So I’m going on a cruise tomorrow, without Jill. She’d love to come, but her schedule is non-negotiable because of clinicals (except for two weeks of vacation next year, and we just found out she’ll get Thanksgiving off). I wasn’t willing to miss it – it’s the 5th eddie from ohio cruise, and likely the last, and we’d been on the last three (which made us decide we liked to cruise with people we knew, don’t care about the ships). I’m staying with our friend Stuart (his wife Janice is staying with their daughter, on her first cruise – they’re small cabins), and will stay through Monday in Tampa for work.

I’ve been checking out the weather since tropical storm Noel is currently on a path towards Florida, and it seems I’m not likely to be affected. I did find some information on the message boards. A number of ships (not mine unfortunately) have GPS beacons and web cams so you can track them from anywhere.

Pat McGee Band at the Birchmere

Last night I went to the Birchmere to see the latest iteration of the Pat McGee Band, which now only has the percussionist and Pat out of the original members. Original drummer Chris Williams died a year ago, and Chris Bashista has now joined (significant because he played drums along with Eddie Hartness on Pat’s solo CD). Crix Reardon had replaced John Small on bass, but I heard rumors of a fight and there was a new bassist on stage, leaving only Chardy McEwan on percussion and longtime guitarist Brian Fechino. I came to Wednesday’s show (they’re playing tonight as well) to see Todd Wright open with a solo set (he was joined by “Jerry”, a guitarist), which was pretty good, but I was surprised when he came out to play keys with the Pat McGee Band. Not shocked, as he’d done it from 2003 to 2005 when original keyboardist Jonathan Williams left, but Jonathan’s absence wasn’t mentioned.

Still, for a band in transition they were in usual tight form, likely due to them nearing the end of a grueling two month tour with Josh Kelley. Speaking of transition, Josh Kelley was playing with a completely different band than he brought to this year’s Herndon Festival, but they were also pretty funky (I just could not get past his winter look – very full beard). But it was a homecoming for the Pat McGee Band, with lots of good song choices, including old chestnut “Ceamelodic”, dedicated to the song’s backing vocalist on record, Julie Murphy Wells, because her dad was there (I didn’t see him, or I would have said hi – hopefully I’ll see him this weekend). Weird cover of the night: Neil Diamond’s “Forever In Blue Jeans” (and marks the second show in a row at the Birchmere with a Neil Diamond cover. It was also fun to see my friends Linda and Jolene, who surprised me with a birthday gift of blank CDs and CD cases (how did they know?).

Crazy Easy weekend

Not just a Dave Matthews Band song.

Friday Jill was in Baltimore for a conference, she raced home through the rain to meet me for dinner. I’d made reservations at Central Michel Richard, and we both made it, just a little late. I started with the cucumber gazpacho (very savory) while Jill had the French onion soup (a little too cheesy for her, but perfect for me). Jill had a glass of Pinot Noir and I had glasses of Blusser and Bells Amber. For the entrée, I decided to have the lobster burger and Jill had the hangar steak and a side of spinach. Both were good, though I think Jill preferred the fries from Monday. It was still raining, so we hopped in a cab instead of walking the 8 blocks.

We got to Constitution Hall with plenty of time to spare. I’d listened to the opening act and he was nothing special, so we had a drink downstairs. Tori came out shortly after in a wig. Her new album features five “American Dolls”, including her. The other four are her characters who sing various songs from their perspective. What that means in a concert sense is one doll opens each show with a set, then leaves and Tori then comes out for the rest of the show.


So it was an interesting exercise for me to try and predict which doll we’d get. I guessed Santa, since there’d been three appearances of the others but only two of her since the US leg of the tour started. I was hoping for Clyde (’cause she does “Bouncing Off Clouds” and “Girl Disappearing”) or Pip (“Teenage Hustling” as well as classics “Bliss” and “Waitress”), so I was surprised when we got Isabel. It was good, but the only new song she did I really liked was “Almost Rosey”. The rest of the show was Tori at her best (including the above jumpsuit) – I was particularly pumped to get “Cornflake Girl”, “Leather” and “1000 Oceans”. We caught another cab to the Metro and headed back to our cars.

Saturday was busier – our homeowner’s association was hosting a meet and greet to talk about some changes to our governing documents. I got up early to make a Costco run for some of the food, then grilled hot dogs. We met up before it started to set up and got all the tables and chairs ready. I was so happy the rain stopped – it would have been miserable otherwise. Everything went well, we just didn’t get much of a turnout as we’d hoped, but we’d sent letters and taped notices to the mailboxes. In the end we had a lot of Hard Times chili and hot dogs left over – I think I’ll take my portion into work.

Finally we brought the tables and chairs back, then we went home and collapsed. Jill took a nap while Illa and I played, then I made chicken Caesar salad. We had enough energy to tackle some DDR on the Wii, and then finally tried the multiple player option on Wario Ware. Most games there just switch off players, but there are a couple ones where one player uses the remote and the other uses the nunchuck, best in Bungee Buddies.

Sunday was almost totally relaxing. A good sleep, Jill brought me a bagel, a run/walk with Illa then out on the deck to catch up on papers. I came in to watch a miserable football game, then watched some other TV (finally finished the Doctor Who season off). Jill made marinara sauce for dinner, and I cooked the rest, but I had had a stomach ache for a couple hours and skipped dinner myself.


So a couple of coworkers are taken with Yvonne Strahovski, the female secret agent from Chuck. How taken? Well, they’ve created a fan site, with lots of pictures and other content. They’re also taking the opportunity to check out a number of open source software packages to power the site, and want to see if they can make it into the top of the Google rankings. Check it out (totally SFW) and I’m sure you’ll agree it much nicer than one of the first attempts at a fan site one of them made.