Monday, December 12, 2011

moving/dad week[end]

I spent most of this weekend moving in and setting up my living quarters. I'm still missing crucial pieces of furniture, like everything in the living room, but luckily Travis's futon was available for sitting needs.

It's kind of a strange feeling being in a house and realizing that you own it. It's nice, too.

My dad was in town for an extended weekend, so with his help we took care of a few things around the house, like replacing outlets and light switches. No, the outlets weren't bad, but the previous owners painted over them completely when painting the house. This gave the outlets and switches a gross painted/crusty look. They were sorely needed in the two rooms we painted, because the outlets would be the absolute wrong color. I went ahead and bought enough to replace all the painted ones in the house, though, since they're relatively cheap.

We did some house shopping, too, and he gifted me a nice gas grill. It's burnt orange.

On Saturday night, we had our traditional "get everyone together for dinner at Benihana when my dad is in town" dinner. The only problem was that Benihana closed (how?!). Luckily, there is a Benihana-alike right down Anderson Mill called Kobe. It turned out to be more than satisfactory for us, as we were all able to get more or less what we usually do. Went back to the house and gave a quick tour to new people.

My dad stayed through Thursday morning, but sadly I had to work this week. I was able to leave a little early on most days, but he had to keep his time in various ways.

On Sunday and Tuesday I spent a couple hours or so studying for a final exam in one of my work-sponsored graduate classes. The professor is not good, so we don't typically pay attention during the lectures (whoops). I spent those two hours+ each day rewatching lectures at 1.8x speed (nice). Final exam was on Wednesday and I think I did alright, but not great. His testing style is questionable at best, giving us curve ball questions that don't really make sense. Oh well.

I really need to get some living room furniture.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

house weekend 1: painting and wiring

Well, I spent the majority of last weekend at the new house painting and wiring.

Wiring
Since I had Andy's help on early Saturday, we started with the Ethernet wiring. My plan is as follows:

-Cable jack in the living room going to cable modem on TV stand.
-Cable modem hooked to wireless router, also on TV stand.
-2 of the ports on the wireless router will go to the PS3 and TV, located right by it (short cables).
-The other 2 ports will go into plugs in the wall, which will route to the master bedroom and the office.

That means we needed to run two cables through the walls: one from the living room to the master bedroom, and one from the living room to the office. I bought a kit at Fry's that had everything I would need for the cables themselves. I also needed a drill to make holes in the joists to feed cables, and basic tools like wire strippers, wire cutters, etc. One thing that proved invaluable was Mark's wire snake tool. It's basically a long metal wire that winds out so you can fish cables up and down walls. It's stiff enough to go straight down walls without coiling in the wall. Even with that tool, Andy and I had to do some clever things still to get the wires up and down the walls. It wasn't hard, but it definitely wasn't easy.

Overall the job was a 6/10 on the difficulty scale, which I just randomly devised.

Painting
For some reason, I naively thought that painting would be a few hour thing at the most. Man, was I wrong. Masking the rooms itself took a few hours...

We started with the office, which is half dry wall and half wood paneling. We decided that, for now at least, we're going to paint over the wood paneling instead of removing it. Removing the wood paneling could have easily turned into a huge project that we did not want to handle right now (it could require dry wall replacement).

When masking the room, we realized how poor of a job the old owners did at masking the room. It's akin to them not coloring within the lines of a coloring book. There was paint on the baseboards, moldings, and door frames. We masked it all anyway, but knew we would have work ahead of us to fix their mistakes. After masking, we laid down drop cloth and began work. The first coat took a few hours, as we learned how to effectively use the paint rollers and also get all the details with the paint brushes (the window sill areas, etc). That took us until around midnight to do.

On Sunday, I worked on my own for the majority of the day. I masked the master bedroom, laid out the drop cloth, and got to work. I tried to work more systematically after learning what I was doing with the office. I worked one wall at a time, painting the edges and then rolling on paint over the surface. It took me a majority of the day because the room is so big, and it still ended up looking uneven. Good thing we were planning on doing two coats, right?

I started doing the second coat in the office when Taylor got off work and helped me finish it up. Another day in the books.

I was originally going to take a half day on Monday, but that magically turned into a whole day off. After getting a much needed haircut, it was time to begin the end: finish painting.

I basically repeated what I did on Saturday for the master bedroom, except I didn't need to mask or lay drop cloth because it was already there. I did the edges then filled in. It's amazing how much the second coat helps. Going from the first, uneven coat to the second coat basically evens the whole thing out. Thank goodness.

Once we had the coats done and dried to touch, we started un-prepping the room by removing all the drop cloth and masks. As we expected, there is a fair amount of touchup work to be done around the edges. But honestly we're so tired of painting that it'll be one of those "when we get to it" things. I'm more interested in getting myself moved in at this point.

Friday, December 2, 2011

I'm leavin early today!

 Thanks Mark

It just so happens that I'm leaving work early today. Supposedly the house is officially ours, and we no longer have tenants. I haven't heard anything from the previous owners, though, so I'm hoping this is still the case. Our lease was only for November 30th through December 1st.

What's on the docket for this weekend? We hope to paint the two rooms (master bedroom and office), and I hope to run Ethernet through some of the house. This weekend we should have most of our utilities up and running (aka we'll have internet), and we have a few more companies dropping by on Monday to take care of remaining loose ends. Another half day? Smells like it.

At that point, the house should be ready to move into. I'll be starting this weekend, but will move more next week and finally move the big stuff the following weekend. Coincidentally, my dad is coming into town when I need to move the big stuff. What a lucky break for him, he gets to help me move!

What else do I need to do? I'm sure there's a lot that I haven't thought of yet. Oh, that reminds me, I need to buy a drill.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bam - homeowner!

Hey, I'm a home owner now. Weird, huh?

I can't move in until December 2, because the old owners are leasing the house back from me for today and tomorrow. This weekend I'll hopefully start painting and moving some stuff.

I hope to be moved in sooner rather than later, for obvious reasons. It's my first house, after all. It should come as no surprise that the first purchase I made for the house was a TV for the living room. That might be more exciting than the house itself. Nah, just kidding.

Here are some projects that I need to take on (not necessarily anytime soon):
-Repaint a couple rooms (asap)
-Run ethernet cables through walls
-Eventually remove wood paneling (we are going to paint it preliminarily)
-Restain deck
-New fancy kitchen faucet?

Still trying to figure out how we're going to furnish the living room, but Ikea has a cool modular entertainment center.

I'll take pics of the empty house once I can.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

goodbye old friend

A sad thing happened last night... I went to take out the trash and I realized my motorcycle was no longer where it used to be. Gasp.

It's sad to think that someone, somewhere, is taking her apart and selling her piece by piece. How cruel. How unjust.

You were fun while I had you. We had many good memories and I spent hours maintaining you. I only wish that we could have spent more time together. Goodbye old friend.



Monday, November 14, 2011

15 days

15 days until the closing date of our house. Our appraisal came back today and everything is good on that front, so I think that means we're essentially set. That was the last variable as far as I know that would have hindered a smooth close. Now the credit union just needs to put everything together and do what they need to do. Given that, I've officially given my 60 days notice to Justin.

I'll want to move in as soon as possible, since you know, it'll be my brand new house. On the other hand, we really should paint and stuff. How do I balance?! That reminds me, I need to call the utility companies.

In other news, Taylor showed me this cool shirt and I bought it:
http://www.threadless.com/product/3333/Live_Music_Capital/tab,guys/style,shirt

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

countdown to close - 20 days

20 days until my scheduled closing date. As you can imagine, I'm pretty excited so this is really drawing out my days. You know how your day feels longer when you are anxiously awaiting something that night? That's how the last week felt, and the next three will probably feel.

The last variable left is the appraisal which should be in at the end of this week or the beginning of next week. Assuming everything is good there, I'll be set to go.

What will we need to do when we get the keys? Nothing needs to be done, but we want to repaint any necessary rooms. We're not totally keen on a couple of the room colors, so we'll probably do that first. Also one room as wood paneling which I'd like to remove, but other people have told me they'd just leave it. Maybe that'd be easier?

I'd also like to run Ethernet drops to the rooms. Why? Because I'm a nerd, mostly. But more seriously, I'm sure most of you can attest to the numerous problems you run into when dealing with wireless internet. Random cutouts, having to power cycle the router, random speed drops, etc. I want to run ethernet drops to each room so you can just plug in your PC and go. No need for random wireless problems. Wireless is good for laptops, phones, tablets. Running desktops off of wireless is just asking for problems. Who's with me?!

