Videogames, wine and football

Friday night I planned burgers, but wasn’t in the mood when I got home, so I made tacos with the groud beef and turkey instead. I read the paper, wrapped gifts, and started on comics, and Jill went online. Hours later when I was going to bed, I found her playing her new addiction, Bookworm. I stayed up another 45 minutes ’til she hit a score of 100,000, then I went to bed (she made it to 150,000 an hour later before giving up). I found a Palm version of it just now, have to download a trial to see how similar it is.

I was up early Saturday for my neurosoma appointment (where Tamsin spent the first ten minutes taking out a splinter in my foot, probably a pine needle). I thought I had time to run to Best Buy first. I had to return a USB adapter I’d bought for Jill’s notebook and pick up a VCR/DVD player, since my VCR just died after 11 years. Yes, I refused the service policy., but I was late to my appointment.

One quick stop for more wrapping paper, and I was home. Made a breakfast burrito and started watching the SciFi miniseries Triangle. Watched the first two nights and read the paper and some more comics. Jill ran to the mall. She had given me a new shirt and tie for my office holiday party, but I had no clean (or nice) khakis. The party was at Tarara Winery again, and we had a fun night chatting with coworkers. It was better after being at work over a year now, and we didn’t leave until they were closing down.

Today I wasn’t up until 12, first chance to sleep in weeks. Took Illa on a long walk, then made an omelette and watched the rest of Triangle. Not too bad, but I expected better from the creative minds behind Alien, Independence Day and X-Men. The final couple minutes wrapped it up nicely, though. Then I switched over to watch the Colts lose their first one of the season, and then watch the Redskins blow the doors off the Cowboys. It all comes down to next week versus the Giants, which I have tix too! I hope Santa brings me something I want on Christmas Eve… Speaking of which, the Simpsons had a pretty funny Christmas episode tonight.

But I digress. I was going to use leftovers to make a fresh batch of linguine alfredo, but Jill decided she wasn’t in the mood for it then. So I made it up and packed hers away, and took two cans of beef barley and zazzed the soup up (had some frozen beef for stew and spices). That reminds me – I haven’t had me pasta yet. We also had a conversation about how we hadn’t spent much time together lately, and how school might affect things – not bad, just getting some things out in the open.

And before I forget (again)

Neil Gaiman is the guest of honor at Balticon 40 – to be held next Memorial Day Weekend. Oh, I’ll be there for sure – even Jill may show up for some of it.

I think I’ll book a room for Saturday night – it’s north of Baltimore and I figure Saturday might run late, and who wants to drive home in the early morning?

For Pink Floyd uber-fans

Here’s a fairly nice Pink Floyd collectible

Nice to have, but a bit heavy to get over here – and where the heck would I put it?

What a great tour that was. Saw it twice in DC, didn’t regret the nearly identical setlist the second night.

The reason I’m looking around is David Gilmour will be touring off a new solo album next spring, rumored to be April in the US.

Feng Shui

I don’t know if I believe in Feng Shui, but I’m convinced a big part of being happy in your house is just having it clean. We’ve been keeping the house nice after the party (we kinda have to with various houseguests for the next month) and it’s a joy to come home to. Now if only we had some way to tire out Illa during the day.

Been a quiet week; I’m actually caught up on newspapers for a change. May start my monthly comics pile tonight. Made quick dinners the last two nights (frozen chicken cordon bleu for Jill, chicken kiev for me with green beans and mac and cheese Monday; leftover turkey/ham/bean soup with crab/artichoke dip last night), so I compensated by making linguini alfredo tonight. It didn’t take that long, especially since I had cooked sausage leftover from pizza making. Full and happy now.

Maybe this weekend we’ll get to TV watching – as of tonight we’ve got three Lost and three Alias eps to get through, unless we take the other tack of watching the second and third Harry Potter movies.

This year’s holiday mixes

This is the third year in a row I’ve made a mix called “Artists To Watch” to give away for our holiday party. It’s a nice way for our friends to find out about our favorite new music.

