Categories
Looking glass
Navigate/Search

Archive for July, 2006

Clerks and pipes

Sunday, July 30th, 2006

Friday night I got home and breaded and lightly fried chicken legs and squash. We watched the original IFFM cut of Clerks (Jill wasn’t as happy with that since it was lifted from a VHS copy and was quite dark, but it was 15 minutes longer than the released version). Watching the extras took the rest of the night – they finally put in the MTV bits they did (“Dude, it’s in my brain!”).

I got up early to try and get Clapton tix on Saturday, failing because the ticketmaster website was way too slow and I was getting awful choices by the time I finally did get through (just scored some a little while ago, though). Since I was up, I skipped my normal morning shower and took Illa out. We got back and I started watching the documentary on the third disc of Clerks X as I made huevos rancheros. Next I started sorting and packing away our camping gear. Jill got up before the end of the doc, and after it was over, helped me put up the tent to air it out. She got ready and left to join some coworkers for drinks around 5, and I showered and left soon after.

I was meeting my dad at Wolf Trap, so I stopped at Harris Teeter to pick up some food (salad, seaweed shrimp wraps and wings). I met him and we went into the park and a shaded area to eat. He had planned to bring a date, but early in the week had noticed that I’d screwed up and gotten tix to the afternoon show. I switched them, but by that time she’d made other plans. So it was just us to see the Beach Boys. I’d seen Brian Wilson last year, but I’d never seen the rest of them. Only Mike Love is around from the original line up, but Bruce Johnston joined in April 1965 after Glen Campbell (who was in turn replacing Brian Wilson) decided to embark on a solo career. It was a good show, and they played a lot of hits. My only complaint was it was way too hot – we may need to bring lots of ice tomorrow.

Sunday I actually slept in for once. When we did get up, Jill went down and took Illa out and had cereal, then I made bacon and schmorgles as I caught up on Daily Shows. We’d thought about catching an early matinee of Clerks II, but it took longer than I expected to get the old pipe beneath the sink out. We’d had lots of problems with the disposal, and I thought a new pipe might help – we also needed propane for the grill. We missed the 3:30 show, so we hung out and played with Illa for another hour.

Home Depot had propane, but not the pipes we needed, so we got the propane and headed over to Reston Town Center. Clerks II was very funny, at various times we were laughing so hard we couldn’t hear the next lines. Afterwards we headed over to Lowe’s, then home. I had slow cooked pork on Saturday, and now I made sauce for it, then tried to install the new pipe. Tried, because the new one kept leaking despite my best efforts. We were hungry and it was getting late, so I stopped and we had bbq sandwiches and corn on the cob. Afterwards I struggled some more with the pipe, then gave up and installed the old one. Jill started cleaning up the kitchen, and I hopped online.

Injury update

Friday, July 28th, 2006

Jill finally got to see the doctor, and he’s severely curtailed her movement for two weeks. She’s not real happy about that, but she’s dealing. She’s off crutches for the most part, using the boot and walking on her heel.

As for me, my feet are feeling ok – got some new shoes last night from a running store recommended by my physical therapist that are pretty nice, and I have some new special insoles on their way. I think I’m about 60% now, which is still kinda hard as I’m primary dog walker for the moment.

Symphonic Jethro Tull

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

We went to see Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull perform with the Filene Center Orchestra at Wolf Trap last night. It was free to us because of our membership, and we particuarly liked the fact their was a buffet dinner attached (I rarely turn down free food). The dinner was good (the chicken with cheese was tasty), but I wasn’t too excited for the show. Jethro Tull is one of those classic rock bands I like but don’t love – didn’t have a CD from them before I got the greatest hits in preparation fot the show (in retrospect, should have gotten the Ian Anderson Plays the Orchestral Jethro Tull instead).

But the show was great – Ian Anderson is still a great frontman, hopping around on one foot playing the flute, and the orchestra was good. The find of the night was Lucia Micarelli, the touring vioinist. She tore it up every chance she got, especially on a fiery version of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”, which easily earned a standing ovation. But the other songs were chosen well, nicely bridging the band and orchestra instead of it just being a band with the orchestra coming in for effect. It reminded me of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and I like them a lot. They ended with my favorite Tull song, “Locomotive Breath”, and it was worth the wait. Don’t know if I’d see them again, but I enjoyed myself.