Speaking of problems, the "Great Desk Soak of 2011" ended without much issue. Like I said before, I noticed some speaker problems and it still seems a bit messed up. It turns on and off, but the volume knob doesn't work most of the time. It stays at one volume regardless of what the knob is set at. Maybe I can take it apart and try to fix that. Otherwise I'll just learn to deal for now.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

whoopsies

I drink a lot of water. Yesterday, this bit me in the ass. I had a full, 32 oz cup of water sitting on my desk. One careless movement and BAM —now there is water all over everything. My desk was soaked in water, which got over my speakers, my wireless USB adapter, and even my computer. I turned off my computer as fast as I could, and then started toweling off all that water.

I'm going to go home tonight and run a hair dryer over everything to dry up and remaining water, but I think I already had my first casualty this morning. My speakers have a separate unit to control volume, treble, bass, and power. It didn't really get that wet, but it did splashed some. I dried it off with a towel but apparently not good enough. I powered it off last night with the power button, and when I woke up this morning it was on again. Uh oh. I tried to power it off and the button is unresponsive. The volume knob works, but it also seems to flicker around and do some weird stuff. Since my computer was off, I couldn't actually test to see if it worked. I'm assuming there is some permanent damage, but maybe it's still usable.

Hopefully I get luckier with my computer.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

times are a changin'

It's been almost a month since I've updated — sorry about that! I went ahead and updated my blog template because I was getting tired of the old look. Also, most of all that side matter wasn't important and no one cared about. I "cleaned" it up. I couldn't decide on the background photo, so this will have to do for now. Maybe I'll find a better one to replace it in the future. It's just some stock photograph that Blogger will let you use.

Actually, it turns out that Google has made some changes to some of its services, too. It updated the look of Google Reader and Gmail. Gmail I don't care much about, but the changes to Google Reader impacts how I shared my links on the right. I can't do it anymore! So unfortunately, for now, those links on the right will be stagnant until I can figure out how to do it the new way. Why kid myself, they were already pretty stagnant to begin with.

Last week, I flew to Georgia to do some training with our customer. Without going into any detail, I'll just say it went really well and we received a lot of praise from them and our management as well. Sweet.

Oh, and I guess I have some big news. Taylor and I are in the process of buying a house. The offer was accepted last weekend, and we're in the contract and mortgage approval process right now. I'll post up some pictures once everything is a done deal, but until then I'm still waiting for something to blow up in my face. Always better to be mentally prepared for disaster and stress, right?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Sunday, September 25, 2011

man oh man

It's been pretty slow for a while, hasn't it?

That's my fault, or rather, work's fault. It's been so busy the last few weeks while we try to meet deadlines and milestones. The week before last I logged an almost 60 hour week, which wears on you quickly. But enough about work, what else has been going on?

Last weekend was ACL weekend, and leading up to the weekend, my excitement was minimal. In my opinion, the bands they booked were weaker than the last few years, which is pathetic because it was the "celebrated" 10th year anniversary of the festival. Well, it didn't seem like they pulled out all the stops here. The two "biggest" (in my opinion) headliners — Coldplay and Kanye West — were both given the lower, Friday timeslots. Stevie Wonder closed Saturday (meh), and Arcade Fire closed the entire festival on Sunday (even more meh). In fact, the highlights of the weekend weren't even really related to the festival. Taylor and I bought some new bikes, using the festival as an excuse to finally replace my old, stolen bike. We got the whole shabang: bikes, helmets, lights (you need them to ride at night, legally), and a car rack. We mounted them on her SUV, parked at Mark's (or around), and biked down a trail about 15-20 blocks to the park. Last year, I rode my motorcycle which got me pretty close to the entrance at motorcycle parking. The bikes have it the best, though, because the racks are right at the entrance.

The other highlight of the weekend was the rain. Apparently it wasn't as widespread as I thought, but it rained all three days at Zilker. On Friday and Saturday, there were even some heavier downpours. I almost started getting worried that we were going to have another mud bowl because of the rain, but luckily the ground was so dry that all of it soaked up pretty well.

This weekend has been good. On Friday night, we went to a high school football game featuring the Cedar Park Timberwolves against the Vandergrift Vipers. It turned out to be a great football game. We were rooting for the Timberwolves, who got down 13-0 early. They rallied and scored three unanswered touchdowns, giving them a 21-13 lead. In the fourth quarter, the Timberwolves' quarterback threw a nice pass to a wide open receiver, who had a clear shot into the endzone to ice the game. Sadly, he fumbled it right before the endzone and the Vipers recovered in for a touchback. The Vipers marched down the field and scored a touchdown, bringing them to within two. They had to go for the two point conversion, which they got on a magic heave. The quarterback was getting major pressure, and basically just heaved it in the general direction of a receiver. The receiver jumped way up, and while falling backwards, raised one hand to tip it into his chest as he fell down on his back. It was damn ridiculous. The game went into overtime (college rules, they each get an opportunity from the 25 yard line), and the Vipers scored on their very first drive to give them the advantage. The Timberwolves looked uneasy and faltered on their first couple downs, but managed to sneak in a touchdown. This is it: you can either kick the PAT and tie, which is the safe choice, or go for the two point conversion and end the game right there. What would you do? Most people say go with the safe bet. Not the Timberwolves, they could taste victory. They went for two, and wouldn't you know it, they got it. Great ending to a great game.

Saturday was spent running some errands, and then making a pasta bake dinner. Today was a pretty productive day for me. I did some reading, finished all my laundry, went to the grocery store, made a potato salad recipe (average outcome), and watched a ton of football. And it's only 6pm! There's still more football to watch.

Hopefully, now that things have calmed down a bit at work, I can ramp up my blog again. Take it easy!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

relaxation

Taking a moment to relax... ahhh...



Okay back to work everyone.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

SO BUSY

I laugh to think that I was busy at work before. Now we are busy. I'll probably have to work a lot this weekend, and there's also a chance I have to fly out to Jacksonville, FL for a couple days early next week for work. Unfortunately, if I have to do that, I still don't get any reprieve on all the other stuff I have to do. So that would just delay me by 2 days.

At least I started off this week with an enjoyable 4 day weekend. I think when the next 2 or 3 weeks are up, I'll have to take another long weekend to wind down.

Monday, August 29, 2011

stl and atx

Two weekends ago, I went to visit my family in St. Louis. My dad flew from Florida and I met up with them all. Thursday night I got in, unpacked and situated. Friday around noon we headed out for a two hour drive across state boundaries into Illinois. Family got a cottage along Lake Carlyle for the group of us. The cottage was kind of trashy, but nothing horrible. It felt like staying at a motel 6 along the lake, but since it's on the lake you can't really complain. There were about 7 of us staying in a place that barely accommodates 4, but us Habibi's make it happen. It consisted of me, my dad, my uncle Mehdi, my aunt Patty, their two children Brooks and Shaudi, and Brooks's two children Aaliyah and Aiden. I guess that's 8 of us, awesome.

It took a while for the rest of the family to join us on Friday, so I did a fair amount of reading and finished book two of the Dark Tower series. Saturday and Sunday was spent out on the lake. There was a lot of tubing and a tiny bit of water skiing. I tubed a couple times and it was pretty fun because he was taking sharp turns in the boat trying to make us fly off. I tried twice to water ski, but I had trouble getting up on the skis. I actually got up for a few seconds, but as soon as I started to straighten up I would lose my balance. Ah well, still fun to try.

We drove back Sunday, I packed up, and I left Monday morning. The following two weeks at work were crazy hectic.

I haven't been in the mood to write in my blog lately, just because I've been all over the place at work. For some reason I can't get myself in a great zone to write at home, which is why this blog entry mostly sucks. The flow is bad and there's no enthusiasm. I had a fun weekend in St. Louis but I probably didn't convey it well.

Oh well! Things should start chilling out at work this week. I'm still occasionally sharing stuff on the left hand side links, so don't forget to check those out sometime.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

take a little trip...

Sorry it's been so long, I've been swamped at work with a plethora of things.

And that's still true, so this entry will be mostly useless. I am going on a trip to St. Louis today to visit with my dad, uncle, and aunt, as well as some cousins. I think we're going to be staying in a cabin for the weekend, but I really don't know too much.

The sucky part is that I think I am on the onset of a cold. Mold has been high for August and I haven't seemed to be suffering from allergies, but it's still possible that this is just a random allergy thing. Let's hope that's the case, because otherwise my timing for getting sick is at an all-time bad (last time I remember being sick was during my Vegas trip).

See you guys later. More updates later next week.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

why no updates?

