Soderbergh special

Last night I watched most of Steven Soderbergh’s two recent films: Bubble and the first two thirds of Ocean’s Twelve, finishing Ocean’s Twelve tonight. Bubble’s been getting a fair amount of publicity because of it’s distribution (simultaneous theatre, TV, and DVD releases), but the film is good. Hailed as the most commercial of his arty flicks (he seems to switch off between arty and commercial), it’s a bizarre triangle in a small town interrupted by a murder. I didn’t know what to expect and enjoyed it.

It was like a sparse song plucked on a guitar compared to the full bore fully orchestrated Ocean’s Twelve, which I found entertaining (even though it lagged in spots). The ending disappointed me some because they didn’t end with a big heist like the first one, but I didn’t find any problem with the big ensemble cast – they mesh well together. The most intriguing thing was seeing how Soderbergh’s style seemd similar in choosing shots between the two movies – they don’t seem so far apart in tone now.


Friday night, we both got home by 7 and Jill made marinara sauce and pasta for dinner. I ate way too much and was most uncomfortable. Later, we watched Lost, then Jill went to bed and I caught up on newspapers.

Saturday Jill was on call, but already knew she’d be needed in the morning, working at 8. I wasn’t too far behind her, with a neurosoma appointment at 9:30. I ran some errands afterwards, including some new work shoes at Target. No nerf gun (for work) – Target didn’t have any and Toys R Us only had expensive ones. Also stopped at the new Goodwill in Sterling – nice store you wouldn’t know what it was without the sign. Jill was home when I got back, we had a light lunch which concluded with her getting called back into work.

I took Illa on a long walk, then read the paper on the deck and watched Smallvill (liked the first half better than the second). Jill got home and I made fajitas, then we watched 24 and Creature Comforts. She went upstairs and went online and took a bath while I started watching the new Keane DVD and reading some comics.

We both slept late on Sunday, arising around 1. I made Eggs Benedict while I watched Battlestar Galactica, then we watched Elektra (I liked it, not sure why it got such nasty reviews) as I made marinade and prepped for pesto for my cilantro chicken pasta. We took Illa to Runnymede Park for a long walk, then stopped at Safeway on the way back (I’d forgotten some cheese). When we got back, I read the paper while Jill called her sister.

We had planned on going to the Ice House for dinner. I’d gotten a gift certificate there as a Christmas gift for Jill in 2004. It said it expired in 2005, but I’d called the restaurant and the manager had told it would be fine. Not the one on duty last night, so we left. We went home and got the restaurant coupons, and settled on TurCuisine in Worldgate. We hadn’t had Meditterranean food in a while (I don’t think I’ve had any since I worked in Ballston). To our surprise, we had some of the best kabobs we’d ever had. Prices were a little higher than I’m used to paying for kebabs ($13-19), but they were worth it (came with a salad too). Afterwards, we also had a coupon for Cold Stone Creamery, so we indulged. I had a carrot cake batter with caramel mixed in, Jill chocolate with Oreos and Reese’s cups. I was full and happy, Jill not so happy as the rich ice cream didn’t quite agree with her. We watched the rest of the Keane DVD while I read comics and Jill read a book.

She’s going to bed now while I’m typing this (technically retyping since I managed to close the browser earlier while 2/3rds done – if you see this I successfully posted this, otherwise I’m giving up).

Top ten concerts of 2005

Late as usual, my year end round up.

10. Barenaked Ladies at Meyerhoff Hall on November 28th.
My first BNL XMas show, and hopefully not my last. The guys always put on a great show, but they took it to another level that night.

9. Arrogant Worms at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival on July 21st.
There’s always good new bands at Falcon Ridge, but this band earwormed me good – I still have “Rocks And Trees” and “Carrot Juice Is Murder” in my head. Funny stuff, and catchy, with a good stage show (lots of banter).

