Sunday, December 28, 2008

In Love ...

Well ... almost.

I don't really subscribe to the doctrine of love at first sight, but the opening scene of the first episode of Californication almost took the cake. I got the 1st disc in the mail yesterday and watched the whole thing while attempting to clean my house. Very funny ... between this Weeds and Dexter, Showtime really has a pretty awesome line-up. I can't get into the Tudors and haven't seen the L Word, Brotherhood or the new show, Crash, so don't have an opinion on those. Can't wait for Blockbuster to put the next disc in the mail.

On a different note ... going to the Ravens game in a few minutes and all I hear out my window is the wind so I am sure this is going to be a fun one.

Friday, December 26, 2008

My Christmas

Is it considered a tangent when you start with it?? Anyways ... here is a package I received in the mail from Hawaii (Click to make it bigger and read the bottom). Thanks Uncle Lance & Aunt Karen, it's hanging on my chimney until I have a complete house:

After the adventures of searching for lunch ... this is how the rest of my day went:

  • Watched program on how beer is losing market share in the alcoholic beverage industry and what brewers are doing to combat this with my Mom and sister
  • Watched "Prince Caspian (2nd chapter of the Narnia stories), again with Mom and sis
  • Aunt and Dad got home; Aunt went to nap, Dad left to let a dog out somewhere
  • Started cooking roast (not me), finished Caspian movie
  • Dad got back, started "Nightmare Before Christmas" after unsuccessfully finding something interesting to watch on TV
  • Opened gifts (we only do stockings and got/gave mostly giftcards so it didn't take long)
  • Ate dinner
  • Sis' BF showed up
  • Started playing Loaded Questions (more below)
  • Finished playing Loaded Questions (Dad won)
  • Went home (with a stop at Blockbuster)
  • Watched Mummy movie (third one, with Jet Li) while hanging laundry and cleaning up
  • Passed out
Loaded Questions is an awesome game but I have to warn against playing it with family. The basic idea of the game is that everyone writes down their answer to a question and the person whose turn it is has to attribute each answer to one of the players. There are also reversals where everyone has to write down what they think the person whose turn it is will answer. The game is great when you have a lot of creative people or are aided in creativity through some fluid means (not that I know what that means). "Why the warning," you ask? One of the questions was, "What is the most expensive item you have stolen?" ... my dad was guessing among answers like, "an office stapler" and "a binder." Shit, I am not going to answer that question honestly ... I was in college ... and a teenager growing up in boring ass Columbia ... now, I'm not saying I am (or was) a kleptomaniac at any point, but I won't deny acquiring a keg or 2 through unscrupulous means over the years or maybe some other random things like 5 gallon tubs of ice cream from the school cafeteria or one of those newspaper things on the street corner (OK, that wasn't me ... but when I showed up at DT and Snuggles' apartment ON CAMPUS and was able to get the Sunday paper in their living room ... it was pretty funny) or just something more significant than office supplies. [See, I can go on a tangent at the beginning and end of a post] Just remember, you've been warned about playing with family ... otherwise, it's an awesome game.

I'm Going to Miss You in the New Year

I woke up determined yesterday morning. "Determined to do what?" you ask ... to get some form of burrito-type food for lunch. Thankfully, Columbia provides with me every possibility to get this food and my Mom happens to live in Columbia.

On my way home I headed to my favorite of the main four (Chipotle) and they had some clever sign on the door indicating how the Silent Night is overlapping into a silent day and they will be closed (Chipotle definitely has the best marketing team of the four). Next stop ... well kinda, I didn't pull into the shopping center but looked from the main road to see that Q'doba was also closed. Across the street from that shopping center housed a Baja Fresh, but I couldn't see it from the street and had to pull in. I drove by another empty building and continued on my quest. On the way to the next stop I had to drive by the Dog Pub and noticed 4 or 5 cars outside and made a note in case I was unsuccessful in my mission. The final stop was California Tortilla ... again I was faced with an empty store. Instead of heading back to Dog Pub, I parked and decided to get sushi at the place next door to Cal Tort.

After a call home to see what they wanted, I placed an order for some edamame, an eel & avocado roll, a shrimp tempura roll and a California roll. While waiting for the meal, I thought about this competition coming up and starting making a (mental) list of all the things I am going to miss when I start and about how (if I am successful) I won't be able to go back to the way it used to be. So basically ... I wrote all this just to say:

"Chipotle ... you'll be missed!"

Oh, and I got a Chipotle giftcard yesterday and am making it a goal to use it before the 5th.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

On a different (and sad) note

Does anyone know anything about this? I think some people from the area read this and I was shocked when I saw this headline. The woman was only 22.

Happy Holidays

Since I doubt I will write anything tomorrow, I figure I should say Happy Holidays to everyone out there.

Since it is a half day at work I will be heading to Mahaffey's for 30-cent wings and a couple beers before finishing up my shopping and heading to my Mom's for dinner tonight. I think I want to bring my PS3 and the Dark Knight to her house so I can watch it in all it's high-def (and IMAX) glory on my 57 inch TV with surround sound, both of wich are too big for my house and have essentially been donated to my Mom.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Breakfast in My Pants ... Really

Saturday night I went to a friend's house out in the 'burbs for a small holiday get together. Being that NFL Network sucks and made the Ravens game on Saturday night, I decided to ignore everyone until the end of the game ... or at least until Le'Ron McClain reached his 82nd yard on that last play after introducing the Cowboys' safety to the turf, face first.

After the game was over, I had some fun playing Scene It on the host's Xbox and realized that it was much better than any board game or other DVD game because it came with buzzers and everyone answered with those, instead of yelling out the answer. It was kind of like playing trivia at a bar/restaurant with those keypads. After a little Rockband we decided to do our white elephant gift exchange.

