Monday, March 31, 2003

backyard fire pits; snow and dogs

Aaah, the last entry of stupid Smarch, with its stupid Smarch weather (what is Smarch? You must not know your "Simpsons").

It started snowing at 11ish last night. By this morning there was a centimeter of snow on the ground and it was still snowing. Mother earth was warm enough to stave off an accumulating mess. Doug was disappointed, as was Jessica: With all this snow we've had this year, there wasn't a single snow day at school. A delay or two for a couple hours... but no official snow days.

How do you get 100 million inches of snow and not get a snow day at all? Go figure. Anyway -- Jessie's doubly disappointed because her birthday is June 11, and school with no snow days gets out June 10th. She wanted it to be on her birthday so she'd be the queen of the world.

Can't say as I blame her. Queen for a day at school and at home is pretty sweet. She'll be 11 on the 11th, so it's her magic birthday. Geoff's is next year. So pretty soon all the magic birthdays will be over. Sigh.

I've been sending out more resumes, not really seeing anything I'm qualified for. Doug found some stuff on line that he saved for me. Director of an IT department for a north shore school district. He thinks I'm qualified. I love that my husband thinks I'm smart and qualified but baby, I'm so NOT qualified for a position like that.

So I keep pounding the cyber pavement. We'll see what happens.

I had a great discussion with my neighbor when I took the dogs out this morning. He's clearing a ton of land right behind my house (his property) and he wanted to make sure the property line was where he thought it was and that we were aware of what he was up to.

He is a mason and has a ton of equipment, but all of it is sitting in his driveway and it's making his wife crazy. The kids have nowhere to ride their bikes (they have a huge driveway, so you can imagine how much equipment he has)... and she just hates looking at dirty beat up equipment like that. So he's going to make a turn-around on the trail, loop around behind my house in front of the old mill foundation on his property (he owns the four acres and a bunch of history back there) and make it so all the equipment and trailer are parked behind my house, off his drive. Initially, it kind of broke my heart that all his stuff would be behind my house, but he told me he wants to put up a fence "so you don't have to look at all my shit."

Sweet. A fence! Something to keep my dogs in the yard and I don't have to pay for it. Plus, if we put up our above-ground swimming pool, we'll only have one area to fence instead of two! Bonus.

The one thing this does is it will mean we can't buy some land from him later if we have some money. I wanted to buy about an acre from him at some point so we had more area. But his plan prevents that from ever being a reality. In fact, he wouldn't be able to do what he wants to do if we bought land from him, he'd be stuck with what he has because of the way the property goes. So it is all the best for him and I'm cool with that.

One of the things that I really want to put out in the back of the house is an outdoor firepit/fireplace. Nothing fancy, just an area that is safe to have an open fire in on those nights when backyard camping and local hanging out is more fun that watching TV... I need to contact the fire department and just ask if this is totally legal or not. Knowing this town it probably isn't. So is it better to ask permission or forgiveness after several months of fun fun fun when someone finally drops a dime on us. Someone would probably drop a dime.

The people on the other side of the pond burn stuff all year long, and in the summertime they have bonfires in their yard, their kids and the neighbor kids running around Lord of the Flies style in the darkness, yelling and playing. No one has narked on them yet. I wouldn't want anything bonfire sized, just a nice camp size with rocks around it and maybe a fire ring, some benches, a place to rest that bottle of beer whilst hanging with some pallies.

I'm not sure what I'd have to put in the bottom (sand? cement?) to protect the ground from the heat, and I know during a drought we'd be forbidden from burning anything. I've looked around online at stuff, and most everything is custom made and just too damn fancy for my tastes. We're Cletus and Brandine over here, not JFK and Jackie.

I mentioned it to Steve the neighbor guy. He was psyched and thought it a great idea (I'd mentioned this to him this past summer when they moved in and he was psyched). He's been burning the cut wood and the debris from his clearing efforts out in the woods, and I told him to save some of the log-stuff for us, that way he didn't have to spend the time dragging it out to the woods to burn... and it would provide us with a start wood-wise once we get the firepit/place built.

Plus, him being a mason... I bet he has surplus stone all the time and we could perhaps get some from him. A lot of the stuff I've looked at online has been too damn fancy and expensive. I want to be able to build something ourselves, because hell, it's gonna get all sooty anyway... why have some gorgeous decked out brick thing?

Jack puppy has spent the last three nights out of his kennel and in the bedroom with us. He's still a little jumpy and confused, but it beats the hell out of him barking all night. I normally sleep with the shade up behind my head so I can watch the stars (or snow) depending on what's going on. So he took it upon himself to stand on my head and look out the window at two points in the past few days. The curtain has come down. He's still a bit jumpy and confused. When we turn out the light to go to sleep, he jumps up on the bed with a toy and wants to play. So we're trying to convince him to either lay the hell down or get the hell off. Eventually he goes to sleep on the floor.

It's kind of weird... I got up to go to the bathroom and he was scared and confused. I had to spend an extra five minutes patting him and coaxing him back to sleep. Kinger on the other hand, I could kick and trip over his fat ass (and I do on an almost nightly basis) and he barely lifts his head. Jack will someday be as relaxed as Kinger. That day may be a long time in coming though. I can't believe he's about a year old now. He's a good size, but I think he's not quite done in the growing department.

He's still too chewy with toys, pens, pencils, paperwork, bills etc... to be left out of the kennel during the day when we're not here. So when we go out he goes in. He doesn't like it one bit and whines... tries to walk the other way and ignore us when we tell him it's time to get in the kennel. For a little while there he was going and lounging in it when the gate was open and I thought that was great... showing us he knows where his 'place' is. But he's done with that.

He's under my chair right now which makes it very difficult for me to get out of here and get on with my day. But I have to... Look out Jack puppy! Mom's gotta move! Grocery store! More dishes! More laundry! More vacuuming! Gotta get to it. Yay me.

Friday, March 28, 2003

pariah; beer; reading; dogs

I got passed over for another design job. This was one I felt fully qualified for, and the money/schedule were awesome.

Feedback fro the recruiter was that they wanted someone with more "project management experience." I questioned him on that -- stating that most of the things in my portfolio, except for my most recent professional office job, were all project management oriented, from soup to nuts, start to finish, design and conception to QA and launch.

What more project fucking management experience can I prove I have. So I wondered -- is this "feedback" code for "we don't like you so we're just not gonna bother."


Beer makes things happier. To quoth the prophet Homer Jay Simpson "Trusty Beer, I'll never lose my love for you!"

I shouldn't joke.

