Annapolis, etc.

The weekend started slow – we had some leftover lasagna for dinner Friday night, then I went online because I’d been saving links for nearly two weeks to watch and listen to.

Saturday we headed off to Annapolis in the afternoon and had dinner at Jalapeños. They do serve Mexican cuisine, but they’re known for their Spanish tapas, so that’s what we had (after some soup to start, black bean for me and a corn soup for Jill). We split plates of mixed vegetables, artichoke hearts, a lamb chop, pork tenderloin (mutual favorite), calamari, and a marinated chorizo. We were way too full for dessert, so we headed out.

Our next stop was Rams Head for a show by efo. Lucy Wainwright Roche opened (third time we’ve seen her), and she was her usual quirky funny self. She got Jake Armerding to join her during “Snare Drum” – very nice. efo’s set wasn’t too different than the one at the Birchmere in January, but it was the funniest show I’ve seen from them in a number of years, both Mike and Robbie went on some extended riffs (I may never think of beans the same way).

Today I had to do an HOA walkthrough, then spent most of the rest of the day working on auctions and making DVDs. I made a quick pork, beans and veggies improv for dinner, then we watched a Dollhouse double header (that show’s really getting better) and Simpsons before Jill headed to bed.

And then there were four for free

If you’re curious to know what the new four member BNL sounds like (and haven’t already hit YouTube), they’ve put the entire show online for download free, link here.

And in other free download news, go to the NIN/Jane’s Addiction tour site for two free new Jane’s Addiction songs that were produced by Trent Reznor (BTW, how cool is a tour named ninja? – as long as they’re not a ninjerk), as well as two unreleased NIN songs.

Bach-ing it, Syfy style with a doped up dog

Jill and I went out to dinner Monday Angeethi, a nearby Indian place (very good) before she went to her mom’s for a week (and got to hang out with all her sisters), so it’s just been me and Illa. I’ve been watching an insane amount of TV, I had to practically empty the DVR to make room for a Syfy marathon and then start watching before it finished.

First, it is a silly name change (be sure and read the comments), but it’s alway been a good channel for me. They did do one thing that bothered me – I wanted to watch the last nine episodes of Star Trek: Enterprise since HDNet stopped airing them last year due to a contractual dispute, but when I recorded them off Sci-Fi Channel HD last week, they weren’t being shown in HD. When I went finding out why, it turned out that HDNet still had the right to air them in HD and was now airing them not once a week but twice a day, which meant they caught up to where I wanted to see this week.

That would not ordinarily have been a problem, except I haven’t been watching the second half Battlestar Galactica because I wanted to see it in HD (I stopped watching when we went on vacation), and they decided to do the marathon on Friday, leading up to the series finale. So that meant I had to average 4-5 hours a night of TV every night of the week before Friday as I watched all the HD content, getting down to an all time low of 10% full on Friday morning as the DVR was ready to record 15 hours of HD that day (in addition to the BSG eps, there were two Enterprise eps as well as the usual Friday night lineup of Terminator and Dollhouse).

I’d dropped Illa off at the vet Friday morning for his first ever teeth cleaning (he was very upset at the no food or drink after 9PM the night before rule as that meant no treat before bedtime), and picked him up on the way home. They’d doped him up for the procedure, but he seemed normal when I got him, so I decided to walk him home. It went well at first, but he started slowing down and stopped about half way home. I had three options – wait for him to feel better, carry him home, or go and get the car. We waited a little while, but he wasn’t interested in moving, so I tried him to a tree and sprinted home. He was fine when I got there, and we went home where he proceeded to crash (except for some yogurt for dinner). I settled in for some TV watching and watched a 7 hours of TV and made an Italian salad, then went to bed when I couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore.

