Archive for December, 2003

So until next year…

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2003 | General | 3 Comments

Hey, all. The computer gets shut down for the move at 3pm today and I do not plan to even so much as look at it or this blog until sometime around the 5th of January.

Y’all have yourselves a fabulous holiday season (whichever holiday you choose). Here are my last little tidbits for the year:

1) Today’s coolness: An e-mail from Bruce Campbell. Utterly made my day. As I’ve said before, the guy’s so cool you’d hardly even know he was a celeb. And yes, he reads (and responds to) his own e-mail. Bruce, you rock. Which reminds me — if you haven’t seen Bubba Ho-Tep, do it. Now.

2) Helpful knowledge gained over the weekend: Eleven and a half hours of drinking may cause a debilitating hangover. Learn from my mistakes. I suffer so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

3) As the sign hanging at our reception desk so eloquently puts it: “Brett Favre: American superhero of the world.” Hell yeah. Good show last night, Pack. Wish I could have been home to see more of it.

I know what you all are getting for Christmas

Monday, December 22nd, 2003 | General | No Comments

Ah, Matthew Baldwin. He maketh me laugh out loud.

2003 Holiday Survival Guide for Slackers.

Still misbehaving

Friday, December 19th, 2003 | General | 1 Comment

Yeah, yeah. The blog navigation is still misbehaving.

I haven’t had much time to look into it, so I have no idea why. I hadn’t touched any of the templates in weeks before attempting to twiddle with them today. I doubt I’ll get much time next week.

Just on the off-chance anyone’s had this happen to their MT blog before… if you’d like to pass along any helpful info, I’ll take it.

Everyone else: Patience is a virtue.

Why it’s good to sit with the boys

Friday, December 19th, 2003 | Life in Czeltistan | 1 Comment

It’s the end of the day. Travis is crankin’ the tunes. Mr. Roboto comes on.

Travis: “I put that in there just to piss off Dan.”
Dan: “It’s not that bad.”
Travis: “You hate Styx.”
Dan: “The river.”

Helpful holiday hints

Thursday, December 18th, 2003 | General | 2 Comments

Once again, The Onion is here to help. Check out these useful holiday drinking tips.

(‘Cept I don’t like rum. I’m other things besides Irish, too. Can I stick to the whiskey? ‘K thanks.)

Invisibility is bad

Thursday, December 18th, 2003 | General | 5 Comments

Well, I see all of my right nav information has disappeared. Guess I’ll be looking into that.

Hope to have it back shortly.

I suppose he may also have been that kind of teacher…

Wednesday, December 17th, 2003 | General | No Comments

Conversation Chris and I had on the way out to lunch earlier today, with regards to items on other people’s Christmas lists:

Me, on my brother’s list: “And he asked for Sun Tzu’s ‘The Art of War.’ I keep thinking that should worry me, since he’s a gym teacher…”
Chris: “Sun Tzu?”

Precious

Wednesday, December 17th, 2003 | General | No Comments

Since we won’t be making our usual “discipline meeting” matinee of Lord of the Rings, I guess I’ll have to make do with this gem. It does add the whole Buffy factor. Still, it doesn’t make up for missing the film today.

A moment of silence, please

Tuesday, December 16th, 2003 | General | 2 Comments

It’s a promo site for a book, but it’s still pretty cool — Logo R.I.P.

All those logos that have gone off to the great beyond. *sniffle*

The Book of Condolences section has the most info and messages from those the logos left behind.

My favorites of the bunch: Telecom Éireann, Betamax, and Paul Rand’s fabulous UPS logos. R.I.P., indeed.

It’s ok. It’s only another hernia.

Tuesday, December 16th, 2003 | General | 2 Comments

Ah, the end of the year. A time of insanity. A time of short tempers. A time of too much to do and not enough hours in the day.

Seems like a good time to move an entire office, eh?

Well, lemme just reassure you that it’s not. For those of you who think the holidays are stressful enough as it is, I’d like to recommend a corporate move as a fun new way to raise your blood pressure.

So that’s what we’re doing around here these days, on top of our normal workload and the usual year-end fun of working around everyone’s holiday schedules. HD begins to make its move all the way across the street to the new building, starting Wednesday morning.

In a moment of what can only be some sort of insanity, I volunteered substantial chunks of my time to help out with the physical move, so things will probably be a little quiet on the blogging front until the end of the year. It’s not that I’m not thinking about you all, though. No, really.

