Monday, January 30, 2006

A recipe for fun

Wow!!! Not only did the Missus and I get to spend a lovely evening chatting-up the completely un-Grouchy Old Yorkie Lady, but we also got to meet NicktheMarine®. Let me tell you, he was about as nice as you could ever want, but I think we should all give thanks that he’s on our side, if you know what I mean. And if you want to know a secret, I’ll tell you. NicktheMarine® and the GOYL are still in love…you can tell by watching them.

Anyway, we were meeting them at Outback at 6:30 Saturday night, so Mrs. A and I piled in the car and left the house in plenty of time. Good thing too, since we ran into a BUNCH of traffic. And I got reminded why I should never have chosen the route I took. To which, I had to agree. And then I was trying to figure out which lane I needed to change freeways (some are move left to go right and right to go left and some are right to go right and left to go left), and about the time I decided I needed the left lane, I was instructed to keep in the right. Dinged if she wasn’t right AGAIN. I hate it when that happens. (Not really, but I like to pretend like I have a fragile male ego sometimes just to keep up appearances) We made it in plenty of time. In fact, we were a half hour early, but that was my plan all along. You see, I KNOW how busy Outback gets on a Saturday night, so I figured we’d get there and get our name on the list so that when the GOYL and NicktheMarine® arrived, we wouldn’t have so long to wait. It was a good plan, and for once, it worked the way it was supposed to.

I did try to call the GOYL to let her know that the directions I’d sent here were slightly off, but some strange woman (i.e. NOT the GOYL) answered the phone and told me to shove off. (She really didn’t say it like that, but I DO like to dramatize) So I went to the backup plan and called NicktheMarine®. I left a message telling him that the restaurant was actually on the OTHER side of the freeway from what I’d indicated and about the time I hung up I realized that I really didn’t need to call. I mean, there is the big, lit, pole sign out front that you can see from a mile away. Seeing as how they have managed to make it to adulthood without my assistance, they could probably figure out that, indeed, the restaurant wasn’t where I told them it would be. ::sigh:: Oh, well. At least they won’t have to WONDER if I’m a big goober.

On a side note, I never cease to be amazed and amused by the number of folks who walk up to a popular restaurant at the prime dinner hour and expect to be immediately seated. Good thing I left my clue bat in the car.

Just as I was fritzing with the camera so I’d be ready when the GOYL and NicktheMarine® arrived, they arrived. And, of course, I was oblivious to this until they were right there by me. We stood and chatted for about 15 minutes, getting acquainted with NicktheMarine® and catching up with the GOYL. NicktheMarine® said he’d speed up the seating process by going to find the facilities. The GOYL asserted as how this was true because every time he went to the boy’s room, the buzzer went off and he’d always have to track them down to the table where they were seated. Sure enough, about 15 seconds after NicktheMarine® went inside, the buzzer went off. We did keep an eye open for his return and managed to wave him over to the table without too much difficulty.

I reminded the GOYL of our last outing where we were too busy gabbing to actually look at the menus, and so this time, we spent a few minutes deciding what we wanted before we got lost in the conversation. And, with it being Outback and all, what would dinner be without one of these?
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Though NicktheMarine® is fond of these, too.
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I apologize for the poor quality of the food pictures, but … well, you know … I’m a dork and didn’t use the flash. Salads all around. I had the Caesar, Mrs. A and NicktheMarine® had the house, and the GOYL had a chopped lettuce/blue cheese thing that she seemed to enjoy. I didn’t get pictures of the salads or dinner because a) we were busy talking and having a good time and b) once the food starts showing up it’s like a train going downhill. Who has time to stop and take pictures? I will tell you that the GOYL and Mrs. A had the prime rib (with the GOYL specifying the end cut. Mmmmmm!) and NicktheMarine® and I both ordered the NY strip (steak that is). Mrs. A and I went with the loaded baked potato and the other side of the table went healthy with the steamed veggies. I guess that’s ok, if you like that sort of thing…

Then it was time for dessert. Our waitress, Holly,
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brought out two plates like this (though only one had ice cream).
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It was nasty, but SOMEhow I managed to choke down four layers of chocolate cake with three quarters of an inch of icing on top. The things I suffer through to be social…

Anyway, I’ll leave you with some of the group shots.
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We had a blast and can’t wait for the next time the GOYL comes to town. And we hope she brings NicktheMarine® with her.

You’ll be hard pressed to find two finer people in this big wide world.

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    Friday, January 27, 2006

    I'm wishing for whirled peas

    Forty-four years ago today I came into this world a squalling brat, totally focused on my own needs and oblivious to the world around me. My life revolved around eating, sleeping and various excretory functions. I was unable to express myself except in the crudest and most rudimentary ways.

    It's nice to know some things never change.

