Sunday, September 7, 2008

Friday Five

The Excuse:

I recently tried to install IE 8 (Beta 2), only to discover that something with my Automatic Updates was pooched. After some research, I found that about the only way to do this was to do a “repair” on Windows. I thought I had done it correctly, only to find out that what I had really done was re-install Windows from scratch. Not really what I wanted to accomplish. (If you’re interested, the correct way to accomplish the feat is to boot from the CD and *not* launch the setup program from inside Windows.) I figured at this point that I may as well just go all out at this point and just format the drive and start all over again, which is what I did. In putting a positive spin on it, I am happy with the final result, as I wind up doing quite a bit to my computer over the course of time since I am a geek. It’s nice to be able to start from scratch every now and then. Or at least that’s what I’m going to continue to tell myself.

As a side note, Karin and I had purchased a Home Server a few months back, which does automatic backups. Because of that, I lost next to nothing data-wise. (I will have to do a posting on backups at some point.)

The Week:

And what a week it was. I wound up meeting Karin in Houston at the airport (there’s still something rather depressing about that) to fly up to Minneapolis for the 14th Annual NNFFL Auction. This works as a great way to see family and friends each year as well. To answer the question I always get asked – I think I’m pleased with who I wound up with on my team. I did basically zero preparation, but all things considered I’ll take what I’ve got. The real answer will come in about 5 weeks when I can actually assess where I stand.

Every year Karin and I have to balance trying to see friends/family as well as spending a little time with each other, which always poses a challenge. On Friday night and Saturday we got to spend a good amount of time with the other people in the league – it still amazes me that we’ve been at this for 14 years, and outside of a couple of small little things like children being born we still all manage to get everyone together every year. Sunday featured afternoon drinks with B (as she posts here) and then dinner at Karin’s parents. Monday was a very nice little gathering at one of Karin’s uncle’s/aunt’s house, which turned out to be a great chance for Karin to see cousins that she hadn’t seen in years. (I apparently had met most everyone there, but unfortunately I didn’t remember meeting a handful – but then I can’t always remember meeting everyone in my own family either (although the latter may be attributable to a selective amnesia).) After one last breakfast with Karin’s parents on Tuesday, we were off to San Diego.

Yup – that’s right. I had a few days at home. Alas, it wasn’t nearly as peaceful as one would have hoped. For starters, our water heater finally decided to kick the bucket. We had been fighting with it for a good while, and had no less than 3 different plumbers come out and look at it to no avail. We had no hot water until Friday when we had a tankless water heater installed – a tad more expensive than we had hoped, but we figure it will help the value (once the market finally turns around) and help keep energy costs down.

Wednesday saw me helping my middle brother move. Although that night I did get to partake in one of my absolute favorite things in the world – a Rueben at The Linkery. Couple notes about The Linkery (which I need to do a posting about) – they do farm-to-table food, meaning they work on relationships with different farms and make food out of whatever it is they can get their hands on. This means that the menu changes basically every week outside of a few staple items. They also do nearly everything in-house, including their own sausage (thus the name The Linkery). On occasion they will do up a Rueben, which featured (this time – the items change a little each time) a house-made beer bread, house-made corned beef, house-made sauerkraut, house-made thousand island and a local Gouda cheese. Yeah, it’s not really on the diet, but it is easily one of the greatest things on the planet.

Thursday was supposed to be a day of me trying to get some stuff done around the house and trying my hand at making ribs for the opening of football season. Instead, it wound up being me working on getting my laptop “back to life” so to speak and heading off to Hooters to watch the game. I suppose there are worse things in life.

Friday turned out to be a pretty typical day with Jumbo – we went out to Dave & Buster’s to get some lunch and play a few video games there, and then found our way over to a Toys-R-Us to buy a Nerf dart gun to use to shoot Nerf darts at his bald head (long story that I’ll hopefully be able to explain later). Karin, Jumbo and I spent that night playing Wii. I must admit I did not thing it was going to be nearly as much fun as it is. What’s great is that Karin, who’s not a video game player by any stretch, is able to do well with the Wii – she’s this amazing knack for hitting the turbo serve on Wii Tennis with dangerous frequency. If you haven’t tried it, the trick shot bowling in the Training section is quite fun.

