Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year

Spent the day at the Coliseum, watching the Big 10 win the Music City Bowl, and almost forgot IU had a game this afternoon.

Cheered on the boys to a win at E, and home for now, trying to decide what to do to welcome in the new year.

I'm thinking my couch and TiVo sound like a good combination. :)

Thursday, December 30, 2004

End of an era

So I just left E, where Mark decided to end his bartending career with a cannonball into the pool. Being the mom I am, I made him hand over his wallet and cell phone and stood waiting with a towel.

Headed to Dan's for a beer or three and a good start to a long weekend.

Be safe. Happy New Year.
--------------------------
Sent from Linda's BlackBerry

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Scenes from a sports bar

One of the many means of entertainment at E is to try to beat the bartenders at "Name that tune". Actually, it's "Name the artist of that tune". It startles some of the other bar guests at times, especially if they are in the middle of ordering and Brent yells out "Foreigner!".

Last week, one of the "other" guests (you know, the ones that sit on the other side of the bar, because they're either hotel guests, or not one of the gang), decided to play along. "Mr. Mister!", he shouted after just a few notes of "Kyrie Eleison". "Very good!", I told him.

He then added, "Yeah - Carrie gets the lays on. Man, I used to like that song."

I almost spit out my beer - "WHAT?".

Him: "Yeah I couldn't believe they played a song about some girl laying people on the radio".

It took a full 2 minutes for me to stop laughing.

Me: "It's 'Kyrie Eleison' - means 'Lord have mercy'. You're obviously not Catholic, are you?"

Him: "Nope. Man. That gives a whole new meaning to that song, huh?"

Me: "Oh yeah..."

American Red Cross Disaster Relief

Amazon has a one-click "donate" button on their home page, giving you an easy way to donate to the American Red Cross efforts in disaster relief in South Asia in the aftermath of the earthquake and resulting tsunamis.

Neil links to some satellite images of the coastline just before and during the tsunami.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Sibling rivalry

This evening, IU is playing Ball State. I know, not exactly a power game, but I've invited my sister to come watch it with me at E.

See, my sister went to Ball State (tangent: since TN doesn't offer a Ball State license plate, she applied for a vanity tag and was denied, due to vulgarity. Seems our fine state is offended by "Ball U"). When I told her last week our schools were playing each other and invited her to come watch it with me, she sneered, "Yeah, right. That will be fun for me." Once I told her that BSU has a good chance of winning, she changed her mind. Now she's all into wanting to come watch the game. Kind of like when she watched the NCAA tourney in 1990 only AFTER they made it to the Sweet 16...

Anyway, should be an entertaining evening. And I'm not referring to the game.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Chicago is... a little belated

A couple of weeks ago, Peach joined me on my annual Chicago Christmas trip (there's usually a St. Patrick's Day, birthday, and sometimes a "just for the heck of it" trip, as well). We flew up on a Friday evening, and Peach got to take her first ride on a train to Lincoln Park, where we were met by my friend, Mitch, who spared us walking the 4 blocks to his house in the rain (thanks Mitch - you rock!).

Went to a late dinner at a favorite neighborhood place, then downed a few beers around Mitch's "kitchen table", before deciding it was time to call it a night.

Saturday was the Christmas party for the kids at the Valentine Boys & Girls Club, one of 9 (or is it more now?) such parties Mitch throws each December. We spent a couple of hours there - the kids play games, make arts & crafts, have lunch, and get a visit from Santa, who brings them each 3 gifts to open there and another to take home and open on Christmas day. Despite the fact I was missing the IU/Kentucky game (but knew TiVo was home and hard at work), and that Peach isn't what one would call kid-friendly, we had a good time and it was great to see the kids enjoying themselves.

It was also great to head out and explore the city. After Peach's first cab ride, we went for a drink and a snack at Tavern on Rush, and strolled along Michigan Avenue, stopping at Water Tower Place for a quick reminder why none of us enjoys shopping.

Decided to head back to the neighborhood for another drink before dinner at River Shannon, where I ended up walking out sporting a plastic lei, and a purseful of candy. Guess it's an Irish Christmas tradition - who knows!?