I don't know why, but I haven't felt that there's been a lot to talk about.

The stuff happening in my life lately is just the daily stuff you'd expect: work, reading, sleeping, hanging out, music, etc.

So what all has happened in the last couple weeks since my last update? Well, I finished the Millennium series (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo). Overall, I enjoyed it and I would probably recommend the series. The downside is that the series was not intended to be only three books, but ten. Sadly, the author died and they published the three manuscripts he had already finished posthumously. That means that, while some of the loose ends were tied up, there are many character nuances and other questions that will forever remain unanswered. Oh well, what can you do?

I'm starting a new book series - The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. I'm about 60-80 pages (can't remember) through the first book, which supposedly is the worst of the series (but by no stretch do I mean bad). That means that it's all uphill from this book forward, which is nice. I heard about this series because it was a recommended read and a noted influence from Damon Lindelof, one of the creators of Lost. Did you guys know I liked that show? Guess I'll read a book recommendation from them, 'cause why not. It's seven books in all, though the first and the last were separated by almost 30 years. I have the first four that I bought together as a pack on megasale from a closing Border's. I've been staring at them the last couple months wondering when I'd ever get to them. Guess that time is now.

Last weekend I went to Justin's first show (I think) with his new band, Brandon Wayne and the .357's. Unfortunately, I barely got to see Brandon Wayne and the .357's. The show opened with Brandon's brother, Ryan, much later than I was expecting, and he played for longer than I expected. Afterwards, Brandon went on to do some solo and duet work with his brother. Finally the full band started playing, but I was only able to stay for one song before we had to take off. I also played photographer again, and I'll post the few pictures I got once I go through editing them.

What else? The NFL lockout is over. As I write this, the Senate is voting on the debt-ceiling bill which should hopefully pass and go to the president to get signed into law. I think I'm going to see a pre-screening of The Change Up tonight, because Taylor won some us some passes.

In about 2.5 weeks, I'm taking a trip with my dad to St. Louis to see my aunt and uncle. I think our plan is to go camping for the weekend. Should be a good time. Following that, the next big thing that's upcoming would probably have to be ACL 2011, which I'm not really excited about. Not many bands that are my "style" this year, as it seems like it's heavy on the folk and country this year. I don't particularly mind either, and I could listen to them for a little bit. Unfortunately, with ACL you have to be prepared to stand outside in the heat and allergen-ridden air for three full days. Am I willing to do that for this year's setlist? It's still up in the air.

This weekend is Justin's birthday, don't forget to wish him a happy one. We're having a party at our house for the occasion.

I still haven't gone running in a while, how disappointing. It's just so hot... I'll get back into it soon.

Monday, July 18, 2011

the park bench refinishing adventure

On Wednesday or Thursday of last week, Taylor asked if I wanted a park bench. They had a couple sitting out front of the hotel that were old and ragged, so they decided to ditch them. Rather than throwing them away, I provided a home for them.


Coincidentally enough, I snagged myself an achievement award at work on Friday, which earned me a $25 Home Depot gift card. Perfect!

On Saturday, I went to Home Depot and got myself the following supplies:
  • A can of weatherproof (we'll see) cedar-colored wood stain
  • A can of rustproof primer (for the metal legs)
  • A can of rustproof black spray paint
  • A jug of wood-cleaning acid for mildew/mold/etc
  • A sandpaper variety pack
  • Sanding block
  • A couple paint brushes
  • Replacement wood screws
  • Plastic tarp-style stuff to lay on the ground
I started off my trying to sand some of the wood while the bench was still together. I immediately knew that the sanding part was going to suck. Before I went any further, I tried the acid wash to see how much that does to prep the wood.

After the wash, it was clear that it did clean off a lot of the mildewy mess on the top layer of the wood, but it didn't do as much restoring as I was hoping. I also tested the wood stain to see what it would look like if I didn't do any sanding. It didn't turn out too bad.


Despite the fact that the stain worked well without any prep sanding, I had to do it anyways. As you can tell from the picture, there was still chunks of finish that hadn't completely worn off along the edges. Also, not pictured is the backside where most of the finish is still intact. So I had to sand it all anyways, to get the old finish off both sides and even out everything. I took the bench apart at this point.

Sanding was pretty much the worst part. It took me a long time to sand everything. I started with a 60 grit to really work off the old finish. After that, I sanded again more quickly with 150 grit to smooth it all out a bit more.

Once done, I applied the stain with Taylor's help. We had the wood panels laying on a plastic tarp and applied the stain on the top side. What we didn't account for (lesson learned!) was that the stain was dripping down the sides and onto the bottom of the panels. By the time the top layer dried, we had some clumps on the bottom side that were also dried and stained. When we flipped the panels, we had discovered them too late. That caused our panels to be stained unevenly on the backs and sides. Oh well, it didn't look all that bad.


That was all on Saturday. On Sunday, I started with the legs. I did a preliminary sanding to get some of the crap off the legs like pieces of stuck bird crap and other various things. This also evened out the layer a bit, but not that much because I didn't try hard enough. After sanding, I soaped and washed the legs to make sure they were as clean as possible for the primer coat. Lesson learned #2: don't get rust colored primer. I don't know why they thought this was a good idea, but the only primer spray paint that was available at Home Depot was rust-colored (well, it's close but not exactly). That means that when the top coat chips off, it looks like it's just rusting but that's the primer undercoat. Oh well. So I applied some of the primer coat on the legs and let it dry. That process took about an hour.

Once done, I began the black spray paint topcoat. I wanted two coats here, and it took much longer to dry than the primer. This process took about 3 hours. I also took this opportunity to spray paint the old wood panel screws (so they would be black instead of goldeny-metal) and the new wood screws for the support beam that runs across the middle. It's the little things, right?


Once everything was dry, the hard part came: putting it all back together. It was more difficult than it should have been because the wood panels fit "inside" the legs, not on top. You have to attach all the panels onto one leg first, then prop them into position somehow and slide the other leg into place. I had Taylor to help me with this step, which was good because I would have had no chance otherwise. Once together, I tightened all the nuts, then drilled the support beam into place (goes down the back/middle to help distribute the weight in the middle).

All done, and it only took me the better part of an entire weekend!


And the obligatory comparison shot:


Did I mention that there are two park benches, and this was only the first? I can't imagine doing this all over again anytime soon. Maybe Justin or Andy will feel like a project...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

busy this week

There probably won't be much happening on the blog this week. I'm working overtime this week in order to take care of some extra stuff at work.

Not much happened for me last weekend, though. Taylor was busy Saturday and Sunday because of a bachelorette party. Travis flew in Thursday, but almost immediately left for a wedding. He came back Sunday and hung out for a couple hours before I had to take him to the airport.

The rest of my weekend was filled with wasting time around the house (piano, games, dog-washing) and tasting the failure of my second batch of pickles. WAY too much cayenne. Next batch will be simple:

-Half/half vinegar/water mixture
-2 tbsp dill
-Cucumbers/Okra

Let's start basic, shall we?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

july 4th weekend, 2011

This weekend has been pretty tumultuous, but mostly due to recent events. Let's start at the beginning though, and work our way through.

My long weekend started on Saturday, which more or less started out by going to our local municipal pool. Taylor has been swimming laps on a daily basis, so I joined her to hang out and cool off in the pool. By the way, leaving your iPhone out in the sun for 40 mins will apparently cause it to go into emergency temperature control mode, so don't do that.


After swimming, we went to Amber's birthday BBQ at her place. Amber is one of my used-to-be coworkers (sadly, laid off), and she was having a weekend-long "Amberganza". They did a whole bunch of stuff, but we opted only for the BBQ portion. Later that night, I have no idea what we did. My memory is awesome. I think we jammed (we alternated between drummer/singer) for a good portion of the night.

The following day was the third weekly "Sunday Fun-day" that Justin and Ellen co-founded. It involves relaxing, drinking beverages, and watching movies. I joined them for part of it, where we attempted to watch Haggards, one of the worst movies I've been told to watch in recent memories. We watched about 15 minutes of it before we switched to Hackers, a classic. While watching, I attempted round two of my pickling adventure.

My first pickling experiment used the following recipe:
-1 tbsp fresh dill
-1 tbsp peppercorns
-1 tbsp sugar
-2 jalapeno peppers
-Half water, half vinegar brine
-Stuff the jar with cucumbers and okra

The pickling process itself went off without much of a hitch, but the pickles ended up a bit too sweet and not really spicy at all. I changed things around a bit for round two:
-3 tbsp fresh dill
-2 tbsp peppercorns
-1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper
-Half/half vinegar/water

I think I may have put way too much cayenne pepper. It didn't look like a lot in the scoop, but once I added it to the brine the whole thing turned red. Uh oh. It's all settled down at the bottom of the jar now. I'll let you know how those taste next weekend.