I have way too many friends who are in active recovery to suggest that when you have a run of shitty luck you should crack open a beer. Tanager recently wrote that when she fills ice cube trays it makes her think of ice in a glass of hard liquor... When I fill ice cube trays I think of ice cold glasses of wonderful water.

So I guess I'm not an alcoholic. But I've got a genetic predisposition towards it, and I watch my behavior carefully when it comes to alcohol.

We don't go out drinking ... mostly because it is prohibitively expensive, and because it's much cheaper to do it at home. And being at home we don't drink to excess. The night wears on, we go to bed with just a couple margaritas or a beer or three under our belts. And this isn't some sort of every night occurrence or ritual.

Plus, I don't like to drink excessively in front of the kids. It isn't pretty. No kid deserves to see his or her parent passed out drunk on the couch, droolin' and pukin' away.

How the hell did I get on that topic?

Anyway -- I'm not too let down or too surprised about not getting that job. The money and flexibility would have totally kicked ass, but what's not meant to be is not meant to be and I'm cool with that.

I'm still lookin'.

Had breakfast today with a good ole friend who reads this journal. I brought Geoff with me instead of having Doug drop him off early at school. Geoff is normally not very well behaved at restaurants, but this morning he was a dream, a charmer, and well behaved beyond belief. So aside from the joy of spending time with C., I had the joy of having a well behaved child. It was a wonderful relief after what I went through last night (keep reading).

He didn't eat any of the food he ordered, but I brought it all home and he had a wonderful after school snack. He's been getting up between 5:30 and 6:00am, and he'll come close our bedroom door and start raiding the cabinets first thing. Little jerk.

This morning he came in and sat on our bed. Doug's alarm went off and he started saying 'Wake up, Moron! Wake up, Moron! Wake up, Moron!" like he was a talking alarm clock. He's done this several times. It's gotta be something from Spongebob or elsewhere on Nickelodeon. Damn them

Sometimes, he'll sit on the couch and imitate the beeping of the alarm after Doug hits snooze. So we yell at him. "HEY! BE QUIET! We're still...zzzzzzzzzzz."

He eats everything in sight in the morning -- he's a daytime eater, when most of us are still abed he's had his second breakfast, like a friggin' hobbit.

He's done with food at about 6pm which is ... now. He'll be skipping dinner, and he will put himself to bed while we all eat at 7pm.

Daylight savings "Spring Ahead" can't come too soon. He'll get back on a normal schedule, a right schedule, and it will be bliss.

Here's how my night went last night. Thank God Baby Ben is on vacation and I had my day free. I don't know if I would have been able to hang out with him.

Keep in mind, I almost wrote this at 3am.

10:15pm: Bed -- reading "The Wicked Day," which I never finished reading in college and I found in a box when I was cleaning.

10:25: Mordred finding out what I already know thanks to Mary Stewart's horribly repetitive writing couldn't keep my attention. I pass out.

11:00: Hear Doug running the printer as he cranks out reports for work. Am soothed gently by knowing it works and he doesn't need my help. I never hear him come to bed.

1:00am: Jack puppy starts barking. I figure that he needs to go out and pee, that he didn't get a late enough chance to complete the task at 9pm when I took him out before. I take him on leash with Kinger. Neither of them do more than piddle and sniff the newly frozen ground. We spend about 15 minutes outside, I give up on that and bring them in, putting Jack back in kennel.

1:20: Jack resumes barking. I've been awake 20 minutes listening to Doug snore. I opt for couch. His revenge for my Geneva Convention violations of the other night. I hush Jack and reassure him. He is silent 10 minutes, I sleep, he barks. I shush. This pattern continues for a while, until...

3:00: I figure maybe he's hungry. Kinger will sometimes eat all the food out of the dish and we'll forget to check it in the evening. Seeing as Jack will sometimes only eat if you're standing over him, if he loses out he loses out. I take him out, fill the food and water dish. He eats. I'm thinking, full belly, happy puppy.

3:15: Jack is in kennel, starts barking again. I give up. I take him out of the kennel and we sit on the couch together, his tail wagging with glee, me sleepily watching a Saturday Night Live "Best of Adam Sandler" thing on Comedy Central. When Jack shows signs of wanting to actually go to sleep I...

4:30: put him back into the kennel. Turn off TV, and pass out dead on couch.

5:30: Geoff comes out to the livingroom and asks me to change the TV channel to Nickelodeon.

My day begins.

I got another 1/2 hour of sleep between 7-7:30 when I crawled back to my bed.

Needless to say, I took a huge nap this afternoon.

And to think, I thought Jack would sleep like a soggy angel last night after all that swimming. Not the case. Doug and I are thinking that he's old enough to spend the night in our room with Kinger sleeping on the floor instead of in the kennel. During the day he's still too puppy-esque and destructive to leave out of the kennel when we are not home.

We'll see how tonight goes.

Alright - we just feasted on my homemade unbelievable Chicken Parmesan, and now I'm ready for bed. Tomorrow is supposed to be windy but 70, so we'll wear shorts and maybe go...

geocaching??? Hmmmmm. We shall see. We shall see...

Thursday, March 27, 2003

post blogger meetup; wearing shorts

Praise God from whom all blessings flow... I'm wearing shorts.

Well, the praise isn't because I've got a gorgeous set o'gams that could stop traffic and guarantee me a pick up when I'm hitch hiking. The praise is for the FACT I can wear shorts today. It is about 70 degrees. I was out with Geoff as he was digging at the last bit of snow and ice in the yard (that shit just won't DIE!!!!) and the dogs took a big, long, active swim in the creek (not yet smelly, it's not that warm out). The flow of water coming from the pond across the street through the drainage tunnel under my street is rather swift. The other day, Jack jumped in and was caught by surprise as the current pushed him rapidly down stream. The look of terror on his face as he swam against it to make it back to shore scared the living bejebus out of me.

But. He survived, and today... he jumped right in, fought the current, made it to the other side of the creek, jumped out, swam back, did it 100 times.

Teaching young dogs new tricks. A beautiful thing.

Kinger on the other hand had no desire to fight the current and went swimming a bit further down stream. When I threw sticks over the rushing water to the calmer pool across the way, Jack swam out fighting to retrieve. Kinger stood waiting, patiently, to steal the stick and run off with it. Jack did all the work. Kinger got the stick.

It is lovely out. Why am I in here? Let's put it this way -- it won't be long. Tess misses me, so I'll do a for real entry and go out and play.