Headed to a favorite Chicago pizza place and introduced Peach some of the best pizza you can get (although I'm an aficionado of the crispy New York style pie, as well - you just can't get either in Nashville!), and once again back to Mitch's for nightcaps before calling it a day.

Back to John's for brunch Sunday before heading downtown for a visit to the Art Institute and a walk through Millennium Park. The Kapoor Sculpture is really cool, and I think I'll have to make it to the pavilion this coming summer for a concert.

Said goodbye to Mitch and had a couple last beers before our train ride to the airport, getting home in time for a few beers at E before calling it a weekend.

It's just what I wanted...

My Christmas gift to myself:

Mailbag Q&A - 2nd edition

Gotta love the week between Christmas and New Years - hardly a soul at work to keep me from knocking out all I need to get done before Thursday. Taking a quick break to share the latest questions from my email inbox:

Q: Any suggestions for a good holiday season wine/food pairing?

A: Definitely. Just discovered this one last night: Cabernet Sauvignon and yogurt-covered pretzels.

-----

Q: Did I see you at Dan McGuinness last Thursday?

A: Possibly. I was there.

-----

Q: How can you continue to cheer on your Hoosiers - or, for that matter, the Titans?

A: It's not about winning (although winning is good); it's about playing the game. And both of my teams will figure things out and get back on the right track sooner or later.

-----

Q: How was Chicago? You never blogged about it?

A: D'oh! I didn't, did I? I'll get to it as soon as I have a free minute or two...

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Winding down and getting ready to go back to work...

Been a long weekend, but trying to get back into work mode.

Favorite gifts? Hmm... All of the gift certificates I received, my new linens and Kill Bill vols. 1 & 2. Guess you know what I'll be doing until I fall asleep...

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas

It's been a few crazy days, complete with a bonus day off, thanks to a wintry storm that made its way through Nashville Wednesday night. Had to make a trip to pick Peach up at the airport Wednesday (before the freeze came), as her flight was cancelled, but she made it out yesterday for her abbreviated Christmas visit. Me & her furry "child" (as in the four-legged variety) have been hanging out over the past few days.

Waiting to head over to an early dinner with friends and on to our tailgate before the game. I think I should have enough layers (and alcohol) to keep warm. Thermals, wool turtleneck, a Titans fleece pullover, jeans, my ankle-length wool coat, some warm socks and boots, a Titans stadium blanket, gloves and mittens and a head band to cover my ears. Not to mention a thermos that will be filled with hot sake for the tailgate and a bottle of Bailey's to flavor the coffee and hot cocoa at the game.

Merry Christmas & go Titans!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Game on

Well, as of now, the game's still on. (game notes - PDF) I'm hoping the weather here will hold up so I can head to E and cheer them on... (Our office is closing at 3:30 in anticipation of the bad weather.)

How to amuse a TabletPC user...

Seriously.

This is the sort of thing that could keep me busy for hours.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Losing my mind...

I know, there are reasons to believe I lost it long ago.

But in the past 10 days, I've left my purse in a cab in Chicago (realized it immediately and was able to catch the guy as he had turned the corner and was stopped to pick up another fare), misplaced my ATM card (figured that out on my way to the airport yesterday when I went to grab cash for my trip - luckily, the drive-through was still open, and I'm 99% sure it's in my jeans pocket from when I filled my car with gas Sunday), and left my phone in the cab last night. Good thing I had already asked the driver about picking me up today to get me back to the airport.

So I'm reunited with my phone, and waiting for my flight.

The saddest thing? No, not that I'm losing my mind at the age of 33. No missed calls for 18 hours.
--------------------------
Sent from Linda's BlackBerry

Monday, December 20, 2004

Brr

Made it to Columbus. Granted, half an hour late. And my cab wasn't waiting for me, since I was late. But the guy at the cab stand asked, "Are you Linda? I'll call your cab back.". And my cab was back in 4 minutes. But 4 minutes in this COLD was unbearable. But my hotel has a negotiated rate with this cab company, and seeing as I work for a non-profit, I felt guilty when another driver offered to take me for $10 more.

So I got here and made it to the bar in time for 2 beers (they're ready to close in a few), and now I'm thinking I may have left my cell phone in the cab. Which is better than leaving my purse in the cab in Chicago last weekend, especially as I have my driver's cell phone number so he can get me back to the airport tomorrow.

