23 November 2009

Third Week in November 2009

This entry may be a weird one, I don't believe I took any pictures with my camera this week. There is picture up on here from me, but it's off of my iPhone, not the camera. I hope you enjoy a textier version of The Onion Skin News.

Monday was another very busy work day. I don't quite know what is going on, but boy is it busy. I suppose that is a good thing, maybe it's an indication of the economy picking back up.

After work on Monday I hung out with Troy and watched him play more Dragon Age. It's really well written. I find myself asking him about plot and character points I've missed, much like a missed episode of a television show and I need to catch up.

Tuesday evening I hung out with VK. We had dinner and then headed out to see the meteor shower. I found as dark a location as you are likely to find in the Omaha metro. The sky was hazy, but clear. VK and I got the blanket on and lay on the hood of the car watching the sky. We were rewarded with exactly ONE meteor in 30 to 40 minutes of watching. Grrr! I'm going to Montana for the next meteor shower.

Wednesday was another busy day at work. I decided at lunch to go to Hy-Vee. I almost got hit three times, twice by the same car. I was happy to be back at work just for safety's sake.

After work I went over to game night at Kaleb's. People were once again waiting outside, but this time he really wasn't home. Once inside I snacked on Maeg's fries and we played Mall of Horror. This was yet another zombie game that turned out to be fairly interesting. The link above calls it a game of "negotiation". Negotiation was a factor, but it seemed to me, with only one play, to be a game of position. The players furthest from the first player really had a tough time. Maeg and I stuck together, and she ended up winning. At a certain point our 'teamwork' broke down, though there wasn't much she could have done to help me, it was my position on the table.

The other game we played was Arabian Nights. I am hoping to play this one again ... if not again and again and again. It was an adventure / storytelling game. I have already achieved legendary status in the game without actually finishing it. I left early, and felt bad about it. I hope we get together sometime soon again to play it.

Thursday was yet another day, so we'll skip right ahead to...

Friday! At work I found myself to be the winner of a holiday turkey give away. That will help feed us at VK's holiday extravaganza. After work I took it over to VK's house in order for it to thaw in time for Thanksgiving. VK and I hung out and had dinner.

Then I had to run downtown in order to make it in time for Jillian's birthday jam. I almost managed to sneak into the door and into the circle before she saw I was there, but no such luck. Still it was a good time dancing. Jillian was in town for just a few days. I have no pictures to document the event, Matt was not there, Maeg has not posted, and I don't have any idea how to get to Lee's pictures.

Saturday dawned and it was the big moving day for Matt and Vivian. I got up and attempted to hurry over to help pack the truck. I had no such luck at all. I couldn't find my work gloves (I found them later as I was pulling in from finishing the work), so I went over to Menard's to buy some new ones. At the front of the checkout line was a lady writing a check, and evidently having trouble comprehending that writing a check can be done in less than seven minutes. Finally I had my merchandise and went to Burger King where I was confronted by another conundrum.

Well for me, it really wasn't a conundrum at all. I wanted to get an order of french toast sticks. I looked at the value menu, and you could get an order of three for $1.00, and then I looked at the regular menu, and saw you can get an order of five for $2.20. A few minutes later I rolled out of BK with six french toast sticks and a smug attitude.

Moving Matt and Vivian out of their apartment seemed like less of a chore than it was moving them in. I was behind one oddity. Remembering what a chore it was getting the couch up the stairs and into the apartment, I was determined to have none of that tomfoolery on the way out. We lowered it over the side of the deck to the ground.

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It took just two minutes this way and no one swore or sweated. Photo credit: Matt

In between places, Matt and Vivian picked up a couch and love seat, a washer and dryer, and a huge fridge. Thanks to having a large number of people there to help, it all went very quickly.

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The new couch came up the back deck. Photo credit: Matt

The major leftover issue was that the new fridge was too wide to get up the interior stairs, or even up the back. We had to have the doors taken off to come up the stairs. Naturally the tools were nowhere to be found. Finally we got it all done! We all settled in for our pay ... pizza, and watched Matt and Vivian have their first dance in the new house.

