personal comments edit

Quite the weekend, considering it was four days long. I can’t say it was entirely restful, but I can say it was better than being at work. I think.

Thursday was Thanksgiving. It was pretty busy, too, considering it’s supposed to be you hanging out with your family. Unfortunately for me, that means two families - mine and Jenn’s.

11:00a saw Jenn and I at the local Hometown Buffet - all you can eat, anything you want. This is especially good for me, since I can’t stand turkey or ham. I ate my fill of baked fish while everyone else shovelled gamey disgustingness down their gullets.

After we finished eating at the buffet, Jenn’s parents gave her “part of her Christmas gift.”

Santa
Candleholders

I appreciate that they were trying to do something nice, but there are a few problems with candleholders, particularly candleholders of this nature:

  • They’re large, and we’re out of storage space.
  • They’re delicate, and the Tiny Cat will knock anything off a shelf if you look away for more than two minutes.
  • They hold candles, and even unscented candles bug my allergies like nothing else.
  • You can only use them during a short period of the year.

Sigh.

By 2:00p, we were 30 miles away from there sitting with my family at my grandfather’s house in Sandy. Having already eaten, Jenn and I pretty much just hung out during the dinner part of things and then ate pie when dessert rolled around.

I, of course, somehow got into the unavoidable “I need help with my computer” conversation, which I try like the devil not to get into but always seem to get sucked into anyway. I think it’s a combination of several key factors: I work with computers; I do stuff that I really can’t explain to the lay user; People want to have a conversation with me and don’t know what else to talk about, so they ask about work… and then it goes from there. I’m thinking I need to get into some common sport (hockey isn’t for these people, they’re -ugh- football watchers) so at least I’ll have something to talk about.

Hung out at Granddad’s for a few hours and headed home.

Friday Jenn worked, but I was off and I ended up going over to my parents’ house. My dad hauled 12 big boxes full of school papers, toys, and other things that they had saved over the years for us three kids, and they wanted to weed out the stuff we didn’t want. I ended up getting all of my stuff to fit into a single (sizable) box after throwing out loads of duplicates of things and a bunch of crap I’m not sure why we kept. It was an interesting blast from the past, though.

Some of the boxes that things were stored in were kind of neat, too. Remember the Commodore Vic 20? Here’s the box:

Vic 20 Box -
Front Vic
20 Box -
Back Vic 20 Box - Back
(Blowup)

We had one of those, and then we ended up buying a Commodore 64 when the Vic 20 got stolen:

C64 Box -
Front C64
Box -
Back

We also got one of the floppy disk drives:

Commodore 1541 Floppy Disk
Drive

So that was sorta neat to see. (Those boxes have since been dumpstered.)

Saturday Jenn worked again, so I ended up doing housework and working on my blog here. Of my previous list of things I wanted to do, all that I didn’t get done was fixing the links between blog entries, updating my “about” page, and fixing the blurbs to do fancy popup thing I want them to do. The rest got done, though, and I think it’s much more usable, at least from an admin standpoint.

Saturday night I went to the Winter Hawks hockey game and watched us barely beat Seattle. It was also the “Teddy Bear Toss,” where, on the first Winter Hawks goal scored, you throw stuffed animals out onto the ice. The animals are then collected and donated to charities. This year they had 5,448 animals thrown, which filled up two pickup trucks and several dumpsters. It was pretty slick.

Sunday was spent doing things around the house for a while, then we went to the mall because we were bored. Not much going on at the mall. At at the Cajun Grill, which is, in my opinion, the best place in the food court. After that we went to another Winter Hawks game, where, once again, we barely won. Went home and watched Alias, which always rocks, and then went to bed and had a bad dream about zombies coming to kill me.

So the weekend was okay, though I would have liked to have rested more. Because Jenn worked over the weekend, I ended up doing her chores and mine, and that sucked a lot. I’ve got the last two weeks of the year off, though, and I’m hoping that’s a bit more restful.

food comments edit

I was craving Indian food (after having eaten some at a great buffet around my work) and I went online to get a recipe for something I knew I liked - Chicken Tikka Masala.