This is where the title comes into play. One girl brought a gift in the most awesome bag ever and I had to have it; no matter what was inside. I didn't care if there was a brick in it (like the gifts I prepared for other exchanges), I was going to have it. Since there were not a lot of people and most didn't seem used to this type of exchange, there was not a lot stealing going on and I ended up with it pretty easily. The contents of the "Santa Pants" included a very awesome smelling bag of coffee, some strawberry pancake mix and some strawberry syrup. I don't remember the brands, but it all seems like high quality stuff.

Everyone else got stuff too ... I am sure they were good gifts, but I was too fixated on my breakfast pants to notice. Someone did get a couple DVDs that sparked a long conversation about movies and ultimately ended with someone putting on Love Actually. I'm not exactly sure how we got to Love Actually, but there were points in the conversation that talked about the multiple interconnected storylines of Crash (with Thandie Newton and Don Cheadle not the creepy movie about people turned on by car crashes) and something about Keira Knightley. Anyways, this movie contains one of my favorite sappy scenes in movies I wouldn't admit to watching ... and yes, I watched the scene multiple times to find a decent version on youtube:

Monday, December 22, 2008

"Bad Idea" Personified

Friday night I met up with my friend Shelley for some drinks at the local watering hole. We hung out for about an hour before I had to head to my friend Amy's (and her roommates') "40 Ounces of Holiday Cheer" (or something like that) party. This turned out to be the worst idea I have had in the last 6 years (in terms of drinking decisions). For those of you unfamiliar with the process ... too bad, I'm not explaining ... the pictures will give you an idea. I now have to agree with my buddy Newman's philosophy, "people should not drink malt liquor." I also will add that if one decides to ignore Newman's words of wisdom, one should not forget to eat dinner (thankfully I did have a couple pieces of Shelley's 'dilla from the bar) and have half a dozen beers at the bar before doing so.

Yes this is blurry, but so was I at that point ... it's an artistic shot conveying the perception of the subject.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Present Unwrapped

Since I am working from home, I can take pictures of the brick work and immediately post them. A little before and after:

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My First Present of the Season

Actually, it's not so much of a present since I will be paying for it ... but I am happy none the less. My contractor is coming by tomorrow with his brick guy to repair many of the holes in my house. I'll be sure to post pictures once it's done.

Now, off to the bar for dinner and drinks ... Yellow Dog in Canton, I wonder how it will be.

When more turns into less

Is it bad that I am trying to gain or at least maintain my weight before the weight-loss competition starts on January 5th?

I have been eating what I want (getting Chipotle whenever I can since that will be missed the most), drinking soda, and having regular beer (lagers, stouts) instead of the usual light beers. I am not trying hard to gain weight, but not watching what I eat as I normally would. The problem is, I have lost weight (not much) since last week and am kinda confused. I hope this means I should be able to lose weight easily when I commit to it in a couple weeks, but I don't want to go in having already lost some. Remember ... I am competitive and want to win, even if my goals are to be healthy and get in the routine of working out.

That's all I got for right now ... I'll try and be more interesting soon, working on some house posts and thinking a lot about career options.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Weekend Review

I don't have any pictures from Friday night, nor do I have the writing ability to accurately describe the events that transpired. I will say this though, the night involved all of the following for some or all of the people in my group:

  • Bartender's
  • Trivia Pursuit cards
  • Teachers
  • A vice-principal ralphing outside the bar's window
  • Some game involving charades
  • Getting carded for ordering water
  • Someone giving someone else's number to the bartender
  • Defining the term "Cranking a Squeege"
Saturday I went out with Newman looking at houses. He is in the market to buy and I wanted to see a bunch of houses in Canton that weren't mine and I couldn't afford. We looked at a total of 10 houses and he found 2 he really likes, and 1 that would be an awesome investment (short sale) but was too big for what he wanted. After looking at the houses, we grabbed some food at Nacho Mama's (love this place) then parted ways before the holiday party that night.

I got to the party a little early so I could set-up Rockband and help out if necessary. I think this year was more fun for me than last year because more people from work showed up and several from my group of friends. We played some Rockband (I sang and everyone kinda stopped talking for a minute and looked over to see if they needed to call for an ambulance) had some good food and counted the minutes till the gift exchange. I am not going to explain the format, but let's just say there was lots of stealing and plenty of strategery going on. I think I ended up with one of the best gifts because of it. I do, however, feel a little bad for whoever got my gift. I used a gift bag and wrapped a brick (since I have plenty of them lying around) in tissue, then placed two of those mini-cereal boxes on top with more tissue paper. Actually, I loaded it with tissue paper so no one would be able to see the brick. People were stealing it since it was heavy and they thought there was something good in there. There was a Starbucks giftcard, but it was under the cardboard under the brick ... thankfully the person found it before throwing the bag out. For your viewing pleasure:

Sunday was fun (other than the Ravens losing). This was the first game I went to with my dad, and his second game ever. He didn't come to the tailgate, but seemed to have a good time during the game (until the end when he had to break-up a fight while leaving). Not really much to say about the game, I can't be too upset because the Ravens had 3 chances to score a TD and couldn't ... plus, I am pretty confident in the ability of the Steelers to get 6 inches if that touchdown wasn't overturned (if you didn't see (or hear about) the game, none of that will make sense). I didn't drink much throughout the day because I had to bolt right at the end so I could make our volleyball game. We went 1 - 2 and after the game I was pretty pissed ... I hate losing.

Accountability Doesn't Mean You're Good at Math

I've been told that telling others something makes you more likely to follow through with it since it creates a sense of accountability. I hope this happens to be the case for this. Even though it isn't starting till January, I joined the other day and paid my money now ... so it's fresh on my mind. I am doing a biggest loser type competition at my gym. It consists of 3 teams of 4-6 people and lasts 8 weeks. Each week you have one personal training session and one group training session, plus whatever you do on your own. It cost a lot of money, but I feel like the value to me is going to come from getting in the routine of going to the gym ... also, 16 training sessions is a lot and should prove to be very helpful. I'm usually not motivated to do something unless there is some form of competition involved, so that is also a reason I feel this will be helpful. Here are some random thoughts as to why I am doing this ... and also a wonderful photo timeline of my fabulous physique.

