Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Well, we've voted stranger

I can't tell if this is real or not. If it is, I'm intrigued. If not, I want to see just how far the joke goes.


I've been learning over the past several years that timing is everything. In Ecclesiastes, it says, "To Everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven." I've been coming to realize that over the last couple years, but really heavily in the last few months. My business failed in LA because I rushed into it. I moved out of Anthony's place when the time was right, but perhaps I found an apartment a little too quickly. Heidi and I came together at just the right time in both of our lives. Even my dad's death, though it sucked, was very "interestingly" placed in the other events that were going on in my life at the time, and subsequently the timing of his inheritance really made for some interesting coincidences (and I've stated before that I don't believe in coincidences). I'm not saying I'd want to go through that again, but I am a heck of a lot stronger as a result, and my strength is something that Heidi finds appealing. Go fig.

Anyway, as I became more and more aware of this, I've been sort of sensing the timing of certain events around other things. I was just reminded of my father's death recently when that little seven-year-old girl died, and a week later I found myself counseling a guy in my guild on World of Warcraft (who's going into his first year of high school) about his neice dying.

So based off of that, I'm learning to not rush things, or not put things off that I should be doing. Basically, it's teaching me to prioritize. I've decided to hold off on brewing until my kitchen is in better shape (maybe my first brew will be a Christmas brew). But I need to get a few things done by certain dates. I have to watch all of Firefly before the movie comes out. I have to get my apartment in order before my inagural party (although that may be pushed back from October to November). I have to finish my armor before Halloween. I have to read the Chronicles of Narnia before the first movie comes out. All this, and continuing to develop my relationship with Heidi, and work and various other fun things going on... Whew, I'm a busy man.

Sunday, August 21, 2005


For Mensa, I organize an event called The Long and Winding Crawl. Effectively, it's just going out and drinking at places around town. Last night we went to this place I wanted to go out and drink at for a long time, a place called Rhythm, which is either a bar with a drum-circle theme, or a drum-circle establishment with a bar built in so they can make a living keeping the place open. In any case, it was a huge kick in the pants. This is me bringing my and Heidi's drum down from the rack into the drum pit. People were quite pleased at my apprent new-found chestiness, so Dave, who shall henceforth be named Schmutzy, due to an inside joke that happened during a game of St. Petersburg several months ago, took this picture. Jeni, the drum queen/dancing dervish, took the picture below of me, Schmutzy, and Heidi (who's peeking in from my left, your right) while we were banging upon our drums. Today, my hands hurt. But I fully intend to go back there because that was such a hugely entertaining time.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Air Power

There are fighter jets zooming around downtown in preparation for the air show this weekend. It's kinda cool. I can't see them, as the lab is stuck under a lot of buildings, but I can hear them roar by every now and then.

Flashback: 2002

I hadn't left California yet, but was steadily going broke on a combination of lack of work and... well, that was pretty much it. I decided to clear my mind and go for a long drive. At the time, my long drives were day-long experiences (which means that when I sold that car, it had 170,000 miles on it). I drove out to Death Valley, and just was perched on an outcropping overlooking the valley. Over the mountains on the other side of the valley, I saw two fighter jets flying around, almost as if they were playing. This was just after the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, so I assumed that they were flying from there back to Edwards Air Force Base in the Mojave desert (at least that would have put them roughly on this course). I'm a guy, so seeing two jets flying around is really cool to me, so I thought I'd stick around and watch them. They seemed to be getting a little closer, which was cool, and I continued to watch. Before I knew it, however, one of them was bearing down on me. The guy must have flown by about 300 feet away from me. That was cool. Too late, I remembered I had my camera in my car, so I turned around to go back to my car, and there was the other guy, maybe 100 feet from me, just passing behind me. Practically blew me over with the shock of it. He was even tilted over a little, so I could see into his cockpit. I probably could have made out facial details if he hadn't been wearing his helmet. They went on, and kept flying, but that was cool to have been nearly strafed by two fighter jets.

Ah, memories.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


So on the 501st website, there's a video as a tribute to this seven year old girl (a daughter of one of the guys) who just recently lost her battle with cancer. She was clearly this girl with an abundance of personality, and the cancer treatments stole that from her and then killed her (well, not the treatments so much as the actual cancer). I don't know if I'm extra-sensitive because of my dad recently passing away (did I see a little bit of his last days in the last few photos of her?), or maybe I'm extra-sensitive because she reminds me a little bit of my neices, or maybe because I feel a special connection to the 501st, and they seem to be going through it as a group. In any case, I'm mourning a little girl that I never knew. I was crying in Heidi's arms last night, and I'm about to cry at work right now. Fortunately, I'm alone in the lab, so if I want to I can, but still...