Saturday I took a break from TV, heading up to Maryland to help my sister move apartments. She thought it wouldn’t take more than a couple hours, but between that and taking some of her furniture to Mom’s it took more than 7. Dad was there all day as well – I thought I’d be helping him, but at 75 I think he’s stronger than me. We also had some of Domino’s Brooklyn style pizza, and it was surprisingly good. Afterwards I made a quick trip to CD Cellar, then headed back home. Illa was fine, he still didn’t have much energy and slept most of this evening as well. I had some frozen chicken and potato wedges for dinner, then more TV.

Today I made some DVDs, started some auctions, walked Illa and spent a fair part of the afternoon on the deck reading newspapers. I grilled a lamb chop and sautéed spinach and made mac and cheese for dinner, then watched even more TV. I had finished Enterprise yesterday, and just finished BSG. Both ran 4 seasons, but Enterprise only really got good in the last two. Unfortunately Enterprise’s final episode suffered by the producers not leaving it in the hands of the capable writers they’d hired as showrunners and doesn’t live up to the standard set by the rest of the season. The same cannot be said of BSG, which finished off in magnificent fashion. I’ve really liked the politics of the revival, but the last ep had it all: action, politics, romance and comedy. Throw in some nods to the original, and I was very happy with the ending. Worth the effort of watching the rest of the season in HD, too – too bad we only got SciFi HD last fall, sometime I’ll watch the whole thing again on BluRay.

Best Original Screenplay & Barry Louis Polisar

I watched two movies this week that were nominated for Best Original Screenplay, and they certainly were finely written. Juno was a very believable tale of pregnancy (won the Oscar in 2008), and In Bruges, a sweet tale of hitmen and guilt (lost the Oscar in 2009).

Incidentally, the children’s peformer Barry Louis Polisar, whose song All I Want Is You was played during the opening credits of Juno, I saw at some point in elementary school at an assembly. To this day, I can still remember most of the lyrics to “He Eats Asparagus, Why Can’t You Be That Way?”, “I Sneaked Into the Kitchen in the Middle of the Night” and “Early Sunday Morning”. I think I still have some of the vinyl copies somewhere, but he’s got them on CD now, as well as a planned tribute album from artists in a variety of genres.

Lateness, cleaning and TV

A good weekend for staying in, what with it being cool and rainy. We got up late and stayed up late – I took a while making calzones Saturday night, and when I went to turn on the TV afterwards, SNL’s theme song was playing.

We had talked about doing a house cleaning, but instead started tackling the basement. Jill had already started sorting some stuff, and I reorganized to give us 3 times as much open space as before – I’ll need to get to the rest soon.

I watched a lot of TV – need to clear off the DVR for the BSG marathon next Friday as I gave up watching when we left on vacation, and I figured they’d re-air them, just didn’t think they’d only do it all at once the day of the series finale. Also played with the dog, read papers, and made possibly my finest pulled pork and fries yet.

Matchbox and a big Mac attack

Yesterday Jill picked me up at work, and we drove over to Alexandria to buy tickets. It was a last minute thing, and I checked with my buddy Craig for them. We parked at the nearby Van Dorn Metro, and headed into DC. I’ve wanted to eat at Matchbox for a while, and since we had tix and the time, decided to brave the crowds. They told us it would be a 30 minute wait – it was more like 40, but we both brought something to read. It was a shared meal – we split everything, starting with the sliders. We had an order of 3, very nice with the onion straws and really good buns. The apple/pear salad we had next was one of Jill’s favorite salads ever – the honey-balsamic vinaigrette was a perfect match. Jill had made pizzas the night before, so we tried the chicken pesto pizza, which used a housemade pesto sauce as a base, but it was very salty – next time we’ll try the traditional. Went well with the Chimay on draft, though. We were on the verge of getting dessert, but decided against it.