I am a large man. Not large like I need to buy 2 seats on an airplane, but large enough that I can still shop at J. Crew (since I am the epitome of preppy? Let's go with Old Navy), but could also find some clothes at the Big & Tall store on the corner. I'm over 6'3'' and tip the scale at a scant 275 lbs ... and I've never really lifted weights (consistently) in my life, so its not like I have any kind of athletic build. When I was in Chile this past January and my friend ordered me a drink, he directed the waiter to me and the waiter's response was, "Ah, grande hombre, si?" Classic.

While my weight is not something I am overly concerned about (who wouldn't like to lose some weight), my health is. I used to play basketball 3 to 4 nights a week (even skipping night classes if necessary) and pick-up football games on the weekend in college. I also played in every intramural sports there was (until I was suspended from intramurals my last semester). I was a smoker then (19 months since my last one) and drank almost every night, but I never felt as tired as I do now. I don't really have the ability to play that often and it isn't as convenient as it was in college, now I have to find a way to go to the gym (I do try an play everything I can, and right now that consists of volleyball and I just signed up for an indoor soccer league starting in January).

Here's that photo timeline I know you all have been waiting for ... with captions that would probably be funnier if I was writing them on a Friday or Saturday night.

Senior Prom - Spring 2001, this was the heaviest I have ever been, right around 285 and at this point in my life I had about zero strength so it was all padding.

Ireland - August 2004, this is probably the best shape I was ever in, around 215. I think this is from Kilkenny and the wall is part of some castle ruins that were on the property of the B&B we were staying at.

Florence, Italy - March 2005, My sister and I in Italy, back up to about 225 (probably more than that when I got home, but I did walk around the city for several hours each day, so maybe not).

Chile - January 2008, I don't think this picture is an accurate representation, I think the suit was sitting weird ... but I look at this whenever I need motivation to work out ... also of note is that this is the same suit I wore in the first picture because my suits from college aren't really the right size anymore. Around 275.

This is another one from Chile that I like, so I figured I'd post it.

Expect funny stories of my working out failures (but hopefully successes) and maybe I'll be able to run in the St. Paddy's Day 5K which is my goal for the end of this competition.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Happy Birthday Aunt Karen, when can I visit?

Today is my godmother's birthday and since they read this from Hawaii, I figured I would send out a Happy Birthday. I hate giving cards and don't need to receive one to know someone cares, plus my memory is shit so saying I hate them gets me off the hook a little when I don't send one to someone I should (which is everyone). Also, I am trying to score some points so I can go visit someday when I get some money and someone (of the female variety) that wants to go to Hawaii and passes my godfather's strict physique requirements. Seriously, he needs to be sent a picture before I can bring a guest. Just kidding ... maybe.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Blast from the Past

I have been writing a post and going through old pictures and came across a fun one ... well, it is fun for me and I thought I'd share it.

Yup, that's me ... and this is my family

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Battle of the Beltways with a side order of frigid

Sunday was a fun day ... haha ... get it ... it rhymes. This should be the last of my barrage of posts for the day.

The Ravens - Redskins game was moved to 8:15 which proved to be good for hot chocolate sales but that's about it. It was cold during the tailgate and even colder during the game. I got to the lot around 4:30 and realized that I wanted to go home to my 58 degree house cause I cold walk around in shorts and still be comfortable. Here, I was wearing UA (Under Armour) pants with jeans over them, long warm socks with a second pair on top, a UA cold gear long sleeved mock turtleneck thing with a long sleeve shirt over it with a jersey over it with a hoodie of it with a ski jacket over it, and a cheap pair of gloves they sold me in the parking lot with a nice pair of gloves over them ... and a knit beanie ... with my hood up. It was cold ... and especially cold for me since my life goal is to move to Arizona and never see snow again.

The game was great (defensively). I'm very glad the Ravens got out to an early lead and were winning comfortably toward the end of the 3rd quarter so I could leave and start to feel my extremities again. I don't know how the people at the Pittsburgh game handled the 7 degree weather, but I guess they are more used to it. Ed Reed was a beast all game and in the next play from the picture below he decided to run backwards into the end zone after picking up the Portis fumble that he caused.

I like the Redskins, but I live in Baltimore and like the Ravens more. Since they are in different conferences and only play each other once every 4 years, I am OK with cheering for both. I would probably be more of a Skins fan if I grew up watching a lot of football but my grandpa was more of a Orioles fan and I went to a ton of those games (including Cal's 2131) instead. Of course I find baseball to be one of the most boring sports there is, so figure that one out.

Santa's Coming to Town

Saturday began very painfully. I needed lots of water before I could head to my mom's house. From there I curled up in the passenger seat and let her drive to the hostess' house. Everything got better once we got there and we waited as all the families started showing up.

Once everyone was there I went upstairs and changed into the suit, rang some bells and waited till I heard all the parents saying, "what's that, Santa's here." I had no idea what I was doing, but luckily 90% of the kids were 2 or under and didn't know what was happening either. My favorite moments were with Sienna (11 months old), Olivia (17 months old) and my Godson (27 months old). Sienna was great because she just seemed like the happiest kid in the world at the time. She was swinging her arms and smiling and looking around; she really appearred to love being the center of attention (but who doesn't when they are a kid). Olivia on the other hand ... she wanted nothing to do with me. The moment I said I had a gift for her and her mommy started picking her up she began screaming. She was waving her arms around too, but trying to break free from her mom carrying her over to see me. Her mommy sat on my lap holding her for thier pictures, but the whole time Olivia was leaning out trying to be as far away from me as possible. My Godson was funny because he had his blanket and was clutching it for dear life the entire time. He posed for his pictures (below) holding it, held it when he gave me a high five, and held it when he got off my lap and started to walk away. As he was going I said, "Do you want your present?" Before I even finished that question the blanket was on the floor and the gift was in his hands.