That night, Taylor and I went to HEB and got some supplies to grill. We grilled up two half pound burgers and topped them off with cheddar cheese, sauteed onions, mushrooms, and BBQ sauce. The burgers were pretty good. Since the patties themselves were fairly thick and I'm not an experienced burger-griller (I do chicken tenders and steaks mostly on the grill), I decided to play it safe with the meat thermometer. Well, I don't think that thermometer was working well enough. It was registering between 120 and 180 throughout the burger, even after I took it off. I was worried that portions would be undercooked (since a burger isn't "brown" unless it's 160ish), but it was brown all-throughout. I wanted to get a nice pink in the middle, but maybe next time. We used an 80/20 ground chuck, and it was still juicy despite being well done. That night, we watched a couple episodes of Game of Thrones, a new show on HBO. It's pretty good.

July 4th was relatively mild for us. We hung out for most of the day, and then went to Erin's (our kickball friend) party that evening, where we had even more grilled food (hotdogs). We did some chatting, but only ended up staying a couple hours.

However, we found out about an unfortunate event that happened Sunday night. Kelcey's brother, Kevin, was seriously hurt at their lake house. He was swinging on some trapeze thing at the top part of their dock when the cable snapped and sent him flying back into the dock, hitting his head hard on the concrete (knocking him unconscious) and sliding into the water where he sank immediately. The lake water is only about 10-15' at their dock, but it is very murky and the visibility is terrible. His friends found him after about 4 minutes and luckily one of the friends knew CPR and administered it. A helicopter aired him to the hospital where they induced hypothermia and a medical coma to force his body to pump most of the oxygen to his brain. They started bringing his temperature back up slowly a couple nights ago, and last night they took him off the paralytic (to induce a coma). Happily, he awoke an hour later, was responsive, and recognized himself and his family. That's the latest word I've heard, and I hope to hear more good news in the future.

Keep Kevin and the Fraser family in your thoughts and prayers. You can find more information at the medical journal his family is keeping at www.caringbridge.org/visit/kevinfraser/journal.

Monday, July 4, 2011

the double-weekend update

For some reason I posted this last week and it went back into draft status. So this is from last week.


I wouldn't say much happened during the last business week. However, I have had some notable events this past weekend and the weekend before that.

Sir Mix-a-lot
Justin had a show the weekend before last, and he asked Andy if he would help with the sound. I arrived a little later, and ended up helping out Andy with the house PA levels while Andy worked the recording output levels. It was cool to be involved with the show and have an impact on how it sounded. Most of the night was fine-tuning, but there were some instances when the sound was just too loud or soft and the adjustments definitely helped.


Kickball Canceled
We had a nice downpour on Tuesday night, but by Wednesday morning most of it was dried up. Strangely, our kickball game that night was postponed anyways. I doubt there was any moisture on the fields, but whatever. Molly scheduled a game night and a few kickballers met up at Molly's. We played Scattergories and Outburst.

wtf iPad?
At work, they are piloting a new program to determine the impact on an engineer's productivity if given an iPad. I was one of the lucky few engineers chosen, and so now I have a brand new iPad 2. I don't think my work fully thought through some of the implications of the device, but we'll see how it goes. For now, I won't be complaining about a free new tech toy.

Seaworld
Last Saturday, we had a company picnic hosted at Seaworld. A $10 ticket included parking, park admission, and a lunch. Overall, a pretty good deal since admission alone is at least $40 or so. It was terribly hot, but we managed to last a few hours out there. We saw a handful of shows, enjoyed mediocre lunch, and saw some penguins. Too bad the drive was nearly 2 hours each way.

It's like I'm a real engineer
At some point last weekend, I decided to tackle this broken monitor Taylor brought me several months back. Some Dell 17" monitor at her work stopped turning on, so she brought it over to see if I could figure out what was wrong. I ended up taking it apart and examining the board. With Andy's help, I was able to spot some faulty capacitors. We went to Fry's and Radioshack, neither of which had the exact replacement parts. I instead went with a higher capacitor value since I didn't have too much vested in this monitor and didn't care if it didn't work. I took out the old capacitors, soldered the new ones in, put it all back together, and voilà — it worked! I felt pretty proud. For $3 I fixed a monitor that probably would have cost $100 in shipping and labor to get fixed by Dell.

Pickles!
I decided to try pickling, for no real reason. Andy has an okra plant, so I bought some cucumbers and pickling supplies (cans, dill, peppercorn, etc). Pickling wasn't as straight-forward as I was hoping, but it didn't prove to be terribly challenging. The hard part is boiling the jars and getting them in and out of the boiling water without a jar grabber. First, you have to boil the jars in the water to sterilize them. Next, you make your brine with water, vinegar, dill, and whatever other ingredients you want (I chose to add a couple jalapeño peppers and peppercorns). You bring the brine to a boil, stuff the jar with your items, and pour the brine in. Next, you place the mason jar lid on and finger-tighten the ring around the lid (not too tight, because you need the air to be able to escape). The pot I had was not tall enough to place the jars upright in the boiling water, so I had to carefully place the jar upright, then tip it over so it was sideways in the pot. After boiling for 5 mins, we grabbed it out of the water and set it aside to cool. Within an hour, it was vacuum-sealed because of the escaping air. Now I'm going to wait about a week and see what kind of crazy concoction I made.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

I take my kickball seriously

Last night we had our second game (my first game) of kickball.

For some reason, whether it be my competitiveness or my lack of understanding the consequences of my decisions, I always injure myself. Usually this involves scrapes on my knees and elbows, and tonight was no different. Actually it was a bit different. This might be my best injury to date.

I was running from 2nd to 3rd base in a fool-hearty attempt to capitalize on the loose ball around shortstop. It was ill-advised, but sometimes you just gotta go for it. Well, when I was about 5 feet from the base they threw the ball at my feet to tag me out. At that point I jumped in the air and contorted in such a way to dodge the ball, which I did successfully. Unfortunately, after contorting, I couldn't land on my feet properly and while I don't remember exactly what happened, I'm pretty sure I landed hard, flat on my stomach on the ground. The ball that missed me went straight into the hands of a nearby player, so I had to then immediately get to my feet and dive 5 feet forward to get on base. Sadly, I was tagged out a split second before my hand reached the base. Somewhere in there, I managed to scrape both my knees, my right elbow, and my right hip. My right hip is somehow rubbed raw, probably because it was scraped through my shirt. Let's just say that the hydrogen peroxide was not my friend.

On the bright side, after that debacle of mine, we recovered to the tune of 18-3. It was pure domination.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

food, games, and championships

The past weekend proved to be a good one.

Friday was spent doing who knows what, because of course I can't remember that far back. I'm sure it was a nice, relaxing day because I didn't have work.

Saturday, Taylor and I decided we want to do some grilling. We used a yummy shrimp recipe for our main entree. While she prepared the shrimp, I prepared the grill and then started making some margaritas. I decided that I wanted to go fresh — no margarita mix. That involved buying a dozen lemons and limes and squeezing them all into a pitcher. Next came a full bottle of tequila, some triple sec, and a bit of simple syrup mixed together with some ice. It was really good. Everyone claimed it was a bit strong but I thoroughly enjoyed it... a bit too much even.

Once we got the shrimp on the grill, Taylor cut up some fruits (watermelon, pineapples, mangoes, and peaches), topped them with cinnamon sugar and skewered those as well. Once the shrimp were done, we threw the fruit on the grill. Sadly, the grill wasn't quite hot enough at that point to do anything but warm up the fruit, but they were still good.

The remainder of the night, I enjoyed Margaritas while playing Scattergories with Taylor, Andy, and Kelcey. Maybe I was a bit drunk, but I kept coming in last place by a lot. I don't get it.

Sunday, of course I was hungover. Not terribly, but I definitely needed some water and rest. By the end of the day I was more or less ready for Game 6 of the Mavericks vs. Heat. That game was awesome and was a great conclusion to a great and fun to watch series. I was really happy to see Dirk finally get a championship. He really deserves one.

You know who's a little bitch? LeBron James. I don't think he realizes just how cocky he is, because his press conference at the end of the game was a bit ridiculous.

I have 5 meetings at work today. I think that's a personal best (worst?). See ya later.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

the boy who played with fire

The last 36 hours have been interesting to say the least.