Yeterday's presentation at the college with Prof MF went very well. There were technical difficulties with her laptop which caused the thing to crash and burn mid Powerpoint presentation. Gah. Feh. So we fudged and gabbed and talked. Luckily the people in attendance were people who were either in on the project or interested in it and knew us (except two people from outside the college). The great thing is, she's a Theatre & Speech professor, so she can wing it like a pro. While I rebooted and got the thing back up and running, she talked and talked. The woman doesn't need a powerpoint presentation running behind her -- she's a show in and of herself!

I visited for an hour with the career counselor at the college and her assistant -- two wonderful women who I miss dearly and think about often. Their office was right by the presentation room and I couldn't walk past without spending time. I then spent an hour visiting with my buddies Peg, Ben and Brian as they ragged on Mitt Romney and the fiscal situation at the school, and brought me up to date on all the scandals and gossip which were going down right at that point.

I gave myself just enough time to rush down to Revere to get the blue line to head into the big shitty for my dinner with Mr. Chaos Factor himself, Michael. We had agreed to meet on the train platform. Gave each other brief descriptions of clothing to expect.

I got there at seven on the nose, and looked around for him, and damn if there weren't like four guys who so could have been him just standing around.

I sat, waited and sized the guys up.

None of them were looking for me (or anyone else) in particular. I was absolutely convinced this one guy must have been Michael. The clothes were just right. The hair looked freshly cut... he was listening to his MP3 player and had his gymbag slung over his shoulder...

Then a cute little Asian girl came up and pinched his ass and got a great big fat kiss from him.

Well, that rules THAT guy out! Hee hee. I laughed to myself. And then I coveted his cool shoes, and watched how they touched each other and were so schmoopy while they waited for the next train to come take them away.

That train came and Michael and I saw each other -- and instantly knew... yup. That's you! What a relief. I couldn't imagine sitting there for much longer torturing myself as to whether or not I should walk up to that guy with the khaki pants, black sweater and black jacket with a gym bag over his shoulder and introduce myself.

We had a lovely meal (Indian -- mmmm. Garlic Nan. Gaaaaaaaggghghhhhh...) in Central Square, and talked geocaching and Simpsons, dogs and smelly swamps and creeks. And then we walked down to the Cambridgeport Saloon for the Boston Blogs No. 1 Fun meet & greet.

We were the first people there, and we felt kind of weird -- the same sort of feeling as when I was sitting on the train platform sizing people up. How do I know if those people are THE people we're looking for.

Finally this guy came in and we must have had big signs on our foreheads that said "We're the Bloggers" because he walked right up to us and introduced himself as Rick and we chatted and waited for others to join.

Heath Row was at the bar, and we didn't know he was him, and never would have known if Shannon the Bitter-girl didn't show up and go over to him and then and look right at me and say "Oh! Hi! Christine!"

It pays to have a giant ugly picture of oneself on the front of your page.

So we all got introduced and connected. There were two or three people there I can't remember their names (sorry, Brad?) but it was fun to meet and talk.

[aah. Heath posts all our names in his latest entry, so now I can go and read folks like ole Brad there... which is great because why would you go meet people and then be a brain dead idiot like me and ... not remember their names so you can go read about them. duh? thank you heath...]

I stayed about a bit longer than Michael did, he bailed at about 8:30. I got to talk to the very famous Shannon and learn all about her new bike and her righteously cool boss, her elbow and recovery, and life. It was rather fun to do. I wish there had been more people there to meet... not that I'd remember anyone's name. Heath had a journal on hand and we all signed in, and that was a fabulous idea. Oh, and Heath and Rick both had business cards. I told Michael I'll make him and myself some for next time. The look I got... hee hee.

Thanks for the beer Shannon -- your next round's on me when we meet again! Wooooo!

Walking back to the T I got caught in the rain. From Central Square to Gov't Center it took no time at all, but waiting for the blue line to even show up and then the long ride back to "Last Stop, Wonderland" was painful. I got to my truck at 10pm, got home by 10:30. Checked e-mail, watched "Futurama" on Comedy Central and crashed out. Phew.

Bree didn't get to make it, work got in her way... but perhaps next time. Shannon mentioned that she wanted to have a big bash in April for the 1 year anniversary of Boston Blogs. Heck, why the hell not? I'd go.

I subbed at Geoff's school this morning and got all caught up with the love and affection from 2-4 year old kids that I so sorely missed. I also had a phone interview this afternoon for an HR generalist position at a small company near my house. A friend of mine from church is their payroll administrator and she had asked me for my resume. It's a part time job, mother's hours, and it could be just the thing to hold us over until sunnier times.

We shall see. I keep saying that, don't I?

Anyway -- Geoff has decided he's doing the dishes so I'd best go put an immediate end to that and get him back out to play. We have some seeds to plant and some starter cups. I think today is a great day to do just that. Hurrah! Persephone awakens!

Get out and play.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Email, blogger meetup, photos

Not surprisingly I have loads to do. I'm helping MF on her powerpoint presentation at a tech fair that is being held at the college today. I have some time to kill after that, and then it's over to Cambridge to meet Chaos Factor and mosey over to the No. 1 Fun Boston Blogs meet & greet.

Then home.

Before I leave, I have several hours worth of file conversions to do for cateringman, and updates to his website. Dishes. Laundry. Shower. Maybe iron a skirt. Yadda yadda yadda.

Should prove exciting at the least. A whirlwind tour of housework and the north shore and city. A busy busy day.

I don't have much in the way of content today. And I know I have to get to work. Here are a few pictures I took over the past couple of days... enjoy.

This is the smelly waterfall, referenced in the entry the other day about our walk...
Jessie with the liberated TravelBug from the geocache we dropped in at.

Yesterday I picked Geoff up from school and we had 90 minutes to kill. I figured a nice walk would be fun. We went to Kenoza Lake because it's a nice trail and an easy walk. Not yet this year... the trail is still a sheet of ice and slush.

Top left, my foot went through what looked like solid ground. It was wet leaves with 10 inches of water under. I got a tad muddy. Top right, Geoff is too cute and silly for words as we rest at the Dudley fountain. Left, Geoff is planning a trip to Antarctica to drill for ice core samples. That's what he told me. So Aaron, your trip has made an impression on someone who looks up to you.

Someone from my church called me last night with a lead on a job at her company. It's an HR generalist position, and it's part time, about 13 bucks an hour. Not too shabby. I sent my resume and cover letter to her boss, explaining why I want/need the job NOW. Part time would be nice until the summer and then I totally need something full time.

So cross your fingers. It's an easy commute, I would already have a friend there, and the pay isn't bad. We shall see... I still haven't heard back on the other job that I was supposed to have an interview for last week. I have a sinking suspicion that they don't want me.

