Home improvement weekend

So we’ve been dealing with the annoyances from the new fridge this week. The icemaker and filter I ordered came on Monday, but I spent Monday night deciphering the instructions and trying to figure out what additional parts I needed. Tuesday I was at Mika, then Wednesday I went to Home Depot on the way home (after stopping at Best Buy to pick up the rerelease of the Traveling Wilburys CDs and the new John Lennon tribute), staying a bit longer then expected as I got trapped by a thunderstorm. Thursday I went to a happy hour after work, and Friday night I felt like relaxing, read papers and heated up a store bought meatloaf. It’s weird, I think it’s been about a decade since I last had meatloaf, I should get Mom’s recipe.

So it was Saturday by the time I finally got to install the icemaker. That was partially by design, as I didn’t want a potential leak during the night, but it’s been a pain the past week. The water line that went to the old fridge neither the installers or I could turn off, so we’ve had it draining into a cooler, and turning off the main water as often as we could. Ironically the icemaker in the old fridge hadn’t worked in years. The first thing I did was to connect the water line to the new filter, which was an interesting job as water was still coming out of the copper line I had to cut. The pressure coming out wasn’t enough for the filter, as there was no water coming out now. Good, because I could leave the water on, but bad because I couldn’t think of a way to fix it. I spent the rest of the afternoon installing the icemaker, untested as of yet. Saturday night I grilled steaks and did some serious TV watching and comic reading. Jill’s midterms start tomorrow – guess what she did all weekend?

Sunday I slept in, walked Illa, then ran errands, including a third trip to Home Depot in a week. I spent the rest of the afternoon repairing some blinds, and assembling some gifts for my parents. I bought plastic tubing and more filters that wouldn’t require the same pressure, but didn’t feel like tackling that job today. I did assemble an eBay auction of Fantastic Four comics after I grilled hamburgers and hot dogs for dinner, but won’t start it until tomorrow, as not only is it getting late (and I just finished it) but I’ll be out next Sunday night and home early on Monday.

Awesome new breakfast idea

I went to lunch at IHOP today with some coworkers, and I introduced myself to an awesome new idea: carrot cake pancakes. It’s a pancake with the veggies and spices from a carrot cake, with cream cheese frosting drizzled on top. Carrot cake is my favorite type of cake, but I’d never considered adapting it to a pancake. I should have, since they were scrumptious. I found a recipe, I’ll have to try it out soon.

Mika

Last night I went to see Mika at the 9:30 Club. I first heard of him from Brian May (Queen guitarist), checked his page out and heard some of Freddie in him, then bought his CD. The CD was good, hooked me especially with his sublime cover of Dave Matthews Band’s Satellite.

So I headed down later than planned to the 9:30, again missing the opening act (though I wouldn’t have minded seeing this one). Mika came on right on time and pretty much ran through his album. Highlights were “Billy Brown” and “Grace Kelly”, and some nice covers: “Sweet Dreams” (Eurythmics) and “I Want You Back” (Jackson 5, proving he’s got at least a three and a half octave range). For the encore, they took a page from the Flaming Lips and Mika and the band came out in furry suits, did a little skit, then did “Lollipop” with dozens of inflatable balls and shots of confetti. The show was sold out and he could go far. Irony alert: for the ballad, lots of cellphones raised but only one lonely lighter – the DC smoking ban is having some odd effects.

Road trip and Little Big Town

This was the weekend of Celebrate Fairfax (always held the week after the Herndon Festival), and there were a couple acts I wouldn’t have minded seeing. Live was playing Friday, but it was scorching hot out and I didn’t feel like fighting the rush hour traffic to get over there. Jill had turned on the ac the night before (for the second time this year), so it was nice to go grocery shopping, and come home to a nice cool house, not to mention our brand new fridge. One problem – I thought the fridge came with an icemaker. Nope, comes with a place for the icemaker, which confused the installers as well. So I ordered an installer, express delivery since I have not been able to get the water line the old icemaker was hooked up to to stop dripping. I grilled some stuffed steak and made a salad before I went upstairs to finish helping Jill on her project.