I started off by waking up at 5:30 and getting to work by 6:15, since I had to leave from work early for an optometrist appointment. That's the earliest I've been to work on record, I believe. The day was busy but nothing noteworthy happened for me.

Work was noteworthy for Taylor, however. Their Assistant GM 1 is leaving in a month, and she was approved to take over his role when he leaves. So she'll be getting a nice promotion in a month. Congratulations!

I left work at about 3:30, fed Maverick, then headed out to my optometrist with The Girl Who Played With Fire in hand. I started that book on Saturday, and I was immediately engrossed by the story. By the time I was at the optometrist, I was about halfway done.

Then something completely unusual happened — I didn't stop reading. I didn't stop reading almost the entire night. I kept the Mavs-Heat game on mute and checked the score occasionally. But I could not for the life of me stop reading. I was too into the story. By my bedtime, I was within 60 pages of finishing so I decided I would just tough out the rest of the night. I finished the book around 11:45 PM. I read about 340 pages that day. I think that's by far a personal best.

The sad part is that now I don't have the next one to read. No local bookstore has it, but I may just buy it on Amazon since it's cheaper there anyways. The other sad part is that the third and final book in the series was not intended to be the final book in the series. The author died in 2004 and the three that have been released were all done so posthumously. That means that the trilogy will undoubtedly end with some loose ends and potentially even a cliffhanger that will never be resolved. Sigh...

Then I woke up this morning to Maverick puking in my room. Super.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

quick!

Quick, I need to push out an update!

First off, the Blogger site changed. I'm writing my blog in a new, fancier looking interface. Not that any of you care.

I'm at work at 6:15 AM today, because I have an optometrist appointment at 4:30 PM today, but I still have a lot to take care of before I leave work early. Given that, you get possibly the worst blog update in the history of my blog.

Here's all that's happened in the last 2 weeks:
-I saw Thor, it was good
-I went to Boy Taylor and Andrea's wedding, it was decent. Didn't know many people so it wasn't as fun as it could have been. Plus there was some drama.
-I finished my book (Girl with a Dragon Tattoo) and started the second in the series, and I'm already almost 300 pages in after a few days. The second one starts off much quicker than the first, but that's probably because you already know the characters and there's less wasted time on preliminary character and story development.

That is literally all I can think of, even though I'm sure a lot more has gone in in the last couple weeks. I've intentionally made an effort to play less Left 4 Dead 2 lately, so I can focus on doing other things (reading mostly).

Work continues to get busier without really getting busier. I'm not sure how that works, but it's happening. Also, I'm still trying to continue my whole running thing. I've run about 4 times now, averaging a little over 2 miles per run. My pace continues to increase, slowly but steadily.

Sorry that's all I have time for today. I should have more for next time, I promise!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

run baby run

It's hot as hell already, so I waited until 9:30 to go out and run. It cooled down to the mid 80s which is a lot more tolerable than the 99 degrees it was when I came home.

I walked around my neighborhood for a few minutes to warm up (with some various leg raises and stuff thrown in to get my heart rate up), then went on my journey. Started off a bit rocky but not terrible, and after about a half-mile my endorphins kicked in and it was more pleasant. After my run, I cooled down with a walk for a quarter mile or so. I missed a street turn somewhere, so my already random route got more random, but I ended up running about 1.5-1.6 miles, and walking the remainder at the beginning and end to total approximately 2.28 miles.

With the miracle of technology, I was able to use an iPhone app to generate the following:
http://www.mapmyrun.com/workout/47642144/
http://www.mapmyrun.com/routes/view/35439900

It uses GPS and Google Maps to calculate distance, pace, etc. Since I didn't know how the app works, I included my walks in there but it skewed my running pace. Next time I'll only have it track my run and not my walks, so I can see what kind of a running pace I have. I'm aiming for around 8-9 minute mile, if possible.

Since I obviously won't be posting anytime I run, if you're curious about my progress aside from my occasional updates, you can see my profile here:
http://www.mapmyrun.com/profile/6519738/

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

running? pffft

I haven't done much in terms of working out since P90X, except flag football. While I'm in no rush to get back to the weight room, I find myself more interested in running. Why? Man, that is such a good question. Running sucks.

Back when we had my 5K at work, I was in the middle (or toward the end) of P90X and I figured I was golden. "Hell, I've been doing plyometrics for a couple months I should be golden." How wrong I was. After about a mile, I felt like complete shit and couldn't push myself any further. Turns out that running is nothing like team sports or even P90X.

That was a huge hit on my massive ego (joking). Here I thought I was mostly in shape, but after a mile I couldn't go any further. I don't like the thought of not being in at least above-average shape, so I figured I wanted to start running. The hard part is actually going running. Maybe those people who have run all their lives enjoy it, but I get so bored and all I can think about is how shitty of a time I'm having.

Nevertheless, I went running last Saturday at around 3PM on a slightly hot and very muggy day. Foolishly, I tracked out a 2.4 mile route on gmap-pedometer.com because I somehow forgot that just a couple months ago I failed miserably at a 5K. So off I went, and I immediately regretted not having my headphones on me. I got bored and wanted to stop roughly 5 seconds after I started running. Without music to distract me, all I could think about was that I was running and I didn't want to be running. I tried to sight-see but that didn't get me far, either. I managed to get about one mile before I had to call it quits. After walking a couple blocks to get my heart rate back down, I decided to start running again. I looked down at my heart rate monitor and within 10 seconds of starting back up again, my heart rate was peaking at 190. That seemed insanely high to me, so I walked the rest of the mile back. On my walk back, my heart rate rarely dropped below 150. Interesting...

Afterwards, I found a new app on the iPhone that tracks your runs using the GPS, so that should be interesting to use in the future.

I want to get in better shape. Bicycling and team sports don't seem to get my heart rate up nearly enough, and swimming sounds foolish, so I guess I'm left with running. I'll give it a shot again in a couple days and go even slower than I was before, even though I thought I was going at a slow place. That should allow me to run farther next time. Mark also provided me with some useful info to help me out.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

5/22

So I pretty much always write new blog entries at work, and I've been much busier at work. The obvious side-effect is that now I don't have much time to write new entries. For some reason, the concept of writing them at home doesn't make much sense to me. However, tonight I'm breaking the mold and writing one while not at work. Amazing concept!

A week ago, we held a party at the house for Taylor's birthday. We had a good number show up... enough to have a good amount of fun, but not too many where it starts to get cluttered and messy. I played a fair amount of beer pong and also rocked a bit on Rockband drums. I think the night ended for most at around 3 AM.

Since it's already Sunday, I obviously can't remember what I did during last week. But like I mentioned earlier, work has been ramping up considerably for me. I'm now the software lead for the program I'm on due to the recent layoffs, and that involves not only knowing what I'm doing, but all the other software engineers. It's definitely more work (with even more in the future), but it's worth it and I'm enjoying the extra responsibilities and challenges.

This weekend, my friend Susheela came into town for her sister's graduation. We met up for lunch on Friday, and went bowling Saturday night. It was good to see her, since it's usually a rare occurrence because she lives in Philly now. She's getting married in April, which only means I'm getting older since friends my age are starting to get married now. Yikes.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

look at all these updates!

You guys are really getting your money's worth this week! Four blog updates in a one week span? That's just crazy talk.

Last night we had a great dinner at Salt Lick BBQ for Taylor's birthday. We ended up having to wait for almost an hour, but we all got stuffed full of delicious barbecue. I decided on getting the "family style" plate, which means all you can eat brisket, pork ribs, sausage, coleslaw, potato salad, and beans. I ate a couple plate's worth, then stocked up on some more to take home. Believe it or not, I walked away with 3 to-go boxes: two for meat and one for sides. Also, we managed to gather a sizable group of about 20 people for dinner. Holy crap that's a lot of people.

We got Taylor an iPhone 3GS for her birthday, and I think she immediately loves it. It's about time she got a smartphone... Get the hint? On Friday, we have a house party for her birthday. Should be fun.

Want to hear a funny story? I had chicken parmesan for lunch, which was average as usual for our cafeteria. Every week, I stockpile some frozen dinners to have as my midday snack between lunch and dinner. Turns out my last one left for this week is also chicken parmesan. I get (?) to have chicken parmesan twice today, how exciting. Sorry, that wasn't so funny after all.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

under pressure

Every once in a while our nurse at work will take our blood pressure. Here are my three measurements:

11/9/10: 120/68
3/22/11: 116/60
5/10/11: 110/52

Not bad!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

eek! a mouse!

Mice, mice everywhere.

