Presidential weekend

Friday we met my family at McCormick & Schmick’s (incidentally the first Valentine’s Day Jill and I had together was at the Reston location). My sister doesn’t like to celebrate her birthday, so my mom has an “unbirthday” dinner about the same time each year. I wasn’t too hungry, had the chowder and a shrimp Caesar salad (the exact thing by dad got too) while Jill got the Mahi-mahi. A nice dinner, then we headed home. Jill was tuckered out and went to bed, I stayed up a bit reading newspapers.

Saturday was cool but I took Illa out for a good long run/walk. He had his nails trimmed by our dog walkers and cried a river, but he was worn out by the time we left for DC. We had to stop at my favorite store, and since that’s not Jill’s idea of a good time, I told her she could go to another favorite, but she decided she’d just get coffee and read while I shopped. It took us a little while to get downtown as there was big repair work going on at Metro Center, but we did have time to complete a very important task: make it to the restroom at the National Portrait Gallery to see the portrait of Stephen Colbert. We also had time to see the RECOGNIZE! exhibit and America’s Presidents (appropriate given the weekend).

Stephen Colbert portrait at the National Portrait Gallery

We were right on time to our reservation at Poste. I had read about the bass and the rabbit, and decided to get the bass while Jill got the Beef Bourguignon, and we both started with the celeriac soup, hearty and smoky. We shared an order of the truffle oil drizzled fries before the entrees arrived – I’d read they were pretty good and they were (though Dr. Granville Moore’s Brickyard still has the best fries in DC) For dessert Jill has scoops of the housemade pistachio and hazelnut ice creams and the citrus sorbet, while I had the gingerbread cake with poached pears and hazelnut ice cream. The “Pear Of Queens” cocktail made with rosemary roasted pear puree was a great accompaniment to end the evening.

Sunday I finished my epic eBay auction – took about 7 hours to get everything done. I read the newspaper and finished my monthly comics, grilled steaks and sauteed asparagus with butter, garlic and feta for dinner. I read my weekly book after Jill went to sleep, going to sleep the first time all weekend after midnight. Today I got up and it was gorgeous out. I took Illa on a romp through the woods, then we hung out on the deck for a while. I had a massage scheduled and enjoyed that, then returned home to start another auction (small one this time). Now I’m going to unfreeze some leftovers for dinner as Jill’s home early, then head off to Iota to catch Howie Day.


A quick and simple Valentine’s Day this year. I’d made reservations at Poste, but Jill was scheduled to work late and couldn’t face going out when she had to get up and do it all over again on Friday. So I moved the reservation to today and made a backup plan. She called and told me she was leaving work just as I was, so I had to hurry. First stop was Lowe’s, since there’s nothing more romantic than a fixed toilet, then on to Thai Basil, a Thai place in Chantilly that’d been getting some raves, then home, where I managed to beat her home, but didn’t finish getting the food reheated for a bit.

We started with the Po Piah Tod (vegetarian spring rolls), which came with a nice sweet but hot sauce. I’d meant to get Jill Gang Matsaman Nua (beef curry), but instead got her Goong-Gang Himmapaan (shrimp, chicken and cashews) – good thing she liked it. It wasn’t on the menu, but I’d read about their crispy duck and basil and tried that. I’m a duck fan, but had never had it thai style before – fantastic flavor accompaniment. For dessert, we tried the sticky rice with steamed custard, very tasty, and Jill had brought some chocolate covered strawberries as well.

Writer’s strike

I’m glad that they got most of what they wanted, and I’m glad it’s over, ’cause I love TV. There’s a handy guide to what comes back when here. It seems a number of shows will come back for another 4-5 eps. Saturday Night Live returns next Saturday, and The Daily Show and Colbert Report are supposed to get their staffs back tomorrow night. I assume Bill Maher gets his staff this week as well (New Rules is the thing I’ve missed most during the strike).