Anyway, I guess life is all about change, but that little girl clearly had so much life in her. With my dad, it was different. He had lived his life. He had played with his grandchildren a month beforehand. I don't know, just feeling really messed up right about now.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Fermentation of a Plot

I've been a little concerned about the quality of my kitchen for the homebrewing, especially on my first attempt. I know it can be done, as the first brew I witnessed was in a kitchen not much better, but I'm still organizing, and will likely still be organizing when I want to do the brew. So, I've decided my first brew will be on-premises at Bev Art Brewer and Winemaker Supply. Matt had mentioned the place to me when I went over to witness his brew recently, and I looked it up and gave them a call. I'll head down there this weekend to check the place out, and sign myself up for an onsite brew. This will be mighty convenient, as I will be able to have my first brew available for my housewarming/movie night in October.

I'm thinking September 3rd or 10th, depending on Howard and Janet's pre-wedding bash stuff.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Too much blog spam

I hate to do it, but because blogspot does not allow for blocking IP addresses that post, I am limiting comments to those who are registered with blogspot. I wish I could do anonymous ones, but I seem to have been pegged for mass comment spam. Yay.


We went to hear a bunch of Star Wars music at Ravinia last night. Heidi and I got there a bit early, and listened to the end of the first show. Here's what the ravinia website had to say about her:
Broadway star Tovah Feldshuh portrays a dozen hilarious characters- some
real, some imaginary- with a lavish serving of George Gershwin, Irving Berlin,
and Rogers and Hart.

This person should never have been given a one-woman show. She was so bad, that I was sure she had to be some local schmoe. For quite a while, I had her dubbed as the Worst Performer in the World. Think about it, someone actually paid for her to come out here from New York, put her up in a hotel (she actually has two, count 'em, two shows at Ravinia), and paid her to do this "show." Her "dozen characters" all sounded like the same old Jewish lady, her singing voice was OK at best, and about half her comedy you struggled to figure out even why it should be funny. Was that supposed to be a punchline? Anyway, it ended up being really funny, just unintentionally.

Anyway, Mattox and a friend of Heidi's and Matt's, Victor, showed up for the Star Wars music, and, although Erich Kunzel tends to rearrange music that I know by heart, it was a kick-butt show, and the weather was damn close to perfect. Best evening we've had in Chicagoland for two months. A little humid, but lovely all the same. Matt brought some of his home-brewed wine (which was wonderful, but could use a little aging). He also informed me that where he gets his brewing equipment could be used to get root beer brewing stuff as well, which would be awesome for those days in which I'm, freakin' exhausted and alcohol will just do me in totally. Also, for those folks who come over (Tyler, in particular) who don't drink.

Anyway, there were also a bunch of people from the Fighting 501st there. There were probably 6 stormtroopers, at least one sandtrooper, at least one scout trooper, and a Darth Vader, a Boba Fett, and a Jango Fett. There were a few jedi hanging around (I mean the ones that were older than 6), but mostly it was Stormtroopers. Kinda ticked me off that I haven't finished (or started on) my armor yet, but it also lit a fire under my proverbial ass to get going.

In all, the evening was a success.

Friday, August 12, 2005

And now...

So you think, having internet at home, the frequency of my posts would go up. Go fig. As it happens, they've been keeping me nightmarishly busy at work, and when I get home, I'm playing my games. Yeah, I've kind of stopped with the setting up of the apartment temporarily (although I think I'll force myself into it again this Saturday).

So I have something freaky to tell you. But first, backstory. OK, Heidi's brother is a geek. No biggie there, that's kind of what got us interested in each other to begin with (she had grown up around geeks all her life, she was used to it from men, me being a rather charming geek was a bit of a shoe-in, at least in the beginning). So, for the uninitiated, World of Warcraft has servers you log into and play on those, so it's not an overloaded game. It's still overloaded, but it's better than it would be otherwise. Also, it's nice because if you choose, you can have a server close to you, so you reduce net latency. I don't, but you can.

Anyway, Darrick had started up on a server called Silver Hand. I was on a different server, but I thought it would be cool to be on the same server as my girlfriend's brother. Makes it slightly more difficult for her to dump me should things go awry (which, thank God, they aren't). Now, Darrick has been dating Stephanie for a long time, significantly longer than I've been seeing Heidi (not sure exactly when they started, but that's less important). Last weekend, we celebrated Darrick's birthday, and I met Stephanie's family, who are, for the most part, geeks.