Overall it was a good experience. I was happy to make the kids and their parents smile. Wearing the suit though is a different story, it was not comfortable and the beard and wig made me feel like I was in the desert. I must have smelled pretty bad after because the suit was definately not made of light fabric. Also, this is the same suit that was worn by the Santa when I was a kid ... so it is well over 20 years old. Plus, I think the tallest person wearing it was maybe 6' tall and I am over 6'3'' ... I also probably have about 70 lbs. on any of them. Oh well, got to start working on a better act for next year.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Friday Night Shenanigans

Of course it takes me until Wednesday to get around to posting about Friday. I guess this can be considered a good thing since I have been busy with my job and am happy to have a job (but who wouldn't want to employ me?). A really good friend got laid off Friday and that sucks a lot, as did some people I liked but wouldn't really consider a friend.

Friday night's small holiday party was great ... well, at least the parts I remember were. It was at Boozer's house and it has been determined that she can make party food like no one else. She should have a show on the food network. I have a picture of some of it, but let's just say it was great and I won't miss one of her parties ever again.

The night involved lots of beer pong (indoors to prevent hypothermia), WoW comments toward Ish, and me finishing a whole bottle of Captain's Private Stock. The night came to a conclusion shortly after I was discovered passed out on the floor in one of the room's in the basement and everyone decided they wanted to write on me but couldn't since I was being Santa the next day. After I woke up, the volleyball people that were still there posed for a team shot with the hoodies we won from the Baltimore Beach fall league (Do I look as though I consumed an entire bottle of rum? I think so). I was told we went to the bar shortly after this picture and I ordered water (no ice) had some then told them I needed to go. When I woke up Saturday, all my clothes were nicely folded and my keys and money was organized, why can't I do that every night when I go home sober?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Holiday Parties this Weekend

My friend Boozer from my volleyball team is having a holiday party tonight for the team and a bunch of friends. Several of my friends from work are coming with me and this should provide a perfect distraction from the earlier events of the day. I don't know if we are staying at her house the entire time or if we are going to venture out later on, either way it should be a great time.

As I said earlier, tomorrow is my first performance as Santa. I really don't know what to expect and don't know if I will be into it, but it will be nice to see all the excited kids. I also don't know a lot of the kids' names so I feel like I need to put together an index card and tape it to my sleeve like a quarterback does with their plays. I just hope there are some good pictures. Think it's acceptable if I drink before, it will definitely increase my commitment to acting like Santa?

Not necessarily holiday themed, but Sunday will definitely be a party. The Ravens - Redskins game is at 8:15 and I will be tailgating from 3:30ish on. I'll probably get to Fed Hill before that and watch some of the 1 o'clock games at Cross Street Market. Don't expect any posts until Monday at the earliest, but if there are any they will probably be lies and written after quite a bit of drinking.

Friday Layoffs

So the cuts came today and all I can say right now is that this sucks. The atmosphere here blows and I am going to miss a bunch of people that are gone. I can't really say anything else right now but am glad I have a holiday party tonight to consume my attention

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fail is the Theme for this Half of the Week

So I completely failed at getting into the office at 4 AM yesterday morning and I blame it on this Internet thing these kids today are using to send messages instantly to one another until 1 AM. I did get in sometime during the 7 AM hour though. Got a lot of what I needed to done but still have some to finish up today and tomorrow before starting on the project I was up all Sunday night working on. Today is a different story all together, I didn't get in until after 10. The only upsetting part about that was our cafeteria closes for breakfast at 9:30 and I love their breakfast foods. Oh, that and the fact my company announced layoffs ... which is awesome and really motivates me to complete all this stuff. Those affected will be told tomorrow (I think).

I also feel obliged to mention the Terps victory over Michigan last night and another year of the ACC winning the ACC - Big Ten challenge. Sorry Corey (btw, do you know a contractor for minor brick work, I haven't been able to get in touch with the guy I used for other stuff). The game wasn't pretty (at least the first half), but the Terps won and I like how aggressively they are going after the ball; the rebound differential was huge. It was also pretty cool because Shawne Merriman was there for a coat drive he sponsors annually (I guess that is a plus side of being out for the season since he would be suiting up for a game against the Raiders tonight otherwise) and Clinton Portis was sitting court side for most of the game. He probably didn't appreciate the mix of cheers and boos from the obviously mixed crowd of Ravens and Redskins fans. I also wonder if there would have been more cheers if the Skins weren't playing the Ravens this weekend, or if he didn't play for the U.

On a completely separate topic, this weekend should be fun ... I'm going to be Santa at a party for the kids in my family's huge group of friends. My godson is part of the group and really the only reason I am doing this ... that and I am the closest to Santa's physique out of the group (even though I don't think the Santa of legend was 6'4''). I'll be sure to get pictures and post them. I am doing a bunch of other fun stuff this weekend and will probably mention that stuff later tonight or sometime tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Busy, busy work week

This week has been ridiculously crazy at work and it all has to do with the fact I am the quintessential procrastinator. I have a shit-ton of work due this week and had over a week to do it but decided to wait until Sunday night to start (I started previously but didn't make much headway cause I tend to get easily distracted). I'll admit that this stuff would have taken the entire week if I worked on it during regular hours regardless of my procrastination so it is pretty impressive that I'll be able to get it done, and it will be great work ... cause that's how I roll.

I went into work on Sunday night at around 10 PM and didn't leave till 2:30 the next afternoon. This was a long time to be at work and I started to get into a zombie state of mind toward the end. I did end up writing at least 20 pages worth of workflows and procedures and other analyst crap while still having to support everything that was breaking with the applications my team supports. I proceeded to go home and pass the F out until having to go back into work at 7:30 AM today. I got a significant amount done but still have more and will be heading into the office around 4 AM tomorrow (Wednesday) ... I'll end up putting in well over 40 hours for the week by EOD (end of day) tomorrow. Luckily, everything is due tomorrow afternoon so Thursday and Friday will be normal days, even though I have to work late Friday.