Except for the fact that I turned him in at the front desk for charging me $3 more than my negotiated rate...
--------------------------
Sent from Linda's BlackBerry

Update: The phone is in the cab (thank god) and my buddy/cabbie Zach is picking me up at 4:00. Unless he gets chewed out by his manager by then, that is...

Ok, I'm a loser

So, my plan over the weekend was to create a card on this site for you, my faithful audience. I was going to search my piano bench for the PERFECT sheet music to make those cute little elves sing to you. But I didn't (seriously, when was I even HOME this weekend? OK, home and sober awake?) and I'm about to jump on a plane a take a quick trip (yeah... nothing like a business trip the week of Christmas) and I didn't want you to think I abandoned you, so until Wednesday, why don't you create an elf song for me? I could use some cheering up!

Thursday, December 16, 2004

ATOM

Hey - remember those trees? Well, today I was forced to grab carry out for lunch and swallow it whole in the break room and sit through 10 minutes of Talk of the Town.

And they featured an Aluminum Tree and Ornament Museum - here in Nashville!

I'll have to go next year.

In-flight wi-fi

Net surfing, cell calls on planes closer

I really don't want the person next to me talking on his cell phone - that's even more annoying than when he attempts to talk to me - but I like the idea of being able to access the internet and email.

Fun with Google Suggest

Inspired by this article, I decided to play around a little with Google Suggest.

Type this: "Why doesn"
Google suggests: Why doesn't he call

Do people REALLY think Google works like their own personal magical 8 ball? Honey, if he's not calling, call him and ask why, or find someone else who will call you.

Type this: "why do b"
Google Suggests: why do birds suddenly appear

Nothing significant to say about this one; I just like the Carpenters. :)

Type this: "Linda is "
Google Suggests: Linda is gay

Ouch. Moving on...

Type this: "waskie"
Google Suggests: waskiewicz

And at "waski", it's the third choice. Come on, admit it: You google yourself, too.

Type this: "google is "
Google Suggests: google is gay

Ok - at least it's not just me. :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Mailbag Q&A

OK, so it's not like I get a LOT of email from this site, but I do get email from people who are too shy to leave a comment (or, more likely, don't want anyone else to know they actually waste their time on this garbage).

So, since I had more than a couple (that's 3), I've decided to actually address the questions and share with y'all (how's that for a southern accent?). Please keep in mind, most of these (if most of 3 is 2) were part of a longer message and the question may or may not draw the same answer here as it would have in the context of the message from which it originated. I'm trying to entertain here, folks...

Q: Do the holidays really have you that depressed?

A: No. I'm not a fan of Christmas to begin with. Yes, this one is a little tough because it's the first Christmas since my parents' divorce, but trust me, it was never something I looked forward to.

-----

Q: Is the glass half empty or half full?

A: Oh, lord. If you knew me, you'd know my answer to this one, and you never would have asked. Here goes: Neither. The glass is always full, as it's an open-ended vessel. True emptiness requires a vacuum, and a vacuum in an open-ended vessel is impossible. At least, I haven't figured out how to make it work.

The real question is: Why haven't you filled the glass with beer?

-----

Q: You up for a game of trivia at E any time soon?

A: Sure. When's good for you?

No kidding...



New service from Google!

This was good for a smile this morning:
Google to index all human souls

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Reality check...

So, the other evening I asked Peach if Hailey knew yet what she was doing next week (the precious child is going to be the lucky guest dog at my place for 5 days while her mother travels for the holidays), and she replied, "You mean the week after next".

Christmas is next week. Which means New Years is the week after (I know, I'm a font of information you can't get anywhere else, but bear with me).

This leaves me 11 work days to get EVERYTHING done that I've committed to having done at the end of the year. Oh, and take away a day of that since I'll be going to our Regional Office in Ohio. And I already have 8 hours of scheduled meetings between now and then, so that's another day lost.

Hold on a minute, I never checked my powerball tickets from the weekend...

Damn.

So, since I obviously have to continue working for the time being, I need to figure out how to get all this stuff done. I really think next week and the following one will be productive, as so many people are taking time off (including two of my cube quad-mates). My weekends are shot, so working then is out of the question.