Vacation Part II:The Camping

Monday, July 24th, 2006

In which our intrepid heroes learn they’re not getting out of summer vacation without injury.

We got up around 9 Wednesday morning, hoping to get on the road by 11. We ended up leaving around 11:30, and still had some errands to run, so we hit the road around 12PM. Robin and Jillian were following us, and the Toll Road was fine, but we ran into a snarl of traffic on the inner loop of the Beltway right before 270 rejoins it. We ended up getting off at Connecticut Ave, going north to Randolph and east until we got on 95. It was approaching 1 as we neared Baltimore, and we realized we’d still be in New Jersey when rush hour hit. Jill had done that going up to her mom’s a couple months back and got caught in traffic, and we didn’t want to do that, so we headed west on 695 and north on 83 into Pennsylvania after conferring with Robin on cell phone. We ran into a little traffic in Harrisburg, but it wasn’t bad, and we made our way onto 81 and 84, stopping briefly at Arby’s (and McDonald’s for Robin and Jillian) as we changed drivers. We heard an odd noise on 84, pulled off to check the car, use the restroom, and refuel before we got into New York. The car seemed fine (and Robin and Jillian thought it was the bumpy road), but we dropped the speed down a bit until we went our separate ways at the Taconic State Parkway.

We got up to 23 fast, then made a quick stop for ice (since it was too late to buy it at the site), and got to the festival a little before 8. I called Stuart, and he came down to guide us up to Camp Edhead, aka “The Pirate’s Patch” (from the song “Payday In The Village”) in Lower Ledge camping. The festival had been held at Long Hill Farm since 1990 (with the first two at the Catamount ski area), and this was the first time at Dodds Farm, so we had no idea where to go. Our usual camp-mom Shelly was not there, and in the past she was a volunteer and able to show up early and grab space for all of us, but this time it was just some of our camp members showing up earlier Wednesday for the land grab. We parked near the camp, then wandered around looking for a good spot to pitch our tent. Jill’s main complaint about camping there the previous three years was not being able to sleep in. With music going past 2 in the morning and the sun baking down making it tough to sleep past 8, we never got much sleep. So this time we picked a spot about a five minute walk from camp, but sheltered by trees from the east, so we wouldn’t be awoken by the sun.

Darkness fell quickly, and we used the car’s headlights to illuminate the area as we assembled the tent. It took a while – by the time everything was up and the mattress inflated it was almost 10. But that was the main work, and we brought the car back and unloaded our food and chairs at the camp. There were two huge canopies (that we called lobbies, after “Loitering In The Lobby”) where we were sheltered from the rain and sun, and where everyone hung out – I didn’t have a problem having the tent so far away because I knew we’d only be there to sleep. We sat down and had some beers, and Olivia whipped us up some hot dogs, which we wolfed down. We were exhausted, and called it a night soon after.

Thursday dawned sunny. I got up around 10, and got to the camp as Stuart, Janice, and Olivia were whipping up scrambled eggs and sausage. For the past couple of years, we’ve split food with them, so we’d do dinner Thursday night and breakfast Friday. Jill was soon up and had her coffee. We needed groceries, so we went off to nearby Hillsdale with Jeremy, dropping tarps off at the main stage on the way. First stop was the wine and gourmet shop. This was our first visit to Hillsdale (the old farm was before we got to the town, and we usually came fully provisioned), and we were impressed by the little shop. They even had a really good deal on ice, good since the IGA supermarket across the street was out. The supermarket did have beer though – no Magic Hat, but we did pick up a Saranac summer sampler, a 6 of Sam Adams summer ale, and a bottle of Three Philosophers. We drove back to camp and unpacked, and hung out and chatted with folks for a while – some were still arriving. We showered in the afternoon while the lines were short and read for a while after that. Our dinner that night was fajitas, and Jill chopped veggies and I sautéed on the camp stove. I had wisely cut and seasoned the meat at home (learned my lesson last year), and we were soon enjoying them with the Belgian ale, then margaritas that Jeremy had whipped up. After dinner, it was finally time for some music, so we headed to the main stage to see the Winterpills (fine band out of Northampton) and Shawn Colvin (who sang a lot of new songs, but had something of an attitude). After the main stage was over, we went up the hill to the Budgiedome, a camp that traditionally gets big name artists to play there after the official shows were over. That night was no exception, as we got to see Eric Schwartz and Jim Infantino from Jim’s Big Ego play to an intimate audience. By the time we got back, it was after 2, so we went to bed soon after.

Friday I still made it up a little after 9, because Janice and Olivia wanted to hit the dance tent by 10. Luckily I’d picked another simple meal – egg sandwiches. I had eggs and sausage cooking on one burner, and english muffins toasting on another. Jill was up before I finished, and she made coffee with the french press. She finished cleaning, and I went over to the main stage (Jeremy had done the tarp run at 7) to catch the Emerging Artist Showcase. Ellis was an early highlight, but it was scorching in the sun and I headed back to camp. Jill was gone as she’d gone swimming at a nearby quarry with Meg and Olivia. I just sat and read my Terry Pratchett book while I used the best invention ever – a little battery powered fan with a water squirter that squirts through the fan. I’d meant to head back and catch Red Molly, but the showcase ran fast and I heard the act after them playing about the time I was planning to go over. Stuart joined me to go over and see Pat Wictor and Russell Wolff at the end. It was still hot, so I went to grab a shower in the afternoon. It started clouding up when I was in line, and the downpour started when I was 10 feet from our tent. I waited it out inside – didn’t want to get my nice clean and dry clothes wet, and it was only about 20 minutes. Later we all returned to the main stage for Crooked Still, who were great – maybe we’ll catch them around our area now (Rushad is just ferocious on the cello). We’d meant to come back later and catch Tracy Grammer, but it was steak and martini night, and we weren’t done until she nearly was. Then Pam showed us her fire twirling (Janice got some great photos of it, mine are pretty crappy). Later on there were more margaritas and fresh guacamole dip (store based, but Jeremy had added lots of fresh ingredients) and chips. Jill and I headed back to the main stage to see the Friday Night Summer’s Eve Song Swap with Christine Lavin (she’s a big fan), Cheryl Wheeler, John Gorka, and Susan Werner. By the time we got back to camp it was after 12:30, and I had to get to bed as it was my turn to do a tarp run in the morning.

I’d set my alarm for 6:45 because the tarp run was at 7 Saturday, but made it there with about 10 seconds to spare. I was not awake and didn’t get a great spot, but it was decent. It had already rained earlier, and it was drizzling as I headed back to camp. I checked to make sure chairs and other things that hadn’t been covered were, then went back to sleep ’til about 10. Jill was still out, but I was ready to get up and went to the camp to see Stuart making pancakes and sausage (with maple syrup, thank goodness). She still wasn’t up by 11:45, so we Ieft out some pancakes for her and I went off to the main stage to see Eric Schwartz. This was the musical highlight for me – he’s usually funny, but he had me in stitches with what he made the sign language interpreter do (“Eric is so hot, I just want to take him backstage and…”). Afterwards, I stayed for the Most Wanted Song Swap, featuring Jim’s Big Ego. The tarps were wet, but I sat on my cushion chair during it. I took my camp chair over to the workshop stage to see Crooked Still and all three Rowan Brothers (including the legendary Peter – not joined by Tony Rice that day unfortunately). Stuart, Seth and Don shared a tarp near me and everything started well. But the heavens opened, and we got slammed by rain for about 45 minutes – Seth and Don vanished. I had whipped out my poncho, and my video camera had its rain condom on, so I stayed mostly dry, until I moved around some and the water came in wherever it could. The rain stopped just as the set ended, but we couldn’t really appreciate the music by then – we were just happy we could move again. I was about half damp, then we started walking through the rivers of water in the main area and got a little more wet, completely soaking my shoes. We’d hoped to catch Red Molly at the Acoustic Live tent, but the tent was stuffed by people trying to keep dry, and we didn’t stay for long since we could barely see them.

We headed back to camp and a change of clothes. I only had the one pair of sneakers with me (bad idea, I know), so I dried them off as best I could. We helped Janice and Olivia pack up, as they were taking Jill’s car to get Olivia to camp in southern Virginia the next day, and we’d ride back with Stuart in their van. We went back to the workshop stage for the Rolling In The Aisles workshop – all funny songs. Eric Schwartz got a standing ovation for “Clinton Got A Blowj*b”, but all the acts were good. We picked up food at the vendors for the first time – I got ribs, Jill got a slice of pizza, and we split a salad and sweet potato fries. Stuart had some of the fries, and we had some of his bloomin’ onion. We polished off the beer, then moved on to more margaritas, until it was time for the main attraction: eddie from ohio. Nearly our whole camp was there, and we crowded on the tarps to watch. A great but short set ensued (and a little bit of rain), then we went back. The band did not join us this year for the afterparty (probably got scared off by the mud), but we had fun. We thought about going to see Dan Bern because Meg had told he was good (and she’s reliable on music recommendations), but it started raining again and we elected to stay dry. The rain ended by the time he did, so Stuart and I went back to the Budgiedome. Christine Lavin was going to come but cancelled due to not feeling well (although the fact that the artists there don’t get paid doesn’t help), so Jill didn’t come with us. Which was a shame, as Jim Infantino and his bass player had replaced her, playing songs he hadn’t played anywhere else during the festival. Following him was Iain Campbell Smith, an Australian bloke who was pretty good. Stuart and I were finally hoping to see Red Molly, but they also cancelled (a member had a family emergency), but all was not lost, as not only did We’re About 9 play next, but since their guitarist didn’t make it, they recruited Pat Wictor to play, and he was the other act Stuart really wanted to see and had missed. They finished up around 2:30, and we headed back to camp.

Earlier in the night we’d seen people setting off fireworks, and during the music we’d heard several loud booms (setting off car alarms which were a lovely accompaniment to unamplified music). But Stuart had seen one girl come running up to an audience member talking about a car fire, and as we left we saw emergency vehicles down below us and the flashing strobes in the sky of more emergency vehicles in the next camping area above us. As we walked back to camp in the mud (I slipped once), we had to stop at a road as a truck with lights flashing raced up the slope. What was disturbing was getting back to camp, turning around and seeing an orange glow in the air getting bigger. I came back to the edge of the field where people from other camps had gathered to watch, just as there was another boom. The folks from “Camp Bubblehead”, immediately above us, had several older gentlemen who seemed very knowledgeable about putting fires out, and predicted they would soon be out. The glow soon faded, and we headed back to camp. We stayed up for a while, hoping there wouldn’t be an evacuation, but that fear faded as there was no movement in that direction. I went to bed around 3:30 and was out before my head hit the pillow. I’ve since learned it was a van that burned completely out.

Sunday Jill was up before me, around 9:30, and I was soon up to put stuff away in the drizzle. We got some stuff packed, but it was soon 11 and time for the Gospel Wake Up Call. We stayed for the first round, then we left to get breakfast, and I took mine to the family tent to see Eric Schwartz do a kids show while Jill went back for the rest. He set a new ADD record (previously held by DaVinci’s Notebook), only getting through 3 songs in his 45 minute set. He was hilarious – seeing him every chance I got makes up for the fact he doesn’t make it down our way too much. I went back to camp where Jill was already packing, and we broke down the tent. We assembled everything else at Stuart’s van, then disassembled his lobby, and packed the van, finally getting on the road about 1:45. We stopped for gas on the way out of town, not getting on the Taconic State Parkway until after 2. It was a much better decision than 87, as that usually has backups on Sunday afternoon from the weekenders returning to New York City – we saw them as we went north on 87 at the end of the road to get to the Garden State Parkway. We stopped as soon as we got into New Jersey for food and bathrooms at the first rest stop. I wanted a Nathan’s chili cheese dog, while Jill had a Whopper Jr. and chicken fries, and we split cheese fries (we generally don’t eat like that unless we’re traveling). We had a fun ride home with Stuart, no real traffic, listening to new CDs, and discussing how much we’d enjoyed camping with the other Edheads and coming to the conclusion that this was our favorite Falcon Ridge yet.

The tank of gas we got in Hillsdale got us all the way back to Herndon, but we were coasting on fumes, so we filled up and got to Stuart’s house, where Janice helped us switch our loads. We finally got to out house around 10:30 and we’d started unloading the car when I heard a scream from Jill. She still had her sandals on and had bent her left little toe out on a tire. She could barely walk and I got her inside. Ice didn’t help too much, and she decided to wash her muddy feet off and head to the ER. We got there around 11:30, and there wasn’t much of a crowd – we got back to be seen by midnight. She got examined and x-rayed, and sure enough the toe was broken, so they gave her crutches and a boot, and we got home by 2. She decided to go to her CPR refresher class today and tomorrow as she doesn’t have to stand, but she probably won’t work the rest of this week. Long day today for me as I went out at lunch to pick up Illa, then had a massage, then came back to work for 6 more hours.

Pictures here.

Vacation Part I: The Beach

Wednesday, July 19th, 2006

The first part of our vacation is done, now we’re at home before we head to the second part tomorrow.

We went out Saturday morning and dropped Illa off at the kennel, then came back and finished packing. We left around noon, and the trip was uneventful until we stopped for fruit (peaches and plums) just before Chesapeake Beach. The place was a litle grassy area right off the road, and as we left we went up a hill to the other road. A mistrake as there was a six foot wide ditch at the top the front wheels went down into but not far enough to touch bottom and get traction. We thought we’d have to get a tow truck, but one of the farmers offered to get a 4 wheel drive Jeep and pull us out, so we waited for him. It took him a little bit, but he was as good as his word and returned bearing a length of chain. We were soon on our way, the car very muddy (when Jill had spun the tires when we got stuck) and the farmer refused compensation.

We got to Dad’s a little after 2, and Jill’s sister Robin and her friend Jillian were already there. Jill and them changed and headed for nearby North Beach, while my Dad and I went out on the deck and read the paper and chatted. There was some brief rain, but we were under cover and stayed put. The girls came back and we went inside to wait for my sister, Sharon, and her boyfriend, who arrived a little after 5. Unfortunately, they brought the big rain with them, and we retreated inside until it finished. We headed out in a couple cars to Skipper’s Pier in Deale. Since there was 7 of us, we elected to eat outside on the pier – possibly not our wisest decision. The food was fine (I had the crab bisque, a salad and a fried calamari appetizer while Jill had the crab cake with cheesy mashed potatoes), but the weather was only mildly cooperative, with little spurts of rain almost making us go inside. We stayed there a while as my dad, sister and her boyfriend all got the crabs, which took them some time, but it was nice after the rain stopped and the sun was setting.

We decided against having dessert there after Dad suggested having banana splits back at his house. We embellished his suggestion by stopping by the store for more ice cream, nuts, and whipped cream. We enjoyed the ice cream on the deck, then the party broke up. Sharon went home, and Robin and Jillian had been up very early the night before to drive down from Massachusetts. Sunday morning we got up around 10, and Dad made a big spread – frittata, fruit salad, bagels, and pancakes. After a stop at the store for a Sunday paper, water and sunscreen, we were off to the beach. We made good time (although there was a sizable backup the other way on the Bay Bridge), and got to Rehoboth Beach around 2PM. Jill had booked us rooms at the Crosswinds Motel, and they let us check in, we changed, and then walked the 3 blocks to the beach. We set up the umbrella and blankets, then I read the paper while the girls stood at the edge of the water, which was full of jellyfish. Eventually Jill got brave enough to go in, but did get a small sting on the way out. The others went in, but I decided I didn’t need to. Jill and Robin got slices of pizza from Grotto Pizza, but it wasn’t as good as I remembered.

We went back to the rooms and showered and changed and relaxed for a while. We went to dinner at the Roadhouse, also known as the first place Jill and I had dinner as a couple. For those of you who came in late: Jill and I met in 2001 because my buddy from Boston, Chris, was throwing his annual New Year’s party in Rehoboth Beach (long story), Jill had just moved to DC and asked him if he knew anyone from the DC area that could give her a ride. He suggested me – we met and had dinner at Clyde’s in Georgetown, then drove to Rehoboth together. The first night the group had dinner at the Dogfish Head brewpub, the second at the Roadhouse (by which time we were getting to be a couple), the third a sushi place (that I think was Abstractions – but we were definitely a couple by then). But I digress. The Roadhouse was a nice little steakhouse and ribs joint, though I was thrown a little by the tasty mango and rum smoothie. Most of us had ribs (Jill and I shared a rack), and they were lip smackin’ good. No room for dessert, so we returned to our rooms where I was introduced to the addictive game of rummy.

Monday morning Robin and I wanted to go to IHOP, so we dragged the others and ate our fill (International Passport with crepes for me, french toast for Jill), then went straight to the beach. I went in for a bit (losing my shades of course), then read while Jill got me some more while buying crocs for her and Robin. It didn’t take us to long to have our fill in the heat of the day. We went back to the rooms, showered and changed and hit the road, with a quick stop at A&W/KFC to help the famished. We made it to Milton by 2:45 for the Dogfish Head brewery tour. It was an informative tour – they were only able to fill 30% of orders last year, and they’ll be doubling their output within the year. They had samples of Shelter Pale Ale, 60 Minute IPA, and Indian Brown Ale before and after the tour, and with the six pack of Raison D’Etre we’d picked up from the brewpub, I’d had just about all of their regular beers. We picked up a pack of Midas Touch Golden Elixir and a bottle of Zwaanendale there, then I got dropped off downtown to check out a CD store and a couple bookstores, where I didn’t find anything I wanted and returned to the room to read (two Pratchetts this trip, in addition to the papers and magazines I had). The ladies hit the outlets and returned bearing their prizes.

What Jill didn’t know when booking the hotel was that it was next door to the Dogfish Head brewpub, a find I was quite happy about. What it meant was after we relaxed for a while, we just strolled over there for dinner. We probablty should have sent a scouting party, as there was a 45 minute wait. We went in and Jill got a round of Lawnmower Light, their new light beer (which most people liked, I wasn’t that interested because I think a good light beer is like Sam Adams Light or Heineken Light that’s very close to the original). We were outside in he heat for a bit until 3 spots opened up at the bar. Robin tried the guava infused vodka with Sprite, and I tried the Golden Shower Imperial Pilsner, which was very good. It was indeed a 45 minute wait, but we eventually got a booth, and I had a crab bisque and the wood grilled pepperoni and andouille pizza, both excellent with the pilsner. We split a Dogfish Pile to start (crab dip on pizza crust), and Jill had a burger. The girls had desserts (Jill had a pineapple bread pudding she only had a couple bites of), but I was stuffed, happy we only had to walk a few steps back to the rooms, where there was more rummy.

Today Robin and Jillian were out by 8:30 to get in a little more beach time, and we checked out at 11 and hit the road. We’d spied a Sonic and we stopped in. We were a little surprised you ordered by phone from your table as well, but dealt. I had the SuperSONIC Breakfast Burrito with tater tots, while Jill had a cheeseburger, fries, and some popcorn chicken (I helped eat the chicken). We skipped their famous slushies, but did enjoy their diet limeades (mine was plain, Jill had a cherry). We hopped back on the road, making fairly good time to my Dad’s where Robin and Jillian had left their car. They followed us through mild traffic home (it was 3:45 when we arrived), then they went to the post office and Target while I checked out the FRFF schedule. We changed and went out to dinner around 7:30. We didn’t get to Sweetwater Tavern until 8:15, stopping at Borders and Best Buy for vital camping supplies. We were smart and called ahead for seating, and were seated not more than 2 minutes after arriving. We’d told Robin and Jillian of their amazing bread, so that was a priority (as usual). I had the 5 beer sampler (their new Paleface Summer Wheat – a nice hefeweizen and Giddyup Stout – with real coffee – are standouts) and crab fritters and the Montery chicken salad, while Jill had the mixed salad and jambalaya (one of her faves) and the key lime pie for dessert (again, I was stuffed). We stopped at Safeway for camping food on the way back, then watched a little TV before everyone else went to bed, and I’m here. Now to get a little sleep before part 2…

Not again

Saturday, July 15th, 2006

Yes, I’m up too late again getting ready.

This time I wanted a good mix of FRFF artists I’m not familiar with, but it took much longer than I thought to download, convert, and burn the three CDs.

Oh well, sleep tomorrow.

Fright Night

Friday, July 14th, 2006

Last night Jill was working on her paper for her class, and I decided to explore what I had recorded on the DVR. It turned our to be a horror-ible night. I started off with the first two episodes of Stephen King’s Nightmares and Dreamscapes (two eps each week are airing for four weeks). The second one, “Crouch End”, was weak – in writing, direction, and acting. Not surprising, only a few King adaptions can bring the skill he has to life. Which was a shame, as the first one, “Battleground”, has to be one of the best adaptions of a King story I’ve seen (Shawshank Redemption and the Green Mile still rank higher, of course). William Hurt stars, and he really brings the character to life, but the special effects are perfect and look amazing in HD.

We had chicken and zucchini for dinner (I was going to grill the chicken, but the propane ran out so I cooked it in the toaster oven), then Jill went back upstairs, and I watched Shaun Of The Dead. A zombie movie with a lot of laughs, I enjoyed it. It starts as more of a satire as the characters go through their lives oblivious to the zombies in their midst. A British production but nothing too hard to understand – my favorite moments were the creative uses of two Queen songs.

Life’s expensive

Tuesday, July 11th, 2006

So this morning I picked my car up. The radiator had busted a seam, so I needed a new one. Luckily that was all that was wrong, as I had them do the state and emissions inspection at the same time. Four times in four weeks is a bit unexpected. At the same time, I think these are the biggest repairs I’ve had in at least a year.

Tonight I met with a roofer about the estimate to replace the roof. Not cheap, but it needs to be done, and soon, since we still have the tarp up there. I still haven’t heard back as to when the other roofers I contacted can do estimates, plus these guys were the ones that put the tarp on the hole in the roof. So we’re going with it – hopefully the last big expense before Jill starts school (other than tuition, of course).

Cleaning, Spam and more automotive antics

Sunday, July 9th, 2006

So much cleaning. Thursday we had steak and salad for dinner, then cleaned; Friday we had taco salad for dinner, then did a massive cleaning, not finishing until well into Saturday. Saturday there was also cleaning, but by the time we finished, the house looked really good. There were also haircuts on Saturday – I am no longer a hippie. We actually got finished in time to relax before our friends John and Meredith arrived from Richmond (after heavy traffic) and we all rushed off to DC.

We had dinner at La Tasca, a yummy tapas place, with 3 other friends. I didn’t think we’d been to the one in DC until we got inside and I realized we’d been seated downstairs. Jill had aparagus, fried eggplant, flank steak and bacon wrapped shrimp with white sangria, while I had spinach, sausage, and ribs, plus we split some cheesy bread. We tried some of the other tapas as well.

I’d made the reservations for 5PM because that was the only time for a party of 7 (unless I wanted 7PM), and it turned out to be a good thing, as most of us were late, and we were there until 7:15. Jill had found on street parking, and we elected to drive over to the National Theatre rather than walking over and back later. We chatted in front of the theatre with our party until the bell sounded and we went to our seats. In order to get the cheaper ones, I’d purchased tix on the sides of the Mezzanine, so our group was split during the show. But it was fun, I really hadn’t thought about last time we’d seen Spamalot, and I’d forgotten just how funny it is. We might do it again when it comes back December 2007…

Afterwards, we chatted a bit with the crowd, then everyone went their separate ways. Constitution Ave. was slow due to the 66 bridge construction bringing it down to one lane, but we were cruising after that. After we got off the toll road, I was thinking “I hope there’s no car trouble this time”, only to stop for the light onto Spring St. and a cloud of white smoke come out of my car. So I kept going, noticing the engine temperature was near the top. I took it slow, but nothing helped, and we pulled to a stop at our mechanic (again). Popped the hood, and the radiator was steaming. We all walked over to Safeway, bought some antifreeze, then walked back. The radiator seemed empty, and we filled it. The car seemed ok when started, so I drove it back. Some steaming and minor leaking, but didn’t seem too bad. It was after midnight, but we kicked back, had a drink, and watched some TV.

Sunday when I got up, John and Meredith were up watching tennis, so I walked Illa then made egg sandwiches for everyone. They headed home shortly after, and we did our errands. We dropped off the car so they could check for leaks tomorrow, then picked up groceries (meat at Safeway, and fruit at Trader Joe’s) and dropped off paper recycling. Then Jill dropped me off and went shopping (where she was pleased to find she’s now a size 16); I took Illa for a walk and read the paper. I marinated some chicken in a maple syrup/brown sugar (Splenda mix)/oil and vinegar mix, then got out the camping supplies and assembled the tent. The tent got packed poorly after Falcon Ridge last year, and I wanted to air it out. I grilled the chicken while Jill sauteed zucchini, then we ate outside. Jill helped me pack the tent up, then I finished arranging the camping gear while she cleaned up and prepped the fruit for lunches. I hopped on the couch and opened my monthly box o’ comics while Jill walked Illa, then made a run to satisfy her Dairy Queen craving (cone for her, Blizzard for me) – refreshing after getting hot and sweaty. Then she assembled a giant Goodwill donation while I came up here; now she’s headed to bed.

Vineyard Haven and baby pictures

Saturday, July 8th, 2006

Yeah, I spent three hours on my blog entry Monday night, but took this long to filter and upload these pictures. Whatyagonnado?

Of course I do have an excuse – we’ve gone from nasty house to clean (and fur free) house in preparation for houseguests tonight and next weekend.