Tomorrow, I won't be able to go home and sleep right after work because instead I am going to the Terps basketball game for the ACC/Big Ten challenge against Michigan. My friend from work (haven't given him a nickname yet), my dad and Betty are going. I don't have high expectations for the Terps this season but really want to get a look at freshmen Sean Mosley and Jin So Kim. Its going to be a long day ... and week. Bed time!

Loving me some Louisiana Crabs

Saturday I went to my dad's girlfriend's (remember, Betty?) house for dinner (and watch the Terps fall apart). I met her brother, his partner (both from San Diego), and her mom. I liked them all and her brother was pretty funny and very outspoken. Her son Bamm was there too. While waiting for dinner and trying not to cry from the disaster that is the Terps, we (Me, Bamm, Betty's brother and his partner) played several games of Wii bowling. I have a Wii and haven't played it since my graduation party in the beginning of the summer so this was a good time and makes me think I want to start having people over to play again. After playing Wii, Bamm wanted to play Warhawk (a PS3 war game) online with me. I own this game too, but have only played it twice in my life so it was a fairly new undertaking. We play for about an hour until Betty left to go pick up dinner.

Betty got back with the crabs, but I can't remember where she got them; she lives out in the country so I wouldn't know anything around there anyway. Everyone sat down to eat while my dad and I watched the final pick-6 thrown by Turner this regular season. I haven't had crabs in a while (mainly due to lack of funding) and was pretty happy to get some this late in the year and good ones at that. Since I live very close to the water in Baltimore, I was getting crabs a lot over the summer, there are a lot of good places nearby. I assumed they were Maryland crabs but never knew for sure. These were obviously from Louisiana, they other primary source of this kind of crab. These were very good and had the right amount seasoning on them, nice and spicy. The only problem now is I want to get them again but don't want to spend the money. I know what the title says but I definitely love me some Maryland crabs more.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving Eve Festivities

Since I did not have a Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving, I am glad I got to enjoy a great night on Thanksgiving eve. Actually, my only meal I had on actual Thanksgiving consisted of left over Chinese food from the previous Friday, at least it wasn't the Ramen I had planned on eating.

The night began with a lasagna dinner that was brought by several people and was very scrumptious. I brought Jager and Red Bull for desert. After everyone was done eating we played the easiest drinking game ever. You assign everyone a number and roll dice, when your number comes up, you drink. If there aren't enough people then all the unused numbers are social (usually the highest and lowest numbers). After a while we moved to an easier version, odd numbers are for the girls and even numbers are the guys. We had our desert (Jager, Sambuca, or Grape Vodka) and headed to the Pickled Parrot.

I don't have any exciting stories from the bar, but can say that it was a great time.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Finally getting to the Weekend

This was supposed to be 50 hours of straight drunkenness that turned out to by one night of crazy drinking, a day of recovery and nerdom, followed by a day of partial drunkenness and an early night to bed.

Friday night started on track when I left work and was able to get to Slainte in Fells Point by 5. This was my first time there and I definately liked it. I always like going to an Irish Pub, but unfortunately none of the girls had an accent (but some of the guys did). Some good conversations and a few half & half's later my friends called me and I had to head home so they could pick me up with all my Rock Band and weekend stuff. We headed over to Newman and Paris' place in Fed Hill and continued drinking while playing our world tour:

After a couple hours we head to Dog Pub on Cross St. for some more drinks and to meet up with some friends. On the way there I ran into an ex that was pretty drunk heading to some other bar in Fed Hill, it's always nice to know how small the world is. Several "pairs" and some shuffleboard games later we decided to head to Ropewalk down the street. This is where things started to get interesting. There were a bunch of people dancing (they dance at Ropewalk) in the back room and certain members of our group were destined to join in. Of course we had to get the obligatory drunk picture at the bar with some drunk ass-hole giving the shocker, a guy appearing to be sleeping standing up, the contemplative drunk and the laid back guy with the mohawk beanie (and of course the hot girl in the background):

So the random group of people dancing slowly started to include people from our group. Coincidently, this happened shortly after a group of us had some Jager bombs. The following is an accurate representation of why I do not dance at bars, this could happen to you:

The usual reaction WoW gets when he tries talking to girls ... even one's he knows (OK, maybe this isn't true, but it fits the picture)

We left Ropewalk at last call and then split ways. The majority of people went home and three of us decided it was a good idea to go to the Hookah lounge on Light Street that was open till 5. They don't serve alcohol (hence being open till 5 in B'more) so we ordered some Red Bulls. I was drunk and hungry and ordered some kind awesome shrimp. I also proceeded to force both York and Paris to eat some of them because I was drunk. We got some kind of Hookah and for about 10 minutes I participated. Shorlty thereafter all I remember is being constantly told to wake up. An hour and a half later (after about an hour of solid sleep) the three of us left and headed back to Paris' place. Getting there around 4:30 was great because the walk home in the freezing cold and not drinking for a couple hours woke us up and we felt the need to do the same to everyone else crashing there that had to be up at 5:30 (which was everyone but me and Newman).

The next day I woke up to the jackhammer in my head trying to get out. I thought it was early but it happened to be around 11:30. Everyone else was gone and apparently made it into work on time, even if they weren't coherent and probably unable to pass a sobriety test (they walked to work btw). Newman and I got up and played some Resistance 2 for about an hour until the uncontrolable urge to swear off drinking came over us and figured passing back out would be the best idea. Most of the guys that had to work got home around 5 and a few of us went out to eat. When we got back everyone was pretty much a zombie and we just spent time waiting (and playing video games) for the other 2 to get home so we could go out again. Eventually, we just gave up on going out since we couldn't get in touch with them and they didn't have a key. We decided to be super-nerd and play some future version of Risk. I have never played this and didn't know the rules, but learned them during the first couple of rounds. The other 2 got home real late after working for about 17 hours (one was York who slept 0 hours after getting home from the Hookah lounge) because IBM sucks at life, and proceeded to pass out. Once 2 AM came around and we weren't done playing yet we just quit and all went to sleep.

Woke up the next day and some people went to work again and Newman and I went to the Ravens - Eagles game with several hours of drinking/tailgating before. I am done writing and now need to go out for Thanksgiving Eve festivities.