Saturday was finally the day at home that I had been lusting for all week. After a breakfast at Parkhouse Eatery, I was back at home, relaxing, poking around at different things on my network and laptop, and watching college football. (Memo to SDSU – how about actually finishing a game? You had Notre Dame dead to rights and you let them slip away. Just sad.) Dinner was at Oggi’s (good little brewery/restaurant) and more college football, and the night was some extra Wii time. (BTW – my right arm is admittedly a tad sore.)

All-in-all, a fun week.

The Exercise:

Ugh. Well, the first problem I had was that a trip to Minnesota means a trip to Famous Dave’s (have I mentioned my affinity for Famous Dave’s before?) as well as a trip to White Castle. On top of that, we were so busy with everything else that I really didn’t get much of a chance to get in exercise in Minnesota. I did go for a run on Monday morning only to discover that Karin’s parents’ neighborhood was built by M. C. Escher and that no matter what direction you go you’re always going uphill. I did manage to get out to the gym on Thursday in San Diego, but that was about it. Ugh. Time to get back in the swing of things.

The Travel Note:

This is a combination travel note/self realization.

We were in the Twin Cities area over Labor Day Weekend, which of course was the weekend before the Republican National Convention. I had some slight trepidation emotions that could be described as bordering on extreme paranoia regarding the impact it was going to have on the weekend. I did relax quite a bit when I realized that the convention didn’t actually start until Monday, and that day was of course quasi-cancelled due to Gustav. But either way, it turned out for Karin and I anyway to be a complete non-event.

And then there was Gustav which was supposed to make landfall originally on Tuesday – which was the day Karin and I were due to fly out. I was convinced that we were never going to be able to make it out as we were connecting through Houston. As it turned out, the hurricane not only didn’t touch Houston, it landed on Monday.

I know that this is a learned response, but I think I’ve become a pretty big pessimist. I need to work on this.

The Five:

With Lynn Johnston putting For Better, For Worse in enhanced reruns (whatever that means, but it is causing the San Diego Fish Wrap Union Tribune to drop it from its collection) and Opus hinting that the end may be near, this week’s five is dedicated to entertainment things that I miss.

  1. Calvin & Hobbes – Quite possibly the greatest comic strip ever created that was taken away from us way too soon. Bill Watterson was very protective of his strip, everything from the formatting to no merchandising[1]. His 10th anniversary book was not only an exploration of the strip itself but of the world of newspaper comic strips, as well as portending the end of the strip. Nothing has ever replaced it.
  2. Sports Night – Where to start on this wonderful series that lasted only 2 very short seasons on ABC who didn’t realize the hit they had on their hands. The single biggest problem was the lack of marketing of the show – many people assumed that due to the name of the show that it was about sports, which it wasn’t – it was a show about putting on a show about sports. Actually, it was, like most Sorkin shows (this was the show he did just before The West Wing), very character driven. And you couldn’t help but love the characters. I love watching the shows again on DVD, although it is bittersweet – it always bums me out knowing in the back of my mind that there aren’t any more episodes after the end of the second season.
  3. Mad About You (pre-Mabel) – One of the things that bugs me about many sitcoms that feature married couples is that the plot-line is pretty much the same every week – the slovenly husband has done something insanely stupid that has upset his ridiculously hot wife. While I’m the first to admit that I am prone to making many dumb mistakes and that I married way out of my league, is there anyone in the world that can really buy that Leah Remini would actually marry Kevin James (King of Queens)? What I loved about Mad About You was that it featured two people roughly in the same league and explored the neurosis of both characters and this thing that is marriage. My only wish is that they ended the show when Jamie got pregnant and not carry on for the extra two seasons with the kid, which killed the show.
  4. John Cusack making non-war movies – John Cusack used to have a gift for playing the everyman that was very easy to connect to, as well as making romantic comedies that are more guy-centric than most (High Fidelity is still my favorite movie of all time). But recently he’s focused on making anti-WarInIraq movies. Which is fine – he’s in a position where he can do that. I’m just not overly interested in having that message beat into my head for two hours of my life.
  5. Heroes – I know this is coming back in 15 days, but I don’t know if I can make it that long. Easily one of the best shows to hit the airwaves in recent memory.

[1]Every single shirt, bumper sticker or image of Calvin peeing on something (which disgusts me to levels I can’t even describe) are all illegal and not licensed. It was one of the reasons that Bill eventually gave up writing the strip.

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