Are you ready for some football?

I never got the chance to watch a full preseason game, but the Redskins were so cover your eyes awful I wasn’t upset. Still, the word on the street was that new offensive coordinator Al Saunders was saving the good stuff for the regular season. My friends Hannah and Dave were out of the country, so they offered their tix for last night’s game vs. the Vikings to me. Jill couldn’t go on a school night (no surprise) and my dad was out of town, so I went with my buddy Stuart. I left work around 4 to make it to East Falls Church around 4:30. Stuart got on at Court House, and we switched to the Blue line at Rosslyn for the trip to Morgan Boulevard. I don’t think it’s 9/10 of a mile to the stadium, more like 2, but it wasn’t bad. We got in, got food (hot dog and buffalo chicken sandwich for me, for a total of $15) and some beers (Harp), then were in our seats 6 rows from the top a little after 6.

We were worried there would be VIPs to mark the anniversary of 9/11 making security horrible, but there wasn’t anything special, other than them passing American flags to everyone (which did look pretty cool on TV when I caught a bit of it after I got home). There was a nice ceremony with a color guard from around the area, but most of the pregame was the usual pomp and circumstance (including one firework that looked like it was dangerously close to the upper deck). Hannah and Dave’s seats were a little better than last year – instead of one row from the top, now they were 6 rows from the top. I knew and had advised Stuart to bring binoculars, which were a great help. The game itself was fun. Both offensive lines were great, no sacks as I recall. Unfortunately former Redskin Brad Johnson was a bit better on throwing deep than Mark Brunell, and the Vikings got off to an early lead. The return of Clinton Portis sparked some offense and the Redskins led at the half. Minneapolis tied it up in the third quarter, and a put on my new Redskins sweatshirt for luck (ok, it was also getting cold). It was a nailbiter in the fourth, with the Vikings getting a field goal and the Redskins driving back within range in the final minute, only to have the inconsistent John Hall kick it wide.

Most troubling portent: Stuart’s peanuts were from Independence Air – still the “Official Airline of the Washington Redskins”
Weirdest sponsor: the HCA (Hospital Corporation of America) Get Well Soon Hit Of The Game
Best line (to a beer vendor who was running out and the guy wanted some): “Don’t sell to her – that b*tch isn’t even 16!”
Second best line: “John Hall’s off my Christmas card list!”

We stayed until that last kick, then left with the rest of the crowd. Not bad getting out, heavy foot traffic to the Metro, but it wasn’t nearly as crowded as the Stadium Armory stop was at RFK (it helps there’s three Metro stops nearby and the other two run shuttles). It still took a while – we left the stadium at 10:30, got to the Morgan Boulevard station at 11, got to East Falls Church at midnight, and home a little after 12:30. Jill was asleep when I got back, but Illa wanted to play, so we played and I watched a little of the game on the DVR (I thought Tony Kornheiser would be interesting to listen to, but he was barely there). Some idiot (me) had an eBay auction end last night, but luckily (for my sleep) only three had bidders, so I packaged and invoiced those, then went to sleep around 2.

Needless to say, I dragged today. Jill made pasta for dinner, now she’s in bed and I’m putting some Star Wars comics up on eBay.

Stupid jalapenos

Friday I got up early (couldn’t get back to sleep after Jill left), so I was home by 6. I had bought scallops when I went grocery shopping (and they were expensive, even at 50% off), and I made kabobs with them, steak, and shrimp we already had. Couldn’t decide between a wine and lime butter recipe so I made both (I gave the edge to the lime butter one). I finished watching Blade and Anchorman while I cooked. Later, I caught up on papers while Jill went to sleep.

Saturday we slept in some, then I made eggs benedict and we gathered our “hazardous waste” (paint, glue, etc.) for the dropoff they were having in Herndon. Jill went off to run errands and I went over to to Best Buy (new Audioslave CD), then Micro Center to pick up some speakers for Jill’s computer and some blank media and another SD card. After that, my mom’s – she’d had Cox drop cable into the den where the computer was, and I needed to get her email and all her apps setup. That took three hours, as I also had to show her how to use SeaMonkey and Open Office (no sense giving her IE and Outlook Express, as I’m not going to do tech support on something I don’t use).

When I got back home, Jill was in pain. She’d made salsa with some of the tomatoes we had, and she’d gotten jalapeno juice on her hands. I told her to soak them in yogurt, but that was only helping a little, so she switched off between that and ice water. She couldn’t concentrate on studying, so we watched the new “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. Man, you can tell where Tim Burton and Johnny Depp were giggling when they made the film. Not a bad movie, but bits were just too over the top. I think I prefer the Gene Wilder version. We stopped in the middle and I made pecan stuffed pork chops for dinner, then we finished the movie. Jill took some drugs and went to bed, whil I finished the paper and “Fever Pitch” (the least of the Nick Hornby adaptions, but still cute).

Sunday I got up earlier and had cereal and read the paper. Jill was feeling back to normal, thank goodness. We left at 2:30 for Annapolis. Dar Williams was playing the Rams Head for two shows, and the early one meant Jill could come. We went for a late lunch/early dinner beforehand at Lemongrass, a nearby Thai place. We started with the roast duck salad (pefrect amount of fish sauce and ginger) then I had the lemongrass pork and Jill had the green chicken curry. We both though our dishes were spiced just right. We headed over to the Rams Head, where we got dessert – scrumptious carrot cake (the selection at Lemongrass wasn’t great) and a Copperhead Ale for me and a Hazelnut Latte for Jill, then sat back in our table near the front to enjoy the show. Dar was her usual entertaining self, full of endearing goofs and stories (and the namedropper had her own name dropped by Dar, she must have been in heaven). We made it home by 8:30, plenty of time for Jill to hit the books again and me to start reading my monthly shipment of comics (after I finish this, of course).