The Mac

The tix were in a suite at Verizon Center. It was an ok side view of the stage, but the biggest perk was a private bathroom, nice not to have to go too far when you have to go. Jill and I both like Fleetwood Mac, I’ve seen them three times now, six years apart each time – we had tix to see them in 2004 as well, but they canceled ’cause Stevie was having throat problems and never rescheduled (it was part of a 6 pack of tix at Nissan, and they gave me Poison tix instead of a refund – yuck, once was enough). The show was advertised as a greatest hits tour and it certainly was, they played six songs off Fleetwood Mac, eight songs off Rumours, and four songs off Tusk. That made the crowd pretty pleased, but I was hoping for a couple songs more recent than 1987. I would have preferred to hear “Seven Wonders” instead of “Big Love” from Tango in the Night, and “Say You Will”, “Peacekeeper”, “Steal Your Heart Away” or “Bleed to Love Her” from Say You Will, although hearing “I Know I’m Not Wrong”, “Storms” and “Oh Well” for the first time was a treat. I was particularly surprised that Lindsey with two solo albums since the Mac’s last tour chose to keep doing “Go Insane” as his solo song – I would have loved to hear “Did You Miss Me” or “The Right Place to Fade” off Gift Of Screws. Still, even a predictable setlist was a good night of music, and we headed home happy.

Racquetball, Burmese and Watchmen

Friday I came home and grilled burgers, which were just what I wanted. Jill cut up potatoes into fries, then I boiled them for 3 minutes, then cooked at 400 in a little olive oil for about 10 minutes – pretty good approximation of the real thing. I also fried an egg and put it on my burger – an old college tradition called a slab that’s both tasty and grosses Jill out. I wasn’t up too late ’cause I hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before reading.

Saturday I had some breakfast, took Illa on a long walk, then Jill and I played racquetball. It was her idea, she’s been over at the community center a lot since she started working with a trainer and saw people playing. She thought it looked like fun, and it was, although both our arms are pretty sore now. She had never played before and it was the first time I had in at least 10 years, so I think we weren’t very good with the rules, but we’ll try again sometime.

We cleaned up, then headed to Silver Spring for my sister’s “unbirthday” (she doesn’t want to celebrate, but my mom still wants to take her out for dinner about that time). I’d wanted to bring everyone to Hooked, but Sharon didn’t want to go that far, so I came up with a couple local options, and we went with Mandalay Restaurant & Café, a Burmese place. It was pretty good, I started with the Gram Fritter Salad and Jill had the Mango Salad. For the main course, I had the sliced pork sautéed with onion, sour mustard, and fresh cilantro while Jill had the sliced beef and fresh cilantro simmered in onion-tomato base curry. I enjoyed mine, especially since they managed to make it pretty spicy.

Afterwards, we walked around Silver Spring and Jill scored a couple mysteries in a nearby bookshop. We all got cones at Ben & Jerry’s, then headed back to our cars and headed our separate ways. We had a bit of an issue on the way home as my temperature gauge climbed near the red zone at a couple lights, but we made it home ok (I’ll get it checked out tomorrow).

Today I was the one who left for hours, leaving Jill alone (but I took her car). I went out to see Watchmen, but I was early (the times I’d written down for today earlier in the week had changed), so I ran the errands I’d planned to run after the movie first. The movie was very faithful to the book, so it’s hard for me to review it on its own, but I enjoyed it immensely. I made BBQ sauce and ribs when I got home, now I need to finish some eBay auctions, then watch some TV and read the paper.

Watchmen Roundup

The movie opens tomorrow, as you’d know if you’d been around a TV in the last couple weeks. Looks like I’m going solo to this one, as it’s apparently really violent, not something Jill likes. I just reread the graphic novel it’s based on, as well as a book detailing how it was created. It’s been a while since I’ve read it (I first read it in 1986 as the 12 issues came out), and the new oversized edition is just a joy to read. The other book on the creation is a wonderful companion piece – Dave Gibbons (the artist) saved every scrap related to the project and they’re lovingly reproduced here (including a piece of Neil Gaiman art).

Here’s a roundup of links – first, the book:

Next, the movie:

And finally, What if Watchmen was a Saturday morning cartoon?