Friday, 24 October 2003

Got lost driving to this one because I had a) not read the notes that the coords were off and b) I put them in the GPS wrong. Once I corrected my mistakes, I must have circled the cache site twenty times before I came at it from the right angle. My flashlight caught one of the baubles just right. Overall a fantastic evening to be out and I saw the sun set. TNLN. Thanks!

Thursday, 23 October 2003

Nice walk in the woods on a gorgeous fall evening. Thanks for such a wonderful site for my first successful find. LNTN.

Monday, 22 September 2003

Looks like my bandwidth provider at home decided to change my IP on me. That’s what I get for using cable modem! Really, I’d go with DSL if I could get it where I live, but 30000 wire feet is a little too far.

At same time, the script that is supposed to tell me the new IP address failed. That means part of this site is broken and my CD database on-line also doesn’t work.

I’ve really got to get that script fixed.

Update: Looks like it wasn’t my IP changing, it was just my provider having problems.

Thursday, 18 September 2003

Went to the Reverend Horton Heat show last night and it rocked! I forgot my earplugs and may have done even further, irreparable, damage to my hearing, but I had a great time.

The two opening bands, Throw Rag and BR549, where pretty good. Throw Rag is best described as a punk outfit from Southern California. BR549 bill themselves as a country act, but it’s more a bluegrass, folk, rockabilly thing if you ask me. Personally, I liked BR549 better, while my friend, Hjalmer, like Throw Rag better.

In other news:

  • I’ve been working way too much.
  • I still find time to fly (kites) once every couple weeks.
  • I passed my driver’s test (yes, at 36 years old.)
  • I have a vehicle.

Wednesday, 23 July 2003

Another month, another trip. This time it was San Diego on business. The weather was great. First day we worked from eight in the morning, broke for lunch, then stayed until three…in the morning. Second day was more reasonable, 9:30am in, 4:30pm out, then we hit the beach.

While in San Diego, I bought a new kite. Originally I was going to bring one with, but couldn’t collapse anything far enough to fit in my baggage. With a trip to the beach in the works, I was really jonesing for something to fly. The end result: over lunch I hit a local kite store that one of the guys in the office recommended. The owner, Victor, is a great guy and knows his kites. He treated me right and I ended up with a 2.5m Flexifoil Bullet. It’s a four-line stunt kite with a wingspan over 10 feet. Lots of control and lots of power. People wave-board behind these things. It’s more than I originally wanted to spend, but still worth every penny.

I never thought I’d say this, but…I can’t wait for winter. I’ll have some pictures up in a few days.

Wednesday, 25 June 2003

Just got back from a wonderful weekend in Madison. My good friends Michelle and Steve just moved there from Atlanta and I went for their housewarming. It was a great party and I wish I didn’t have to work tomorrow, it would have been nice to stay an extra day or two.

Patrick, you were missed and you really should have gone.

Monday, 12 May 2003

Vanessa and I had been dating for a little over a month when she decided it was time I cooked dinner for her once. Until then, either she cooked or we went out whenever we got together. Not this time. In spite of my warning, she insisted and we made a date for Saturday.

I spent all day getting ready; cleaning the living room and kitchen, dusting furniture, straightening the mess that was my office.

I decided on pasta because it’s fairly easy and I make a mean red-sauce. Early afternoon I went shopping. Italian Sausage, tomato sauce, tomato paste, oregano, rigatoni noodles, cheese from the deli, garlic bread, a few other bits, and a decent bottle of wine.

My plan was to have dinner ready for when Vanessa arrived at 6 o’clock. I set about making the sauce, which would need to simmer for about an hour. I opened the tomato paste and tomato sauce, dumped them in a saucepan, and added a touch of oregano and a little something else to give it some zip. After that, I put the sausage on to brown and started water for the noodles.

Checking the sauce, something was off. Way off. It was runny and tasted horrible. Turns out I got the wrong stuff and had something closer to tomato soup than spaghetti sauce. Maybe I can recover.

The sausage needed a few minutes more, so I started the oven on low, put the bread in, and tried to find something that would save the sauce. Rifling through cupboards turned up nothing useful and there was no time for another trip to the store.

