Another short weekday post

Interesting events this week:
Had my first annual review – went well, I’m pretty happy at work.

Speaking of happy at work, my group went out to happy hour Tuesday at Carpool in Herndon, where we discovered they now have Magic Hat on tap. Pool was played, but Jill and I opted out – it’s been at least a year since we’ve played, and I for one wasn’t that great then. But we munched down on half price appetizers while we chatted, and since Jill was driving, I had three beers – two #9s and a hefeweizen.

Today I renewed my license at the DMV. The website has estimated wait times, so I went at 11, when it was 8 minutes. An hour later, I was out, with my ok new photo (at least I’m not wearing glasses on it anymore – bouncers always give me a close look because of it).

In other news, Jill took Illa for a 2 hour tryout at doggie daycare, and it was a hit all around. He got praise from the staff (he’s good with both the big and little dogs) and we were happy because he was pretty wiped out the rest of the day. Prices aren’t bad, and I can see us doing a half or whole day once a week or so (today would have been a good choice, the second day in a row he’s had to stay downstairs for 8+ hours, and he’s been a little crazy tonight).

Another long weekend post

It’s not like nothing happens during the week, but it’s usually too boring to post – some combination of work, coming home, cooking dinner, walking the dog, watching TV, and reading the paper. Which is much of what happened Friday night, although Jill got off work a little early and we ate dinner together a little before 10. I’d spent several hours making fajitas, and I was pretty wiped, listened to some Beatles, then went to bed before midnight. She stayed up for a bit and watched Threshold.

I got up Saturday around 9:30, showered, stretched, and walked Illa. I watched Threshold while I made some egg sandwiches, then started cleaning while making some DVDs of programs I’d recorded (the Katrina concerts, U2 on Conan and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame). Jill joined me around 11:30, and the downstairs was ready for company around 12:45. Just in time, as Cameron from The Animals’ House came over at 1 to give Illa a private lesson. Actually, I guess it would be more accurate to say she gave us the lesson, as we spent most of the time talking about how to relieve Illa of his bad habits, like jumping up on the counters (she called it “counter surfing”) or getting too close to the table while we’re eating. It was very informative, and we’ll start doing a group class with her in November. We’re also looking at putting Illa in daycare there once a week, and maybe boarding him there. We’re already using the vet for boarding this weekend and Thanksgiving, but we may switch for the cruise.

Later, I took Illa for a long walk, and we went by the creek. 6+ inches of rain had turned it from a trickle to raging waters threatening to overflow the banks. Luckily the rain slowed to a drizzle soon afterwards. Jill ran some errands and I read the paper and listened to more Beatles. I made burgers and we tried out our new strategy where Illa has to lie down on the floor of the entryway while we’re eating. Didn’t work that well, but he’ll learn. What does work is calling out “too close” when he gets too close to the counters, then squirting him with water if he does.

We put him downstairs, then got on the road a little after 7. The tix said 8, but I had read where there was a DJ that started then, then a short film, with Paul McCartney not taking the stage until 8:40 or so. So we took it easy, and there was no crowd at Gallery Place when we got off the Metro. We stopped to get soda and were in our seats by 8:30, plenty of time for him as he didn’t come out ’til 8:45. He proceeded to put on quite a show that didn’t let up for nearly 3 hours. Plenty of great Beatles and Wings songs, surprising to see the variety since 2002’s tour. The new songs worked well, but it was the Beatles songs that mad the place go nuts (and he worked it, putting his hand to his ear often). He looked like he was having a good time, played 3 false endings to “I’ll Follow The Sun”, and sang “Happy Birthday” for John, who would have turned 65 on Sunday. There were two ladies in our row that were pretty clueless, screaming for every old song (except the Quarrymen on from ’58) and holding up their ragged signs (because a 63 year old man can read something on an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper from half a mile away so well), then talking loudly during the non-Beatles songs. Anyway, it was a great show, and this time we stayed through the end, literally, as the last song played was “The End”, and the part the makes it for me are the closing lyrics: “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make”.