About a month ago, we discovered we had mice in our garage. Well, at the time we assumed it was just one. Then two weeks back, Andy and I journeyed into the garage on an expedition to enslave the mouse and rid ourselves of it. After clearing out a lot of items in the garage and clogging up some of the holes it could use to escape, we scared it out of its corner only to find out there were two mice. It turns out we did a bad job at clogging, because the first mouse got away, but not easily. The second one ran into a corner and we devised a plan: get pieces of wood and make a "path" that it will take straight into a cardboard box that we will close shut as soon as it runs in. Think of it as a really easy wooden maze that leads you straight into captivity.

It actually took a few attempts for our clever little plan to work. We kept accidentally leaving little gaps in our path where the mouse would escape through to other parts of the garage. Each time, we scared it back into the same corner and reconstructed our path. Eventually, after probably three attempts, we finally got it into the box. After taping it shut and cleaning up the garage, we drove about a half mile from the house and let it out by railroad tracks. Will it return? It's hard to say, but we assumed it was too far. Neither of us had the necessary manhood to kill it.

Fast-forward to last Wednesday after work, where I was letting Maverick out to take care of business. After a few minutes, he started acting really strangely and I realized almost immediately that he must have found a mouse. Is it the one who originally escaped, or the one we let go far away that had returned? Even worse, could it possibly be neither and be a third mouse instead? I stopped worrying about it and instead enjoyed the dog-and-mouse game that they were playing around the patio. A few times Maverick would lose the mouse, thinking it was still behind some potting soil when in fact it had run to a different spot altogether. My height compared to Maverick's served as a definite advantage, as I was able to survey the playing field a lot easier than him. When he would lose the mouse, I tried to hint to him that it was over somewhere else instead. Of course, he was too stupid to pay attention to me or listen, so I just picked him up and placed him by where the mouse now was. This went on for about 20 minutes until me, Maverick, and Andy who had eventually joined us all lost the mouse. I went back inside for a brief moment and came back outside to find that Maverick found the mouse again in the middle of the yard, and he finally grabbed it with his mouth. At this point it was all but over for the mouse. Maverick made an interesting, yet slightly twisted game out of the next 20 minutes. He would let the mouse go, paw at it some, and then lie down next to it. It would start to run away (albeit slowly because of the grass), and he would go after it and catch it, and then lie down and wait again. Eventually after some time, he started to grab it and take little "crunch" bites that would crush it, and then let it go. It started to get a bit disgusting after the second crunch, so I separated Maverick and the mouse. I gave Maverick a nice juicy bone to distract him while Andy put the mouse out of its misery.

Fast-forward yet again to last Sunday. Justin was about to mow, and he found two more mice under the mower in the corner of our garage. Using my experience from my last adventure, I knew what the mice would try to do and we developed a simple little setup that worked flawlessly. We got both mice, and Justin did the manly thing and disposed of them. It was a lot more hassle-free than the previous time, and now we know that at least those two mice won't be returning. Are we finally done with the mice? I don't know but it sure is making for some entertaining times.

Tomorrow is Taylor's birthday. Happy early birthday! For her birthday dinner we are hitting up Salt Lick BBQ, making it an official tradition since we went last year too. On Friday, we are going to have some people over to the house and have a party on her behalf. Should be fun, I think I will play a lot of beer pong.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011

lol @ dog

it's your weekend update!

I'll have to start with the big news, in case for some reason you've been living under a rock and hadn't heard: Osama bin Laden has been killed. Big news, right?





Aside from that, this weekend has been relatively quiet. Taylor had one tickets to Moody Blues on Thursday, and we saw the first part of their show. After about a half hour they had a 20 minute intermission, and by that point we were good to go. We aren't huge Moody Blues fans and I personally don't know any of their songs. They were good but I didn't want to stay for several hours and a few intermissions.

On Sunday, we celebrated my grandma's 88th birthday.

Next weekend is Mother's Day, don't forget!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

another late post

It's a downward spiral effect. The longer I wait to post, the less motivated I am to post because I have to write more to catch everybody up. I need to get back on the ball with this...

The highlight of last weekend for me was my prime rib adventure on Sunday. I bought a ~4 lb prime rib that cost me about $43, and I needed to cook it correctly the first time so all that cash didn't go to waste. I followed the recipe from Serious Eats (and for those who are interested in a little food science, you can read the article on how the recipe came to be), and everything turned out better than expected. The meat came out a glorious reddish-pink and juicy. In fact, here's a snapshot:


It was quite literally the best [homemade] steak I've ever had. Since a majority of the steak was medium rare, as opposed to a small 1/2"-1" strip of medium rare in most steak cuts, it was very tender. I almost want to do this more often, except that it costs a buttload of money.

On Monday, we had our flag football playoffs and it did not go well. We lost out on our first game, but just as well. They were doing the whole playoff bracket in one day, meaning that some teams could have up to four back-to-back games. That seems a bit intense and crazy to me, but ended up being a moot point for us.

Tuesday was the penultimate day of class for the one I'm taking this semester, which is nice. After next week, I won't have anymore late days because all sports and classes will be over... at least until June. After class, Andy and I went to help out Taylor's kickball team because they were a tiny bit shorthanded. It was a good game, but unfortunately I screwed up in the outfield which led to a grand slam. A GRAND SLAM! Son of a bitch. We ended up losing 13-8. I might help them out one or two more times this season.

Things are going strong at work for me after having to take up extra responsibilities and tasks because of our reduction. Let's hope this will be the last set of layoffs for a while.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

the aftermath

Last week, much like Monday, was rough. Throughout the week, the people who were laid off still showed up at work because my work offered them outplacement services. We went to lunches and happy hours to spend some remaining time with those who were laid off. There was also a rush of requests sent on LinkedIn, which I still haven't personally found useful. On top of the sadness of watching people pack up and leave, there was also the reality that we will have to work even harder to meet schedules with less people. On my project alone, we lost 8 people, which is substantial because we only had around 15 people to begin with. More work for everybody!

On a completely unrelated note, Taylor and I watched the original Scream trilogy, refreshing ourselves for the newest sequel. I'm not a big horror movie fan, but the Scream series' mix of parody and horror works well for me.

I finished a book I started many months ago, Stranger in a Strange Land. I rated it a 3/5 stars on Goodreads. It was a pretty good book, and this might by attributed to the long periods of time where I stopped reading, but I found parts of it very long-winded and serving no purpose. I remember a part in the book that was about 6 pages of dialogue between two characters discussing statues. Why? The book overall was good, and showed an interesting perspective on our society and what we consider "normal." I had an internal struggle when deciding the next book to read: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or The Dark Tower, and ended up deciding on the former since I've had it on my shelf longer.

We had our final two regular season flag football games on Monday, and they did not go well at all. We lost both games, but it's hard to be disheartened. We got screwed on scheduling, and they gave us a back-to-back double-header against the best two teams in the league. Let me give you an idea on the skills disparity between the teams in this league. We beat most of the teams in the league by 30-40 points, and yet these two teams beat us by 20-30 points. That's a huge disparity between the best, the middle, and the crappier teams. I should also mention that the people on the first team we played on Monday were all wearing wristbands with plays on them. Need I remind you that this is a super social league, which is categorized as a league "for players with limited football skills / recreational league." If you're going to be that douchebag team where everyone is wearing wristband playbooks, then go into the competitive league. Nevertheless, we still managed to make playoffs as a 3-3 team, and our first game is next Monday against a team we should have no problem with.

And now I leave you with something completely different:

Monday, April 11, 2011

picking up the pieces

Well, the dust has settled and I've come out of it alive, but not unscathed.

We had 26 software engineers, and we are left with only 16, losing about 40%. Of those, I lost my software project lead (not the same as my boss), which is a huge loss to our project. He has many years of domain expertise on our product, and I'm not sure who can replace him.

The tallies are still coming in from the other functions in our business, but I hear we're losing about 67-76 people total from Austin.

It's been a pretty stressful day, and it's tough watching these people pack up. Some of them are fine with it, and some are bitter. It's going to leave a bad taste in our mouths for a while, and I've definitely lost my work ethic for the day. I was planning on taking the rest of the day off, but my boss recommended I stay because we might have some meetings later today.

What lesson have I learned? Always keep your résumé up-to-date.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Thursday, April 7, 2011

no title

Coming up with a title for a blog post requires too much thought, so I decided to pass on it today. I'm sure you're all terribly disappointed.

As I started writing this entry, I realized that I can't remember what I did over the weekend. That isn't all that surprising to me, because in some areas my memory is terrible. Somehow I manage to survive.