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First house, first dance

After the moving was mostly done, I headed back to the apartment for my date night with VK. I put on my suit on, picked out my purple tie, and headed over to Lo Sole Mio for dinner. Sometimes, people plan things out, and those plans don't go quite right, but it turns out really well anyways. VK forgot the symphony tickets, and had to turn around and get them. Now, I'm not pointing fingers, because I left concert tickets in Ogden, Utah once, and didn't discover it until my friend had driven us all the way to South Salt Lake. However the symphony was at 8:00pm and we couldn't have gotten seated at Lo Sole Mio until around 7:00pm. That part of the plan was shot.

So, we improvised. We met and drove downtown, parked her car at her work, and walked over to Michael's Mexican restaurant and got an appetizer. Which we finished while watching the first part of the Husker game, then we headed over to the symphony with plenty of time to spare. This was the best 'art event' I've seen in Omaha since Midsummers Night Dream at Shakespeare on the Green in 1998. The show was "Patriotic Celebration" and it featured many American themed songs, three male soloists, the symphony, and a large combined choir (featuring VK's sister). I enjoyed it greatly. After the show, we decided to try for dinner, as we drove downtown, there was an open spot at M's Pub. A sign? Heck yeah, a stop sign. So we stopped. Ryan who I know from jitterbugs was the host, and we ran into one of my roommate Tim's best friends, Amy. In the course of a couple hours it went from possible disaster to magical evening. I like that, and VK looked terrific.

Sunday I got up and got to church! Yes, it deserves an exclamation point. I need to be back in the habit. After church I went and got Troy, and we went out to lunch at Chipotle. He used foursquare to check himself in, hmmm. After lunch we hung out while he played some Dragon Age. I left and went home, was bored, and discovered that Kongregate has a Dragon Age flash game. I immediately started playing, but was interrupted by the start of the Bears game.

I met Joe and Frank over at DJs Dugout to watch the game. We got the "Frank, Joe, and Eric Memorial Table" in front of screen 41. They sat down, and immediately checked in on foursquare, hmmm. CJ showed up a little later, and immediately checked in on foursquare, hmmm. "That's enough!" I cried and set up a foursquare account for myself using my iPhone. I then checked in to foursquare myself. At least I was sitting with the mayor of DJs Dugout.

The game was a little less spectacular. Of course I can't tell what the season would be like if we kept our draft picks and not traded quarterbacks with Denver, but this quarterback seems to be part of the problem, not part of the solution. The best part of the evening was screen 40, it was showing the MLS championship, and there were a bunch of soccer fans (why, I don't know) with accents yelling at everything that was going on.

This next week I will get my camera working.

Happy Thanksgiving!

17 November 2009

2nd week in November

The start of my work week was the Mondayest Monday I have experienced in a long time. So busy at work, it was nothing specific, like a server down, so I'm still not sure what the issue was, more likely it was a statistical aberration.

After work I went out to dinner with Kevin. I do realize he was not always the best roommate, but I certainly miss talking to him. He's a good talk. We had a long rambling conversation that covered several interesting topics, including the upcoming chili contest.

As many of you know and are bored with, I am in two fantasy football leagues. One is friends and the other is at work. My work league has not been doing so well, but I am winning in the other league. I garnered more hate and derision on Monday night by winning my matchup in my non-work league by .06 points, 85.09 to 85.03. Just as perspective, each yard in my league is worth .08 points. So I won by less than one yard.

Tuesday was the very long overdue birthday dinner for Frank. Dinner was at Saigon, I tried, quite unsuccessfully to use Google Maps to find the restaurant. It turned out to be easier than I thought. I continued with my usual luck of ordering something really good on the menu. I ordered the pork clay pot, and the only thing that wasn't good about it is that was not big enough. After dinner we went to Mic's for karaoke.

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Corinn thinks the cucumber in the ice water is really cool ... more like cold.

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The birthday boy and friends are looking up their favorite 80s songs.

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I followed a really bad duet. I sang Bobby Darin's Beyond the Sea. Then Takashi followed me with Bob Seger's Old Time Rock and Roll. He's good!

You can see all of my event photos here, and some from Maeg here.

Wednesday night VK and I got together after work for the express reason of finishing up the tree project we had started when all the trees were colorful. However, we decided to go out to dinner at Village Inn and enjoy Free Pie Wednesday! I had cherry and VK had triple berry.

The tree project started when VK was looking for something to hang on her bedroom walls, I saw something she liked in a Gordman's and I said "I can do that with photoshop (GIMP actually)". So we started taking pictures of colorful trees, doing some postprocessing, and here are a couple of the results.

