Jill was cancelled at work Friday, so she was home when I got home (read: no psycho dog). I heated up a pizza and made some salad while catching up on “Daily Show”. We hung out and read. I had planned on catching emmet swimming at the 9:30, but neither of us was up to standing that long, so I passed (at least there’s a Quitter UK show next month at Iota, so I can get my Todd fix).

Saturday was my work picnic. We went around noon and noshed on ribs and hot dogs. We chatted for a while and got a caricature done (she wanted a theme, and all we could come up with was the upcoming anniverasry), then took off to run some errands. We hit Sports Authority for new sneaks for me and new carabiners for Illa’s hands free leash, Total Wine (now carrying Magic Hat #9, we picked up a case plus a 4 pack of Dogfish Head Pumpkin Ale), and Safeway for the weekly binge. Jill relaxed while I put things away and got dinner ready for her, then she went to work. It was a nonfiction night for me – I read the paper and EW, watched “The Eldritch Influence” – a biography of H.P. Lovecraft I’d picked up due to the participation of Neil Gaiman (pretty good, he was a big influence on Neil) and some Queen.

Today I got up, walked the dog, and made some egg sandwiches, then read the paper. The second time I walked him, he saw a deer and bent the new carabiner – I need to get a professional one. I called my friend Rusty and finalized plans for next weekend in North Carolina, and made some DVDs until Jill got up. She wasn’t sure if she was working tonight or tomorrow morning, so we chatted and I started working on the computer. Then she got the call telling her it was tonight, so I cooked some cheeseburgers for dinner while watching the Six Feet Under series recap. I cleaned up and watched the last episode (not bad, but why didn’t Nate die in the last one?). I kept on doing the computer, finally finished the setup and started my backup. I felt like watching “Family Guy”, so I recorded the VMAs and will record “Rome” tomorrow (don’t know if I’ll commit to the whole series yet).

I like Easy Media Creator’s CD burning and backup functions, but the DVD authoring software is not the best. I want a nice simple process that’ll give me a DVD with a simple main menu and submenus for all the music titles, but I can’t do it. Looks like I’ll be trying some new software out.

My dad was at a Beach Boys show at Wolf Trap and is bound for 81 in the morning, so he’s staying the night. We caught up for a while (and took Illa for a walk). That makes my mom the only one who wasn’t stayed over yet.

Cruise excursion

The Edhead cruise we’re taking this year leaves from Tampa and stops in Cozumel. Since the last one we went on also stopped in Cozumel, we’re going to do something different this time (last time I went diving and Jill tried snuba). There are two excursions to Mayan ruins. The most expensive is Chichen Itza, and the most time consuming (I’ve a read a review where the author describes “an exhausting 3 1/2 hour bus ride each way”). So I think the way to go is the ruins at Tulum.

The ruins at Tulum are apparently the nicest ones, in addition to having a nice beach. As of 18 months ago, the trip was $79/person, so we’ll budget $85. Not sure if I want to bring my video camera as it’ll be at least $10 extra to film the ruins (besides, efo playing is the only thing I really want to film, and if I do something to the camera, I’d be pissed and SOL). The only sketchy part is getting there. An hour bus ride is fine, but the ferry ride to the mainland is also an hour and has provoked seasickness in a number of people.

Tori in Baltimore

Last night we went to see Tori at the Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. To avoid traffic, we planned on leaving around 3PM to avoid traffic. We didn’t get going ’til 3:30, and there was a fair amount of traffic on the inner loop of the Beltway. We skipped most of it by getting off at River Road and going through Bethesda before getting back on at 97. I had Jill drive up, but it was getting to her by the time we got to downtown Baltimore.

I went on Yahoo’s yellow pages earlier in the day and had found out that the two closest restaurants were McCormick & Schmick’s and Ruth’s Chris Steak House next door at Pier 5. We got there around 5 and parked; it was about 5:10 when we made it down to Pier 5. I had made reservations for 5:30, so we had a little time to kill. Good thing, because as soon as we walked on the pier, we could hear Tori doing her soundcheck. She did parts of “Crucify” (on the organ), “Marianne”, and “The Beekeeper”. We sat on the pier and listened, and she finished at 5:30 on the dot, just in time.