My Thanksgiving (gotta love family)

OK ... so here is a quick warning ... if you are a member of my family, stop reading now (or don't hold anything I write against me). Everyone else, since I can't express myself very well in my writing ... good luck following along and prepare for a bazillion tangents.

My family had our Thanksgiving 2 Sundays ago since schedules are pretty out of the ordinary and it's difficult to get everyone together. I guess I need to provide an overview of my family structure to be able to explain everything. Let's make use of a bulleted list.
  • Mom and Dad split amicably 3 years ago
  • 2 older sisters (+2 and +4 years, let's call them Lisa(+2) and Maggie(+4))
  • Aunt on Dad's side with 2 dogs lives nearby (Selma)
  • Mom's siblings (Bro w/ family, Sis w/ family) live up north (Red Sox nation)
  • Grandparents on Dad's side no longer with us
  • Grandparents on Mom's side unable to travel (I need to visit them; far north)
  • Dad's been dating Betty for over a year
  • Mom's been dating Fred for under a year
  • Lisa has been dating Milhouse for over a year
  • Maggie has been dating Nelson for over a year
  • Betty has 3 children, one that is still in school (we'll go with Bamm)
  • I don't (or at least apparently shouldn't) date [more on this in a later post]

With that background information you should now have the key to unlocking the following puzzle. That puzzle being my Thanksgiving dinner.

Family gatherings are really a bittersweet experience for me and have been since college. It's rare that everyone gets together and I really love my family so it is always something I look forward to, but at the same time we all have conflicting personalities that seem to get stronger every year. When I say our personalities conflict I don't mean on an individual level, it's just something about all of us together that brings forth the aspects of those personalities that don't blend well. I get along great with all of them when it is just a couple of us (i.e. me, Lisa and Milhouse or me, dad and Betty) but I just can't take all of them together at the same time for very long.

For example, whenever I am getting together with Maggie, I know to tell her about 30 minutes before when I actually expect to see her. She is notoriously late to everything (except work, like ever). This is fine when it's just us or a small group, but when the whole family is waiting to eat and she was supposed to be there over an hour prior, it can get a little aggravating. I can't really think of anything Lisa does that gets on my nerves except that she is really nice and tries too hard to keep everything civil ... if I want to be mad at Maggie, damn it let me express that. As for Selma, I have never really gotten along with her (except when I was really young and we went to lots of hockey games, she was the "cool Aunt") and I don't know why. She just frustrates me beyond belief, and I won't even go into the grudge I hold against her (and my dad to a certain extent) over my dog from college (maybe I will, just not today). My parents are great, they have little quirks that tend to bother me (and I let them know about these), but for the most part we have never really fought about anything significant. Everyone's significant others are also high up on my list, with one slight exception that doesn't really fit in.

Finally, onto the actual day. I love my Thanksgiving because it shows how awesome my family is. We have the dinner at my mom's house and the table is filled with 11 people (10 and the 11th came mid-way through), none of which are married. There are a total 6 different last names among us. The main thing to consider here is that only 5 of these people are my immediate family, everyone else sports a different last name. Everyone contributes some dish (Lisa's green-bean casserole is the best; I brought beer since my stove/oven was still dirty from house work) and we all have a good time. I think this was the first time most of the family met Betty's son Bamm (I met him last year on a trip to Hershey Park with Dad, Betty, Bamm, his friend, and one of my Ex's) and I felt bad since I was supposed to bring Rock Band but completely forgot. I was only there for about 4 hours (had to leave for a volleyball match) but had a great time and am already looking forward to Christmas. Now what to do tomorrow since everyone else has their own Thanksgiving plans (I was invited to be the third wheel at no less than 3 Thanksgivings but figure I can use the day to work on my house and write some of these reports for work)?

I've been busy

I realize I haven't posted anything in a while and a lot of that has to do with how busy things have been both in and out of work. I meant to write about my Thanksgiving (that happened 10 days ago now), volleyball, work, this past weekend, and just all the randomness in my life.

I guess I just needed to take a break from work and this is the best way to do that right now. I don't feel bad either since I'll be working tonight, tomorrow, all day friday, and part of this weekend. Expect several new posts in the next few hours about the last few weeks. Of course, since this blog is listed reverse chronologically you are probably reading this after reading those other posts and can just stop now.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I have heat!

I worked from home this morning so that I could fire up my boiler and make sure the heat started warming up the house without blowing up. I had to install the new thermostat first which was fun because my hands were cold. The temperature on the thermostat went as low as 50 but the meter was below that, so my house was somewhere in the 40's. By the time I left for work it was up a little over 50 ... hopefully when I get home tonight I will have a low 60's house.

I probably would have worked from home all day but I am going out for Sushi near work with a friend from grad school that works for one of those secret government agencies. She just got the job there a little over a month ago and I want to hear about how it's going. Then I will inevitably be playing rockband later because it is becoming an addiction. We played again yesterday after Mahaffey's wing night and realized that the drums are much easier when drunk cause of the stupid foot pedal.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Double the Pleasure, Double the Fun

OK, so a couple reviews today, first the new Bond movie (no spoilers), Quantum of Solace and then onto sangria night at Gecko's, with a little Rock Band thrown in for good measure.

Newman and I went to the theater in Harbor East to see Bond and naturally when there is beer available, I got some. I like that theater because the seat are more comfortable than any other theater I have been in and there usually aren't a lot of people there. I really only have a general review as I don't want to write about the story or anything specific for people that haven't seen it. Several of my friends have said they don't like the lack of gadgets in the new movies (this and Casino Royale); I actually like that better. I like that it is a little more grounded and could potentially happen, unlike the invisible car from the one with Halle Berry. The opening was great and I really like the song, "Another Way to Die" by Jack White and Alicia Keys. [Side Note: I really liked her first CD, "Songs in A Minor" because nothing sounds sexier than a soulful woman singing over a piano] Their voices sound really good together and the visuals of the opening were pretty sweet. I thought the movie was very bi-polar. There were several scenes of intense action followed be long, slow, dramatic build-ups. While I liked the action, I thought the scenes were too jumpy ... couldn't really focus and who was doing what, just that there was action. I liked the ending too, I feel like it opens it up to a lot of options for the future. That's really all I got. Oh, and as we were leaving the halls were filled with girls and women of all ages ... apparently there was a Twilight pre-screening. They seemed pretty excited.