One more small thing to share with you... over the past couple weeks I've gotten some very interesting email. Google and yahoo searches are pulling up my site all over the place.

I thought I'd share some of the most recent with you...

1. "Are you a cast member from the real world?"

Um, no. And honestly, who could anyone possibly mistake me for? I don't look like anyone on any of the last 11 years worth of the real world. But thanks for thinking it. I feel so cool now.

2. "Help! I have flying ants in my apartment. What should I do?"

Call an exterminator.

3. "Is this a medical site? I have migraines and my doctor just isn't getting it. What should I do?

Really now darling, the entry where I talk about my migraines includes vulgar language, violent imagery and more vulgar language. Does this sound like a medical site? Get another doctor. One who understands that migraines exist. Get on some meds.

4. "Why you hate Derek Jeter so damn much?"


5. "Can I get the Office Space picture on your website and quote your review?"

Seeing as I creatively appropriated the picture, sure... go ahead. And quote me all you like, baby. My fat headed opinions are yours for the sharing. Just give me credit for my witicisms where credit may be due.

Okay, that's about all I have to offer. Dogs have to be played with. Dishes cry out for some dishsoap. My shoes and pants are still caked in mud from yesterday so I must attend to them. Gotta jet. More later after the Cambridgeport Saloon Bloggers thingy. If you're local, come by. Say hi. Whatever makes you happy

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

geocaching stories; violations of the Geneva Convention.... in bed

Portion of a conversation between myself and Doug early this morning, not quoted verbatim due to the fact I was half asleep, but this is the gist of it:

me: Did you fall asleep on the couch last night while watching the TV?
Doug, reluctantly: No, I ... had to evacuate the room. I was under a gas attack.
me: What, I had gas last night?
Doug: I didn't say that, you did.
Me, laughing: So I stank you out of here? I wonder what I ate that gave me gas?
Doug: I think you violated the Geneva convention last night.
Me: laugh laugh laugh
Doug: I needed a gas mask. I just evacuated instead... much easier.

Thing is, at least once a week I end up on the couch myself, mostly due to his snoring. The snoring itself doesn't bother me if it is rhythmic and even, but he sputters like an old car, and snores in my face. I wake up and go to the bathroom and then I can't get back to sleep at all.

Revenge may be smelly, but it is sweet.

This from No. 1 Fun Boston Blog Bash is taking place tomorrow night (March 26th) at the Cambridgeport Saloon.

Lifted right off their site and quoted from Heath Row's Media Diet:

The Cambridgeport Saloon is a wonderful little bar between Central Square and MIT in Cambridge. Within easy walking distance from the Central Square T stop, the saloon sports video games (Golden Tee and Radikal Bikers, last we checked), pinball machines, a great juke box, pool tables, and darts. The bar also has history! Originally called Father's Fore, the bar has been in operation at least since the mid-'70s. Be a part of history. Get in on the ground floor. Belly up to the bar and come out for the No. 1 Fun Boston Blog Bash. And spread the word.

(Apologies for those Boston-area bloggers too young to attend an event at a bar. We'll try to find all-ages venues for future Boston Blog Bashes, and, absolutely anyone and everyone is encouraged to convene their own blog gatherings.)

Live in the Boston Area? Member of the Bostonians Unite or Bostonblogs listing? I am. I'm going. You should go too if you just live around here and blog. Meet and greet. And then sign up for the ring. Why the hell not. I am tentatively meeting Michael of Chaos Factor and going over with. Not sure where we're meeting yet. I only informed my husband this morning that I planned on going. After he told me I stank.

I'm excited to meet Michael in person, he'll be the first person I know in cyberspace that I'll meet in meatspace. I already know Virginia, Leigh, Tree, Ginger, Amy and Taunia personally and have known them for quite some time. Tess would have been my first meetinperson person, but she's not coming until July. And I, of course, have a big zit on my chin just in time to go meet strangers.

Could be worse -- I could be bringing myself in flatulent form. I'll try my best to not be stinky.

Sunday afternoon we decided we needed a hike. The dogs were hyper, the war was wearing us out, the boy was hyper, Jessie was whining that she was bored. We headed over to Harold Parker state forest in Andover and went to an area I'd never visited before, but Doug and the kids were there for a geocache back in the summertime... August to be exact. I think I was working for cateringman that day and he needed to get them out of the house for a while.

The walk was very nice, but still rather snowy and mucky. A lot of old nasty snow was on the trail. Doug said that over to our left by the other side of the pond was an abandoned camping area. I wondered what would possess the State of Massachusetts to simply abandon a camping area... I think I found out why.

The pond has a waterfall, and it stank. Stank ON ice, literally. It was a deep and heavy sulfur stench, like rotten eggs. Our creek smells this way too in the heat of summer, so I can't imagine what this area smells like in say July.

At our creek, the town told us that the stench comes from the natural rotting of wood and grass/leaves in the water when they end up above the waterline (i.e.: the pond water level drops during dry months). Makes sense. I can't imagine how a pond can stink like that after the dead of winter though. It hasn't been warm enough for anything to sit and dry and "cook" in the heat. There is probably some sort of natural (or perhaps unnatural) source of something sulfury there. And I bet that's why the camping location is unused.

We thought it would be cool to come back with a skeleton from someone's science lab and put it by a campsite dressed in khakis and a hunting vest, wearing a Patriots or Red Sox hat, holding a beer can, a fishing rod, and a weiner on a stick... It'd make a great picture. If you have a full-sized human skeleton, let me know. We'll return it in one piece.

We had a wonderful hike, and it was great to get out. Doug took me to the geocache location and we picked up a TravelBug from inside it. It doesn't count as a find for me since our team had already found it this summer. But I loved finding it just the same, and liberating the TravelBug. He's on top of our monitor right now hanging out with me. We'll get back out again this weekend and move him to another location.

It's nice that spring is here and we can cache away!

Michael (referenced above) started geocaching this weekend. He did one we haven't done and the one we did in December at the arboretum in Boston. Nice to have something new in common with him! It sounded to me like they had great fun this first time out but it could be getting dangerous out there for cachers in the big city...

Someone who was seeking the Resevoir Cache in Boston posted this to the cache page and I found it very interesting, and I even laughed... but it still made me sort of sad (lifted, without permission but I'm emailing the user now):

Conversation with what seemed to be a local resident walking by me as Wile E and Scooter scoured the hillside for the cache:

Local: WHERE are you going?
Pan: What?
Pan: I'm not going anywhere. We're looking for something.
Local: .... (blank stare)
Pan: (walks away)

Um, I know we're at Homeland Security level Orange... but what the heck.