Movies I’ve watched, week six

8. Freejack
A movie I’d wanted to see for a while, since it was based on a Robert Sheckley novel (whose work I had to read after seeing a pull quote by Douglas Adams – “I had no idea the competition was so terrifyingly good”). The books are great, but this movie, not so much. Emilio Estevez does ok as the time shifted protagonist (which I didn’t find such a stretch considering his work in Repo Man), Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins are good, although Mick Jagger is a bit out of place as a bounty hunter (I kept expecting Keith to pop up and wasn’t surprised when Jerry Hall did). The idea is interesting but the execution is more of a movie length chase scene, and you see the ending coming a mile away. C

Odd aside: I still have the soundtrack for sale, which I’ve had since my old record store closed, and it was there when I first came aboard back in 1994 (not that I’m terribly surprised – only ok collection of songs, and Mick Jagger’s on the cover but not inside).

9. Rudy
I watched this while on the bus to go skiing. Had never seen it before, a great sports movie of a kid whose dream it was to play football at Notre Dame. Sean Astin does a good job with the title character (and he’s older than I thought he was. B

10. Epic Movie
I like spoof movies, and I liked the X-Men, Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter movies, but this fell flat. Even Jennifer Coolidge, Fred Willard and Kevin McDonald (Kids In the Hall) as Harry Potter couldn’t do too much, although Crispin Glover as Willy Wonka and Darrell Hammond as Captain Jack Swallows are both gloriously unhinged. I don’t know if I’d chose to watch Meet the Spartans (from the same folks) after this flick. D+

Weekend and Brogue

Another light Friday (Buffalo chicken salad for dinner), followed by another busy Saturday as I wanted to get outside before a windy and cold Sunday. Friday was a quick dinner of, followed by an early bedtime for Jill and Super Mario for me. I took Illa out for a nice run/walk Saturday, then settled in to catch up on papers and start my monthly comics shipment. The last issue of Y: The Last Man was good, but not quite what I was expecting. Saturday night we had leftovers of the tandoori chicken I’d made, and then we read some more.

Sunday was nice for spending indoors. I started another series of eBay auctions, which took most of the morning and afternoon (50 auctions this week). We headed over to the Old Brogue to see Beth Patterson at her 4PM show (she was doing three shows, and earlier is better on a school night). We’d missed her the last two years she’s done January shows at the Brogue, and I was determined not to miss her this time. Very fun show, but short. We stayed afterwards to eat dinner there (I dislike watching a concert while I’m eating), I had corned beef and cabbage while Jill had fish and chips, then we finished with a Jameson’s whiskey cake – couldn’t resist. More Super Mario for me when we got home, then Jill headed to bed and I sped through the Grammys while reading the paper.

Beth Patterson at the Old Brogue


I went skiing for the first time this season yesterday at Ski Liberty. My company had a semi-official trip (they subsidized the cost of the bus) there, and I had a blast. We did night skiing, which I hadn’t done before, and it was also my first time using a helmet. The first couple runs I did were on green trails and I was pretty sloppy, but started getting my form back. The goggles I had to take off as soon as it got dark because I couldn’t see the snow well enough to carve turns, but the helmet was nice – kept me warm, and didn’t affect my balance. I spent most of the night on the back side of the mountain, Heavenly is still my favorite trail there. I skied a little over three hours before I couldn’t hold my form anymore, and I knew I was done. I went to McKee’s Tavern for a bowl of chili and some refreshing muscle relaxants, all of our group coming in before we headed back. I’m tired today, a little sore, but it was worth it (including having to make up the hours I missed).

Movies I’ve watched, week five

7. Fast Food Nation
A very odd book to film translation, considering that the book is non-fiction and the film is fiction. Several distinct storylines vaguely intersect, and the odd cast, including Wilmer Valderrama, Bruce Willis, Greg Kinnear, Kris Kristofferson, Ethan Hawke and Avril Lavigne (yes, that Avril Lavigne) doesn’t really click. The movie’s more preachy than actually telling a good story, even though it has some important things to tell you it’s just not very good at doing so. C-