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Thursday afternoon I got a headache. It was the kind of headache, and it came on in a way that I knew Troy would get one too. I hate migraines. You know what else I hate? The Bears. CJ had us over because he gets the NFL network on his cable. Goodness, that was a frustrating game to watch. I just want my football team to be a reflection of the city, tough, smart, and hardworking. Two of three are there, one is not, I think we play stupid ... from the top down. You know what I didn't hate? The BBQ that CJ got. It was excellent. Between the BBQ and the wings I ate well. Now for a victory next week.

For some reason, the work week ended just as it began, Friday was crazy. Somehow I got through it, mostly alive ... I've rarely been as TGIF as I was. Work was so stressful last week that I arrived at Friday evening ready to drink or dance ... I chose dance.

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The birthday girl gets photobombed.

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Ben and Bethany have black belts in Lindy-Fu.

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I think I must be a big fan of pictures like this.

You can see all of my dancing photos here
Saturday in the morning I had my camera in hand, and Sierra felt like being photogenic.

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Unfortunately, she immediately tried to eat the plant after the picture was taken.

During the afternoon, I had a unique experience. I was invited to be the token male at a football party. VK's roommate Lisa was having a football party and she was inviting a guy she had met, but she didn't want him to be the only boy at this event, so voila, I was invited to fill in and be the second man ... the second man, but the first token. The Huskers won and the food was good, plus I got to see VK, so it all worked out.

Immediately following the game, VK had a furniture moving project for myself and Ben (who had shown up during the football game). VK the bargain hunter had found some bedroom furniture at Nebraska Furniture Mart, and was being charged for delivery. Ben had a huge truck for another project, and helped VK out by picking up her furniture for her. The pieces were heavy, but not too awkward to work with. The result was good.

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Dresser and drawers.

After all the moving, I went over to game night at Kaleb's. VK is a trooper, and joined us there despite being really tired. She wasn't the only one who was exhausted. So we played, um, something, that one game with the river ... oh yeah, it was called Niagra which I won, memorable as it was. We also played a game of Bang!. I didn't do as well, the sheriff killed me, darn those sheriffs.

Oddly enough, it must have been international photogenic cat day, because Kaleb's cat TB decided that Sierra wasn't the only cute cat.

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This is TB, not Lucy.

Maeg took a bunch of pictures at game night, mostly of TB and Q-Bert, you can see them here.

Sunday dawned at some point, but I sure don't know when it happened, I slept right through it. However, I had plans. Church was in the plans, but that didn't happen, and that needs to stop. I need to go, it's a sanity issue.

However, there were other plans too, hanging with VK. We watched a little football, okay, more like I watched a little football until other people showed up. We then played The Office trivia/board game. It turned out to have some pretty good game play. Even though I don't watch TV, so I didn't know any answers, I still liked it.

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That's what she said.

Then we played a slightly different game, Need For Speed on PS2. We had two tournaments, Chris won one, Lisa dominated the other.

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I won once one race. Sheesh.

That was pretty much it. After VK and I were eliminated from the second tournament we went for a long walk, probably about five miles. The walk was satisfying and much needed, and thus ended my week.

10 November 2009

First Week in November 2009

Welcome to November and an extra hour of sleep! I decided to split the difference, and get up a half an hour earlier. So far, it has had no effect on me getting to work earlier. Sigh. With the start of November, I upped my exercise program to 40 push ups / dips / scrunches and 100, yes 100 sit ups, five times a week, I don't quite make the five, but I average three and a half. I still hate the sit ups. I like the tummy getting flatter though. I consoled my hate of sit ups by hanging out with VK on Monday night.

Tuesday I took the morning off of work and went to the see the doctor and the dentist. I got some good news at the doctor, my weight was down, my blood pressure was way down, and I'm in good health. The dentist was the usual bad story however. I need two fillings and two crowns. I dislike my teeth. I was a little perturbed at the hygienist, after beating up on my teeth and gums for 20 minutes with a metal device that vibrates at 24k hertz, she had the nerve to chastise me about my gums being swollen and bleeding.

Wednesday was a game night at Kaleb's. Before game night began though, I made some assumptions that turned out to be false. As I came up to Kaleb's house, the blinds were down and there was a UPS guy walking up to the door who then walked away with no one answering. I looked at the invitation e-mail, and it said 1900 instead of the usual 1830. So I ASSUMED that Kaleb wasn't home. About five minutes later, Tom showed up and we sat and chitchatted in the street about things, CJ pulled in the drive and sat in his car, then Ben who came and talked to Tom and I. Finally Maeg, who cleverly asked "Did anyone try the door?" ... um, no. Of course, Kaleb was home, and I looked to be quite the fool.