I’ll post when I have enough time to plunk myself down in front of the computer. In the meantime, though, entertain yourself with the links on the side there. There’s plenty of entertainment to go around.

Silly fun

Friday, December 12th, 2003 | General | 1 Comment

Nifty, coolio kaleidoscope painter. Oooh. Purty.

Ireland, part 2.

Friday, December 12th, 2003 | General | 1 Comment

Right. So I promised the conclusion of our Ireland trip info, and here it is. (And this time, with some photos.)

Saturday: Belfast, day 2. Pouring rain. Perfect. We go to all the trouble of arranging a black cab tour with a friend’s nephew, and the weather decides to spite us. No matter. We’ll just go on the tour anyhow. Ha. See if a little rain will stop us. Oh, sure, it kind of put the kibosh on photos and pesky little things like getting out of the cab, but Joe — our tourguide — still gave us one hell of a tour. It’s one thing to go out and see the murals and West Belfast and such yourself (as we did last time we were in town), but it’s entirely another to go with someone who grew up in and still lives in the area and can tell you personal stories of the people the murals are about. (This one was Joe’s favorite of the bunch. I think this one, which we saw last time but not this time, is still my favorite simply because I love that Pearse quote.)

After the cab tour, we popped back into the hotel, firmed up plans for Linus’ visit that evening and headed back out into the rain and over to St. George’s Market. They were having a craft fair that day, so we had plenty of lovely trinkets to look at before having to head back out into the rainy afternoon. From there, it was over to St. Malachy’s Church to check out it’s funky ceiling. (It was completely worth it. If you’re in Belfast, wander over and check it out.)

After that, it was time to head back to the hotel and gather up Linus for a night of drinking and carousing. (And a visit to McDonald’s that would make Ray Kroc spin in his grave. Don’t ask.) Much fun was had at multiple Belfast watering holes and the three of us were up far too long past our bedtimes, watching a horrible Australian soap opera and supplying our own dialogue. Oh, and apparently bothering our neighbors, as one knocked on the door and asked us to keep it down. Oops.

Photo tally for the entire day Saturday: Two film, two digital (including this little gem of Christyl reading the farm reports in the local paper). Ah… those fun days when you forget to take photos.

Sunday: Unbelievably sunny and nice out. Typical. Ah well. We had outdoor things planned for Sunday as well, so we were just happy it wasn’t raining. Christyl found us a lovely (and cheap!) place to eat breakfast (and, as it turns out, dinner).

Afterward, Linus headed back to Dublin and Christyl and I ventured off in search of Belfast Castle. After a slight bus detour through some Loyalist neighborhoods, we finally made it there. (Is there not a bus driver anywhere on the island who will actually tell you which stop you need to get off at, even if you ask nicely? No? Didn’t think so.) The castle is quite lovely and — best yet — the gardens have a cat theme. There are cats inlaid in the tile, big stone kitties to hug, kitties in the benches, kitties napping on the side of the fountain, kitties everywhere. There’s supposed to be a white cat in residence at the castle, but if there is, we didn’t find it.

We made our way back into the city centre, grabbed dinner and went for a quick pint at The Crown, and on this visit, we actually scored ourselves a snug. (Tiny little happy dance, especially when we realized we were sitting pretty much underneath the television and someone had mistakenly put on an American football game.) We shared our snug with some very nice guys and their terribly drunken friend. They convinced us we needed to come out with them for one more pint at a neighboring bar. There was a tiny bit of arm twisting, but we went along. And then, when their friend started attempting to tap dance and find others to tap dance with him, we quickly finished our pints and scurried back to the hotel.

Monday: Back to Dublin. The bus ride back wasn’t quite as terrible as the ride up. The lack of a hangover definitely helps in these matters. Checked into our hostel and set off to wander the city and pillage some more stores. That evening, we were picked up by our friend James and taken to his house in Phibsboro where we had dinner and drinks with him, his wife Liz and their children. It was a late night again, but one filled with excellent food and great conversation. There’s nothing quite as nice when you’re on vacation as a good home-cooked meal.

Tuesday: The Phoenix Park Death March. Oh, sure — a walk through Phoenix Park sounded like a good idea. It really doesn’t look that big on the map, and there was the promise of a castle, a herd of deer, and a wander past the President’s house. Well, the deer are impressive and fairly unafraid of humans and the Prez’s house is large and quite pretty. However, the park is that big, there’s a lot of big stretches of nothing much to look at except lawn and trees, and the castle… well… let’s just say that “small tower” would be a better description. Ah, well. The exercise was good, and now we can say we’ve had a walk through Europe’s largest enclosed park.