8. Dar Williams at the Birchmere on November 14th.
As much as I enjoy her at Falcon Ridge, this show was my favorite of the four times I saw her last year. Girlyman came up multiple times to add harmonies, and it didn’t hurt that we had reserved seats and didn’t need to hurry through traffic to enjoy the show. Excellent set list as well.

7. Tori Amos at Pier Six Pavilion on August 24th.
Didn’t enjoy the show that much the first time we saw her last year, but this night was just right. Getting to Baltimore at the beginning of rush hour and a nice steak dinner helped, as did the nice breeze over the water, but Tori was just on fire that night, and the show was sweet.

6. Mike Clem’s Traveling Harmony Revue at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival on July 23rd.
My favorite Falcon Ridge moment yet – Mike Clem hosting a song circle in our camping area in the middle of the night. Things like this are why it’s evolved into one of our can’t miss events.

5. Dave Matthews Band at Nissan Pavilion on June 26th.
Even in a show tilted heavily towards new (or not as popular songs), a nice reminder from the guys that they can still tear it up, even if they were helped immeasurably by a guest appearance by slide guitarist Robert Randolph.

4. Keane at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 8th.
Ok, I just love their CD, and suspected they could reproduce their sound live thanks to their SNL appearance, but I wasn’t prepared for how much I enjoyed them live. They brought the rock, even though they weren’t the headliners that night (why are the Killers more popular?).

3. Eddie From Ohio at Gordon Center on October 22nd.
A number of good shows from these guys this year, but this was the first show after Julie was diagnosed with breast cancer, and the anticipation was very high. But she put on an amazing show – nice way to spend a birthday.

2. Jayhawks (Gary & Mark) at Rams Head Tavern on March 5th.
I’ve been a long time fan of the Jayhawks, and my favorite period has always been when Gary & Mark joined their voices together. I’d only gotten to see them together once, in 1995, so this tour was a blessing. And they hadn’t lost a step, belting out classics like “Waiting For The Sun”, “Take Me With You” and of course “Blue”.

1. Queen + Paul Rodgers at Continental Airlines Arena on October 16th.
I’ve gone on at length about this show, so I’ll simply say if you don’t catch these guys on their current tour, you’ll miss rock legends at the top of their game. No, Paul Rodgers isn’t Freddie Mercury, but he doesn’t try to be, and doesn’t need to be – the songs are strong no matter who sings them, and Brian May and Roger Taylor make them even stonger.

Honorable mentions:
Coldplay at M & T Bank Stadium for the HFStival on May 14th
Jim Boggia at Herndon Town Green for the Herndon Festival on June 5th
Rick Springfield at Fairfax County Government Center for Celebrate Fairfax on June 11th
Liz Phair at the Birchmere on August 4th
B.B. King at Wolf Trap on September 11th
Paul McCartney at MCI Center on October 8th

Work not safe

Today at work we renamed a male to male serial cable a “Brokeback” cable. I think you can tell why I don’t mention work too much on my blog. Though tomorrow looks like an interesting day as we’re moving to the other side of the floor in what should be a quieter area.

Cleaning up

Tonight Jill stopped and got rotisserie chicken (at the same time I got ham and aspargus and a frozen pizza, but no worries as that means we have dinners this week), and I made a salad to go with it.

Jill had to stay home from work to get the car window replaced as the “Glass Doctor” was not able to provide mobile service promised for today until Wednesday (she went with Virginia Glass who did my last glass repair -in Sterling off 606, but they weren’t open yesterday).

After dinner we finished watching the West Wing I’d started and Desperate Housewives while I prepared the trash (with the glass), then we hauled the Christmas tree out as Jill finished undecorating last night. Cleaning up the needles took a while, and I just came upstairs to ship a couple orders (and got sucked into a bit of surfing, but I’m leaving now).

Two shots of happy, one shot of sad

Wonderful start to the weekend, not so great a finish.