I would have been more polite, had the lady not have used such an incredulous tone with me. Even if I was heading up the hill to cross Route 9. I'm quite old enough to make my own decision, mom.

Anyway, the local couple stopped nearby and watched us the entire time we looked for this cache.

Perhaps urban geocaching may not be a good idea. Someone might take Mayor Menino's advice and call 911 on your ass!

We'll be keeping out excursions to the woods this summer. Rather than frighten some old ladies out for their power walks around Jamaica Pond or on the Emerald Necklace.

Anyway -- I've actually got loads of work here on the computer that I must do so this wonderfully stinky entry must come to a quick close. There was other stuff I was going to write about... but the great thing about this is that I can always come back and add more blather. Right?

Saturday, March 22, 2003

Kaboom TV and Kobe and the Swan

Last night at our house it was TV held hostage -- by Spongebob Squarepants. What a relief. I spent several glorious hours with Jess, Geoff and Geoff's sleepover buddy K watching and laughing. Doug spent the evening online, monitoring the news and reading blogs.

And, if you haven't seen it already, this is excruciatingly amusing. is a website put together by the turds over at the Homeland Security office, and it outlines all the wonderful things you should know and have memorized in case you're attacked or see some anthrax in piles on the street. This wonderful parody cracked my shit up to no damn end when someone mailed it to me, and Doug found it in web-form on someone's site the other day. I wanted to take the email that was sent to me and format it in html and slap it up, but someone beat me to it. So enjoy and have a good laugh. The one that knocked my socks off was the one cautioning people not to offer anal sex to terrorists. Good thing I didn't have a mouthful of coffee, or the Gateway 17" monitor'd be covered with the morning happiness.

Remember -- in light of all that is negative, I'm all about havin' the good laugh. I have said here once or twice that I've been called "flip" by a former manager for crackin' wise during times of stress, and that if I were on a plane that was on its way down, I'd say a quick prayer and then start singing Monty Python's "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life." I'm just that way.

Leigh wrote her response in her journal. As for me quoting her without permission -- bleurgh. She loves me, I love her, and blogging's all about community. And her quoting herself shows her that I'm paying attention to what she says (grin) and we should all be doing that. Keeps the truth flowing. Here's from Leighish:

"Christine has come out for the war: but not for the war broadcast in Wal-Mart, which I completely agree with - when you are surrounded by the guilty American pleasure of buying merchandise possibly made via slave labor but OH! it's so cheap! - one hardly needs the added anxiety the broadcast of a war brings. Really, whose idea was that, in all seriousness? I'm glad Christine made her displeasure known, and hope they wise up. Now, in her daily entry, I am listed with the "against the war" crowd, which is not untrue, because I most certainly said:

""at this point in time, I am against it"

"However, I wrote that before war was declared / waged / begun / commenced. I still believe that the policies and attitudes (if you will) that the Bush administration have used to enter into this conflict are ill-advised. However, that said, now we are engaged in active combat with Iraq.

" my opinion, the best recourse is not to suddenly change our minds and look like we made a mistake going in there, but to act decisively and swiftly and kick butt - and in this manner the Bush administration may just salvage its arrogant ass by proving itself right, so to speak. I would love to see Saddam out of power. A small part of me has hoped over the past 12 years that he'd get an intestinal blockage or coronary disease or pulmonary embolism and nature would take of this person. But it has not happened. I'm not convinced it's our place to oust him, but since we're there we may as well follow through. I'll pray for the best.

"Sounds kind of stupid when I read it, but there you have it."

Doesn't sound stupid at all. I think that a lot of people who were conscribed to fight the war in the first place are now simply praying/wishing for it to be over with fast, and with as little mess as possible. Praying for the best. And baby, I'm right there with.

I have kept some TV on when the kids aren't interested to see what is going on, especially as night falls in Iraq. When it's night here and day there, well, there isn't much to talk about. And when it's morning here and late afternoon there, all they do is hash over what happened 12 hours before. The incessant coverage is not necessary. Not at all.

Best coverage I've seen though is on MTV. Believe it or not. Very interesting. They had lots of interviews with artists from both sides of the fence. They did a big "so how did we end up in this position in the first place" piece which was very good and very clear. All told, best coverage ever. And to think I thought MTV was only interested in showing me Christina Aguilera's belly.

Carson Daly made some interesting comments about the incessant coverage. To him it was amazing that this was on tv all day every day... and I can't quote him directly but he said that this was the first time in his life he'd ever seen anything like this, the constant and instant accessibility to information and images.

I thought, "Dude, where were you in 1991? Doug and I sat in front of the TV on our unemployed college graduate asses for HOURS at Jon Bishop's house watching CNN and yelling at what was going on!" Then it dawned on me... Carson was probably in like fourth grade and mommy didn't let him watch. Or something. Forget about Gideon Yago. He was probably in friggin' pull ups in 1991.

Okay. No more about the war today. Today I regale you with tales of Geoff's friend sleeping over.

K got dropped off by his mom at about 6pm last night. He loved our house, loved Geoff's room, loved Jessica's room and was fascinated by the fact there's a door to the outside world in her bedroom because it used to be Clay's living room and we've not gotten around to changing it. Probably will before the rebellious teen years set in.

Jessie played the hostess, she taught K how to play Uno, and he liked it a lot. I made dinner and she kept them entertained. She cleaned up and made coke floats for us all and we settled in to Spongebob-o-rama. K was deathly afraid of Jackiedog, so we had to keep close tabs on him. If Jack so much as rubbed against him, he'd panic... so an adult had to be around at all times. K loved Kinger. Kinger just lounges around and lets you pet him. No jumping, no nipping, no nail scratching... he's a great dog to have around shorties.

Geoff started to fade fast at about 8:30. That is pretty darn late for him as he usually puts himself to sleep without us knowing at 6:30 - 7pm. Daylight savings time should prove interesting. Anyway -- K was still wide awake but his mom told me that he couldn't stay up past 9 because he'd be a bear all day today. I built them a tent using our dining table chairs and an old bed sheet. The boys argued quite a bit about leaving the light on. K was nervous and wanted it on, Geoff hates lights on when he's trying to sleep, but I told him he'd be asleep in two seconds if he just closed his eyes and ignored it. I was right.

A couple of times during the night K woke up whimpering... not because he was scared, but Geoff the sleeps-like-a-corpse kinda guy was touching him. His arm was touching K's arm, or his knee was bent too closely. So K kept kind of whining for him to move over...

I went in at 1am and asked K if he wanted to move up on the bed so no one could touch him. His answer was no. I guess it's preferable to be annoyed all night and sleep in a cool tent with your bestest friend than to ... sleep alone.