On my way home from dropping Newman off I got a text from Boozer and Strike Out (names given from my volleyball team, not me) about going out for drinks. Boozer had a bad day at work and she wanted to get out. I met up with them at Looney's and we decided to go to Gecko's on Fleet Street for sangria night. I had never been there before but heard about it and was looking forward to going. The sangria was really good and the price was low for how much you got. $10 a pitcher and you could get 4.5 or 5 glasses out of each. We started playing pool and ordered some guacamole. The guac wasn't anything special, but it was fresh and tasted good. After several hours, lots of pool, and maybe 5 pitchers of sangria, we headed back to my place to play some (semi) drunk Rock Band. An hour of that (our band is up to 90,000 fans) and we called it a night ... at around 12:30 I think.

Overall it was a good night but I still haven't installed my thermostat and will try not to get too distracted with Mahaffey's wing night and 3 for $4 happy hour tonight. It's really starting to get cold out and I need to get some heat in my house so the pipes don't freeze.

Oh, and if this post seems like I ran out of ADD meds and someone was waving shiny things in front of me while I was typing may be because I wrote it 5 words at a time over the course of 6 hours.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's snowing, must not drive at reasonable speed

Why is it snowing today? I still don't have the heat on in my non-insulated house and I didn't bring a coat or hoodie to work today. Good thing I am going to the early showing of Bond tonight so maybe I will have enough time when I get home to install my new thermostat since the ceiling took out the old one.

By snowing, I mean there is a slight mist of frozen white things in the air not actually falling, but more moving around like the bag that creepy kid filmed in American Beauty (you'll understand if you've seen it ... and if you haven't, you should). Even if there isn't enough snow in there air to make it to the ground, Baltimore drivers (myself not included) will decide the road isn't safe and move at the pace of the economic rebound (yeah, I couldn't think of anything).

My encounter with George Lucas (kinda)

After the Terps game on Saturday night I met up with my friend Amy and headed over to Mahaffey's for a couple beers. She had her Praxis II earlier and wanted to hang out and relax and Mahaffey's is really one of the best places around me to go out on a Saturday night and not have to fight through a crowd (even more so now that it appears Tiburzi's has closed down again).

When we got there we immediately went upstairs, it's smaller but has a more relaxed atmosphere and I like the bartender up there. There was a small group, maybe a dozen people including Amy and I and many of them were bowling on the bartender's Wii. Amy and I were content sitting at the bar catching up (I haven't seen her in over a month) when this guy I have to assume was George Lucas' clone started whistling ... and not the normal whistle, he was doing the two fingers in the sides of your mouth, ear piercing, siren whistle. Now GL was literally sitting less than a yard from Amy and every time he whistled she would do a flinching cringe that made it apparent the whistles were not pleasant. Just to note, he was whistling at his wife/gf when it was her turn to bowl on the Wii. Here is the following exchange:

Me - "Excuse me, would you mind not whistling as loud, thanks?"

GL - "Sure, no problem" (GL turns away and pauses for a second and turns back)

GL (perplexed) - "Wait, you're serious, aren't you?"

Me - "Yes, I would appreciate it ... thanks"

(GL turns back, a few minutes go by without a whistle, GL turns to me and puts out his hand)

GL - (shaking hands) "Hi, I'm Jim, I come here a lot"

Me - "Good to meet you Jim. I come here often too, I've seen you around"

Jim (formally GL) - "Yeah, I was the first person to get in the 100 beer club here"

Me - "Congratulations"

(Jim turns back away, several minutes later Amy and I hear him telling his wife/gf about our exchange and how he wasn't allowed [yes, allowed] to whistle anymore)

(more time passes, Jim is packing up to go home and pays tab ... bartender comes over and tells me Jim picked up my tab)

Me - "Thanks Jim, that wasn't necessary ... you really didn't need to do that"

Jim - "It was nothing ... and next time you don't want someone whistling, go to a different bar"

Me - "I'll make a note of that, thanks again for the drinks"

(Jim leaves)

Now, I was pretty impressed with myself throughout this entire time ... first, if anyone knows me and I have a problem with someone, I am typically not the most polite person. Since I had seen Jim around Mahaffey's a lot, I thought it would be appropriate to be nice, plus I didn't think my request was unreasonable. The area upstairs was something like 15' x 30' with the bar and sofas and tables taking up a lot of it. His whistles were pretty damn loud and while I didn't care, Amy did and she wouldn't have said anything. I also didn't ask him to stop, just to lower the volume a little. For someone obviously at least in their 50's and seemingly well into their 60's, I think this guy acted like a child. I just wish I had more than 3 drinks on my tab at the time. Anyways, I like Mahaffey's and there aren't many places with the beer selection they have so I will continue to go there and maybe I'll find a reason to whistle.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Yes, I am posting a lot today and still have two more after this (but may not get to them)

I am pretty sure I have lost it ... and by it I don't mean that loving feeling ... that is still fully intact. I didn't know what I was thinking today and may have just been acting under impulse, but I registered for two classes to start working on my second masters degree in January. I actually think there is a strong possibility that I blacked out and woke up to the confirmation screen and was just too lazy to go back and un-register.

Anyways, I already have my MBA ... which, in a sense was a waste of my time. I like having the credentials, but the program was fairly easy for me (studying & going to class optional) and it hasn't really benefited me at work yet (stupid crappy market and working in the financial industry). Of course, immediately after giving the financial industry shit I will tell you that my next program is for my MSF (Finance). I feel like this is a good time to get a better understanding of the financial marketplace so I will be in a prime position when the market levels off and we go through another cycle of financial prosperity (in 3-5 years maybe?). Even if that doesn't happen, at least I will be in a position to control my own finances (better than I currently am) and not worry about being lost or getting taken advantage of.