I know at some point, Taylor and I went to Opal Divine's to participate in an Arrested Development pub quiz. We teamed up with 4 other people, and it's a good thing we did because we would have done a lot worse without them. Nevertheless, we didn't win or even place, despite getting off to a good start. There were almost 100 teams participating, with a total of between 400-500 participants. It was pretty crazy, and it's a good thing we got there early and ate dinner, because it got hectic fast.

On Monday, we had another football game, and with it came another stomping. I wish we could play our first game again, which we lost 7-0. Ever since that game, we've won by huge margins and have always scored at least 40 points. Our last game on Monday was no different, shutting out our opponents to the tune of 42-0. We have a bye next week, and will have a double header on the 18th to wrap up the regular season. I can smell the playoffs…

I can't remember if I've mentioned already, but all indicators are pointing to next Monday, the 11th, being the "big day" at work. See you then.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

let's get our funnies on

As always, you can click to enlarge a picture and/or go to the original source.


I'm not sure what he was expecting

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

skittles, what are you doing

Follow the instructions in the video for optimal effect.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

the final countdown

The rumor is that the hammer will striketh at my work by 4/14/2011. I've been wavering between confident and worried, but again I'm feeling confident. It's not going to be pretty, because I think we're losing a lot of people, but it is what it is. If I survive, I will be grateful. Unfortunately I have about 2.5 more weeks to wait, potentially.

In other news, I had a fun weekend. Friday night I went out with Taylor, Ellen, Anna, and crew to the Pulp Fiction Quote-Along. It had been a while since I'd seen Pulp Fiction, and I forgot how awesome it was. I mean, I know it's an awesome movie, but I forgot all the different scenes of awesome, and definitely forgot about all the awesome dialog. I'm glad we went, and we got some free cap guns out of it!

Saturday night was our Decades party, and by Saturday morning I still had no idea what I was going to dress up as. Taylor and I went to Lucy in Disguise to find some costumes. I had been in there before, but I had never actually looked around for a costume there. There selection is sweet, and you can rent or buy the costumes, which is convenience. We both got 80s costumes, mine being 80s punk rock-ish. You'll have to check Facebook for them, because I don't have the pictures.

After a brief rendezvous with the family for dinner, I went to the house and got ready for the party. The party itself was fun, albeit filled with a little bit of drama. We had a keg, liquor, darts, beer pong, and a fair amount of people. I hit the sack around 3:30 AM.

Sunday was a much needed recovery day, which wasn't filled with very much at all.

Finally, we have yesterday. Nothing to highlight except our football game. Coming off a big win, we were unsure of how we would match against a team who was also 1-1, like us. After a tough start where they went up 7-0 immediately, we recovered remarkably. We scored 7 unanswered touchdowns, and won the game 49-8. I had a couple good runs and one good defensive play, but didn't do much this game which is okay. Our other teammates are good and we had a ton of interceptions, which is what killed them. We held them on the 5 yard line for 3 or 4 consecutive downs, and got the turnover. Now we are 2-1, and have a game against a winless team next week. No upsets, please.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

huzzah! blah...

It's been a good few days — well, mostly. Let's start with the good, enjoyable moments. Despite all the good, I'm currently in a bad mood (which I will get to) so I'm going to keep this short and sweet.

On Thursday, I took a half day from work to leave early and go see Justin's show at Weirdo's. From there, Taylor and I immediately drove downtown to see The Strokes for free at Auditorium Shores. I'm not a huge Strokes fan or anything, but it was free and a good show. They even shot off fireworks during their last song, which was cool.

Friday was mostly lounging around, and we were planning to see the Givers downtown at 7pm. Well, turns out they go on at midnight, and that it won't be as easy as we thought to get in. We got there and waited in a line for about an hour. If you're not aware, it was South By Southwest downtown the past week, and people can get badges or wristbands to get priority access to music shows. Badges get first priority (very expensive), and wristbands get in next. Since we had neither, we were in the lowest priority line to get into the show. Despite this, we were moving forward and high hopes, until we got to the front. We then realized that we weren't moving forward because people were getting in, but rather because the people in the front knew they couldn't get in and left. Once we got to the front ourselves, we saw the sad truth that we weren't getting in. We went to the bar next door, had a drink, then went home and called it a night.

The next day, I didn't do much. The Givers had another show that night, and Taylor was determined to see them, so we attempted it yet again. She had a good feeling about it, and she turned out to be right. We got in with no problem. There wasn't a line or anything. They put on a good show.

The highlight of Sunday was the Iranian New Year, which I celebrated with my family in Austin at my aunt's house. I also witnessed the abortion of a game by the Longhorns
.
Yesterday, Monday, we had our second flag football game (we lost our first game last week 7-0, by the way). This one turned out a lot better. We all arrived an hour beforehand, warmed up, did some drills, and overall had a good practice. It paid off because we won 48-28. I, myself, scored at least two touchdowns. I feel like I might have scored three but I can't remember. They were both 20-30+ touchdowns, where I just hauled ass and dodged everyone. I was quite proud of myself. It's a lot more fun when you win, huh? Hopefully we can ride this momentum into next week.

Now onto the bad. They announced a reduction-in-force last week (layoffs), and it's going to be primarily engineering and the program office (program management people, don't know who all that includes). There are a lot of rumors flying around, and I honestly don't know if I should be concerned or not. On one hand, I have work and I'm valuable on the program I'm working on. On the other hand, people here in Austin are concerned that we are going to get hit big time, so I'd be naïve to think that I'm exempt. Regardless of what happens, it's got me fairly stressed out. Not only am I worried about my own job, but the morale around here is just bad. It's sad to see so many people worried about their jobs, even if they don't outwardly say anything. This sucks.

Cross your fingers for me. Hopefully I'll be fine. If Austin gets hit big and I'm still around, it might be time to start looking for another job somewhere. Seems like they might be trying to phase out engineering here and focus more on manufacturing.

Monday, March 14, 2011

it's been awhile

If the title to this post made you think of that crappy Staind song, then mission accomplished. Otherwise, I'm sure you're thinking of it now.

Let's get to it! Hope you're ready for a looooooooong update. Actually I'm going to summarize as much as possible, since some of this stuff is almost two weeks old.

Shitty drivers
Two Wednsedays ago, I was driving me and Andy back from work and we were stopped at a light. We were just sitting there talking, when all of the sudden my car lurched forward. I was very confused for the briefest of moments, looking around to see if I had somehow knocked it into a weird gear or I wasn't holding the brake properly. Then I looked at my rear view mirror and immediately realized what happened — a dumbass [woman] cruised right into the back of my car even though we were both stopped at a stoplight. Luckily there was no damage at all, but seriously? Judging based on the force of the impact, my guess is that she was stopped behind me and then thought that it was time to go. Why worry about the fact that no one is actually going yet? A car in your way? Pffft. Just drive. And that's what she did, right into the back of my car.

First Thursday
March 3 was the First Thursday for March. I went out with coworkers downtown-ish on South Congress and we went to Doc's, Hotel San Jose, and attempted to eat at the trailers. However, for reasons beyond me, they all were closed down even though it was only 10pm on First Thursday. Lame. We went to Homeslice instead for pizzas.

Urbandare/Urbanfail
That Saturday (March 5), Taylor and I had signed up for Urbandare. We were looking forward to participating until the day ended up being a bit shitty for our tastes. Additionally, I was exhausted because I wasn't able to sleep well the previous night. So instead, I took a 2 hour nap. Hurray for sleep.

MS 150 Fundraiser @ Taco Deli
That night (Saturday night, March 5), I was invited to an MS150 fundraiser by one of my bosses. They had free Taco Deli buffet-style, free beer out of a keg, a silent auction, live music, and a live auction. It was fun, but it was outdoors at it was in the 50's that night. We stayed for a couple hours, and I actually won two items: an American flag blanket w/ my work's slogan on it, and a football signed for Mack Brown (for Travis's birthday present).

Flag Football returns
If you remember, about two years ago we had signed up for a flag football team over the summer. It was disastrous on many levels: the temperature, the suckiness of our team, etc. Well we're giving it another go this spring. In fact, our first game is tonight. We have 8 guys, 6 girls, and a whole lot of potential — mostly because I know nothing about our team. Let's see how we do this season!

That's all I have in me right now; this took took too much effort.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Monday, February 28, 2011

your attention please

P90X
I have a big announcement - I am done with P90X. Actually, I have one more day, today, but I can't do it because my knee is still a bit hurt from flag football. So screw it, I'm skipping it and I'm calling it. Technically I'm fine because I actually repeated a week somewhere in the middle, so I'm over 90 days.