Geoff will sleep anywhere with anyone. He's a contact comfort kind of creature. He is like a puppy, a hamster. He loves to curl up with. He won't kiss me good night, but he sure loves to snuggle up into me while watching TV or visit me in bed for a reassuring cuddle. I talked to K's mom this morning and she told me K doesn't care for physical contact of any sort. He likes a hug goodbye, a kiss on the forehead at night before sleep, but for the most part -- hands off.

Kids are funny.

Doug took them to the park so they could run some Ya-Yas out and so Jessie could visit the library. We had lunch and then I took K home.

We also fed the ducks and the swan across the street in our pond. I'll leave you with these images today... in a world where there are too many pictures of 18 year olds aiming rifles and buildings burning, I'm happy to give you these. Enjoy.

Friday, March 21, 2003

Thoughts on the Iraq War

Out of my nearly 25 regular reads, only three of them are writers who support the war. The rest think it is a downright, god awful idea.

Personally, I've avoided expressing my feelings and opinions here. I've never intended this to be a warblog, or a political platform blog. I like the friends I have made, the acquaintances I have grown to know and feel that whatever their/my political feelings we could be friends in meat space. Some of you may not agree with me... but hopefully you'll still love me...

I think the effort that is now being undertaken by the collaboration of friends (UK/US and many others) is the right thing to do. It is unfortunate, and I think as a nation the majority of people who back the action feel reluctant that it has to happen at all, and feel badly. I know very few true "hawks" who are screaming for blood at any costs.

All this should have been over and done with in 1991. I think that the Iraq situation is apart from the terrorist hunt (Osama et al), and that we cannot drop that in any way shape or form. I believe deeply that North Korea is a bigger and scarier threat, but we have to pick and choose which battles we fight and when.

On the humanitarian front, I feel we need to affect change in some of the actions of our "allies" (cough, Saudi Arabia, cough) and many other nations (cough, China) as well as some things within our own borders.

I am not sure how anyone can say "we support the troops" but they don't support the government and the war. The troops are executing the war. They are doing what the government wants. I think that as a nation a lot of folks who are anti-war don't want to see the same treatment the troops received during/after Vietnam, so they're taking a very "Hate the sin, love the sinner" kind of stance...

I will also say that I do hope above everything else that all the proper conventions of war are followed. There are proper conventions of war, even though in a very perfect world there would be no war at all.

Freedom Fries/Freedom Toast/Freedom Kissing was funny, cute and campy in that Simpsonsesque rag-on-the-French way that we have as a nation. But I think that the jerks running around trying to pass actual laws to change French to freedom need to find something more productive to do with their damn time. The Florida congresswoman who was pushing for this change needs to go figure out how to make it so people aren't losing friggin' foster kids in her damn state. Missing and dead foster kids are more important than whether or not we ever utter the word French again. Oh, and lady, FRENCH FRENCH FRENCH FRENCH I'll say it all I want.

Gah. Get a real fucking LIFE!

I still like the Dixie Chicks, even though they've spoken out against the war. I have never cared for Sheryl Crow, so whatever she says doesn't sway me at all. I'm proud of Janeanne Garafalo for speaking her mind and for being educated instead of knee-jerky. I'm especially proud of her for going and standing up for what she thinks on the O'Reilly Factor... and I'm very proud of her for saying that if she is wrong about her thoughts and opinions after all this is said and done that she will crawl across broken glass to say she's sorry.

There are other things I think and feel, but I won't get into them right now. And I won't get into any blahdy blah about why and wherefore, you've heard arguments for and against ad nauseum. So I don't need to dance down that path.

Today's entry is about how I went to WalMart and almost puked in the aisle.

I went to buy my kids some new underwear.

I went to get away from the TV and from the world. WalMart is a great place to go do that. I went hoping to hear some really bad musak broadcasting of long forgotten and favorite 70s hits... England Dan and John Ford Coley, Debbie Boone. I wanted to hear "Attention WalMart Shoppers..."

Instead, they were broadcasting audio of FoxNews. Live. Over the loudspeakers. At WalMart.

The voices of Geraldo Rivera and Paula Zahn followed me through the boy's boxer shorts. Followed me over to the women's unmentionables. Followed me over to the toy and toiletries aisles. Followed me over to the pets area where I picked up some new chew toys and then some practice tennis balls in the sporting goods area.

I couldn't stand it. I had budgeted an hour to just linger and loaf... shop and browse. Perhaps look at shower curtains. Perhaps the CDs (I could use some new music to listen to in the truck). But I got what I needed and got the hell out of dodge before my brain could implode.

My stomach hurt. I was at the checkout in less than 10 minutes. I had to get out of there.

For crying out loud, all I wanted was a few minutes of being an American shopping, instead of an American shopping during a war. Do we have to be reminded every ten seconds of what is happening, or as the case was at 10am NOT happening. There was no news to report. Nothing was going on that people weren't already aware of. Why broadcast the shit?

I had to complain at someone, so I said something to the grandma-esque greeter lady on my way out. I asked her if she'd be so kind as to pass on my winge and complaint to the manager of the store... that I came to shop and get away from the blathering, not to be drowned by it in public. I told her what I told you at the top of the page, that I support the war effort, but I don't need it shoved down my throat every two seconds of the day.

She patted me on the shoulder and sighed "I know darlin," looking up at the loud speaker "we've all voiced our complaints. Imagine standin here all day trying to be friendly and listening to this. I'll let him know for you, and trust me, you're not the first one to say something."

They should give her one of those hand held people-counter things so she can click off yet another perturbed customer.

I had budgeted time to loaf in the Valhalla of consumerism, and instead I ended up bolting back to my son's school to hang out and play... because I knew that'd be a refuge of silence.

In Baghdad they broadcast the same thing on all the radio stations. You have the glorious news of wonderful Saddam shoved up your nose, in your face, down your throat and sideways up your ass 24/7. Truth or lies, it's all about how wonderful Saddam is. All Saddam... all the time. Are we to expect the same here? Is there anyplace people can go to not be reminded we're at war and stuff is getting bombed?

Amy voiced her irritation with our news media the other day -- the ongoing non-news coverage of the war. Really now, I would rather watch American Idol. And at WalMart, I never thought I'd have my inner voice begging to hear Celine Dion.

I'm home now. The TV is off. The radio is off. Silence is a beautiful thing. Here I can control what I let into my head and when. If I want to listen to a CD, I can pop the Allman Brothers in, they're sitting right here on the scanner looking at me. If I want to check out what Brit Hume or Aaron Brown have to say, I can do that.