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    Wednesday, January 25, 2006

    Flower's Revenge

    There is a billboard up now announcing the straight-to-DVD release of Bambi II.

    Wow. Who knew there was an untapped demand for the further adventures of animated deer, skunks, rabbits and other assorted woodland ne’er-do-wells?

    Personally, I find it hard to care, but then again, I don’t presume that I’m the target audience. Still, as many folks as claim to having been emotionally scarred by the original, it does seem an odd choice for a sequel.

    And really, other than hanging around the watering hole, comparing battle scars, bragging about your close brushes with death and telling bear jokes, what else is there for a young deer to learn?

    Unless...there’s been a toxic spill at the watering hole which kills all the other animals, but somehow transforms Bambi, giving him awesome super powers. And then he’s able to hunt down those responsible and ... and .... and blackmail them into setting him up with a private estate and a dozen or so young does who do nothing but stretch and simper by the pool, fawning (if you'll pardon the expression) over Bambi and laughing at all his jokes.

    Yeah. I might watch that.

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    Monday, January 23, 2006

    Where to begin?

    Well, silly. At the beginning, of course.

    It was warm and cozy. I felt as if I was floating……Oh, wait. Too far back.

    Shortly after I was (re)hired, I met with my boss and her boss to discuss what my goals would be for 2006. Little did I know at the time that one of those goals was going to be pushed so far up the list that they wanted it January 1st, 2006. Yikes!! We compromised and now it’s more likely to be January 31st.

    Mostly, it’s just process improvement stuff, developing a tool to use instead of using the traditional seat-o'-the-pants methodology. And I have to work with a consultant who can be a little too far to one end of the pushy/opinionated scale for most folks. Which is fine, except when he thinks that a process works thusly, and it doesn’t. In fact, the process is so far away from working thusly, that it wouldn’t be able to even recognize thusly in makeup and heels.

    Anyway, I find it funny, in both the odd and amusing senses, how something that a company has never had before can become something they can’t live without once they hear about it. I am in no way inferring or meaning to infer that my bosses are childish, but it does remind you of a kid who is perfectly content with what they have until they realize another kid has something else.

    I will say that, when everything is done, it will be pretty cool, with lots of bells, whistles, doohickeys, thingymabobs and whatnots. And so easy to use that a three fingered monkey could look like a star.

    Hmmm. That may explain that recruiting ad I saw targeting chimpanzees with sawmill experience...

    Nah. Must be for a different project.

    And, I know y’all are probably as tired of hearing that the blogging should improve (as a quantitative measurement only, mind you) as I am of saying it, but there is hope. And yeah, I know I’ve said that before…

    But this time I mean it. Kind of like the title to one of Ray Stevens' serious songs (you did know he had other stuff besides the silliness, didn’t you?) -

    Just Give Me One More Last Chance.

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    Tuesday, January 17, 2006

    I hope it's "Tag and Release"

    A certain someone, who shall remain completely anonymous, and hereafter only be referred to as The Grouchy Old Yorkie Lady (Oops. That just slipped out.) managed to tag me when I wasn't looking. No fair!

    So, here's all the info you never wanted to know.

    Four jobs I’ve had:
    Picking bulbs (as in flowers, not lights)
    Inserting and logging updates into Army National Guard vehicle repair manuals.
    Production line worker at milk processing plant (past-your-eyes milk)
    Body double for Arnold Schwarzenegger
    (I made one of these up)
    Four movies I could watch over and over again:
    Zorro, the Gay Blade (The turtle responsible has been executed!)
    Singing in the Rain (Dignity. Always dignity.)
    White Christmas (All that shushing…Brrrrr!)
    Groundhog Day (Ned? Ned Ryerson?)
    Four books I could read over and over again:
    The Cyberiad – Stanislaw Lem
    Bio of a Space Tyrant (Series of 6) – Piers Anthony
    The Sword of Truth (Series of ???. 9 books so far.) – Terry Goodkind
    The Wheel of Time (Series of 12, so he says. 11 books so far.) – Robert Jordan
    Four places I’ve lived:
    Scio, Oregon
    Charlotte, North Carolina
    McKinleyville, California
    Vancouver, Washington
    Four TV shows I watch:
    CSI Miami
    CSI New York (I sense a theme, but I’m not quite sure…)
    Numb3rs (though it did take some time before I quite thinking, “Bernard!”)
    Four places I’ve been on vacation:
    Lancaster, California (In the summer no less.)
    Tygh Valley, Oregon
    Mountain Grove, Missouri
    Pasadena, Texas (Unofficial motto: Where the air is greener.)
    Four websites I visit daily:
    Mercy Over Mayhem (Phew. That was a close one!)
    Four favorite foods:
    Cookies (Hey! That counts! Right?)
    Chicken Tender Salad with Southwest Ranch dressing (Don’t forget the crackahs!)
    Four places I’d like to be right now:
    Barnes & Noble
    Four bloggers I’m tagging:
    Mrs. A

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    Friday, January 13, 2006

    Mr. Crankypants returns!