First we played Battlestar Galactica. I've played this game now four times, and all four times I've been a Cylon. I haven't complained though, because I've been on the winning team every time ... until this time. I hate to blame the loss of a game on luck, but the humans had it. I just couldn't do anything to confound them. Darn it. We also played a game of The Adventurers. It was fast paced, easy to learn, and fun ... Kaleb and I tied.

Thursday was kind of rough, found a friend was fairly gravely ill and went into surgery in the morning, fortunately they made it out okay, although there is still a long road to hoe. That's really all I can say about it.

Friday was payday, which was well timed. It was also kind of fun night. After work I met Sarah, Greg, VK, and Jenny over at Granite City Brewing Company in Omaha. Keith showed up shortly after that and we had ourselves a triple date. My food was excellent, better than I expected out of a chain restaurant. After a short tour of Jenny's redecoration of The Redneck Truck, we headed off to Jitterbugs Night Out and went dancing.

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This is the second time Sarah has come to JNO, now I have to go country dancing twice.

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VK is a dreamy dance partner.

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Frank danced in Omaha before heading off to a warm weather Lindy Blizzard in Des Moines.

You can see all of my dancing photos here.

Saturday turned out to be an odd one. I had a lazy morning, but managed to get up by the crack of noon. I then grabbed some lunch and met VK out at Walnut Creek. Then we got crazy and went shoe shopping. Both my pairs of my dress shoes (brown & black) have holes in the bottom. So it was time. I had bought my last two pairs of shoes at Target, they lasted about two years each. Prior to that I used the Bass Outlet at Nebraska Crossing and my shoes purchased there had lasted minimum five years, and the pair that didn't were replaced for free after two years. Time to spend the money, go back to Bass Outlet, and get good shoes.

Look out for the stampeding women, there's a shoe sale! It was 50% off on everything, and then take even more off of some. I ended up spending on two pairs what I thought it would cost me for one. I was quite happy, the new shoes are unbelievably comfortable out of the box. VK and I headed back to Omaha and had dinner, unfortunately I started to get migrainey, and had no medicine. So I headed home, but with a stop on the way.

Brianne was having a birthday celebration at Dave and Buster's, so I stopped by for just a moment on the way home. Evidently, token appearances are not appreciated, because I had a knife pulled on me, sheesh.

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I don't think I deserved this kind of treatment. Thanks for coming to my defense Ben. Photo credit: Brianne.

I finally made it home, took my medicine, felt better fairly quickly, but couldn't sleep. So I called Troy and went over to his house to watch him play video games (Dragon Age). Naturally, as soon as I put my head down on his couch, I was right out. I finally went home around 0200 after sleeping most of the time there.

Sunday I was just worn out all day, I couldn't get motivated. I managed to upload some pictures, get to church, and paid attention to about a quarter of my Bears getting their butts kicked ... all without really waking up. I eventually went around back to Troy's. While we were there, Sarah, Merinda, and Frank got back from Iowa. Joe soon showed up and we ordered pizza and provided Troy with a lot of advice on how to manage his video game, it was all very fun.

Google Maps, So Helpful

I am going to meet some people at an Omaha restaurant this evening, and in advance, I decided to look up the address on Google Maps, now with Street View! It was less helpful than you might think.
I know I should be worried about the cars, but I don't think I dressed warm enough to eat here.

02 November 2009

Halloween Week 2009

The work week started inauspiciously, I left my cell phone at home. I don't know how I survived the first 33 years of my life without a cell phone constantly plastered to my body. It's amazing really. After barely surviving the withdrawls from not having a phone, I took my lunch and went to Hy-Vee and dropped of my recyclables at there store at Oak View Mall.

Thank you Hy-Vee!

Since I appreciate that Hy-Vee provides a recycling service for those who don't have curb side pick up, I went in the store and shopped. It is one of the simplest ways you can make a difference, shop and support retailers that are good corporate citizens, avoid those who are not. Eventually even Evil-Mart will get the idea if no one goes there. I tend to shop at Hy-Vee, No Frills, and Target are the places I usually shop (oddly enough, all headquartered in the upper midwest). I'm sure this kind of radical thinking somehow labels me as a socialist.