Plus, my company will reimburse me and I will have my student loan payments deferred again.

Saturday's Terps Game

The Terps are 5-0 at home this year and 5-0 (going back to last year) against ranked teams yet they can still suck beyond comprehension at times. I understand why everyone rags on the ACC because somehow the Terps are in 1st (again) in the Atlantic division and have a loss to Middle Tennessee State on their record. On to the game ...

This weekend's game was another wet one with the rain starting an hour or so before game time. Other than the fact I was in shorts and a jersey and freezing cold, this made it a lot more fun. For some reason I enjoy the messy games a lot more and don't mind hanging out in the rain. I didn't go with my usual crew and this resulted in us getting there later than normal and not tailgating for as long. On the plus side, I remember a lot more of the game but I also felt the cold a lot more. As sloppy as the game was, it came down to a pretty exciting end with the Terps getting a field goal with under 3 minutes (I think) to play to put them up by 2 and then UNC throwing an interception with just over a minute (I think).

Friday's disappointment made better

So, I was not able to see the new Bond flick on Friday because one of the applications at work decided to break around 5:15 and I didn't get out of there until around 7 ... I was planning on going to the 6:30 or 7:00 showing downtown (about 30 minutes away) and wasn't going later than that.

Instead, I called a friend I haven't seen in a couple months and we headed to Yuki Sushi in Owings Mills. When I first started my current job a group of 4 of us used to go there at least once a week and I loved it. At lunch they have an awesome deal where you get a couple rolls and soup for $6 or something like that. Unfortunately, that deal does not carry over to the dinner menu. Friday night we started with Edamame (theirs is good because they use the sea salt, but tonight it was a little too salty) and each got a spicy tuna crunch hand roll. Gotta love a seaweed ice cream cone with raw fish replacing the ice cream. Then we got several rolls: a jaguar roll (eel and avocado, fried), a shrimp tempura roll, and some roll with blackened tuna and shitake mushrooms. My favorite is the jaguar roll. She paid for dinner and I left the tip so overall it was a great experience.

Now I am planning on seeing Bond tomorrow (Tuesday) night and will provide my thoughts of it at that point (if I actually form an opinion).

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday Lunch

Today I took a long lunch. I went to Home Depot to buy a broom and mop for cleaning up the left overs from last weekend and also got soap and a bucket. Oh, and I needed a thermostat since my old one was the victim of falling ceiling and I am starting to think about turning on the heat in my house in the next couple weeks.

After the HD trip I met up with my co-workers at Bateman's for lunch. I was naturally the only one at the table that ordered a beer, but since I am used to this it wasn't an issue. Also, this guy that eats an unfathomable amount of food ordererd the 24 ounce bacon cheeseburger. Really, the only reason I am writing this post is so I have an excuse to post this picture:

That's really all I got ... for now, I am going to see Bond (Quantum of Solace) tonight and then gearing up for the Terps - UNC game tomorrow.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

By later tonight, I meant tomorrow morning

Here are the pictures of the finished product from this weekend:

That wire hanging down is the switch to the light at the top of the stairs, but you can also probably use it as a jump rope

I am truely looking forward to the tedious task of removing all the small nails in the cross beams

I think this is where there used to be another chimney or a wood stove, still haven't gotten a good look at the hole in the top of the picture, but those bricks (not even real bricks) are just sitting in place with no mortar or anything

Old stairs maybe? and the opening that has been half-assedly (it's a word) filled

That's my neighbor's house, thier second floor to be exact

The craptastic patch job of a master mason I presume

Another angle

Yes ... the walls do appear to have been pink

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I tried

I tried to post the pictures of my house but wasn't able to ... I am too busy at work and sure as shit am not going to do it right now. I have the pictures uploaded and will try (yes ... try ... again) to get them up tomorrow but we are starting some hard core testing of a huge enhancement to our main application that will keep me busy until about March of next year. Oh ... and I applied to be an adjunct professor for a local community college so if I get that I am sure there will be something more interesting to write in here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Things that would be better explained through pictures

I know I said I would take some pictures of the house after cleaning most everything up but I did not get the chance because I stayed in Columbia last night and haven't had the chance to take any of the pictures ... I will try to get on that tonight. In the meantime, here are some things that I learned this weekend:
  • There is only one layer of brick separating me from my neighbor (as evidenced by the hole in my wall where I can see into the next house)
  • There used to be a second (or first, but in a different spot) fireplace in my living room
  • The stairs used to divide the room and be perpendicular to the length of the house instead of parallel
  • There used to be pink walls and the carpet on the stairs also used to be pink
  • I think I should completely take out the second floor and re-level it (is that a term?)
  • Golf themed birthday parties include a lot of argyle
  • Dust and debris finds its way into every room even when you try to close them off
  • I have a lot of cleaning up to do
  • My house will be how I want it around 2012 and I am OK with that

I'll try and get the pictures up tonight to show the awesomeness that is my first floor.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Got a lot done today, finished up just about everything I wanted to accomplish with my house, will take some pictures tomorrow and post them. Won our BSSC football game 21-20. Now I have to head to Columbia and then buy a tennis racket for someone's bday then come back and go to a golf themed party ... oh, and I need to find my passport (from when I was 16 or so) since I lost my license ... needless to say, this should be an excellent evening.

Friday, November 7, 2008

By the way

F the Terps and their inconsistency. That's all ... goodnight.

I thought this day would never come

I am sore and don't feel like typing ... so I will just show some pictures.

My salvation
My living room @ 10:30 AM
Before lunch (with a shot of Dad taking out some debris)

After lunch (with plaster dust for good measure)
After tearing down the ceiling
Both his mask and my arms began this day white

That's all I took pictures of because I lost the ability to think after inhaling 90 years worth of black dust. I'll be up bright and early tomorrow to do some more and will try and remember to take some more pictures.