The thing is, I’m one of those people who, when he gets a test that says, “read all the instructions before beginning the test,” and then the last instruction is “don’t do the test,” I fail. I do stuff as I’m reading. So here’s how the night went:

I got my chicken out of the fridge (after having marinated all night long) and started the oven preheating. The instructions say to cook this sauce while you’re baking your chicken, so I started getting out the ingredients for the sauce while the oven was heating up. Ten ounce can of tomato puree - check. Five ounce can of tomato paste - check. Two pounds of chopped tomatoes…

TWO POUNDS OF CHOPPED TOMATOES?! I didn’t have any tomatoes at all, let alone two pounds.

I turned off the oven, cat-proofed the kitchen, and went to Safeway to get my two pounds of tomatoes.

That’s a shitload of tomatoes.

Got home, started it all back up, started chopping/de-seeding the tomatoes. About halfway through that, the oven was ready to go.

Now, you’re only supposed to cook the chicken for like 10 minutes, which means I had supposedly 10 minutes to finish chopping a pound of tomatoes, get all of that in the pot, and have it boiled down to a “thick sauce.” 10 minutes later, the chicken was done and I was still chopping tomatoes. I left the chicken in and set the oven to “warm” so the chicken wouldn’t overcook or dry out, but would stay warm.

I finished chopping, dumped the tomato stuff into the pot along with 4.5 cups of water and started “cooking on a low temperature” according to the instructions. I then mopped the kitchen because two pounds of chopped tomatoes generally yields a lot of water, much of which ended up on the ground in my furious chopping effort. (It was at that exact moment that the Swiffer WetJet decided to run out of WetJet liquid soap, so it’s probably not as clean as it should be.)

After an hour of “low,” I decided that the heat needed to be, as Emeril puts it, “kicked up a notch.” I wish I had time lapse photography of the heat knob. I’m sure it would show me cranking up the heat like nobody’s business. By this time it was, oh, about 8:00p.

In the meantime, I thought I’d make some Indian flatbread (“naan”) to eat with the chicken. I mixed up the dough and stirred the pot of sauce by holding the spoon between my teeth (I had doughy hands). I kneaded the dough for 10 minutes as specified and finished with that at about 8:30p. Next step - let the bread sit for three hours.

THREE HOURS? There goes the flatbread idea.

Two hours later, it was like 10:00p, the sauce was boiling on medium heat and was nowhere near “thick,” and my flatbread still had a minimum of an hour and a half left to sit before I could start cooking it.

I put in a call to Jenn (who was at a meeting at the time) and she brought home Burger King. We’ll be trying to finish up the Indian cooking effort tonight.

I’ve learned a couple of things from this. First, always read all the instructions before you start and be clear on what they mean. Second, sauce doesn’t cook down as quickly as folks might imply, and “low heat” means “all day.”

It sure smells good, though.

traffic comments edit

I was wondering if I’d get a Traffic Asshole before the Thanksgiving holiday, and sure enough, society came through for me.

Behold: A double-long dump truck doing 20 miles an hour in the fast lane!

image

He stayed in the fast lane for probably five miles. Traffic was backed up way beyond that even. Once you got past him - smooth sailing.

Thank you, Traffic Asshole, for a nice commute just before the holidays.

personal, playstation comments edit

Well, I knew my good mood couldn’t last forever, and after Sunday’s beating, it didn’t have much left to it. Today pretty much killed it off.

I’ve fought with things pretty much all day long to get them to work correctly. I mean, everything down to the weather was against me.

I went during lunch to UPS my PS2 to Sony. It was clear when I looked out the window then it started raining buckets as soon as I stepped out the door. I got to the UPS place and stood in this ridiculous line for like 20 minutes, then as soon as I was done, the rain stopped. Fucking figures.

Our marketing department pisses me off, too. We recently put out a press release telling people at the bottom of the release to “go request such-and-such whitepaper at the web site.” Prior to release, I informed the marketers that we don’t have anywhere for people to request such things. Do I need to create something? “No, they’ll just email us.” Are you sure? I mean, people see something like that, and they want a form. “No, don’t worry about it. They’ll just email us.” Fine.

The request came in today - around a week later - that they need a form for this whitepaper thing. Except now it’s a last minute emergency instead of something I could actually have taken some good time with and made extensible and functional. Thanks for the forethought, guys! Everything with marketing is always a fucking fire drill. One would think that, as capable humans, they’d learn by now. Maybe I’m overestimating their abilities. After all, these are the people who gave the graphic designer full credit for the web site I built.

personal, playstation comments edit

I woke up Saturday morning around 8:00a and finished reading my book, Artemis Fowl, while lying in bed. Excellent book, and it put me in a reasonably good mood.