Or I can relish the silence and avoid overload. Unfortunately I can never go shopping again at WalMart, at least not until all this crap finishes up.

I have three print projects that I'm working on right now, which is cool. I got a copy of Microsoft Publisher and am enjoying playing with it and creating things which are causing lots of ooohs and aaaahs to be uttered by my clients. That's sweet.

Geoff is having a sleep over friend tonight (as I mentioned) and it should be fun. His first sleep over friend, and the friend's first sleep over. I'll let you know how it goes. I chaperoned a field trip for his school to McDonalds. It was a lot of fun and the kids were well behaved. I never realized how cool the machine is that they have to grill the burgers.

My Bonnie emailed me the other day and mentioned that an old entry I'd written about her was like a "personality mirror," and that it was weird to read what someone else thought of her.

"It is always amazing to read what someone else writes about you. It's like a personality mirror - which would really be a lot more useful at times than a reflective mirror. You know, you'd pass by it in the hallway and say "oh, wow, look at me, I'm being a complete jerk today!" and you'd straighten yourself up. Yes, this would be a good invention."

That's something to chew on for a while. Bonnie -- ever the astute woman. "Burt Reynolds -- class act."

After she said this, in the back of my mind I suddenly heard Michael Jackson singing "Man in the Mirror." Gah. It took me a whole day to get rid of that, and now I've got it back again.

Alright. I've got dishes to do, a floor to mop, and a six year old's room to clean so he and his friend can sleep on the floor camp-style and have a great time. There's a great, brand new episode of Spongebob on tonight. I hope we all can stay awake until 9:30 to watch it. I know Jessie will... perhaps we'll end up taping it. And I won't be going back to WalMart until further notice. I won't tell anyone what they should or shouldn't be doing/thinking, you can make your own decisions as to whether or not you should watch the news or shop at WalMart... That's what this space is all about to me. Keep it cool out there kiddies. Much love.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Can you hear me throw up now?

I co-presented at a conference yesterday. With professor MF, the prof I've been working with for the last year or so on her online class. Longtime readers of this journal recall the process I've gone through with MF to get the course up and running. If you go back to the archives for August, September... you can read all about our last minute insanities and our initial launch of CuSeeMe for the class. Great adventures, good stories...

We put together a nice powerpoint presentation. MF submitted proposals, white papers and all kinds of crap to EDUCAUSE and NERCOMP. We came up with a catchy name for the presentation... by stealing Verizon's wireless commercial tagline. We submitted the papers and were accepted, and we went and presented our wonderful story as: " "Can you hear me now? Good!" Designing an online course using Blackboard and Webcams."

The conference for NERCOMP was held in Worcester. It's a New England regional sub-conference for EDUCAUSE, which will be held this November in California. I went to EDUCAUSE in 1999 as an attendee. I've never presented at a big fancypants schmarty computing conference.

MF knew nothing about the types of attendees at EDUCAUSE conferences, and when we got there she looked through the other presentations and said "Most of these are about IT stuff and back end development, not actual TEACHING using technology." She was right -- helpdesk symposiums, IT infrastructure... that kind of stuff is big. The fact they accepted us and put us in shocked me at first, and now she understood why.

Then she noticed we were in the last time slot on the last day of the conference. It was 50 degrees and sunny out. After this longassed winter, would YOU go sit in our presentation? If I were me, I'd be out exploring hiking trails in Worcester county.

We got there at 11am and registered and picked what presentations we wanted to see.

The first was on a portal built by the Sloan School of Management at MIT. It was sort of dull, and while I'm sure they're proud of it ... to me it's just another portal. And it wasn't very visually appealling. As a user, I'd be snoring.

After that presentation, MF was suddenly very nervous about our presentation. She kept leaning over and saying "We don't have enough to talk about... our slides don't look that good compared to this." I kept telling her to shut UP! And we'd laugh.

I was firmly confident that between the two of us we could talk for an hour. I liked our slides until someone academic told her she needed pictures on each slide and they needed to DO something (action feature in powerpoint). It was all I could do a week ago to stop her from putting a different colored background on each damn slide, and a crazy flying picture with the zoom sound on it. Jebus! I settled her down after that and we had lunch with some cool people from Gettysburg College. They were leaving right after lunch, so we told them about our presentation and they said they would LOVE to stay for it but they had to hit the road in order to get past NYC at a decent hour... someone else at the table from Boston College opened up her guide and decided that she would blow off the one she'd initially chosen and read our synopsis "God that sounds funny!" she said, and put a star next to us. She was there when we presented...

The presentation we went to after lunch was done by the Drexel University Learning Management team leaders. One was a former faculty member, and he talked about using WebCT at Drexel and how they've grown the online course presentations there since 1999. He left academia and went over to the IT group. When I interviewed for a position as a designer at my former college recently, this is the kind of guy the college was looking for. I would have loved to work for him. After his presentation he was swampped with people coming up to him, and I wanted to go say hi, but I didn't.

Philadelphia is too long a commute.

The third presentation we attended only had six people in it. It was by the folks at James Madison University, and they talked about how a 99% residential college was handling the concept of online education. They'd decided a couple years ago that they didn't need online courses. The faculty often just put up personal websites and some additional augmentation for their coursework, but no one cyber-commutes at their school.

So they do it during the summer. Students can take a couple online courses during the summer months in the core program for writing. This coming year they are expanding it to include other core courses. So if you go home for the summer to NJ, you can take a class and stay ahead or on top of the game. Nice.

Then, it was our turn. MF was quaking. "No one is going to come to this... everyone's going to leave early..." I told her if five people came, that was good because we'd know exactly how long our presentation goes, what needs added, what should get dropped... I personally considered this our "dry run."

"If ten people show up I'll die. I'll consider my cup runneth over," MF said to me as I set up the laptop.

Five people, then ten. Then 15. Then a batch of another 10. There were close to 30 people in there. Hallelujah. An audience. I asked them why they were there on such a beautiful day and one person motioned to fake leave the room and we laughed. I thanked them heartily for coming.

We ran out of time before we ran out of content. MF and I can blather on and on. The powerpoint presentation was awesome. We had a video clip to show them how the course worked on screen, and they were fascinated. I shared stories about the sudden appearance of male genitalia in the class. We got lots of good laughs. I think that people really liked what we had to say.

It was awesome.

I was nervous for a few minutes yesterday morning. By the time I got there with MF I realized I couldn't be the nervous one... I had to be the queen of confidence and the Rock of Gibraltar. I was. She was. We did great.