    If the tags are designated “Farm Truck”, keep it on the FARM! Not taking up two spaces in the already cramped parking lot. That “Dooley” may provide you with the hauling and towing capacity you need at the ranch, but you ain’t on the ranch, sister. Mmmkay?
    I know if, when I’m merging at full speed, you were to, you know, LET ME MERGE, that it would somehow diminish your manhood. As if somehow, just easing off the gas, would be conceding defeat. Or moving one lane to the left would mean the terrorists have won. But do you really have to speed up to keep me from sliding in ahead of you? This ain’t NASCAR, you ain’t Richard Petty, and we ain’t racing. Comprende?
    If I would have WANTED to have my checking and savings done at a bank, I would have SIGNED UP AT A BANK. But I didn’t, so I didn’t. Thanks so much for telling me you know better and changing your credit union charter to a banking charter. I’m sure it was strictly for my benefit and not so the board of directors could line their pockets with all sorts of dividends, stock options, perks and graft. Of course, you couldn’t have done it if you hadn’t convinced my credit union co-members to vote it in. Suckers. Just wait ‘til the corporate suits start slashing benefits to put more on the bottom line. Then again, I could just be very cynical. Or very good at pattern recognition. At least it’s not “for the children”.
    Witnessed the epitome of “hard sell” at lunch today. While cruising through the aisles at Sam’s, a mother was trying to convince her 3 year old that soft drinks, referred to as “bubbles”, didn’t taste good and were bad for you. The kid wasn’t buying. Smart kid. And for the record, I can give up my three-coke-a-day habit AN-E-TIME I want to. No, really.




    Ok, I'm back from the breakroom. Aaahhhhh.
    The Dell Customer Service guy was very helpful once I finally got him. Steve, he said his name was. And he sounded pretty normal. But the longer we talked, the more accent appeared. Communication actually became easier when I realized he was probably in India. I could allow for the one to two second delay at the end of sentences and not talk over him. It took forever, but the problem was solved to my, and more importantly, the EAC’s, satisfaction, since it was her computer. Steve sent me a follow-up email. And signed it Samaraji, or some such. Hey, close enough. Thanks Steve!
    Wait! How did that last one get in there? Dang it! Now the whole post is just ruined.


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    Wednesday, January 04, 2006

    Mr. Crankypants

    Is going home now.

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    Santa Claus is WATCHING you!

    Or was that the NSA?

    Ok, mini-rant alert.

    I'm tired of hearing the NSA spying issue framed as "The President has been spying on American citizens." I heard that on the news again the other day. That makes it sound like we all should be concerned that our houses, phones, cars, computers and offices are being monitored by the government.

    And that's exactly what the people framing the story WANT you to think. (Now, WHY would they want to do that?)

    The way the story should be framed is "The President has been spying on TERRORISTS and their known associates without regard to nationality of those involved."

    Which paints a much different picture, don't you think?

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    Color me not amused

    Rant warning.

    I saw something on the way to work this morning that, the more I think about it, the more irritated I get. A truck passed me (like they all do) and on the back was a bumper sticker which said:

    Bush Bin Lyin

    The whole 'Bush Lied' lie rankles me, but I'm used to that by now. What really chaps me is that it's no longer enough just to say it, but now it's being said in a way that compares Bush to Bin Laden in the process. The moral equivalency of making such a statement just makes me fume.

    I've no doubt that someone thought they were being clever when they designed and produced this bumper sticker. The echo-chamber of their friends and associates confirmed it in their minds. And the fact that there are folks willing to buy this sticker and drive around with it prominently displayed just solidifies my belief in the natural depravity of Man.

    The irony is that the owner of the truck is probably one of those folks who's concerned about the destruction of civil liberties and the crushing of dissent.

    I don't know about you, but I think we could stand a little more civil in our civil liberties. It's no wonder the left and right talk less and less.

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    Tuesday, January 03, 2006

    Puzzle update

    Worked the new Wysocki on Saturday. Put it away not 30 minutes after it was done. Found three more unworked and unopened Wysocki puzzles in the top of my closet while putting the new one away.

    "Hey, these two that are taped together I got for my birthday last year!"

    I believe the operative word is "Oops."

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    I think that would be called a gazebo...

    Went and donated a vial of blood at the doctor's office this morning. Which means, I came to work a different way, being on the other side of town and all.

    I passed by a big church building that's probably been there for some time and I just never noticed, since I don't go that way very often. The sign on the building said "No Walls Church". For some reason, this amused me.

    I wonder if anybody ever crank calls the pastor and says, "Hey! You better get down to the church building. Somebody done gone and performed some unauthorized carpentry! Why, there's WALLS everywhere!!!"

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