Saturday we were up early so when my sister got there we’d be read to go, but all of us were running late, and we left almost an hour later than planned. No worries, we got to Broadway right on time for our bag lunch, with Dad, and his friends Patricia, Don and Bill. Dad has a number of antique cars, two of them being Muntz Jets (one was just used for parts). This was part of a weekend for Muntz enthusiasts he had put together, and after the lunch we strolled over to the cars. Only three had made it to the show (and Dad’s was barely running), but they looked great. Dad’s was a bright shade of lavender, “same color as Paris Hilton’s panties” said his friend Bill – we neglected to ask him how he knew. After we chatted with all the Muntz owners, we went across the street to Francesco’s, an Italian restaurant. We got drinks and chatted for a while, then went to check out the new Heritage Park (and watched a snake catch and eat a fish). Before we left Sharon took pictures, and I took these pics while she did:

We drove back, and I napped a little. If I’d wanted to see Eddie From Ohio at Celebrate Fairfax they went on at 3, and we didn’t get back until 5:30. Sharon had things to do, so she took off, and I watched some Genesis music while Jill ran out. Later I made some buffalo chicken nuggets and spinach for dinner, then she read as I watched a Genesis documentary (their tour kicks off tomorrow, even though they won’t get here until September). We were both pretty beat and went to bed early.

This morning I was up early, so I got an early start on things, and finished all my paper reading before I was due to head out to Celebrate Fairfax. Today’s headliner was Little Big Town. I first heard of them through a Lefsetz rant, but then I saw them with Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsey Buckingham on CMT Crossroads and I was hooked. I’m a a fan of harmonies, not just Beatle like, but also the country tinged sounds of the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac. And this group has it – I think they’re classified as country because that’s the only way they can get on the radio these days (where would you put the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac if they were just starting out?).

Anyway I stopped at Home Depot on the way over to pick up some things, then headed in to their first song. They played all their singles, along with a choice selection of covers: “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” (Tom Petty & Stevie NIcks), “Stuck In The Middle With You” (Stealers Wheel), “Go Your Own Way” (Fleetwood Mac) and “Heartache Tonight” (Eagles). A great show, but it did slow down a bit in the middle, and I took the chance to hustle over to the acoustic stage and catch a little bit of Folk Rock Taking Over, John Ireland’s side project that I hadn’t seen before.

I headed home after the show and finally got some deck time (I know I’d been outside at the festival but it wasn’t the same). I was reading some Fantastic Four comics – deciding which ones to keep before I do an auction next weekend. I was outside so long it started getting dark, and that was the signal to pop the burgers and dogs I’d been defrosting on the grill. I made a salad to go with them, then we ate, and I’ve been surfing since. Now to go check out the Soprano finale!

Tech support level 1

Sometimes it ain’t fun to be computer tech support. I had to do three runs of mailing labels for Jill’s project over the last two nights – I like OpenOffice, but figuring how to do labels is non-trivial. Took me about three hours total.

I also got a panicked call from my mom about her email not working, but everything seemed to have resolved itself by the time I called back.

Spring and Summer TV

The spring season is almost over, and soon I will be caught up (I say almost because The Sopranos doesn’t end until Sunday). I just watched this week’s Sopranos, and I’m four episodes behind on Riches. For the rest of the shows I watch, I’ve enjoyed them all. Heroes was my favorite new show, but the season finale was trapped by too much future prediction (the online comics will continue throughout the summer). Lost made a stunning return to form, and was clearly the best show on TV, followed closely by Battlestar Galactica. 24 and Desperate Housewives finished strong, I really enjoyed Rome, and Smallville was up and down (strongest when featuring members of the Justice League, weakest when treading water with the same relationships), but the cliffhanger was excellent. And Jericho had vastly improved with the storyline of another town invading, so I was disappointed when it was canceled, but it looks like CBS may bow to the fans and bring it back.

Over the summer my Sunday nights will be free to catch Simpsons and Family Guy, and I’ve got 9 episodes of the Dresden Files to watch, plus the rest of Studio 60. I’m continuing to watch Star Trek: Enterprise on HD Net (currently in season 2), and HD Net will start airing The Black Donnellys next Wednesday (I’m glad because that show was starting to get interesting, so I’ll get a chance to see the unaired eps). They will also be airing the Blade series – almost makes me wish I hadn’t watched it last summer, as it’s a great mix of action and politics that will come across well in HD. I’ll be watching the second season of Hex and the first season of Robin Hood on BBC America, and in July the third season of Doctor Who on Sci Fi (Torchwood, a Doctor Who spinoff, will be on BBC America in September). CBS has started airing Creature Comforts, an American version of the BBC show from Aardman (makers of Wallace & Gromit). We caught the first one last night, and it’s just as funny as the original. Finally, looks like Boomerang is finally starting to air Justice League season 3 (for some reason, they kept airing seasons 1 & 2 again and again – maybe trying to take their name too literally) so I’ll finally see that (if they ever air Batman: The Animated Series in chronological order, I’d like to watch that too).

Ow

I was reaching for something on the counter last night and managed to push a dish off, which fell on my toes and broke. Now my second smallest toe on my left foot is twice the size and quite a lovely shade of blue. Looks like Illa won’t be getting much in the way of walks from me this week.