Around 9:00a or so, I decided it was time to call Sony regarding my Playstation 2 issues. I steeled myself for a long fight on the phone, getting ready to sit on hold and be transferred from person to person while they tried to stall me long enough to give up. I prepared my soul for the endless ridiculous troubleshooting steps that they’d send me through repeatedly. Then I dialed.

I didn’t wait on hold at all. I got straight through to a technician, Michael. Michael asked me a couple of fairly simple questions regarding the problem I was seeing and the steps I’d already taken to solve it. After around three minutes of answering questions, he offered me a “waived fee” (reads: free!) repair. No fight, no hassle, no hold time, no transfers.

Holy shit.

He told me he’d email me the information to send in with my PS2 to the repair facility. I thanked him and hung up. Sure enough, the info I needed was in my inbox this morning. If this all goes well, I’m going to fill out a positive feedback form for these guys. That just rocks.

Got my chores done reasonably quickly and had some time to just sit down and relax. Watched a little TV. That sort of thing. Honestly, I don’t remember a lot of what went on because I was feeling generally good and overall just relaxed.

Saturday night Jenn and I went to see Elf. That movie was too funny. I love Will Ferrell anyway, but in this he was too much. I laughed totally hard and felt completely justified in spending my $8 to see it. I’ll be getting it when it comes out on DVD and will add it to my standard holiday rotation.

Sunday…

Ugh.

I don’t have a lot of Good Days, so I revelled in Saturday’s glory. Everything about Saturday rocked. I was in a good mood all day long, things generally went my way, I didn’t have to stress about things or feel like I needed to fight people to get things done. It was great.

Sunday, on the other hand, I could probably have done without. I ended up going to the mall to the local Cost Plus World Market to pick up some spices I wasn’t able to get at the grocery store. Of course, they were understaffed at the checkout line and I got behind two people buying 20+ glass items, each of which had to be individually hand-wrapped and packaged… It took me like an hour to buy three packets of spices.

My parents each called me to “helpfully” inform me that, even though they’re not moving anywhere for months, they drug down 12 boxes of schoolwork from the attic that I have to go through. Normally I’d say “pitch it all” but it’s not just mine - it’s mixed in with my sisters’ stuff. And I’d like to have my trophies and things, so I guess I’ll be going through boxes this weekend, exactly what I wanted to do.

Which got me stewing over the upcoming holiday weekend.

I hate holiday weekends. Why? Because they’re not restful. All holidays do for me is generate stress and irritibility.

I don’t like turkey. I don’t like ham. Don’t ask me why, I just don’t. Weird? Maybe, but I’m sure you can think of a few foods you’re not too partial to, also. But you know what holiday “feasts” consist of? You guessed it. We had lobster one year. That was great. I remember a year we had Chinese food, too, and that was really cool. The rest of the time, ugh. (Luckily, Jenn’s family is eating long before mine, and Jenn’s family is going to an all you can eat buffet - anything you want. That’s perfect as far as I’m concerned. I’ll fill up there and then just “make an appearance” at my family’s dinner.)

I don’t like family gatherings. I don’t really have anything to say to people. Folks ask me what I’ve been doing at work, but there’s no point in trying to explain it because the people at work don’t understand what I do. All that ends up doing is causing a glazed look on whoever I’m talking to, which further irritates me.

I don’t like the lack of coordination and scheduling. I don’t like driving all over hell and back trying to make it to everyone’s house because everyone wants to “see me.”

What the holiday ends up being is less a holiday and more a “try to please everyone else” fest. Fuck that shit. I’m going to fucking snap one of these years and then… well, just you wait. They’ll be talking about it for generations to come.

Anyway, the long and the short of it is - I have a four day weekend coming that I was hoping was going to be one day of hectic shit and three days of rest and relaxation. Instead I’ve got one day of hectic shit, one day of going through boxes of shit, and two days of trying to calm down and chill out before Monday shows up again to piss me off. What a waste of paid time off. I should have just opted to work through it so I’d have an excuse to not have to deal with any of it. At least I’d be able to get something done in the office with no one there.