Anyway, my solution is to go to work, get what I can done, and go home. And if I have a job after the New Year, so be it. If not, there will be a few lottery drawings before then. :)

Don't piss me off...

Always good advice, I know. And, now, thanks to the generosity of BB sharing her secret Santa gift with me, I can remind you on a regular basis.

Seriously, if anyone is dying to get me a small gift to add to my stocking, I really need this cute little retro-looking notepad filled with post-it like notes that say "Don't piss me off!" made by this company.

Monday, December 13, 2004

brr!

Winter has arrived in the Music City (I know, it doesn't really get here until next week) - it's colder here than it was in Chicago this weekend! And, even though tonight's game is turning out to be a pretty good one, I'm glad I'm home and toasty warm and watching it from my couch.

Friday, December 10, 2004

O Christmas Tree...

OK, I know I haven't exactly been in the ho-ho-holiday spirit (that reminds me of a song from the writer's night I went to last week - "Ho-Ho-Jose Cuervo Christmas", I think it was called, but it wasn't one of BB's songs, so I wasn't paying full attention...), but I think these trees are great.

And I'm not the only one.

This explains a lot...


My life is rated NC-17.
What is your life rated?

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Bah (part 2)

So I met my sister for dinner this evening. And the subject of Christmas came up. A few times. After I told her I'm lucky enough to get to make a business trip the week of Christmas, she told me that she and my brother were trying to come up with a day to celebrate Christmas with our father, and they had decided on one of the nights I was going to be spending in the great city of Columbus, Ohio.

So I told her not to change plans, that I wasn't planning on celebrating Christmas with him. And, she (of course) asked why.

I didn't answer, but I think it's obvious.

For thirty some years, our family has celebrated Christmas together, led by my mother's direction. My sister and I pitched in with planning and my brother did his part and my father showed up.

And Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas at my mom's will be much like Christmases of years past, with one exception: my father won't show up. He won't sit in the home my mother decorated and cleaned and watch us open the gifts my mother shopped for and selected and wrapped. He won't sit at the table and eat the meal she worked so hard to prepare. Christmas at mom's will be the same as it has been since I was a child, except that we don't have an extra person filling a chair, asking us to wait on him.

And I'm ok with that. I'm not ok with being expected to start new traditions just because he was selfish enough to want to leave our family. You're in or you're out. And if you take yourself out of the picture, please don't expect me to change my world to fit yours. You wanted your own life? You got it. And I have no desire to be a part of it.

Site stats...

So someone came to my blog the other day after searching for "lacy peterson's body". What's weird is that the first result is from a Nashville tv news show's site (granted, not the channel I watch).

And whatever Google/Blogger did during their down time, it worked. From slow as molasses to screaming fast...

Bah...

Humbug.

Remember what I said the other day about work (see third paragraph)? I was either living in some fantasy land, or have been duly punished for bragging about my cake walk of a job. Let's just say things on my plate are so overflowing that my boss called a meeting with the other IT managers to tell them not to expect much from me in the next few weeks, since he's made unrealistic demands that I have to meet by the end of the month.

Ok, that's not exactly how he worded it, but it's what he said.

About the only thing at work I'm ok with is secret santa. Although, I think I figured mine out this morning and there's still 6 days left. At least I still get a gift a day. :) Don't you love the holiday spirit and the joy of getting giving?

Honestly, I'm over the Christmas thing already. Maybe this weekend in Chicago will change things, but I doubt it. I mean, seeing the kids enjoying the party will be good, as long as I'm not hung over, and the lights along Michigan Avenue are always gorgeous, but I doubt the effect will last through the flight home.

While at the most recent family dinner (note to self: convince sister-in-law that we REALLY should celebrate her birthday in June), I found out that mom not only thought I would spend Christmas Eve and the day after Christmas at her place, but I would also drive there on Christmas morning. Apparently, Santa will be upset if we don't open our gifts and dump out the stockings on the actual holiday.

I told her that while I would have thoroughly enjoyed three trips to Spring Hill over the course of three days, I had already accepted an invitation to Christmas dinner elsewhere, and since it would be necessary to be at the game around 4:00 for tailgating, and everyone (or almost everyone) at dinner would be going to the game, I was pretty sure dinner would be early enough to make a morning round trip to southern Williamson County impossible.