Now, the weird thing is that Stephanie's dad, Darrick, and myself are practically geek clones. We have characters on WoW that are approximately the same level (I have a few more characters, and my favorites are higher, but no matter). We all collect swords. Stephanie's dad and I have even studied clowning, and both of us have Auguste clowns. Both he & I were considering getting Darrick a sword for his birthday (He ended up getting Darrick more practical gifts, I got him the sword). We all are performers of some kind, and, at varying levels, attempt, have attempted, and/or desire to attempt to make creativity a significant part of our careers.

So anyway, we got to talking about all hooking up together on a server and playing together. The more I think about it, the stranger it is. I will be playing an on-line game with my girlfriend's brother. I will be playing with my girlfriend's brother's girlfriend's dad. Shoot, I'll even be playing (less frequently) with my girlfriend's brother's girlfriend's sister's husband.

I don't particularly believe in coincidences. So I've been a little freaked out the last week or so. I'm getting more used to the idea of being connected in such bizarre ways, but this is just weird.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Cue Chorus of Angels

Guess where I'm posting this from. No, go ahead, guess. No, really.

I now have functional internet at home. Yep, I'm home, and I have an internet connection, for the first time in several weeks. Observe my internetting goodness.

Darth Tater

Just when I thought there was nothing that could get me out of my funk yesterday, Heidi gets me a Darth Vader Mr. Potatohead. Oh, don't get me wrong, I was still kinda pissy, and still a little defeated, but this shocked me out of the worst of the funk. Damn, that girl knows how to take care of me!

So, I'm better now. Darth Tater started the healing (I've said it before, and I'll say it again, you find healing in the strangest places), and then Heidi proceeded to pile praise on me in a way that I was not looking for, and definitely not expecting (when you feel utterly defeated, having your girlfriend there to tell you how wrong you are is a good thing).

But I still feel betrayed and pissed off at the death in the latest Harry Potter book (I won't spoil it for those who haven't read it, and those who have will know what I'm talking about). Admittedly, that was the author's goal, so good job Ms. Rowling! Still, dammit! I keep wondering what the actors who play those parts in the movies thought when they read it. Not so much Daniel Radcliffe, because he really won't change his characterization any (here's a hint that won't surprise you, Harry was there, but he wasn't the one who died), but these other guys who have some experience... damn!

So in all, I'm better, feeling more productive, like a member of society again, and I've started reading my homebrewing book.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

One of those weeks

This has been one of "those" weeks. Y'know, the kind where you look back on it and wonder "what the hell was I thinking?" I'm just regretting a few stupid mistakes, but my mind has been kind of messed up most of the week. I even spent most of last weekend asleep feeling unwell, and most of last night awake, thinking about how I might get fired because of a combination of a stupid decision and other people's lack of response.

I don't know, maybe it's the heat. Maybe it's the food (or lack thereof). Maybe it's the fact that my place is still a completely disorganized mess, and I've been living there nearly a month.

I used to be a pretty confident, intelligent, rational, decisive, resonable guy, with things more or less together, despite all the crap going on in my life. What happened?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Oy vey

So I wore some older pants today, and forgot to put a belt on. No biggie. They're comfortable, they stay on, all is well. Except for when the top button flies off in the middle of walking to work. They still stay on, but the zipper now does have the tendency to fall down quite a bit. Fortunately, I sit a lot at work, but my trip home will be interesting. I hope I get a seat on the El on the way home, because standing could lead to some unusual experiences. Not to mention that I can't just walk home and put on new pants... I have to walk to where the auto glass place is, pay for the car, and then drive home. Yikes!

Monday, August 01, 2005

The Broken Window

So some prick decided to break my passenger side window Saturday night/Sunday morning. Not steal anything, not even attempt to steal anything. Just break the window to be rude. Maybe he broke the window, looked in and thought better of it. Maybe he broke the window and the car alarm went off and he ran off. But there was still glass precariously situated in the top of the window frame, and the moment I touched it, it fell in the car. So basically, it seems like the guy (or girl, coulda been a chick, don't want to be sexist here) just broke my window out of malice. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm glad nothing got stolen. But really, that's just rude.

That's the thing about crime. It's not just coldhearted and wrong, but it's really selfish. "Hey, I want to bugger this other guy's day that I don't know. Yeeha."

I'm really not all that upset about it, I guess I'm more annoyed that the glass-fix place hasn't called yet. Still, it's another stressor added into an already stressed life, y'know?