Neither of us had been to any of the Ruth’s Chris Steak Houses before, but it was fabulous (and pricey of course). No appetizers, as we knew how much food we’d be getting. Jill had a filet and I had a ribeye, and we both had the side of lump crabmeat, asparagus, and béarnaise sauce. We also shared more asparagus, served with hollaindaise sauce (gotta have some veggies). Jill had a martini and I had an Amstel Light. It was very tasty, but not quite enough for her – she had a banana custard tart for dessert (plus coffee). I decided to have my dessert in liquid form – a strawberry cheesecake martini. Good thing I didn’t have to drive for several hours.

Jill wanted to put her foot up, so asked the waiter for something. He brought a booster seat, which worked fine. Later, ha asked her how it was working. She thought he was asking about the martini, so she told him “it’s working great!” He figured out what she meant, and said he was happy to help both the inside and the outside.

After dinner, we sat on a bench on Pier 5, and checked out the scenery and chatted and people watched. Jill wanted to put her foot up again, so we decided not to go in for the first opening act. She read a book, and I surfed some web content I’d downloaded. We went in halfway through the second opener, the Ditty Bops, who were pretty decent. Jill got some drinks while I got a program (for no reason, I’d forgotten I’d gotten one in April).

Tori went on around 9. I just had a feeling I was going to like this show more than the last one. She opened and closed the set with the same songs as in April (“Original Sinsuality” and “The Beekeeper”, but every other song was different. And a great selection; after the first song, the next three were “Crucify”, “A Sorta Fairytale”, and “Caught A Lite Sneeze”. Even better, she played “Cool On Your Island” from “Y Kant Tori Read” (her first out of print CD and not anything like her style after that). I remember at the record store I used to have we had a promotional CD single of that song with Phil Collins’ “A Groovy Kind Of Love”. Kinda wish I’d held on to that. A great show in a nice venue (although the chairs are cramped), made up for my disappointment in her last show here.

Funny thing is Jill thought the show in April was better. Two things (besides the improved setlist) helped me. First, she’s played almost 45 shows on the tour now, which gave me a good idea as to how the song mix would work. Second, now I’m playing setlist stats bingo, where I’m looking for songs she’s done that I haven’t seen (so now I have a Tori stats page). It’s interesting, she’s almost like a jam band in that each show can come out 180 degrees different than the one before. Makes it worth your while to see her whenever you can, and I’m glad we made the trip. Of course we didn’t get home until midnight, and I stayed up another hour and half, puttering around and playing with a cranky dog.

Wings & more dogs

Jill’s mom, Sue, got in Friday. Friday night I got home and made kebabs on the grill with steak they’d bought, plus fresh tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant from the CSA with an olive oil and red wine vinegar marinade. Tasty.

Saturday I made scrambled eggs, then went to a Neurosoma appointment (foot’s better, not great yet). After I got back, we went over to my mom’s house. My mom’s on vacation, but Illa could meet Trina (her husky), and actually run around in a big yard. The initial meeting went ok, but I was shocked to see how old Trina was next to Illa (and for some reason she looked like she had no eyebrows, which kinda ruined the video I shot). Illa liked the yard, and Trina went back inside while he ran around. We gave him almost an hour, but it was hot out, and we came back. He was wiped out when we got back, so it was a good night to go out. We went to the Bufalo Wing House in Herndon. I’d gone there once for lunch, and I thought it was comparable to the Buffalo Wing Factory (with 30 kinds of sauce for the wings). I had the chicken fingers with the sizzling mustard sauce and a salad, and Jill had xtra hot wings and spicy garlic butter wings. Afterwards we were going to go to Cold Stone Creamery for ice cream, but the line was out the door, so we left. We stopped at Baskin Robbins instead, I had some super chocolate cone.

Sunday we were going to see my dad, but Sue wasn’t feeling well and we camped out at home. She napped while Jill went grocery shopping and I watched the dog. I made eggs in toast for breakfast, and had some tomato-mozzarella salad for lunch. Sue was feeling good enough to make fried chicken and mashed potatoes for dinner. I watched some old music tapes (Tori Amos and Brian May of Queen), then we watched Simpsons and Family Guy after dinner. I managed to finish loading the new PC, which I’ve been procrastinating for a couple months, and next weekend will probably make the big switch.

Illa Monster

I started calling him “Trouble”, as in “Now what are you chewing, Trouble?”, but I think Illa Monster fits better because:
a) it’s pronounced almost the same (hee-la vs ee-la)
b) he hibernates much of the time and stores fat in his plump tail
c) he likes to chew