Catching up and the 9:30 Club 30th Anniversary Concert

Where does the time go? Over a week since my past blog update – I guess short updates on Facebook are taking place of these, but it’s nice to have a chronicle of what’s going on (and in a space that I control).

We moved to Mom’s on the 22nd after finally finishing off packing that day (and going to a rainy outdoor show with Todd Wright and Cheap Trick). The buyers are now living in our place under a pre-settlement occupancy agreement until they can buy the place sometime next month, and we’ll hopefully be closing on the new house next week.

The rest of last weekend we settled in at Mom’s, then a busy week at work plus the much longer commute made for a slog. One bright spot was Michael Franti & Spearhead for our first Wolf Trap show this season. Opening band The Wailers weren’t bad when they broke out the Marley, but Franti brings a ferocious energy to his frontman duties, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen that many people on their feet at Wolf Trap. Too bad we left early for the sake of sleep and beating a nasty storm.

This past weekend was a 3 day one and very welcome. Saturday and Sunday I never left the house except to walk the dogs, got to catch on TV via streaming and newspapers. On Memorial Day we went to a cookout at the Larsen’s which was a lot of fun, then came back through DC to the 9:30 Club and went to their 30th Anniversary Concert.

We got there a little late (missed Don Dixon and Marti Jones), but managed to see some of Tommy Keene (classic power pop). We’d gravitated to our normal spot on the stage right side of the balcony, and after the set ended noticed that amps, drums and a second chair were set up right in front of us. After a brief pause, The Evens (featuring Ian MacKaye of Fugazi and Minor Threat) played a short but intense set before Justin Jones played a set on the main stage.

Evens

Henry Rollins was supposed to be hosting and had been delayed by his flight, and finally arrive in time to introduce Bob Mould. He was by himself, playing some Hüsker Dü and Sugar classics, then Ted Leo came up (also solo) and played some of his own newer songs and older songs by Lungfish and Chisel (also him).

We thought that we’d wait through all the other bands before the “special guests” appeared, but next Henry addressed the big rumor – Dave Grohl was there and was taking the stage next. He played a nice version of “Everlong” and then invited on his former bandmates in Scream as they did one of their songs and two Bad Brains covers.

Dave

Lots of fun, but we weren’t done yet as ska faves The Pietasters were on and played a quick four song set including the classic Maggie Mae, then they were gone and so were we (missed Clutch and Trouble Funk, but that’s ok).

Pietasters

The last week and not great news

The big news first. So – disaster. We were supposed to close today but the buyers have to postpone indefinitely. Now that puts the closing of the house we’re planning on buying in jeopardy. We’re looking at what options we have.

Friday night we went out and ate at Jackson’s. The first time we’d been there, we wisely got seats as far away from the bar as possible (bit noisy). I had the roasted chicken salad and Jill had the Steak Frites, both very good. Then we went to see Crooked Still at the Birchmere.

Chatham County Line opened and we saw most of their set, pretty good and impressively using almost choreographed moves to use a single microphone. Crooked Still has a brand new CD and played a bunch of good tunes from it, as well as some of my older faves.

The rest of the weekend was all packing, and we weren’t feeling too bad. But the movers were coming Thursday morning, and we didn’t get too much done Monday and Tuesday night. Wednesday night I started packing hardcore again, and there was so much to do I just never went to bed. When I left Thursday morning Jill had gotten a little sleep after a long shift the day before, but she worked hard all day.

The day started going badly when she lost my phone (she thinks she left it on top of her car). Then moving, supposed to be over at 3, might not be over until 7. The bad thing about that was we had passes to meet Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds before their concert at Constitution Hall that night, and it started at 6. I left work early and handled the home end of cleaning up while Jill went with the movers.

We got everything taken care of, and were ready to leave Herndon at 6, but that’s when we found out closing was off. Of course traffic was terrible, and we didn’t get to Constitution Hall until after 7 and the meet and greet was over.

But that was then end of the crappy part of the day. The duo show was the best of the five I’ve seen them do, and we had fourth row seats for every strange facial expression Dave had. If I had to choose, I would’ve picked the show to attend, mind numbingly amazing.

Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds

Neither of us had eaten much that day, so we stopped at Amphora on the was home. Jill had the chicken noodle soup and a chicken salad club sandwich, and I had the southwestern Eggs Benedict. We felt we deserved dessert, and she had the rice pudding and I had a slice of carrot cake.

Today Jill picked up Illa from the kennel where we left him yesterday, and they came to work and we met with our agent. Don’t know what’s happening next, stay tuned.

emmet, Mom, ELnoP and a lack of sleep

It’s a been several days of a lot of work and some fun. Saturday I got some work in, then we headed over to Iota to catch emmet swimming‘s first ever “fam­ily show”. The only thing that was especially kid friendly was handing out noisemakers to the kids before “Sunblock” – otherwise it was a nice rock show, with some brand new songs. We wandered around but Jill wanted pizza, so we headed over to the Italian Store. 0 for 2 there (they stop making pizza early), and we ended up at Ray’s Hell Burger for dinner. My burger was the spiciest one I’ve ever had and Jill enjoyed hers.

emmet swimming

Sunday I got a little cleaning and some more work done, then Mom came over and we took her to an early dinner at Amphora. Jill had Chicken Piccata and I had an Italian panini, both tasty. Later I headed over to the Birchmere to catch Keith Emerson and Greg Lake from Emerson, Lake and Palmer. The progressive rock icons played epic songs and put on a self indulgent show that I enjoyed, but it wasn’t for everyone (and made more enjoyable for me since I’d heard an earlier show on the tour). The encore of “Lucky Man” was just incredible, totally worth it.

Keith Emerson and Greg Lake

After I got back Sunday night I started work again. I had a deadline Monday morning, and the more I did, the more I realized there was still to do, so just kept going, and soon it was 6AM. So I just took a shower and had breakfast, then went into work, staying until almost 8. We did reward ourselves for dinner as I picked up Pad Thai (for me) and green curry chicken (for Jill) at Thai Basil, very good. Happily I did get some sleep last night and everything was in better shape today.

House hunting

The weekend was fairly low key, but we kept busy. Friday Jill was interested in going out but I’d worked late and was tired, and quickly grilled some sausages and then we watched TV.

Saturday morning we cleaned up the house as an appraiser was coming by. It didn’t take too long as we don’t have that much stuff out right now, then I ran some errands (shredding papers, book sale, Free Comic Book Day and groceries).

That afternoon we looked at houses at Lake Anne and took a walk around part of the lake. We went to Charlie Chiang’s at Worldgate for dinner – hadn’t been there in a while and they’d remodeled a bit. The food is mostly the same: buffet/Mongolian, always a very filling meal for me.

Later that night we watched Hamlet starring Patrick Stewart and David Tennant – great performances indeed, but I don’t think either of us would really enjoy seeing Shakespeare performed live, it’s as if it’s in a language you barely remember.

Sunday we continued our tour through the Reston lakes. We’d been to Lake Newport a couple weeks back to look at one place, this time we hit Lakes Thoreau and Audubon. One on Lake Thoreau we kinda dismissed immediately, then the idea of it grew on us – we may make an offer on it (it’s 7 miles away from our current house).

In the late afternoon we headed down into our nice cool basement and packed books until we finally ran out of boxes. I never get rid of boxes, and that had worked out pretty well for us, but we’ll have to get more now, at least 5-10 more for the books we have left.

We had Stuart and Olivia over for dinner – Janice was meeting friends. The thought occurred to us that it would be a shame if we didn’t host anyone with the house looking as nice as it does, and they didn’t have plans. I grilled chicken fajitas and the sides while Jill whipped up guacamole, then we had a nice dinner.

How to sell a house while vacationing in Disney World, part 2

Wednesday the 21st we went to Hollywood Studios. Madelyn, Robin, Jill, and I headed straight to the Tower Of Terror and rode it, then headed over to the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. Madelyn hadn’t realized it went upside down, and got nervous enough she didn’t want to ride. Robin was going to stay with her but I volunteered to – and was glad as both Robin and Jill thought it was more bone rattling than before. We headed over to Toy Story Mania! where the rest of the family had gone on multiple times, and went on again with us. It’s a great interactive shooting game, and the boys loved it. Next we headed over to Muppet*Vision 3-D and everyone liked that, but next was the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular, a very big hit, especially with the boys. We split up after that, and Tiernan, Melissa, Ava and I took in the “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” Movie Set Adventure, good for little ones. Then we met up with everyone and most of us headed back.