I wish I’d known about this site before I started setting up Jill’s computer. It would have saved me some time, since it’s running Windows 98 (don’t make fun, it’s a legal copy and I didn’t want to buy a new OS).

I knew it

Rock music boosts your brain power

[T]here is a significant effect on people exposed to their favourite type of music.

Those played rock music required less mental energy to carry out the task successfully. I would expect to see a similar effect with pop fans played pop music or anyone else exposed to their favourite type of music. The music primes the brain to perform certain tasks more efficiently.

Two years

Friday I was worn out, and just wanted to come home and relax. Which I did, reading the paper, and watching some of the MTV Video Music Awards. Jill was studying, finally coming down after I heated up some pizza and made a Caesar salad. Jill was wiped and went to bed, I stayed up reading for a while.

Saturday I got up around 11 and walked Illa, then made some egg sandwiches while watching some more Galactica 1980. Jill needed to pick up a copy of Friday’s lecture (on CD – kids these days) from a classmate in Arlington, so we went to the Tyson’s library booksale (Jill made out much better than me), then she dropped me off at the CD Cellar so I could raid the clearance bin (plus pick up Guster’s live CD/DVD for $6 slightly scratched). She picked me up and we scooted off. I watched the rest of the MTV Video Music Awards and the Guster DVD while reading the paper, then searching through cookbooks to decide what to do with a pork tenderloin. I decided grilled and glazed sounded good, but couldn’t decide between Asian glazed (kind of a BBQ) and Glazed Cheese (a cream cheese/whipped cream spread on top), so I made ’em both. It took a while, but I liked ’em – edge to the second one, though. We had them with broccoli, then Jill cleaned up then we watched Sideways, which we both enjoyed.

Sunday I got up around 10 and made hollandaise sauce and a bacon omelette (with hollandaise, natch) while watching Blade. Jill wasn’t in the mood for that and went out to grab a bagel. She was again studying, so I read – the paper, Entertainment Weekly, and various magazines: a couple issues of Paste, Comics Buyers Guide, Money, and Washington Post Magazine. That took most of the day, mostly out on the deck. I listened to Roger Waters in Baltimore in 1999, getting ready for him here this month. Jill finished studying and changed, then I changed.

Our anniversary was Monday, but since we had group plans that day, we’d elected to celebrate our anniversary Sunday. I’d made reservations at a local Italian place, Fiore di Luna, and we got there a little early, just before 7. The place was nearly empty and we were seated tight away. Jill ordered a bottle of pinot gris, and they brought bread. She started with asparagus soup, while I had the beef carpaccio (which she nearly chose, not knowing the beef wasn’t cooked) – both tasty, I had almost ordered the asparagus soup. Our entrees were a ravioi filled with duck (for her), and a roasted duck with polenta and a honey orange sesame sauce (for me). I’d ordered the braised lamb shank, but they’d run out, which was fine as I almost always enjoy duck, and this was no exception. The portions were appropriately sized (unusual for most Italian restaurants), so I was actually hungry for dessert. I had the apple strudel (served like an egg roll) and Jill had a chocolate moose. Both looked and tasted great. The whole meal was excellent – only con was the inattentive service (had to call the waitress several time for water refills, more bread and more wine). We were back home by 10 and had decided to make it a movie night, with possibly the strangest double feature ever: the cute and touching “Because Of Winn-Dixie” (with Dave Matthews’ movie debut), followed by the very foul but very funny “Aristocrats” (you’ll never look at Bob Saget the same way again). I also experimented with drinks, like a mango daiquiri and cranberry/cranberry vodka/sweetened lime juice mix (I guess it’s a cranberry martini), finishing off with a glass of crema catalina.

Monday we slept in again. I woke up around 11 and made eggs benedict, which Jill joined me for. After breakfast we exchanged gifts. The second anniversary was cotton, so she got me some Redskins wear and I got her some intimate apparel. She cleaned the kitchen while I went online to start some eBay auctions. I started helping her get some ready, but we ran out of time. It was the annual Labor Day Jazz and Wine festival, and we’d told Janice and Stuart we’d be there by 2:30. So of course it was close to 3 by the time we showed, and the rain had started. We saw that before leaving, and had packed appropriate rain gear. I decided not to do the tasting; I’d realized while watching Sideways that I’m not into tasting wine – I don’t mind drinking it, but I’m not picky about it (beer being another matter, of course). So I sat and watched the music (the blues of Reggie Wayne Morris being the high point) while Jill tasted and chatted, having run into a current classmate and an old classmate from Boston. The rain intensified, but I was sitting under an umbrella and it didn’t bother me. I also got a fresh tasty crab cake sandwich from a vendor. We came back and Jill realized she had a bit much, so we hung out and played with Illa ’til she felt better. We went over to Janice and Stuart’s where we hung out on the deck and chatted. We’d brought some mini-quesadillas, then we ordered some pizza from Prima. We headed home around 10 as it was a school night (what I’ve been calling them for years, but now it’s too true for us). Jill got ready for school and went to bed, while I read the paper while watching a Bonarroo documentary (best parts were the juxtaposition of Dave Matthews and Friends arriving in a huge bus vs. the Black Keys (small two man indie band) coming by van, and Trey Anastasio learning how to conduct an orchestra). Then it was later than I thought, so I went to bed.

I didn’t want to get up today, rainy mornings are the worst. I snoozed for almost an hour, then slowly made my way in, getting to work at 10. A quick lunch at work (I packed ingredients for a BLT), then a busy day (happy it’s only a 4 day week). Leftover summer chili and frozen shrimp with pasta and spinach for dinner, then Jill studied some more while I started “Ghost Dog”. Hopefully bed soon.