maybe i am getting the hang of thursdays

We were just wrapping up our 1pm meeting when I realized the true extent to which I didn’t want to be at work anymore yesterday.  So I took the rest of the afternoon off.

It’s not like the morning had been overly productive.  I’d spent most of it thinking about what I’d do when I got home since Thursday was really my first unscheduled evening in quite a while. I’d like to think I used my truancy well:

  • I brewed a cream ale with yeast that had been patiently waiting in the fridge for the past couple of week’s
  • I did some light gardening (how are there already weeds)?
  • I continued to marvel at the wonder that is having your own beer, on tap, in your own house.
  • Knitting happened, in preparation for the Yarnover conference this weekend.  I’m taking a class from Meg Swansen, who is Kind of A Big Deal, in the right circles.

So yeah, not regretting that decision at all.

things that i’ve learned since the last post here

  • That handicapped campsites are really only for handicapped people.
  • That you should avoid thinking about handicapped spaces, for fear of embedding Denis Leary’s musical masterwork deep into your head.
  • That taking delivery of a new fridge is significantly less traumatizing when you have a chest freezer and a bar fridge on your property.
  • That it is possible to feel condiment-related guilt.
  • That the best way to alleviate said guilt is to remind yourself that the bar fridge is not that big, and said condiments have maybe been in the fridge since the departure Nerd 1.
  • That pretty much the entire ass-end of a 2003 Suzuki SV650 is plastic.
  • That those bits that aren’t plastic are probably bolts in really hard to reach places.
  • That it is possible to have a great time camping, even if you can’t devote an entire picnic table to the bar area.
  • That sometimes, even when we bring The Ruckus, we are far from the most obnoxious campers on the St. Croix.
  • That it’s really hard to find fancy stationary that isn’t disgustingly girly, part of a wedding invitation kit, or  in the form of a pack of folded cards.
  • That not working on Fridays is amazing.
  • That’s it’s possible to bullshit your way through being on a Convergence panel.
  • That some nerds (small ‘n’) are seriously pretentious asshats — but most are not.
  • That Presence of Mind means that you can be running when you cast Arcane Blast.
  • That there is a time before the cafeteria at HedoCorp opens, and it is possible to get to HedoCorp before said time.
  • That when you have writer’s block, you should just misappropriate the style of another writer and go for it.

Well, I’m back (for now).  This week is going to involve taking delivery of a major appliance, a triumphant return to the Guthrie, and a BBQ for which my preparedness could be described as both completely inadequate, and also fairly average, considering that there’s still 84 hours to go.  Which means that I should lots to write about… let’s see if I’ll find time.

status update

The thing about having a week off, is sometimes it takes you about 6 and a half days to realize that you need another week off.

Stupid “milestones” and “project delivery dates”, you’re getting in the way of the perfect summer, dontcha know?

I could look backwards and tell you all about the royal mountain, and OHMYGODTHECROISSANTS, and the team boobylicious silent auction, and OHMYGODTHEWINDCHIMES, and game night, and jokur’s belated birthday, and just enough yardwork and green garlic & cheese quesidillas, etc. but where’s the fun in that?

Let’s look ahead, shall we?

Tomorrow’s knitting, followed by dessert & adult beverages at Zeno.  Can’t complain about that at all.

Apparently, I should be expecting a 60lb-ish mystery package sometime soon.  Supposedly, it’s not a kegerator, yet it belongs in the basement.  Nerd 2 wants to give me more hints, but I really just want to be surprised.

At some point in the next week or so, I need to dig my teeth into BESM, Third Edition.  Yes. It’s a table top RPG. Which is pan-genre anime-based. And Delobius is GMing. I feel like a scared 17 year-0ld school girl, all over again.

I started on my 2009 State Fair project.  I’m going to keep it relatively under wraps until I’m sure that I actually finish on time (the going is slow with this one).  Even if I don’t win another ribbon this year, I’m super excited about this project, and can’t wait to show off the finished object this winter.

I found the first modification that I’d like to make to Beauty. Cosmetic, yes, but also a safety feature when you consider how hard my current turn signals are to see.

And finally, I’ve decided that more of my monday evening’s in future need to involve New Holland’s Dragon’s Milk. Oak and Vanilla, chocolate and smoke. An ABV that would make it illegal in several states. I found it at Tournament Liquor, but I’m willing to betcha that Alvey has it too.

bonjour, au revoir!

Sometimes, I don’t post for a while because there isn’t all that much going on.

Sometimes, I don’t post because there is too much going on an I don’t have time to digest it all.

The past week or so has been the latter — items of note:

  • Hot on the heels of my concern over the emerald ash borer making a push into Minnesota, my ash tree decided to drop a large portion of itself on the neighbour’s garage.
  • I took Beauty out on the freeway for the first time — note to self: consider wind speeds when looking at the weather forecast to decide if you want to ride or not.
  • The Draft Party — I used a great many words in the lead up to this event. I don’t think I have any left that can suitably describe it.
  • Camping! Sadly, I had to leave after only one night, but I called in a substitution in the form of Nerd 2’s somewhat over-caffeinated brother, so I’m sure the awesome is continuing in my absence.