Band Song Next appearance Why them
01. Quitter UK Young Again 1/13/06 9:30 Club Members of emmet swimming and Smartbomb, great chorus.
02. Queen + Paul Rodgers I Want It All 3/9/06 MCI Center Ok, not exactly a new band, but my favorite concert of 2005 and should be another good show in March (from their new live CD/DVD).
03. Crooked Still Orphan Girl We discovered them at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival last year, but didn’t get the CD until this year’s fest. A spirited update of the Gillian Welch song.
04. Marwood Name To Me No More Haven’t seen these guys yet, but they’ve opened for emmet swimming and I like the falsetto.
05. Jenny Lewis Handle With Care My ears perk up for the Traveling Wilburys (who will finally have their CDs go back into print in 2006). Jenny Lewis is the lead singer of Rilo Kiley, who opened for Coldplay in 2005. She’s joined here by the lead singers of Death Cab For Cutie and Bright Eyes to form an indie supergroup to cover this classic.
06. Jim Boggia Once 1/14/06 Birchmere The nicest love song I’ve heard in a while.
07. Nellie McKay The Big One 1/22/06 Birchmere She’s got a lot of influences and puts them all into her music.
08. O.A.R. Love And Memories The guys from Maryland with a more poppier song then their usual rock jams.
09. Girlyman Kittery Tide I know you were wondering when we’d get to some banjo.
10. Alternate Routes Who Cares 12/23/05 Jammin’ Java
11. Paul and Storm A Better Version Of You They’ve got a great new funny CD out, but I had to go with this web only track.
12. Tracy Grammer Gypsy Rose A new CD from Tracy with the remaining songs the late Dave Carter wrote.
13. Joseph Parsons Good Or Bad Like Jim Boggia , another 4 Way Street alumnus.
14. We’re About 9 Brooklyn 12/31/05 1st Night Alexandria Great harmonies.
15. Erin McKeown To The Stars 3/30/06 Birchmere We saw her open for Ani DiFranco last summer.
15. Getaway Car Big Time Lullabye 12/23/05 Jammin’ Java Todd has to be the funniest frontman around, but he still rocks out when he’s not amking you laugh.
17. Michael Penn On Automatic The “No Myth” guy is still around churning out pop gems like this.
18. Beth Patterson Darlin’ Please 2/12/06 The Old Brogue A nice twist.
19. Arrogant Worms Carrot Juice Is Murder Funny Canadiens, recorded live at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival
20. Spoon I Summon You Stephen King’s pick for best single, and I like it too.
21. Sufjan Stevens Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing From his 2nd Christmas EP, a moving version of a hymn.

Leftovers (best with gravy):
Ben Arthur – Mary Ann
James Blunt – You’re Beautiful
Tracy Bonham – Something Beautiful
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Over and Over Again
Kris Delmhorst – Broken White Line
Greencards – Time
Juniper Lane – Apology
Anna Nalick – Breathe
Okkervil River – Black
Beth Orton – Conceived
Razorlight – Somewhere Else
Adam Richman – Mary-Anne
Waifs – Waitress

I also made a Christmas mix CD for the first time. I’ve already got enough songs left over to make volume 2, but that’ll wait for next year. Jill asked why I ended with two depressing songs, but my logic is keep it happy for as long as you can – just like life. Besides, they’re catchy.

  1. Christmas All Over Again – Tom Petty
  2. Do They Know It’s Christmas? – Barenaked Ladies
  3. 2000 Miles – Coldplay
  4. Blue Christmas – Collective Soul
  5. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – U2
  6. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – Bruce Springsteen
  7. Christmas At Ground Zero – ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic
  8. Holly Jolly Christmas – Marah
  9. I Saw Three Ships – Sting
  10. Christmas Song – Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds
  11. Happy Xmas – John Lennon
  12. Please Come Home For Christmas – Eagles
  13. Christmas Song – Biohio
  14. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – John Mellencamp
  15. Step Into Christmas – Elton John
  16. Thank God It’s Christmas – Queen
  17. Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24 – Trans-Siberian Orchestra
  18. Little Drummer Boy – GrooveLily
  19. Joseph Was A Carpenter – eddie from ohio
  20. O Holy Night – Sufjan Stevens
  21. Silver Star – emmet swimming
  22. You’re A Mean One, Mr Grinch – Whirling Dervishes
  23. Christmas – Getaway Car

Holiday party

As usual, we were cleaning up to and beyond the last minute yesterday. By the time our first guests arrived at 7:30, we had finished cleaning, but were in the middle of food prep. Thankfully, even making a dip from scratch (veggie dip had gone bad) didn’t take too long.