Tiernan and Ava

Later in the afternoon, Jill and I headed over to Downtown Disney with Melissa, Dominic and the kids. They had lunch at McDonalds and we went to the Wolfgang Puck Express where I had a Italian panini and Jill had tortilla soup and a chicken pesto sandwich. Jill took off with Madelyn, Melissa with Ava, and Dominic and I went with the boys. Ever since I’d told them about Ridemakerz custom remote control cars, they’d been very excited to go, to the point of making sure they had enough money for it (I’d asked about prices when Robin and I scoped out the area). They were fascinated by building the cars – I joked with Dominic that we could have snuck out for a pint and they’d never notice.

Tiernan and Jake

Once the kids were out for the night, Sue came over to watch them and Melissa, Dominic, Robin, Jill, and I took the boat back over to Downtown Disney to have dinner at Paradiso 37 (37 for the countries of the Americas cuisine they have plus 37 varieties of tequila). Jill and I shared some queso and chips, then I had a salad and some seafood fritters while she had a trio of sliders. They also did a number of incredible tequila cocktails, especially the Corzinger (Habenero Lime Juice, muddled strawberries and Tequila). We had a long enjoyable evening as the dusk crept in around us.

Thursday it was finally Magic Kingdom time. After the big opening, Melissa, Robin, Jill, and Madelyn headed straight to Space Mountain while Sue, Dominic, and I took the other kids to Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, which Jill and I had really enjoyed when we were there last. The kids all loved, and we went on multiple times. When the girls had finished, Robin, Jill, Madelyn, and I went to the other side of the park and waited for it to open so we could ride the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Once done we grabbed Fastpasses for Splash Mountain for later, then I headed back to the kids. They were waiting for the Astro Orbiter. I wasn’t sure what it was (you can’t see it from underneath), but went on anyway. Not a good idea, I was queasy for a while after that. We went to Fantasyland next and the kids rode some rides, then I met up with Jill. She’d gotten both of us a Fastpass for Space Mountain so we could ride it together, but it was shut down. Instead we got a drink and did a little ornament shopping before meeting up with everyone at Splash Mountain. Everyone but Sue and Ava headed in, and it was a big hit.

Splash!

Robin, Jill, and I headed back after that, Robin got lunch from The Artist’s Palette while Jill and I had all the Asian leftovers that had been piling up. We relaxed in the afternoon and I finally got the chance to do some reading. Everybody got together for an early dinner at the Rainforest Cafe in Downtown Disney. Jill and I shared a salad and the BBQ chicken wrap (ok, but sauce was way too sweet). The kids enjoyed the surroundings, and we got big family photos later without too much fuss.

everyone

Everyone was scheduled to return to the Magic Kingdom, but I wasn’t feeling so great and stayed in the room. It turned out to be a good idea, as when I finally logged in for the first time in two days I found we’d gotten 7 offers, including some way below and way above the listing price (the guy we’d countered had countered again, but below our threshold). I called Jill to check in and affirm we’d take the highest, then called our agent. The great thing about house buying and selling now is you can do everything online (although not every firm does). No hunting down a fax machine, I was able to sign the contract right from my netbook. When everyone got back, Melissa, Dominic, Robin, Jill, and I headed out to the hot tub.

Friday was our day off, no kids, so of course we slept in while they returned to Hollywood Studios. Robin, Jill, and I met up with Sue and Dave and Kelley and John for lunch at Fulton’s Crab House. I had the crab club sandwich while Jill had the shrimp po’ boy and we split a salad. After lunch Dave and I took a bus, walked some, rode the monorail and caught a van to get to the Richard Petty Driving Experience, where my birthday gift to him was riding shotgun in a NASCAR stock car for several laps while I watched. He said it was his favorite part of the vacation, and I was glad he enjoyed it so much.