Right now, I’m waiting out the last 20 minutes or so before I head to the airport to see my sister’s graduation.  Hopefully, Quebec won’t be too angry at me for all those franco jokes that I made in french class.

just what i needed

The time change of a couple of weeks ago seems to have reminded Old Man Winter that the time has come to make Minnesota a cold and dreary place to be.  I was in desperate need of some sunshine and heat, so I went to Florida.

I was starting to feel a little nerd withdrawal, with only the cats to celebrate with me when I maxed out my wow character, so I went to Florida to visit Nerd 2.

Weather, work, and injury have conspired against me spending as much time on my motorcycle as I had hoped this fall, so I went to Florida to visit Nerd 2 and ride rollercoasters.

Recent economic news has made me even more of a cheapskate than usual, so I went to Florida to visit Nerd 2 and ride rollercoasters at Busch Gardens where army nerds (and their plus ones) get in for free and everyone gets free beer).

Which, really, is not such a bad way to spend a long weekend.

Oh, and just in case anyone is counting? 15 days.

true story: i thought the song was called “man on the run”

I don’t know how I feel about weekend updates in this little corner of blogistan. On the one hand, I’m sure they aren’t all that interesting to read, but on the other hand, I hate going back to my old entries and seeing a weekend that I knew was filled with fun and awesome described simply as “my weekend was fun and awesome! the end.”

I guess if I could come up with witty summary phrases like “my sequel filled weekend started with rock band and ended with guitar hero” I could maybe wow you all with my scintillating prose. But then I’d probably want to smack myself, and that’s just no good for anyone.

My weekend, however, was indeed fun and awesome. Played Rock Band 2 at chez delobi (verdict — very much like Rock Band 1), perhaps got a little tipsy (thanks for the ride Joe) and drunk dialled Nerd 2 — who answered the phone at 2 am (that’s kind of a big deal).

Saturday, after successfully fighting off what was promising to be at least a level 3 hangover, I headed to south Minneapolis to help Jenni & Matt make the transition to officially living in sin. This was harder than it should have been, given that 75% off all roads into, out of, and through the area were closed for construction, block parties, and/or “running events”.

Sunday shall go down in history (well, not that anyone will actually write it down) as the first time that I’ve ever purchased a video game on opening day. I felt like a giant dork, but I really wanted to grab Guitar Hero: World Tour before the christmas rush when all the stores would be out of stock of it forever (also, I wanted to be able to play it at Hallowe’en on Friday).

I’m sure there are probably a trillion write-ups about GH:WT on the internet right now, but I figured I’d give some of my first impressions (behind the cut, to save your scrolling fingers):

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what happens in duluth

…gets a long and rambly write-up.

This past Saturday was Nerd 2’s birthday, and given that we’ve been a thing (’scuse me while I puke a little) for a little while now, but hadn’t really ever traveled anywhere together (he goes to Iraq, I go to Vegas…it never seems to line up), this seemed like a good time to do something about that.

Duluth seems to be the default place to go for Minnesotans who don’t really want to have to plan their roadtrips too thoroughly, and I hadn’t really ever seen the city so the location was fairly easy to decide on.

We drove up Saturday morning (thereby skipping the mad rush that I assumed Friday evening would have been) and made pretty decent time. On the way, we stopped at Tobie’s for caramel rolls that I told myself I wasn’t going to eat right away, but ended up devouring half of one before we even got back to the car. We checked into the Inn on Lake Superior a little early in hopes of upgrading our room (no joy, they were full up with weddings) and headed out on the town. It had slipped my mind that Fitger’s Brewery was based in Duluth, so it was a pleasant surprise when we drove by it in search of something to eat. The food was unexpectedly good, and the beer, well, we maybe walked out of their with 4 growlers (damn those samplers!). After dinner, we made a feeble attempt to work off the calories by walking around the Canal Park — including feeding the seagulls, the Army Corp of Engineers shipping museum, and walking under the lift bridge — and we ended up at the Duluth 10 theaters just in time to catch a showing of the latest Indiana Jones.

Post movie, we headed back to the hotel and partook of our first round of s’mores on the banks of Lake Superior. When I was researching hotels, I’d noticed that the Inn on Lake Superior did a little s’mores thing every evening (they have a couple of gas firepits in their “backyard”, and they basically lay out all the fixin’s and let you go at it) and I thought that it was going to be a total cheesefest. Well, it was a total cheesefest, but it was kind of awesome because everyone there knew that it was cheesy, and we were all having a great time, because hey…s’mores.

Sunday dawned rainy, and we took our time getting down to breakfast. Another cheesy-yet-awesome gimmick of the hotel: make your own belgian waffles. I didn’t believe that they could possibly be worth standing in line for, but after Nerd 2 brought me one I was sold (and planned out a better strategy for the following morning’s meal). After breakfast, we pondered driving up the north shore (too rainy) and ended up just tooling around town garage saleing for a while before we hit up the aquarium.