The party was great, I think we had around 15 people show up. We hadn’t seen some friends in months, and it was good to catch up. We gave Illa 3 bones over the course of the night, and he only came up for bathroom breaks (aside from introducing him to the guests one time). The only thing we ran out of was Coke, and Carol, one of our neighbors who came, volunteered to go home and get some. Jill’s crab and artichoke dip went over well, although we have too much food left over again.

I was awakened by a noise this morning, didn’t hear anything else, but took my time getting up. Turns out the Christmas tree had fallen over, breaking several ornaments (included a handmade one Jill trreasured). We recentered the tree on the stand, but it still wasn’t right, so Jill tied it with a string to the curtainrod.

I made breakfast, then sat around reading newspapers (I was backed up to Monday) and watching football (a win!). I made a white pizza for dinner that turned out pretty good, now Jill’s watching TV and I’m just finishing my Christmas shopping.

Less crazy

I’ve been up since 9, and Illa’s been ok. He was a little slow getting up, but we’d both only had 5 hours sleep. He’s suffered no ill effects from the cookies or the medicine. I think he got my “iron stomach”.

Craziness

We were getting to the end of our day around 1AM. Jill had been baking cookies all day, and I was cleaning up in the dining and living rooms. I’d spent the last half hour shredding old papers when Jill flopped down on the couch, done. I was still shredding, and when I finished, we heard a noise in the kitchen. Illa had just finished wolfing down 9 peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies.

Chocolate can be fatal for dogs, so I looked up how to induce vomiting for dogs (about the same as a human). We gave him hydrogen peroxide twice and it didn’t do anything, so Jill went out to get ipecac. We gave that to him twice as well, and still nothing. He was getting sleepy, so I went online to check symptoms. He wasn’t hyperactive and panting, so I started looking at what a toxic dose was. There was semi-sweet chocolate in the cookies, but not a lot, and to the best of my calculations he only had 1/100th of a toxic dose. So we’re going to bed, but he seems ok.

Cleaning, Narnia & training

Tuesday I got home late, had gotten to work late and then needed to run to Michaels. I didn’t need to worry about Illa because Jill was working that night and had let him out before she left. I got him out when I got home around 9, then fed him and heated up some fried shrimp and made some creamed spinach for myself. I realized the fridge was overcrowded, especially with our party coming up, and set to removing anything expired. I moved on to the counters, and by the time I was done it was nearly 11. Thanks to the TV in the kitchen, I watched the Billboard awards and Sunday’s Desperate Housewives.

Last night we went into DC to Friendship Heights to catch a preview of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, thanks to Entertainment Weekly. We got a late start due to traffic, and got to the theater only about 2 minutes before the movie started (no previews, and I missed the first couple minutes for a bathroom break and popcorn gathering). Jill’s more of a geek over Narnia than I am (she just reread all the books), but both of us really enjoyed it. Lord Of The Rings has set the bar high for a fantasy movie these days, and the criticism that this movie builds slowly doesn’t feel that valid since it hews so closely to the book. The battle scenes seem modeled on those in Rings, and are nicely done. Tilda Swinton is excellent as the witch, and Liam Neeson is pitch perfect as the vioce of Aslan (I honestly don’t know what kind of mix of real and CG he is, but it’s very well done). The actors playing the kids are well cast and are decent (no Phantom Menace problem here), and it feels like the book has been captured on film. I understand that they’re willing to do a sequel, which would be in good hands if they can get the same crew back.

Now we just need to watch the other two Harry Potter movies so we can catch the new one.

Tonight was the second dog training class. We’d been doing our homework with Illa (he’s great at sit, not so good at watch), but they didn’t check his old tricks, just gave us new ones. Of course we got there late, oh well. Tonight I’m organizing on the computer (checking 401-k allocations, half.com inventory) to help organize the rest of the office. Next: actually organizing the sell cds.