Dave

For dinner Sue, Dave, Jill, and I went over to Raglan Road, where after a long wait they seated us in the bar (reservations don’t seem very helpful in Downtown Disney on a Friday night). Thankfully the food was good – I had a grilled meat sampler, and was surprised with lamb and housemade sausage to like the steak the best. Jill had a burger she really liked, and they had some good beers on tap. Melissa and Dominic had made it over and ordered food outside, but Dave and I headed out.

I’m the guy who checks to see what bands are playing, and got quite a surprise this time – a band playing I really wanted to see and they weren’t really playing near here (Richmond on a weeknight doesn’t count). So after our five minute walk to the House of Blues, we got in to see Porcupine Tree on their second song. Their new CD is their second concept album in a row, and they were opening each show with it. Dave seemed to enjoy himself, but headed out after Jill showed up during the second set. I’d bought three tickets in case Dominic wanted to go, but he wasn’t interested. And after everyone else had called it a night, Jill decided to join us. I enjoyed both sets, but the punch of Anesthetize II: The Pills I’m Taking followed by Lazarus (a great song I was hearing live for the first time) was the best part. On the walk home, we picked up some Ghiradelli ice cream, the chocolate was very good.

Saturday morning we didn’t have to get up early but did to say goodbye to everyone and help them head off (they were all on the same flight). We relaxed for a while and had breakfast before packing up and heading to the lobby. We headed to the airport on an earlier bus and despite a very long security line still were at our gate with ninety minutes to kill, so went back to the next set of gates as they had better food, including a Nathan’s. A hot dog with cheese and coleslaw was new to me, but very tasty – too bad the hush puppies they had were not. The flight back was fine, although Jill’s bag was damaged. The house feels very different now – both the way it looks and we’re starting to detach (the buyers had done a home inspection that morning). Jill wasn’t feeling great, so she had soup and I had a turkey sandwich, then we watched a lot of TV.

Sunday we picked up the dog, then I headed to the National Mall for the Earth Day Climate Rally. I got there in time to see Passion Pit, nice dance pop. Reggae legend Jimmy Cliff played all his hits, then The Roots took over (I believe they’d been scheduled two years ago, but were rained out). They started with a set of their own stuff, then my favorite set of the day with all star singers, including Mavis Staples, Patrick Stump (ex-Fall Out Boy), Joss Stone, Bob Weir and Robert Randolph with Booker T on keys. John Legend came out for another set with them, but it was from a new album coming out this year and all unfamiliar. Much better was Sting with the Roots, doing a predictable setlist that was still pretty fun to hear: Fragile/Driven To Tears/One World/Message In A Bottle. Before Sting, James Cameron gave one of the more inspired speeches of the day. Then I headed back, made another sandwich and we watched some more TV.

Sting

Also, all photos are here.

How to sell a house while vacationing in Disney World, part 1

I was up past 6AM on Saturday the 17th, packing books until I ran out of packing tape. Then I slept for a couple hours and joined Jill on final cleanup. Pictures had been taken the Monday before as Jill shadowed the photographer moving things around so he had a clean shot, then we’d continued to pack all week. The listing went up Friday night and there was an agent coming by at 11AM Saturday morning (first of seven), and we worked furiously to make the deadline. We did, and the agent arrived as we left with Illa. We dropped him at the kennel, then headed over to Manassas to trade in some books and ate lunch at China Jade – both of us had the buffet, quite decent as long as little kids don’t get their hands on them as one was doing to the desserts.

We ran some more errands, getting home around 5:30 (all the agents had left). I had just taken a shower and was relaxing and watching TV when another agent called, so we left again. When we got back I wasn’t in the mood to do much more than make dinner, while I was doing that Jill arranged the new things she’d purchased and kept packing. We finally relaxed after dinner – she packed and went to sleep while I stayed up packing, watching TV and surfing. There was a lot I wanted to get through and stayed up pretty late again.