But, in my defense, I have agreed to spend the entire day next Saturday baking holiday treats with her, and go back on Sunday for a family dinner (and she's demanded I bring a date, to which I've also agreed), and I know who the elves were that bought her a pre-lit Christmas tree and had it delivered to her doorstep so she could put it in front of her attic windows so neighbors passing by at night would see the lights (I swear, she's the only person I know who decorates her attic). And if I have to pull that trump card, I will, although I'd rather it remain a surprise.

Google goof

This is just wrong...


via Joel on Software

Monday, December 06, 2004

Enough promise...

I really like this write-up on IU's loss to UConn Saturday. I think the boys are on their way. :)

Just an update

I'm having a lot of difficulty accepting that it's already December. I even missed my chance to wear jeans to work this past Friday (yes, our casual Friday is limited to the first Friday of the month...) because it never crossed my mind that it could possibly be December already.

Christmas isn't causing any stress - only have a handful of gifts to get, and I'm already more than half done and the rest are gift cards, so no problem there. No hectic holiday schedule - in fact, mom always has dinner before mass on Christmas Eve, and there's no change this year, and we're doing the family gift exchange on the 26th when my brother and his wife return from visiting her family, so I get the actual day to myself. Well, to myself in the sense that I'll spend the day relaxing, enjoy an afternoon dinner with friends, and then head downtown for an evening of drinking football.

Work's been ok - not too crazy. Well, no more than usual. Actually, less than usual. And about to get even more so, since my boss has two more days until he goes to Australia through the end of the year. We started our two weeks of secret santa today, and I've yet to get my first present, so I can't figure out who my santa is yet... Not that I will, anyway. I just want my gifts. :)

Getting ready to head to Chicago for the annual "spread Christmas joy to underprivileged kids" and "go see Michigan Avenue lit up at night" and "eat all the good food I can" and "spend every minute (except for the kids' party) drinking with Mitch" weekend -- did I mention that last part to you, Peach? Sobriety is not an option. Unfortunately, I'll miss the IU/Kentucky game Saturday, but through the magic of TiVo, will be able to watch it Sunday when I get home. I'm beginning to think I need to go back to digital cable so I can buy the NCAA basketball package and TiVo all the games, not just the nationally broadcast ones. It's hands-down the best use of TiVo I've discovered yet.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Lucky day

Well, I was feeling a little discouraged because I bought another powerball ticket this week, and still didn't win. Then, I checked my gmail this morning and found a message google accidentally labeled as spam.

Some guy in the Ivory Coast has $14.7 million that was supposed to be used to purchase illegal weapons for his now deceased boss. And all I need to do is send him my bank account information and he'll deposit the money in my account for me. Once he puts the money in my account, he and his family will come see me so I can meet him and officially become business partners and invest our money.

At first, I was skeptical, but he reassured me: "I do not know how you may feel about this but I want you to take this very serious and confidential." So, don't tell anyone else, I just had to share my news.

Gotta go - I have to call my bank and let them know to be expecting a deposit...

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

What to do on a Wednesday...

My boys are playing a little ball game this evening, but before I go home and get comfortable on the couch, I gotta go catch BB at the Commodore. She rocked the house at the Bluebird last time I saw her (although, admittedly, I was under the influence of prescription painkillers... just kidding, BB, you know I think you rock!).

Blogger buggy...

I'm emailing this, so who knows when it will show up. Just wanted to say, in response to a couple emails I got, that, yes, Blogger is having some technical difficulties this week. I know a couple of you tried to comment yesterday or today and got an error - and I'm not able to post any new stuff most of the time. I found yesterday that if I send it via email, it will show up eventually...
Here's a message from the Blogger Status RSS feed on Monday:
We've had to restart the databases multiple times today because of server freezes. During the freezes, users would have encountered error pages when trying to access their blogs.
We're planning on a number of improvements this week to address this very serious situation. First, we will be pushing new code to both gather information on these freezes as well as revise some features to put less strain on the database. Second, we will be effectively doubling the number of machines used to handle the db workload.
Hang in there - there's more to life than blogging, right? ;)