that it wasn't interesting. And, the worst part was all of the odd made-up words and phrases that were used. I found them to be really annoying (unlike the Gunslinger series where I found the made-up language interesting). So, don't rush out to read this one.

bottling nite

Last night, Brian and I bottled up the Riunite-tasting wine that I complained about a few months ago. It actually didn't turn out too badly. And, it no longer tastes like Riunite, thank God. But, it is definitely too sweet for our tastes. Luckily, I know a bunch of people who like sweet wine, so I should be able to find a good use for it. We also bottled the Carmenere/Cab kit. I have two more kits sitting downstairs and two more on the way, so I guess it's time to make more wine.

Thursday, March 8

failure to launch

We watched this last night. It was not one of those hysterically funny comedies, but it was amusing enough--good entertainment for an evening. Kinda like watching a really long sitcom. It did have a "Scrubs" moment towards the end (you know, where they start playing acoustic music and everyone is sad). But, other than that, it was pretty good. I'm not sure if this was a bonus or not, but you get to see Terry Bradshaw's ass in the movie. Terry actually did a decent job in this movie and was quite believable as the dad. If you're looking for some light fare, this'll do.

Wednesday, March 7

the hours

I wasn't sure whether to rent this movie or not, but the good reviews won out and I added it to my Blockbuster queue. The movie was actually quite good. Nicole Kidman won an Oscar for her role in this movie and it was well-deserved. Her prosthetic nose made her virtually unrecognizable in the role of Virgina Woolf. The story followed Virginia Woolf and two women from later generations (one from the 50's and one from the present). Brian missed the first half of the movie. So, of course, he walked into the room when someone was committing suicide. Given the subject matter of a lot of the movies we've been watching lately, he's now questioning my taste. So, tonight, just for him, we're going to turn our brains off and watch Failure to Launch.

Sunday, March 4

i heart gardening

It might not look like it outside, but as far as I'm concerned, it's spring. Today, I made my first indoor planting of broccoli, brussels sprouts, and celery (I'm planting celery for the first time). I'm pretty excited about my garden this year. Of course, I'm pretty excited about my garden every year. I have a lot of new tips to try as far as starting my seedlings goes and I can't wait to see how they pan out. So far, I've had pretty good luck with my seedlings, but there's always room for improvement, I suppose.

Not only that, but I also placed my annual order from the Cambria County Conservation District this weekend. I ordered some myrtle for my myrtle patch, bee balm for my butterfly garden, and strawberry plants for my soon to be strawberry patch. I'm really looking forward to the strawberries, though I have no idea where I'm going to put them. I guess I have some planning to do. Eventually, my goal is to have zero grass in our back yard. How am I going to do that? With pavers, mulch and stones, I'm guessing. Brian will thank me for this because mowing around all of the stuff in the back yard actually takes more time versus when there was twice as much grass to mow back there.

socializing

Jake stayed at my parent's this weekend so last night, Brian and I actually went out for drinks instead of drinking in. I don't know--this paying for booze by the glass is a little over-rated, if you ask me, but we had a nice time. Our friend Lish works at the Pike Inn, so we went there in the hopes of being able to hang out with her for a bit. But, the place was really busy, so we had to converse amongst ourselves, mostly.

And, this wasn't even the first time I was at a bar this week...On Thursday, I went out with a few of my former co-workers and caught a drink at the Southside Saloon. It was nice to catch up with everyone, though we have been doing a good job of keeping in touch via IM.

Today, we went to my mom's for Brian's belated birthday dinner. The dinner was supposed to occur last month, but due to bad weather it got postponed until now. Dinner was great--we had chicken cordon bleu, lasagna, garlic bread, green beans, asparagus, and salad (I think that's everything). And, my grandmother made her famous apple pie for dessert. No one left hungry, except Jake, of course.

Our social calendar is really starting to fill up for the summer. I made a resolution a few years ago to not schedule so many things in advance, but this year, it's getting out of control. If the beginning of March is any indication, we're in for a busy spring and summer.

Saturday, March 3

babel

I really liked this movie. Brian only thought it was ok. It was directed by the same guy who did 21 Grams, a movie we both enjoyed. The emotions it brought forth were similar to 21 Grams, but the storyline was easier to follow even though it was also shot out of order. Brad Pitt looked his age (and then some) in this film, but I still liked him--any Brad Pitt is good Brad Pitt as far as I'm concerned. If you like artsy, depressing movies, this one's for you.

Friday, March 2

sling blade

You know, Billy Bob Thornton might be a weirdo, but he's a pretty good actor. He wrote, directed, and starred in this movie. We watched it over the course of two evenings this week. For whatever reason, I enjoyed the first half of the movie more than the second, but overall, we both liked it. I think the tail end of the movie was slightly less enjoyable because we figured out how it was going to end and that took some steam out of it.

It was a story of a mentally handicapped man who was released from a mental institution after being there from the age of 12 for the murder of his mother and her boyfriend. After being released, he befriended this 12 year old boy who takes him home to meet his mother. The boy's mother lets the guy stay in her garage. It wasn't clear what era the movie took place in, but we were guessing more recent times, so that part seemed a little unbelievable. But, hey, maybe that's how they do things in Arkansas. What do I know? Anyway, the boy's mother has a abusive boyfriend and to avoid giving away the ending, let's just say, things go downhill from there.