Sunday morning we were out by 8AM for our taxi (the open house was scheduled for that afternoon) and soon we were at Dulles. We had a quick trip through security and finally got to ride the train to the gates (it’s so much better than the people movers). It was at the gates that I went by the Five Guys and made a marvelous discovery: if they’re open in the morning, they serve egg sandwiches and you can top it with a burger patty, still one of my favorite meals. Then we made our first (and likely not our last, as long as the first bag’s free) trip on JetBlue, a nice smooth flight into Orlando. After we got our bags, we waited for Disney’s Magical Express and were soon joining the rest of the family at Saratoga Springs Resort.

We plan our vacations far in advance with help of our resort club, and Jill had wanted to take her immediate family on a trip for a while. Now that everyone was living stateside, planning was easier and we decided to aim for the kids’ spring break. So besides us it was Jill’s mom Sue, her husband Dave, Jill’s younger sister Robin, older sister Melissa, her husband Dominic, and their kids Madelyn, Jake, Tiernan, and Ava. They were almost done with checking in, so we did too and were soon at our rooms in Congress Park, the section of the resort closest to Downtown Disney. Madelyn, Robin, Jill, and I were hungry and walked over to The Artist’s Palette for lunch, where I had the turkey wrap and Jill had a hot dog. I also had the only authentic Saratoga item there: a Saratoga Lager.

After lunch our lack of sleep caught up to us, and we napped for a while. Sue and Melissa were out at Wal-Mart with Aunt Kelley (who dropped by as she winters there), and they picked up some pizzas. I wish they’d gotten the name of the place, as it was truly the worst pizza I’d ever had – and everyone agreed. Thankfully, it was the only bad meal of the week. The nap was helpful, but we were still tired and had a big week, so we watched The Simpsons with Robin, then went to sleep (I even skipped a concert at Epcot but it had started raining).

Melissa and Dominic

Monday morning we headed to Animal Kingdom – we’d already purchased tickets. The last time we visited, the parks had been fairly vacant, but not this time. So we took full advantage of Extra Magic Hours and that determined the order we visited the parks. First up was Kilimanjaro Safaris and that was good as all almost all the animals were awake, then Madelyn, Robin, Jill, and I took in Expedition Everest before meeting up with everyone at Kali River Rapids where we took turns riding and getting damp (even with ponchos).

Dominic, Melissa, Jake and Kerry

We gathered again and headed over to It’s Tough To Be A Bug with the three older kids (the boys loved it), then continued to Camp Minnie-Mickey to meet Disney characters. The older two (especially Jake) wanted autographs, and they all took pictures. Jake and I stayed behind when everyone else left to continue to get autographs.

Ava and Jake

We met up with Jill and Sue in the Boneyard playground, then got in line for Finding Nemo – The Musical. It took a while to get in, but it was pretty entertaining, a mix of Lion King and Avenue Q. Jill wasn’t feeling well (hadn’t been all day) and she went back to the resort. Sue, Jake, and I went over to Yak & Yeti for lunch where I had an appetizer explosion: Thai chili wings, pork egg rolls, and wok fried green beans along with a Safari Amber (surprising to learn it was from Anheuser-Busch because it was good). Rain was threatening when we finished so we left the park.

Jill was asleep and I joined her as I was tired. We woke up for a bit, and I checked email to learn we’d gotten two offers on the house, both more than $10K less then the listing price. I called our agent and arranged to counter the higher offer, then we snacked before Jill headed back to bed and Robin and I explored Downtown Disney to get a lay of the land, find some stores and a sweatshirt for her. We took our time getting back waiting for the boat shuttle around Downtown Disney then another one back to the resort.

Tuesday was another early day, this time we headed to Epcot. Once in we headed directly to Test Track, where some folks rode it twice. We went directly from there to Soarin’, but they already had a long wait so we picked up a Fastpass for everyone, then went next door to Honey I Shrunk The Audience (still pretty fun). Jake wanted more autographs, so Dominic and I went with him to get some.

Jake and Dominic

We met up with everyone at Sunshine Seasons (the cafe next to Soarin’) where folks who hadn’t had breakfast yet did, then took on Soarin’. Jake decided last minute it wasn’t for him, so he and Dominic ducked out. It was pretty fun, but it’s not good if you’re afraid of heights. After that, Dominic, Jake, and I headed over to Innoventions to play some games. Lunch was with everyone at the Rose and Crown. Jill and I split a salad then both got fish and chips, very good choice. We met up with Alice and got some adult slushies on the way out.