Fact: seahorses are kind of awesome.

Post-fishies, we lunched at Hell’s Kitchen North (possibly more awesome than the downtown incarnation) and then came a well deserved period of hard core nappage, which I reluctantly awoke from when I started getting text messages asking if I was ok. This confused me a lot until I got on the interwebs (I’d forgotten about them) and realized that tornadoes and hail of various sizes had been reported in my neighbourhood. I spent 20 mins or so trying to find someone in Blaine who would answer the phone and tell me that my house was still there, eventually reaching a neighbour who assured me that there was no reason to come home a day early. This obviously called for celebration, which we did with more s’mores, margaritas from Little Angie’s, and a swim in the outdoor-pool-which-was-really-more-of-a-large-hottub.

Monday morning, we braved the cold at breakfast for a better view of the water, and reluctantly packed up our things for the drive back to the cities. There was lots we didn’t see or do, but hey, that just leaves something to come back for, right?

Final thoughts:

  • Duluth, on Memorial Day weekend, during an unseasonably cool spring, is effing cold. I was pretty prepared with long pants and sweatshirts, but there were definitely some other tourists there who though that shorts and t-shirts would be sufficient. They suffered.
  • Canal Park, for a totally artificial tourist zone, is actually pretty nice. It probably helps that it’s right on the shore of a Great Lake, and the planners used that proximity well with the lakewalk and other attractions.
  • Staying in a hotel whose backyard is Lake Superior is far more amazing than I had expected. Even living in Toronto I never had such close access to the lake, and that view has me longing to go back.
  • The Tobie’s vs. Hell’s Kitchen Caramel Roll taste off will have to wait until next trip.
  • And yes, my house was still intact when I got home.

cold…so very cold.

I think it may be mandatory for me to spend at least 2 days in the ocean every year for the rest of my life.

The cruise was everything I hoped it would be and more, and my only regret is that I couldn’t split myself 5 ways so that I could have done everything I wanted and still managed to get in the requisite napping/lying in the sun time that is needed to survive any vacation of this intensity.

The boat itself, was like a floating Bellagio – complete with casino, elaborate shows, a couple dozen bars, and one discotheque. The food? Excellent. The drinks? Varied. The staff? Genuinely invested in making sure we had a good time (i.e. kept drinking).

Each of the ports that we stopped at also had their own distinct feel (it probably helps that they were in 4 different countries), and though you had to peel back the tourist trap veneer a little (I’m looking at you, Cozumel), the richness of the respective cultures did shine through.

I’ve got fairly detailed notes written up about the whole experience, but I’m not in any rush to write them up just yet.  You may see a more forensic trip report up here at some point, but if you’ve got any questions about the the cruise line or the excursions, feel free to ask.

One thing that I am very happy about, is that one of our favourite servers taught us the perfect Italian phrase to  address towards the current weather outside my window.  Minnesota snow? To you, I say: Vaffanculo!

fact:

4am is a time to be going to bed. Not a time to be waking up.

If you’re wondering where I am going to be for the next 8 days or so, here’s a handy list (stolen word-for-word from wendy, because dudes, it’s too fucking early):

  • Saturday: Boarding the ship in Ft Lauderdale
  • Sunday: Key West, Florida from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Monday: A Day at Sea
  • Tuesday: Grand Cayman from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. (where we’ll snorkel with stingrays)
  • Wednesday: Roatan, Honduras from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (this is beach day!)
  • Thursday: Cozumel, Mexico from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (we’re riding ATVs through the jungle)
  • Friday: Another Day at Sea
  • Saturday: Back to Ft. Lauderdale and the real world

Anyways, mad props to Nerd 2 for taking the fact that he needs to be up at stupid o’clock to drive me to the airport to go on a vacation that he doesn’t get to participate in in stride.  I think I have a feeling that he knows how much I’m going to miss him.

The rest of y’all?  I probably won’t think about, especially once the boat leaves port tonight.  Have a great week, and enjoy the snow for me, ‘k?

my two favourite words in the queen’s english?

January Thaw.

My second two? Caribbean Cruise.

To tell you the truth, if the cold weather decides to set in again sometime around Friday, I wouldn’t mind that one bit, since I’ll be spending the vast majority of next week south of the Tropic of Cancer.

Last year, I didn’t really understand why my friends were geeking out so hard at silly gimmicks like live webcams (on both the bow and aft of the ship),  real-time virtual maps, wind speed and temperature data (dudes, it is 25C at 0930…in the morning!).  As I get closer and closer to my triumphant return to the Caribbean, I’m starting to grok the excitement.

So, if I see you IRL, I apologize in advance if I talk about The Cruise during every conversation for the next week. But since I haven’t really traveled anywhere new in a few years now (any trip that involves my family isn’t really traveling, it’s more of a purgatory state), and now I not only get to see a bunch of new places but I also get to go someplace warm, with some of the hoopiest froods I know, it is kind of hard to think of anything else right now.