We emerged from the park around noon and headed for the nearest open pub. The sitting felt good. The pint tasted good. We almost didn’t get back up. However, since it was only about 12:30 and we were possibly going to meet up with Linus again, we thought it might be a good idea to not sit in the pub all day. Solution: At least one tourist spot in between pints. Unfortunately, we were getting a little liberal with the term “tourist spot,” so we called off the activity in favor of more wandering around and shop pillaging.

Linus couldn’t come out to play (some excuse about having other friends), so we fell back into our initial plan of attempting to drink Dublin dry of Smithwicks on our way back to the hostel before calling it a night and getting packed up for the trip home.

Wednesday: Time to head home. Weep.

So that’s it.

Since I forgot to post them the other day, here are a couple of other shots from the trip:

Sign on the gate, Merrion Park, Dublin
On the pier, Howth
Ireland’s Eye, as seen from the East Pier, Howth
Old St. Mary’s (?) church and yard, Howth
Me in the Sinn Fein seats, Belfast City Hall council chambers
Interior of the dome, Belfast City Hall

Twinkle, twinkle

Friday, December 12th, 2003 | General | No Comments

Some stunning images from the Hubble telescope.

(You’ll need Flash, and those of you on dial-up may want to find a fast connection or some sort of diversion while you wait for download. It’s a 3+MB file.)

Xmas tidings from the landlord

Thursday, December 11th, 2003 | General | 2 Comments

I had to stop at home over my lunch break today. As I pulled into the lot, I saw my landlord’s van. Hmm. Time to find out whose apartment the “for rent” sign on the front of the building applies to.

Turns out, it’s Dumbass and his roomie in the apartment above mine. Hooray!! Oh, sure, it won’t mean any more tales of stupidity, like the “charcoal in the gas grill” incident from last summer, but there aren’t words to describe how happy I am to see them go. From the sound of it, though, it may be a month or so until a new tenant moves in. Seems like they didn’t really pay much attention to where their cat peed, so the carpet will need to come up and the floors may need a bit of work. Suffice it to say, my landlord wasn’t a terribly happy camper.

However, he did have more good news to share — Crazy Tony, who lived downstairs from me, was evicted yesterday. Sheriff came to chase him out. Finally — we’ll all be able to use the front and back yards again without running the risk of being subjected to tales of The Great Cable Company Conspiracies (or whatever his topic du jour is).

We all knew Tony was a packrat. Everyone in the building and in the house next door assumed there were pathways through stacks of junk in his apartment. Turns out it was actually worse. The stacks of junk were there, but the pathways weren’t so much. You kind of had to walk over things to move around in his space. I suspect we’ll be seeing a dumpster outside the building any day now. There’s already a huge stack of trash out front and the landlord’s only gotten as far as the boiler room and the common back hall to the building. He hasn’t even touched Tony’s apartment yet. Eeeew.

Extra nice touch: Now that Tony’s gone, the stale smoke smell from his 2-pack-a-day habit won’t drift up through my floors. Sweet.

Thank you, Santa. This is all just what I wanted for Christmas.

Happy, happy camper

Thursday, December 11th, 2003 | General | 2 Comments

Finally — Bubba Ho-Tep arrives in Milwaukee tomorrow. I’ve been waiting for this film for ages.

A little behind schedule this year

Wednesday, December 10th, 2003 | General | No Comments

Ooh, yay. Leslie Harpold has a new Advent Calendar for 2003. Of all the online versions, her calendar is always my favorite.

DIY crap music

Wednesday, December 10th, 2003 | General | 1 Comment

I’ve said it before, but I think it needs repeating: Davezilla is a genius.

How to write New Age music. See the comments for more helpful suggestions and answers to some frequently asked production questions.

So. Right. Ireland.

Tuesday, December 9th, 2003 | General | 3 Comments

A fabulous time was had by all. Pints were consumed. Friends were visited. Somewhere around 43 miles were walked. Many more were travelled by bus and train. The end.

Oh, ok. Fine. More detail. (The abridged and chock-full-o-links version, though.)

Monday night: Bus breaks down a few miles north of O’Hare. I can see the planes coming in, but I cannot get to the airport until the next bus comes to rescue us in an hour. Not an auspicious beginning to the trip. However, it would be entirely unlike Christyl & me to have a vacation without some sort of transportation mishap, and this one was far less dire than previous adventures of having to back a car down a narrow mountain road, etc.