Jill, Sue, Robin, and Madelyn

Once again it was nap time after we returned. Sue and Dave had stayed at Epcot, and Robin, Jill, and I joined them again for dinner at Nine Dragons. I wasn’t that hungry after a big lunch and had the cucumber salad and sliced beef appetizers while Jill enjoyed the Kung Pao chicken. They stayed to watch fireworks while I went back to the resort – it turns out Melissa is also a Lost fan and it was the only show I wanted to watch all week (good, but not as good as the Hurley ep the week before). We got to enjoy the hot tub after Robin and Jill got back.

Kerry, Jill, Robin, Sue, and Dave

Weekend fun out and not so fun in

We didn’t do too much on Friday, just relaxed and watched TV (Jill made Fettucine Alfredo for dinner). Saturday was a short period of house stuff, then an early dinner at Ted’s with Josh and Akaemi (Jill and I both had burgers), then on to the Barns at Wolf Trap to see Julie Murphy Wells be a sophisticated lady again (I enjoyed the Wicked songs the most). More house shenanigans when we got back, late to bed.

Sunday we didn’t have too long either, though I did manage to finish installing the new bathroom hardware. Then we were off to DC, first for dinner at Birch & Barley (the restaurant under very beer friendly ChurchKey). I’d been wanting to go since they opened, but this was the first chance we had to go. They do an all day brunch on Sundays, and I was ready. Jill had the chicken and waffles, and I had the corned beef hash, along with a homemade sausage patty. I had a beer brewed with coffee to start, then a very smoky one, both paired nicely.

We couldn’t resist the pecan bun and donuts. People had raved over the lemon poppy seed donut, but the real find was the toffee and bacon donut. It also paired nicely with the beer find of the evening, Paulus. They rolled us out the door after that, then we headed downtown. It was too early for the show and too late for Starbucks, so Jill got a coffee at McDonald’s, then we decided to go into Chef Geoff’s and enjoyed some Magic Hat (the fabulous new Vinyl for me, #9 for Jill).

By the time we finished it was time to head into the Warner Theatre to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. It was their first tour outside the Christmas season, playing Beethoven’s Last Night (seemed a bit odd to me since they’d just released another non seasonal album) on a tour of smaller theaters to a friendly audience made up of just fan club members. Which was a problem for me, as they were will call tix, and I couldn’t find any emails that I’d bought them. Ordinarily I’d think it was an oversight, but they went on sale when we were on vacation and I couldn’t remember buying any. So I bought another pair on Friday, and sure enough, there were two pairs for me, and no time to get rid of them, so I’m eating them.

Luckily they were much better tickets and it was a great performance, so it’s not that bad. Lots of smoke and lasers, and a merged TSO East and West. I also was happy to see Jeff Scott Soto for the first time. After the show we waited a while for Metro (the nuclear summit probably was to blame), then headed home. But that wasn’t the end of the night, we had someone coming to take pictures in the morning for the house listing, and I was up past 3AM getting things in order. I must say, the house looks pretty nice right now.

Beach and back, and family, and more house stuff

After a nice calm weekend last week, this one was full of excitement. Our friends Chris and Jess had rented a house in Rehoboth for the week, and we wanted to go see them. But it didn’t work last weekend, and because we had Saturday night plans we didn’t think it would happen. But Jill had been thinking of going to a 3 day a week schedule (2 16s and an 8), so she did which got her Friday off, and I’ll make up my hours before the end of my pay period.

Getting to Rehoboth was once again an adventure. We usually go through DC, but cherry blossom traffic made us take the Beltway. It backed up in MD and we got off on Wisconsin. We were ready to get back on at Georgia, but the minivan in front of me stopped suddenly, so did I, but the Acura behind me did not. He shoved me into the minivan, and my poor Corolla got the worst of it, damage to both bumpers. Still drivable, and after we all exchanged insurance info we got back on the road. A couple more delays, but not too bad, and it was smooth sailing after the Bay Bridge.