Now she wants to go to another conference in Myrtle Beach in June. The presentation date and time are on Jessica's birthday. I told her that I didn't intend on missing my daughter's birthday for a conference. She thought that was odd. (?? wha?). Her kids are grown up all the way -- one is in college and the other just got accepted to Sloan for his MBA. I looked at her and laughed... would you miss your kid's 11th birthday? She understood. A 22nd birthday maybe not. But. I don't intend to ever be away from home for either of my kids' birthdays while they live under my roof. She's looking into having it switched to the 10th or 9th if she can.

She wants us to drive down, and the only cost we'd have is a hotel room, which we could swing easily.

Sunday, March 16, 2003

Aaron go bragh!

Ides of March yesterday. Beware, beware, yadda yadda. I hope you all bewared and are well.

While babysitting Baby Ben Friday, I got a call from the recruiter who set me up on the interview Thursday. She told me that the people I'd interviewed with had narrowed it down to me and another guy, and they picked...

..the other guy.

So in less that 24 hours I've been kerb-kicked twice. Sad. Very sad.

I dealt with it pretty well until the ride home. I was incredibly pissed at that point, sick of sending out resumes, sick of going on interviews. I wonder if people are finding this journal and reading it and deciding I'm not the girl for the job. That crossed my mind. I wondered why on earth I have to sell myself so hard for a friggin 11 dollar an hour job entry level job.

Then, I got even more pissed when I realized that while I was IN college I was making $10 an hour working for a couple different companies. So in 17 years I've gone up in value by one dollar?

I don't think so.

I got home and A&M weren't here yet. I sat down to try and send out more resumes, and my family was too fun and happy and it was pissing me off even more. I was ready to go sit outside in a snowbank just to get away from them, and felt that I'm so sick of the snow that I'd probably go apeshit if I did that.

Then, my friend Naomi [from Australia originally, but I worked with her at the last company I was at full time] called me with a job lead. A recent employer of hers from her post our-company life had called her, asking if she wanted a design job with one of their clients.

She's already working, so she declined it but sold me hard to them and they were very interested. So she wanted my resume post haste... and I am of course thrilled to oblige.

I sent my resume out immediately. Wish me luck.

A&M had arrived before Naomi's call, and their presence and their attitudes cheered me up markedly. With the phone call and them here I became a happy gal. We broke out the funny Irish hats from last year, and we commenced to having dinner and fun. Nachos, beer, laughing, ragging on the French in French (Michelle speaks it so it's super extra fun to speak French in disparaging voice), Dennis Leary's old standup routine from early 1992 when he was "edgy", and a funnyassed episode of South Park... made for a wicked fun reunion.

Here is some photographic evidence of our good time Friday night. We broke out the leprechaun hats we'd purchased last year in Bangor, and a good time was had by all.

Aaron looks to be the proud pappa of these two babies -- 5 litre mini-kegs of Grolsch. Not an Irish beer but... it'll do.
And this is me as the scary leprechaun lady.
Oh top o'tha evenin' too ya laddie!
We all tried to make really scary crazy leprechaun faces. Michelle won, hands down.
Aaron came in second.
And Jessie was just way too cute.
We toast you -- may the road rise to meet ya...
and may you be in heaven an hour before the devil knows yer dead.

Saturday we had Geoff's girl LD from school over for a play date and we decided that it was lovely enough to go to the ocean and check things out... so we bundled up (hardly... it was about 40) and went to Ipswich, to Little Neck Beach. LD's mom told me she was quite the princess and that she probably wouldn't want to go for a hike and she'd complain about the cold... she was anything but a princessy princess (she still is a princess...) She got right out there and ran around the tidal pools in her boots, checking out snails and yelling to me "I found a shell! I discovered this rock!" And she loved seeing the big houses in Ipswich off of Labor in Vain road. That was one of the first things she told her mom when we dropped her off that afternoon.

Doug and LD discover snails
Close up picture I took so I could be an artsy fartsy
Up part of the neighborhood at Little Neck
Jessica handles a log with authority
Top left, LD shows me her shells and a smile. Top right, Geoff and LDin the cutest picture ever... and to the direct left, Jessie ponders barnacles.
We wore the kids and Gonzodog out. It was time to head home. When we got here the men went and took naps, while Michelle and I got all deviant... with photoshop!

Oh we are SO bad. We laughed and laughed. After the Friday day I'd had, Saturday was 1000 times better. Don't ask why we put buck teeth on all the pictures. It was just easy to do and made everyone look snaggletoothed and gross. Jessie's picture came out the absolute worst. We printed the one of Aaron and it's on our fridge. And Michelle, yes... I did some extra work on yours. The nose had to be enlarged. It begged me to do it. And look how crazy your EYES are!

Love Jessie's teeth there -- little nasty assed green chicklets. Woofa Goofa with the Green Teeth!

We rented movies last night -- We watched "Clay Pigeons" with Joachim Phoenix and Vince Vaughn... very creepy and bizarre. I told Doug when we went to bed that I was going to have nightmares about Vince Vaughn for weeks. And we also watched "About A Boy" with Hugh Grant. I'd read Nick Hornby's book a couple years ago and am so fond of it. But just as with the adaptation that was done with High Fidelity, so much was left out. The whole Kurt Cobain and Nirvana significance element was missing, so the whole angst element to Hugh Grant's character and his bond with the boy meant less to me. It was an okay movie. They made it too sweet and happy. Hollywood ending shit.

Our fun with photoshop continued into this afternoon. Before A&M split we had just a little more fun with photoshop and made St. Patty's greetings for all our friends. Here is an Aaron Go Bragh greeting for you!

He'll be sure to send it to his parents. Nice eh? I love how crazy his eyes came out. He wouldn't let me give him a pig nose like I did in the first one. Such is life. That's some funny shit. The original picture is up in the top frame. All told we gave him crazyassed green eyes, did the teeth and tongue enlargement, colored his beard and eyebrows, made his hand and the beer twice the size as in the original, added backdrop and colored the shirt... oh, and we got a cool claddagh ring for him too. He is so boss. Don't you feel the spirit and festivity of St. Patrick's Day Weekend???

And you have permission to take this picture and send it to all your friends in celebration of St. Patty's day tomorrow. The crazed 6'5" leprechaun sends his love to all (a)musings readers, aye and begorrah!

And so Quietude and Normalcy return to the Way Out Inn. We're happy to have had such a pissahwicked good time with A&M. I've got some cleaning up to do and some resumes to send. We were going to have Corned Beef & Cabbage with A&M but they had to split... we may hold off until tomorrow and have it then. Not sure. Anyway... That's about the story here