After work I went and hung out with Troy while he played "Brutal Legend" on Xbox. Very amusing. It took me about 90 minutes before I started to get motion sickness, I think I need to sit farther back from the TV.

H1N1 finally hit home for me on Tuesday. Well sort of ... I was the only one on the phones at work, everyone else was home sick. It turned out to not be so bad, people helped out all day long. Later on I had dinner with VK.

Wednesday was a different story, I woke up achy with chills and a fever. I really don't understand how exactly you can be too hot and too cold at the exact same time. It's very annoying. I drove into work, saw there was plenty of staff, and I went home. I slept and over the next two days watched the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, the extended version. I think when I woke up on Thursday morning, I kind of hit the panic button when I stayed home, I probably could have, probably should have gone into work, but instead I stayed home. Naturally by the end of the third movie I felt fine.

In the evening I went over to Merinda's and learned the Thriller dance. It actually turned out to be much easier than I thought it would be. After about an hour I had the majority of the moves down, and was starting to put them together.

Friday I went back to work. After work, I went over to VK's and we had dinner, watched a movie and walked almost three miles just in her neighborhood ... almost completely without crossing paths.

Many of you have probably seen the ads on tv for the newest Droid phone, the one that makes fun of Apple. I generally think if your marketing campaign is based on the negatives of another product, you probably don't have a good product yourself. It's true that Apple has the iPhone on lockdown, but really, it's in the interest of Apple to do so. I'm not necessarily saying this is a good thing for consumers, but it simplifies things for them. I am thinking that Apple is not really opposed to the Droid (and others) as a competing product. Apple already embraces Open Source, and if the Android based phones take some of their more "demanding" customers away, all the easier to manage your own system.

Saturday early I got up and ran some errands. Nothing too exciting, to the bank and the store, and then went over to meet up with Merinda for one more dance practice. It was just us at the time, but then Joe and Frank showed up, followed by Kevin and Corinn the zombie. We only practiced for an hour or so, but by the time I left three hours had gone by.

I went home to take a nap to get rid of my headache. It didn't work, I kept getting calls, texts, roommated, and generally disturbed. VK showed up and we went out to dinner. Right after my first bite of food, the headache disappeared and finally I had some relief.

After dinner we showed up on time for the party. My fault for being on time, VK knows better, but I do not like to be late. I really don't like to be late, it stressed me as badly as I get stressed out, probably less so than I would having a gun pointed at me, but that's a different story. Back to the party ... people took pictures, who knew?

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This little boy was dressed up as a hot dog, so naturally the mustard and ketchup had to "get" him.

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The hostess introduces Michelle to a man that only a doctor could love.

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Panda Bethany and I improvise 'more cowbell'. Photo by Matt

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Believe it or not, we had dancing at one of our parties.

Speaking of dancing, we didn't do all that Thriller dance practice for nothing. I'm sure this is not the only place on YouTube that you can see this but here it is off of my camera.

It's a little dark, but you should be able to make out the basic dance.

There are more pictures of the party here from me, Matt, Maeg (including a hilarious triton moment), and for those of you on Facebook, Lisa.

I found out at 1920 on Saturday night that the time was going to change early on Sunday morning. Who knew?

Sunday I met up with Joe and Frank at DJ's Dugout in Bellevue to watch the game(s) on many many televisions at once. I think we have a new favorite place to watch. It wasn't just the set up, it was also the crowd, there were constantly cheers coming from one area of the bar or another. It makes sense since the place is near to the Air Force base, people are bound to be there from all over the country. The best thing heard during the day was from a bunch of Lions fans, right after they scored a touchdown to tie the game one of them jumped up and yelled "We're going to the Super Bowl!" ... um, no you're not.

Later in the evening, I asked Robin to pick me up some Blue Bunny "Berry Me Please" ice cream. I had noticed it in the store, and wanted to try some. The picture on the label is a classic example of false advertising. It shows a "serving suggestion" with lots of berries and swirls in a purple colored ice cream. I admit, when I opened it, the ice cream was purple ... but no berries, no swirls, just a couple chunks of chocolate (that I avoided), and by couple, I mean a couple. It was plenty tasty enough, so I don't quite understand why Blue Bunny felt the need to trick anyone into buying it. I generally like Blue Bunny, but I might try another brand for a while.

Talk to you next week.