We decided not to stop until Sonic (perhaps a mistake as it’s only 45 minutes from Rehoboth) and had lunch, a burrito and tots for me and a burger and onion rings for Jill. We washed it down with some diet cherry limeades, and were soon at the house. Chris’s mom was there, as well as our friends Chris L. and Amy. We took a walk to the beach and wandered the boardwalk, then back Rehoboth Ave. so Jill and Amy could shop (and Jill found a top she liked).

After we got back, Tim (Chris’s brother) and Debbie showed up, then the kids had dinner (and we all had some cake and Utopias). Then we walked over to Dogfish Head (Chris’s mom was watching the girls) for dinner. Jill got a pizza and I got the fish wrap, and everyone had lots of beer (Aprihop in a cask and Life & Limb were standouts) and many ladies had moustaches. After dinner we played an increasingly sloppy game of Bohnanza that eventually deteriorated into into a dance drunk off (but no injuries worse than hangovers).

Saturday morning we had a bit of breakfast at the house, then got on the road. We stopped for a bigger breakfast at Sonic (more tots and a breakfast Toaster for me, mozzarella sticks and a Chicken Bacon Ranch sandwich for Jill) and left something very important behind – Jill’s wallet, but wouldn’t notice until we were almost home. The rest of the drive was fine until we had to stop at Michael’s for a knitting needle and found out her wallet was gone. We got home and called the Sonic, and they’d found it right away. I called Chris L. and he could pick it up when he came back the next day.

We got cleaned up, then hopped back in the car, this time with Illa. We stopped at Wegman’s and I bought five live lobsters, then popped them in the cooler. We got to Mom’s and everyone was there to celebrate Dad’s birthday. The lobsters were delicious and Illa had fun playing with Tati. Sharon was only down for 24 hours from Boston, and we took her to Dulles on the way back home, then watched TV (I think it’s the longest delay in watching Chuck yet).

Today was home improvement day. After we met up with Chris L. to get Jill’s wallet, we stopped by Home Depot and loaded up on lightbulbs, bathroom hardware and mulch. Then we went a big outdoor spree, I spent most of the afternoon painting the railing and trim front and back. I also cleaned out the closet and packed some clothes before breaking to grill some chicken for dinner. Since after we finished it was after 11, I decided to call it a night.

AC/DC Greatest Hits

As hard as it is to believe, AC/DC has never put out a collection of hits. In 1986 Who Made Who, the soundtrack to Maximum Overdrive, was all AC/DC songs, three new ones plus classics like “You Shook Me All Night Long“, “Ride On” and “For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)”. I’ve hung onto mine as it’s the closest thing there’s been to a collection – until now.

The upcoming soundtrack to Iron Man 2 (out 4/20) is similar to the earlier soundtrack as it’s a collection of AC/DC songs. Some of their best, including “Back in Black“, “Thunderstruck“, “T.N.T.”, “Let There Be Rock” and “Highway to Hell”. Amazingly enough there are no repeats from Who Made Who, making the two together a two volume greatest hits. There are notable omissions – especially “Whole Lotta Rosie”, “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll)”, “Girls Got Rhythm” and “Moneytalks”.

Party, etc.

Friday night I was ready for a break, so after some TV hooked up my old NES last night and played Super Mario and other games until my thumbs hurt (got to 5-4). I was surprised about how many of the other games don’t hold up (well, Castlevania II was decent).

Saturday I slept in a long time, over 10 hours. Then I took Illa for a nice walk, our contractor came over to finish his work, and I desecrated a Reuben (by adding a fried egg). At 7, we walked over to the Jewells for Stuart’s 50th birthday party. Music was provided by Mercy Creek, and food by Patrick Crump, Janice’s brother and executive chef at The Clarendon Ballroom. Both music and food were fabulous, and a good evening held by all.

Mercy Creek

Today was more packing, cleanup outside, a little open house visiting and surfing, followed by a packaged beef and broccoli for dinner followed by Simpsons -> Family Guy. Simpsons is on a hot streak lately, some great funny stuff.