Was it worth it? Depends on what you consider worthwhile. By the third month, I was never looking forward to doing it. Working out every single day, for someone like me who doesn't ever "enjoy" working out, started to become a real pain in my ass. Not to mention that the workouts are fairly intense, so by month three my will power was getting pushed to the extreme. I won't be doing it again, that's for sure. I did get some results, although mostly in fitness and not in physique. I gained about 8-10 lbs but I still could use another 15 or so.

At this point, I can really only recommend P90X to those who a) want a true test of endurance and willpower, and b) actually enjoy working out. If you don't enjoy working out, then you're really going to hate P90X by the end, like I did. However, if you are interested, I have pretty much everything you would need to get started, including a pull-up bar, adjustable dumbbells, and a yoga mat.

I'll be taking my fitness test tonight to see what kind of improvements I've made in the past 3 months. I expect solid increases in most areas, but in a couple, like wall squats, probably only minimal improvements.

Last Friday, we played our semi-weekly game of flag football. It was a hard-fought game, and both Andy and I were on our A-game. We had our first semi-serious injury. It didn't end up being a broken bone, but it sure as hell looked like it. I'm not sure what happened, but a hand ended up ramming into someone, and his finger was no longer pointing in the correct direction. Needless to say, it was gross. The update today is that it was simply dislocated.

Friday night, I went to a friend's house-warming party. It ended up being more fun than I expected, but mostly because me and Justin had a heroic and undefeated beer pong run. There was one particularly stellar moment in one game where we started off with the lead, then quickly fell behind. It looked like we were doomed when we made a sudden comeback, and sealed the game by both making it into the same cup at the last moment. It was epic, but probably only for us.

On Saturday, I can't remember doing much. I got a haircut, and played a solid amount of Left 4 Dead 2.

On Sunday, Taylor and I went to Torchy's for breakfast tacos, then Opal Divine's for some yummy Bloody Mary's and lunch. Afterwards, we walked around Fry's for fun. We heard that Borders is closing (not all of them though, like I had thought), so we hopped over there and I ended up buying $50's worth in books, all of which were 20% off. I got some classics and otherwise, including Catcher In The Rye, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (recommended by my dad, but also not recommended by Kelcey — guess I'll find out!), The Godfather (hardcover for only $6!), and the first four installments of The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. I'm looking forward to reading them all, but at the same time I still don't make enough time to read. I've been on my current book for 4 months now, and I've only read half.

After browsing stores, we went to the Drafthouse to watch the animated short films that were nominated for an Oscar. I liked about half of them, but the other half I just couldn't get into. They didn't impress me visually or with the story and plot. Not sure why a couple of them were nominated, when pitted against the competition.

Afterwards, we went home and I did a combination of watch the Oscars while playing some Left 4 Dead 2.

Whew, a long post!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

confirm email address please

Yesterday I needed to reset my password for American Airline's website. I was trying to look up my frequent flyer number. I was greeted with this lovely page, notice anything wrong?

(click to enlarge)

I can confirm it's correct because I'm obviously the only person using Gmail.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Justin's Show - 2/18

Here are my pics from Justin's show last Friday (at least, some of them). You can find the whole set here.










it's the weekly update!

I'm sorry that the updates are only coming weekly now. I'm just not in the mood lately to sit down and write stuff out. Sometimes it's a chore to come up with topics to write about, even though usually it's just about my day/week.

Last weekend was a bit more eventful than usual for me. On Friday night, I went to Justin's show at Stomping Ground's. I took more pictures for them, and should have an edited set uploaded soon. It's fun to take pictures of them while playing, and sometimes challenging. I'm admittedly not great but I do like some of the shots I get.

Scott, my ex-coworker buddy, had a going-away party Saturday night. He jokingly made a note in the facebook event about tie-dye apparel being suggested. Sure enough, Mark, Andy, Kelcey, and I brought some tie-dye gear to wear at the party. Strangely, we were basically the only group of people rocking that look, in addition to Scott and a couple other people here and there. I haven't hung out with Scott in a long while but he was fun to hang out with. He's moving to Colorado because he's partial to snowy climates.

Who knows what I did on Sunday, because I sure don't. All I know is that I should have cleaned up my room and did laundry, but I didn't. I have a huge pile of clothes in my room and it aggravates me. It aggravates me more that I'm too lazy to do the laundry.

Oh, I remember what I did on Sunday! I setup my computer to work with my TV with an HDMI cable! I installed XBMC, a cool media center program, and configured it with my collection of TV shows and movies. Now, with a cool interface, I can browse and watch my media from my TV. To top it all off, I bought the iPhone app Hipporemote which allows me to use my iPhone as a remote to play/pause, etc. It's a pretty cool setup, I have to admit.

So I'm probably a bit late on this bus, but did you know there is a number to opt-out of all pre-approved credit offers? The number is 1-888-567-8688 or 1-888-5-OPTOUT. You can read more details here. I did this earlier today. It's an automated process, and it can be annoying sometimes because it asks you to speak your address and tries to understand you, which it never does. But eventually if you stick in there, you'll get it done.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

the weekend of looooooove

Okay so, not really. Taylor and I had a brief conversation about a month ago about Valentine's Day plans. We mutually decided that neither of us cared to do anything, because we didn't really believe in this kind of holiday. Valentine's Day, to me, is pretty fake. Does it really mean anything when someone is pretty much obligated to take you out to dinner and get you nice things? Not in our opinions. Therefore our Valentine's Day plans consisted of basically nothing. On the actual day, we went to Freebird's and watched Always Sunny. We're so romantic!

What else happened last weekend? Justin and I had a random thought to go play disc golf at one of the two courses within a few miles of us. We randomly selected the one at Parmer/McNeil. I can't tell if that was the best or worst decision of our lives. The course was buried in the middle of trees, dense shrubbery, and tons of cacti. There was also a posted warning about poison ivy, but luckily we did not encounter any. It was only a 9 hole course, and we somehow couldn't find one of them. The holes were all about 100-150 feet and narrow, so anything but accurate throws would be off in some cacti — sweet! Overall, the course was pretty miserable in terms of comfort and convenience. However — and I don't speak for both of us — I thought the course was fun. The "adventure" of grabbing a big stick and fishing out your disc after every other throw was enjoyable in a masochistic, 8-year-old-boy-looking-for-trouble kind of way. I do recommend wearing long sleeves and pants, though. Otherwise you'll be in for a long day of pricks and thorns. I had pants on and I still managed to get cacti thorns in my leg. Luckily, Justin had his swiss-army knife and busted out the tweezers. Up next: Wells Branch disc golf course.

Aside from above, I can't remember anything else going on. Another weekend of hanging out and going with the flow.

By the way, it took two days for me to get my work computer back, despite their estimate of "a couple hours." What a dumb week at work this turned out to be.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

at work with no pc makes habibi a dull boy

A majority of my blog updating, including new entries and shared links occurs while I'm at work. That isn't to say I'm not busy at work, but since I sit behind a computer for 9+ hours a day at work, there's usually enough time to fit in 5 mins here and there to update things around my blog.

Monday morning, my computer was taken by IT to "re-image." In layman's terms, they're clearing out everything and reinstalling Windows. It was only supposed to take about 2 hours, but we're about a day and a half in and I still have no computer.

It's greatly limiting my ability to do work and update my blog. Why don't I just update my blog at home? The answer is simple: I don't wanna!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

superbowl weekend

I feel fully recovered from my "flu" incident last week. I'm back on track with P90X, and it's time to start eating big again.

Last weekend was a fun weekend. Friday was casual, nothing to note. On Saturday, Ashley, Ray, and Marisa were in town so we went to Torchy's Tacos, and attempted to go to a Longhorn basketball game. Due to poor planning, we didn't attempt to buy tickets until right before gametime, and it had sold out by then. Oddly, Austin (who was at the game) said that there were a lot of empty seats still. Instead, we went bowling and hung out. I went home and the girls had a girls night.

Sunday was Superbowl Sunday! How... exciting? No, I wasn't that excited because I didn't care much about either team. I decided to root for the Packers because it'd make things more interesting at the house. Both my roommates are Steelers fans, so why not add some tension? I had told people to come over and bring food to grill, and I must say that everything turned out pretty successfully. We had some people over, cooked various foods, drank beer, and enjoyed the Superbowl. It was a pretty close game, but not that exciting; both teams' offenses played poorly.

Since that's all I have to talk about, here are my favorite Superbowl commercials: