Monday, July 31, 2006

The post I was going to put up Friday but never finished

I try to check the mailbox for my department at work every couple of weeks or so. Usually it's full of catalogs and little sciency "magazines" (90% advertisements, 9% mediocre articles, 1% potentially interesting content that usually ends up being less interesting than first surmised), and sometimes if I really flake out and forget to check it for, say, a couple of months, there are a few old Christmas cards from vendors. Anyway, I checked the box today, and there was not much in there. I was going through the stuff, throwing most of it away, when I came upon a true gem.

One of our vendors apparently threw a big 60th Anniversary party not too long ago and put together a little newsletter containing photos and a rundown of the event. It was and Egypt-themed shindig that for some reason included Can-Can dancers and drunken clown/mimes. There was also a camel. Pages 3 and 4 of the newsletter are bordered by photographs of employees posing with said camel. On the cover is the patriarch of the company (who has to be in his 80s) sitting on a throne with his son sitting beside him. They look astoundingly like Smithers and Mr. Burns. It was, most assuredly, one of the oddest things I have ever seen. Why in the world would a company put together a 10-page photo collage of their weird-ass party and mail it out to all their customers? This does not make sense! I thought the idea was to maintain your customers' faith in the quality of your product...not make them doubt it by wondering what kind of lunatics throw a party like that.

(This post would be better with visual aids, and I just checked the company's website to see if they had put the newsletter online, ripe for the linking. They have indeed attempted, it seems, to post it, but the pdf is "damaged and cannot be repaired." For shame. Probably just as well, I guess.)

Anyway, that was my Friday Captain Random moment. More about the rest of the weekend in a little while.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

I think...

...that I am coming down with a cold. Yuck. I really hope that I am just tired, and that perhaps I am hallucinating this sore throat and full-feeling head.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Weather Update

Sweet heavens. It was so lovely down here in Ocean Beach today. Overcast, breezy, about seventy degrees - I was overjoyed. Were it not for the loving arms of my favorite person in the world waiting for me in Pasadena, I might not go back up there tomorrow night...

Monday, July 24, 2006

Make it Stop

Tom decreed this weekend that we are moving out of our uninsulated, air-leaky, second-floor apartment before next summer. I have to say I quite agree that it must be done. I don't think either of us can stand another SoCal summer without central air. It hit 110 in Pasadena on Saturday and one-fricking-nineteen in Woodland Hills. That is just too hot.

Weather griping aside, I should also like to politely request that my hormones stop doing their little PMS dance and chill the hell out. I was all out of sorts this weekend, and last night I watched the last 15 minutes of The Sixth Sense on TV, which reduced me to weeping like an infant. I mean, the ending is affecting and all, but come on. There's just no need for that sort of behavior.

Man, it's like Negativity Monday or something here. I promise to try and write something more pleasant in a day or so. In the meantime, here's a picture of a puppy.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The Boy is Back in Town

Tom got home last night, bearing good tidings from the north. His dad is doing a lot better, eliciting amazement from the physical therapist at his impressive rate of healing. So thanks to everyone for your thoughts and good wishes. :)

It has been hot as [insert expletive of choice] here. Everywhere, really. Supposed to be another 3-digit day today. Oh the countless joys... On the bright side though, it is Friday. Yay for Friday. I have to spend all day tomorrow at school, but it's better than going to work. Yay for not going to work. ;)

For now though, I do have to work, so I shall bid you adieu and regale you with tales of the weekend in a few days. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Smell you later

I woke up this morning with a serious craving for barbeque sauce. A quick internet search revealed to me that there was a bbq joint with a reasonably good reputation down on the main touristy drag here in Ocean Beach. Around noon-time, off I went, with visions of pork sandwiches dancing in my head.

I took my car since the tank needed to be filled anyway, but even so, I ended up walking quite a ways since there were no parking spaces near the restaurant. As I walked, I passed one of those little patchouli-filled hippie shops that smelled exactly like the inside of my (former best) friend's car. I was struck, walking along in sunny San Diego, with some vivid memories of driving through the woods in Oregon, either on the way back to her house from the grocery store, or near her college apartment, or on the road trip we took after I graduated high school. It's funny how the mind works.

Not a block later, there was a little convenience store with another weird memory-tied smell emanating from it. At first I couldn't place it, and then I realized it made me think of walking up some big, wide stairs. Eventually I realized they were the stairs in my freshman dorm, and then it clicked that yes, the convenience store did smell remarkably like that old building in which I spent my first year of college. Who would expect such a thing to be the case? Seriously, a convenience store? What the hell...

I made my way to The Bar-B-Que House and ordered a pork sandwich, which turned out exceed my expectations with its tenderness and deliciosity. I am definitely going to have to take Tom there whenever he and I get around to spending a weekend together down here. Seriously, best bbq pork sandwich ever.

Barbeque craving satisfied, I walked back through the heat toward my car, past the dorm store and D's car shop, filled up my tank and headed back to the house to study, wondering what new scent memories I'm developing each day that will come back to smack me in the face 5 or 10 years down the line in the most random and unexpected of circumstances.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Hotter Than a Match Head

Hoo-boy, was it ever hot here this weekend. Saturday I spent the morning cleaning the apartment before venturing out to get the oil changed and tires rotated on my car. It was just unbelievably unpleasant out there. At Pep Boys, there was a family sitting beside me in the waiting room, arguing. Basically it was a girl arguing with her parents about her decision to move out to LA and pursue acting, and how they didn't think she was making enough money to support herself, and she was all mad at them for not "supporting her dream." (It sounded like the foot-stomping defiance of a just-out-of-college 20 year-old, but it turned out she was actually 28.) It was I don't understand people who will just air their family problems as if the Pep Boys waiting area were their living room. No consideration whatsoever as to how uncomfortable it makes the people around him. I'd taken my textbook in order to try to get some studying done, but it was hard to concentrate with the constant bickering. When it was all over, I called my mom and let her know how very glad I was that we don't argue like that anymore.

Saturday night was the Last Comic Standing show. I was shocked out of my skin when I showed up and saw the enormous crowd of people waiting to get in. The line snaked around beside the building and then wrapped around the block. When we finally got inside and seated, there were 3000 people in the auditorium, and we were told that they'd turned another 900 away at the door! I was glad I'd arrived when I had, even though it meant standing around for half an hour in the 106-degree heat. The show itself was pretty fun, although I was disappointed by how short the comedians' sets were. I would have liked to see more joke-telling. It was still a decent enough time.

Afterward, we went to the hibatchi place across the street. I'd never been there before, so that was quite amusing. Our chef was very good and entertaining, and the food, while probably more expensive than it was actually worth, was definitely tasty and filling.

Yesterday I escaped to Torrance to spend the afternoon with Yaya and Aunt Teresa. It was still warm down there, but not quite as bad as in the valley. In the evening, I went out for sushi with Max and Demetri - a first since my reversion to meatatarianism. I ate all sorts of good, fishy things and had a fine old time. :)

And now it's the start of another week. I've got another San Diego drive in store, starting about twenty minutes from now. Yippee. Hope everyone managed to stay reasonably cool this weekend, and that the coming week treats you well. :)

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I get to have all the fun

I was a'sweatin under my respirator almost all day long today. My job rules! (Not...)

The bad, the ugly, and the good

Oy, what a week. Sunday night, Tom's dad had an accident at the lumber mill where he works and nearly lost some fingers in the process. Fortunately, he was flown to a specialist up in Portland on Monday who performed surgery; to borrow Tom's words, the guy is apparently a magician. It looks like Tom's dad will keep his fingers - we're crossing ours - and Tom flew up there yesterday to spend a week helping out. Send some good healing vibes towards Grants Pass if you get a chance!

Meanwhile, down in this neck of the woods, we've been at triple-digit temperatures all week. That could stop. I would be okay with such a thing.

Saturday night I've got tickets to see a taping of Last Comic Standing, which is being filmed about 4 blocks from our apartment. It should be quite entertaining, though to be honest, I haven't been nearly as thrilled about this season as I was with the last. A lot of the people I thought were really funny in the auditions didn't make it onto the show, and about half the people who did make it didn't impress me at all. However, I like 4 of the final 5 (who will be performing on Saturday), so it should be a fun evening.

Been doing a fair bit of shooting, which has been highly enjoyable. I'm getting a little better with the bigger pistols (.40 and .45 caliber) and quite proficient with the 9mm. Go me. ;)

All right, I have taken a long enough break. Have to drag myself back outside and across to the other lab for the remainder of the afternoon. No putting it off any longer.

Getting up now...

I swear...

For real this time...


Friday, July 07, 2006

Murphy's Law of the Workplace

Everything will go to crap at the last possible moment on Friday afternoon when it's still too early to just say f*** it.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Happy Independence Day

Watched the fireworks in San Diego this year. Took some pictures. Check em out.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Saturday Dinners Return!

Saturday marked a return to our weekly dinners at Max's. Tom & I bought a pork shoulder, which Tom intended to roast in something resembling a Moroccan style, and some vegetables (also for roasting). Max handled the first course, which was soupa avgolemono (Greek egg-lemon soup).

Avgolemono SoupIt's a ridiculously uncomplicated soup. Chicken stock (which we had made and frozen after one of our previous dinners), beaten egg yolks, lemon juice and orzo - that's all! We added some salt and pepper at the table to taste, but it wasn't really needed. The soup was really creamy and tasted like it had melted cheddar cheese in it, but nope. And apparently, if you stick it in the fridge, it turns into a tasty custard. This is one I'll definitely make again sometime.

Cutting up the tasty porkThe pork we prepped by cutting in half (it was a biiiig shoulder), then rubbing the two halves with olive oil, salt, black pepper and taragon. They went into a roasting pan. Then we squeezed the juice of two oranges and one lemon into the pan, rubbing it into the meat. We also rubbed in the zest of the lemon and then tossed the pan into the oven. It was baked at 400F for half an hour and 350 for an additional half hour, and it was done! We were pleasantly surprised. After the pork was done, Max made a reduction of the cooking juices, which we used as a sauce when the dinner was plated.

For the veggies, we had mini potatoes, mini bell peppers and large red bell peppers. The potatoes were quartered, the red bells sliced into rings, and the mini peppers left whole. These all went in a roasting pan with some pine nuts, sprayed with olive oil and roasted for half an hour at 350F. All in all, a very fine meal! Dessert was apple pie (store-bought for simplicity's sake) slices with melted cheddar on top. Apparently this is a normal American tradition, but it was a first for me. I think I still prefer my apple pie a la mode, but the melted cheddar is a close second.

Plated pork and veggies

After we finished eating, Demetri noticed that on the bookcase above Tom's seat was a perilously tippy tissue box. It was dubbed the Kleenex Box of Damocles. ;)

Kleenex Box of Damacles!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Who could ask for anything more?

We finally managed to acquire an air conditioner for our bedroom. More than 3 weeks ago, we placed an order through Amazon with AJ Madison for a sweet little window unit. It was due to arrive on the 13th of June. When it still had not come by the 16th, I called to check on the order, see if it had gotten lost in transit, whatever. I was informed that the unit we ordered was discontinued - so very nice of them to tell us! - and offered an equivalent air conditioner from another manufacturer. I said we'd take it, and the customer service rep said it would ship the next day. Two weeks later...still no air conditioner!

I called back last Tuesday to see what the deal was. I was informed that AJ Madison couldn't access the tracking information through their system, that they'd have to get in touch with the manufacturer, and that they'd call me back with the info. They never did. Tom called them on Wednesday and spoke to a lady who basically told him to get off her back. She'd let us know when she had the information.

Finally on Thursday afternoon I got a call. They said the replacement order was never shipped because the item was backordered and asked if we would like an equivalent unit from yet another manufacturer. I said that enough was enough and that if they could kindly refund our Amazon gift certificate and shove the original order you know where, we would appreciate it, thankyouverymuch. We will not be giving them any of our business in the future.

I then borrowed a friend's Costco card and went after work to see what they had to offer. Serendipitously, they had a supply of reasonably good, fairly inexpensive air conditioners, so I was able to bring one home that very afternoon. Suh-weet. It took a bit of carpentry to set the durned thing up (our window sill wasn't quite adequate to properly support it), but it was well worth it. The temperature in the room dropped ten or fifteen degrees within ten minutes of firing up the unit. We actually had to shut it off in the middle of the night because we were too cold! Such a nice change. :)

It doesn't do much for the rest of the house (it really is a pretty small air conditioner), but at least the bedroom is a pleasant haven. I'm sitting on the bed with the laptop right now, as a matter of fact, with Leo at my feet basking in the cool air. In a few minutes Tom and I will be heading back out into the furnace outside, though; we've got to hit the grocery store and get stuff for the first group dinner we've had in a while. Oughta be a good evening, and it's nice to know we'll return to a 75 degree bedroom. :)