Friday night we went to Ireland’s Four Courts in Court House to meet up with some of Jill’s coworkers from Georgetown. Nice ratio of guys/girls at first (5/11) until more of the residents showed up. Good beers and decent food, too – I had a reuben and Jill had a burger. I had a Smithwicks to start, then Jill told me I needed to try the car bomb. Only after it arrived was I told I’d have to down it in one gulp. I did, but that was the end of my drinking for a while. We were there a couple hours chatting, so I did have a Harp before we left (Jill drove, and a good thing she did).

Saturday we slept in big time, not getting up ’til 1PM. Jill had to get a baby shower gift, and the closest store that had the baby registry was in Springfield, so she ran off to do that. I made breakfast for myself (egg sandwich) and watched Battlestar Galactica. I caught up through Friday’s paper and started watching Neil Peart’s Anatomy of a Drum Solo, an amazing exploration of how he creates his solos.

When Jill got back, we got ready, then went over to the National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center where we finally watched the latest Harry Potter, in IMAX. It was pretty cool, although I’d forgotten spoiler what a downer of an ending /spoiler this one had.

We had pork for dinner – I’d made ribs and this funky fajita like thing out of pork chops (it was a recipe) earlier in the week, and we finished most of it off. After dinner, we watched the latest Lost, then Jill called her mom and went online. Meanwhile, I finished off all the newspapers and started in on the magazines while watching the rest of Anatomy of a Drum Solo. Walked the dog and went to bed around 1:30, and everything seemed fine.

Jill got up a little after 11 this morning and I got up shortly after. She was planning on leaving around noon for the baby shower. I showered and was getting dressed when she came back in. Someone had busted through her front passenger window, opened the car, and taken her car stereo. Of course, my car was right next to hers completely unlocked – go figure. We called the cops and a couple auto glass places. The cops came around 2PM, and took a report. We weren’t the only ones – there were 2 more in our neighborhood, and 2 others close by. They even dusted for prints, but got nothing. Don’t know what we can do besides start taking the stereo face plates inside.

The glass places couldn’t respond today, first one we could get was tomorrow morning (which means Jill has to go in late to work). I guess we’ll just get another stereo for her (maybe not a JVC this time – maybe they wanted the brand). She went shopping (had to return something, and we need some groceries while I’m surfing, then I’ll watch some of the playoffs while I read the paper.

Comparison shopping gone to the dogs

This afternoon (Jill’s working now, and I went in early so I could leave for a couple hours) Jill and I went to three area kennels to check them out because we don’t want to leave Illa at the vet when we go on vacation (not enough attention or exercise). We went to Dulles Executive Pet Center (closest, but not so nice), Club Pet (very nice), and Dulles Gateway Kennels (ok, but pricier).

We decided to go with Club Pet, as Joyce (who runs the place) was very knowledgeable about malamutes and their needs. They have a la carte offerings of playtime, walks, and quiet time as well, and also had the friendliest staff of the three kennels.

We will give Illa a trial night there before we go, but other than that, just need to decide what things to give him (15 minutes playtime 2x, 30 minute walk 1x)?

We went to CiCi’s Pizza for lunch, a chain buffet place I go sometimes with co-workers, pretty decent pizza too (in the new area at the corner of 50 and 28). I gave Jill my car and she ran errands since her car was still in DC. She came back at 5:30 to give me the car and to hop a bus. Three bus rides later she was at work in a successful test of what she’ll do during school, and called me and seemed pretty happy about it.

I came home, reheated a steak and made creamed spinach, watched Smallville, Commander In Chief, last night’s Daily Show and Colbert Report and caught up through yesterday’s newspapers. Now all we need to do is watch those 4 hours of 24 tomorrow and we’ll be pretty much on schedule (yes, TV rules our life).

Early night

For me, at least. But Jill’s car broke down on the way to work today, so she’s got to drive mine tomorrow, which means I need to be up in less than 7 hours, so I’m off to bed.