Herndon Festival

Yet another good year for the festival. My participation unfolded much as I had anticipated. Jill was out on Thursday, so I came home, made a quick dinner, then drove over. I found a spot quickly, but was late for Mary Ann Redmond (thought I didn’t miss my favorite song, her cover of “Cry Love”). I met up with the Jewells afterwards, then joined them at the Depot Stage for Fairport Convention. It wasn’t the original incarnation (only featured founder Simon Nicol in addition to two newer guys), but they did the legend proud. It was good, but I had plenty to do that night, so I left after the first set. Jill and I got to enjoy the fireworks from our deck, though.

Friday Jill was home before left, but she was wiped after her first day observing in the OR, so I made some hot dogs for us, then walked over to the festival. I again was late, still got to see most of Naked Blue. I skipped the Stones tribute band for Josh Kelley at the Depot Stage. He was good, a lot funkier than on record and nice covers of “Space Cowboy”, “The Weight” and “Lola”. He also played a new song, “Masterpiece”, that I wouldn’t be surprised to be a big hit.

Saturday I woke up early for some reason, made breakfast and played with Illa, then drove over to the festival with the chairs, umbrella and blanket, then went over to the Depot Stage to see Charlotte Kendrick. She was good, and Dan Rowe on standup bass really added something. I watched some of Hero Pattern, and they were just ok and I was hot in the sun, so I walked home. Jill was out, so I watched TV (glad to see the return of Studio 60, even if it won’t be back next season) and read the paper. She picked up some new battery operated fans with water squirters, which would come to be very important to me during the hot day in the sun.

We walked over to the fest around 3 to catch Antje Duvekot, and both of us enjoyed her, Jill picked up her CD as well as one from the next act, Craig Cardiff. Between the two, I went back to the Center Stage to catch Natalie Stovall perform an interesting choice of covers: “Save A Horse (Ride A Cowboy)”, “Start It Up”, and “The Devil Went Down To Georgia”. My favorite was “Devil” because of the nice musical joke she put in: during the demon part (y’know, “Then a band of demons joined in and it sounded something like this”), instead of the usual part, she and the band jumped into Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”.

We hunted down some food next, Jill got a Greek salad and I got a very disappointing seafood quesadilla (it was supposed to be crab, shrimp and lobster and instead was mostly bland fish), then watched the end of Jeffrey Gaines, then Scythian at Center Stage. Much to my surprise, Scythian also covered “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” during their set, which I believe is a first for me (to hear it twice in the same day by different bands). Scythian was good, but close to the end of their set I felt a wave of sleepiness crash over me. I might have tried to fight it off or get a caffeinated beverage, but the blanket was right in front of me and looked to good to pass up, so I napped until Jill came back during the band break with some wings, bacon wrapped shrimp, and jambalya from Jimmy’s. Tasty, and I felt refreshed from my nap.

Enter The Haggis was good, but a little too punk for us since we’d already seen a perfectly good Cletic band in Scythian, so we grabbed our blanket and headed over to catch Gandalf Murphy & The Slambovian Circus of Dreams on the Depot Stage. Their psychedelic rock proved to be a good way to close out the night, then we headed back to get our stuff and watch the fireworks before we drove home.

Sunday I woke up late, and barely had to time to walk Illa before heading over to the fest. It may have been raining, but Robbie Schaefer was at the Depot Stage with his son, Ethan sharing the stage for the set. For the kids, but still funny for the rest of us. I got the chance to chat to him, then dropped off my chair. I was going to leave, but Stuart convinced to me to check out Melanie Mason at the Café Stage. I did, and I was glad – she’s got a very unique voice, well suited to the blues. I didn’t stay for her whole set, as I had a bunch to do at home, starting with breakfast and taking advantage of the cool weather to finish cleaning the office (nice to be up here now, and Illa likes actually being allowed to come in). Jill was in the middle of addressing 700 some envelopes for a school project, so I got my rain gear on then headed back. I caught some of the Nields and had a crêpe, then dried off my chair and hunkered down.

The festival had been somewhat crowded Thursday, fairly crowded Friday, and bursting at the seams Saturday (it was hard to get around in the evening). With the steady rains falling Sunday, the place was fairly deserted – the crowd that showed up for the Smithereens reminded me of some of the Thursday night concert crowds. It was everyone else’s loss, as they turned in a tight show full of their hits and some Beatles classics. I was damp afterwards, and it was good to come home afterwards and get dry (so not like FRFF). Made fajitas for dinner, now it’s finish the paper time.