Afterwards, we ducked out as he was taking his final bows, and headed up to R.F.D. in Chinatown. We had spinach and artichoke dip with tortilla chips and a roast beef sandwich, and some good beers – I had to have some Magic Hat #9, and also enjoyed an apple ale (kind of like a Belgian). We hung out and talked for over an hour so the crowds were long gone, then hit the subway. Didn’t get home until 2, but it was a fun night. I stayed up another hour so Illa could get some playtime before he had to go back downstairs.

Sunday I had nothing to do. Got up after noon, Jill walked Illa while I showered, then I made my grandmother’s smorgle recipe (fried dough) that I have to have every once in a while (only thing I ever put corn syrup on). Jill had one of the egg sandwiches I’d made the day before. We were watching Saturday Night Live during and after breakfast. Jon Heder was good as the host, though we wished we’d seen Napoleon Dynamite first as it was referenced several times (it’s on HBO now, and we’ll catch it soon). Ashlee Simpson sang for real this time, but only proved she’s a mediocre singer. In the afternoon, Jill did homework while I sat downstairs with Illa and read the paper while he happily chewed his bone (bones aren’t allowed upstairs, so he’s constantly choosing between his love of chewing and his love of attention). I watched the Redskins lose a close one to the Broncos, then took Illa for a long walk at halftime. It was cool enough to wear my denim jacket, and that gave me near invulnerability to the thorn bushes in the woods, so we followed the trail near the creek, crossing it a couple time as the volume had gone down considerably from the day before.

Made fajitas again with the leftover meat, had forgotten to have Jill get refried beans at the store so had to make them from scratch again. We watched West Wing and Desperate Housewives, but still haven’t caught up on last week’s TV – Jill finished her homework and I finished the paper and read some comics instead. I jumped online to briefly surf before heading to bed a little after 1.

And two more DVDs on the must list

From thedigitalbits.com:

David Lynch’s Dune: Extended Edition will now officially street on 1/31/06 (SRP $27.98). The 2-disc set will include both the original theatrical version (137 minutes), plus an all-new “extended version” (177 minutes) in anamorphic widescreen video, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. Extras are currently expected to include deleted scenes with introduction by Raffaella De Laurentiis, 4 behind-the-scenes featurettes (including Designing Dune, Special Effects, Models & Miniatures and Wardrobe Design), a gallery of production photos and production notes. We don’t yet have official word from Universal as to whether or not Lynch himself participated (the title was originally delayed in the hopes that he would agree to be involved).

Our ever reliable industry sources are telling us that Universal will soon announce the DVD release of Joss Whedon’s Serenity for 12/20. Early word indicates that the disc may include Whedon audio commentary, along with at least 4 behind-the-scenes featurettes (Future History, We’ll Have a Fruity Oaty Good Time, Re-Lighting the Firefly and What’s in a Firefly), a video introduction to the film by Whedon and 6 minutes worth of outtakes.

Office Space watch

The new DVD (Special Edition with Flair!) comes out November 1st. New features include
* “Out of the Office” — an Office Space retrospective with Mike Judge
* Deleted scenes — “Peter Lies to Lumbergh,” “Happy Hour and Chotchkies,” “Peter Goes Off on Nora,” “Tom’s Mixed Heritage Called into Question”

Three interesting things:
Best Buy has a Special Edition Gift Set available for about $10 more, which has:
* Red stapler
* Coffee mug
* Mouse pad
* Pen and pencil set
* Notepad
* Magnetic picture frame
and since the red stapler is currently $20 at Amazon, that’s pretty cool.

Also, go to miltonarmy.com for a chance to win a trip to the DVD release party, and download Milton posters (“have you seen my stapler?”).

Finally, most of the cast was interviewed last year.