Tuesday: Dublin. Monster jet-lag. I can’t sleep on planes, so the first day always kinda kills me. Checked into our very nice B&B, wandered around the Grafton Street area a bit, had a bite to eat, wandered around Merrion Square a bit (why is there that mound at the east end?), had dinner, found a pub close to the B&B. Christyl and I made a pact with ourselves that we’d stay up until at least 8pm so that we wouldn’t be up at 3am, wondering where our breakfast was. Surprisingly, we made it until nearly 10. Mind you, I was up again for a little bit at 1am and watched quite possibly the worst movie ever made, as it was the only thing on. (First instance of “God, how I miss my cable.”)

Wednesday: Mmmm. Time for a full fry-up. Normally, I’m not a breakfast person, but I’ll gladly make an exception for a good old-fashioned Irish breakfast. Headed over to Tara Station and caught the DART out to Howth. It was a bit too windy and cold for the cliff walk, but we did the East Pier/lighthouse walk, found an old church/graveyard to play in, and then headed over to take a look at the castle and its grounds.

Headed back into Dublin and over to Glasnevin Cemetery, which was very, very cool. We found some carnations that had fallen in the road. I left one for Con Markiewicz.

It was getting late and we were pretty walked out, so we decided to catch the bus into the city centre to get some dinner. However, as we sort of managed to catch the bus at the wrong stop, we went out to Finglas. Right. Ok. Got on a bus going the other way and got back into town. Got ourselves some dinner, got ourselves a couple of pints and headed off to bed.

Thursday: Took the bus out to Newgrange, which we weren’t able to see last time due to time constraints. Though we almost miss our connecting bus, we make it there just in time to get on to the tour that’s about to leave. (Hooray!) However, no one tells us we’re in with a group of people who will discuss — at length — things like how the passage tomb relates to a birth canal. (Where do these people come from and how do they keep getting free?) Still, Newgrange is quite impressive, though far smaller inside than I had thought. (See that third photo on the page I linked to? That’s about it. Well, that and the passageway in. Holds about 20 people.)

I have my own theory about the carvings on the entrance stone. They think Newgrange was built over several generations. All that tells me is “committee meetings.” Lots of ‘em. That makes me think that someone must have left behind some doodles. (*tink, tink, tink* “Oh, sure. Just a quick meeting, he says. *tink, tink* Only a couple plans *tink* to go over. *tink, tink* Like I don’t have better things to do with my day.” *tink*)

Just a theory.

Anyhow. Back into Dublin when that’s over ‘coz we have to meet up with Linus and friends for some food and beverages. Hooray!

Linus, unsure of American Thanksgiving traditions, brings us two boxes of Butler’s chocolates. Linus quickly becomes our new hero. Found a nice pub to hole up in until our party was all assembled, and then it was off to a yummy tasty dinner at Cafe Mao and then out for some pints at a O’Neills and then later (and a bit fuzzier) at the Mercantile. Pints were consumed. Chocolates were eaten. Drunken calls were made to absent leptards. Invitations to visit Milwaukee were issued. Great fun was had by all until somewhere in the neighborhood of 2am.

Friday: Great fun was not had by all when the alarm went off so early the next morning, however. Stupid morning, coming so early. Ah well. The bus to Belfast wasn’t going to wait for our hangovers, much as we wished it would. Got into Belfast in the early afternoon, checked into our hotel. Caught the tour at City Hall, which is really beautiful — especially all lit up at night. Did some wandering around the city centre, pillaged Lush (again, as we’d already hit the one in Dublin), had some dinner, and went back to our hotel a bit early so we could each have a nice soak in the tub. (Ahhh. Resting the weary, weary paws.)

Ok. That’s enough for today. You’re going to have to wait until tomorrow for the rest of it. I’m goin’ home.

It’s a little game called “count the blocks”

Tuesday, December 9th, 2003 | General | No Comments

One of the guys on my team at work found this video of the Apple Store opening in Tokyo.

Holy crap. How long is that line? (Answer: Very.)

I suggested that maybe the actual line for the store wasn’t really all that long, but that some visiting Russians just saw the beginnings of the line and figured they’d better get in it, just in case there was toilet paper or bread or something available at the end.

(Thank you. I’ll be here all week. Try the veal.)

Shake, shake, shake

Friday, December 5th, 2003 | General | 1 Comment

A charming little snowglobe for your amusement. Make sure you have your sound on.

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