Right about then, Vanessa called to see if we were still on for dinner and if there was anything she could bring. Unwilling to admit defeat so early, I lied, “No thanks. Everything is fine on this end.” There was no turning back now.

It wasn’t enough that my kitchen skills weren’t the greatest—and I knew it. I really had a thing for this woman, so I had to complicate matters by trying to impress her. On top of it all, it had been a miserable week at work and I wasn’t feeling well. I wrote off the queasy stomache to simple nervousness and started thinking about what music to play.

To me, the right music is almost as important as the right food or the right wine. Choose wisely, and it helps make an entire evening. Choose poorly, and it can ruin your night, leaving it a crumpled, tattered mess.

Somewhere between The Cocteau Twins and Elvis Costello I was wrested from my musical reverie… What’s that smell? A sense of dread washed over me and headed toward the kitchen. Oh my God! The stove is on FIRE! As if to drive home the point, that was about when the smoke alarm started screaming. Thankfully I had the sense to cover the pan and get it off the heat before any real damage occured, but not before the room was completely hazed over and the sausage was beyond ruined. Opening a window, I tried to calm down and thought “OK, we’ll go meatless for the sauce.”

With cleanup operations underway and less than 15 minutes to go, I was getting desperate. I put the noodles on and made a quick check of the neighbors. Two not home and the third with nothing more than sauce in a jar. “No thanks, but I’ll Keep it in mind.” A call to my brother and my mother, both excellent cooks, for advice was no use; nobody home either place. I was on my own.

The noodles were doing fine and the smoke was cleared with help from a good size window fan. Looking in on the bread revealed no progress. No heat. No pilot light. Oven broken. Great. Wonderful.

Moving the noodles off the stove and over to drain them, I dropped the pot. Boiling water and rigatoni noodles exploded everywhere.

What I should have done was give up, but I was determined to see things through. Vanessa was supposed to be there any minute, so I had to think fast. There were regular spaghetti noodles in the cupboard, so I got the water going again and put them in, then back to the neighbor’s for that jar of sauce.

I had just finished dumping the jar into a pan when Vanessa arrived. In an effort to catch my breath and to hide my frazzled nerves, I sat to chat for a just a minute. One minute turned into five and then ten. All the while I didn’t let on what had transpired. “Is every thing OK? I think I smell smoke.”

“Not to worry,” my keen sense of understatement running full-tilt, “just a small problem with the stove earlier.”

Then she asked how long ago I had started the noodles and that should probably check on them. Too late; they were already over-done.

There it was, my abject failure on a plate. Sticky spaghetti under mediocre sauce with cold garlic bread and a passable salad. To top it off, the wine wasn’t very good either. Culinary disaster in three courses. Make that two–I completely forgot about dessert.

Awful as it was, Vanessa still found something nice to say. With as much sincerity as she could muster, considering the tears rolling down her face from trying not to laugh, she said “The sauce is good.”

“Here’s the thing,” I confessed, “it’s from a jar.”

Sunday, 27 April 2003

My week did get better as it went on. Got some kite flying in yesterday and today. Not often I can afford the time to go flying two days in a row, but the wind was so good I couldn’t pass up the chance.

Dashed up a new sidebar for the main page today: On the Nightstand. Nothing big, they’re just books I’m reading right now.

One of these days I’ll get off my ass and put up a couple new stories. If nothing else, I have some vacation time coming up at the end of May, maybe I’ll do it then.

Monday, 21 April 2003

Today is not starting off very well. The score so far:

  • Left my hat at home.
  • Forgot my keys (and therefore have locked myself out of the house.)
  • Left my keycard/ID for work in my other jacket.

At least I remembered to wear pants.

Sunday, 20 April 2003

It was a nice, lackadaisical spring day today. In between rain showers, I managed to get in about 45 minutes of kite flying today.

The Easter Bunny also made a visit in the form of my nephew Brekken, wunderkind and all-around good guy. Hard to believe he’s 11 already. 11! Suddenly, I feel so very old.