Booksales and DC weekend

Friday I was later than I planned getting home since I’d gone to the Reston library booksale at lunch (also hit Office Depot and Harris Teeter for a panini sandwich). We left around 6:30, planning on grabbing dinner at on the way to catch Coldplay. Traffic was horrible, even taking the back roads (turned out they’d closed 28 in both directions due to an accident, backing up many roads). We didn’t get to Manassas until close to 8. I had to get gas since I was running low, then we stopped at Tony’s NY pizza for dinner (2 huge slices of pepperoni for me, breaded chicken sub for Jill, greek salad to share). We got back on the road at 8:30, hoping that traffic had cleared out. The opening band went on at 7:30, so I figured Coldplay would go on by then, but it took us another 45 minutes to fight through traffic and park. Still, they hadn’t started – we were in our seats a good 10 minutes before they went on. Great show, all the songs were well received by the sold out crowd. It’s funny, they mentioned playing the HFStival 4 years ago and the so-so reception they got there, but I must admit the band I saw that day only (and 2 days earlier in Boston) only slightly resembles the band we saw Friday. They’ve improved in both songwriting and performing by leaps and bounds since then, and put on quite a show. The enormous yellow baloons they released during “Yellow” were cool, but the best song of the night was “Clocks”, with a really cool sped up ending. We left during the encore, a little delay getting out, but nothing like it would have been if we waited until the end. I’ve read of people taking 4.5 hours to get there and 2+ hours to leave. The night was slightly chilly, good to have jackets.

Saturday was chock full of activities. Got up around 8, walked Illa and made an omelette. At 9AM, the HOA board convened for a compliance walkthrough, and I did my assigned houses and went back for some more. Wrapped up around 10:45, I stopped and went with Jill as we took Illa for his first vet visit (in walking distance, too, so he won’t associate the car with the vet). He was supposed to get vaccinations, but the fax sent from the Malamute folks went AWOL, so he just had a checkup. The vet took some blood for a heartworm test. Illa wasn’t happy about that, but he really didn’t like what came next. The vet discovered that he had been neutered, but they’d left the sutures in. So we had to hold him down while they were removed. After that, we walked home, and I showered, then went to my neurosoma appointment at 1:15. I got to relax for a little while after that and marinated and made some steaks and green beans for dinner, then we left around 6:15 to go to West Falls Church Metro and get to the 9:30 Club and see Girlyman and Dar Williams. Great show, but we got there after Girlyman started and had to leave during the middle of Dar’s acoustic set. Good thing we’ve already made plans to catch them both when they return to the area in November at the Birchmere. We hopped back on the Metro down to Metro Center where we had tickets to see MirrorMask, the new film from Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. The film was visually stunning, like Dave McKean’s comics brought to life, and a clever script from Neil (BTW, Neil’s going to have the number 1 spot on the NY Times fiction list next week for Anansi Boys). We were tired and bloated (from popcorn and peanut m+ms) after the movie and headed back home.

Sunday was mostly a day to relax, made french toast for breakfast and read the paper while I watched the Redskins beat the Seahawks and Jill did homework. Took Illa for a long walk at halftime, then we left around 4PM to hit the George Mason library booksale (half price Sunday, good if you’re buying hardbacks) and a computer store to get a connector for mom’s mouse (which didn’t work – stoopid Windows), then picked up Mom before meeting Dad and their friends from California for dinner at the Peking Gourmet Inn in Baileys Crossroads. Fabulous meal – I would have had the duck, but it’s best to split between two people, and 3 of us wanted it. So I had the pork with fresh leeks and some egg drop soup. Jill had the curried beef and some leek dumplings. I did get some of the duck, as well as somehting I hadn’t tried before, Szechuan Beef Proper. I found some info on it in a review (also interesting if you want to know what George W. orders):

Szechuan Beef Proper, named when Tsui told a waiter that “this is the proper way to do Szechuan beef,” is an example of why technique is so important to Chinese cooking. Strips of beef are “surf fried,” using a large quantity of oil at extreme temperatures until golden brown, then allowed to cool so it can absorb a sauce before being coated with roasted sesame seeds. “You have to use roasted sesame seeds because they give you a totally different flavor than the raw ones you buy at Giant,” he said.

Really good, and now I’ll have a challenge when we return to see what I order (this is probably the best Chinese place in the DC area). We sat around chatting for a while, then headed home around 9:30. Finally watched last week’s Alias (how could they do that?), then watched some Family Guy before going to bed.